To holiday in Namibia’s parks and reserves is to experience nature in the raw, so to speak. The countrycan be a harsh, unforgiving land, yet at the same time spectacular, very special.On safari here you can’t help but be struck by the ancient nature of the place and the resilience of the creatures that survive in it.
At the heart of the famous Etosha National Park is a giant salt pan, home to the Big Five and hundreds of other species on both four legs and two, whereas the Namib is the oldest desert in the world and the only one in which elephants, lions, giraffes and rhinos live. There is said to be more than 1000 shipwrecks along the desert’sSkeleton Coast, and it’s also in the Namib that you’ll find Sossusvlei, a clay pan surrounded by huge red and orange sand dunes – some reaching a height of 300 metres.
Towards the south of the country is the 85-kilometre long, 550-metre deep Fish River Canyon. The Spitskoppe mountain is a magnet for both photographers and mountaineers. And then there’s the ghost town of Kolmanskop, gradually succumbing to the invading dessert sand, and Lüderitz, a 19th century Bavarian village with desolate beaches that support seals and penguins as well as flamingos and ostriches.
Destination specialists African Encounters are tour operators whose experience is invaluable in guiding visitors in their accommodation choices. For example, the Sossusvlei Lodge gets a thumbs up in part because of its adventure centre which offers eco-quad biking and a bird’s eye view of the area from a light aeroplane or hot-air balloon.
Scenic flights are also offered at the Wolwedans Dune Lodge, Dune Camp(on the edge of a huge sand dune) and Private Camp in the NamibRand Nature Reserve. In addition, the management are keen to provide guests with the opportunity to sleep out in the open under the stars should they wish to get really close to nature.
When it comes to Etosha, the Etosha Safari Lodge and self-catering Etosha Safari Camp get the nod together with the Taleni Etosha Village. In the Gondwana Canyon Park near to the Fish River Canyon, the Canon Lodge, Canon Mountain Camp (self-catering) and Canon Roadhouse are recommended, whereas the Namib Desert Lodge is recommended in the Gondwana Namib Park.