Lying between a high inland plateau and the Atlantic Ocean, the Namib Desert extends along the coast of Namibia, merging with the Kaokoveld Desert into Angola in the north and south with the Karoo Desert in South Africa.
Throughout this vast and unforgiving landscape, a number of animals and plants have adapted to life here, including the mountain zebra (Equus zebra
), gemsbok (Oryx Gazella
), short-eared elephant shrew (Macroscelides proboscideus
), Grant's golden mole (Eremitalpa granti
), Karoo bustard (Eupodotis vigorsii
) and Peringuey's adder (Bitis peringueyi
There is also an extraordinary diversity of succulent plants, as well as the shrub-like Welwitschia mirabilis
, which has only 2 leaves and can live for over 1,000 years!
Although large parts of this desert region are protected, it still faces threats from unsustainable land practices, mining and illegal plant harvesting.
One unique way of protecting Namibia's biodiversity has been through the WWF-supported conservancy movement
, which gives local communities responsibility and right of ownership over their natural resources and wildlife. Any profit generated by the conservancy's activities - guide services, eco-tourist facilities or controlled hunting - is invested back into the community.