Namib is a coastal desert located in the southwest of Namibia, connecting to the Atlantic ocean in the west. Although it is not the biggest desert globally (However, Namib means vast), it is the oldest. Experts believe that Namib has been a dry place since 55 to 80 million years ago.
Having desert on your right and sea on your left is not something you can’t find regularly! But this is not the only fascinating scene that Namib has to offer! There are lots of rare animals and plant species that you can see, and if lucky enough, you may find the chance to take a picture with them. However, most of them are in a protected national park, restricted to humans.
You can rent cars in lots of places but Do Not Forget to use a comfortable car if you are planning to drive as you will have a lot of up and down and probably don’t want to suffer from a backache later. Let’s begin by exploring some of the places in the Namib desert.
Highlights of Namib
Dune 45 is part of the Sossusvlei and is located at the 45th km of the road, connecting Sossusvlei and Sesriem. Now you can guess where the name comes from! When you get there, don’t trust your eyes and what you see. It is not as easy as it looks to climb up there. Dune 45 is about 5 million years old and gives you one of the best photographic opportunities.
It might be best to visit this place early in the morning to see the sunrise. If you get to this place early in the morning, you will see the incredible panoramic view of light in the dune valleys. Besides, you can avoid the heat of the sun!
Getting to DeadVlei is a 15 mins walk since the sand will become soft in some places, and it is not suitable for cars. You will be amazed by the color contrast of this place. The white clay pan along the blue ocean of sky, orange sands, and the dead trees estimated to be 900 years old have created a paradise for photographers. You really need to experience this place to understand the peace and beauty.
The Tsauchab River shaped this Canyon over millions of years and after all this time, it still holds water all year. Sesriem Canyon is an old pathway that lets you walk through rocks. It is about one km long, and in some places along the way, stones are 30 meters high and two-meter wide.
You can enjoy swimming and even drinking water in the springs if you go to Sesriem Canyon after raining. It is the second most crucial tourist attraction in the Namib desert. If you are interested in geology, this place has a lot to show. You can see lots of different rock layers lying on each other over thousands of years. Furthermore, the Canyon is not as hot as other places due to the water and shades.
Meet romance and history in one place. Duwisib Castle was initially built as an act of love. A German officer built it for his American bride. It can be found in the south of Namibia. When driving towards it, you will not see it till the last moment. Why? Because it is made of orange bricks, just like the sands.
This Castle contains some rare items from the 18th and 19th centuries in its museum. There, you can see a variety of paintings and armors. The Castle is huge (900 m2) and has three floors. It is also a place to rest as they serve drinks and food. They have rooms for you, and if you are not interested, you can stay at the campsite next to the Castle.
Walking and Hiking Trails
You can follow many trails in Namib to walk and enjoy this place’s scenery. We will introduce you to three of the best walking trails in Namib, which can be done by groups and widely used. However, it is not recommended to bring children.
Starting with the simplest route, the Waterkloof trail, it takes about 6-8 hours to complete. In this trial, you will begin with the Naukluft river, and after some hours, you will return to it as it is a loop. Some marks are installed along the way, so you will not get lost. You will have to inform the guards that you are going on the trail for your security.
This path can be quite amazing after exploring the orange sand since you get to see some plants and crystal clear water. You may also encounter some skeletons in your way that the sun has destroyed their tissues. They usually belong to animals such as zebras.
The Olive trail is recommended to people who love hiking and are not afraid of heights. It will take about 4-5 hours to complete it, and due to lots of hiking and jumping over the rocks, people who experience dizzy, should not try this place. You will have some fabulous views along the way, and if you are lucky and especially quiet, you will see some wild animals such as zebra and oryx.
Tok Tokkie Trail
Unlike other trails, in the Tok Tokkie trail, you have to spend two nights in the desert and sleep in campsites. However, the only thing you need to take is your regular backpack. This is one of the best walking trails you can find in the whole of Namibia. You get to see lots of bird species and animals like oryx, foxes, and ostriches on this trail.
Since people will have a lot of fun together, like setting up camps, this tour can be the right choice for newly married couples on their honeymoon. You will rest under the sky and see perhaps the shiniest sky of your life. You don’t need to worry about facilities throughout the trail. There are so many campsites in the way that will provide you with water and food.
The Namib Desert from Above
One of the most scenic things in the Namib desert is the desert from above. There are lots of tours in the place that offer this view and you can get up there with a balloon, airplane, and helicopter.
Flying with an airplane can take you above and near the dunes. From up there, you can enjoy flying over the ocean of sands and seeing the color-changing scenes. It will not take more than 2-3 hours, but it is the cheapest flying option.
You can also do this in a helicopter with an experienced pilot that knows their way in the desert. In this way, you get to see some of the hidden perspectives of DeadVlei, Sesriem Canyon, Dune 45, etc. Besides, you will find unlimited photography opportunities.
Hot Air balloon trip over the Namib desert is the longest and the most expensive one, ending with breakfast. It will only fly up in the early morning if there is enough wind. After breakfast, they will drive you back to Sossusvlei. They will fly up with the sun, and you can see the sunrise as you fly up. However, they have this rule where children must be taller than 120 cm, and if they are not, they can enjoy a drive to the location where you land.
There are so many lodges in the way that you can rest there. They vary from some of the best hotels to some motels on the road. In some of them, you can even find a pool. However, you better reserve a place before going there as in some seasons, they are full.
Best Time to visit
The best time to visit Namib is from July to October, as the temperature is bearable and less rainy. However, if you don’t like crowds and driving in the dust behind other cars, perhaps you should visit this place some other time. Other times of the year, Namib is not crowded as much, and it can be an advantage if you are looking to be alone in the wild quietness of the desert. You will probably feel like the country is yours when you see only yourself in these places.