From the vast landscapes of Etosha National Park to the grand vistas from the Waterberg Plateau, Namibia holidays are all about immersing yourself in dramatic landscapes and enjoying once-in-a-lifetime wildlife watching opportunities while you're there. Discover the hauntingly beautiful Skeleton Coast littered with stranded ships and bleached whale bones, the gargantuan dunes of Sossusvlei and the sandy dreamscape of the Namib desert. See all manner of beasts in the country's national parks - from lions, leopards and cheetahs to a smattering of black and white rhinos - and keep your camera poised
to capture the majesty of these creatures in their natural environment. For the ultimate adventure, take a road trip from Windhoek to the awe-inspiring Fish River Canyon. Drive along the base of the Naukluft Mountains, through sand dunes and dust bowls, stay in bucolic bungalows and luxury lodges and gain enough food for thought to last a lifetime at the world’s second largest canyon. Namibia’s capital and surrounding towns aren’t to be overlooked either. Whizz round Windhoek, past German castles and Neobaroque spires and take a trip back in time to coastal colonial Swakopmund, sandwiched deep between the Atlantic and Namib. If its unplugged remote wilderness you’re after too, then prepare to be spoilt for choice. From the ancient Erongo Mountains to Damaraland’s wild desert, this is where pin drop travel really comes into its own. Scenic and splendid in every way, Namibia holidays are truly like nothing else...
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Had an amazing time, loved the country and the people, really different, really well organised and quite flawless. Best part about the trip was that we were in Swakop for the England match on the Saturday vs. Sweden so we watched it in a local bar.
What can you find in Namibia that you won't find anywhere else?
Wedged between the Kalahari and Namib Deserts, Namibia is a country of contrasting landscapes. The Namib - the oldest desert on Earth - runs the length of the country's Atlantic coast and is home to the monumental dunes of Sossusvlei and the desolate reaches of the Skeleton Coast. The majestic Fish River Canyon snakes through the south of the country, while the north has superb game viewing in the Etosha National Park and the lush vegetation of the Caprivi Strip. In between are rugged mountains, endless plains and an awe-inspiring sense of space.
Littered with the bleached rib-cages of whales and the rusting hulks of stranded ships, the aptly named Skeleton Coast is wilderness in the truest sense. Most of this desolate but hauntingly beautiful region is only accessible on a fly-in safari by light aircraft. Explore the land from remote camps, where the Namibian wildlife will be in full view, and set your sights on Land Rover safaris and guided walks through canyons, across salt pans and dune belts all the way to shipwreck sites and ancient rock art in Twyfelfontein.
Safaris on the Skeleton Coast are primarily about experiencing the stunning physical beauty and extraordinary geographical diversity of the landscapes rather than game viewing. Yet, with our best David Attenborough hat on for a moment, even in this seemingly inhospitable environment, life manages to find a foothold. Seal colonies cling to the shoreline at Cape Cross, patrolled by scavenging jackals, and rare desert-adapted elephants inhabit the driest of riverbeds. Equally fascinating are plants such as lithops, known as 'flowering stones', and the villages of the local Himba tribe - some of the last nomadic people in Africa.
Heading inland, in a country famed for its spectacular scenery, the ancient Namib Desert, from which Namibia takes its name, is undoubtedly the star attraction. This 80-million-year-old wilderness - the oldest desert in the world - contains unique flora and fauna but is above all a visual paradise. The giant red dunes of Sossusvlei, framed against a blue sky, are perhaps the most impressive sight of all - especially at sunrise or sunset, when the colours are at their most intense. On the rare occasions when the vlei fills with water, the resulting turquoise lake makes the view from the top of the 300-metre-tall dunes even more surreal. Not far from Sossusvlei lie the broad open expanses of the NamibRand Nature Reserve. Virtually all facets of the Namib are represented here, from mountains to dune belts and grassy plains dotted with granite kopjes. This is the perfect place to unwind for a few days, experience the peace, space and grandeur of the desert, and discover the remarkable adaptations of interesting plants and creatures - from the !nara melon (the '!' indicates a click in the Nama language) to the fog-harvesting tok-tokkie beetle and the graceful oryx - all surrounded by some of the most breathtaking scenery in Namibia, if not in the whole of Africa.
