Stargaze With Wolwedans At The Namibrand Nature Reserve, The Only Dark Sky Reserve In Africa
An abundance of wildlife, a collection of desert-adapted flora and the peculiar “fairy circles” make the NamibRand Nature Reserve, home to The Long Run GER® Wolwedans, a wondrous place to be. But did you know that NamibRand is among the top places in the world to stargaze and that it is the only certified International Dark Sky Reserve in Africa?
The International Dark-Sky Association certifies as a Dark Sky Reserve “a public or private land, possessing an exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights and nocturnal environment that is specifically protected for its scientific, natural, educational, cultural, heritage and public enjoyment.”
NamibRand was accorded Dark Sky Reserve status in 2012, after it expanded its conservation role to include preserving the star-filled night-time skies that shine above its dunes and mountains. These efforts in night sky conservation caught the attention of the IDA.
“The night sky over the NamibRand Nature Reserve is exceptional, as are the efforts the reserve has taken in modifying its lighting for the sake of its wildlife and visitors,” International Dark-Sky Association’s Executive Director Bob Parks said.
NamibRand is a Gold Tier dark-sky, the term used to describe reserves with nighttime environments that have little to no impact from light pollution and artificial light.
Dr. George Tucker, a retired professor of physics from the USA, who identified the NamibRand as a potential Dark Sky Reserve and led the certification effort, said, “Viewing the pristine night sky over the NamibRand is an unforgettable experience. Being recognized as a Gold Tier International Dark Sky Reserve will serve to promote and protect this valuable resource.”
Dark Sky Reserves, Parks and places have become popular as travellers seek the darkest locations around the globe where they can gaze at stars without interference from the light pollution of cities, and where conditions such as high altitude and dry air allow for more stars to be seen. 80 percent of the global population is unable to see the milky way due to light pollution, a recent study suggests.
NamibRand’s nearest neighbouring communities are small and lie some 60 miles away, so the reserve’s sky is one of the darkest yet measured.
In the heart of the NamidRand Nature Reserve, Wolwedans provides ample opportunity for stargazing and sleep outs under the stars.
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