Naukluft Mountain Park: An unexpected desert oasis at Naukluft Campsite

Posted by Jayne McElwee on 22 April 2013 Tags:,

Taking into consideration my rock pool obsession (and after reading an article detailing the area’s attractions) I had insisted we add Naukluft Mountain Park (sometimes called Naukluft Mountain Zebra Park) to our 17-day Namibia itinerary.

I had high hopes and couldn’t let my travel companions down. We were not disappointed at all! There is just something about sitting in my oversized camping chair listening to my two favourite things: the sound of a stream, which is less than three metres in front of me, and the gentle rumble of thunder from a passing storm. Both felt like rather bizarre occurrences in the desert, considering the last few days had been defined by 36 to 38°C dry heat and an unrelenting desert sun.

If you’re after something unexpected and slightly off the Namibian tourist track (but in no way inconvenient), I’d certainly add Naukluft Mountain Park to a self-drive Nambian itinerary. There are a number of accommodation options in the area that offer both chalets and camping and it’s a relatively painless drive to the park. However, if you love camping and want to be close to the park’s two hiking trails and desert rock pools on offer, Naukluft Campsite (also called Koedoesrus / Kudus Rus) is probably best.

Camping at Naukluft Mountain Park

There are more than 10 campsites at Naukluft, all of which are on or close to the Naukluft River and well-shaded by ebony trees. While all sites are adequate – basically equipped with fire places, a table and benches and a tap – there are certainly some that are larger and/or more attractive than others. Luckily, sites aren’t designated, so you get to choose. This shouldn’t be a disappointing affair because judging by the lack of visitors while we’ve been here, the visitors’ book, and considering more common central and southern Namibian itineraries, Naukluft doesn’t appear to be that well known or a place that attracts the masses like Sossusvlei does, for example.


The staff at Naukluft can be commended for being very friendly, helpful and informative. Additionally, the campsites are serviced every day (rubbish cleared, raked, ablutions immaculately cleaned), which makes a stop here that much better.

Facilities and hikes at Naukluft Mountain Park

The park has a small kiosk that sells cooldrinks, beer and braai wood. You can also acquire park permits from the same office (N$30 a person a day, N$10 vehicle fee) for the hiking trails. The Olive Trail is four kilometres long and winds along the mostly dry river. The 17-kilometre Waterkloof Trail runs along the Nauklunt River and comprises a well-marked hike along the ravine with a few rock pools that one can swim in along the way. I’m not certain that the entire trail is too easy-going (the highest point is at 1910m), so take plenty of water, especially if you’re here in summer like we are. From what we experienced, not only is the trail beautifully green and uncharacteristic of a desert landscape, there is no shortage of insects, birds and animals to keep nature enthusiasts completely content.

The GPS co-ordinates of the park entrance: -24.226136, 16.337588 (Google)

Visit Namibia Wildlife Resorts’ Naukluft Campsite for more details and to book.

Naukluft Mountain Park, Namibia