NamibRand Nature Reserve
NamibRand Nature Reserve is located 228 miles (368 km) south-southwest of Windhoek, Namibia, in one of the naturally darkest places on Earth. In 2012, the International Dark Sky Association named it a Gold Tier International Dark Sky Reserve, making it the second-ever location on Earth to receive such a title. One of Africa’s largest private nature reserves, NamibRand was established to protect and conserve the unique wildlife and lands of the southwest Namib Desert. The nature reserve shares a 60-mile (100-km) border with Namib-Naukluft National Park to the west and the Nubib mountains to the east. The Kwessie Dunes Lodge at NamibRand includes an open-air “star gazer” room with every bedroom, and guides from the Wolwedans Collection and Tok-Tokkie Trails are educated in astronomy and impart their wisdom of the night sky to guests. “It’s a good place to stargaze because the air is very dry, and human habitation (i.e. light pollution) is minimal,” says an EarthSky community member.