Few people can name anywhere they might want to holiday in Namibia, except perhaps the dunes at Sossusvlei and Etosha’s mighty salt pan. Maybe then the whole country is a secret, and to a degree that’s true.
Despite the fact its currency, the Namibian Dollar, is at parity with South Africa’s Rand, so it offers great value for holders of Sterling or US Dollars, Namibia still gets far fewer visitors than its neighbours, South Africa and Botswana
Not far south of the famous Sossusvlei Valley lined by the famous orange dunes is the Namib-Naukluft National Park with its pastel colours and space as far as the eye can see.
Desert Rhino Camp
The private Palmwag area in remote Damaraland covers over 450,000 hectares of rocky desert landscape. It is home to a surprising number of desert adapted species including the world’s last free roaming rhino. These can be tracked on foot, alongside guides and rangers from the Save The Rhino Trust.
I’m not sure if it’s inspired or insensitive to plan a lodge with rooms that look like shipwrecks on Namibia’s Skeleton Coast. The blinding fog along this coast has led to many ships meeting their end on the rocky shore. The new lodge is due to open in October 2016 and will offer activities in an area of the country many visitors hope to see.
Serra Cafema looks across the Kunene River to Angola, and is one of the most remote camps in Southern Africa. It’s a great base for exploring one of the planet’s driest deserts by Landrover or quad bike.
Ongava has 30,000 hectares of private reserve alongside Etosha National Park and is excellent for wildlife lovers. From this base it is possible to explore the park itself as well as the reserve. Activities which are not possible within the national park, such as walking and night drives, are available in the reserve.
Cheetah are the main draw at Okonjima, the home of the charitable Africat Foundation. Their mission is the rescue and relocation of unwanted or injured cheetah. They also train hand reared cheetah to hunt.
Distances are long in Namibia, but it is possible to explore by vehicle. Some more remote areas are better suited to access using a light aircraft, but whichever way you go you’ll be rewarded with incredible landscapes and unique experiences.
Richard Smith is Operations Director at Aardvark Safaris.
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