Namibia, another of our all-time favourite destinations, is a mystical world of surreal landscapes and transcendent experiences. Panoramas appear as in a dream, fantastical yet spine-tinglingly real. Giant red sand dunes, silvery-white salt pans, flamingo-fringed lagoons – no other country offers such visual euphoria. Enter: the photographer's dream location.
This surreal world offers 1280km (795 miles) of some of the most desolate and untouched coastlines in the world. Along its entire length, the vast, shifting, giant, red sand dunes of the Namib Desert spread inland for 80 to 130km (50 to 80 miles). In the interior, the escarpment of a north-south plateau slopes away to the east and north, into the vast interior sand basin of the Kalahari. In the far northwest, the 66,000 sq km (25,500 sq miles) of the Kaokoland mountains run along the coast, while further inland lies the great Etosha Pan (a dry saline lake), surrounded by rich grasslands and bush which support large and varied wildlife.
Namibia is quite simply, a destination that feeds the soul. The sense of wilderness is astonishing. Dusty plains and parched riverbeds stretch to the horizon, punctuated by rusty sandstone outcrops – many engraved with enigmatic Stone Age carvings. Herds of elephants, zebras, and unicorn-like oryxes plod between isolated waterholes, while nimble bushmen stalk springbok on the horizon. Many people call these landscapes a photographer’s dream – yet photographs struggle to capture either their elemental power or their delicate nuances.
Excellent game-viewing can be expected in Etosha - a large national park with epic vistas. And throughout the rest of this majestic country, visitors can expect to discover an amazing array of desert-dwelling creatures.
Types of safaris vary from self-drive and pre-packaged country tours to 5-star, fly-in lodge safaris. Namibia has very few roads and almost nothing to disrupt the migratory routes of its giant nomads. Elephants and rhinos leave great footprints as they wander through sand and scorched salt pans. Tracking them on a walking safari is a thrilling experience – one that instills a stunning harmony with nature and an unforgettable immersion in the wilderness. Follow their trails with skilled bushmen, and then marvel as they stand just meters away, with nothing but a lonely acacia tree between you.
Prices range from very affordable B&B accommodation to top-end pricing (around $1 000 per night).
Namibia is a short flight from both South Africa and Botswana, making both of these destinations a wonderful combination with your dessert sojourn.
Namibia feels like a lost world, an endless expanse of phantasmagorical landscapes that have never lost their primitive majesty. No two journeys in Namibia will ever be the same. And it’s not just a question of getting lost. In most of Namibia, it’s often difficult to know precisely where you are: on the southwestern edge of Africa? Or in Nature’s greatest art gallery…
Read more about getting around in Namibia and the logistics involved.