Following up on our first installment about what to expect from a trip to Namibia, here’s a look at some of the country’s must-see destinations. For the chance to experience Africa at its wildest, yet most serene, Namibia yields a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to commune with nature, and get back to basics.
Cruise the Caprivi Strip
A panhandle of land stretching past the Okavango Delta of Botswana to the Zambezi River and almost to Victoria Falls, the Caprivi Strip—known today officially as the Zambezi Region—is arguably Namibia’s premier destination for viewing wildlife, whether on a game drive or a river cruise. Unlike much of the rest of country, the area isn’t desert or scrubland, but wetlands and forest, with four national parks and access to four rivers.
Make a Trunk Call
[mks_pullquote align=”left” width=”200″ size=”20″ bg_color=”#ddc299″ txt_color=”#000000″]Arizona with elephants![/mks_pullquote]A good way to sum up Damaraland is to describe it as Arizona with elephants. With its surreal landscape of weird rock formations, vast open plains, and dry riverbeds—plus the possibility of catching a glimpse of specially adapted desert species of animals, such as elephants, giraffes, lions, and more—this remote and otherworldly (but super safe) corner of Africa, is an ideal setting for anyone seeking a vacation off the beaten path.
Follow the Crowd
Centered around the Etosha Pan, a 75 mile long dry lakebed teeming with a variety of wildlife, Etosha National Park is nearly the size of Switzerland. Within easy reach of the capital city of Windhoek, this is one of Namibia’s most popular places to visit, but as one of the largest parks in Africa, there’s little likelihood you’ll find yourself in any crowds—unless you count the herds of springbok, oryx, wildebeest, zebra, and other animals you’re apt to encounter.
You’ll Flip for the Skeleton Coast
Lovers of true wilderness and adventure travel will be amazed by the endless wonders of this isolated region. Shipwrecks, sprawling colonies of seals, giant sand dunes, oases, and big game specially adapted to withstand the rigors of life in this harsh environment, where the desert meets the sea.
Climb the World’s Biggest Sand Dune
The southern expanse of the Namib Desert, known as Sossusvlei, is one of Namibia’s most scenic—and most photographed—landscapes.[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”250″ size=”20″ bg_color=”#ddc299″ txt_color=”#000000″]Dune 45 is the most photographed dune in the world.[/mks_pullquote]
The main draw here is the chance to see (and climb) some of the world’s biggest sand dunes, including the famous Big Daddy, and Dune 45, as well as checking out the Deadvlei, a dried out oasis with age-old dead trees dotted across its bed.
With guaranteed sunshine and hundreds of miles of Atlantic coastline, Namibia is a smart place to book a beach break. Whether you’re keen to kick back and relax, or keep moving with kitesurfing, windsurfing, fishing, or any number of outdoor activities, Walvis Bay and the friendly resort town of Swakopmund make a great seaside base. A throwback to Namibia’s German colonial past, architecture and homes that seem more suited for Northern Europe than Southern Africa, add a touch of unexpected charm to the area.
Wind down in Windhoek
With a population of around 325,000, the capital Windhoek is by far the nation’s biggest city. It’s a pleasant stop, and a good place to re-energize after a long haul flight, or to clean up after an epic safari adventure. The city is also home to Hosea Kutako International Airport, which is just under two-hours flight time from Johannesburg, South Africa, and is most likely the first, and last place, you’ll see in Namibia.
Namibia beckons travelers seeking adventure and tranquility in equal measure. Is that you? What’s the wildest or most far flung place you’ve ever been to, and how do you think it compares to Namibia? Drop your thoughts in the comments below.