Wedged between the Kalahari and the South Atlantic, Namibia enjoys vast potential as one of the youngest countries in Africa. In addition to having a striking diversity of cultures and national origins, Namibia is a photographer’s dream – it boasts wild seascapes, rugged mountains, lonely deserts, stunning wildlife, colonial cities and nearly unlimited elbow room.
A predominantly arid country, Namibia can be divided into four main topographical regions: the Namib Desert and coastal plains in the west, the eastward-sloping Central Plateau, the Kalahari along the borders with South Africa and Botswana and the densely wooded bushveld of the Kavango and Caprivi regions. Despite its harsh climate, Namibia has some of the world’s grandest national parks, ranging from the wildlife-rich Etosha National Park in Northwestern Namibia, to the dune fields and desert plains of the Namib-Naukluft Park in Western Namibia. Windhoek, in the Central Highlands, is the country's geographical heart and commercial nerve centre, with an ethnic mix of people, while surfers and beach-lovers won't want to miss Swakopmund.
Namibia is one of those dreamlike places that make you question whether something so visually orgasmic could actually exist. Time and space are less defined here. Landscapes collide. Experiences pile up. Watch a lion stalking its prey on a never-ending plain in Etosha. Fly down a giant dune on a sandboard. Spend a night alone in the desert under a sky so thick with stars you can’t differentiate between constellations.
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Etosha National Park
Etosha National Park, the ‘Great White Place of Dry Water’, takes in approximately 20, 000 sq km surrounding its namesake, the vast white and greenish-coloured Etosha Pan. This vast park protects 114 mammal species, as well as 340 bird species, 16 reptiles and amphibians, one fish species and countless insects.
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.
Often described as being more German than Germany, Swakopmund is Namibia’s most popular holiday destination, and it attracts surfers, anglers and beach-lovers from all over southern Africa. However, the seaside resort has recently reinvented itself as the adventure-sports capital of Namibia, and now also attracts adrenaline junkies jonesing for a quick fix.
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.