Have you checked off destinations like Italy, France, perhaps a safari, and others from your list and itching for a bit more adventure? Namibia located in southern Africa remains largely unexplored by most travelers and by man. So before the rest of the tourism world discovers this gem, add it to your shortlist.
Expect to be wowed by large desert dunes, stunning national parks, friendly locals dressed in tribal clothing (English is the official language), and wildlife scenes that look like they came straight from the pages of National Geographic.
Aerial view of the Namib Desert
Namib translates to a vast place and the Namib Desert fits that description to a T. Sand dunes stretch for miles with the tallest dune, referred to as Dune 7, holding the world record at 1,256 feet, just 6 feet taller than the Empire State Building! In addition to vastness and size, light and color creates an ever changing picture just waiting to be taken. Near Sossusvlei, the white ground of the salt pan, along with the changing colors of the sand from orange to red and the dark contrast of the dead camelthorn trees create a surreal landscape just begging to be photographed.
Giraffe in Namibia
Wildlife like cheetah, leopard, elephants, and zebra exist here through their unique adaption to the desert that stretches across a good portion of the country. Also, over 700 species of birds, from colorful European bee-eaters to giant ostriches, wait for bird lovers. While there is considerable wildlife and most see some particularly further north, wildlife should take second place to the scenery when planning a trip.
The coastline of Namibia extends over 1,000 miles. Along the northern portion of the country lies the Skeleton Coast because of the whale and bones once found here. Now, shipwreck remains are the skeletons of the area numbering in the thousands due to the rough seas from the currents and strong winds.
One wreck, the Eduard Bohlen wreck, stranded in 1909, now lies several hundred yards inland as a result of shifting sands. With this area being so remote, the scenic flights from Swakopgmund provide the best means for seeing the beauty of the most untouched and uninhabited area. For a more intimate close-up view, several camps allow you to experience the area and the incredible night sky. For more dark skies, visit the Namib Rand Dark Sky Reserve near Sossusvlei.
Shipwreck of Zeila on Skelton Coast, Namibia
From the Skeleton Coast head northwest to Etosha National Park home to lions, rhinos, antelope, hyenas, lizards, zebras, and birds. One of the best ways to see them is at a waterhole as they come to drink. Okaukuejo Camp is a luxury accommodation with a flood-lit waterhole so you can view the animals after dark, including the rare black rhino. Etosha also boasts the largest population of free-roaming cheetahs in the world.
Wildlife around waterhole in Etosha National Park
Damaraland, also located in the northern area of the country between Sossusvlei and Etosha, a semi-desert region yields yet another very different landscape with hundreds of years of erosion forming mountains of granite and boulders the size of trees. Here you will find Twyfelfontein, home to more rock engravings than anywhere else in the world. From 1,000-10,000 years old, the area became a national monument in 1952 and a World Heritage site in 2007.
When traveling around Namibia to exotic locations like the Namib Desert, Damaraland and Etosha National Park, you will find the whole country is environmentally aware. Most places are eco-friendly and sustainability a key objective of many businesses. Protecting the local culture, wildlife and natural environment is very important to the people of Namibia, and you will be encouraged to recycle and reuse items during your adventure. Over 40% of the country is under conservation management, and it was the first African country to introduce environmental protection into its constitution.
Ready to get off the beaten path and feel like an explorer? Namibian tourism increased from 1 million to 1.6 million visitors over the last decade, compared to neighboring South Africa’s 16.7 million in 2019. Today you can still feel like an explorer. Who knows for how long. Let’s make sure you get there before everyone else finds out about this land of striking landscapes. Call me to talk more about this amazing very different destination!
Namibian night sky
Pat Ogle-CollinsVast, remote & desolate create amazing scenery in Namibia!