As a former author for Lonely Planet guidebooks, I have travelled to many countries in East Africa and Southern Africa. Namibia has always been one of my favourite destinations.
So, when safari tourists and African travel experts rated Namibia as the best safari country for scenic views on http://www.safaribookings.com/, I was not surprised.
Here are three reasons why I love Namibia for its scenic views:
Namibia has Jaw-droppping panoramas
Namibia, with its swirling desert sands, pink-granite mountains and famous desert dunes has some of the world’s best scenery.
Apart from its wonderful array of wildlife, Namibia’s iconic landscapes are also a magnet for visitors. Tourists revel in the opportunities to immerse themselves in the ancient fabric of this glorious countryside.
Namibia has many highlights
The landscapes of Namibia are out of this world, or at least that’s the way it feels…literally. The scenery, in places, lends itself to a lunar appearance, or at least something otherworldly. This is particularly apparent in the south of the country, near the South African border, and in the far north in the wonderfully remote Damaraland.
Northwest of Windhoek is Brandberg, the country’s highest mountain. Here, the ethereal beauty of the landscape was recognized long ago by ancient peoples. They left behind an extraordinary painted diary of their existence, in the form of an incredibly rich and well-preserved gallery of rock art. It’s one of the finest collections you will see anywhere in Africa.
In Etosha National Park, the dry climate and harsh landscapes are punctuated by waterholes where wildlife gathers to quench their thirst. The backdrop to the bush is an enormous saltpan, which stretches as far as the eye can see, receding into the distance in a shimmering white haze.
The Waterberg Plateau National park is set high on a bluff protruding wildly out of the surrounding countryside, which is flat as a pancake. You notice this anomaly from a long distance away – it’s the only thing sticking up above the landscape.
To pick out a few other highlights: the enormity of the ancient Fish River Canyon is best appreciated from the canyon rim; the famed desert dunes at Sossusvlei are perhaps the most photographed and identifiable landscapes on the continent; and the eerie Skeleton Coast is simply bizarre with its desert hinterland, rolling fogs and beautiful coastline.
Namibia is road trip paradise
Namibia is built for road trips. If you are on a self-drive safari, stop the vehicle every now and then and just get outside – savor the silence, the towering dunes, and the granite slab mountains seemingly ‘floating’ as they rise out of the churning desert sands. And with the snaking desert roads disappearing into an endless horizon, there’s a world of discovery awaiting adventurous self-drive visitors. It's an unforgettable country.
Are you interested in reading the full analysis from SafariBookings, including the ratings of the other safari countries? Please visit https://www.safaribookings.com/blog/best-safari-country-2017
Alan Murphy is a former Lonely Planet author and expert on Southern Africa and its wildlife. In 2013 he established Roundtrip Foundation – whose motto is ‘give back and complete the journey’. A not-for-profit organisation, it encourages travellers to give back to local communities in Africa. It also funds projects around housing, education, food and child welfare in Southern Africa and beyond. For more information, or to make a donation to fighting poverty in the region, check out http://www.roundtripfoundation.org.au.