Namibia desert

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Namiba's desert is the oldest in the world. Moon-like landscapes and towering sand dunes characterize the landscape, and regular blue skies make a trip into the desert of Namibia an incredibly picturesque escape. There are plenty of activities to enjoy, from sand-boarding to climbing the tallest dunes in the world, as well as the opportunity to see wild animals like cheetahs, leopards and many different birds. 

What makes Namibia's desert landscapes unique? 

The Namib is a vast swathe of sand, stretching right from the Atlantic coast of Namibia and hundreds of miles inland. It’s a mostly sandy desert, with occasional rock formations and enormous dunes. This desert has some of the highest dunes in the world, rising as high as 300 meters and spanning some 20 miles. While mostly uninhabited, the deserts of Namibia are very accessible via a well-maintained road network, making self-drive and guided tours easy to enjoy. 

The best desert tours and excursions in Namibia 

The deserts in Namibia are rich with wildlife and natural wonders, from the majestic leopards that roam the sandy plains to the bright flamingos that nest around lakes. The ochre-colored rock and sand formations give the landscape a truly Martian feel, too, so here’s how to enjoy this truly out-of-this-world landscape

Fly over the salt and clay pans of Sossusvlei and Deadvlei

This part of the Namib desert is rich with white clay and salt pans, with bright orange sand dunes rising on both sides and jet-black petrified trees inexplicably growing out of the arid ground. The 200-meter-high majestic dunes look sensational from a hot air balloon, so hop in and glide slowly over this astonishing landscape. You might even spot oryx or zebra roaming on the sand below. 

Try fat bikes in Swakopmund 

If you’re into cycling, there may be no more unusual landscape to bike across than the deserts around Swakopmund. Fat bike tours here will get you up close to some of the wildlife, such as ostriches, and racing down the sand dune slopes is an exhilarating experience. 

Go bird-watching at Sandwich Bay

Lapped by chilly waters and backed by towering sand dunes, Sandwich Bay sits along the Atlantic coast of Namibia and is the last point at which the desert gives way to the ocean. Here, you can see up to 30 species of birds in the saltwater lagoon, as well as plenty of marine life. Climb the dunes for sweeping views of the coastline. 

Hike the Fish River Canyon 

Millions of years of water movement has carved deep canyons into solid rocks across Namibia. The Fish River Canyon is a fascinating look into the geology of this vast land. Hike along the ancient riverbed, over rocks and amid the tall cliffs, or take in the view from the top. 

Ride with cats at Düsternbrook Guest Farm 

If you love wildlife but don’t have time for a safari, check into Düsternbrook Guest Farm. This charming old colonial house has swathes of land around it where  you can see cheetahs, leopards, and a mix of wildebeest, kudu and giraffes. There is bird watching, hiking, and even horse riding here, too. 

Tips for planning a desert tour in Namibia 

Namibia is a brilliant year-round destination, but for the best conditions for a desert tour, aim for the dry season between May and October.

When to go in Namibia?

The best time to go to Namibia is during the dry season, between April and November: it's warm and sunny throughout the country. Those readers with allergies would be better off, however, putting off their trip until the first few weeks of November or the month of April: there may be showers here and there, but they won't stop you enjoying the trip and you'll run into fewer tourists. Do make sure, however, to avoid the rainy season.
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