NamibiaSouth Africa

Namib Desert in Namibia’ The World’s Oldest Desert

Story Highlights

  • The Sand Dunes of Namib Desert, Namibia
  • Life in the Namib Desert, Namibia

Namib desert is a coastal desert in southern Africa, Namibia. The name Namib is of Nama origin and means “vast place” and aslo known as the World’s Oldest Desert.

The Namib  stretches for more than 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) along the Atlantic coasts of Angola, Namibia, and South Africa, extending southward from the Carunjamba River in Angola, through Namibia and to the Olifants River in Western Cape, South Africa.

Namib Desert in Namibia' The World's Oldest Desert

Home to an astonishing amount of desert-adapted wildlife,  this is an extraordinary place to explore from the air, on foot, and by horseback.

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The Sand Dunes of Namib Desert, Namibia

The Namib Desert the World’s Oldest Desert is home to some of the biggest sand dunes on Earth. . One dune, nicknamed “Big Daddy” by hikers, is 325 metres high, and the even taller Dune 7 is 383 metres. The sand of many of the dunes has a deep reddish colour because of iron oxide particles.

Namib Desert in Namibia' The World's Oldest Desert


The Namib Desert sand dunes, some of which are 300 metres (980 ft) high and span 32 kilometres (20 mi) long, are the second largest in the world after the Badain Jaran Desert dunes in China.

Temperatures along the coast are stable and generally range between 9–20 °C (48–68 °F) annually, while temperatures further inland are variable—summer daytime temperatures can exceed 45 °C (113 °F) while nights can be freezing.

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Life in the Namib Desert, Namibia

The Namib desert & World’s Oldest Desert is almost completely uninhabited by humans except for several small settlements and indigenous pastoral groups, including the Ovahimba and Obatjimba Herero in the north, and the Topnaar Nama in the central region.

Namib Desert in Namibia' The World's Oldest Desert

The Namib-Naukluft National Park, that extends over a large part of the Namib Desert , is the largest game reserve in Africa and one of the largest of the world. While most of the park is hardly accessible, several well-known visitor attractions are found in the desert. [Source: Wikipedia]

Among other  creatures that have figured out how to get a drink out of the fog in the Namib Desert  is the  beetle. These insects use their own bodies to collect condensation — little drops of water — and then tilt their backsides up so that the water rolls into their mouths. This is known as fog-basking.

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There are bigger animals, too, like lizards, oryx (a type of antelope), meerkats and ostriches. Lions and elephants that have adapted to desert conditions can be found here, too. And the critically endangered black rhinoceros still roams in the wild in protected areas of the Namib.

The Namib Desert Sand Sea is said to be the  oldest desert in the world at around 55 to 80 million years old! It’s also what’s known as a coastal desert. Like the name suggests, this kind of place is found next to a large body of water.


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