Naukluft Mountains Waterkloof Trail Hike

The Namib Naukluft National Park is the largest game park in Africa, and the fourth largest in the world. The park host a huge section of the Namib Desert, as well as the Naukluft Mountains. The most known area of the park is Sossusvlei. Only a 1 hour drive away is the less traveled to Naukluft Mountains. Come here for some hiking and to see some wild animals such as Mountain Zebra, Klipspringer, and Kudu. It is a great place for camping and swimming in watering holes. Several short hikes can be enjoyed.


There are two longer hiking trails for day hikes, the Olive Trail (10km) and the Waterkloof Trail (17km). There is also an 8 day hike which covers 120km which is available with a guide from March through October. We opted for the Waterkloof Trail, which in all honesty, has scared us and will forever be in our memories as one of our worst hikes. We finished this hike with bruised bodies and swollen feet. Yana actually cried when we saw the end of the trail. The area is beautiful, but maybe it is best to come and enjoy the short hikes and watering holes instead of one of the longer hikes. If you do plan on hiking the Waterkloof, this guide will give more information about our hike.

Namib-Naukluft Park, Naukluft Mountains, Namibia

Heading Down to the Gorge


Park Entry Costs

  • $60 NAD per person per day for day use


How to Get There

Take C14 from Solitaire to BuellSport. Shortly after the BuellSport Guest Farm, turn right on D854, where there is a sign for Namib Naukluft Park. Drive 8km, and immediately after a cattle grid, the park entrance is on your right, where there will be a closed gate. The park entrance station is 2km further on your left.



Hiking along the Stream

Waterkloof Trailhead


The Waterkloof Trail

This 17km trailhead starts just after the day parking area and park entrance. Be ready for a 6-7 hour hike to complete the Waterkloof. After paying your day fee, get the map for the trail and walk 50m down the road where there is a sign for the trailhead on your right. There is a rock with a yellow footprint trailmarker, which you will follow these trailmarkers for the entire 17km trail.

TIP: Pay attention to these trailmarkers. It is easy to lose the trail at times, and may often have to backtrack. Several times we lost the trailmarker and went off trail and had to backtrack, adding extra distance and time to our hike.


Namib-Naukluft Park, Naukluft Mountains, Namibia

Hiking along the Stream


The beginning of the trail is uphill along the Naukluft Stream where there are sections with pools for swimming. You will then hike into a gorge and turn away from the stream. From here you will ascend up to the highest point of the trail.


Namib-Naukluft Park, Naukluft Mountains, Namibia

Hiking through riverbeds and gorges


There are excellent views of all the Naukluft Mountains once at the peak, high above the rest of the trails. At the summit, it will be clearly marked by a large pile of rocks.


Namib-Naukluft Park, Naukluft Mountains, Namibia



Following the summit, there is a steep descent down to a dried up riverbed and gorge beneath the mountain. Eventually you wil,l come to other swimming holes and pools and connect with the stream again. From here, follow the stream back to the guest day parking area to finish your hike.


Namib-Naukluft Park, Naukluft Mountains, Namibia

Views from the Summit


What to Bring on the Hike

  • Wear normal day hiking clothes. Be sure to wear very good sneakers, preferably hiking boots. This trail is extremely rocky and a lot of the trail is through dried up riverbeds.

  • Bring lots of water, especially if in the summer. It gets extremely hot in the Naukluft Mountains.

  • A hat and sunscreen will help protect your face/skin from the sun.

  • Snacks to help refuel along the way.

  • Towel if you want to swim at one of the swimming holes.



Where to Stay

Capricorn Rest Camp is roughly a 30 minute drive from Naukluft Park and an excellent budget option. Camping is $80 NAD per person, or stay in a B&B for $400 NAD per person.

Tsauchab River Camp is a 30 minute drive towards Sesriem, roughly half way between Naukluft and Sossusvlei. Camping is $110 NAD per person.

Naukluft Campsite is part of the NWR and right in the park. For close proximity and camping right near trailheads for $158 NAD per person.

BuellSport Guest Farm is a luxurious guest farm, the closest to the park entrance. Camping is $195 NAD per person, or you can choose from an assortment of rooms from $1400 to $3600 NAD.


Namib-Naukluft Park, Naukluft Mountains, Namibia

Camping at Capricorn Restcamp


Overall Recommendation

The Naukluft Mountains are near to Sossusvlei, allowing for a quick day stop the day earlier or the day after visiting Sossusvlei. However, if you are short on time, of all places in Namibia within our recommended travel guide, this would be the one to skip. As avid hikers, we did not enjoy this hike. The trail markers are very sporadic and we often got lost and had to backtrack. We ended up hiking 19km instead of the 17km trail, and because of the rocky terrain, we both left with sprained ankles. If you do want to hike, I would recommend a shorter hike or the Olive Trail and make sure to have good hiking boots.




Namibia Ultimate Self Driving Guide & 2 Week Itinerary


Namibia Articles:

  • Etosha National Park click HERE

  • Himba Village Tour in Opuwo click HERE

  • Swakopmund and Outdoor Adventures click HERE

  • Naukluft Mountains Hike

  • Sossusvlei and Deadvlei click HERE

  • Luderitz and Kolmanskop Ghost Town click HERE

  • Fish River Canyon click HERE



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