That's not all - landscape safari holidays are all well and good, but Namibia has the big beasts as well, namely in Etosha and Damaraland. Even though Etosha National Park is relatively flat, with low dolomite hills, mopane woodland and large salt pans, in the 30,000-hectare Ongava Game Reserve there are healthy populations of lion, leopard, cheetah and spotted and brown hyena. If you think geology rocks then a drive to Damaraland is simply a must. Take in its extraordinary scenery that consists of huge boulders that wouldn't look out of place on The Flintstones and mile upon miles of grazing oryx, springbok, ostrich, kudu, giraffe and the elusive black rhino..
What are the best options for a Namibia holiday?
The Etosha National Park
One of the largest game reserves in the world, the sprawling salt desert of Etosha boasts some of the best wildlife watching in the world. During the dry season, make your way to a watering hole and watch as hundreds of species - from lions and elephants to springboks and gemsboks - come for a drink. Then, as the wet season trickles in, watch as the park bursts with life and lagoons are taken over by flocks of flamingos and baby zebras taking their very first wobbly steps.
Travel to the Namib Desert - one of the oldest deserts in the world - and, immersed in a sea of sand, it's easy to believe that you're the last person left on the entire planet. Running along the country's Atlantic coast, it is home to the iconic Sossusvlei dunes and hauntingly beautiful Skeleton Coast which you can explore on thrilling 4x4 adventures and flying safaris by light aircraft. In this inhospitable environment, life finds a way and if you keep your eyes peeled, you may just catch sight of a rare desert-adapted elephant plodding through the sandy wilderness.
The Waterberg Plateau
An ochre monolith in a sprawling plain, the Waterberg Plateau is home to a number of rare species including the white rhinoceros, the sable, and the wild roan antelope. With thick forests fanning out in every direction, the challenge here is spotting them but even if you don't, the views from the top of the plateau are spectacular enough to leave you slack-jawed and utterly lost for words.
The Kavango delivers a landscape that is a stark contrast to the rest of the country. Rolling fields of green boast lush vegetation and the wetlands of the Caprivi Strip are the perfect example of a wildlife refuge that is absolutely thriving. Pack your walking boots, set off with a knowledgeable guide and enjoy an unforgettable walking safari.
The region of the Himba people, Kaokol and feels wonderfully wild and isolated with its crimson crusted mountains plummeting into deep valleys and its rushing rivers crossed by zebras, elephants and bouncy springbok.
Dreamy Damaraland remains wild and rugged and is one of the last areas of the continent where zebras, oryx, giraffes and black rhinos still live outside the boundaries of the national parks. Beyond where the wild things are, Damaraland is the place to discover some of the oldest rock engravings in the whole of Southern Africa, an experience that will thrill the most discerning of cultural connoisseurs. If you’re after a slice of luxury, look no further than Damaraland’s offering of salubrious lodges and camps. Float away on infinity pools, enjoy authentic Namibian cuisine and sip on sundowners overlooking uninhabited desert.
The Deep South
Sitting at the heart of the desert plain of Namaqualand, the Fish River Canyon National Park is one of Africa’s most unique nature reserves. A colossal canyon with endless scope, this is the home of monumental hikes that will leave you puffing and panting and gorgeous geological structures that give you a taste of nature's boundless beauty.
Straddling the borders of Botswana, South Africa and Namibia, the Kalahari is a land of endless red dunes. Here remains the living territory of the San people whose knowledge of the Kalahari - passed down through the generations - knows no bounds.
Reasons to Love Namibia
From the Skeleton Coast to soaring sand dunes and safari walks, Namibia invites you to explore Africa’s vast and varied spaces. Admire the rock carvings of Twyfelfontein, meet with the Himba people in Kaokoland and stand in awe at the endless reach of the Kalahari landscape. Whether you witness the desert bloom during the southern spring or catch the last of the desert elephants wandering across their homeland – you can be sure that your Namibia holidays will be nothing short of spectacular.
Best Time to Visit Namibia
A semi-arid country characterized by low rainfall and humidity, Namibia is a year-round destination. While peak season runs from June to September, which coincides with the dry season, you’ll be treated to brilliant landscapes whatever time of year. Of course, if you’re wanting to experience the Namibian safari adventure with plenty of wildlife-spotting, peak season is your best bet. With less vegetation and sparse watering holes, animals are forced to congregate together. But be prepared – with fewer areas to spot them, visitor numbers do tend to run high. If you’re willing to look a bit harder for the famous Big Five, book a Namibian holiday in March or April. Rainfall is localised and occurs mostly during the late afternoon (so it won’t dampen your trip too much), birdlife is at its best and the animals are in their element.