Beyond the Sossusvlei Dunes…

March 28th 2019  |   Namibia, Travel, Unique Experiences  |  by   Becky Thomson
Beyond the Sossusvlei Dunes... Hoanib Skeleton Camp

Sossusvlei, one of Namibia’s most iconic and striking landscapes, is home to windswept, burnt-red dunes and the bleached white pans of Deadvlei. Framed by a deep blue sky, this spectacular scenery is particularly beautiful at dawn and dusk when the light and contrasting colours are at their most intense.

Sossusvlei scenery, Little Kulala

Sossusvlei scenery, Little Kulala, Wilderness Safaris

Seemingly against the odds, a few desert adapted plants and animals eke out an existence here and it’s a great spot, along with the surrounding Namib Desert, to explore for a couple of days. Among our favourite activities are sunrise balloon trips over the dunes, quad biking at Little Kulala or riding out into the wilderness on horseback from Desert Homestead.

Riding from Desert Homestead, Wilderness Safaris

Riding from Desert Homestead, Wilderness Safaris

Dunes aside, there’s plenty more to entice visitors to this scenically blessed country. Here are some of our top choices:

Damaraland

Damaraland’s remote wilderness is home to an ancient landscape of granite mountains towering over gravel plains dotted with caves. It’s where you will find Twyfelfontein, Namibia’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site, with its ancient San Bushmen rock carvings and paintings. Desert adapted elephant and rhino roam the plains, along with gemsbok and springbok which, in turn, are trailed by the occasional hungry cheetah or lion.

Mowani Mountain Camp nestled amid boulders in the Damaraland landscape, Ultimate Safaris

Mowani Mountain Camp nestled amid boulders in the Damaraland landscape, Ultimate Safaris

Activities include cycling, hot air ballooning, and hiking. Each night the sky turns into a sparkling blanket, dense with the light of millions of stars. Some of our favourite camps here include Camp Kipwe, Mowani Mountain Camp, and Damaraland Camp.

Desert elephant, Damaraland Camp, Wilderness Safaris

Desert elephant, Damaraland Camp Wilderness Safaris

Etosha

Etosha, in northern Namibia, is an unusual national park with a network of well-made roads making it perfectly suited to self-drivers. Parking near a waterhole can offer some excellent wildlife sightings. Etosha does get busy, so for a more exclusive safari we often suggest visiting one of the private reserves bordering the national park. Ongava Tented Camp, in the 30,000-hectare exclusive Ongava Game Reserve, is a wonderful choice with great wildlife viewing on day and night drives as well as the chance to track rhino on foot.

Black rhino and giraffe, Ongava Tented Camp, Ongava Private Game Reserve

Black rhino and giraffe, Ongava Tented Camp  Ongava Private Game Reserve

Swakopmund

Swakopmund is an interesting coastal town, still strongly influenced by its German colonial past. It’s not a typical beach resort but there are plenty of fun activities including speeding through the dunes on quad bikes, surfing down them on a dune board or taking to the sea and kayaking amongst seals in Walvis Bay. Among a handful of great family-run guest houses and B&Bs is Swakopmund Guesthouse, perfectly positioned for all activities.

Comfortable accommodation at Swakopmund Guest House

Comfortable accommodation at Swakopmund Guest House

Skeleton Coast

This stark, desolate and harshly beautiful area of the country is only accessible on a fly-in safari. From remote camps such as Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp and Shipwreck Lodge guests can explore on foot, in 4x4s or via light aircraft where a variety of flora and fauna, shipwrecks, ‘roaring dunes’ as well as the incredible archaeological and geological features unfolds like a patchwork below.

Hoanib Skeleton Coast

Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp, Wilderness Safaris

Life still manages to gain a foothold despite the unforgiving environment, with desert adapted elephant and rare desert lions roaming the landscape.

Exploring the dunes from Shipwreck Lodge

Exploring the dunes from Shipwreck Lodge, Natural Selection

If you’re short on time, then look at the Schoeman’s Skeleton Coast Safari which is a four day fly-in trip. One of Africa’s finest adventures it is an epic way to see some of the best Namibia has to offer.

Beach landing with Schoeman Skeleton Coast Safaris.

Beach landing with Schoeman Skeleton Coast Safaris.

Any questions on beyond the Sossusvlei Dunes?

If you’ve got this far and not found an answer to a question you have that we should have included, please ask in the comments section below, or pop us an email. We’ll be sure to reply and may amend the article to include our answer.

What next?

We would be delighted to help you plan a holiday, or answer any questions if you’re at an earlier stage. Our team of experts have travelled widely throughout Africa. They can offer expert advice on every type of safari from family and beach holidays to riding and primate safaris.  If you would like to talk to someone who has been there and done it, please just send us an email or give us a call.

2 responses to “Beyond the Sossusvlei Dunes…”

  1. Norma Gardner says:

    What would be the best time of year to go to Namibia? We are a family of 5, 3 children in their 20s.

    Many thanks,

    Norma

    • Richard Smith says:

      Apologies for the slow reply.

      How you cope with heat is probably the biggest issue. May and June are cool. It warms up through July to September, but evenings and overnight is still cool. The heat increases again through October and November and in December and January it can be more than 35 degrees centigrade in the middle of the day and still warm overnight. From February to April it cools.

      If you’d like to drive yourselves, I’d probably avoid February to April. If there are rains, which come in these months but are sporadic, they can be localised downpours and the gravel roads aren’t built for them and big sections of road can collapse.

      One of our team will be happy to help if you pop us an email or give us a call.

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