Namibia is one of my favourite places on earth, and having just returned from my fourth visit there, I feel no less blown away by the sheer beauty and magnificence of the country than I did on my first and very special trip there. It's a true once in a lifetime holiday destination - and these are my highlights...
Best rain in decades
This time I was lucky enough to see the desert in bloom - the rains in Namibia this year have been unbelievable, the best in decades and as a result, the normally extremely arid deserts are as green as can be and scattered with beautiful yellow and pink desert flowers and the result is a magical sight.
Highlights of the trip for me:
The pristine dunes of Sossusvlei
They did and always will amaze me. The landmark and symbol of Namibia, they remain completely untouched and the rolling dunes seem to go on forever. We tackled the big climb; Big Daddy - possibly a mistake in the blistering sun, but well worth it for descent jumping and sliding to the bottom in a fraction of the time it took to climb.
Damaraland, my absolute favourite region of Namibia
An immense area with an incredibly low population (as a country, Namibia is the second least densely populated country in the world), the scenery changes with the blink of an eye as you drive through and all of the landscapes have an untamed beauty - dramatic mountains, huge wide prehistoric valleys and wonderfully remote camps.
Rewarding sightings of game
Game is sparse which makes it all the more rewarding when you see something and also means that you can walk quite safely. There are plenty of desert adapted elephants as well as rhino and even lion to look out for. Namibia has the largest free roaming rhino population in Africa and you can track rhino on foot from Desert Rhino Camp, which is a completely thrilling experience and highly recommended!
Set on the west coast, Swakopmund is a quirky Germanic town famed for fog and the high adrenaline activities on offer. These include quad biking, sand boarding and the slightly more peaceful sea kayaking. We were lucky enough to get a fog free day which was fantastic and meant that I even managed a sunset swim in the normally very chilly Atlantic waters....
We headed out on a catamaran from Walvis bay looking for dolphins and got seals pelicans and even the elusive molo molo (the ugliest sea creature I have ever seen!) as well. All the exhausting looking built up an appetite for delicious Walvis bay oysters and bubbles on the deck-heaven!
Our final stop and where the main concentration of game is in Namibia. Etosha is the second largest national park in Africa (the area is the size of Switzerland) all centred around a giant salt pan where animals congregate around water holes. You can see all the big five minus buffalo there and there are some fabulous lodges to choose from, mainly in private reserves bordering the park.
You have to go yourself
What I love most about Namibia is the variety of landscapes, the year round sunshine and the true wilderness experiences you get which are incredibly unique and impossible to describe - you have to go yourself!