“With striking vistas, unique adventures, endless horizons and the world’s oldest desert, Namibia has earned its spot as one of the most breathtaking and stunning destinations to visit. Photographed and described as the world’s “wildest country” it isn’t hard to see why.”
From the Sossusvlei’s soaring red dunes that change colours as the sun moves across the skies to the white bare beaches that meet the icy Atlantic Ocean or the striking contrast when they meet the white salt pans, there’s no need to explain why these landscapes are a dream to photographers. Skeleton Coast’s hoard of shipwrecks is a must-see as well as the ever-popular Fairy Circle that dots the Namibian grasslands. There are very few places on the planet where one can experience such extremes existing in harmony amongst each other.
Ever thought of an elephant and pictured it in a desert? I wouldn’t blame you for not even entertaining the thought. But behold, Namibia is filled with wildlife that has adapted to the conditions of desert life and is thriving. Elephants, rhinos, lions, hyenas, the rare puku antelope and cheetahs…there are more cheetahs here than anywhere else in the world. The fascinating sights of the iconic Quiver Trees and the Scorched Tree Skeletons are something out of this world.
With the Germans having colonized in 1884 their influence is still vibrant within some of the towns. Swakopmund still has its stunning architecture and colourful facades making it a quirky trot through the streets that will feel as if you’re in Germany. If in Luderitz, Kolmanskop is must-see. This haunting abandoned town was once booming from diamond mining but has long since been left to the mercy of time and erosion. It’s a place that will linger in your thoughts long after you’ve left. Much like the rest of the country.
Most of the country is protected and it is one of the success stories of sustainable tourism. With focus over the decades being put into dedicated conservation actions such as environmental conservation being written into their constitution and creating communal conservancies with the local communities, travellers are welcome with open arms. Thus, creating an experience few other places can replicate.
The Himba, Damara and San Herero people are a few of the indigenous tribes of Namibia. Scattered throughout the land many of them remain true to their traditions with a semi-nomadic lifestyle and remain free of outside influence as their ancestors did centuries ago. Some however have somewhat embraced modern-day life or at least the opportunities it brings. You can go on guided walks through the Kalahari and visit villages with some of the tribes. If you find one of these villages take the time to appreciate their culture and way of life and the ways in which they’ve thrived in this seemingly harsh landscape.
Dune surfing has its glory on the internet and deservedly so. The immense ochre-coloured dunes serve as an ocean for adrenaline junkies to try their hand at sandboarding, which arguably is harder than it looks and nothing like actual snowboarding. For those wanting something a little less intense though you can e-bike through the wilderness taking in the scenic routes and hoping for a chance encounter with a local tribe.
Sunrises will never be the same once you do one in a hot air balloon over the Sossusvlei’s desert and the Namib Rand Nature Reserve. Watch the sun’s rays light up the land creating shadows and kaleidoscopic shades over the dunes while spotting nocturnal animals scurry away for their daytime naps and the early risers in search of the nearest watering holes. Namibia has some of the best game viewings in the world so don’t just limit your experience to game drives alone.
Namibia is not just deserts and coastlines. Taking a hike through Fish River Canyon leaves you with a feeling a lot of places cannot quite accomplish. On foot surrounded by tall cliffs and ridges gives you a sense of simplicity and humbleness. And at the Caprivi Strip, you can take a cruise through the river witnessing yet another world within this country, a region filled with lush vegetation and the chance to spot more wildlife along its riverbanks.
Luxury is taken to a new level here with world-class lodges, camps and even glamping. Dreamy architecture that doesn’t take away from the land’s natural beauty but merely enhances it while providing everything you could want. Most of these lodges and camps look straight out onto the desert allowing you to either relax with a cocktail and do your own game viewing or wander out directly into nature itself.
One of the best ways to truly experience Namibia is to road trip. The vastness and magnificent scenery is all the excuse you need. A good road infrastructure and low population and crime rates make this a stress-free yet stimulating adventure. The experience is in the journey itself, from wherever you start to wherever you end there will be memorable and breathtaking moments throughout.
Its expansive landscape makes for not just another holiday, but a truly immersive experience that’s difficult to replicate. As much as we can see pictures and read enticing descriptions, Namibia is a place that needs to be seen to be believed.
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