The Annotated Ramsar List: Namibia


The Annotated Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance


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The Convention on Wetlands came into force for Namibia on 23 December 1995. Namibia presently has 5 sites designated as Wetlands of International Importance, with a surface area of 676,564 hectares.

site; date of designation; region, province, state; surface area; coordinates
site; date de désignation; région, province, état; superficie; coordonnées
sitios; fecha de designación; región, provincia, estado; área; coordenadas

Bwabwata – Okavango. 13/12/13;Kavango Region; 46,964 ha; 18°12’43”S 21°45’36”E. National Park. The site consists of the lower Okavango River, part of the Okavango Delta Panhandle and permanently or temporarily flooded marshes and floodplains bordered by riparian forest and open woodland. It supports IUCN Red-Listed species, including the vulnerable African Elephant Loxodonta africana, Hippopotamus Hippopotamus amphibius, Lion Panthera leo, Slaty Egret Egretta vinaceigula and the endangered Grey Crowned Crane Balearica regulorum. The site supports one of the highest diversities of species in the Zambezian Flooded Savannas ecoregion. Over 400 species of birds have been recorded, the highest number of any site in Namibia. The site provides a variety of ecosystem services, including provisioning, regulating, supporting and cultural services. Current land use includes tourism, crop cultivation and livestock farming. Small-scale farming dominates, typically of a few hectares of millet, sorghum and maize with a small number of goats and cattle. A management plan was drafted recently and is in the process of official approval. Parts of the southern boundary of the site are contiguous with the northern boundary of the Okavango Delta Ramsar Site in Botswana. Ramsar site no. 2193. Most recent RIS information: 2013.

Etosha Pan, Lake Oponono & Cuvelai drainage
. 23/08/95; 600,000 ha; 19º15’S 015º30’E. National Park. A system of ephemeral rivers, feeding pans and associated lake and delta. Habitats include the pans, seasonally-flooded grasslands, palm tree savannah, woodlands, and dry bush savannah. The system supports 45% of Namibia’s human population, who exist by subsistence farming and fishing on the floodplains and seasonal wetlands. Local people rely upon seasonal ponds and shallow wells for their water. The site supports populations of several rare and endangered large mammals, and in good rainy seasons it serves as a breeding ground for flamingos. Ramsar site no. 745. Most recent RIS information: 1995.

Orange River Mouth. 23/08/95; 500 ha; 28º40’S 016º30’E. Transborder site with South Africa. The sole perennial river in the region, it forms a linear oasis (floodplain) of islands and sand bars through an arid region. The site provides habitat for a variety of endemic plants and during the summer is the sixth richest wetland in southern Africa, in terms of bird numbers supported. The abundance of three species exceed 1% of their respective global populations. Restricted recreation takes place within the park. In surrounding areas, activities include diamond mining, irrigation, and large-scale water abstraction. Ramsar site no. 744. Most recent RIS information: 1995.

Sandwich Harbour. 23/08/95; 16,500 ha; 23º23’S 014º29’E. Namib-Naukluft Park, Marine Protected Area. Two distinct wetlands and associated mudflats. One is aquifer-fed and supports typical emergent vegetation, but is slowly disappearing due to natural causes. The second, under tidal influence, consists of mudflats and raised shingle bars. One of Namibia’s most important coastal wetlands, supporting eight endangered species among the large numbers of wading birds. Several archaeological sites dating back 1,000 years exist within the site. Human activities have included fishing, guano collection, and hunting. The site is used for scientific research, with surrounding areas used for tourism, recreation, and angling. Ramsar site no. 743. Most recent RIS information: 1995.

Walvis Bay. 23/08/95; 12,600 ha; 23º00’S 014º27’E. Nature Reserve. A tidal lagoon consisting of adjacent intertidal areas, Pelican Point, mudflats exposed at low tide, and sandbars serving as roosting sites. The site supports varying numbers of wetland birds (37,000 to 79,000 individuals); some species such as flamingos occur in impressive numbers. Eleven endangered bird species are regularly observed. Human activities consist of recreation and salt production. Residential development exists along the lagoon, and natural siltation may eventually lead to the infilling. Ramsar site no. 742. Most recent RIS information: 1995.

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Number of » Contracting Parties: 168 Sites designated for the
» List of Wetlands of
International Importance
2,186 Total surface area of designated sites (hectares): 208,674,247

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