In the buff on Big Daddy

Ellanie Smit
Visitors to Sossusvlei in the Namib-Naukluft National Park were shocked when they came across a couple of tourists taking photos at the crest of the Big Daddy dune – in the nude - last week.
Big Daddy is the tallest dune in the area, and Sossusvlei, one of Namibia's top tourist destinations, has been described as a 'must-see'.
A photo and short video of the naked tourists have been circulating on social media and tourism WhatsApp groups.
Federation of Namibian Tourism Association (Fenata) vice-chairperson Kenneth Nependa said he was “beyond shocked” when he saw the footage. “I was like ‘What the hell is going on right now?’ I read a little bit of the information that was shared, but as to where it happened and how it happened, I do not know,” he said.
According to Nependa, not only is this a shocking incident, but it is "disgusting" that tourists come to Namibia and think they can do whatever they want. “I mean, we have tourists writing graffiti on the Bushman rock art in Spitzkoppe, tourists hanging on the trees in Deadvlei, and now naked tourists climbing Big Daddy - which is a very famous dune for families and other tourists and locals.”
He pointed out that climbing a dune in the nude is against the law in Namibia. “It is public indecency. It is something that is not supposed to be allowed in our parks. It is not supposed to be allowed anywhere in Namibia, because this is just a disgrace. It is very sickening and it really [creates] a bad image for Namibia.”
Can of worms
Nependa fears the incident will open a can of worms, attracting tourists who think "anything goes" in Namibia.
He stressed that the tourism ministry should take the matter very seriously. “This happened during broad daylight, and visitors saw them. The ministry should speak up and warn tourists that if this were to happen, the law would take its course.”
He urged the ministry to send out a strong message condemning the tourists’ nudity. “If they do not speak up, everyone will think it is okay to go to Big Daddy and have a naked sundowner, or to a waterhole in Etosha and run around naked because nobody is taking action against it.”
Nependa added that the incident may make other tourists change their minds about wanting to visit Namibia. “It is totally, totally unacceptable," he said.
Private tour guide Toni Hart responded to a post on Facebook, saying she saw the naked tourists. She said it is entirely up to them if they want to be naked, but added that it is inappropriate to do so in a public place.
Tourism ministry spokesperson Romeo Muyunda could not be reached for comment.