Namib-Naukluft Hiking Trail

Posted by batman on Jun 1st, 2006
Jun 1

The Naukluft Hiking Trail is situated in the South of Namibia in the easternmost portion of the Namib Naukluft Park. The eight day hike covers 120km of undisturbed nature over extremely rough terrain. The lowest point on the trail is at 1250m with the highest at 1950m above sea level. Hiking is limited to the period between 1 March and 31 October because of excessively high summer temperatures. Even in mid-winter daytime temperatures can rise above 30 degrees.

It is not reccommended for unfit hikers, and is considered tough even by regular hikers. All hikers must have a medical report valid less than 30 days from the start date for submission to the nature conservator at the Naukluft Park Office. There is a steel locker at the Tsams Ost shelter on day 4 where you can leave food parcels for the second 4 days. This necessitates a 5 hour round trip to drop off. The trail starts and finishes at Naukluft campsite where there are camping facilities, firewood and hot showers.

The going is rough,dry and hot. You must carry a waterbottle (2-litres minimum) and use water sparingly. Fires are not permitted, so you must have a camping stove. Underfoot is hard, steep and rocky. Overnight temperatures may drop to freezing. Warm clothing is essential.

You walk through many dry river canyons which often have very steep sections which are negotiated with the aid of chains. If you are afraid of hights then this trail is not for you. A 20m length of light rope will definitely come in handy for lowering and lifting packs for people who find the steeper sections a bit daunting.

Animals you may encounter on the trail include Steenbok, Springbok, Oryx, Kudu, Mountain Zebra, Dassie Rat, Chacma Baboon, Rock Dassie, Klipspringer. The Hartmann’s mountain zebra is endemic to the area. Over 200 bird species have been documented. Snakes and scorpions also abound and you are advised to be on your guard at all times.

“Hikers Haven” is a delightful cottage at the Naukluft campsite provided as part of the trail. You can stay here the night before you start the trail and the night you finish. There is hot water with a shower and bath and a large outside area with braai facilities. The perfect place to begin and end the trail.

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