Tropic of Capricorn Crossing – Namibia - Atlas Obscura

Tropic of Capricorn Crossing

Road signs in Namibia mark the location of one of the five major circles of latitude. 


On the way between Sossusvlei and Walvis Bay in Namibia, two colorful signs, one on each side of the road, mark the crossing of the Tropic of Capricorn. You will see this sign again if you drive on the road that connects Keetmanshoop with Windhoek just after Mariental if going north. One of the five major circles of latitude, the Tropic of Capricorn runs parallel to the equator and is the southernmost latitude where the sun can shine from directly overhead.

It currently marks the latitude 23.5 degrees south. However, the Tropic of Capricorn isn’t a truly fixed location. It tends to creep northward each year, making the road signs a slightly inaccurate geographic marker.

The Tropic of Capricorn passes through a number of countries including Argentina, Australia, Botswana, Brazil, Chile, Madagascar, Mozambique, South Africa, Namibia, and Paraguay. If you consider its starting place to be the Prime Meridian, it first makes landfall on the coast of Namibia.

The signs are a popular photo spot on the drive through the Namibian desert and many visitors mark the crossing by placing a sticker or signature on the sign.

Know Before You Go

Loacted on the C14 in Namibia, approximately 1 hour after passing through Solitaire en route to Walvis Bay. Signs are located on both sides of the road so there is no need to cross the sometimes busy route.

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