The afternoons are by far the best time of day in Namibia. Sipping a cool drink as the sun sits low in the African sky, bleeding the harsh desert hues into soft pastels. As the still, evening air cools from the heat of the day, the sky becomes awash with an infinite spray of stars.
Perhaps not as well known as some of its African neighbors, Namibia is a gem for those in search of wildlife and wilderness.
Inhabited since the dawn of time the local people, plants and animals have come a long way, adapting in remarkable and unique ways to their, often, harsh surroundings. The unique culture, breathtaking landscapes and exquisite silences of Namibia provide a welcome change from the frantic pace of modern life.
Large parts of the country are so remote and untouched, you'll often feel like you're the first person to discover these magical places and you'll never be lacking room to look around at your own pace.
Gliding across a sheer blue, cloudless sky over the crisscross jigsaw of the cracked desert floor – a fly-in safari offers unparalleled access to this parched and desolate land that belies the rich array of flora and fauna that calls it home.
Back on very dry land in the heart of Kaokoland, one of the last remaining wilderness areas in Southern Africa, tracking the rare desert dwelling elephant, black rhino and giraffe will take you exploring the rugged landscape amid stunning mountain scenery. Silent, huge and for the most part empty, Kaokoland is truly the back of beyond.
Along Kaokoland’s northern border the perennially flowing waters of the Kunene River run past richly colored rock walls in the shade of wild fig trees, baobabs and waving makalani palms. A touch of white water rafting and canoeing offers some welcome respite from the harsh desert climes, and may bestow a glimpse of some of Namibia’s impressive birdlife, as an African fish eagle and a tiny Malachite Kingfisher hunt along the banks side by side.
A short, comfortable flight west will soon have you skimming low over the desolate, unworldly sands of the Skeleton Coast, dotted with a maritime graveyard of landlocked carcasses of ships whose surviving sailors came ashore to die in the pitiless wastes of the Namib Desert. Eerily cold sea breezes blow across hot desert sands that are often shrouded by fog.
A winged safari vehicle is the only way to get around among the inhospitable sand dunes, canyons and mountain ranges of The Skeleton Coast Park, which offers a unique view of diverse and ever-changing geological formations and the refuges of black rhino and desert-adapted elephant.
A variety of local lodges offer the chance to explore and the possibility of spotting a cackle of hyenas as you scramble over this bleak landscape on a quad-bike, or get stopped in your tracks by lonely-looking flock of ostriches wandering the desert amid the shimmering sands.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013