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Namibia

Namibia travel guide

Huge and wonderfully empty, Namibia is the lesser-known star of southern Africa, offering wilderness, wildlife and the world's biggest sand dunes

Namibia is vast – yet, at times, it seems as if nobody else is there. Namibia, a huge nation in southern Africa, has sweeping desert, deep canyons and 1,572km of coastline, but a tiny population to fill it all. This makes a trip to Namibia truly wild – you might not see people, but you will see long-horned oryx amid the dunes, springbok sprinting by the roadside and baboons on the kerb.

Namibia is a spectacular conservation success story – it has the world's largest population of cheetahs, the largest population of black rhinos, and growing numbers of lions. While the famed pans of Etosha National Park (where you can self-drive around waterholes to spot lion, giraffe, elephant and more) are a good bet for wildlife spotting, most of the wildlife is outside of national parks in community conservancies. So successful are these conservancies that rhinos have been translocated out of the national parks and placed in the safekeepng of communities.

But there’s more to Namibia than wildlife: float above the ancient Namib desert in a hot-air balloon, careen down it on a sandboard, trot out to a sundown spot on the back of a trusty steed or simply enjoy the view as you drive by.

Wanderlust recommends

  1. Climb the dunes and search for oryx amid the mighty dunes of Sossusvlei, in the Namib Desert
  2. Trek with mules into the twisting Fish River Canyon, the world’s second-biggest gorge
  3. Head out into the wilderness with Namibia’s Kalahari Bushmen
  4. Drive Namibia’s highlights – plan a circuit to take in Namibia’s best bits, including Etosha National Park, whale-watching off Swakopmund and the desert elephants of Damaraland
  5. Walk with wildlife in little-known Mundulea Wildlife Reserve
  6. Explore the German colonial town of Lüderitz and nearby Kolmanskop, an eerily deserted diamond-mining ghost town

Wanderlust tips

Hire a care with air-conditioning in Namibia – opening the windows not only lets in fresh air but a lot of dust. Don’t drive too fast – Namibia’s roads are often deceptively smooth and it’s tempting to speed, but you can easily lose control on the gravel.

Many local people get around Namibia by hitchhiking: if you feel comfortable doing so, offer someone a lift.

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