When it comes to the weather, this statement certainly holds true. Whilst average summer temperatures range between 34 and 38 degrees (Celsius) with almost zero humidity, there are those days when the mercury climbs up to 42 degrees. Although winter days are generally very pleasant, nights can be rather frosty and temperatures can fall well below zero.
Wolwedans is not a desert hotel where you can escape the elements behind sliding glass doors in air-conditioned or floor-heated rooms. It’s infrastructures are temporary to allow for a low carbon footprint and environmental impact. And whilst heat has never been a real challenge, some winter days prove challenging for every living creature. So, always be prepared and note, that in all these years, nobody was ever lost to the elements.
The most pleasant times of the year (in terms of neutral temperatures) are March to June and mid August to December.
Wolwedans maintains a Davis Instruments Vantage Pro-2 scientific weather station that digitally records the following weather indicators: temperature, rainfall, wind speed, wind direction, humidity, barometric pressure, heat index, wind chill, dewpoint and temperature-humidity-wind index.
Rainfall in the Namib occurs mainly in the form of convective summer storms from which maximum precipitation is received over the Escarpment to the east. The coastal Namib receives an annual mean rainfall of only 15 mm, whereas this increases further inland to the eastern edge of the desert, which has an annual mean figure of up to 100 mm rainfall. NamibRand probably experiences an annual mean rainfall of between 70 – 80 mm. Most of the rain falls during summer months, but the reserve is on the edge of the winter rainfall area and occasionally receives a small amount of winter rainfall, though this is normally not more than a few millimetres.
The formation of fog is encouraged by the air inversion caused by the Benguela current, and is a characteristic feature at the coast. In the early mornings the south westerly winds drift the fog inland. It usually extends for about 50 km inland for the length of the Namib, but occasionally fog occurs up to 100 km inland. Fog reaches NamibRand approximately 10 – 20 days of the year during the winter months. Unlike the ecology of the coast, none of the fauna and flora of NamibRand is dependent on moisture from the fog. Fog at the coast is usually only of short duration, rising temperatures from the interior have mostly dissolved it by noon, even so, fog-water precipitation is the dominant moisture source over western parts of the desert.
Wind is a very noticeable and extremely important component of the Namib. One of its most obvious effects is the formation of sand dunes. The prevailing south westerly wind at the coast maintains the cool inversion layer of air that prevents turbulence and rain forming. On NamibRand during the summer, westerly winds usually blow strongly in the afternoon, by evening they bring a welcome respite from the heat of the day. On occasions the notorious east wind, or berg wind, is dominant and often follows very soon after any rain which the desert may have received. Wind regimes on NamibRand do not always follow the same pattern as in the Namib Sand Sea. Complex wind regimes are produced locally by topography (shape of the landscape e.g. mountains and valleys) and the strong thermal gradients between the coast and the escarpment. These, in combination with movement of large pressure systems in the interior or over the ocean are what give us our complex pattern of winds.
Wind is important for the desert ecosystem. Many plants rely on wind for dispersal, such as annual grasses where grass seeds are blown huge distances across the desert. Wind also transports detritus, which is food for many desert animals. You have only to look at the base of a dune slipface following a strong wind to see the detritus piles and the number of beetles feeding there.