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Nara Plant

Plants of Namibia

Another wonder of the Namib Desert is the interesting !Nara (in the Nama & Damara languages) plant, also known as butter-nut or botterpitte (Afrikaans), omungaraha (Herero) and !Nara melons. Found in and among the small dunes of Sossusvlei, these bright green, thorny plants, grow continuously as it keeps them above the blowing sand collecting up against it. The dunes become higher and higher and the roots and the stem of the !Nara stabilize the sand. If you see dead !Nara plants, and there are several in the area, remember the National Park's Environmental Code, and leave them where they lie. It is endemic to the desert along the west coast and grows only on sand dunes where subterranean water exists. It is common in many of the rivers leading into the Atlantic Ocean in Namibia and southern Angola.

The !Nara has sharp, straight thorns and this protects it from browsers to a certain extent. Photosynthesis takes place through the thorns and stems as it has no leaves to perform this function. There are both male and female flowers borne of different plants, the male plant flowers throughout most of the year and the wax-like flowers are pale yellow or greenish. The female flowers appear similar to those of the male plants but have a small bulge, the ovary, below the petals.

Once a year the !Nara produces a crop of round spiky fruits, the size of a large orange. These fruits are highly nutritious and quite remarkably have sustained indigenous people of the Namib for centuries. They are also eaten by gemsbok, jackals, hyenas, mice, porcupines and birds.

The Topnaars, still harvest the fruits annually. They are the longer-term residents of the Namib, who live in a small number of villages scattered along the lower Kuiseb. The livelihoods of the Topnaars are traditionally focused on small-stock farming as well as the collection, harvesting and processing of the !Nara. The seeds are allowed to dry and then bagged for sale in town or used for their own use. They are considered to be a bit of a delicacy, and can be nibbled on, as they are or even roasted and salted.

Plants of Namibia

Amjicaja Guest House

5km from the town center and within walking distance of the lagoon

Courtyard Hotel - Walvis Bay

A business hotel close to the town center

Lagoon Lodge

A bright & cozy lodge overlooking the lagoon and close to all of the cities amenities

Oyster Box Guest House

A small, upmarket, owner managed guest house offering excellent views over the Walvis Bay lagoon

Pelican Bay Hotel

Well situated with views over the lagoon and close to the ever popular Raft Restaurant

Pelican Point Lodge

Adjacent to a light house on a remote peninsula near the town of Walvis Bay. Pelican Point Lodge offers luxurious accommodation in a tranquil, remote & unspoiled environment

Spindrift Guest House

A friendly & relaxing eight roomed guest house

Accommodation in Luderitz