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Keetmanshoop or ‘Keetmans Hope’ can provide a nice stopover for half a day. A visit to the museum, housed in the church can be an interesting place to spend a couple of hours.
Naute Dam Resort is located near the town. The dam itself was constructed in 1972 to hold back the water from the river Naute flowing into the Fish River. It’s a beautiful area for birdwatching, boating and fishing.
Travelling in Southern Namibia in the summer (October to April) can be extremely hot, whilst the climate is more pleasant in the winter, it can get very cold, especially at night. The climate on the Southern Coast is generally quite cool.
The former mining town of Luderitz is a fascinating stopoff point in this area, either for an overnight stay or for a few days. The harbour town retains it’s Germanic influence and feel.
Luderitz offers plenty to keep the traveller amused, from a visit to the local Museum, spending time on the beach to a visit to Kolmanskop, once the principal town in the diamond mining industry, but now a veritable ghost town.
The coastline in Luderitz is recognised by various conservation groups as an Important Bird Area and is very important for coastal seabird breeding.
A visit to Sperrgebeit can be arranged in Luderitz. It’s not possible to enter the park without a concessionaire from the Ministry of Environment & Tourism, so it’s not possible to self drive in the park. Sperrgebeit is one of Namibias newest National Parks and a guided tour will take you on a journey from the rock arch of Bogenfels, to a modern diamond mine and on to some of the ghost towns created when the once fruitful diamonds began to disappear.
At the south of the park the Orange River mouth can be found, an area designated as a RAMSAR (wetlands of international importance) site with a plethora of birds and mammals, including the Cape Clawless Otter.
The Ais-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park is a cross border park situated in both Namibia and South Africa.
It incorporates the Fish River Canyon, the second biggest canyon in the world, after America’s Grand Canyon. Whilst most spend their time driving around the park or taking a leisurely stroll and a dip in the mineral pools, for those wanting a bit more exhilaration the famous 5 day hiking trail exists. The trail is not for the faint hearted and should only be considered if you are physically fit and an experienced hiker.
The park boasts some breathtaking scenery as well as being a botanist's dream, as it is home to more than 100 endemic plant species as well as over 1600 other plant species.
The Namib Naukluft National Park, covering an area of nearly 50,000km², is one of the largest national parks in Africa and is home to a number of places of interest.
Situated within the Namib Naukluft National Park are the areas of Sesriem and Sossusvlei. One of the most common images of Namibia are the red dunes that surround the arid pans of the Sossusvlei area.
Whilst the Sesriem Canyon doesn’t rival the Fish River Canyon in size, it makes an interesting stopover and as access to the canyon floor is relatively easy, it’s often possible to bathe in the pools at the bottom.
The Sossusvlei area is made up of a number of dunes, including Dune 45, Sossusvlei itself and Big Daddy. Sunrise over the dunes is what it’s all about here! Whilst you must rise early to be at the park gates as they open to have any hope of reaching the dunes, it’s a must! As well as scaling the dunes themselves, visits to both Hidden Vlei and Dead Vlei are an essential part of any visit to this area. You can’t say you’ve visited Namibia until you have visited this amazing area.
Located in the Northern area of the Namib Naukluft National Park, Welwitschia Drive is a route which takes in a number of points of interest culminating in one of the countrys oldest and largest Welwitschia plants. These amazing plants exist only in a small area in Namibia and Angola, whilst they are not endangered or rare, they are a protected species.
The Namibrand Nature Reserve is home to 4 different habitats, dunes and sandy plains, mountains, gravel plains and sand and gravel plains interface. Oryx and gazelle are prolific in the reserve, as well as kudu, zebra, giraffe, klipspringer and hartebeest. Predators are also found within the reserve including leopard, hyena, bat eared fox and caracal. This private reserve also boasts a large number of bird species.
A number of conservation initiatives exist within the reserve funded predominantly from the income from tourism activities to the reserve, these include an ongoing monitoring system, environmental education and development of horticulture projects for medicinal plants. The reserve created the NamibRand Desert Research and Awareness Centre (NRAC) to provide guidance for researchers on management issues.
Situated in the environs of Keetmanshoop, the !Khob !Naub Conservancy is home to steenbok and springbok, but is probably more famous for it’s giant quiver trees situated on top of the plateau.
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