Home to the oldest desert and the largest dunes in the world Namibia has some of the most stunning and iconic desert landscape.
Special permission has been granted to the 4 Deserts Race Series to hold the Namib Race in the Skeleton Coast National Park. It is held around the Torra Bay area - about 300km / 196 miles north along the coast from the host town of Swakopmund.
The desert scenery includes, wide open red plains, scattered mountain outcrops, huge expanses of dramatic sand dunes, moon-like landscape, Atlantic waves crashing against the sandy desert shore-line, ship wrecks littering the coast line and a fascinating array of plants and animals, many of which are endemic to the area as a result of the age of the desert.
Namibia is situated on the west coast of Southern Africa with South Africa to the south and the Atlantic Ocean to the west where crashing waves meet the oldest desert. Namibia possesses some of the most stunning landscapes in Africa.
The capital of Namibia is Windhoek in the centre of the country. The host town for the Namib Race (Namibia) is Swakopmund which is 350km west of Windhoek – it is a beautiful coastal desert town with German influence and has everything you want from a host town.
The race itself takes place in the Skeleton Coast National Park which is within the Namib Desert (meaning vast place) - the oldest desert in the world. The Namib Desert makes up 12% of Namibia’s total land mass and is also home to the largest recorded sand dunes (spanning 300 meters / 980 feet high and 32 kilometers / 20 miles long).
The Skeleton Coast National Park stretches for approximately 500km in the north of the country and protects about one-third of Namibia's coastline. It is associated with famous shipwrecks – but the name came from the bones that lined the beaches from whaling operations and seal hunts, but more than a few of the skeletons were human.
With an average rainfall of just 270mm a year, Namibia is considered to be one of the driest countries in Southern Africa. Twenty-two percent of Namibia's land is classed a desert with 70% arid or sub-arid.
Namibia has more than 300 days of sunshine per year. The winter months of May to September are generally dry with clear, cloudless and sunny skies. However on the coast there is a fog that rolls in later in the afternoon and early morning - generally clearing by mid-morning. It is this fog has proven to be a major hazard to ships - more than a thousand wrecks litter the Skeleton Coast.
During the race, temperatures on the coast can get down to between 0 and 10°C / 32 and 50 °F at night, but recover to 20-25°C / 68-77°F in the middle of the day. Just a few kilometers in land from the coast it immediately heats up without the coastal fog and breeze – expect temperatures up to 35°C / 95°F during the day inland in the red Namib.
Humidity is low and it can be windy.
The entire country is 825,000 square kilometers / 318,500 square miles, but it only has a population of about 2.2 million making it one of the least densely populated countries in the world with only Greenland, Falkland Islands, Mongolia and French Guiana being less densely populated.
Despite that it has a somewhat colourful history greatly influenced by the cultures of various colonizations over the decades. What has emerged is a true sense of unity in diversity, the coming together of at least 11 major ethnic groups, each celebrating their past while working together toward the future. First and foremost, Namibians are proud to be Namibian. And for good reason!
The different cultures include: Caprivians, Kavango, Tswanas, San, Coloured, Basters, Damara, Herero, Nama, Himba, Owambo, Whites.
The local team for the Namib Race is selected from local tribes that live and around the Skeleton Coast – they love to be involved in the race and you will hear them chanting at dusk around the fire. They are primarily from the Damara Tribe.