Namibia is where you seek something truly different on the African continent. It is a land of understated striking beauty with rugged terrain, vibrant indigenous peoples, and hardy wildlife. Each day delve into the cultural and natural history of this fascinating nation, witnessing ancient traditions juxtaposed with modern living. Discover the uniquely adapted wildlife, flora, and people which survive in the Namib–world’s oldest desert.
The famous dunes of Sossusvlei soar toward the cloudless sky. They glow like red-hot embers in the sunrise. Wildlife tracks delicately imprinted in the sand vanish quickly on the wind. Along the harsh coastline with a haunting moniker, the Skeleton Coast; shipwrecks, whale bones, and ghost towns loom amidst the rolling fog. Together, they paint a picture of Namibia’s storied past. Inland, sinewy waterways and rolling grass plains contrast the desert starkness. The Caprivi is a birder’s paradise and one of the most remote parts of a remote destination.
This vastly diverse nation is primarily known for its awe-inspiring landscapes in a palette of color–azure skies, ochre dunes, lush green canyons, and smoky-colored coastal fogs. Marvel at the epic scenery and the surprising abundance of life thriving in the seemingly barren deserts. Sit down to chat with local people like the Himba and Herero to learn more about their struggle to maintain their cultural identities in modern Namibia. Due to long distances by road, we recommend flights between locations although overland journeys are possible due to the country’s fantastic infrastructure. No matter how you explore, the more time you spend in Namibia, the more secrets and wonders are revealed.
What We Love About Namibia
Iconic Wildlife Viewing — Nowhere in Namibia can compare with Etosha National Park for density and diversity of wildlife viewing. It is the nation’s most famous wildlife area. Encompassing grasslands, woodlands, waterholes, and an enormous shimmering salt pan, Etosha’s ecosystem supports thousands of animals. Witness giraffe nibbling on Acacia trees, kudu blending into woodland shadows, cheetah racing across the plains with blistering speed. Healthy populations of lion, leopard, elephant, zebra, wildebeest and other mammals can be observed in addition to over 350 species of birds!
Two Oceans — Namibia’s ‘oceans of sand’ are found in Sossusvlei, the magnificent dunes that morph before your eyes. Most famous are the spectacular ‘Dune 45’ and ‘Big Daddy’ which both entail a steady climb on shifting sands. Gaze over a never-ending sea of dunes with glorious panoramic vistas.
The winds and fog of the Atlantic Ocean have shaped Namibia’s history and development tremendously. Many whales, ships, and mining towns have met their end on the Skeleton Coast while others thrive. Investigate the haunting ghost town of Kolmanskop near the quaint town of Lüderitz or the German-styled town of Swakopmund, a hive of adrenaline activities. The Atlantic Ocean is waiting to be explored by kayak, catamaran, helicopter, or fishing vessel, amongst other activities along this storied coastline.
Bold Heritage — Thriving for centuries in the extreme environments of Kaokoland in the North, the Himba are often the ‘face’ of Namibia. These semi-nomadic tribes exude warmth, pride, and tenacity as they preserve their ancient customs. Adorned in ochre and simple garments with spectacular jewelry, they evoke nostalgia for a simpler way of life.
Don’t be surprised if you see women sweeping past you in 19th-century-like gowns in vibrant hues in Windhoek. They belong to the Herero tribe, a people victimized by genocide and then apartheid throughout the early 20th century by German colonists. Women embrace the garments of their ancestral oppressors while honoring their folklore and history. Today, the Herero are known to be some of Namibia’s finest ranchers and business owners. Authentically engage with the Namibian people throughout your safari to learn more about their way of life.
Namibia enjoys over 300 hundred days a year of sunshine. As with most desert climates; expect hot days and cool nights. Winter days (May-Sep) are warm, but dawn temperatures may drop to freezing so you should plan to bring a warm jacket, hat, and gloves on safari. This is peak wildlife viewing and travel season throughout the country. During October through April, temperatures soar and dramatic thunderstorms occur. The landscape is lush and wildflowers bloom, but wildlife viewing is diminished in an already challenging environment. If you visit the coast, expect fog and cooler temperatures year-round.
Big journeys start with small steps...
~ African Proverb