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Over the years Namibia has been called a multitude of names: the land of contrasts, the ageless land and even the land God made in anger, until it was finally named Namibia after its glorious Namib Desert. Whatever you call it, Namibia’s vast and colourful canvas will stay painted on your mind forever.
Landscape lovers and photographers will be in their element in Namibia, with its cosmic expanse of wide open spaces, electrifying contrasts and otherworldly colours that few humans have witnessed before. As the second most sparsely populated country in the world, Namibia is a coveted destination for those wishing to avoid the well-trodden tourist spots of crowded cities. Since gaining independence from South Africa in 1990, Namibia has come into travellers focus as a largely untouched land of exquisite splendour. Due to the strong road networks, driving tours are easy and allow for mind-blowing close-ups of the wildlife in Etosha National Park or Kaokoland.
Namibia can be split into four chief regions for nature aficionados. The Great Escarpment is home to arid desert and occasional scattered shrubbery, but for more heavily timbered land head to bushveld. The best known area is the Kalahari Desert, with its bone-dry sandy stretches and occasional game rich grassland. Nothing surpasses the Namib Desert in the west though, with its huge dunes which spread inland for 50 to 80 miles. The looming Pyramid-esque dunes are the largest in the world and take on celestial shapes and colours as dictated by the elements. These enormous dunes make for extreme playgrounds for brave sand-boarders; watch out for them zipping their way across the solid waves of sand! Namib Desert is said to be the oldest in the world, and where it meets the cold Atlantic waters, a haunting thick fog hangs mystically. The Namibian coastal deserts are also the richest source of diamonds on the earth, so you’ll learn plenty regarding diamond mining history.
Namibia’s capital, Windhoek, is surrounded by arable land and features intriguing colonial communities, churches and bars. As well as architecturally, traditional and colonial heritage is mixed endlessly in general Namibian cuisine too. This diversity is manifested in the food which ranges from delicious dumplings, beef to rival Argentina, rich spinach, brown bean and chicken dishes as well as simple (and very addictive) porridge made from maize and milk. If BBQs aren’t your thing, there are plenty of cosmopolitan European restaurants dotted along the main cities’ streets.
The rich tapestry of Namibia’s nomadic people which can be explored through the local museums, historical buildings and monuments coupled with the dreamy scenery and iconic, blushing tangerine desert truly make for a trip of a lifetime.
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