Namibia was not my first African country, but it may well be the last one I ever forget. The unique wildlife and authentic tribal cultures thriving in what seem to be inhospitable conditions make for a compelling destination.
The Namib Desert is far from being a featureless expanse of sand. The towering red dunes of Sossusvlei change colour as the day progresses, while herds of springbok and oryx appear to float in the shimmering heat waves of Etosha.
Damaraland’s rocky outcrops and fossil riverbeds richly reward exploration, with the chance to encounter fascinating desert-adapted elephant, black rhino and even lion. Namibia’s Atlantic seaboard, evocatively known as the Skeleton Coast, will linger long in your memory with its pounding waves, shipwrecks and bleached whale bones.
Namibia’s scenic variety is matched by the many ways in which you can explore this vast country – a place where you can be alone, but never lonely, and whose vast spaces are never as devoid of life as you might think.
Climbing Dune 45 and hiking into Deadvlei let you soak up the saturated colours of the desert (and return with phenomenal photographs) while a hot-air balloon excursion over the Namib Desert allows you to appreciate the sheer scale of this remote wilderness.
Spending time in the hides at Onguma and Ongava or ‘waterhole hopping’ in Etosha lets you watch as the wildlife comes to you. Alternatively, track black rhino in Damaraland, or relive the final moments of doomed ships on the Skeleton Coast.