Namibia is not only a nature lover’s paradise, but a photographer’s dream; sunrise reveals a shoreline flanked by a mesmerising sea of sand dunes, reflecting glorious reds and oranges in the unsullied morning light. The early morning mists drift inland around the lunar landscape of Damaraland, where gemsbok and ostrich roam the rocky plains. Relax on Swakopmund’s beaches or take to the skies for breathtaking views of vast, uninhabited desert plains criss-crossed by dry river beds and endless coastline sprinkled with driftwood and shipwrecks. In the world-class Etosha National Park, delight in tracking black-faced impala and rhino beneath wide horizons and clear, unpolluted skies. As one of Namibia’s most iconic attractions, the area around Sossusvlei in the Namib Desert boasts some of the highest and most spectacular sand dunes in the world.
Namibia is generally pleasant year round with less rain than neighbouring countries. December to March can be more humid and rain may be expected. April and May are the greenest months, with some beautiful landscapes. Between June and August, temperatures can be cooler, dropping dramatically at night in the desert.
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The hauntingly remote expanses of Namibia are an adventurer’s dream. Take a hot air balloon ride at sunrise over the massive Sossusvlei Dunes that shift in shape and change colour over the course of the day. The thrill of soaring silently above this sandy, moon-like landscape traversed by springbok, gemsbok, ostrich and bat-eared foxes is unparalleled; a Champagne breakfast back on terra firma is a fitting climax to the morning’s adventure.
Those up for a challenge may like to climb one of the dunes. At 325 metres, Big Daddy is the highest in the Sossusvlei area, the climb entailing scrambles over scorching, loose sand. Not for the faint hearted, but the 360° views at the top make it worth the effort, with vistas across the Deadvlei white clay pan and dramatic dunes as far as the eye can see.
Take a scenic flight along the Skeleton Coast- the mist-enshrouded beaches littered with bleached whalebones and rusted shipwrecks.
Experience the thrill of tracking black rhino on foot with Save the Rhino trackers at Desert Rhino Camp in Damaraland. Located in a private concession, the reserve boasts the largest free roaming black rhino population in Africa – camp activities are focused on providing information on this highly endangered species. Free from light pollution Namibia has one of the darkest skies measured on Earth – the stars and planets have never looked so close or so clear.
Etosha National Park – the ‘great white place’ of endless salt pans – offers a rich game experience. The barren plains and stark landscape may seem inhospitable, yet the park teems with life – lion, cheetah, rhino, elephant, giraffe and antelope being drawn to the waterholes. Boutique lodges and stylish camps in private concessions around the park offer day and night game drives and floodlit waterholes for exciting night time sightings. Desert-adapted elephants, found in only two countries, differ subtly from their counterparts, with longer trunks to seek out water beneath the desert surface and larger feet which enable them to navigate more easily across the shifting sands of the Namib Desert.
If lucky, you may come across the semi-nomadic Himba tribe, an indigenous tribe living in the Kunene region of northern Namibia. The red/orange hue of their skin and hair is a result of applying a special cosmetic paste made from butterfat and ochre pigment which acts as a moisturiser and sunblock in terrain where temperatures can reach 40°C during the day.