When looking for Namibia in your travel guide, you will learn about the vast plains of Etosha National Park, the small coastal resort of Swakopmund and its ancient colonial buildings or the red sand dunes surrounding Sossusvlei and Deadvlei. However, you rarely encounter an article explaining in detail the different desert environments that make up the southern part of our beautiful country (Namibia).
Coinciding with the “International Year of Deserts”, the Gondwana Desert Collection collaborated with Open Africa and other stakeholders to open up an extensive travel route through the 4 deserts of Namibia. Appropriately named “Namibia’s Four Desert Roads”, it covers the entire South Namibia, from the tropical Mori to the Orange River.
To the east is the Kalahari Desert, with red sand dunes partially covered by grass, shrubs and ancient camel trees. Although surface water is rare, the Kalahari is home to a large number of antelopes, predators and an amazing number of birds. Kalahari Anib Hotel, Bagatli Game Ranch and Africa Africa Wildlife Sanctuary are just a few examples. Located in the surrounding area of Kalahari, it is an ideal stopover for the first night on the way.
Nama Karoo is characterized by dwarf shrubs and scattered meadows, and is characterized by the well-known quiver tree. The deep canyons of the Fish River Canyon fall in this desert environment as well as the Zebra River Canyon. Animals such as the indigenous Zebra Mountain can be found here. All four properties of Canon; Canon Hotel, Canon Village, Karon Sports Car and Canon Mountain Camp, and Zebra River Hotel are ideal overnight stops on the way to the second largest desert.
The succulent Karoo is located around the historic Aus, extending south to Namaqualand in South Africa, the third desert on our way. This environment is unique because it can receive winter rainfall, so the specially modified plants can survive the dry summer. The desert is known as one of the most diverse plants in the world and is listed as one of the 25 global biodiversity “hot spots” in the world. After the rain, this seemingly dry and arid landscape becomes a spectacle because many different plants are blooming. Animal life is reduced to duikers and rodents, but the wild desert horses that live on the west side of Oss are attractive enough. Klein Aus Vista, west of Aus, offers beautiful accommodation in the bungalows of the Desert Horse Inn and the rock huts of Eagle’s Nest. The newly renovated Hotel Aus Bahnhof also provides comfortable beds for tired travelers.
The fourth and last desert on our route is the Namib Desert. This desert consists only of a narrow strip of cold Atlantic coast, with red sand dunes (the highest in the word) in the south, gravel plains and inselbergs in the middle, and deep blue mountains in the north. Namib stretches to southern Angola and is the site of the prehistoric Welwitschia factory. The mist from the Atlantic Ocean provides life-giving water to plants and animals. Namib provides many hotels and guest farms for travelers to Sossusvlei and Namib Naukluft Park. Desert House, Tsauchab River Hotel and Hoodia Desert Camp are just a few places where residents can spend their last night on the “Four Desert Roads”.