Namibia

From the seemingly endless sand dunes of the Namib Desert to the tropical wetlands of the Caprivi Strip, Namibia is a country of epic landscapes, bountiful wildlife and few people.

Located in Southern Africa on the Atlantic coast Namibia offers wild seascapes, rugged mountains, spectacular deserts, dense bush, apricot dunes, colonial cities and unparalleled wildlife. The landscape, unchanged for millions of years, is one of ravaged majesty where you can marvel at the technicolour images that it provides. The Namib-Naukluft National Park containing Sossusviei is a vast clay-packed area surrounded by the world’s tallest dunes. This conservation area (one of four in the park) is a photographer’s dream where you are treated to a kaleidoscope of colours, shade and light. Populated by meerkats, herds of oryx and sunbirds, Namib is nicknamed the world’s oldest desert where the shifting sands and colourful dunes provide a calming, surreal experience. A good way to appreciate this grandiose area is either by light aircraft or a balloon trip.

Situated along the lower reaches of the Fish River, Fish River Canyon boasts impressive natural beauty, with its ochre rock faces and cloudless azure skies. Second in size only to the Grand Canyon, this area is perfect for experienced hikers who relish a challenge. Aptly named for it’s strong currents, thick fog and traversing underwater sandbanks that have shipwrecked a good many sailors, the Skeleton Coast offers the unusual spectator sport of elephant surfing. Seeing a six tonne mammal careering down a sand dune brings a whole new meaning to body surfing.

Etosha National Park is one of Southern Africa’s finest game reserves and is home to 114 different species of mammals. The park is one of the best places to see the endangered black rhino in their natural sanctuary.Another perfect site to watch rhino is Okaukuejo. Antelopes, giraffes, wildebeest, spotted hyenas and ostriches gather around the man-made and natural water holes. The park is home to 340 species of birds including Namibia’s national bird, the flamingo.

Sandwiched between the Skeleton Coast and Etosha National Park, Damaraland has two distinct features in geology and wildlife. The early morning and sunset game drives are the primary draw here, when you can track the rare Desert Rhino. Kunene Valley home to Epupa Falls, a mystical place with dozens of small waterfalls cascading between mossy rocks covered with baobab trees. These suspended gardens make this area a bird-watchers paradise.

In the north-east of Namibia lies a narrow area of land called the Caprivi Strip – a lush region where wildlife not prevalent in other areas of Namibia can be found, owing to the high rainfalls. East Caprivi is bordered by the Kwando, Linyanti, Chobe and Zambezi Rivers, providing provide excellent bird-watching opportunities. The only game park in Namibia where you can walk unaccompanied, the Mahango Game Reserve is a small, ecologically diverse reserve combining grassland, floodplain, riverine forests and reed beds – the perfect place to watch elephants.

Home to the world’s oldest desert, and one of the least densely populated countries on earth, there is plenty more than just rock and sand in South West Africa.

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