The Sperrgebiet in Namibia encompasses nearly all of the northern extent of the Succulent Karoo vegetation and is the only wilderness area in the Hotspot. Since the area has been held as a mining concession for the last century, it has been strictly off-limits to the public and scientists until recently.
The few scientific studies that have been carried out in the 56,100 hectare area have recorded 776 plant species, including 234 endemics and 284 Red Data List taxa.
This unique area boasts the highest levels of biodiversity in all of Namibia. In addition to the high concentration of endemic plants, amphibians and reptiles, wild populations of Gemsbok, Springbok and carnivores such as Brown Hyena live in this undisturbed environment.
Although mining has been the saviour of the Sperrgebiet to date, exploration for new mineral riches beyond the already transformed coastal zones is a major land use pressure and periodic use of the eastern grasslands of the Sperrgebiet as "emergency grazing" are also a concern for conservation of this fragile landscape.
Fortunately establishment of a Sperrgebiet National Park by the Namibian authorities is well advanced.