Desert adapted wildlife
4x4 self-drive holidays
Namibia is quite simply awe inspiring. From the rich red sand dunes of the Namib Desert to the shores of the evocatively named Skeleton Coast and from the hauntingly desolate yet beautiful Damaraland land with its desert adapted wildlife to the mineral rich saltpans of Etosha National Parks which make for abundant game viewing – Namibia is a vast and unique country of startling contrasts. There are times when you will feel very small but utterly fortunate to be miles from another human being. It is an experience that affects the soul and blows your mind at the same time.
So different to its neighbouring countries of Botswana & South Africa, Namibia is principally about the scenery and is a photographers dream. The country is made up of 80% desert – mainly the Nambia Naukluft Desert (the oldest desert in the world) in the East and the Kalahari in the West. The easiest way to get around this enormous country is by light aircraft which enables you to reach the true wilderness areas of the Skeleton Coast and the Kunene River on the Angolan boarder. Flying over the incredible scenery will help you appreciate the size and grandeur of this unique country. For those with more time and a sense of adventure Namibia lends itself to a self-drive holiday on well maintained and signposted roads.
The South - Namib Naukluft Desert and the Namib Rand Nature Reserve
In our opinion the Sossusvlei sand dunes in the Namib Desert are the most beautiful on earth – the red dunes against the back drop of clear blue sky are a sight to behold. Home to the world’s tallest sand dune (380 metres) a couple of nights in the area will be a highlight of your trip. There are a handful of stunning lodges where you can relax during the heat of the midday sun, a particular favourite is Little Kulala. Each suite has a rooftop platform where you can sleep under the vivid star filled sky.
The nearby Namibrand Game Reserve is home to The Wolwedans Collection of camps which we would recommend to everyone. The camps and lodges have been built in total harmony with its surroundings and offer a peaceful escape from the rest of the world. Either as a combination with a stay in Sossusvlei or as an alternative (you can take a flying safari up to the dunes for the day) it is well worth a visit.
The West – Swakopmund, Damaraland & Skeleton Coast
From the heat of the desert in the south you can either drive or fly up to Swakopmund – a quirky seaside town, where you take a boat trip to see vast colonies of seals and catch a glimpse of dolphins swimming in the Atlantic Ocean. Then fly north up the Skeleton Coast and stay at Hoanib Camp where you can immerse yourself in this vast and isolated wilderness. Further inland you will find the dusty and ruggedly beautiful landscape of Damaraland where there are a number of charming camps to choose from. Here you will have the chance to see the rare and endangered desert adapted wildlife – black rhino, elephant, brown hyena as well as visiting Twyfelfontain to see prehistoric rock art and engravings.
The North – Serra Cafema & Etosha National Park
The barren Skeleton Coast stretches north finally reaching the linear oases of the Kunene River on the Angolan boarder. Here you will find one of the most exceptional camps in Africa – Serra Cafema. Activities are plentiful and include boat trips along the river to see huge crocodiles, visits to the local Himba tribe (a privileged insight into how even humans can adapt to desert life), sand dune adventures in a 4×4 or on quad bike or simply enjoying the solitude and serenity of this beautiful place.
For game viewing Etosha National Park is the jewel in Namibia’s crown. The park is dominated by a large mineral rich salt pan which attracts wildlife and birds in their multitude. There are some private game concessions on the edge of the park offering accommodation ranging from traditional tented camps to private villas each offering private guided safaris into the park.
For such a large country it is hard to break it down into specific regions and to do each area justice. The above mentioned regions are places that we feel are intrinsic to getting an understanding of what this magical country has to offer but there are a couple of others places that should be noted. Principally Okonjima, home of the Africat foundation which plays an integral role in Namibia’s conservation of big cats. Also worth a visit are the Caprivi Strip offering fabulous game viewing on Botswana’s boarder & The Great Fish River Canyon which is second in size to America’s Grand Canyon. Many visitors will also spend a night in the country’s capital, Windhoek, where there are a number of boutique hotels.
Namibia combines well with Botswana & South Africa.