The otherworldly landscapes of Namibia

From the spectacular dunes of the Namib Desert to the serpentine chasm of the Fish River Canyon, the rugged mountains of the Great Escarpment to the acacia-studded sands of the Kalahari, Namibia has no shortage of stunning landscapes.

Desert and semi-desert covers most of the country, but Namibia is far from devoid of life. The wetter northern strip hosts Etosha, one of Africa’s premier national parks, brimming with lions, rhinos and elephants, while the rivers – including the majestic Zambezi – mark the nation’s northern and southern borders and promise glorious sunsets and exotic birdlife.

To celebrate the release of The Rough Guide to Namibia, author Sara Humphreys has picked fifteen of the country’s most incredible landscapes.

 

1. Dead Vlei in Namib-Naukluft National Park

Featured in many a wildlife documentary, the giant sculpted apricot dunes round Sossusvlei are justifiably one of the country’s major attractions. Not only are they extremely high, but they magically change colour in the early morning and late afternoon light.

At the foot of “Big Daddy” – the area’s tallest dune, and a deceptively long climb – lies Dead Vlei, an eerie, white clay pan dotted with skeletal trees several hundred years old.

 

2. Kwando River

More than 450 bird species inhabit the lush, sub-tropical Zambezi Region, Namibia’s curious panhandle that stretches across the top of Botswana.

Head for one of the idyllic lodges along the beautiful Kwando River, which meanders through the Bwabwata, Mudumu and Nkasa Rupara national parks. The parks offer an enticing mix of woodland, reed beds and floodplains, brimming with spectacular birdlife and home to hippos, crocs, buffalo and rare antelope.