Lying between a high inland plateau and the Atlantic Ocean, the Namib Desert extends along the coast of Namibia, merging with the Kaokoveld Desert into Angola in the north and south with the Karoo Desert in South Africa.
Existing for at least 55 million years, the Namib is one of the oldest deserts in the world. The Namib Desert is located in Namibia in Africa and is approximately 80,900km² over three times the size of the UK. This desert habitat is a varied landscape, consisting of shifting sand dunes, rugged mountains and gravel plains.
When coming to the Namib desert, the two things one must not miss:
1. See the world's highest sand dunes in the world,
2. And catch amazing wildlife in the extreme environment.
The sand dunes in the Namib Desert are often referred to as the highest dunes in the world. Various arguments are laid out to support this claim, but all miss the point, which is that these are surely one of the most spectacular sights in Namibia. These can be found in Namib-Naukluft National Park, which is a national park of Namibia encompassing the Naukluft mountain range and is the largest game park in Africa and the fourth largest in the world. These sand dunes are called Sossusvlei, which is the main visitor attraction in Namibia. One can find heaps and heaps of sand, making pyramid-like waves that hypnotizes anyone. And what is very interesting about these is that they rarely present the same face twice. Wind changes the dunes’ edges and erases tracks like waves on a beach—the shifting force is enough to cause entire dunes to migrate dozens of feet each year.
Throughout this vast and unforgiving landscape, one can find numerous wildlife in the desert. Life here is very good, despite of the high temperature and the extreme dryness. Sightseeing is probably the best experience here because you get to see unusual animals doing their usual activities in the desert. Savor the special stripes of the mountain zebra, the mystical gemsbok, the tiny short-eared elephant shrew, the sly Grant's golden mole, and the dangerous Peringuey's adder.
There is also an extraordinary diversity of succulent plants, plant species numbering to 3500 species, as well as the shrub-like Welwitschia mirabilis, which has only 2 leaves and can live for over 1,000 years!
If you haven't seen an elephant yet or a rhino or even a lion, have a tour in the Namib desert and you can catch a glimpse of one. Namibia is home to a unique population of elephants that have adapted to the arid, and sometimes inhospitable, climate. Found mostly in the Damaraland region in the northwest part of the country, these "desert" elephants can go for days without drinking water, surviving on moisture obtained from the vegetation they eat. They have larger feet, making it easier to walk through sand, and often live in smaller herds, which puts less pressure on their food and water sources. Rhinos have also been found here and lions that have grown to the desert conditions.
If you have been paying attention to the sand, you may find some weird little critters that are interesting to watch. See the Dancing White Lady Spider (Carparachne aureoflava) cartwheel 44 turns per second down a dune to escape the enemy. Admire the transparent Namib Dune Gecko (Pachydactylus rangei) with webbed feet that are equivalent to snow shoes. Learn about the different beetles and insects and how they survive in the dune desert. Follow in the tracks of a legless Lizard (Fitsimmon’s Burrowing Skink), observe Sand Diving Lizards (Meroles Anchieta) dancing on the hot sand, Sidewinder Snakes (Perinquey’s Adder), Desert Chameleons and so much more.