A Beginner’s Guide to Desert Adventures in Namibia
The Namib Desert is one of the most beautiful and unique places on earth. With its endless stretches of sand dunes, mystical mountain ranges and remote wildlife reserves, it's no wonder that Namibia has become a top destination for desert lovers and adventure seekers from all over the world.
If you're planning a trip to Namibia, you're in for a treat. There are so many things to do in the Namib Desert, from dune boarding and quad biking to hot air balloon safaris and wildlife drives. And that's not even mentioning the incredible places to visit outside of the desert, like the spectacular Etosha National Park or the striking Fish River Canyon.
So whether you're a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveller, read on for our top tips on how to make the most of your trip to Namibia.
1. Dune boarding is like snowboarding...but on sand!
If you're looking for an adventure, dune boarding is definitely for you. Also known as sandboarding, this activity involves sliding down giant sand dunes on a board, much like you would snowboard down a mountain. It's great fun and a great way to cool off in the heat of the desert.
2. Quad biking is the perfect way to explore the desert
One of the best ways to explore the Namib Desert is by quad bike. These all-terrain vehicles are perfect for traversing the sand dunes, and there are plenty of operators who offer guided tours. So whether you want to go it alone or with a group, quad biking is a great option.
3. Hot air balloon safaris take you to new heights
A hot air balloon safari is one of the best ways to see the Namib Desert from above. These gentle giants float above the desert landscape, providing breathtaking views of the dunes, wildlife and scenery below. It's an unforgettable experience and well worth adding to your Namibia itinerary, especially if you’re adding in Sossusvlei to your itinerary.
4. The Namib Desert is home to some amazing wildlife
The Namib Desert may be dry and barren, but it's also home to some amazing wildlife. Species such as springbok, ostrich and even lions can be found in this arid environment, so keep your eyes peeled on game drives and safari walks. You can also head north to Etosha National Park for a superb bush break experience.
5. Take a walk on the wild side with a nature drive
For those interested in the flora and fauna of the desert, a nature drive is a must. These guided tours take you off the beaten track in search of desert-dwelling plants and animals, providing insights into the fascinating adaptations that allow them to thrive in such an extreme environment.
6. Sossusvlei is one of Namibia's most popular attractions
Located within the Namib-Naukluft Park, Sossusvlei is one of Namibia's most popular tourist attractions. This salt pan surrounds some of the highest sand dunes in the world, including 'Big Daddy', which stands at an impressive 325 metres tall! It's well worth spending a day here exploring – just make sure you bring plenty of water!
7. Deadvlei will leave you speechless
Deadvlei is another must-visit attraction within Sossusvlei. This eerie white clay pan is dotted with ancient camel thorn trees, which are believed to be over 900 years old! The gnarled roots and branches reaching up towards the sky make for some truly incredible photo opportunities – don't forget your camera!
8.'The Moon Landscape' is out of this world
Close to Deadvlei lies 'The Moon Landscape', so named because it looks like something straight out of a science fiction film. This desolate stretch of land was once covered by water before shifting sands dunes cut it off from its source, resulting in its present-day appearance. It's definitely worth exploring if you have time during your stay in Sossusvlei.
9.'Hiddenvlei' will take your breath away
Hiddenvlei lies at the end of a long sandy track within Naukluft Park and is only accessible by four-wheel drive vehicle or on foot (which we don't recommend in summer!). This secluded spot boasts some of finest views in Sossusvlei – it really is an hidden gem!
10.'Dune 45' is one of Namibia's most iconic landmarks
Last but not least on our list is Dune 45 – arguably one of Namibia's most iconic landmarks! This giant red sand dune gets its name from its location 45 kilometres from Sesriem Gate (the entrance point to Sossusvlei), and provides stunning views over the surrounding desert scape. Be sure to watch the sunrise or sunset here for an extra special experience.
We hope we have inspired you to start planning your own desert adventure to Namibia! Remember, there are many things to do in the Namib Desert beyond simply admiring its natural beauty— there's something for everyone. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your Namibia holiday trip today!