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Guide to climbing Namibia’s Namib Desert Dunesby Tamzyn


Namibia overland tours are the perfect chance to test yourself against the epic sand dunes of the Namib Desert whilst insanely beautiful views of the Namib-Naukluft Park Desert expanses wait for you up top. A top treat on any Namibia overland tour is a trip to the Namib-Naukluft Park and Namib Desert, with the chance to conquer one of Namibia’s monstrous sand dunes. Whether it’s from the top of Dune 45 (148m) or Big Daddy (380m), Namibia’s dunes offer the best perspective from which to appreciate the infinite sea of sand of the Namib Desert on a Namibian overland trip.

Namibia Overland Safari Dune Challenge

The Namib Desert, in the Namib-Naukluft Park is not only the world’s oldest and most beautiful desert but it is also home to the world’s tallest sand dunes, with some towering in at over 300m.  The shifting wind and sand create a glistening new sheer dune face each morning, just asking for you to climb and conquer them on your Namibia overland trip. Sunset and sunrise offer climbers their just reward, lighting up an endless panoramic vista of the desert floor in every shade of red, gold and caramel you could ever imagine. Summiting a Namibia sand dune can be a heck of a climb, especially if the six-pack you prefer comes in cans. Here is the Overlanding Africa guide to becoming a champion Namib Desert Dune conqueror on your Namibia tour so you can brag to your mates back home

5 top tips to hiking Namib Desert Dunes in Namib- Naukluft Park

1)    Don’t be a fool and go racing up the side of the dune. Even though you inner child is screaming for you to go running gung-ho up the sheer Namib Desert dune face it’s no fun having to stop half-way up and turn around with jelly legs and a mindful of disappointment for the rest of your Namibia Tour. Take it easy and walk up the dune, enjoying the amazing sights and smells of the Namib Desert as it opens up in front of you. 2)    Pack light and leave your backpack at the bottom of the Dune. Lugging yourself up one of Namibia’s monstrous sand dune is hard enough already, so don’t pack everything and the kitchen sink. Take only what you need and leave what you can at the bottom or you will be cursing your heavy backpack all the way to the top. 3)    Walk in other people’s footsteps. The Namib Desert is a popular tourist attraction on any Namibia tour and there are always huge groups hiking up the dunes during the day. Following other people’s footstep trails makes it easier for you to climb as the sand is already compacted so you don’t sink in as quickly. 4)    Take plenty of water- you’re going to need it. The spectacular Namib Desert views are a lot more beautiful on your Namibia safari when you aren’t dying of thirst and passing out at the top or half-way up. You don’t need a gallon, but be sure to take a water bottle with enough to get you up the dune and back down and remember to drink it! 5)    Make sure to wear your sunscreen. The desert can get scorching hot during the heat of the day and it’s not like you can quickly turn around and saunter down an epic sand dune if you forget your sun block. Buy SPF 30 or higher, water and sweat resistant is best, and apply generously before climbing or venturing out on any guided Namibia overland tour, hike or safari .


Appreciate the Namib Desert

Most importantly stop, sit and enjoy the magical experience and dumbfounding beautiful views of the Namib Desert and Namib-Naukluft Park as they stretch out before you.  Although photographs of your Namibia safari are great to have, the incredulous multi-colored beauty of Africa’s second largest desert can’t be appreciated through a lens.

Take only photographs and leave only footprints.

Also, even though the desert looks uninhabited there is a huge delicate eco-system and array of animals under your feet. So be mindful of the creatures and wildlife that make the dunes their home and don’t step on or destroy any flora or fauna if you can avoid it. If you can, walk in a path or a trail of footsteps and try to make as little impact on the Namib Desert dunes as you can. The little critters will sure appreciate it.


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