Dramatic deserts and endless wildlife
Approaching 20 percent of Namibia is protected. A country with 2.6 million residents and 30 languages, the wildlife of Etosha National Park houses 114 species alone, including the black rhino, lions, and elusive leopard. As you cruise a western coastline that meets the Atlantic Ocean enter Skeleton Coast, a land where waves clash with desert sand dunes that reach 274 metres in height, and remote villages house the Himba people in the “land of endless horizons.”
Despite the country’s modest population, Namibia has plenty to offer on the larger side of things. If it’s rock art than 6,000 years of African history is reflected in the Brandberg Massif in Damaraland which is home to 45,000 rock paintings. If nature parks tickle your fancy, watch as giant giraffes feed from treetops and mighty elephants move across the lands of Etosha National Park. On the skeleton coast, shipwrecks will leave huge impressions among blood red dunes that are so big, they birthed names such as “Big Daddy.”
To the Ovambo tribe Etosha translates aptly to mean “great white place.” Visit the salt pans and be moved by desiccated crater-like soil. Visible from space, the pans host a plume cloud of pink flamingo in the wet season. Witness the arresting presence of staunch black rhinoceros kicking up dust as they move between dwarf shrub on this cratered land.
Trucking the port town of Walvis Bay in a 4x4 towards the celestial lagoon of Sandwich Harbor is an experience you won’t soon forgot. Sightseeing boat tours of the bay area bring passengers within touching distance of playful dolphins, seals, and diving cormorants. Look back at the jagged Namib Desert coastline as it clashes with the waves of the Atlantic Ocean in awe.
The world’s second largest canyon is a striking wilderness terrain of rock and cliffside vistas. A multi-day hike presents you with the chance to explore this natural wonder from several elevations, with Hell’s Bend offering up the debate of being the perfect spot to sit and marvel. A night spent under a starry Namibian skyline streaked crimson by sunset is a moment to cherish here.
Sossusvlei is home to some of the highest sand dunes in the world with two exceeding 275 metres. Within the hot confines of this desert ecosystem, coppered sunrises, clay pans and stubborn plants will have you snapping away with your camera for hours. Ink black trees on a bleached out land cast striking shadows across clay pans. A hot air balloon ride caps off a wonderful day in Sossusvlei.
The Caprivi Strip extends 450 miles to the borders of Zambia and Zimbabwe with major’s rivers such as Linyati and Chobe flowing through fertile flatlands inhabited by sparsely populated village communities such as the Lizauli. This largely untouched region of Namibia boasts thrilling views, ferment lands, a cultural art centre, and plunging waters known as Popa Falls.
With an average 300 days of sunshine and low humidity, hot and dry climates are commonly found throughout Namibia. The better times to travel will vary on location, with the interior being particularly hot in December until April. The Caprivi Strip has the highest rainfall with 600-800 millimetres falling annually. The humidity will also be higher due to a tropical climate. Between the Kalahari in the east and the Namib Desert in the west, capital Windhoek rests in its centre. Given its altitude of 5,577 on average, you’ll experience moderate temperatures of 68 degrees Fahrenheit on average. Pleasantly warm weather from April through October make it an ideal time for wildlife viewing. There is little to zero rain during the winter months and cooler evenings can be found in the month of June.
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