Namibia is a country like no other. A land of contrasts. It’s a rough and arid and dry and fascinating place full of seemingly endless high rising dunes. The majority of Namibia remains untouched by humankind, and looks just as it did hundreds of years ago. As a destination it’s a must see for any traveller looking for a unique experience in Southern Africa.
In order to relieve you of as much hassle as possible when planning your Namibian adventure we have curated our 10 favourite activities to do while travelling through this breath-taking – and breathless – country.
1. Climb the world’s highest sand dune
A major highlight for any tourist to Namibia is the chance to witness the largest sand dunes in the world, which are situated in Sossusvlei. These dunes are an astounding 300 metres high, and have been estimated to oldest of their kind in the world. If you’re up for a challenge, why not climb up the charmingly-named 325 metre high Big Daddy. Once on top of the world, you can run or roll down after the exhausting but rewarding climb.
2. See the dunes by air
We at Jenman Africa Safaris always recommend our clients to look at the vast plains of Namibia from the air. Seeing the Namibia landscape from up high – from an aerial view – is completely thrilling. Imagine the holiday snaps you’ll get! Tourists can choose between a scenic plane ride or a hot air balloon trip.
3. Grab a selfie at the Spitzkoppe rocks
Not only does Namibia have some of the most exceptional dunes in the word, but also some of the most unique rock formations. Yes, mountains! Spitzkoppe, situated between Usakos and Swakopmund, means “pointed dome” in German and is 1728 m tall. They peaks look even odder in the absolutely flat landscape. Located only 500km from the Sossusvlei dunes, the dramatic scenery is the perfect backdrop for your next selfie. And a beautiful scramble to explore the crags and boulders. But be careful: while Spitzkoppe looks like an easy mountain to climb, you need adequate equipment to climb it.
4. Learn about creepy creatures on a Desert Day Tour
At a glance Namibia’s desert looks barren and lifeless. However, this is not the case at all! The coastal dune belt is home to some of the strangest animals that – in order to survive – have simply adapted to the desert. The best way to get up close to the critters is on a day tour with Living Desert Tours (which departs daily from Swakopmund). For example, you can meet the dancing white lady spider that cartwheels 44 turns per second down a dune to escape its enemy. You will be amazed at just how much life the inhospitable deserts of Namibia contain.
5. Sleep under the stars
Thanks to being one of the least densely populated countries in the world, Namibia is home to some of the best star-gazing in the world. What better way to watch the entire night’s sky light up with the beauty of the Milky Way than on your very own sleep out deck. At Kulala Desert Lodge, situated close to Sossusvlei, each chalet comes with a second open air bedroom on the roof of their chalet. So lie back, relax, and let the stage that is the night sky unfold before your eyes.
6. Hike the Fish River Canyon
Situated in the South of Namibia is the continent’s largest canyon. Fish River Canyon is a gigantic and rough and striking ravine that’s about 160km long, up to 27km wide, and about 550m deep. It’s popular with hikers and trail runners, but if you’re adverse to the idea of exercising on your Namibian holiday, we still recommend a visit to witness the canyon’s spectacular views.
7. Dolphin, seal and whale cruise
While Namibia is often thought of a desert country, its coastline stands in quite a stark contrast. Travellers who chose to visit the Skeleton Coast can see the largest fur seal colony in the world, or take a whale and dolphin cruise. You could also be lucky enough to see one of the strangest looking fish known to man. The “mola” fish, which are also known as sunfish or moonfish, are common in these waters where they feed of jellyfish.
8. Visit the eery deserted city Kolmanskop
Namibia is famous for its ghost town that’s featured in Vogue’s fashion shoots and been the subject of many documentaries. Kolmanskop was a diamond mining town that flourished at the turn of the last century. However, during the 1920s, as diamond prices dropped due to World War 2 and richer deposits were found in the north of the country, the town’s citizens slowly dissipated. By 1954, the town was completely abandoned and left to the harsh elements of the surrounding desert. Today, you can still visit the remnants of the town where daily tours are conducted.
9. Say hi to the Himba tribe
Part of any great holiday is to immerse yourself into the country’s culture and learn about the customs. Situated in the north, the Himba are one of the last tribes in Africa living strictly within their tradition. In Namibia, one of the most culturally interesting activities one can do is to a guided tour of a Himba Village. Do not miss out on the chance to learn and meet a Himba tribe.
10. Sandboarding in Namibia
If you are looking for an adrenaline rush, then the chance to sandboard the famous Namibian dunes needs to me a must-do on your holiday itinerary. It’s like snowboarding but on sand. It’s super fast and exhilarating! Tours leave daily from Swakopmund and clients can choose from lie down or stand up boards. With dunes topping 100 metres, this is a sure way to get your adrenaline pumping and your heart racing!