Welcome to a journey of exploration through the varied tree species of Namib Naukluft Park, one of Africa’s largest and most diverse national parks, spanning the Namib Desert and the Naukluft mountain range in Namibia.
This sprawling landscape is not only home to a rich variety of wildlife but also to a collection of unique and resilient tree species that have adapted to thrive in the harsh desert conditions. The trees of Namib Naukluft Park bear silent testimony to the resilience of life in the face of adversity and provide vital life support to the region’s fauna.
Here are some trees that you will likely encounter during your visit
Camelthorn Trees (Vachellia erioloba)
The most prevalent tree species in the Namib Naukluft Park is the Camelthorn tree. Towering up to 17 meters high, these trees provide much-needed shade for various desert creatures and birds. The seeds are encased in a hard pod, providing a source of nutrition for animals during the harsh dry season.
Quiver Trees (Aloe dichotoma)
A truly iconic sight in the Namib Desert is the Quiver Tree or “Kokerboom”. Despite its tree-like appearance, the Quiver Tree is actually a giant aloe, standing between 2 to 7 meters high. Its branches were historically used by the indigenous San people to make quivers for their arrows, thus the name. Quiver trees are also renowned for their stunning silhouettes against the desert night sky, creating a magical and otherworldly atmosphere.
Shepherd’s Trees (Boscia albitrunca)
The Shepherd’s Tree is a hardy species, able to survive in arid conditions with minimal water. With its thick, fire-resistant bark, and deep root system that taps into groundwater, it thrives in the parched Namib Desert. The berries produced by the Shepherd’s Tree are a welcome food source for local birds and animals.
Wild Fig Trees (Ficus sycomorus)
Found around the ephemeral rivers and springs in the park, Wild Fig Trees are a magnificent sight. These trees often house diverse animal species, from birds to insects, and larger mammals who seek the tree’s shade and succulent fruit.
Nara Plants (Acanthosicyos horridus)
While not technically a tree, the Nara plant merits a mention due to its vital role in the ecosystem. This melon-producing plant provides a much-needed water and food source for the park’s inhabitants, especially the Topnaar people and desert-adapted animals.
Each tree species in Namib Naukluft Park represents an evolutionary marvel, demonstrating the ability of life to adapt and thrive in one of the planet’s most challenging environments. As you explore the park, take the time to appreciate these sentinel species that contribute so much to the ecological harmony of this beautiful landscape.