The south of Namibia is dry – a land of wide-open spaces and solitude, bordered in the west by the Atlantic Ocean as well as the spectacular Namib Naukluft Park.
This area is worth one entire trip on its own, as it offers so many unique attractions and phenomena, ranging from ghost towns, to historical buildings, quiver tree forests and canyons, not to forget the highest dunes in the world.
The town of Lüderitz was built amongst rocky outcrops on the southern Namibian coast and owes its existence to the disco-very of diamonds in 1908. It has become a sought-after tourist attraction and holiday resort with its German colonial buildings, the mining ghost towns of Kolmanskop, Elizabeth Bay and Pomona, who seemed to have survived time and the elements.
The Sossusvlei clay pan, which was formed when shifting sand dunes of the Namib smothered the course of the Tsauchab River, is one of the main attractions of the southern region. The dunes are at their most breathtaking in the early morning and their formations and colour variations are a scenic haven for photographers.
The rugged Naukluft mountains are home to many Harmann’s mountain zebra, as well as klipspringer, gemsbok, ostrich, springbok and kudu. This area offers various hi-king trails, either on foot or by 4×4.
Sesriem is a 30 m deep canyon or gorge of about 1km in length which lies at the entrance to Sossusvlei. Its rock pools fill up with water after good rains and serve as wonderful, refreshing dip pools to hikers.
The spectacular Fish River Canyon is one of the largest canyons in the world, reaching a depth of about 550 m. The adjoining Ai-Ais National Park and Richtersveld National Park on the South African side have been designated a transfrontier conservation area, separated by the Orange River which forms the natural boundary between the two countries.
Around Keetmanshoop a forest of quiver trees has pride of place and just north of Mariental the Hardap Dam, which is Namibia’s largest dam, offers a resort and water sports such as water skiing, body boarding and the like.