Namibia. Is it on your bucket list? It’s most certainly on mine. But I’ll admit that there was a time when I’d never heard of Namibia, let alone be able to point it out on a map.
For anyone who’s stepping foot on the continent of Africa for the very first time, Namibia provides a truly spectacular and awe-inspiring introduction.
From the wind-whipped peaks of the world’s oldest and tallest dunes to the wild shores of the Skeleton Coast, through craggy canyons so vast you feel insignificant, to national parks so abundant with wildlife, you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped into the pages of a National Geographic cover. Namibia is the ultimate destination for adventure, culture, and wildlife viewing. Here are seven places that you should consider visiting on a trip to Namibia.
Etosha National Park
Start your African adventure off right with a visit to Etosha National Park, hailed as one of the best wildlife reserves on the continent. Between July and September, the waterholes are a gathering place for four of Africa’s “Big 5″(lion, leopard, rhino, elephant) plus giraffe, cheetah, and various antelope species. With plenty of full-day and half-day game drive options available from nearby luxury safari camps, there’s never a dull day in Etosha.
Where the rhythmic sounds of an ancient language collide with dramatic escarpments, meandering rivers, and an extraordinary elephant species, the remote region of Kaokoveld is home to the indigenous Himba peoples. Though this area is home to one of the planet’s harshest climates, the Himba have thrived here for several millennia. Their symbiotic relationship between rare flora and fauna and inviting culture make for a fantastic side trip off the beaten tourist path and a truly culturally immersive experience.
Skeleton Coast National Park
Bring your camera and sense of adventure because the skeleton is haunting, beautiful, and a landscape photographer’s dream. This fabled coastline is riddled with shipwrecks, with the raging Atlantic Ocean on one side and the world’s oldest desert spilling onto sandy beaches on the other. It’s no wonder why Namibia’s San Bushmen say their homeland is ‘the Land God Made in Anger.’ This region is also home to one of Africa’s most exclusive luxury lodges and the only accommodation located within the national park.
Fish River Canyon
For the ultimate sunrise experience, time your visit to Fish River Canyon for breathtaking views, eerie silence, and soaring birds. This 120 million-year-old canyon is the second largest globally and offers world-class hiking, game and bird viewing, and endless viewpoints to snap those perfect landscape shots.
If you’ve ever wondered what the landscape would have looked like during the time of dinosaurs, Damaraland is the perfect example. The geographic diversity in this region makes for exciting safari opportunities with species that have adapted to this dry climate. Here you will find giraffes, graceful oryxes, rare black rhinos, and desert-adapted elephants wandering the landscape.
Namib-Naukluft National Park
No visit to Namibia is complete with a wander through Namib-Naukluft National Park, specifically a climb up Dune 45, the world’s most photographed dune. This national park is home to Dead Vlei, a cracked, white clay pan dotted with stark, petrified trees that have been there for nearly 1000 years. So if you’re looking to tick off an epic bucket list experience, soaring over these sky-high dunes in a hot air balloon is a memory you won’t soon forget.
Located in central Namibia, nestled between the Atlantic Ocean and the Namib desert, this charming German colonial town is a jumping-off point for every shade of adventure from sandboarding, desert quad biking, and skydiving to scuba diving. After a day of adrenaline-thumping fun, wander through town and enjoy an authentic German bakery, Afro-European cafe culture, and colorful architecture.
With no shortage of epic experiences and postcard-perfect landscapes, these are just a few of the most fascinating places to visit in Namibia.
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