Namibia is a fantasy world of eerie deserts, giant dunes… and even bigger surprises. Here is one of our very favourite African journeys.
We guarantee you'll never forget Namibia. It makes a big impression… and we mean BIG! With only two million people in Africa's fifth largest country, there's an overwhelming sense of space. Touching down in Windhoek, the capital, you'll pick up a charter flight to the Hartmann Valley at the heart of the Namib Desert, a swathe of coastal land dried by the offshore currents taking moisture out to sea. It's the world's oldest desert, a vast sea of red sand with the world's highest dunes and a surreal, almost-lunar landscape (apparently the Apollo astronauts trained here). First stop is Serra Cafema, one of Africa's most remote places. It looks onto the Kunene River, creating the odd sensation of hearing rushing water while surrounded by one of the driest places on earth. This is also where the continent's last true nomads, the Himba People, live; and you may get to visit their settlement if they're in the area when you visit. For a seemingly-lifeless wilderness, it's surprisingly rich in wildlife – with elephants, lions, rhino and giraffes – and some of the weirdest plants!
Namibia's best wildlife viewing is in the Etosha National Park… which is the next stop on your journey. The size of Switzerland, it's one of Africa's largest game parks with elephants, lions and all sorts of antelope – and one of few reserves to have both Black and White Rhino. Staying at Little Ongava, arguably Namibia's most civilised and comfortable lodge with magnificent vistas of the plains, day and night drives and walks with the excellent guides are the best way to track the rhino.
From here you'll head back to the Namib, and Little Kulala. This Wilderness Reserve is the gateway to Namibia's 'Sand Sea', and the spectacular towering red dunes of Sossusvlei are astonishing… but the real highlight is boarding a hot-air balloon to view them from above. At night, you won't believe how many stars are in the sky; one of your lasting memories will be gazing up from your bed, trying to take it all in. But that's Namibia – it's all about space!