Located on the west coast of Africa, Namibia is one of Africa’s best destinations for anyone in search of a holiday full of adventure and variety. Named after the Namib Desert, Namibia is one of the more sparsely populated counties in the world. The capital city is Windhoek, it is a short flight away from Johannesburg and a modern city with some excellent sights and bars and restaurants to discover.
Namibia is a country with excellent infrastructure and most people visiting will rent a 4×4 and explore the country under their own steam, driving from destination to destination. There are a number of popular areas to visit including the Etosha National Park and the sand dunes of the Sossusvlei. Most are between three to six hours drive from one another. The landscapes of Namibia are rugged and varied with vast desert plains, jagged coastlines, open savannah plains and towering sand dunes.
The Kalahari Desert is located south of Windhoek and whilst known as a desert, due to the rainfall levels it is actually a semi-arid sandy savannah. Out in the wilderness visitors can see how the bushmen live, sleep out under the stars or enjoy sundowner game drives. Moving to the Namib Desert area is the popular Sossusvlei. It is in the Sossusvlei where the vivid red sand dunes can be found, towering tall with the ‘Big Daddy’ sand dune at 170 metres high. The views at sunrise and sunset are absolutely incredible and it is a very rewarding thing to hike to the top.
To the west of the Namib Desert is the Skeleton Coast region. This is named as the beaches have over time gathered beached whale bones, many of these are found along this expansive stretch of wild coastline. The Skeleton Coast is home to large salt planes which shimmer and sparkle and they are frequently visited by flamingoes and wild dogs. It also gives visitors the opportunity to kayak with seals, a lovely and memorable experience.
East of the Skeleton Coast is the area of Damaraland, it is here that the desert and coastal colours change to greys and almost moon-like views. It is quiet and rural with steep hillsides and open plains. Visitors can spot desert elephants and rhinos in the Damaraland area. Further east still in the central north of Namibia is Okonjima and The Central Highlands where at the Okonjima Reserve there are a number of big cats as it is where the AfriCat Foundation is situated.
For true safari enthusiasts, there is no better place to visit in Namibia than the Etosha National Park. A huge park including varied terrain and a large salt pan it is dusty and home to a wide range of animals. The savannah desert climate means that during the dry season high concentrations of wildlife can be found near the watering holes that are dotted across the part. There is also a lack of vegetation which can make spotting animals easier than in grassy savannah environments. The Etosha National Park is where rhinos, elephants, lions, leopards, cheetahs, brown and spotted hyenas, meerkats, mongooses, springboks and greater kudus can all be found. There are many animal species to discover and much natural beauty to appreciate across Namibia, it is a magical country whether for a week or two’s holiday or longer. It can also pair exceptionally well with further safari adventures in nearby Botswana or a visit to South Africa’s Winelands.