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The Namib-Naukluft Park covers 19,215 square miles of desert savannah grasslands, gypsum and quartz plains, granite mountains, an estuarine lagoon, a canyon and huge, drifting apricot-colored dunes. The five main regions of the park are the Namib, Sandvis, Naukluft, Sesriem and Sossusvlei areas. The Kuiseb River runs through the center of the park from east to west and acts as a natural boundary separating the northern grayish-white gravel plains from the southern deserts. Herds of mountain zebra, gemsbok, springbok and flocks of ostrich roam the region. Many small, fascinating creatures have uniquely adapted to this environment and help make this one of the most interesting deserts in the world.
The dunes are home to numerous unique creatures, such as the translucent Palmato gecko, shovel-nosed lizard and Namib golden mole. Sossusvlei, in the southern region, has the highest sand dunes in the world, exceeding 1,000 feet. The base of the second highest sand dune in the world can be closely approached by vehicle. The hike along the knife-edge rim to the top is strenuous, requiring 60–90 minutes of taking two steps up and sliding one step down. The view from the top into other valleys and of the mountains beyond is marvelous. Even up there, colorful beetles, ants and other desert critters roam about. Sunrise on these magnificent and colorful dunes is spectacular. Ballooning safaris are offered.
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