Namibia

Namibia is a place where the mountains are not made of rock, but rather ancient red sands which change shape as the desert winds blow. Here, time stands still. There are few places on the continent that can compete with the hauntingly beautiful landscapes of golden desert sands, dead fossilised trees in dried riverbeds and valleys, and shipwrecks along a coast which is often wrapped in mist and storm. Namibia is an otherworldly place and despite its harsh façade, those who travel here can always look forward to a warm welcome..

Namibia Highlights

An epic odyssey awaits all who choose Namibia as their African holiday destination. It is a 4×4 lover’s dream, the hiker’s adventure of a lifetime, and the explorer’s seemingly untouched land waiting to be discovered.

The country is possibly best known for its immensely beautiful sand dunes, but there is so much to see and explore in between the remote wilderness destinations. To see all of the fascinating attractions, having a well thought out itinerary is a must.

Although this country is for the most part dominated by desert sands, it is by no means devoid of animal life. Etosha National Park is an extraordinary place where bush and waterholes surround the vast salt pan which stretches out in all directions as far as the eye can see.

Countless animals are attracted to the sparse waterholes each day and this makes for spectacular wildlife viewing.  At a single waterhole, guests can see rhino, elephant and lion, along with all kinds of antelope, all in one day. For this reason, Etosha National Park is considered by many to be the best wildlife reserve in Namibia.

The Skeleton Coast, with its rather chilling name, is the final resting place for ships which met an untimely demise on a treacherous stretch of coast which is so often obscured by dense ocean fogs or sandstorms.

It can feel quite isolated and when the visibility clears, and the sight of tormented ships comes into full view, the atmosphere can turn rather ghostly. There is so much history in the abandoned towns to be explored.

While the Skeleton Coast is best viewed from the air, 4 x 4 trips to this part of the country are a more interactive way to explore the area

The famous red sand dunes that have featured in countless photographs and paintings of Namibia can be found in the Sossusvlei. The soft sands change colour throughout the day, turning the dunes from a deep red to a shimmering gold, as the sun passes over the desert.

Millions of years ago, the sands travelled on the wind all the way from the Kalahari Desert, to form these astounding dunes. The dunes are ideal for climbing and guests have the option of exploring them in the company of a guide or on their own.

In stark contrast to Sossusvlei, Deadvlei is a white clay pan, with a background of gentle sand dunes. The intense blue skies make the orange dunes and white clay really stand out. This destination is every photographer’s dream. The “dead marsh” is a place frozen in time.

As the second largest canyon in the world, and the largest in Africa, the Fish River Canyon gives the appearance of having been thoughtfully carved by hand. At its greatest depths, the canyon floor plunges a distance of 550m, while it measures 169km in length and is around 27km wide.

But the numbers are impossible to put into perspective, as once at the canyon, the sheer size is monumental. It can take about 5 days to hike the canyon, and that is certainly the best way to experience it.

Once in the canyon, there are a few must see places, including the Ai-Ais Hot Springs, the Kooigoedhoogte Pass, and the Sulphur Springs.

Kolmanskop is a gradually disappearing ghost town. The sands of the deserts are slowly invading the derelict buildings which were once at the epicentre of a diamond rush.

The empty buildings have been bleached by decades in the sun but the architecture of the town is still quite distinctly German and guests can spend time exploring the past as they walk through the area.

How to Get There

Most international guests first fly to South Africa and then board a connecting flight to Namibia. There are very few direct flights into Namibia. There are a few main airlines who offer an add-on connection to the trip, which makes travelling less complicated, although in these cases, guests might have to stay overnight in Johannesburg.

The main airport in Namibia is located around 40km from the capital Windhoek. Once landing at Hosea Kutako International Airport, guests can continue to their next destination either by small plane or by car.

If guests are not self-driving, they will be collected by a transfer company or tour operator, depending on their travel package.

Best Time of the Year to Visit

Namibia is a fairly fantastic place to travel all year round. In general, the climate is dry and quite pleasant, although the summers can get exceptionally hot.

Visiting from December to March, guests can expect the days to be humid and for many afternoons to end with a thunderstorm. June to October are the best times of the year to visit Etosha and the other wildlife reserves.

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