One of the world’s youngest nations, gaining independence in 1990, Namibia has an agelessness that’s simply mesmerizing. A nation of grand open landscapes that’s home to tribes including the Himba and San, it takes its name from the Namib Desert, whose dramatic dunes sweep down to the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean.
Though southern Africa’s driest nation as a result, Namibia is widely-regarded as one of the region’s finest wildlife destinations. Even in the 500 km long Skeleton Coast National Park in Namibia’s north, desert-adapted elephant, giraffe, oryx and kudu are hunted down by lion, jackal and hyena. Further south, Cape Cross forms one of the largest colonies of Cape fur seals anywhere in the world.
So large it can be seen from space, Etosha National Park is inhabited by elephant, black rhino, big cats and a huge number of herbivores, all attracted by the salt licks and freshwater of this giant pan, while Sossusvlei pan is perhaps better known for the epic sunsets that ignite the sky above the red sands of Dune 45.
Elsewhere in the country, Fish River Canyon, Africa’s largest, rivals all these natural sights when it comes to picture-postcard beauty and the chance for adventure, though the Bavarian architecture (and cake) of Lüderitz and Swakopmund also deserve exploration, alongside the ghost town of Kolmanskop on the edge of the otherwise prohibited Sperrgebiet diamond mining area.