The extraordinary landscape of the seemingly endless Namibian deserts, swathed in deep red and topped by endless, continually blue skies, is packed with wildlife and some of the most stunning, occasionally eerie scenery.
Whether you intend to spend your Namibia holidays touring the country – which stretches all the way from the Kalahari in the east to the edges of the Atlantic Ocean in the east – by hire car or take advantage of one of the many available guided tours, your best place to start is Windhoek, the country’s capital.
Easy to access from the UK or South Africa, Windhoek itself is worth exploring for a day or two. See the many reminders of the city’s Germanic past and experience the bustling, yet relaxed atmosphere and diverse cultural mix that make Windhoek famous.
Comparatively little traffic – it is often possible to drive for ages without meeting another vehicle – on a network of straight, generally well maintained roads (though some of the roads in rural areas may be unsealed), make self-driving holidays to Namibia a joy to behold.
Take a couple of days to visit Okonjima, located around two and a half hours from Windhoek, to spot some of the leopards, cheetahs and other Namibian carnivores protected here by the Africat Foundation; walk with San bushmen to learn about their customs and life in general, or take a guided hyena tracking tour.
Explore the northern parts of Namibia for a week by travelling to the Skeleton Coast via sleepy Usakos and the colonial coastal town of Swakopmund. Marvel at the stunning scenery as you travel on from here to Damaraland, passing Brandberg Mountain on the way. Next, move on to Etosha National Park to see some of Namibia’s abundant wildlife, then head for Okonjima via Otijiwarongo, a delightful garden town, before heading back to Windhoek on the final day.
Alternatively, you could head south towards the Western Kalahari’s plains. Meet the Baster community – descendants of the area’s first settlers – at Rehoboth, then travel through the Karas Region – taking in Mariental and Keetmanshoop; the latter of which is the capital of Namibia’s south and one of the country’s oldest towns – towards Fish River Canyon. After exploring the diverse interesting flora and impressive geological features of the canyon, drive to Lüderitz via Aus.
Spend the night in Lüderitz, then return to Aus to visit the area’s impressive National Park – Namib Naukluft. While there, make sure you visit Duwisib Castle; take a stroll along the Tschaub River path and – this is a real must – marvel at the spectacular red sand dunes of Sossusvlei and the ghostly white expanse of Deadvlei.
If driving yourself seems too much of an effort, you may instead choose to join a group of like-minded individuals and tour the country in a comfortable, air-conditioned minibus. Tours to explore Namibia’s rich history, cultural diversity, breathtaking beauty and natural wonders, as well as safari tours designed to show you the country’s diversity and abundance of wildlife, are accompanied by experienced, knowledgeable guides.
Most meals and either hotel or camp accommodation are included in these tours, which will allow you to see much of this wonderful, untamed country in comfort and without too much effort on your part – apart from the strain of creating lifelong memories by taking photographs or videos, of course.