In the rush to experience what for most people is the “real desert”, namely the dunes round Sossusvlei, first-time visitors to Namibia often overlook the Naukluft Mountains, an impressive escarpment that falls off the Central Highlands and a rewarding, if challenging, hiking destination. This vast plateau boasts near-vertical cliffs in places, which rise over 1000m from the surrounding gravel plains. Formed 500–600 million years ago, it consists predominantly of porous dolomite and limestone rock, riddled with caves, galleries and ravines, sitting atop a solid granite base. Indeed, Naukluft takes its name from a Germanic corruption of the Afrikaans “nou kloof”, meaning narrow gorge or ravine. Where the underground water spills out in springs and streams in these fissures, crystal-clear pools form that support a surprising variety of plant and animal life, including around two hundred bird species. Look out for klipspringer, kudu, steenbok, oryx and Hartmann’s mountain zebra, as well as soaring black eagles that nest along the cliffs.

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Namibia features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

In pictures: the otherworldly landscapes of Namibia

In pictures: the otherworldly landscapes of Namibia

From the spectacular dunes of the Namib Desert to the serpentine chasm of the Fish River Canyon, the rugged mountains of the Great Escarpment to the acacia-stud…

15 Feb 2018 • Sara Humphreys camera_alt Gallery
Namibia from above: the world's most extreme landscape

Namibia from above: the world's most extreme landscape

The Namib desert is one of the world’s most extreme environments. Covering 81,000 square kilometres, its vastness can only truly be appreciated from above. He…

17 Jul 2017 • Lottie Gross local_activity Special feature
27 awe-inspiring pictures of Namibia

27 awe-inspiring pictures of Namibia

Namibia has some of the world's most astonishing landscapes. It's home to the world's oldest desert, a long and undeveloped coastline and national parks that te…

31 May 2016 • Lottie Gross insert_drive_file Article
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