The Namib Sand Sea has been declared as a natural World Heritage Site. This is the second UNESCO World Heritage site for Namibia.
The Namib Sand Sea area comprises a large part of the Namib Naukluft Park. It includes favourite tourist destinations such as Sossusvlei and Sandwich Harbour.
The inscribed area stretches from the Kuiseb River southwards to include approximately 66% of the Central Namib dune sea. The inscribed Sand Sea covers an area of 30,777 square kilometres with an additional 899,500 hectares designated as a buffer zone.
Namibia’s first world heritage site, Twyfelfontein, was inscribed in 2007 as a cultural site. The Namib Sand Sea is Namibia’s first natural World Heritage site.
The description according to the Unesco and which explains this classification :
‘’Namib Sand Sea 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.
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.
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.’’(http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1430/)
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