Namibia is one of a kind. Charismatic, spacious and serene, its desert landscapes set it apart from Africa’s other safari destinations, and its largely empty roads are satisfyingly easy to navigate. With practically no rain between May and December, and precious little at other times, it’s natural to assume that wildlife would be scarce – so you may be surprised to discover how regularly scurrying ostriches and stately, desert-adapted giraffes, oryx and elephants appear in the shimmering haze.
The ochre-coloured sands and timeworn camelthorn trees of Namib-Naukluft National Park make it one of Africa’s most photogenic destinations, and there’s fun to be had here, too: drift over the mighty dunes in a hot air balloon or run down a dune just for the thrill of it. The raw drama continues as you head up the windswept Atlantic coast north into the Erongo and Kunene regions, where you can track black rhinos and dip into Herero and Himba culture.
Etosha is easily one of the world’s finest places to watch wildlife. You might spot milling congregations of elephants as well as giraffes, zebras, antelopes and lions at Etosha Pan, an ancient lake bed so huge that it’s visible from space. Before returning to Windhoek, you could drop in at one of Namibia’s top predator conservation projects to encounter cheetahs or leopards at close range.