Why a road trip across Namibia, you may ask?
View the second largest canyon in the world after the Grand Canyon, USA.
Home to some of the largest sand dunes in the world.
A chance to see the white rhinos, some of the last in the world.
Traipsing across oldest desert in the world.
The surreal Deadvlei: the cracked earth has not seen water in a thousand years!
Namibia doesn’t really come to mind immediately when you think of your first road trip to African continent. I am not quite sure how we came to decide on a 10-day road adventure in this sparsely populated country with the world’s oldest desert, Namib. But the dramatic desert landscapes with red dunes, stunning sky-scapes with thousands of stars, wildlife at Etosha National Park, and endless stretches of wild scenery made it a memorable trip.
Hope this Photo Essay sparks your wanderlust to explore this African gem! This definitely ranks as one of the top adventures in our early travels together as a couple, much like the Salkantay trek in Peru.
10-day road trip across Namibia
Our 2-week road trip across Namibia with G Adventures started in Cape Town. We travelled north, first to a picturesque seaside village named Lambert’s Bay. Think white beaches, blue sea and good seafood. And then we crossed the border from South Africa into Namibia and settled in for a relaxed day alongside Orange River.
Fish River Canyon and Sesreim Gorge
From here on, the dramatic landscapes and endless scenery of Namibia began. You could do this road trip by renting a car and driving yourself, but for us, Namibia – a decade ago – seemed like endless stretches of road with not much habitation and we were happy to go for a small group tour. Our trip to Namibia was much before the majestic wonders of Grand Canyon. So the first view of Fish River Canyon, Africa’s largest and the world’s second largest was awe-inspiring!
Just before the famous dunes of Sossusvlei, we stopped at another Canyon. Sesreim Canyon is a natural gorge carved millions of years ago. It is roughly about 1km long with a width that ranges between one and three metres wide.
Namib Desert: Sossusvlei and Deadvlei
Now I have been to a couple of desserts – Wahiba Sands in Oman and the Thar desert in Jaisalmer – but there is nothing like the Namib Desert. Namib is one of the most incredible deserts in Africa. And the Sossusvlei is the iconic part of Namib Desert with some of the world highest sand dunes.
We based ourselves in the historical town of Swakopmund. The day was full of adventures: climbing Dune 45 (80 m), although bragging rights belong to the ones who attempt to climb the Big Daddy (325 m)! We also had fun on a quad bike and sand boarding in the desert.
There are endless adventures to be experienced in the Namib Desert. But the most surreal of them was not an adventure activity. It was the sight of Deadvlei, or ‘dead marsh’.
Imagine walking into a large circular white clay pan, with the cracked earth that has not seen water in a thousand years.
The camel thorn trees are a stunning contrast to the white clay pan floor. Deadvlei is a paradise for photographers as the contrast between the pitch-black trees, bleached-white pans, the rusty red dunes and the deep blue sky make for incredible images.
Etosha National Park
So it had rained just before we went to Etosha National Park. That meant more greenery that what you would normally see at Etosha and it also meant far fewer sightings of wildlife. Still the array of animals in Etosha made the safaris worthwhile. Etosha National park is amongst the top wildlife-viewing destinations in Africa.
The wildlife sightings were also very different than the ones that I have encountered in the National Parks in India that I have visited.
Our road trip ended in Windhoek, the capital city of Namibia. The vast open landscapes, endless stretches of roads and outdoor activities has left us with such an incredible, sweet taste of Namibia.
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Which has been your epic journey in Africa? Share in the comments below.
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