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Dark Sky Reserve
NaDEET is the educational core of Africa’s first International Dark Sky Reserve

Learning and Living

for a Sustainable Future!

International Dark Sky Reserve

Because the sky is so dark and the air is so clear, the NamibRand Nature Reserve (NRNR) offers one of the world’s best views of the night sky.  The air is clear because it is so dry (water vapour absorbs light) and almost free of air pollution. The sky is dark because there is virtually no light pollution.  On moonless nights with the naked eye thousands of individual stars can be seen, as can the Milky Way, the faint band of light whose source is the billions of distant stars that make up our galaxy.  Also visible are the Magellanic Clouds and the seldom seen zodiacal light (pictured left), a pyramid shaped glow viewed best soon after sunset and before dawn . The zodiacal light is sunlight reflected off countless small dust particles orbiting in the inner solar system.  At certain times of the year perhaps the most elusive object in the night sky, a faint brightening of the zodiacal light opposite the Sun called the gegenschein, can be observed.

Many areas of the world now see only a few stars at night because instead of being dark, their night sky glows. This is because of light pollution which occurs when artificial light is reflected back down to earth by minute particles of dust or liquid. Light pollution wastes energy, disturbs animals and ecosystems, is detrimental to astronomical observations, and causes humanity to lose a part of its heritage and culture. Many tourists visit Namibia with an interest in viewing the magnificent night sky so it is a valuable resource for the country.  With increasing development there is a risk that the light pollution will ruin the night skies of Namibia unless they are protected.

NRNR with NaDEET Centre as its core educational institute has recently expanded its conservation role to include preserving the star-filled night time skies that shine above its dunes and mountains. These efforts in night sky conservation have earned the NRNR and NaDEET Gold Tier status as the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) has certified NRNR as Africa’s first International Dark Sky Reserve, only one of four around the world (IDA Press Release).

An "IDA “… is a public or private land possessing an exceptional or distinguished quality of starry nights and nocturnal environment that is specifically protected for its scientific, natural, educational, cultural, heritage and/or public enjoyment mission of a large peripheral area” (see for more information).

NaDEET staff show visitors the wonders of the night sky both by naked eye and through a telescope.  The threat light pollution poses and how to prevent it are also discussed. See the Protect Our Night Sky edition of the Bush Telegraph for more information.

Head Office
Green Centre, 5 Libertina Amathila Ave, Swakopmund
Tel: +264 (0)81 367 5310 - Fax-to-email: +264 (0)88 655 2669

Postal address
PO Box 8702, Swakopmund, Namibia

NaDEET Centre - NamibRand Nature Reserve - Maltahöhe
Tel: +264 (0)81-1257681

Trust Certificate No : T168/2003

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