Dream safari to plan now – Spectacular Namibia
Namibia’s haunting landscapes have long captured travellers’ imaginations. Incredible scenery, wonderful light, surprisingly varied wildlife, exceptional guides and superb places to stay make Namibia an absolute pleasure to visit and a truly spectacular place to enjoy a dream safari.
Activities are as varied as you’ll find anywhere with self-drive safaris, riding safaris, flying safaris and walking safaris – particularly good rhino tracking – all offering wonderful options to explore. Visit the coast for kayaking and fishing, and the dune belt for sand boarding, quad biking and hot air ballooning.
Here are the best bits of one of our favourite safari countries:
Most visitors come away from Namibia raving about the scenery. The country is perhaps at its most spectacular in the Namib Naukluft, a 55-million-year-old-desert full of dramatic, arid beauty. Night-time star gazing is breath-taking, while sunrise visits to the majestic dunes at Sossusvlei, along with the petrified trees at neighbouring Deadvlei, should certainly be on the list.
Etosha National Park, with its salt pan scenery, is less visually beautiful but its many waterholes support a captivating cast of wildlife and Etosha – or the neighbouring private concessions – is well worth including on an itinerary.
The Skeleton Coast is a must. This desolate coastline is named after the ships washed onto unforgiving rocks in the fog that blights the shoreline. There’s plenty to do and see, whether that’s quad biking on the dunes, visiting shipwrecks and hearing the stories of their demise, or driving along the bed of the ephemeral Hoarusib River to see oryx, springbok and a canyon formed of clay deposits. It’s an extraordinary region and very well worth the time spent to reach it.
The huge tracts of semi-desert land that make up Damaraland are unforgettably beautiful, especially as the light changes through the morning and late afternoon. Bare granite mountains loom over gravel plains, dotted with caves and overhangs painted with ancient bushman art. This reaches a peak at Twyfelfontein, where ancient images crowd together in one of Africa’s densest, and most affecting, open-air galleries. Damaraland is also an excellent base for tracking free roaming black rhino on foot.
The northern province of Kaokoland is a real treat. The rolling plains of the Hartmann Valley – a grassy Eden without compare – stretch towards craggy mountains through which the Kunene River flows along the border with Angola. Populated by the nomadic Himba tribes, colourful riverine birdlife and a handful of desert-adapted specialists, it’s like a land the world forgot.
An Incredible Range of Accommodation
There’s accommodation to suit every taste, from the super-luxury of Little Ongava, private houses like The Nest @ Sossus, or the spectacular desert setting of the Wolwedans collection of lodges to the simplicity of eco-friendly Etendeka Mountain Camp. Mix and match and you’ll have a wonderfully diverse trip.
How to enjoy a dream safari Namibia
The Self Drive Safari
Namibia is a superb destination for driving yourself, with good roads, ever changing scenery and very little traffic. It can feel like you are on a real adventure as you steer your 4×4 along a gravel road towards the distant horizon. In general, it’s worth allowing two weeks to allow time to stop and enjoy each destination and to include places such as Sossusvlei (Desert Homestead or Kwessi Dunes Lodge), Swakopmund (Cornerstone Guesthouse), Damaraland (Etendeka Mountain Camp or Onduli Ridge), the Etosha region (one of the rest camps or for more comfort Ongava Lodge), and the Central Highlands (Okonjima Plains Camp) as an ideal waypoint on the way back to Windhoek.
The Guided Safari
A professional guide accompanying you through Namibia is like having a talking encyclopaedia alongside you, someone to uncover the secrets of the land you’re travelling through, and enrich every day with information about people, places, history, and nature. A guide on board will also help you reach the more inaccessible parts of the country, and a good itinerary might include some of the following:
Swakopmund is a good stopover, and whether you would like to explore Sandwich Harbour or keep going to the north, it makes sense logistically to have a night here.
Far up the Skeleton Coast, Shipwreck Lodge is a fantastic addition to a guided trip. Heading inland Hoanib Valley or Huab Under Canvas are great next-stops, both needing excellent off-road driving skills to reach. Back in the relative civilisation of Etosha and its environs, Onguma Tree Top Camp is a super place to see wildlife.
If you’d rather enjoy greater exclusivity, Little Kulala, Kwessi Dunes Lodge, the Wolwedans collection camps, Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, and the little gem that is Camp Sossus all get snapped up early since they are so good. All in private concessions there are plenty of activities on offer, more freedom to be out in the wild at any time of day, and fewer people and vehicles to share these amazing landscapes with.
The Luxury Fly-in Safari
The best way to get to the most remote places and to enjoy truly exclusive wilderness, is relatively easy to do thanks to the excellent network of light aircraft flights. Regions and properties that fit into this category include:
Namib Desert and Sossusvlei; a combination of Wolwedans Dunes Camp and Wolwedans Boulders Camp offers the perfect insight into life in this magnificent part of Namibia, along with fantastic accommodation and a wide variety of activities.
Damaraland; Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp is the Skeleton Coast in a nutshell, and as well as the chance to see more wildlife than expected it includes a visit to the ocean shore during a three night stay. Desert Rhino Camp is a wonderful place for tracking desert adapted black rhino in remote arid wilderness.
Kaokoland; Serra Cafema perched on the Kunene River enjoys an astonishing spot on a ribbon of water edged by forest and grasses, at the end of hundreds of miles of intensely arid desert, threading its way through range upon range of mountains. The approach to the camp is only by air, and it takes a long time. Even the airstrip is 40 minutes away, but when you crest the edge of the Hartmann Valley and see the river far below, you know that your decision to visit was exactly the right one. To give a feel for the scale of Namibia, the return flight to Windhoek takes about three hours.
We would be delighted to help you plan a dream safari in Namibia. Our team of experts has travelled widely throughout Africa and the Indian Ocean and can offer expert advice on every type of safari from family and beach holidays to riding and primate safaris. Do get in touch – chatting to people by phone or email is what we do best. We listen, we explain, we answer all sorts of questions even those you didn’t know to ask, and finally we make suggestions. If this is your first time to Africa or your twenty first, we have a team standing by to help make the planning easy and the journey the best ever. Please get in touch whatever stage you’re at.