Lisa Owen

The African country of Namibia may not be on your travel bucket list yet – but trust me, it should be.

When I signed up for a tour of Namibia, I didn’t really know what to expect. I knew there were sand dunes and deserts, but I didn’t know how spectacular it would be seeing beautiful sunrises and sunsets, sleeping under the stars, and driving through the rich red landscapes of the Namib desert.

Here are 10 reasons why you should visit Namibia.

1. You can visit the biggest canyon in the southern hemisphere

Did you know that the biggest canyon in the southern hemisphere is located in Namibia? The massive Fish River Canyon is also considered to be the second biggest canyon in the world after the Grand Canyon in the USA.  

The Fish River Canyon is about 160km long, up to 27km wide and some sections are up to 550 meters deep.

Most tours visit the canyon ahead of sunset and you have a couple of hours to visit the viewpoints before watching the sun set over the massive canyon.

2. You get to climb giant sand dunes

Giant sand dunes. Do I need to say more? Feel like a kid running down huge red sand dunes in the desert. But I’ll be honest it’s a bit of a trudge up – but the views are worth it!

3. You’ll camp in beautiful locations

One of the major highlights of travelling through Namibia was getting to camp in stunning locations every night.

Due to the remoteness of many of the key tourist spots in Namibia, camping is pretty much the only way to go.

But don’t worry, most camps have running water, hot showers and flush toilets. Some even have a swimming pool!

Every day I set up camp in another stunning location with mountain or desert views.

One of my campsites was even walking distance from a waterhole visited by rhinos at night!

4. Sleep under the stars

You don’t necessarily have to sleep in your tent each night. You will have the opportunity to pull out your mattress onto a nearby rock, get in your sleeping bag and literally sleep under the stars. Then you get to wake up and see the sun rise from the comfort of your sleeping bag.

Of course, sleeping under the stars can only be done when there’s no rain forecast and you’re camping in spots not frequented by wild animals. This is Africa after all!

5. Get a front row seat for vibrant sunsets

You’re sure to see many beautiful sunsets during your Namibian adventure. Some will be simply from the campsite, others will be from mountaintops or rocky outcrops near your tent.

Trust me, you will never get sick of the sunsets. Each sunset is different – some with views of the mountains or dunes and some rich with streaks of orange, purple and red.

6. And wake up to stunning sunrises 

Sunset isn’t the only time of day that you’ll be in awe of the natural beauty of Namibia – the sunrises are pretty special too.

Getting up early to pack up my tent didn’t seem so hard when I could watch the sky slowly lighten and see the sun rise over the horizon.

7. You can go hiking on impressive rock formations

Hikers will love the imposing granite peaks of Spitzkoppe.

There’s plenty of places to hike up to for the perfect vantage point over the Namib desert.

While there’s no trail signage, you will find rock cairns mark a rough trail in places.

You can also walk up to the famous Rock Arch to catch a beautiful sunset over the desert, and then engage in some stargazing. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot shooting stars.

Spitzkoppe is one place you can opt to sleep under the stars.

8. Try your hand at sandboarding 

Namibia is the perfect place to try out sandboarding. Whether it be your first time or fifth time sandboarding, you’re sure to get an adrenaline rush sliding down the steep sand dunes.

You don’t need any prior experience to try out sandboarding. Sandboards, boots, and helmets are provided.

If stand up sandboarding sounds a bit too intense, you can also opt for lie down sandboarding on a rectangular piece of board. You can reach speeds of up to 80km/h riding down the sand dunes!

Sandboarding is offered from Swakopmund.

9. Get an adrenaline rush skydiving over the desert

Sandboarding isn’t the only adrenaline fuelled activity you can do in Namibia. You can also go jump out of a plane. Skydiving over the desert is offered from Swakopmund.

Other adventure activities on offer include quad biking and biking through the desert on bikes with ‘fat’ tyres.

10. See wild animals on safari

It’s not all desert in Namibia, there’s also a savanna and salt pan area where lots of wild animals roam. You can go on game drives in Etosha National Park, located in the country’s north.

Animals you might see include lions, rhinos, elephants, giraffes, zebras, wildebeest and antelope.

Visiting Namibia is sure to be a highlight of your African adventure.

The easiest way to see Namibia is on a tour with many global tour companies offering packages that will usually start in Windhoek, Namibia or Cape Town, South Africa.

It’s also possible to hire 4WDs to traverse Namibia but due to the remoteness of many campsites and the corrugated dirt roads, travellers must be self sufficient with cooking facilities and a high level of mechanical knowledge due to the high chance of breakdowns.

Things You Should Know

  • Travelling in Namibia will be a dusty, hot affair for most of your trip. Be prepared for sand to be in everything!
  • It can get hot in the desert, so make sure you bring a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.
  • While you will experience mostly hot temperatures in your trip across Namibia, it can get cold at night in some areas – especially Swakopmund. Etosha National Park is also affected by Africa’s rainy season so a rain jacket should be on your packing list.
  • Most campsites throughout Namibia have shower and bathroom facilities, and running water.
  • The Namibia Dollar and South African Rand are both accepted in Namibia.

 

Lisa Owen is a pint-sized Australian following her dreams to travel to as many places as she can, and loves to share her photography, travel hacks, hiking adventures, and food discoveries along the way. At last count, she has travelled to more than 70 countries in between working in public relations and discovering hidden gems in Australia's great outdoors. Instagram: @thelittleadventurer. Facebook: The Little Adventurer Australia.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and are meant as travel inspiration only. They do not reflect the opinions of Cover-More Insurance. You should always read the Policy Documents available from your travel insurance provider to understand the limits, exclusions and conditions of your policy and to ensure any activities you undertake are covered by your policy.