Ugab River

The Ugab River is an ephemeral river in north-western Namibia. Its lower section forms the border between Kunene Region and Erongo Region but its catchment area extends well into the Otjozondjupa Region. Ugab's source is near Otavi. From there it the riverbed leads westwards past the Paresis Mountains and the Fransfontein Mountains into the Skeleton Coast and the Atlantic Ocean. Inflows of the Ugab are Erundu, Ozongombo, Okomize and Uis.[1]

that only flows above the surface of its sandy bed a few days each year, but even during much of the dry season its subterranean water surfaces as pools in places, and provides an important resource for species in the Damaraland region of northern Namibia. The Ugab's mean run-off is roughly 20 million cubic metres per annum,[2] its catchment area (including its tributaries) is estimated to be between 24,800[1] and 29,355 square kilometres (11,334 sq mi).[3]

The Ugab River's large subterranean water content makes it a major Namibian River. Stretching for 450 kilometres (280 mi), the river provides water for species such as the rare desert elephant, as well as giraffe, mountain zebra and the largest population of free-roaming black rhinoceroses in the world. The Ugab Wilderness Area was established here to protect the future of these rare animals. Important tourism destinations are the Brandberg, the Doros Crater and Vingerklip, settlements in its catchment area are the towns of Outjo and Otjiwarongo, as well as the settlements of Kalkfeld, Omatjette and Uis.[1]

People can trek the length of the sandy river, passing local Herero farmers and the pink granite inselbergs (isolated rocky hills left behind after volcanic activity) dotted throughout the region. These bizarre stones have been shaped over the years into vaguely recognisable shapes, some look like toadstools, while others are eerie hollow structures known as the 'Petrified Ghosts'.

Quite a few plants grow there; much of the visible vegetation is the wild tobacco (Nicotiana glauca).[4] Also found there are some stunted acacia trees and ǃnara bushes (Acanthosicyos horridus), with their almost-leafless spiky green stems, and improbably large melons.



  1. Jacobson, Peter J.; Jacobson, Kathryn M.; Seely, Mary K. (1995). Ephemeral rivers and their catchments: Sustaining people and development in western Namibia(PDF 8.7MB) . Windhoek: Desert Research Foundation of Namibia. pp. 134–135. ISBN9991670947 .
  2. "ELECTIONS 2010: Erongo regional profile". New Era. 16 November 2010. Archived from the original on 6 September 2012.
  3. Strohbach, B.J. (2008). "Mapping the Major Catchments of Namibia"(PDF 1.0MB) . Agricola. 2008: 63–73. ISSN1015-2334 . OCLC940637734 .
  4. "Ozohere Camp Site | Damaraland | Namibia". Retrieved 2020-05-29.