Reason 1: Scenery
To say that the landscapes of Namibia are breathtaking is an understatement. There is no better way to grasp that than to soar high in a hot-air balloon above Little Kulala Camp in the Sossusvlei region. Nothing quite like taking in the orange dunes from above at sunrise. Just when you thought the morning couldn’t get any better, you’re treated to a champagne brunch where you have a chance to reflect on the beauty of the day with your fellow travelers.
Reason 2: The Dunes
Seeing the dunes from above is one thing, but trekking on them allows you to grasp their true enormity. Be prepared for the heat, but don’t miss the chance to run down the side of Big Daddy or walk around Deadvlei – a must-see for any photography lovers traveling to Namibia.
Reason 3: Adventure
Little Kulala Camp continued to impress by delivering an action-packed adventure on four wheels. The Camp offers a quad bike excursion that starts out going along the riverbed and then to the same dessert plains where we spent much of our time during the day looking for wildlife. We got caught in a sand storm on the way back, which only added to the excitement and called for laundry service. A fellow traveler remarked on our last night together that this adventure was the highlight of her trip.
Reason 4: Spectacular Accommodations in Remote Locations
When the plane picked us up at the transfer point to head to Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp I had no idea what awaited us. I have been fortunate enough to travel throughout several countries in Africa, and no place has ever taken my breath away like Hoanib. Our home for 3 nights, Hoanib delivered amazing accommodations, food, people, surroundings and wildlife that found me wanting to sign up for my next stay before I had even left. As I wrote in the guest book before departing, I will be back to Hoanib one day.
Reason 5: Unique Wildlife
If you’ve seen Planet Earth 2 then you know about the desert adapted lions of Namibia. They are desert adapted because they’ve learned to survive on the water in the blood of their prey. The vast area surrounding Hoanib Camp is home to seven of these special lions, and the camp itself is the staging point for Philip Stander of the Desert Lion Conservation Project. With such a large area to cover, encountering these lions can be rare. I was on a mission, and as we followed along the riverbed our first morning out, our guide, Reagan, spotted some tracks. Eyes peeled, we continued along and drove to the top of the riverbed and there they were – laying down with a fresh Oryx carcass. These lions, aunt and niece, wore one of Philip’s collars for research and monitoring. We sat there for a while and watched as they enjoyed their meal and remarked at how lucky we were to see these true marvels of nature.
Reason 6: The Coast
Driving from Hoanib Camp to the coast made for another very special day in Namibia. Desert riverbed, to white sand dunes, to rocky coastline, the varying terrains on this one travel day were amazing. After viewing wildlife all along the way, we finally reached the coast and saw the shipwrecks and whale bones that help give the area its name, the Skeleton Coast. Home to a large fur seal colony, November was the perfect time to see all the new life on the coast, fur seal babies. To spare us the long ride back to camp, a plane was waiting to take us home, but first there was one more surprise…
Reason 7: Conservation Successes
Namibia is home to a model of community-based conservation in which people and nature thrive in a mutually beneficial relationship. Africa’s rhinos are in grave danger from poachers that are backed by strong and well-equipped criminal networks. Black rhinos, which are fewest in number in Africa, are a species that I have spent much time working to protect as a WWF employee, and it was my dream to see one in the wild. My dream came true our first night at Ongava Lodge in the Ongava Game Reserve outside of Etosha National Park. I didn’t see just one Black rhino, I saw 7, including babies, and I saw the species interact with the larger White rhino. Unlike in Etosha where Black rhinos are dehorned for their protection, Ongava has the capacity to protect their rhinos and therefore keeps their horns intact. Watching a Black rhino nurse its baby at close range from the “hide” down by the waterhole, was an experience that I will never forget and reignited the passion I have for the important conservation work that me and my colleagues do every day. I will never forget my first Black rhino!
By Abby Wadley