Namibia is a country of superlative adventures. Hope this road trip post we did more than a decade ago across this sparsely populated country sparks your wanderlust!
Why a road trip across Namibia, you may ask?
- View the second largest canyon in the world after the Grand Canyon, USA.
- Home to some of the largest dunes in the world
- A chance to see the white rhinos, some of the last in the world.
- Traipsing across the oldest desert in the world.
- The surreal Deadvlei: the cracked earth has not seen water in a thousand years!
Namibia doesn’t come to mind immediately when you think of your first road trip to the African continent.
I am not quite sure how we came to decide on a 10-day road adventure in this country with the world’s oldest desert, Namib. But the dramatic desert landscapes with red dunes, stunning sky-scapes with thousands of stars, wildlife at Etosha National Park, and endless stretches of wild scenery made it a memorable trip.
Places to visit on a road trip across Namibia
Our 2-week road trip across Namibia with G Adventures started in Cape Town.
We traveled north, first to a picturesque seaside village named Lambert’s Bay. Think white beaches, blue sea, and good seafood.
And then we crossed the border from South Africa into Namibia and settled in for a relaxed day alongside Orange River. After the glamorous Cape Town, Namibia was wilderness at its best.
Fish River Canyon and Sesreim Gorge
From here on, the dramatic landscapes and endless scenery of Namibia began. You could do this road trip by renting a car and driving yourself, but for us, Namibia – a decade ago – seemed like endless stretches of road with not much habitation and we were happy to go for a small group tour.
Our trip to Namibia was much before the majestic wonders of the Grand Canyon. So the first view of Fish River Canyon, Africa’s largest and the world’s second largest was awe-inspiring! The Fish River is 800 kilometers long and thus the longest river in Namibia.
Just before the famous dunes of Sossusvlei, we stopped at another Canyon. Sesreim Canyon is a natural gorge carved millions of years ago. It is roughly about 1km long with a width that ranges between one and three meters wide.
Namib Desert: Sossusvlei and Deadvlei
Now I have been to a couple of desserts – Wahiba Sands in Oman and the Thar desert in Jaisalmer – but there is nothing like the Namib Desert. Namib is one of the most incredible deserts in Africa. The Sossusvlei is the iconic part of the Namib Desert with some of the world’s highest dunes.
It is a rare place where the desert meets the sea. It is also one of the driest destinations on earth. Interestingly Namib gets its water supply from the fog that rolls up on almost 180 days in a year.
We based ourselves in the historical town of Swakopmund. The day was full of adventures: climbing Dune 45 (80 m), although bragging rights belong to the ones who attempt to climb the Big Daddy (325 m)!
We also had fun on a quad bike and sandboarding in the desert.
There are endless adventures to be experienced in the Namib Desert. But the most surreal of them was not an adventure activity. It was the sight of Deadvlei, or ‘dead marsh’.
Imagine walking into a large circular white clay pan, with cracked earth that has not seen water in a thousand years.
The camel thorn trees are a stunning contrast to the white clay pan floor. Deadvlei is a paradise for photographers as the contrast between the pitch-black trees, bleached-white pans, the rusty red dunes, and the deep blue sky make for incredible images.
Etosha National Park
So it had rained just before we went to Etosha National Park. That meant more greenery than what you would normally see at Etosha and it also meant far fewer sightings of wildlife. Still, the array of animals in Etosha made the safaris worthwhile. Etosha National Park is amongst the top wildlife-viewing destinations in Africa.
The wildlife sightings were also very different than the ones that I have encountered in the National Parks in India or Sri Lanka that I have visited.
Our road trip ended in Windhoek, the capital city of Namibia. The vast open landscapes, endless stretches of roads, and outdoor activities have left us with such an incredible, sweet taste of Namibia.
Namibia can be visited throughout the year, though the best season to visit is from June to October. Take your best camera equipment and sense of adventure with you!
Shweta has always been passionate about travel and immersing in new experiences. Having been to over 45 countries, she blogs at Zest In A Tote to bring family-friendly itineraries and tips, destinations, and luxury stays to her readers.