Namibia has something for every budget, from self-drive, to deluxe privately guided flying safaris. All set in areas with spectacular scenery. If you have already been to East Africa, Namibia provides a real contrast while still offering a true African Safari experience.

Namibia has a population of just 2.5 million and is almost the same size as Tanzania. Tanzania of course, is famous for its excellent wildlife and parks. But has a rapidly expanding population of 58 million (up from 14 million in 1970!) and space is shrinking. That’s a huge population difference! Granted – most of Namibia is desert, but there’s something special about all that space!

My first trip to Namibia was a drive South from Tanzania, passing through Zambia and a small section of Zimbabwe at Victoria Falls. We entered Namibia through the Caprivi Strip. Caprivi a narrow corridor of land separating Botswana and Angola which is very different from what we saw elsewhere.

I was stunned by the excellent quality of the dirt roads in Namibia. We made our way to Etosha National Park for some sightseeing and later on to Windhoek.

The towns were orderly and well kept, the farms neatly fenced – so different from the North. From Windhoek, we headed west though the hill country and down to Solitaire. Here we spent a night camping under trees that seemed to be nothing but one giant bird’s nest the size of the Land Rover. Solitaire was just that – solitary and windswept – just a single building selling food and fuel and a friendly shopkeeper happy to see a new face.

Namibia Tour Map

From Solitaire, we continued to the monstrous red dunes of Sossusvlei, rising above a parched flood pan with gnarled camel-thorn acacias. At the time, it was possible to drive further into the dunes from where the road was supposed to end – so why not? We continued and parked “somewhere”, walked about and climbed the dunes to see the sights of endless desert. Later as we returned, we took a shortcut through the dunes to where we through the Land Rover was parked.

When we were in the middle of nowhere, we realized we had lost the track and didn’t know exactly where we had come from nor where we were going. The dried out mummified Oryx we met was no help. Gut instinct and tangs of panic took over. Half an hour later, we were fortunately back on a path and eventually found the car! That experience taught me a good lesson about do-it-yourself desert tours!