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
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
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.
Fish River Canyon
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.