If a tree was to fall in the Namib Desert and no one is around to hear it would it make a sound? No, this is not going to be about philosophy or any scientific research, but it might help you consider a trip to the Namib Desert.
The Namib Desert is one of the world’s oldest and largest deserts, thought to be 50 million years old and cover a distance of 2,000km; hence its name “vast place“. It is predominantly across Namibia’s coastline, venturing into Angola and South Africa. It is famous for its tall sand dunes, can be as high as 400 metres. Described as a photographer’s ideal canvas especially at dawn and dusk, the dunes are shades of beige, and ochre and change to purple at dusk.
Although the desert is arid and may look barren, different animals and plants have evolved to survive in this region and climate, which survive on minimal rainfall and underground sources. Some animals indigenous to this region include the African bush elephant and the mountain zebra, found at the Namib National Park. The national park is Africa’s largest conservation area, over 50,000km² wide. Additionally, there is the Swakopmund’s Living Desert Snake Park, home to various species of snakes, scorpions, geckos and monitor lizards endemic to the Desert.
Other than the animals and plants, the desert is untouched and one can travel kilometres before meeting another person or settlements. It could trigger an existential crisis or answer the lifelong question “what is truly important?“. A solo trip through the Namib desert could be likened to the journey Reese Witherspoon took in “Wild“, redefine your outlook on life. The Desert has a way of making some of our daily struggles seem insignificant, and not worth the stress. From the stunning views of silvery-white dunes at Sossusvlei or the bird’s eye view of the Desert from a hot air balloon. The trip isn’t a shortage of scenic views.
As mentioned earlier, there are other activities that the Namib Desert is ideal for. The hot air balloon ride over the Desert at dawn or dusk is thought to be awe-inspiring, but that’s not all. Other activities include quad biking, desert hikes, paragliding, and sand boarding, depending on the tour services these might come at an extra cost. My favourite recommendation would be stargazing, as the lack of human settlements and artificial lights allows you an amazing view of the night sky. Most of the camps and lodges in the Namib Desert use this as a selling point and offer rooms for this specifically.
It is possible this is not everyone’s ideal vacation but experiencing the magic of the Desert will be worth your while. We’d recommend a 6 day long trip to fully enjoy a trip to the Namib Desert as the nearest airport is in Windhoek, 5 hours away. Also, to avoid heat stroke or activity restrictions the best time to visit would be in the winter months, April to September.