The self-drive tour begins in the capital, Windhoek, where you’ll find the city’s history played out in colonial architecture and contemporary African art.
The Olive Grove Guest House is an upmarket, beautifully decorated guest house in a tranquil area of Windhoek. With comfortable rooms, a wellness centre, an open-air lounge, spa bath, plunge pool and peaceful garden, it’s the perfect place to start your Namibian adventure.
Today, your journey will take you into the quirky coastal town of Swakopmund. The town lies between the cool Atlantic Ocean and the hot Namib Desert. It’s a mecca of scenic beauty, contemporary craft and traditional custom and is ideal for leisurely exploration through the charming streets. Colonial architecture rubs shoulders with bohemian surf culture in a fascinating mix of old-world charm in a rich melting pot of township culture and eclectic artistry.
The Central Guest House is located in a quiet area just five minutes away from the town centre and a ten minute walk from the beach. The private en-suite bedrooms are beautifully furnished with modern décor, comfortable beds, flat-screen TVs and a private safe. Start your day with a scrumptious breakfast and end it around the fireplace with a good book and good company.
Moving on to Sossusvlei, where the world-famous dunes shape the horizon. Shaped over millions of years, the dunes change their form continuously as the sands shift in the wind. At their peak, the dunes rise 300m into the sky. When the rain comes, the vlei fills up with water to create a surreal turquoise lake that lies still between the dunes.
It’s here that you’ll find the Sesriem Canyon, cut deep into the landscape and formed by ancient -waters that flowed between the rocks. The canyon fills with water that stays well into the dry season, breaking the monotony of the stark and barren surrounds.
Sossusvlei Lodge is one of our favourite places. It lies in a 44 000 hectare private reserve, just outside the entrance to the Namib Naukluft Park and the Sossusvlei dunes. Its setting makes it a short journey to the natural attractions, but if you want to stay in one place, you’ll be able to take in the magnificent scenery from the observation tower and adventure centre, or kick back and relax with a glass of something cool around the swimming pool, in the bar or dining area. The food is delicious. The views are spectacular. And the service is warm and welcoming.
From Sossusvlei, the next stop is Lüderitz on the craggy shores of the Atlantic Ocean. This is diamond-rush territory, where you’ll find the remarkable ghost town of Kolmanskop that lived and died in the time it took for prospectors to extract over 1 000 kgs of diamonds from the desert sands. Today, the same sands have swallowed up what the miners left behind, leaving an eerily abandoned settlement that is gradually being absorbed back into the landscape.
The Lüderitz Nest Hotel has its own private tidal beach and jetty, outstanding sea and desert views and all you’ll need for a comfortable stay while you’re in Lüderitz. The award-winning hotel is also home to the highly acclaimed Penguin Restaurant, offering a wide-ranging menu of delicacies including Lüderitz lobster; and the Crayfish Bar and Lounge is the perfect place to wind down with fresh Lüderitz oysters, chilled wine and frothy cappuccinos.
The Fish River Canyon is perhaps the most extraordinary stop on this route. The 160km ravine is up to 27km wide and 550 metres deep in places. It is the second largest canyon in the world and a breath-taking sight for even the most jaded traveller. Undoubtedly, the best way to the canyon is from the air.
The Canyon Lodge is just 20kms away from the main viewpoint of the Fish River Canyon, so its perfectly placed to explore the haunting, arid landscape. The original farm house was built in 1908 and since then the lodge has expanded to accommodate 25 bungalows built of thatch, natural stone and wood. Dining at Canyon Lodge is an unforgettable experience, with panoramic views of the landscape. The menu comprises of meat and dairy products from the lodge’s butchery and smoke-house; game and fresh fruit, herbs and vegetables grown in the lodge’s gardens.
The tour ends as it began – in the comfort of the Olive Grove Guest House, where you’ll have one last restful night before moving on to the next leg of your Namibian adventure.
Reminisce, relax and recharge before leaving this fascinating country. And start planning your return journey
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