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Namibia’s Best Hikes

 
Namibia’s is a landscape made for walking. Yes, there are great expanses of desert, but even that is never empty, never dull. The world’s highest sand dunes give way to salt pans, and then to dry mountain vistas. Along the western shore, the blue of the Atlantic Ocean meet the fine golden coloured sand of the Skeleton Coast. On foot you are able to appreciate even the subtlest changes in nature’s colour scheme, in the undulation of the terrain, and to feel the breezes on your face. It’s also one of the best ways to appreciate the plants and wildlife; without the noise of an engine, you can often get remarkably close.
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.
Local boys fishing Namibia's Fish River Canyon
Local boys fishing Namibia's Fish River Canyon
 
Perhaps Namibia's best known hiking route is the Fish River Canyon, the second largest canyon in the world, where you can spend anything from two to five days. Carved by the once mighty Fish River, the canyon is a maze of twisting gorges and impressive rock formations. Due to high temperatures it can only be explored between May and September, either as part of a group or privately. We would recommend that you take a specialist hiking guide who will be able to set up camps and carry supplies along the way.

Where to Stay:

Along with fascinating and spectacular hiking trails, Fish River Lodge is also the only lodge that has 4×4 access into the heart of the canyon. Experienced guides will show you the varied, unique geological features as you journey into the depths of the rift where you can enjoy lunch at the permanent rock pools — perfect for a swim during warmer days. Late afternoon you may visit scenic viewing locations along the canyon rim from where you can enjoy sundowners as the sinking sun reveals a kaleidoscope of glowing colours across the landscape.
Couple taking selfie on Namibia sand dune
Couple taking selfie on Namibia sand dune
 
The Namib Desert is a coastal desert, and a large part of it is within the Namib National Park, the largest game reserve in Africa. Centre your walks on Sossusvlei, where the red sand dunes are surrounded by salt pans, creating a fascinating landscape. Underground rivers feed a surprising amount of vegetation, and consequently there’s a food source for small animals and birds, plus some larger creatures such as antelope. In the sand it is easy to spot the footprints of jackal, springbok, and ostrich, and the animals themselves stand out, too.

Where to Stay:

There can be few more idyllic places to stay in Namibia than at Sossusvlei Desert Lodge — an oasis overlooking the dunes — so base yourself here. After a long day of hiking, and taking in the beauty of the desert, come back to this luxurious lodge to completely relax with a swim in the pool or an in room massage.
Sunset over shipwreck lodge on Namibia's Skeleton Coast
Sunset over shipwreck lodge on Namibia's Skeleton Coast
 
The Skeleton Coast is a graveyard to hundreds of grounded ships, tossed by the Atlantic onto the beaches and rocks. The shipwrecks are interspersed with the bones of whale which have also washed ashore, and tree trunks bleached white by the sand and the salt of the sea. Local people call this place “The Land God Made In Anger”. But though there is a harshness to this landscape, there is also a spectacular, wild beauty.

Where to Stay:

The Skeleton Coast National Park is the least visiting park in Namibia, so you might well have miles and miles of rugged coastline to yourself. Led by a guide, you can scramble where no vehicle can go to watch the pods of whale off the coast or the colonies of fur seal resting on the rocks. There are plenty of seabirds here, too, and if you stay at the newly opened Shipwreck Lodge — its design inspired by that of a shipwreck — the view from your deck will be straight towards the ocean.
Diverse wildlife around waterhole in etosha including ostrich, springbok, oryx, giraffe and zebra
Diverse wildlife around waterhole in etosha including ostrich, springbok, oryx, giraffe and zebra
 
Namibia’s best wildlife viewing opportunities are concentrated in and around the Etosha National Park. For most of the year, the land is dry and cracked, however when the rain season arrives, the whole place transforms beyond belief into a luscious, green paradise.

Where to Stay:

At Africa Exclusive we’re particularly fond of the private game reserves surrounding the park. They tend to be quieter, offering a more intimate safari experience, and the walking guides are particularly good. Little Ongava — the most exclusive small lodge in Namibia — is a particular favourite. The reserve itself covers 66,000 acres, but you also have easy access to the national park, so you get the best of both worlds. The birding on foot is superb, and you can also expect to see black and white rhino, rare black faced impala, and even an occasional lion.
Hikers with guide from Etendeka Mountain Camp in Damaraland
Hikers with guide from Etendeka Mountain Camp in Damaraland
 
The flat-topped grey mountains of Damaraland provide an interesting contrast where you can take fascinating mountain hikes. At the end of each day you’ll arrive at a beautiful tented camp tucked carefully into a rocky kopje. You’ll spend the evening here enjoying delicious cuisine and breathtaking views before retiring to a comfortable bed for the night.

Where to Stay

Etendeka Mountain Camp was founded over 25 years ago in partnership with the local Omantendeka and Anabeb communities. Many of your guides are expert naturalists from local villages, who will share with you their incredible passion for the natural world they call home. The camp offers a unique, pristine wilderness experience which will appeal to the photographer, naturalist, astronomer and geologist alike, as well as trailblazers who love peace, quiet and open space.
Man and son enjoying game drive lunch break in canyon on Skeleton Coast
Man and son enjoying game drive lunch break in canyon on Skeleton Coast
 
Namibia’s a great destination for walkers because of the variety of terrains it offers. You can take an easy half day hike from your lodge to spot birds and small mammals, or commit to something longer and more strenuous, perhaps that includes a night or two of fly camping to really make the most of the experience.

Whatever your interest or level of fitness, our travel designers will create for you a bespoke itinerary that really shows Namibia at its best. Call us on 01604 628979 to start planning your desert adventure in Namibia.
 
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Walking sand dunes at Soussusvlei Desert Lodge, Namibia.
Walking sand dunes at Soussusvlei Desert Lodge, Namibia.
 
For some, it is the intoxicating allure of open spaces that first beckons them to Africa. It’s that vast sense of freedom that draws them back, time and again. At some basal level, there is a comfort in endless grassy savannahs — a primal connection to our ancient, nomadic lifestyle. Nowhere embodies this sense of scale or primitive awe like Namibia. Here semi-arid grass oceans are dissected by towering apricot sand dunes and lunar-like salt pans. The scale of these desertscapes is matched only by the star-studded sky that blankets the scorched earth each night.
 
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