Ochre dunes whipped into shape by multidirectional winds, towering towards clear blue skies, 900-year-old skeletal trees and in the rainy season, just before the sun goes down, majestic clouds and a beautiful light paint the sky…This is unspoilt Namibia, a country where the desert, mountains and wilderness meet.
By Reta Robberts
Regarded as one of the top three destinations for stargazing in the world, Namibia’s barrenness and minimal light pollution allows you to see all the stars you could wish for. In the local Nama language, Namib means ‘A vast place of nothingness’, but the Nama were wrong. The Namib is a living desert.
EXPLORING SOUTHERN NAMIBIA
Vioolsdrif border post is your port of entry, open 24 hours a day. Follow the B1 highway with towering red signatures and you are well on your way into Namibia. The Ais-Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park is well known for the Fish River Canyon, a good choice if you do not want to travel far to experience the spectacular variety of landscapes and wildlife. Choose from self-catering chalets, camping, safari-tents and then moving on to the more luxurious lodges and spa’s like Sossusvlei
(located in the direction of Swakopmund) with its’ world-renowned Dune 45.
If your trip is focused on the most southern parts, pop into Grunäu, a small settlement in the IIKaras Region.
The Grunäu Country Hotel offers a comfortable bed, friendly staff and a delicious meal to the weary traveler. For the nature lovers, camping is available at N$100 per person as well as tents, mattresses and bedding in the winter seasons at N$150 per person (May-Aug). Relax next to a fire on a perfect night, or a sundowner cruise or opt for a game drive, definitely advisable in this beautiful country.
Travel towards Ais-Ais where you can take a short walk in the Canyon, or, if the weather is cooler, enjoy a dip in the hot springs. A good idea is to either opt for sundowners at the main lookout, or even better, a flask of coffee early morning will give you an opportunity to take breathtaking photos at sunrise.
For something different, towards Keetmanshoop you will find the Quiver Tree Forest and nearby Giant’s Playground, where huge boulders form a strange pattern like massive Lego blocks. Then onto Luderitz. On your way there, visit Kolmanskop, a ghost town in the Namib, a well-chosen stopping point and any photographer’s dream.
Guided tours available daily informing you about the history of this partially, sand-buried town and all of its interesting buildings. At the Garub drinking hole you will
find the world-renowned wild horses, that have been surviving in the desert for more than a century. Klein Aus Vista, is a favourite and you may choose from various accommodation types, but we encourage you to stay over at Eagle’s Nest chalets, built next to huge granite rocks, overlooking the vast expanse of sand (or nothingness?).
FOR THE MORE ADVENTUROUS
Namibia is any adventure seeker’s paradise – offering hiking, cave-diving, 4 x 4 adventures, and so much more. Feel like Aladdin? Then take to the skies in a hot air balloon, announcing its ascent into the purple blue yonder with bursts of flames. At Noordoewer, you can do canoeing on the Orange River and overnight on the banks in the Richtersveld. There are various options to choose from: A day-, weekend- or 4 day excursion. You cannot utter the word ‘Namibia’ and not mention the Strudel. Make sure to visit at least one German restaurant for these fluffy delicacies. Book a scenic flight by plane (in advance) over the canyon, following the Fish River until it meets the Orange.
With the endless travel and exploring options, Namibia is and will stay a holiday destination which gives you value for money. Whether you want to experience the culture, go on a photo-safari or a chance to meet the Big Five from closer, you are in for a lifetime of adventure and unspeakable nature!