ROMANCE AND LUXURY IN THE NAMIBIAN DESERT
Namibia gets its name from the Namib Desert, a 10 million acre expanse of mostly mountainous terrain, broken up by majestic belts of impossibly red dunes. The Namib also borders the Atlantic Ocean, and forms a far-reaching stretch of misty, mysterious coastline marked by remnants of fossils, shipwrecks, nomadic lions, seal colonies and colonial-era ghost towns. Start by exploring the Skeleton Coast, and soak up the history and folklore surrounding one of Africa’s most treacherous seascapes. Then journey inland to experience the diverse desert wildlife, stunning landscapes and traditional nomadic tribal culture of the magnificent Namib.
WHAT WE LOVE
- Flying Safaris: By far the best way to traverse Namibia and appreciate its incredibly diverse topography is by air. Small planes fly at low altitude, affording amazing views of the iridescent red desert dunes, the mysterious moon landscape created by the Ugab rock formations, and the shipwrecks and seal colonies that line the Skeleton Coast.
- Hiking & Quad Biking: To get a closer sense of the majestic size and scope of the dunes, try to tackle a climb. The dunes can reach close to 1000 feet, but no worries if you don’t feel up to the task. It’s just as much fun to soak up the scarlet-hued scenery from the seat of a quad bike.
- Hot Air Balloon Rides: There's no better way to appreciate Sossusvlei—one of the most fascinating landscapes in all of Africa—than from the depths of the sky, riding in a hot air balloon at sunrise. Float gently past gigantic orange dunes, undulating plains and rocky granite mountains, and watch as the interplay of light and shadow creates a kaleidoscope of colors and shapes. Witnessing such spectacular scenery from the deafening silence of a hot air bound balloon is an experience not soon forgotten.
- Get Hands on With a Dinosaur: Desert Rhino Camp occupies a minimalist million-acre stretch of rocky hills, grassy plains and scrubby vegetation, and is also home to the largest free roaming black rhino population in Africa. Desert Rhino Camp operates in collaboration with Save the Rhino Trust (SRT), an organization that has been instrumental in preserving this extremely rare and endangered species. The Camp offers a variety of interactive activities and experiences to engage with the Rhinos – from tracking them on foot to following the herd on a quad bike – and all exploration takes place within one of the most unique ecosystems on the continent.
- Big Cats Conservation: Visit the Okonjima Nature Preserve, home to the outstanding Africat Foundation, to track the big cats, and then some. Africat has been offering wildlife conservation and educational experiences for more than two decades, and at Okonjima you can safely track leopards, hyenas, rehabilitated cheetahs and wild dogs on foot or by car. Okonjima also offers special nocturnal drives to catch the wildlife after hours, hanging out in their natural habitat.
- Herding with Nomadic Tribes: Venture into the scenic Hoarusib Valley to herd cattle and sheep with settlements of the desert-dwelling Himba Tribe, one of the oldest and most remote nomadic communities in Africa. The Himba here still live according to traditional tribal norms, and adorn themselves in body paint, jewelry and extravagant head dresses constructed from the region’s signature red desert clay. The Himba also live without electricity, so participate in a Luci Solar Light Drop—one of Epic Road’s most special signature experiences—and give the gift of light to a community in need.
- Boating on the Kunene River: Go bird watching on the Kunene River, which flows along Namibia’s western border with Angola. Observe indigenous desert aquatic species in their natural habitat – and maybe even meet a crocodile or two.
- Track Lions: The super adventurous can join an expedition with legendary scientist and wildlife conservationist Dr. Philip Stander as he tracks desert-adapted rogue lions on foot through their natural habitat. The beauty of this itinerary is that there is none: Lions are lords of their environments, and the animals set the pace. Tracking takes place day or night—wherever it is the pride may roam—and the distance they can cover is vast. But the privilege of observing the discreet beast in its very own lair, and to participate first-hand in the work of one of the world’s most respected conservations, is unprecedented.
REST & REJUVENATE
After a full day of adventure, hiking and wildlife tracking, a little relaxation is in order. Luxury lodging in Namibia often consists of fully equipped private camps, many of which offer guests a second option of sleeping in high comfort outdoors, surrounded by gorgeous natural landscape, under a star-filled African sky – the ultimate recipe for romance.
- Serra Cafema: One of the most remote camps in all of Africa, Serra Cafema is located in the extreme northwest corner of Namibia, on a lush stretch of the Kunene River bordering Angola. Serra Cafema is an ultra oasis in the midst of an otherwise rugged desert landscape, and the majesty of the surrounding mountain range—from which the camp gets its name—underscores its sense of intimacy and isolation. Serra Cafema is reachable only by light aircraft, and the peace and utter sense of calm guests experience upon arrival makes the trip more than worth it.
- Little Kuala: One of the most beautiful spots to stay in Namibia, due to its high organic design, understated, and undeniably romantic setting. Situated on the Kuala Wilderness Reserve, considered the gateway to the Namib’s “Sand Sea”, Little Kuala consists of 11 climate-controlled thatched villas, nestled into the natural desert landscape, each with an open Starbed on the rooftop—in addition to the master bed inside your villa—that allows for expansive stargazing well into the night: serene elegance under the painted starry sky.
- Rhino Desert Lodge: After a day spent tracking pre-historic beasts, Rhino Desert Camp offers high-end accommodation at a tented lodge that opens up onto panoramic vistas of the beautifully stark desert landscape. Guests have access to a fully equipped shared lounge, and evening meals are taken collectively around the fire pit, allowing for relaxed socializing and swapping of stories about the day’s adventures in the desert.
- Hoanib Skeleton Coast: A gorgeous property only accessible by light aircraft and featuring just 8 suites, the Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp is African exclusivity and remoteness at its best. This open-aired property creates the simultaneous sensation of indoor luxury and outdoor splendor. Relax from your stylish bedroom and shaded outdoor deck and revel in the scenic beauty, flanked to the east and west by rugged hills and located at the intersection of two tributaries of the Hoanib River, the camp looks out over a stunning landscape. This vast landscape offers unparalleled views of Namibia's distinctive desert-adapted wildlife, unexpected oases and huge sand dunes. You will, without a doubt, see elephants, giraffes, lions, springbok and countless seal colonies - an extraordinary experience to remember.
WHAT TO KNOW
- There really is no bad time of year to visit Namibia. The country is primarily desert, and as a result there is little to no rainfall year to year. The exception is the northernmost regions along the Kunene River, which has a light to average rainy season from December through March. For the most part, however, the climate is classic desert: dry and hot during the day, much cooler at night, and becoming more temperate the closer you get to the coast.
- Namibia does not require a visa for most travelers who are staying less than 90 days, but we recommend checking the Namibia High Commission website for more detailed information.
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