Beyond the Sossusvlei Dunes…
Sossusvlei, one of Namibia’s most iconic and striking landscapes, is home to windswept, burnt-red dunes and the bleached white pans of Deadvlei. Framed by a deep blue sky, this spectacular scenery is particularly beautiful at dawn and dusk when the light and contrasting colours are at their most intense.
Seemingly against the odds, a few desert adapted plants and animals eke out an existence here and it’s a great spot, along with the surrounding Namib Desert, to explore for a couple of days. Among our favourite activities are sunrise balloon trips over the dunes, quad biking at Little Kulala or riding out into the wilderness on horseback from Desert Homestead.
Dunes aside, there’s plenty more to entice visitors to this scenically blessed country. Here are some of our top choices:
Damaraland’s remote wilderness is home to an ancient landscape of granite mountains towering over gravel plains dotted with caves. It’s where you will find Twyfelfontein, Namibia’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its ancient San Bushmen rock carvings and paintings. Desert adapted elephant and rhino roam the plains, along with gemsbok and springbok which, in turn, are trailed by the occasional hungry cheetah or lion.
Activities include cycling, hot air ballooning, and hiking. Each night the sky turns into a sparkling blanket, dense with the light of millions of stars. Some of our favourite camps here include Camp Kipwe, Mowani Mountain Camp, and Damaraland Camp.
Etosha, in northern Namibia, is an unusual national park with a network of well-made roads making it perfectly suited to self-drivers. Parking near a waterhole can offer some excellent wildlife sightings. Etosha does get busy, so for a more exclusive safari we often suggest visiting one of the private reserves bordering the national park. Ongava Tented Camp, in the 30,000-hectare exclusive Ongava Game Reserve, is a wonderful choice with great wildlife viewing on day and night drives as well as the chance to track rhino on foot.
Swakopmund is an interesting coastal town, still strongly influenced by its German colonial past. It’s not a typical beach resort but there are plenty of fun activities including speeding through the dunes on quad bikes, surfing down them on a dune board or taking to the sea and kayaking amongst seals in Walvis Bay. Among a handful of great family-run guest houses and B&Bs is Swakopmund Guesthouse, perfectly positioned for all activities.
This stark, desolate and harshly beautiful area of the country is only accessible on a fly-in safari. From remote camps such as Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp and Shipwreck Lodge guests can explore on foot, in 4x4s or via light aircraft where a variety of flora and fauna, shipwrecks, ‘roaring dunes’ as well as the incredible archaeological and geological features unfolds like a patchwork below.
Life still manages to gain a foothold despite the unforgiving environment, with desert adapted elephant and rare desert lions roaming the landscape.
If you’re short on time, then look at the Schoeman’s Skeleton Coast Safari which is a four day fly-in trip. One of Africa’s finest adventures it is an epic way to see some of the best Namibia has to offer.
Any questions on beyond the Sossusvlei Dunes?
If you’ve got this far and not found an answer to a question you have that we should have included, please ask in the comments section below, or pop us an email. We’ll be sure to reply and may amend the article to include our answer.
We would be delighted to help you plan a holiday, or answer any questions if you’re at an earlier stage. Our team of experts have travelled widely throughout Africa. They can offer expert advice on every type of safari from family and beach holidays to riding and primate safaris. If you would like to talk to someone who has been there and done it, please just send us an email or give us a call.