‘Disgusting’: Namibian authorities fume after naked tourists strip off at Big Daddy dune

The Big Daddy dune is a popular - and steep - climbing spot in Namibia
The Big Daddy dune is a popular - and steep - climbing spot in Namibia Copyright Anqi Lu via Unsplash
Copyright Anqi Lu via Unsplash
By Saskia O'Donoghue
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Tourism authorities have slammed the unidentified men for disrespecting the country’s laws and traditions.


Namibian authorities have heavily criticised a group of tourists who posed naked on the popular ‘Big Daddy’ dune in the Namib desert.

Three male visitors are said to have taken their clothes off for pictures and videos during a dune safari after hiking up the sandbank, which is more than 300 metres tall.

The resulting images were then shared on social media and circulated widely. That prompted local officials to say they were “shocked” by the incident and to claim that the act was a public indecency violation of park regulations and national law.

How did the incident at Big Daddy dune come about?

Authorities were first alerted to the nude tourists when horrified visitors saw the trio and reported the incident.

The three men have not been publicly identified and they are also believed to have left Namibia before any punishment could come their way.

The Big Daddy dune, located in the Namib-Naukluft National Park, is one of the three largest in the area - and is a popular tourism draw for Namibia.

It’s the tallest dune in the Sossusvlei area and dwarfs surrounding dunes. It’s a famously challenging climb to the top, with steep sandy walkways and often punishing heat.

The naked tourists have drawn sharp criticism from the African nation’s tourist board.

Vice-chairperson of the Federation of Namibian Tourism Association, Kenneth Nependa, told newspaper the Namibian Sun, that the incident was “disgusting” and poured scorn on tourists who think “they can do whatever they want” in the country.

The dune makes for an excellent photo backdrop - but most people who walk up it are fully clothed
The dune makes for an excellent photo backdrop - but most people who walk up it are fully clothedBernd Dittrich via Unsplash

Citing other examples like “tourists writing graffiti on the Bushman rock art in Spitzkoppe”, “tourists hanging on the trees in Deadvlei - and now naked tourists climbing Big Daddy”, he warned disrespectful visitors that “the law will take its course”.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism agreed with his approach, telling local outlet The Namibian: “It is a punishable act, according to the country’s laws. When this had been brought to our attention, we were shocked at the extent to which people could go.”

“We condemn this type of action as it does not only go against our morals but also violates the country’s laws,” Romeo Muyunda added.

Will the tourists be punished for going nude in Namibia?

The Namibian government is said to be considering banning the naked visitors from entering any of the nation’s national parks in the future.

There has been a spate of nude tourists upsetting authorities in recent months.

In October last year, a foreign visitor to Bali was filmed meditating naked at a Hindu shrine. With a population that is around 90 per cent Hindu, the action caused uproar on the Indonesian island.

That incident came after another tourist to Bali was reportedly detained by police after posing naked by a sacred tree in April 2023.

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