From the second largest canyon on Earth to some of the tallest dunes on the planet, from a ghostly diamond town to a colonial piece of Bavaria, wild desert horses and the foggy Skeleton Coast, southern Namibia is one of the most hauntingly beautiful places with an abundance of life. And this wilderness adventure is surprisingly accessible.
Keen to hit the road but not sure where to go?
Windhoek to the Kalahari Desert
Start and end your trip in the German-style capital Windhoek. Head south to the little town of Mariental on the edge of the Kalahari Desert, a seemingly endless sea of red sand and yellow grass, home to wild cheetah, springbok and magnificent Oryx. Late afternoon is the best time for a 4x4 excursion into the desert where you’ll be rewarded with the spectacular African sunset.
Where to stay? Take a look at these incredible places in the Kalahari: Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch, Kalahari Anib Lodge, Camelthorn Kalahari Lodge, Kalahari Red Dunes Lodge, Suricate Kalahari Tented Lodge, Teufelskrallen Tented Lodge.
Kalahari Desert to Fish River Canyon
Drive further south towards Keetmanshoop. On the way you'll pass the photogenic National Quiver Tree Forest, a great place to stretch your legs and ogle the fantastically shaped quiver trees. Grab a bite to eat and fill up with petrol in Keetmanshoop before continuing on to the Fish River Canyon in the Richtersveld National Park.
Fish River Canyon to Aus
Get an early start to see the canyon at sunrise when it’s at its best, bathed with gold and orange hues. A 30-minute drive through the arid moonscape will get you to the canyon's viewpoint. From the Fish River Canyon, it’s a leisurely drive to Aus, home of the wild desert horses.
Aus to Luderitz
The remote harbour town of Luderitz in the Sperrgebiet (prohibited area) is worth the detour. A fun thing to do is go on a cruise along the coast in a wooden sailing boat. Afterwards, continue on to Kolmanskop, Namibia's famous ghost town. Apart from scary looking abandoned prospectors homes covered in sand, foggy weather often rolls in, adding to the ghostly atmosphere.
Where to stay? Find great coastal stays in Luderitz.
Luderitz to NamibRand Nature Reserve
Leaving the canyon and coast behind, head into the scenic desertscape of the NamibRand Nature Reserve. Here you may want to take a breather and stretch you legs on a wonderful three-day hiking trip with Tok Tokkie Trails.
Where to stay? Find your dream spot in NamibRand Nature Reserve.
NamibRand Nature Reserve to Sossusvlei
Ready to take on the Big Daddy? The bright red dunes and smooth pans of Sossusvlei are situated in the Namib-Naukluft Park. Enter the Park at Sesriem. From here, a road runs to Sossusvlei main car park. The last 6 km are only accessible by 4x4 but there is a shuttle service. Take plenty of water, especially if you intend climbing the dunes. The Big Daddy is considered one of the largest dunes in the world.
Sossusvlei to Walvis Bay
Walvis Bay is the largest port offers amazing deep-ocean fishing trips or cruises to spot whales and dolphin and bird watching. Levo Dolphin and Seal Cruises offer four-hour excursions to the bird island, Russian trawlers, Pelican Point and the lagoon.
Where to stay? Find coastal getaways in Walvis Bay.
Walvis Bay to Swakopmund
Cruise into the centre of Swakopmund with its striking Bavarian architecture and German-style coffee shops and experience being in a time warp. Numerous adventure activities on offer in the surrounding desert belie this. For adrenalin junkies and adventurers, this is paradise. Here you can ride the dunes on bikes or boards, cruise and paddle on the sea, or take to the sky in a hot-air balloon or small plane. If you’re an animal lover, head to Cape Cross, a smelly place that is famous for its seal colony. Of course your visit won’t be complete without an ale or two at Swakopmund Brauhaus, the local microbrewery!
Where to stay? Find beach accommodation in Swakopmund.
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