Experience Southern Africa’s Evocative Deserts
The incredible diversity of Southern Africa includes some of the most breath-taking desert experiences in the world. Namibia, an immense and sparsely populated land with seemingly endless horizons, is dominated by desert and semi-desert, with the ancient sands of the Namib Desert spilling into the Atlantic Ocean in the west, and the Kalahari extending east into neighbouring Botswana. Easily reached by flights from South Africa to the capital city, Windhoek, Namibia’s extraordinary landscapes and spectacular attractions have to be seen to be believed, and will never be forgotten. Namibia offers the incentive traveler a vast African adventure of the soul. Its top desert attraction, Sossusvlei, is an extraordinary dry salt and white clay pan surrounded by the soaring red dunes of ancient Namib sands, situated in the Namib-Naukluft National Park. The dramatic wind-formed dunes in this area are among the highest sand dunes in the world. Swakopmund, a historic German colonial era town, is a favourite holiday destination situated south west of Windhoek on the foggy Atlantic coast in the Namib Desert. The town itself is laid-back and has its own particular charm with its palm-lined streets, seaside promenade, restaurants and cafes and galleries and museums. It is also an African adventure mecca due to the wide variety of adrenalin and adventure activities on offer in the surrounding desert.
- Sparsely populated land with seemingly endless horizons
- Namibia offers the incentive traveler a vast African adventure of the soul
- Experience ancient sands of the Namib Desert spilling into the Atlantic Ocean
What to Do
Experience Namibia’s Greatest Desert Attraction
Guests will never forget their time in the world’s oldest desert, the Namib, with its soaring sand dunes constantly shaped and shifted by the winds. The white clay and salt pan of Sossusvlei, surrounded by spectacular high red sand dunes, and the stunning Sesriem Canyon, carved by the ephemeral Tsauchab River, are a photographer’s dream, especially at sunrise and sunset when the antique sands refract spectacular colours. On a desert drive guests will enjoy sightings of the unique desert-adapted animals that roam the dry valleys and star-shaped dunes.
Take to the skies in a Hot Air Balloon from Swakopmund
Rugged and strikingly beautiful, the Namib Desert surrounding Swakopmund comes to life in this unforgettable adventure. Guests are up before sunrise, setting off into the desert beyond the coastal mist belt for the ideal take off. The roar of the burners briefly breaks the dawn silence; and then the balloon is airborne. Witness the vast beauty all around, as the sun rises and the desert features change color, and the deep tranquility of the balloon flight will touch the soul in a way that words cannot describe. After landing guests will be whisked away to enjoy a leisurely champagne breakfast in the desert sunshine.
Have fun at the Swakopmund Hotel’s Mermaid Casino & Entertainment Centre
Situated at the beautifully-restored, more than a century-old, Old Station Building, the Swakopmund Hotel’s Mermaid Casino and Entertainment Centre offer a wide range of activities for guests to unwind and have fun. The town also offers exclusive shopping and excellent dining out. Guests can also visit the Swakopmund Museum, the National Marine Aquarium and various historic monuments.
Venture into the desert surrounding Swakopmund
Guests can set off on an afternoon visit to the Moon landscape, a fascinating geological sight formed by volcanic activity some 200 million years ago. This desert drive includes the search for Welwitschia mirabilis, one of the most unique plants on earth. These plants have adapted so well to absorbing moisture from the morning desert fog that they are very long-lived, many are over 1,000 years old. On the return to Swakopmund guests can enjoy sundowners on the beach or in the dunes.
Take to the skies in a Hot Air Balloon over Sossusvlei
Sunrise over the desert landscape of Sossusvlei is an almost mystical event, most especially when witnessed from a silent balloon drifting over the continually changing colours of the ancient sands and the towering star-shaped dunes. The experienced crew will be on the lookout to show your guests the stately Oryx antelope, Mountain Zebra, Springbok and Ostriches, as well the more elusive scavengers and predators, Spotted and Brown Hyena, Leopard, Cheetah and Black-backed Jackals.
Set off on a unique marine cruise in Walvis Bay
Outings to nearby Walvis Bay, Namibia's main harbour town, offer guests a range of activities including marine cruises, kayacking, deep sea fishing, beach angling and bird-watching. The sensational marine cruise takes in the incredible wetland of Walvis Bay Lagoon; teeming with flamingos, pelicans and other water birds, as well as oyster farms. There’s the opportunity to spot Bottle-nosed and Heaviside dolphins, whales in the season, Cape Fur Seals and many different species of sea birds.
Get active in the adrenalin-charged desert dunes
The Namib’s spectacular dunes offer a wide range of high adrenalin activities that are ideal for team-building. Guests experience an unforgettable day of sun, sand and speed that combines human endeavor and machine in a contest with the dunes. Action-packed desert adventures can include quad-biking, sand-boarding, sand-skiing, parasailing, dune carting, parachuting and 4X4 dune drives.
Desert Celebrate at an outstanding Gala Dinner event
The desert provides a dramatic backdrop to stage a gala dinner event with a difference. The evocative landscape under the brilliant starry sky and blazing camp fires provide an unparalleled ambiance for African-themed open-air desert dining or an Arabian-style desert dinner set in Bedouin tents. Exciting entertainment, sumptuous gourmet cuisine and silver service all help to make this a night to remember.
