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SOSSUSVLEI & NAUKLUFT MOUNTAINS

NAMIBIA
LOCALE

Area (SqKm):49,768
Altitude (m):0-2000
# Species*:67
# Excl Vagrants*:67
# Endemics*:1
# Near Endemics*:4
Species/100 SqKm*:0.1
*Based on partial or incomplete data.
Habitat: Desert, dunes, rocky escarpment, scrub

ABOUT THE BIRDING

Sossusvlei is situated in the middle of the Namib desert and is the site where many spectacular photos of the coastal dunes are taken. The dunes are thought to result from sand washed into the South Atlantic by the Orange River and then carried north by the Benguela current where they were re-deposited along the shore. From there shifting winds have created an endless pattern of dunes, some as high as 220 m. In heavy rains sudden flash floods are possible in the normally dry riverbed of the Tsauchab River. It's a heavily visited tourist area and features an upscale resort lodge. Sossusvlei is aascinating biological area with black beetles and white beetles that emerge onto the dunes at different times of day, specially adapted desert vegetation, and a variety of desert reptiles. Over 60 bird species have been recorded in the area. It's possible to drive on various desert tracks into the desert. Due to the loose and shifting sands, 4-wheel-drive with under-inflated tires is necessary to do so safely. Some of the notable birds include Rueppell's Bustard, Monteiro's Hornbill, Dune Lark, Black-eared Sparrow-Lark, Kopje Warbler, and Karoo Thrush. A number of mammals are also present though not always easily viewed including Ground Pangolin, Cheetah, Leopard, Brown Hyena, Aardwolf, Bat-eared Fox, Cape Fox, Klipspringer, and Oryx.

En route to Sossusvlei are the Naukluft Mountains, which rise above the desert. This escarpment juts out into the desert and is rocky and sparsely vegetated. A reserve was created in the mountains in 1968 to protect the endangered Hartmann's Mountain Zebra. In 1979 the Naukluft Mountains were incorporated into the Namib-Naukluft National Park. It's difficult to see the various mammals, which clamber over the rocks and typically flee when disturbed. Some 200 species of birds have been recorded in the area. Notable species include White-backed Mousebird, Rosy-faced Lovebird, Spike-heeled Lark, Black-chested Prinia, Southern Anteater-Chat, Tractrac Chat, Orange River White-eye, and Pale-winged Starling.

LOCATION OF SITE

Sossusvlei is located in the Namib Desert south of Walvis Bay along the coast. It's 375 km southwest of Windhoek and takes 5  hours to drive without stops.