Those that can’t resist a heart-pounding challenge should head in the direction of Swakopmund, a seaside village where many of the adventure sport companies are based. Here, sand dunes call to be swooped down, quad bikes yearn for an open throttle, and kayaks and canoes promise epic ocean adventures. Namibia is fast becoming one of Africa’s premier adventure destinations, and with oodles of open space and some of the most spectacular landscapes in the world, it is easy to understand why.
If sipping a gin and tonic with a wide-brimmed sun hat shading your face from the golden savanna glow is your idea of a holiday, Namibia is the place to be. Five-star luxury is not hard to find in this neck of the woods, and combines Egyptian cotton sheets and antique bath tubs with wild African animals, exciting game safaris, and gourmet dining under the stars. Those that long for the elegant luxury of the colonial heyday should look in the direction of Sossusvlei and the Etosha National Park, where some of the most opulent and gorgeous lodges can be found.
Etosha National Park, +264 811800016
Namibia is not short of wildlife rehabilitation centres and community programmes that make is easy for visitors to contribute to the development and upliftment of the country. There are numerous excellent conservation programmes to participate in, covering everything from preserving endangered cheetahs and rhinos, to school projects and tribal conservancy programmes. Big-cat lovers won’t want to miss a visit to Africat in the Okonjima Nature Reserve, while the Kunene region holds many tribal conservancies.
Namibia is an essential destination for any birder worth their salt and is home to a vast variety of spectacular birdlife. From the endemic birds of the Namib Desert to spectacular tropical savanna and wetland species, and the thousands of flamingos and other waterbirds that feast on the riches of the cold Atlantic Ocean, Namibia is blessed with an abundance of feathered friends. Avid birders will find a fabulous assortment of birds at any one of Namibia’s national parks and wildlife reserves.
Some of the most spectacular rock formations in the world can be found among Namibia’s dusty desert landscapes, making the area a geographical treasure trove. Those who appreciate these magnificent rocks should include Twyfelfontein and Wüstenquell on their itinerary. Twyfelfontein features red sandstone rocks that perch precariously atop other rocks, looking as though they are ready to tumble at any moment, while Wüstenquell, just outside Karabib, showcases huge granite rock formations, with the highest number in the world per square kilometre.
Wüstenquell, Erongo, +264 64530811
Landscape photography is more than just a passing hobby in Namibia. Visual treasures and iconic photography locations often feature in international photographic awards, with spellbinding settings that beg to be snapped.
Some of the most popular sites to get snap happy and creative include the eerie and windswept ghost town of Kolmanskop, the orange-hued granite boulders of Spitskoppe, the quiver trees in Keetmanshoop, and the instantly recognizable skeletal fossilized remains of acacia thorn trees at Dead Vlei.