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namibia, southern africa

 
Namibia has the world’s most spectacular and varied desert landscapes. Nowhere else do you see desert elephant moving silently through desolately beautiful valleys. No other desert has a Skeleton Coast where great Atlantic waves pound a burning shore littered with shipwrecks where only giant seal colonies and hungry jackals live. Discover the world’s highest dunescapes, Bushmen rock art, remote Himba tribes, the world’s second deepest canyon and the vast Etosha Saltpan where thousands of animals roam.
Namibia is unlike any other African country – unlike any country on the planet. Let Africa Exclusive take you there on a desert adventure of a lifetime. There are two ways to enjoy a Namibia safari either at ground level in a fully equipped four-wheel drive vehicle with your own expert guide, or by hopping in to a series of desert camps and lodges by light aircraft. Either way you are assured a safari holiday unlike any other.

Travelling by vehicle the changing scenery slowly unfolds as orange dunescapes are followed by great gravel plains and dramatic gorges, all explained and interpreted by your guide. Your guide will take you on safari in Etosha, dolphin watching in Walvis Bay, walking along desert trails in Damaraland and sand boarding along the Skeleton Coast. To do this you need to devote around two weeks to explore the country at a sensible pace allowing a highly experienced Namibian guide to introduce you to the wonders of this country.

On a Namibian fly in safari a small plane will take you from one desert scenic wonder to another, to luxury safari lodges like Kulala Desert Lodge near Sossussvlei to Doro Nawas in the remote mountains of Damaraland and Serra Cafema which sits in a little oasis beside the Kunene River. The ultimate fly in safari is to the Skeleton Coast National Park where you spend four days in one of the remotest places on the planet. This is a land of multicoloured wind sculpted dunes, of desert adapted wildlife, giant clay castles and hundreds of miles of hauntingly desolate shoreline where shipwrecked mariners knew they had no hope of survival.
Namibia
Namibia
 
Think that Namibia is just a desert? Think again. Yes, Sossusvlei has the tallest dunes in the world, but you can combine them with Etosha’s salt pans, rhino tracking in Damaraland, and balloon rides and whale watching on the Skeleton Coast.
 
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seals in water namibia by Sandra Hoever istock
 
In the early parts of the year some areas of Namibia receive sparse rainfall and become particularly stark and beautiful. The haunting Skeleton Coast stretches along the Atlantic Ocean, once littered with whale bones. Land is dry but not barren, supporting plants, insects, and birds. Inland are the dramatic deserts of Damaraland home to desert-adapted rhino and elephant, neither of which the least bit concerned by the shortage of water.
seals in water namibia by Sandra Hoever istock
 
Namibia is at its most beautiful as the arrival of the rains brings the landscape to life. Vegetation flourishes and animals once again can feast. Take the chance to see as much of the country as possible whilst it’s in this glorious state. Consider overlanding for two weeks across Sossussvlei, Swakopmund, and Etosha. If you’ve an appetite for hiking, the walking trails of Damaraland are equally sublime.
 
Namibia is starting to become dry once again, but this means game viewing conditions are excellent. Head for Etosha as herds of elephant, zebra, and giraffe concentrate around increasingly sparse waterholes. In Damaraland see desert elephant and rhino that have adapted to their dry environment. We recommend this time of year for exploring Fish River Canyon: Namibia’s winter is cool enough to make hiking in the canyon a pleasurable experience.
 
Summer is well on its way and parts of the country heat up. The Skeleton Coast is an exception, however, as the weather barely changes year round. Hot-air balloon rides give a whole new perspective on the area. Combine a flight over this rugged landscape with superb game viewing in the wildlife conservancies. Zebra, elephant, oryx, and wildebeest are present in great numbers and spotting cheetah is likely too.
 
Namibia’s Himba people have walked the sands of northern Namibia for at least 6,000 years. We know this as their rock art at Twyfelfontein attests to their presence, their creativity, and their desire to make their mark on the landscape. The Himba are pastoralists, hunter gatherers, and one of the last nomadic populations in west Africa. To witness their culture and share in their way of life is inspiring.
 
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Etosha stretches across northwestern Namibia, centring on the Etosha National Park but including a number of superb private reserves. It’s in this diverse landscape, which varies from salt pans to grasslands and dolomite hills, that you can have the richest safari experience in Namibia, spotting significant numbers of African elephant, Angolan giraffe, Southwest African lion, and leopard. White rhino have been reintroduced, and black rhino numbers are steady.
 
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With vast and dramatic desert landscapes, Namibia offers its visitors superb hiking opportunities surrounded by some of the world’s most magnificent scenery. Whether you want to enjoy a more traditional safari adventure with a few days of gentle walking or spend a several weeks hiking challenging trails with a specialist guide, we can design an itinerary to perfectly suit your requirements.
 
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For 30 years the Schoeman family has been synonymous with the Skeleton Coast. First Louw Schoeman and subsequently his sons Bertus and Andre have personally flown their guests on exciting four day small plane safaris from Windhoek along the Skeleton Coast to the Kunene River on the Angolan border.
 
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Deserts are rarely empty: you just need to know what you’re looking for. In Namibia’s Kalahari and Namib Deserts, the landscapes change from salt pans to soaring dunes. Desert adapted mammals include the Kalahari lion, meerkat, gemsbok, baboon, and oryx. Here too you’ll meet San bushmen, some still living in traditional ways. Listen to them speak and they will share with you their age-old wisdom of the desert.
 
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The term 'awe inspiring' is overused. But when you step off a charter flight in Namibia, arriving at a remote airstrip in the desert, we expect that it will take your breath away. Part of it is the scale and the beauty of the landscape, and the sense that you are so far from civilisation, but it is also the sudden, often unexpected realisation of how tiny you are in the world.
 
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Nothing prepares you for the experience of standing on the Skeleton Coast. Atlantic breakers foaming with plankton crash against the shore. Sometimes it’s shrouded in fog. This has caused countless shipwrecks, but in a place where it never rains the condensing water droplets sustain fragile plants and creatures. The shoreline is littered with planking, whalebones and massive seal colonies surrounded by jackals.
 
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