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.
Namibia might well be the country for which the term 'great outdoors' was coined. Unless you see it firsthand, you will never quite grasp the scale of the landscape, how it warps your sense of perspective, and how it fills you with an unending sense of wonder. However far you travel, and however much you manage to see, you will constantly find yourself asking what is over that next dune, hillock, or rocky mountain peak. The only way to make such discoveries is to jump into a plane or into the seat of a 4x4 and set off towards the horizon.
There is an underappreciated drama to the desert, whether you are looking at the expansive salt pans of Etosha or the world’s highest sand dunes in Sossusvlei. It is a landscape which is forever shifting in shape, and when the light changes it looks different again. Imagine yourself sat atop a dune watching the long shadows at dusk, then fixing your eyes on the pink-orange-gold of the sun as it steadily sinks out of view. Take the time to reflect on the beauty of this natural daily wonder, and the privilege of being able to experience it with no one else around.
Namibia’s Skeleton Coast is wildly different, and not just because of the presence of water. The local Bushmen call this 'the land God made in anger', and when you listen to the noise as the waves of the Atlantic Ocean crash up against the rock, it certainly sounds like fury. Rusting ship hulls lie broken on the sands, strangely similar to the rib cages of whale which are often scattered nearby. It’s a rugged, harsh landscape, especially when a storm blows in, but it has its own undeniable beauty, especially on a warm summer’s evening.