Namibia is a magical country to explore on foot – with her vast, mesmerising landscapes and undulating scenery. One can pretty much walk wherever one wishes, in Namibia, but unlike other parts of Africa such as Zambia, South Africa, Kenya and Tanzania, there are no dedicated walking trails apart from the two we mention below.
However, one of the best regions to walk in is Damaraland. There are several really lovely camps and lodges to choose to stay in, where one can simply walk out each day. The scenery is astonishing – granite boulders, euphorbia candelabra are dotted about everywhere, and the possibility of seeing desert dwelling rhino and elephant.
There have also been recent sightings of cheetah and lion in this region too. One of the camps is owned and managed by a wonderful friend of ours, who is a geologist and he walks from his camp each day, to the various caves and explains the carbon dating of the stones. He also demonstrates the strata’s formed with the tectonic shifting of the plates. This is a real must as Namibia truly is about geology!
The two dedicated walking safaris in Namibia occur in the Namib Desert and in the Fish River Canyon. These two regions could not be more different and for the true walking enthusiast, to combine Damaraland, with the Namib Desert and then the Fish River Canyon – would provide the most spectacular and diverse holiday to Namibia imaginable!
The Namib Desert walk is for three days and two nights. Walk over grass plains which have the mysterious “fairy circles” and over rolling sand dunes to the first overnight camp.
The dunes are not the massive ones encountered at Sossusvlei, but small, vegetated dunes that have a unique beauty of their own. At camp, relax with a sundowner, marvel at the magnificent scenery.
The highlights of the walk are the breathtaking views of the dunes and plains as well as the “coming alive” of the desert as the guide allows you to feel, smell, taste and see the oldest living desert in the world. The “morning news”, as written in the sand is always fascinating and with some luck and the guide’s trained eyes, you may spot some of the desert specials (golden mole, dancing white lady, barking gecko, dune lark, flightless wasp just to name a few).
On the second day, you walk over a mountain saddle before descending gently to a dry riverbed. During the course of the day your guide will explain some wonders of the Namib to you - how the fascinating desert flora survives, how insect and reptile life adapts to the harsh environment and how mammals can survive here without water.
Birding is surprisingly good and you may be lucky enough to see one of Namib endemics, the dune lark. Larger animals you might come across include bat-eared fox, oryx, springbok and ostrich. The walking is for around 6-7 hours each day.
As the heat recedes you start walking again up and over the dunes to your second overnight spot. The scene in front of you is a sea of endless dunes and “fairy circles” against a backdrop of magnificent mountain scenery. Photography is spectacular!
The shadows on the dunes create an ever-changing palette of colours shortly before sunset. A sundowner and a delicious dinner after a long and enjoyable day are indeed welcome! You might hear some barking geckos, owls or just deafening silence. On your last day you walk for 3.5 hours before arriving at the farmhouse.
The second walk is in the Fish River Canyon, with your guide. This is normally private. Camp out on the floor of the Canyon as you walk each day in this geological wonder which dates back 65 million years. Start off by spending the first night in your luxurious lodge, affording the most magnificent views over the Canyon. Descend into the canyon for your three nights camping trip. We can naturally tailor this to you.
By Marcela Kunova - 20th April 2017
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