Africa when viewed from the air is always quite a humbling experience; the space, the endless landscapes and the utter feeling of wilderness always makes one feel rather small.
However, any country is always better explored from the ground – it becomes tactile and significant, and none more than Namibia, the southern African country known for its adrenalin-infused adventures, rip-roaring coastline and miles and miles of endless red sand.
The Coast: Rip-Roaring Waves & Unforgiving Shores
Namibia’s Coastline is worth a visit – especially since the entire Atlantic shoreline is now a protected area: the Sperregebiet National Park, Namib Naukluft National Park, Dorob National Park and the Skeleton Coast.
From Swakopmund and its cacophony of adventure sports up to the holiday town of Heintjes Bay and further on to the seal colony at Cape Cross, the coast is fairly accessible. However, if you really want to explore the Skeleton Coast in the north without having to be fully kitted out with support 4×4 vehicles , you’ll have to charter a plane.
The Southern Deserts: Red Sand & Winding Canyons
Southern Namibia is a land of contrasts. With sensational geographical highlights – the Naukluft Mountains, Orange River and Sesriem Canyon – and awe-inspiring sights like Sossusvlei, home to the largest sand dunes in the world, Southern Namibia packs a punch for the wilderness traveller. And with amazing tented desert camps and lodges, it’s great for those who like a little luxury on the side.
The North: Ancient Culture & Etosha Safari
Namibia’s vast, wild North is home to nomadic tribes, roaming desert elephant, the vast Etosha National Park and plenty of ancient geology and culture. From Twylfelfontein with its thousands of San Bushman engravings to the pointed inselberg of Spitzkoppe, a mysterious and special place in Damaraland, Northern Namibia is a hugely interesting place to visit.
Without a doubt the key destination is Etosha, Namibia’s largest national game park that’s centred around Etosha Pan. Huge elephant, lazy lion prides, a million and one springbok and numerous other game make this safari destination a highlight. The semi-desert destination of Damaraland is also fantastic for spotting elusive desert elephant.
The Central Region: Big Landscapes & Capital Cities
If you’re visiting Namibia, you’re more than likely to start out in Windhoek, the capital city. Located smack-bang in the middle of the country, it’s also a good starting point to discovering the central region.
The Kalahari Desert stretches out to the east into Botswana where it’s commonly known as the Kgalagadi, as well as into South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Angola and even as far north as the Democratic Republic of Congo! While not a true sand desert like the Namib, its yellow grass and small red dunes make this fossil desert an interesting spot to visit.
The North-East: The Arm of Caprivi & the Endless Rivers
The Caprivi Strip is an oasis of rivers and green vegetation and is known for its pretty waterfront areas which attract birds in their thousands. It’s also great for game-viewing with many different smaller reserves as well as the Caprivi Game Park offering safari experiences. The biggest perk? It’s not far from Victoria Falls and offers easy access into northern Botswana and the Delta region.
No matter if you’re looking for luxury in the desert, or adventure on the dunes, Namibia’s vast and diverse landscapes offer an African holiday experience like none other.