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5 top reasons to discover Namibia

Namibia is Africa’s lesser-known jewel of a destination

While Kenya, Tanzania and Botswana offer the classic safari experience to be admired in countless glossy brochures and family photo albums, Namibia offers something truly magical and unique. Home to the world’s oldest desert, darkest skies and most surreally beautiful landscapes, Namibia can offer a once-in-a-lifetime holiday. Here are our top five reasons to plan a trip to Namibia and experience this beautiful country firsthand.

1. The safari is spectacular

Etosha National Park, located in the north of Namibia, is one of the country’s wildlife hotspots. Initially you may find this a little surprising as the vast majority of the park is made up of a dusty 100-million-year-old salt pan large enough to be visible from space. Despite this,  four of the African Big Five (lions, elephants, leopards and rhinos) can be found within the park’s borders, usually gathered around one of the many watering holes. Here, you can simply sit and observe them and other creatures in their natural habitat, bickering and socialising at the water’s edge.

Few people are also aware that Namibia reaches out an arm over the north of Botswana, and that within this stretch of Namibian territory – called the Caprivi Strip – is a luscious ecosystem home to hippos, endangered African wild dog packs and large families of elephants. Well worth a visit, and not just to experience the striking contrast to Etosha.

2. The landscapes are out of this world

If you fell asleep and woke up in deadvlei, you would be forgiven for thinking that you had arrived on another planet. The heat-scorched skeletons of ancient acacia trees reach towards bright blue skies from a pure white salt pan, the red sand dunes behind them successfully completing this otherworldly look. If stunning landscapes are your thing, then you should also travel to the russet wilds of Kaokoland, or take a hot air balloon ride over the iconic soaring red dunes of Sossusvlei, or explore the unforgiving Skeleton Coast with its rusting shipwrecks and thriving seal colonies… the list really does go on.

3. The hiking trails

The wonderful landscapes of Namibia aren’t just lovely to look at, they also provide some fantastic hiking opportunities. Fish River Canyon is the most famous (and potentially most challenging) route, taking walkers on a spectacular journey through a gorge second only to America’s Grand Canyon. Other great treks include the Tok Tokkie Trail which can be traversed in three days, taking you through Namibia’s mysterious fairy circles and across the beautiful desert landscape of the NamibRand Nature Reserve. Nights are spent under Namibia’s spectacular starry skies, which brings us onto our next reason to visit…

4. The spectacular night’s sky

Sossusvlei, with its salt pans and red sand dunes, is incredibly remote being a six hour drive or short flight from the capital city, Windhoek. This is all part of its appeal, giving you an incredible impression of endless space when you visit, but it also means that there is little (if any) light pollution, and as a result the night’s sky is absolutely breathtaking. It is an officially recognised  Dark Sky Reserve and as you admire the dazzling glow of planets, the countless glittering pinpricks of stars and the Milky Way stretching from horizon to horizon, you will understand why.

5. The history and culture

Namibia is not just a haven for lovers of the outdoors. History lovers will be intrigued by the Germanic architecture of the colonial towns such as Windhoek and Swakopmund, and fully enthralled by the ancient rock art of Twyfelfontein. If you are interested in learning about different cultures, then there are also opportunities available to spend time with the native Ju/’hoansi Bushmen. Usually, your day wouldn’t be overly planned and you could find yourself doing anything in your shadowing of them, whether that’s accompanying the bushmen on a hunting or foraging trip, helping them make traditional crafts to sell, or simply sitting in the shade musing about your respective lives.

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