Southern Namibia

Southern Namibia includes several diverse attractions: the Kalahari Desert with the chance to interact with local people, the massive Fish River Canyon, the quirky fishing town of Luderitz and Kolmansklop ghost village…


Southern Namibia offers diverse attractions. Yet it is often overlooked by visitors who don’t have quite enough time in Namibia. But if you do have the time, the Kalahari Desert, Fish River Canyon and Luderitz are just some of the unique memories. (Ideally allow 4 nights for the south.)

Kalahari Desert

The breath-taking Kalahari Desert is not actually a desert at all. But 100 metres of deep red sand has created a vast area of waterless ground. Indeed the Kalahari is one of Africa’s last wildlife sanctuaries. Many nomadic herds of antelope such as gemsbok, kudu, eland, blue wildebeest and springbok find their home here. Predators are also well-represented in the Kalahari Desert. Especially after the summer rains when the Kalahari has nutritious new grasses. This include lion, leopard, cheetah, hyenas and ubiquitous black-backed jackals. Two other prominent features of the Kalahari Desert are the vast communal nests of the Sociable weaver birds and, of course, the endearing colonies of meerkats.

Kokerboom in the Southern Kalahari

Fish River Canyon

In the far south, the spectacular Fish River Canyon, over 300 million years old, is another awe-inspiring site. It’s one of the largest river-formed canyons in the world but with a minute fraction of the tourist hordes which descend on the Grand Canyon. Unlike its famous big brother, you will not have to share the experience with millions of others.

The canyon meanders for 160km through the barren landscape of southern Namibia. It reaches a depth of 550m and a width of 27km. We suggest an early start to appreciate the majesty of the canyon before the strong light washes the colour of the rocks away. There are several viewpoints which give magnificent vistas of the canyon. Hiking, nature drives and horse-riding are all on offer near to the Fish River Canyon.

Hikers in Fish River Canyon, Southern Namibia


The road to Luderitz on the Atlantic coast takes you past herds of wild desert horses and the eerie ghost town of Kolmanskop. Your destination is a quaint little Germanic fishing town.

The isolation of the fishing and seaside town of Luderitz, and the way in which its German colonial buildings cling to the rocks overlooking the bay, give the town a curious, other worldly, allure. It is almost surreal to see the distinctly German colonial architecture in this seemingly forgotten part of Africa.

Luderitz in Southern Namibia

It’s this other worldly quality which is the main appeal of Luderitz. Given travelling time to get there, we recommend a 2 nights stay.

The ghost town of Kolmanskop a few kilometres from Luderitz, dates back to the diamond rush. The shifting dunes, fierce winds and salt-laden mist have reduced Kolmanskop to ruins.


Why you may love it

  • Enjoy game-viewing at a Kalahari game lodge
  • Walk along the edge of the Fish River Canyon
  • Horse-riding at the canyon’s edge
  • Visit the Quiver tree forest at Keetmanshoop
  • Explore the ghost town of Kolmanskop
  • Walk around the quirky town of Luderitz enjoying its somewhat surreal architecture
  • See the feral horses of Aus
  • You can also take a scenic drive in Luderitz to the peninsula where Barthomleus Diaz landed, or enjoy a 2 hour boat cruise to see the African penguin colonies on Halifax Island

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Sonja Brand

Africa Travel Specialist

Hi I'm Sonja, I'm here to help you plan your ideal holiday experience
Did you know
  • LocationThe desert expands over Namibia, Botswana & South Africa
  • NameFrom the Tswana word Kgala, meaning "the great thirst"