The Untamed Beauty of the Namib Desert

The Untamed Beauty of the Namib Desert

By Greg Hayes

The Untamed Beauty of the Namib Desert

Namibia is one of the world’s great success stories when it comes to protecting our natural heritage and habitat for wildlife. After decades of war, Namibia was able to establish itself as an independent nation, and since then has become the envy of environmentalists and outdoor enthusiasts the world over.

The beautiful sandy coastline of the Namib Desert is also a fantastic beach destination, and visitors can enjoy champagne and other amenities away from the crowds and tourist traps found in other areas of the world. On your tour of Namibia, you can expect to take a breathtaking cruise from the German colonial town of Swakopmund as you set off on an unbelievable journey full of untamed beauty and stunning wild animals.

The coast
Located on the southwestern tip of the African continent, the Namib Desert sits just south of its more famous cousin, the Kalahari. Sandy dunes colored with rich hues of gold and orange streak across the land and meet a cerulean sea in an unbelievably gorgeous portrait of natural wonder. The coastline of the Namib Desert is truly in a league of its own when it comes to offering magically –  almost hauntingly – beautiful scenery. Swakopmund is a coastal city with unbelievable charm and character, but some of the best sites on the Namibian shore are just a short boat ride away.

Not only can you enjoy a deserted beach all your own, but the shore is dotted with familiar and wonderful animals. Friendly seals and playful dolphins consistently delight visitors with their curiosity and pep, while flamingos and pelicans are among the many species of birds that call this region home. In fact, Namibia is also home to African Penguins, who may seem a little out of place against a desert backdrop.

Farther north, a visit to Skeleton Coast Park yields tremendous natural beauty, as well as rich and interesting artifacts. Native people called the area “The Land God Made in Anger,” while the Portuguese referred to it as “The Gates of Hell.” The shore is dotted with old shipwrecks and the remains from failed whale and seal hunting endeavors. It is a chilling but interesting destination unlike anywhere else in the world.

Further inland
Away from the surf, the Namib Desert only becomes more beautiful. In the Namib Naukluft park, the Sossusvlei sand dunes are said to be the highest in the world, and they, too, are a rich blend of gold and orange. Under a rising sun, these colors are even more spectacular. During the middle parts of the day, however, intense heat and sunshine make sunscreen an imperative and a mid-morning nap a wonderful treat.

Elsewhere on your Namibian tour, there are opportunities to see some of Africa’s most iconic animals. At the Etosha National Park, for example, there are safari camps and homesteads as well as lodges and historic hotels to accommodate wildlife enthusiasts. The park is home to over 100 large mammals which have become acclimated to the arid conditions. Elephants, rhinos, giraffes, and lions are just a few of the species that can be found roaming the vast Etosha landscape. For the best views of this remarkable part of the world, some visitors may opt for a hot air balloon as a way of taking in the magnitude of the environment.

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