When I first told people that I was going to Namibia, the responses varied.

My two favorites were “On safari?” or “Where is Namibia?”

While many people associate any travel to sub-Saharan Africa as safari focused, Namibia offers so much more than the Big Five. In fact, my trip to this southwestern African country didn’t even have safari on our 8-day itinerary and tour. And yet, we still saw giraffes and zebras – as well as seals, springbok and oryx. But more than the wildlife, it was the landscapes, people and culture that struck me as reason enough to explore the vast terrain that stretches north to south along the Atlantic Ocean.

But don’t take my word for it. Let the country speak for itself with these photographs. And then try telling me that you aren’t interested in planning a trip to Namibia.


Namibia in Pictures

Over the course of 8 days, I ventured 2,984 kilometers across the barren Namib desert, along the remote Skeleton Coast and through the vast Damaraland with a small group of travelers, a guide and driver. I’ll be honest. Arriving in a new place each evening only to leave again the next morning isn’t my preferred way to travel. I’d rather immerse myself, walk around and get to know locals. But our goal was to see as much of Namibia as we could. And that we did. Granted, there was A LOT of Namibia that I didn’t see, places like Fish River Canyon or Sossusvlei or Deadvlei. But choices are par for the course when planning a trip to Namibia (unless your time is unlimited). According to George – our guide from Vulcan Ruine Tours – most people plan itineraries that include a safari through Etosha National Park and UNESCO World Heritage sites like Twyfelfontein, or along the coast from Swakopmund heading south.

I appreciate that we explored some of the major highlights that Namibia is known for as well as some more off the beaten path spots along the way. And the few interactions that we did create with locals, were highlights from the journey. It was those moments, coupled with the vastness of the landscape that stayed with me.

See for yourself…

Pull over on the side of the road and take in the open landscape. 
Damaraland lanscapes in Namibia

Play in the sand while sandboarding in Swakopmund.

Sandboarding Swakopmund Namibia

Kids are kids whether they live in a busy city or a remote Himba village. 

Himba children in Namibia

Enjoy the view from a roadtrip across the country. 

Travel to Namibia

Get to know a Damara woman while shopping for trinkets to take home. 

 

Damara women at Spitzkoppe, Namibia

Go for a hike, stay for the sunset at Brandberg Mountain.

Brandberg Mountain Namibia

Explore the streets and shop in Swakopmund.

Swakopmund Namibia

Get to know the women of a Himba tribe near Opuwo.

*Make sure to arrange this with a guide who knows the locals to help create an experience that is educational and meaningful as opposed to a quick, stop by “viewing.”

Visit a Himba Tribe in Opuwo

Immerse yourself in quiet on the Skeleton Coast.

Skeleton Coast in Namibia

Enjoy the sounds and play of the Seal Colony at Cape Cross.

Seals at Cape Cross Namibia

Watch sunset paint the sky over the Atlantic Ocean.

Sunset in Swakopmund
Observe the elegant dance of flamingoes in Walvis Bay. 
Flamingoes in Namibia
Appreciate Germanic influences and architecture in Swakopmund. 
Explore Swakopmund Namibia
Take the time to learn about daily life in a Himba village. 
HImba village near Opuwo Namibia
Look up at the clouds over Damaraland. 
Cloud scapes in Namibia
Understand the interdependence and traditions that keep local traditions alive. 
Welcome home in Namibia
Let your imagination run wild with the natural beauty and isolation of the Skeleton Coast. 
Skeleton Coast Gate Namibia
Dream, climb, camp and observe the night sky at Spitzkoppe. 
Spitzkoppe in Namibia
Allow yourself to be wowed by nature as well as history at the Twyfelfontein UNESCO World Heritage Site.
little wildlife in namibia
Appreciate epic sunsets from the Opuwo Country Lodge in Opuwo
Sunset in Opuwo Namibia

Namibia is a photographer’s dream. Yes, there is wildlife in Etosha National Park. But there is so much more to Namibia than the Big Five.

Namibians are kind. Welcoming. Genuine. The diversity of geographic landscapes is mind-boggling from the sandy hues of Namib Desert to the greens of lands in the north. I’d love to return to Namibia and plan an extensive road trip with a 4x4 car and multiple days in each place to immerse myself even more in the land, culture and people. (And a private guide wouldn’t hurt as a way to meet more locals and in case one of the bumpy roads takes out a tire as we explore). And although I’ve never fancied camping in a tent, I’d jump at the chance to sleep under the Namibian sky at night.

 

 

 


*I was a guest of the Namibian Tourism Board and Vulkan Ruine Tours & Transfers during my time in Namibia. All opinions are my own.


Written by Elena Sonnino

Elena Sonnino

Chaser of Dreams. Life coach, wellness and travel writer, yogini, former teacher, adventure seeker, hiker, foodie …and oh right, cancer survivor. Elena writes about finding everyday wellness in far-flung lands and in her own backyard in the Washington D.C. suburbs.

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