Namibia… the diamond of Africa
Namibia is beautiful. Home to the world’s most ancient desert, the highest sand dunes and second-deepest canyon, it is rugged and wild. The towering sand dunes, wild coastline, abundance of wildlife and seemingly-endless plains make it one of southern Africa’s most visited destinations. And it’s getting increasingly popular. With the camps already in high demand over the next year, and bookings already coming for 2019, we strongly recommend booking ahead.
Fish River Canyon
The jaw-dropping Fish River Canyon is said to be the second largest canyon in the world, after the Grand Canyon. Located in the far south of the country, this area is often missed but it shouldn’t be. Relax and enjoy the tranquillity at Fish River Canyon Lodge, which sits on the edge of the canyon. Hike through the canyon and ascend in time for sundowners from one of the many sublime viewpoints.
Fish River Canyon from above
Historical and sleepy, the town of Lüderitz is hidden in one of the best harbours along the inhospitable Skeleton coastline. With beautiful, colourful architecture that has barely changed since the early 20th century, it retains a certain charm. From here, visit Halifax island where a colony of African penguins live, or simply enjoy delicious, locally caught oysters.
The colourful houses of Luderitz
As you journey through the Klein Aus, admire the views of the plains and take a gentle hike. While you do so, keep your eyes peeled for the gorgeous wild horses of the Namib, who move around in groups, grazing on the sparsely vegetated plains.
The wild Namibian horses
This fascinating ghost town had its heyday back in 1909 when diamonds were discovered locally. Since then, it has fought a losing battle against the sands of the Namib desert that have engulfed the surrounding areas, creating an ever-changing terrain as the wind blows. Walk through the once grand houses that are now occupied by mounds of sand.
The sand ravaged town of Kolmanskop
Namib Naukluft National Park
Discover the rolling plains of the Namib Naukluft National Park with its imposing boulders, sculpted dunes and desert flora and fauna. Relax in the chic Wolwedans Private Camp and wake up to the sun rising over this magnificent Namibian landscape, rich with biodiversity.
Bathroom with a view
Khaudum National Park
Close to the border with Botswana and in the heart of the Kalahari you will find the San Bushmen, who have inhabited southern Africa for at least 30,000 years. Here, you can join a bushman experience, learning about their fascinating way of life.
Walking with the San bushmen
Etendeka crystal walk
Etendeka, which means ‘layered mountain’, is one of Namibia’s communal conservancies. The protected surroundings are beautiful and the local communities have the rights to make use of it. Embark on a trek or drive around the 50,000-hectare, wildlife-rich area with extremely knowledgeable guides Bonnie and Dennis to find out more about its geology and history, including the crystals and agate that litter the plains. Alternatively you can visit the Kristall Galerie in Swakopmund, which houses a collection of beautiful masterpieces made of crystals and gemstones including the world’s largest Quartz crystal cluster on display – twice the size of a man! Stay at the Etendeka Mountain Camp as part of Cox & Kings’ Northern Namibia Explorer self-drive holiday.
Zambezi Region (formerly known as the Caprivi Strip)
Found in the north-east of the country, the Zambezi Region is where four African countries meet: Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana. During German rule there were plans to link Tanzania and Namibia by rail, but this point was as far as it got. The rivers and wetlands of the Zambezi Region are home to lush vegetation and a plethora of wildlife, such as elephants, buffaloes, lions, hippos and crocodiles. Discover the Zambezi Region on Cox & Kings’ new Four Countries Safari private tour.
The Popa falls
Spot desert-adapted wildlife
In the Namibian desert you will find many animals that have adapted to the arid environment. Desert-adapted elephants are fairly commonly sighted but keep your eyes peeled for giraffes, lions and rhinos, although they are not as easily seen.
The fairy circles of Namibia are a mystery. The bizarre circular patterns on the landscape have no vegetation inside and often have a fringe of tall grasses around the perimeter. There are numerous theories as to their existence, although none have been proved correct.
The barren fairy circles
Damaraland Camp Lodge
Relax in comfort and enjoy the spectacular surroundings of Damaraland Camp Lodge where you can take wildlife drives and go on nature walks, visit local communities and see the rock art site at Twyfelfontein. The camp is recognised for its conservation efforts, winning the World Travel and Tourism’s Tourism for Tomorrow conservation award in 2005. In April 2017 it won a silver African Responsible Tourism award in the category ‘best accommodation for social inclusion’, proof of their work with the local community to provide an eco-friendly yet high standard lodge.
The views from the pool
The Damaraland Camp’s mission to encourage sustainable tourism is admirable and a principle we endeavour to follow: what we protect on our planet today will be there to enjoy for longer. Namibia is ideal for those who want to self-drive, allowing for independent travel to discover this diverse country, but these desert plains are fragile and home to so much wildlife, including creatures living just below the sandy surface such as sidewinding adders, scorpions and beetles. We encourage respect for the environment and ask that travellers stick to the main roads and tracks rather than drive off road. Few realise that the tracks you leave may scar the earth for decades to come; what may look like a known track is in fact someone’s off-roading adventure from 10 years ago.
Cox & Kings offers a range of escorted group and private or self-drive holidays to Namibia. See more details here.