Safari, Sand & Sundowners.
When Gary and I were planning our Namibian road trip, we were slightly unsure if we were setting our expectations too high, in what we had hoped to see in this magnificent country.
Believe me; our wishes were surpassed tenfold and given the opportunity we would return again.
Your experiences will be different; however, you won’t be disappointed with the breath-taking country of Namibia.
Sunrise over Sossusvlei
Sossusvlei and Deadvlei in the Namib Desert truly are surreal landscapes, although you may have seen many pictures of the eerie petrified trees and the incredible red dunes, it will still leave you speechless.
Gary and I chose to visit Big Daddy & Big Mamma with a group from our lodge, we climbed the dunes and watched the sunrise gradually unfold before us, it’s an experience we will never forget.
We chose a tour organised by our accommodation at Sossus Dune Lodge, which included breakfast after sunrise.
We cannot recommend enough renting your own truck, and experience a self-drive safari at your own pace. The terrain can be slow progress at times; however, if you factor this in, then it’s the best way to see the country.
Like us, you can stay at lodges each night and enjoy a little luxury. Then the following morning, hop back in your truck and tour the watering holes like an experienced ranger.
Kolmanskop is a ghost town swallowed by sand, visiting here was definitely one of our highlights. The settlement was previously a diamond mining town, that has since been deserted and time and nature have taken over.
Once you’ve entered the small town, you are free to wander and discover how the Namib Desert has moved in and reclaimed it. It’s a bit eerie strolling amongst the abandoned homes and hospital, but equally fantastic that you’re allowed to just roam around on your own.
This is a harsh a part of the Atlantic Ocean coastline that takes no prisoners, many ships have come to their end along here.
Gary and I would have loved to spend more time here, but access is restricted and to appreciate its full splendour you need to take to the skies.
These beautiful creatures are now only found in Namibia and Mali, so when we were staying at Camp Kipwe in Kunene region of Namibia, we jumped at the chance to go on a game drive, to track them in their own remote environment.
There were only four of us in the truck so, the experience felt really personal, I’m sure it’s one we’d struggle to match again.
Fish River Canyon
In the south of Namibia, and not too far from the South African border is Africa’s largest canyon ‘Fish River’. Here is where your 4X4 truck will come in handy, but it’s worth taking on the teeth chattering terrain to reach it, the views across the plateau are stunning.
The Etosha National Park is a must to visit if you have come to Namibia for the wildlife. Driving yourself from one watering hole to another, you’ll be amazed at the mixture of animals that you come across. We even caught a pride of lions basking in the afternoon sunshine, how lucky were we?
Just be cautious when driving through the park, as you are in their environment and when confronted with a bull elephant or a rhino, there will only be one winner.
It was really good to see that the German colonial influence was still prominent in Swakopmund, not just with the colourful buildings but also with their cuisine.
It’s a bustling town and has an interesting, lively craft market, where you can bargain for your Namibian souvenirs.
Swakopmund sits on the Atlantic Ocean and is a great place to base yourself to discover the Skeleton Coast and the Namib Desert tours.
Visiting the Himba people, being shown around their village and learning their traditions, is an experience Gary and I will never forget.
Very much off the beaten track, and in the North-west region of Namibia, these communities can only be visited as an organised tour; however, if you get the opportunity, you must jump at it.
The Himba are Nomadic and have since moved on from the village we visited, but you can find the latest from the Namibia Tourism website on how to organise a visit to these lovely people.
Game drive day & night
Namibia is a fantastic place to embark on your own self-drive safari, but equally it’s also great fun to enjoy the experience of an organised game drive. The rangers are extremely knowledgeable and will take you to areas of the park that are not always accessible to your average visitor.
We did a couple during the day. However, the night game drives are really interesting, tracking the nocturnal wildlife with a searchlight and hearing the soundtrack of the African nightlife come to life.
As part of our 3-week adventure we stayed at the Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch. This was like a dream come true, planning the trip from our home in the UK dreaming of the endless red sands of the Kalahari felt like a world away.
From here we saw some fantastic wildlife, not quite your lions or rhinos but equally enjoyable.
Eternal Night Sky
This probably goes without saying, however, the night sky in this part of the world is incredible. Without pollution, nor the intense light of larger cities you can see a vast magnitude of stars, and even galaxies & nebula with the naked eye.
Tour of the dunes
While we were based in Swakopmund, we joined a couple of tours to discover more of the unreachable scenery and learn about the wildlife that manages to survive in this terrain.
We chose the ‘Little 5’ Living Desert tour, which was run by a fantastic guide who was extremely informative and had a passion for respecting his surroundings.
Also the Sandwich Harbour tour, which is for a full day, crossing the undulating dunes and visiting a lost lagoon.
Is there any better way to finish your day, than enjoying your favourite tipple under the African skies and watching the sunset across the desert?
Mine’s a G&T, please 🍸
Inspired to visit Namibia?
Tempted to plan your self-drive safari and tick some these great experiences off your list?
Make it happen, you won’t be disappointed.
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