Top Experiences – Namibia
This desert country of spectacular landscapes and unique culture is home to more wildlife than you might imagine. It’s grabbed a fair few headlines in the travel press over the last year or so with some spectacular lodge openings. All the more reason to go and explore. Here are some of our team’s best bits.
Francis – Seeing desert elephant living in the most extraordinary landscapes
Elephants need a lot of water and a lot of food, neither of which are in ready supply in the desert. I’m in Namibia, reading a book in the shade of my tent verandah which has a spectacular view of a moonlike landscape, blasted mountains, rubble strewn hillsides, a rocky dry river valley, and the occasional small tree or shrub. So why has an elephant just walked past? I’m not dreaming, but I am in Damaraland in Namibia which has a healthy population of elephant. These individuals have adapted to their harsh desert environment, learning where the sparse food and water sources are, and have developed longer legs to help them travel faster. Seen from the ground or from the air, the sight of a giant in this barren landscape is spectacular, and another facet to a beguiling and endlessly fascinating country.
Alice – Schoeman Flying Safari
Sliding down sand dunes in an ancient Land Rover, flying over the Kunene River – a thin thread of life in an apparently barren expanse of rugged mountain, plane landings on impossible beach strips, and mind boggling scenery are just some of the hallmarks of a Schoeman Skeleton Coast Safari. It’s probably Africa’s best adventure.
Richard – Listening to people talking over 100m away in the natural auditorium of Dead Vlei
In the golden light of the early morning we’d hiked across some fairly soft sand before we stood on the salty crust of Dead Vlei. As there was no one within at least 100m I was a bit confused to be able to hear voices, until I realised the tall dunes surrounding us created a natural amphitheatre and I could listen in to a conversation between two people high above me silhouetted against the lightening sky. Odd and thrilling at the same time.
Charlotte – Exploring the Namib Rand from Wolwedans
The exquisite beauty of the arid scenery here is punctuated by a band of hardy desert dwellers including oryx, ostrich and zebra. The occasional tinge of green along with a surprising variety flora just adds another layer to the breathtaking scenery.
Francis – Tracking desert dwelling black rhino
We’re out in the desert on foot, walking carefully across one of the driest places on the planet, a barren rocky landscape dotted with occasional large weird-looking euphorbia bushes, some of which are as big as a car. Everyone knows euphorbia is poisonous, but no one told the black rhino that’s just appeared from behind one of them… he is a fatty, in better condition than any I’ve seen in more fertile habitats. It’s a slightly mind bending experience, seeing something that reason says shouldn’t be here looking fat from eating something so that should kill it…but all part of what makes Namibia one of Africa’s finest destinations.
Jess – Watching a hyena taking a bath in Etosha National Park
We were on a self-drive and had made it all the way from the east to west of the park, and decided to take a break by a waterhole to see if anything turned up. We were mid-conversation, nothing having happened in the half hour we’d been sitting there, when a hyena sauntered up to the waterhole and casually hopped in and lay on its back, scratching itself against the side and bobbing under the surface. It was the first moment I really connected with hyenas and began to think more critically about our generally negative perception of the species.
Francis – Quad biking in the dunes
I’m not really a petrol head, but occasionally I enjoy a bit of speed. Quad bikes have a light foot print, ample power and are easy to ride, and it’s so much easier getting to the top of a dune with one than by walking. There’s a tingly thrill from the surge of power driving you up the slope, and also from the moment when you go over the top and begin your descent. Quads are also good for exploring the desert itself, and allow you access to places which are too far away on foot.
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.
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.