From giant rock arches, meteor craters, fossil and archaeological sites to Africa’s most important shipwreck discovery and some of the most pristine and wild landscapes on the planet, the newly proclaimed Tsau ǁKhaeb National Park(The Sperrgebiet) is a jewel in Namibia’s protected area network.
Tourism concessions have been identified and will be developed. These include desert-experience and ghost-town tours and Orange River boating and kayaking. All planned activities will be guided by the concession operators. A comanagement strategy and forging of joint planning will be explored with the newly proclaimed Marine Protected Area off the coast of the park.
The Tsau ǁKhaeb is a diamond mining area in southwestern Namibia, in the Namib Desert. It spans the Atlantic Ocean-facing the coast from Oranjemund on the border with South Africa, to around 72 kilometres (45 mi) north of Lüderitz, a distance of 320 km (200 mi) north. The Sperrgebiet, renamed Tsau Khaeb National Park, extends to around 100 km (62 mi) inland, and its total area of 26,000 km2 (10,000 sq mi), makes up three percent of Namibia's land mass. However, mining only takes place in five percent of the Sperrgebiet, with most of the area acting as a buffer zone. Members of the public are banned from entering most of the area, despite the creation of a national park there in 2004.
The Sperrgebiet was designated as a national park in June 2004, and is now named Tsau Khaeb National Park. De Beers still controls the area, but will relinquish control to the Namibian Ministry for Environment and Tourism once a management plan for the park has been completed. It is also a proclaimed diamond area which needs thorough control so as to keep possible diamond theft at bay. In April 2008, the 500-year-old wreck of a ship named Bom Jesus containing Iberian coins, bronze cannons, copper, and ivory was found in the Sperrgebiet. Under Namibian law, the Namibian government is entitled to all the items found on board. These items will be showcased at a museum in Oranjemund once the museum has been constructed
In September 1908, the German government created the Sperrgebiet in its colony of German South West Africa, giving sole rights for mining to the Deutsche Diamantengesellschaft ("German Diamond Company"). In 1915, during World War I, South African forces led by General Jan Smuts and Louis Botha, the South African Prime Minister, invaded the country. The South Africans defeated the Germans, taking control of modern-day Namibia, including the Sperrgebiet. The owner of the mine, De Beers, had total control of the area until the 1990s, when the Namibian government purchased a fifty-percent stake. They formed a joint partnership called the Namdeb Diamond Corporation.
The mining area close to Bogenfels is called "Pocket Beaches" which is one of Namdeb's northern coastal mines.The Sperrgebiet has a diverse range of flora and fauna, due to little human intervention in the area for 100 years. Forty percent of the landscape is desert, thirty percent is grassland, and twenty-eight percent is rocky. Roter Kamm, an impact crater in the southern Namib Desert within Sperrgebiet, has a diameter of 2.5 km (1.6 mi). The area includes the Tsaus Mountains, Mount Aurus, Mount Heioab, Mount Höchster, the Klinghardt Mountains and the permanent water spring Kaukausib. The highest point of the Sperrgebiet is 1,488 m (4,882 ft).
Sandy shores along the coast in the south and rocky headlands and inlets in the north. At least 17 ‘islands’ occur off the coast adjoining the SNP. Sandy and gravel inland plains, sand dunes, mountain ranges and inselbergs and the Orange River valley.
Brown hyaena, gemsbok, springbok, South African fur seal, grey rhebock, Heaviside’s dolphin, southern right whale. Almost 60 wetland birds along the Orange River and 120 terrestrial bird species recorded. African Penguin, Cape Gannet, Bank Cormorant, Purple Heron, Lappet-faced Vulture, Karoo Korhaan, Ludwig’s Bustard, Cape Francolin. Almost 100 reptile species; 16 frog species and a great number of insects and other invertebrates, probably 90 per cent or more of the invertebrates found in the park have not been described by science.
Vegetation: Succulent Karoo, Namib Desert and Savannah biomes. Vegetation types: Succulent Steppe, Southern Desert, Riverine Woodland. Quiver tree (Aloe dichotoma), many-stemmed quiver tree (Aloe ramosissima), vygies (Mesembryanthemumsp), Hoodia and Euphorbia spp. Sweet-thorn (Acaciakaroo), camel-thorn (Acacia erioloba) along riverbeds.
Tsau ǁKhaeb National Park(The Sperrgebiet) has a diverse range of flora and fauna, due to little human intervention in the area for 100 years. Forty percent of the landscape is desert, thirty percent is grassland, and twenty-eight percent is rocky. Roter Kamm, an impact crater in the southern Namib Desert within Sperrgebiet, has a diameter of 2.5 km (1.6 mi). The area includes the Tsaus Mountains, Mount Aurus, Mount Heioab, Mount Höchster, the Klinghardt Mountains and the permanent water spring Kaukausib. The highest point of the Sperrgebiet is 1,488 m (4,882 ft).
There are 776 types of plants in the Tsau ǁKhaeb National Park(The Sperrgebiet), with 234 being endemic to southwest Namibia, despite the Orange River being the only permanent water supply in the area. A study has shown that climate change will affect the plant life in the area, specifically in the Succulent Karoo. Drier winters may lead to the extinction of these plants, as they are endemic to the Sperrgebiet. The Sperrgebiet "is the only arid biodiversity hotspot and this makes it a very special area". It has more biodiversity than anywhere else in Namibia, supporting animals such as the gemsbok, springbok, and brown hyena. Bird species resident in the Sperrgebiet include the African oystercatcher, the black-headed canary, and the dune lark.
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