Exploring the deserts in Namibia

This planet of ours is home to some truly breathtaking landscapes and chief among them are the deserts of Namibia. However the beauty of this region is not a welcoming one. It is a harsh landscape, beaten into form by the very earth and hostile to life. The region has an intoxicating allure to travellers with a taste for the wild and dramatic. Those who would venture there should best be prepared for the adventure of a lifetime.

Why explore the deserts in Namibia

deserts in Namibia: The Atlantinc Ocean clashes with the desert of Namibia. Photo by nationalparktraveler.org

The Atlantinc Ocean clashes with the desert of Namibia. Photo by nationalparktraveler.org

Namibia is made up of four primary geographic regions, each with their own flair and appeal to the adventure tourist. Chief among them is the Namib Desert that runs along the coastline. To say that this region is a spectacular sight is to put it mildly. A uniquely dramatic landscape, its form can be attributed to two forces of nature coming into conflict. The frigid ocean waters from the Antarctic meet with the arid African desert which creates large stretches of fog. Massive sand dunes, the tallest in the world, created by waves line the coast and the desert often runs right into the sea.

What to do in the desert

Sossusvlei Experience

deserts in Namibia: Massive sand dunes make for challenging hiking. Photo by Manuel ROMARIS, Flickr

Massive sand dunes make for challenging hiking. Photo by Manuel ROMARIS, Flickr

The best way to experience the drama of the Namib Desert is to get out and feel the wind and sand blast your face. This three day tour departs from the city of Windhoek to trek the dunes. You’ll be pitching tents and camping with fellow travellers but the experience is well worth the effort. The circuit will take you through the desert and the Naukft mountain range. For more info, visit World Expeditions.com.

MORE: CHOOSING THE BEST SAFARI IN KENYA

Fish River Canyon

deserts in Namibia: Treking up the side of a dune. Photo by pichost.me

Treking up the side of a dune. Photo by pichost.me

Possibly even more hardcore than the previous tour, hiking through Fish River Canyon is a full on but rewarding trek. The hike itself stretches out to 85kms in total and takes days to complete with 7 or 8 hours of hiking a day. The trail is only available from May to Mid-September, during the dry season. To book a spot, contact Namibia Wildlife Resorts.

Paragliding

Deserts in Nambia: Paragliding over the Namib Desert. Photo by, Business Insider

Paragliding over the Namib Desert. Photo by Business Insider

The massive dunes of the Namib Desert make for a spectacular sight from the air, and they are also a rather soft landing spot. Tours usually run from September to the end of March.

Sandboarding

deserts in Namibia: Picking up some serious speed sandboarding. Photo by Klaus Brandstaetter

Picking up some serious speed sandboarding. Photo by Klaus Brandstaetter

Another desert activity, the sand dunes don’t seem as exhausting an obstacle while you’re zooming down them at speed. This is an intense and adrenaline pumping activity with varying levels of difficulty. Experienced dare devils can even try tackling the terrible twin dunes, Lizzie and Dizzie, where speeds of 80kph can be reached. Just watch out for falls, or you’re in for one nasty case of gravel rash.

Where to stay in Namibia

Belvedere Boutique Hotel

deserts in Namibia: Belvedere Boutique Hotel. Photo by TripAdvisor

Belvedere Boutique Hotel. Photo by TripAdvisor

You’ll need a place to stay for your trek into the desert and the Belvedere is one of the best sources of accommodation in Windhoek.

Canyon Lodge

deserts in Namibia: The Canyon Lodge Hotel. Photo by gondwana collection.com

The Canyon Lodge Hotel. Photo by gondwana collection.com

Located in Gondwana Canyon Park this site is the perfect base to recover from any activities through Fish River Canyon. The luxurious facilities offer a contrast from the harshness of the canyon and all of the huts have a unique and interesting design to them.

Bahnhof Hotel Aus

deserts in Namibia: The Bahnhof Hotel Aus. Photo by, wildafricatravel.com

The Bahnhof Hotel Aus. Photo by wildafricatravel.com

Originally built in 1906, the Aus was recently refurbished in 2005 and offers modest accommodation for the weary traveller. Located 123km from the coastal city of Luederitz, it makes a good base for exploring the coast or further inland.

  • http://facebook.com/profile.php?id=1247051659 Ryan Biddulph

    Jaw-dropping photos Matthew. So clear in the desert. Thanks!