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.
Namibia is unrivalled in its diversity. With the Skeleton Coast littered with shipwrecks and whale bones, towering dunescapes which invite quad bike adventures, the vast Etosha salt pan, dramatic Fish River Canyon, and beguiling places such as Damaraland, you can have a plethora of unique experiences in a single trip. Though the distances between the different attractions can be long, there is an excellent patchwork of airstrips so you can hop from one camp to the next by light aircraft, appreciating the scale and majesty of the desert from the air as you fly.
In the Namib Desert, you can’t do better than to stay at andBeyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge. This jaw dropping, architect designed property is a masterful creation of stone and glass, where each villa is oriented so you can admire the vastness of the desert. Dunes and rugged mountains shape the horizon, and you can explore the wilderness with all manner of activities. Scenic journeys take place in 4x4 vehicles, you can drive your own off-road motorbike across the dunes, and venture deep into Sesriem Canyon on foot or by jeep. The camp has its own sophisticated astronomic observatory, so be sure to plan some romantic stargazing once the sun goes down.
Elsewhere in Namibia’s deserts it is the wildlife which grabs our attention. Hoanib Valley Camp has been built as a joint venture with local communities and the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, and you have opportunities to track not only the desert adapted giraffe but elephant and endangered rhino, too. Newly opened Shipwreck Lodge overlooks the Skeleton Coast where the birdlife is prolific, and there are also large colonies of Cape fur seal. On land, look out for the brown hyena, the lion, and baboon. 4x4s are always at your disposal, and nothing beats driving to the top of a sand dune for a sundowner drink as the golden orb of the sun sinks below the horizon.