Namibia posesses some of the most stunning landscapes in Africa, and a trip through the country is one of the great road adventures. Natural wonders such as that mighty gash in the earth at Fish River Canyon and the wildlife utopia of Etosha National Park enthrall, but it’s the lonely desert roads where mighty slabs of granite rise out of swirling desert sands that will sear themselves in your mind. It’s like a coffee-table book come to life as sand dunes in the world’s oldest desert meet the crashing rollers along the wild Atlantic coast. Among all this is a German legacy evident in the cuisine and art nouveau architecture, and in festivals such as Windhoek’s legendary Oktoberfest.
Namibia is also the headquarters of adventure activities in the region, so whether you’re a dreamer or love hearing the crunch of earth under your boots, travel in Namibia will stay with you long after the desert vistas fade.
Etosha National Park
Etosha National Park ranks as one of the world’s great wildlife-viewing venues. Its unique nature is encapsulated by the vast Etosha pan – an immense, flat, saline desert that, for a few days each year, is converted by the rains into a shallow lagoon teeming with flamingos and pelicans.
This treacherous coast – a foggy region with rocky and sandy coastal shallows – has long been a graveyard for unwary ships and their crews, hence its forbidding name. Early Portuguese sailors called it As Areias do Inferno (The Sands of Hell), as once a ship washed ashore, the fate of the crew was sealed.
Central Windhoek is a surprisingly modern, well-groomed city where office workers lounge around Zoo Park at lunchtime, tourists funnel through Post St Mall admiring African curios and taxis whizz around honking at potential customers. In fact, first impressions confirm that the city wouldn’t look out of place in the West.
Before travelling to Lüderitz, pause for a moment to study the country map, and you’ll realise the fact that the town is sandwiched between the barren Namib Desert and the windswept South Atlantic coast. As if Lüderitz’s wholly unique geographical setting wasn’t impressive enough, its surreal German art nouveau architecture will seal the deal.