Namibia is proud to announce that on Friday 21 June 2013, UNESCO enlisted the Namib Sand Sea as a World Heritage Site. It is a triumph for not only for Namibian tourism and conservation, but for this beautiful desert that has already dazzled many visitors with its vastness and beauty.
Contained in the Naukluft National Park in Namibia, the Sand Sea runs up the southwestern African coast. Although the area is known for an extremely arid climate—and resulting clear lines of sight—coastal fog will roll in and bring relief.
The Namib Sand Sea is the first area in ten years to meet all four criteria for becoming a natural World Heritage Site.
Namib Sand Sea (Namibia) is the only coastal desert in the world that includes extensive dune fields influenced by fog. Covering an area of over three million hectares and a buffer zone of 899,500 hectares, the site is composed of two dune systems, an ancient semi-consolidated one overlain by a younger active one.
|Fast facts about World Heritage Sites:|
|First country to ratify the World Heritage Convention||United States, 1972|
|First 12 World Heritage sites were inscribed||1978|
|Number of sites on the list of World Heritage in Danger||Approx. 30|
|Namib Desert Length||2 000 kilometres|
|Namib Desert Width||200 kilometres|
|Namib Desert Highest point||2 606 metres, Brandberg Mountain|
The desert dunes are formed by the transportation of materials thousands of kilometres from the hinterland that are carried by river, ocean current and wind. It features gravel plains, coastal flats, rocky hills, inselbergs within the sand sea, a coastal lagoon and ephemeral rivers, resulting in a landscape of exceptional beauty.
“The desert scenery, natural beauty and large dunes of the Namib Sand Sea as well as the diversity of life form that have evolved and adapted to the Namib Sand Sea are unique in the world. Hence the nomination” – Marius Kudumo, The Secretary General of the Namibia National Commission for UNESCO.
Fog is the primary source of water in the site, accounting for a unique environment in which endemic invertebrates, reptiles and mammals adapt to an ever-changing variety of microhabitats and ecological niches.
Shifting sand dunes ensure that the Namib Sand Sea remains an ever-changing environment.
This is the first natural site in Namibia to be inscribed on the World Heritage List.
The world heritage list consists of 962 properties “of outstanding universal value” of which 745 are cultural, 188 natural and 29 are “mixed” – both cultural and natural, in 157 countries.
Date: 24 June 2013