Dramatic landscapes combined with unique sand dunes, abundant wildlife and a rich cultural heritage, Namibia is a varied African destination that will speak to the imagination of even the most intrepid traveller. Located in between South Africa and Angola on the continent’s west coast, Namibia is a very special destination made famous by its dramatic desert landscapes and unique wildlife.
Namibia offers a wealth of cultural experiences, from admiring ancient San rock paintings to drinking German beer in the colonial town of Swakopmund. In Namibia’s Himba villages, tribal communities continue to live as they have done for thousands of years. This is also the ideal destination for travelers that like to explore independently, offering a network of roads and national parks made for self-drive safaris.
Here is a selection of Namibia’s attractions not to be missed:
– The Skeleton Coast: Reaching all the way from Swakopmund to the Angolan border, the Skeleton Coast derives its macabre name from the shipwrecks and whale bones that litter its desolate shore. The water is freezing, the surf is relentless and the dunes are devoid of freshwater sources. However, despite the region’s inhospitable nature, its stark scenery is among the most beautiful on Earth. Discover historic shipwrecks in the sand, rare desert-adapted wildlife and vast colonies of baying Cape fur seals. Inland, -Himba tribes continue to eke out a living in one of the world’s harshest environments.
– Kolmanskop: Namibia’s ghost town, this was once a thriving diamond mining area but now lies semi-buried by the sands of time. Its haunting beauty is only overshadowed by the eerie feel of abrupt abandonment that whispers through the broken windows and down the lonely streets. This town was once home to amenities and institutions including a hospital, ballroom, school, casino as well as the first tram in Africa. The town declined when the diamond-field slowly exhausted and was ultimately abandoned in 1954. The forces of the desert mean that tourists now walk through houses knee-deep in sand, this is also an area popular for photographers.
– Twyfelfontein: Located in North-western Namibia, this area contains one of the largest concentrations of rock engravings in Africa. Most of these carvings were created more than 6,000 years ago by ancient Bushmen. The carvings were made by cutting through the hard surface layer of sandstone and represent animals such as rhinos, elephants and ostriches as well as depictions of human and animal footprints.
– Etosha National Park: Located in the north of the country this spectacular wildlife park is dominated by a massive mineral pan, part of the Kalahari Basin, the floor of which was formed over 1,000 million years ago and fills up only for a short period of time when rains are heavy. Etosha National Park is Namibia’s top wildlife destination. It is one of the best places in the world to spot endangered white and black rhinos, while other bucket list animals include lions, cheetah, elephant and leopard. It’s also a great place for birding, with 340 different avian species. Traditionally, Etosha is a self-drive destination, giving visitors the freedom to explore at will. There are several accommodation options within the park, including three main camps each with their own floodlit waterhole. Game-viewing at Etosha is best during the dry season from June to September.
– Sossusvlei: The Namib Desert is one of the oldest deserts in the world, and at its heart lies the Sossusvlei dune sea. This enormous clay pan surrounded by gigantic, red sand dunes. Here, mighty sand dunes dominate the terrain, dotted occasionally by unusual plants that survive despite the harsh and unyielding desert-like conditions. During sunrise and sunset, the colours of the sand dunes are constantly changing and provide an opportunity for photographers. The fierce desert winds continually alter the shape and texture of the dunes, providing an ever-changing desert landscape.
– Fish River Canyon: This is Africa’s largest canyon, second only in size to America’s Grand Canyon. Located in the south of the country, it is thought to have formed around 500 million years ago. The Fish River Canyon is absolutely magnificent and breath-taking in its immensity. The canyon features a gigantic ravine, in total about 160km (100 miles) long, up to 27 km wide and in places almost 550 meters deep.
– Caprivi Strip: An isolated finger jutting eastward from Namibia’s northeast corner, the Caprivi Strip is entirely different from the rest of the country. Fed by the mighty Kavango, Chobe, Zambezi and Cuando rivers, the Caprivi is the wettest region in Namibia home to a green oasis known for its lush vegetation and abundant wildlife. The riverbanks are home to a selection of accommodation options, ranging from backpacker hostels to luxury waterfront chalets. The best way to experience the region is from the water, on a houseboat or sundowner cruise. There are several excellent game reserves in the Caprivi region and the birdlife is a particular good, with over 425 bird species recorded in this region.
– Swakopmund: Pretty as a picture, the scenic seaside town of Swakopmund breathes fresh salty air into the dry desert landscape. It is a popular stopover for visitors to Namibia and the quaint and pretty town offers plenty in terms of sights, places to eat and things to do. The nearby sand dunes provide several activities such as sandboarding, horse riding and quad biking while the beaches of Swakopmund provide plenty of surf and sand. At nearby Walvis Bay, vast flocks of flamingos can be seen grazing in the algae-filled shallows.
– Damaraland: One of the most scenic areas of Namibia is Damaraland, a huge, untamed region. Namibia’s northwest Damaraland region is arid, rocky and very sparsely populated. Its towering hills glow red in the early morning and late afternoon, and at night, the stars blaze in a sky unpolluted by human habitation. This is the traditional home of the Himba, a nomadic pastoralist tribe who have survived in this harsh environment for thousands of years. In the most remote villages, their way of life remains largely unchanged. The Himba women are famous for their ornate hairstyles, and for the blend of butter fat and ocher with which they paste their naked torsos.
Namibia is an amazing destination not to be missed! If you would like more information or sample itineraries showing how this destination can be incorporated into a package you are welcome to Contact us, we are happy to assist you.