Where to Stay
Kulala Desert Lodge, Namib Desert
Set in the 37 000-hectare Kulala Wilderness Reserve bordering the Namib Naukluft National Park, Kulala Desert Lodge boasts magnificent views of the famous sand dunes of Sossusvlei, breathtaking mountain scenery and vast open plains. Guests are accommodated in luxury thatched and canvas "kulalas" with en-suite bathrooms and private verandas. The main lodge offers a lounge, bar, dining area, plunge pool and wrap-around veranda overlooking a waterhole - a perfect location to view and photograph the amazing desert vistas.More information
Sossusvlei Lodge, Namib Desert
The eco-friendly design of Sossusvlei Lodge ensures that it blends in perfectly with the spectacular desert surrounds. Each fully air-conditioned unit has a patio, en-suite bathroom with shower and a spacious bedroom under canvas with adobe-style plaster walls. Guests can enjoy taking a dip in the pool or winding down after a busy day under the shady trees in the Acacia beer garden. The al-fresco terrace offers magnificent views of the floodlit waterhole where you can watch the passing parade of oryx, springbok, jackal, ground squirrel and hyena.More information
Hotel Zum Kaiser
Graciousness meets contemporary chic at this luxurious boutique hotel in the historic heart of Swakopmund, one of Namibia's premier holiday destinations. Guests are accommodated in custom-designed suites, offering private balconies. The Roof Terrace is an inviting area where guests relax and enjoy sun-downers as they take in the spectacular sunsets over the Atlantic Ocean. The Zum Kaiser restaurant offers a warm and inviting atmosphere with a menu guaranteed to satisfy even the most discerning taste buds.
Hansa Hotel, Swakopmund
The Hansa Hotel is a timelessly classical building dating from 1905 nestled in the heart of charming Swakopmund. Each room is individually decorated and fitted with under tile or under carpet heating, 15 channel television stations, radio, direct dialling telephones, hairdryer, safes, coffee/tea facilities and en-suite bath/showers. Centrally situated, the hotel serves as the perfect base for strolling along the seafront, exploring the German colonial architecture or seeking out the many shops, coffee shops, restaurants and bars.
Mowani Mountain Camp, Damaraland
Mowani Mountain Camp consists of luxury tents, all en-suite, complete with crisp white linen and decorated in beautiful East African style. Guests can enjoy their own wooden decks offering wonderful views of the mystical Damara landscape, home to the intriguing rock art of Twyfelfontein. The pool deck, lodged between boulders, is ideal for soaking up the sun, cooling off, enjoying a refreshing drink and admiring the spectacular surroundings.More information
Damaraland Camp, Damaraland
This environmentally-friendly camp boasts panoramic vistas of stark plains, ancient valleys and the soaring inselberg of the Brandberg Mountains. Guests are accommodated in comfortable adobe-styled, thatched, en-suite chalets raised on individual wooden decking which extends out to form a large viewing deck with magnificent vistas. The spacious, thatched living area features a restaurant and bar, complete with fireplace. An open campfire and outdoor 'boma' can be enjoyed during calm evenings, with superb stargazing in the crystal-clear night skies.More information
andBeyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge
This luxury lodge is a secluded and serene oasis overlooking awe-inspiring dunes and stony outcrops, deep in the heart of Namibia's ancient Namib Desert. Guests are accommodated in spacious stone and glass villas that cater for every comfort and indulgence. Cool water from an underground spring refreshes the lodge pool, and an extensive walk-in wine cellar provides refreshment of a different sort. Mouth-watering dinners are served by lantern light on the open dining deck or in a surprise location in the nearby dunes.More information
Le Mirage Desert Lodge, Namib Naukluft National Park
Located at the entrance to the Namib Naukluft National Park, this lodge, designed as a ‘faux’ castle, offers a harmonious blend of luxury and nature with each room offering a spectacular view of the Namib Desert. In the large courtyard, guests can relax at the swimming pool, sheltered from the desert in an oasis of palm trees. There is a spa, restaurant, outdoor dining area, lounge, pool bar, curio shop and wine cellar.More information
Swakopmund Hotel and Entertainment Centre, Swakopmund
Guests can enjoy renowned Namibian hospitality, impeccable service and stylish comfort at the Swakopmund Hotel and Entertainment Centre, which is built in and around its beautifully restored Old Station Building. Spacious rooms offer all modern amenities and comforts. Guests can beat the heat in the courtyard swimming pool. The Swakopmund Hotel has two restaurants. Elegant, Victorian-style, Platform One offers exquisite cuisine combined with first class service; and the more casual Captain's Tavern serves up feasts from Namibia's bountiful sea harvest.More information
Windhoek Country Club Resort, Windhoek
A haven of charm and hospitality, Windhoek Country Club Resort with its exceptional service, superb facilities and luxury accommodation is ideal for incentive groups needing to stop-over in Namibia’s capital city. The luxury en-suite rooms provide all modern amenities and comforts. Guests can enjoy delicious meals served at the Kokerboom Restaurant, cooling off in the sparkling swimming pool or a game of golf on the championship 18-hole golf course. They may also like to explore the historic town of Windhoek, visiting the Alte Feste and Natural Scientific Museums.More information
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~ Thea Eiselen, World Federation of Nuclear Medicine And Biology Congress 2010