The grand tour

The distances are too vast to cover all the country’s highlights in one tour, but starting and finishing in the capital you could probably manage most of the well-known sights by road in sixteen days – longer if you want to linger.

1 Windhoek

Namibia’s quaint capital, tucked away in the Central Highlands, is a pleasant place to browse for crafts, and sample the local cuisine in some fine restaurants.

2 Fish River Canyon

Peer over the canyon rim, hike along the valley floor or relax in the hot springs of this jaw-dropping geological wonder.

3 Lüderitz

Admire the town’s well-preserved German colonial architecture, and visit nearby Kolmanskop, where the abandoned diamond-mining buildings are gradually being swallowed by sand.

4 Sossusvlei

A photographer’s paradise; be sure to catch sunrise or sunset across the dunes and hike over the sand to the ghostly vleis, spotted with skeletal trees.

5 Swakopmund

Namibia’s main seaside resort offers fascinating desert tours, adrenaline sports on the dunes, and the chance to wine, dine and relax.

6 Twyfelfontein

The country’s first World Heritage Site contains a vast collection of San rock engravings, with other curious geological formations nearby.

7 Etosha

Set aside several days to explore Etosha National Park, where a day- or night-time stakeout of a waterhole will get you up close to a host of wildlife.

8 Waterberg

Dramatic sandstone cliffs, superlative views, varied vegetation and the chance to glimpse rare wildlife provide the setting for some excellent hiking.

The activity circuit

You’d need close to three action-packed weeks to fit in all these activities, longer if you want to do the whole five-day canoe trip down the Orange River.

1 Orange River

Float for a day or paddle for five down the scenic Orange River, camping out on sandbanks under the stars and cooking on campfires.

2 Fish River Canyon

Hike this brutal five-day trail in the bowels of the canyon, scrambling over boulders and cooling off in rock pools, before collapsing in the hot springs of Ai-Ais.

3 Sossusvlei

For an exhilarating bird’s-eye view of the desert, balloon over the Namib at dawn, soaring above the rippling dune sea, with the brooding Naukluft Mountains in the distance.

4 Swakopmund

Get your adrenaline fix in Namibia’s adventure capital: sand-boarding and quad biking in the dunes, skydiving into the desert or surfing the Atlantic waves.

5 Walvis Bay

Spend a glorious morning kayaking on the lagoon, surrounded by dolphins, seals and pelicans.

6 The Brandberg

A strenuous climb up this imposing massif is rewarded with stunning ancient rock art, peerless desert vistas and the chance to sleep under the sparkling stars.

7 Damaraland

Tracking desert-adapted elephant and rhino on foot across the weathered semi-arid landscape of Damaraland is guaranteed to set your pulse racing.

8 Epupa Falls

Raft down the picturesque Kunene River, keeping a respectful distance from crocs and hippos, arriving in time to enjoy sunset over the falls.

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