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With a population of two million spread across an area three times the size of the UK, Namibia is one of the world's driest and most thinly inhabited countries. Its most notable attribute is an immense sense of natural space emanating from the lonely, sun-baked roads that run below its cloudless blue sky. This thirsty countryside is too desiccated to be called pretty, but it does possess a ravaged majesty that is at once humbling, breathtaking and oddly liberating. For desert lovers, the rippled apricot dunes of Sossusvlei, set in the incomprehensibly large Namib-Naukluft National Park, is the place to start. Farther south, the Fish River ...

With a population of two million spread across an area three times the size of the UK, Namibia is one of the world's driest and most thinly inhabited countries. Its most notable attribute is an immense sense of natural space emanating from the lonely, sun-baked roads that run below its cloudless blue sky. This thirsty countryside is too desiccated to be called pretty, but it does possess a ravaged majesty that is at once humbling, breathtaking and oddly liberating. For desert lovers, the rippled apricot dunes of Sossusvlei, set in the incomprehensibly large Namib-Naukluft National Park, is the place to start. Farther south, the Fish River Canyon is one of the world's largest ravines, wonderfully scenic and seasonally popular with hikers. There's fine game viewing farther north in the vast Etosha National Park, and in several smaller reserves that run along the watery Caprivi Strip. The cold Atlantic coastline has a certain stark beauty too, epitomized by the quaint and fabulously isolated Germanic resort towns of Swakopmund and Lüderitz, while Cape Cross in the Skeleton Coast National Park supports the region's largest colony of Cape fur seals. The country is scattered with prehistoric rock art sites, most famously Brandberg and Twyfelfontein.

Philip Briggs
About the Expert

Philip Briggs has written or contributed to 50-plus editions of Bradt, Insight, AA and Berlitz guidebooks to African destinations.

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Africa, Middle East, Namibia is a country in southern Africa on the Atlantic coast. It shares borders with Angola and Zambia to the north, Botswana to the east, and South Africa to the south
  • Language: English, Afrikaans, German
  • Currency: Namibian Dollar
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall