Whilst we cannot physically transport you to our destinations themselves at present, we would like to offer you a little virtual escapism. We do hope that they will act as a welcome distraction as we sit out these extraordinary times, and act as an inspiration for your next adventure.
In our first Isolation Escape we would like to take you on a journey through Namibia. A country of startling contrasts straddling two great deserts: the Namib (after which it is named), the oldest desert on the planet, and its sea of red sand lies along the Atlantic coastline, and the Kalahari, to its eastern interior, a vast and sparsely vegetated savannah, sprawling across the border into neighbouring countries of Botswana and South Africa.
Our itinerary begins in Windhoek. The city acts as a gentle introduction to Africa with noticeably western style and tastes. With a multi-cultural population of 160,000, the inhabitants of Windhoek reflect the city’s infusion of influences as does the architecture, with German castles mixing with steel-and-glass tower blocks and striking Neobaroque cathedral spires, punctuating the skyline. Curio shops and world class restaurants share the capital with the corporate world, creating a well groomed and efficient base from which to begin one’s adventure.
Leaving the urban buzz behind, a scenic flight delivers you to the dramatic Sossusvlei region. Literally translating as “dead-end marsh”, this may well be Namibia’s most spectacular attraction. A salt and clay pan surrounded by undulating burnt red sands. Located in the southern part of the Namib Desert, the otherworldly dunes in this area are some of the highest in the world, reaching almost 400 meters. Sunrises are rarely more breath-taking than in Sossusvlei, when the strength and movement of light shows the shifting colours of the landscape to it’s most brilliant.
A picturesque drive brings you to the colonial, coastal settlement of Swakopmund. Flanked by the rolling Atlantic Ocean and the Namib Desert, this colourful, Germanic town is a hub for both adventurers and wildlife enthusiasts alike with opportunities ranging from quad-biking in the wilderness through the Swakopmund River mouth into the neighbouring dune belt of the Namib desert, to kayaking alongside curious seals and great, graceful whales as you become an unintrusive part of the environment.
Now well positioned to travel along the astonishing Skeleton Coast, known as Land God Made in Anger by the local bushmen, witness the theatrical shoreline which gained its name from the centuries of whale and seal skeletons, and in recent times, shipwrecks, which have washed up on its lonely shores. Ethereal rock formations and castle like clay structures scatter the landscape, while the native wildlife has imaginatively adapted to this striking yet inhospitable environment in order to survive.
Moving toward the centre of the country, Damaraland is one of Namibia’s most striking landscapes. A huge, untamed, ruggedly beautiful region incorporating sun-blistered wastelands, grassy hills dotted with mopane and acacia trees, volcano-induced peaks and hilly savannahs. Home to the Damara people and the exquisite rock paintings and engravings of Twyfelfontein, it also boasts a glorious scattering of game including elephant and the elusive black rhino.
Heading north-east, the more vegetated ground of the Etendeka Plateau gives way to one of Southern Africa’s finest, most important Game Reserves and the final stop of our journey. Etosha National Park is dominated by a massive mineral pan covering roughly 25% of the area. A large dusty depression of salt and clay, the pan holds water only occasionally after heavy rains, when along with the perennial springs along it’s edges, it draws large concentrations of wildlife including elephant, giraffe, rhino and lion while fortunate visitors may even witness the elusive leopard and cheetah.
If you’d like to start planning a holiday to Namibia while waiting for this storm to pass, please drop us a line and we’ll be delighted to send you further information on this dramatic destination.
‘In all my experience throughout the African continent, nothing compares to the vast and varied landscapes of Namibia’
Lukey Bourne, Exceptional Travel