Namib Naukluft Park

The Namib Naukluft Park is Africa's largest game preserve and, with the mega-dunes at Sossusvlei and the torturous Sesriem Canyon, offers visitors some of the most beautiful and dramatic scenery in south-west Africa.

The wonders of Naukluft Park should be divided between those that are living and those that belong to the natural world and that are forever o­n display - almost frozen in time - for the visitor's pleasure. Among the living are some of the oddest species of animals and plants in the world, and these would include the pitch-black and spider-like fog-basking beetles, the cackling hyenas and the large and stately oryx gemsbucks. Plants in the Namib Naukluft are represented by the awkward-looking Welwitschia mirabilis - thought by some to be a living fossil - as well as by the almost-petrified trees that have stood in the burning desert for over 900 years.

Visitors to Naukluft Park should plan their itineraries around the reserve's outstanding natural wonders, of which Sossusvlei with its 1,000ft dunes is most probably the most well known. Apart from Sossusvlei, they should make a point of seeing Sesriem Canyon, which is sometimes o­nly 2 meters across but 30 meters deep, and Sandwich Harbor with its freshwater lagoon and quicksand-like marshes. The Dead Vlei and the Hidden Vlei, which are home to trees so old that the unforgiving African sunlight has turned them black, are also Namib Naukluft must-sees, as is Naukluft Mountain, which harbors the protected Hartmann's mountain zebra.

The Namib is the world's oldest desert, and it is fitting that part of it will be forever preserved in the gorgeous Naukluft Park. Visitors to the park can choose between staying overnight at the park's rest areas or breaking their journey at the private lodges located just outside of the park's several gates.