NAMIB DESERT

In the German language the word “Aus” means “finished” or “The End”. To the unknown traveller this would sound more like a warning not to go there, but how surprised he will be once he stands on the edge of the Huib Plateau, gazing down at the Southern Namib Desert taking its declining course towards the Atlantic Ocean 125km (73 miles) further West. In the indigenous language the name “Aus” means “The place of snakes” or “Snake Fountain” - we are unsure why this place is put into connotation with the reptile as we have never really come into contact with any, but it would seem logical that snakes do inhabit the majestic mountain ranges and Inselbergs (“Island Mountains” one such historically being called “Fat Willem” after Germany’s chancellor during the 1st World War). Attractions in the Aus area are not constituted by the magnificent view alone, but also by the historical monuments reminding of the end of the German colonial era in 1915. 10km towards the coast guests will find the man-made waterpoint of “Garub”, the most probable location to see and experience the Wild Horses of the Namib Desert. One certain stop should be made at the Aus Information Centre, situated just off the B4 at the entrance to the small (tiny) town, where guests can grab a bite to eat and get a deep insight into the historical, ethnical and geological background of this magnificent place in Southern Namibia. The Aus region, reaching down to the Atlantic Ocean, is typified by the Succulent Karoo. Its’ climatic characteristics make it different from all other deserts in the world with a botanical diversity that is unparalleled by any other arid region on earth making it the world’s only plant hotspot that is entirely arid. This ecoregion is home to more than 5,000 higher plant species, nearly 40 percent of which are endemic, and 18 percent of which are threatened. It has the richest succulent flora in the world, harbouring about one-third of the world’s approximately 10,000 succulent species. Other unique features include the diversity of miniature succulents (435 spp.) and geophytes (bulb-like plants 630 spp.). The ecoregion is also a centre of diversity and endemism for reptiles and many invertebrate taxa, especially monkey beetles (Rutelinae: Hoplinii).

The Southern Namib Desert

The Southern Namib Desert stretches from just North of Luederitz to the mouth of the Kuiseb Canyon at Walvis Bay and incorporates some of Namibia’s most celebrated highlights – the monumental dunes of Sossusvlei and the ancient Welwitschia mirabilis fossil plants. The southern parts of this desert, including the Sperrgebiet National Park, are prone to the highest wind speeds on earth.

The Central Namib Desert

The Central Namib Desert stretches from the mouth of the Kuiseb Canyon to the mouth of the Ugab River and incorporates highlights such as Swakopmund and the Cape Cross seal reserve as well as the Messum Crater.

The Northern Namib Desert

The Northern Namib Desert stretches from the mouth of the Ugab River to the mouth of the Kunene River along the border of Angola – this northern Namib Desert is also referred to as the “Skeleton Coast National Park”.