The vast, arid, sparsely populated country on the South West coast of Southern Africa. Here lies the earth’s most ancient desert, with some of the highest dunes in the world, silent and hauntingly beautiful, the Namib desert. Windhoek, the capital, is a charming city famed for its German Colonial buildings. – While to the north sprawls the great alluvial plains of the Etosha Pan. Here the desert elephant still trek across the arid vastness and the graceful springbok fears the Bushman’s primitive arrows. A land of devastating beauty.
Namibia is a country of open spaces and great contrasts. It is set between 2 deserts, the Namib in the west and the Kalahari in the east.
The country only gained its independence in 1990, but one can still clearly see a German and European influence as well as the African traditions. Namibia is slowly becoming the popular African destination to visit due to the uniqueness and variety of its regions.
The Namib Desert is reputed to be one of the driest places on earth and yet it is home to a huge array of fauna and flora. This is due to the fact that when the desert landscape meets the Atlantic Ocean and its cold current, a fog is created in the early morning that sustains the abundance of life found there.
Namibia is home to the world’s tallest dunes, which can be found in the Namib Naukluft Park. The Namib is home to miles of beautiful red and yellow sand dunes, vast plains, rugged canyons of volcanic rock and distant mountain ranges. Common game includes Giraffe, Oryx, Mountain Zebra, and Ostrich.
The Skeleton Coast along the western boundary got its name from the many shipping disasters which occurred along the coastline. The remains of these shipwrecks can still be seen while exploring its beaches. The area offers fantastic scenery, large seal colonies, rolling sand dunes, large deserted plains and huge canyons. It is also home to a unique species of plant knows as the Welwitschia which has a lifespan of over 1000 years. Common but unique game sightings here include the regional Black-Faced Impala, Brown Hyena, and “oversized” Black-backed Jackals. Many of these animals are seen on the beaches, making for very interesting photography. Lions and Cheetahs are also seen on occasion. This region is home to the nomadic Himba people and visits to their villages are a specialty.
Swakopmund is one of the popular tourist destinations due to the adventure activities that include quad biking, sand skiing and sand boarding. For the slightly less energetic there are desert dinners and dolphin viewing by boat.
The Damaraland region is home to populations of the rare Desert Elephant, Oryx, Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra as well as the endangered Black Rhinoceros. The region also offers rock paintings and a petrified forest.
Probably the most well known and frequently visited region is Etosha National Park in the North, one of Africa’s largest Parks which is home to Elephant, Lion, Cheetah, Leopard and Rhino. Large herds of Wildebeest, Zebra and Springbok can also be seen here.
Photo Credits: Gillian Maskell