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Travelling Namibia’s quiet desert roads between its famous dunes and Atlantic coastline is an unbeatable road trip, taking in a surprising range of terrain. From the Namib Desert’s towering dunes and sense of space to the Skeleton Coast’s miles of empty beaches, the country offers Africa’s greatest mix of desert landscapes. Then there is the central plateau, with its thorn bush savannah and rugged mountains, rising abruptly from the plains. This gives way in the south to the majestic Fish River Canyon, which leads to the great Orange River flowing through the mountain desert of /Ai/Ais-Richtersveld Transfronteir Park. In the north of Namibia, landscapes range from the open plains of the great Etosha Pan, to woodland savannah and lush vegetation. While Namibia’s awe-inspiring wildernesses attract attention, they also provide a canvas for a range of experiences - including Swakopmund’s extreme sports, Lüderitz’s German architecture, and fascinating local peoples including the Herero and Himba.

Namibia shares borders with Angola to the north, Botswana to the east, South Africa to the south and - in the Caprivi Strip, a narrow panhandle of Namibian territory jutting from the northeast corner of the country - with Zambia and Zimbabwe. Namibia is a peaceful country, which is economically prosperous as a result of its mining, fishing, tourism and agricultural industries.

Essential info

CAPITAL: Windhoek
AIRPORTS: Hosea Kutako International Airport, 42km east of Windhoek; Eros Airport, Windhoek; Katima Mulilo Airport, Caprivi Strip; Keetmanshoop Airport, Southern Namibia; Lüderitz Airport; Ondangwa Airport, Northern Namibia; Rundu Airport, Northern Namibia; Walvis Bay Airport
AREA: 824292km²; 68% the size of South Africa, slightly smaller than Venezuela
POPULATION: 2.21 million
LANGUAGES: Owambo, Kavango, Herero, Caprivian languages, Khoisan languages, Afrikaans, English, German, Portuguese
CURRENCY: Namibian dollar (N$), divided into 100 cents. Fixed to the rand, which is accepted throughout Namibia

Top experiences

  • Seeing big cats, elephants, giraffes and endangered black rhinos and black-faced impalas in the vast saline pan of Etosha National Park
  • Tackling the multiday hike through the wilderness of the immense Fish River Canyon
  • Starting a day in the desert atop the unique, colour-changing dune system of Sossusvlei
  • Swakopmund, the adrenaline-pumping activities centre between the Atlantic and the Namib Desert, offering everything from sandboarding to skydiving
  • Venturing into the remote wilderness of the Skeleton Coast, where 4WD tracks lead through the desert to fog-shrouded, shipwreck-dotted beaches
  • Meeting the Damara people and ochre-haired Himba in their desert homes of Damaraland and the Kaokoveld
  • Exploring the sand-filled houses at the ghostly abandoned mining town of Kolmanskop, near German-influenced Lüderitz

Did you know?

The Namib Desert is the world’s oldest, having existed for around 43 million years. Covering western Namibia, and sprawling across the border to southern Angola and South Africa’s Northern Cape province, the desert includes dune types from coastal crescent-shaped dunes to Sossusvlei’s towering horseshoe of sand. The Namib Desert has remained more or less unchanged for the last two million years. The rock art of Brandberg and Twylfontein shows the presence here of early San hunters in the Stone Age.

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