Southern Namibia offers diverse attractions and yet it is often overlooked by visitors who don’t have quite enough time to spend in Namibia. But if you have the time, the Kalahari Desert, Fish River Canyon and Luderitz are just some of the unique memories of Southern Namibia. South from the Namib Desert lies the curious Duwisib Castle, built under extraordinary conditions by an eccentric and love-struck German army officer. Continuing still further south, you encounter large sheep farms such as Dabis Guest Farm, which offer friendly hospitality for an overnight stay.
Why Visit Southern Namibia?
- 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
The breathtaking Kalahari Desert which lies along the eastern side of Namibia, 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 with many of nomadic herds of antelope such as gemsbok, kudu, eland, blue wildebeest and springbok. Predators are also well represented in the Kalahari Desert and include lion, leopard, cheetah, hyenas and black-backed jackals – especially after the summer rains when the Kalahari has nutritious new grasses. 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 meetkats.
The eerily beautiful Quivertree Forest, 13km north-west of Keetmanshoop, is worth is visit if you have time . Further north Bagatelle Ranch and Kalahari Anib Lodge offer a great Kalahari safari experience.
Fish River Canyon
In the far south, the spectacular Fish River Canyon, over 300 million years old, is an 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 more famous big brother, you will not have to share the experience with hordes of tourists. Its remote location means it’s little visited.
The canyon meanders for 160km through the barren landscape of southern Namibia, reaching 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. Please note that several places say that they are near the Fish River Canyon but only a few actually are!
The road to Luderitz on the Atlantic coast takes you past herds of wild desert horses and the eerie ghost town of Kolmanskop, to the 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.
It’s this other-wordly quality which is the main appeal of Luderitz. Given travelling time to get there, we recommend 2 nights so that you can visit the ghost town of Kolmanskop at your leisure. You can also take a scenic drive to the peninsula where Bartholeus Diaz landed, or enjoy a 2 hour boat cruise to see the African penguin colonies on Halifax Island.
The ghost town of Kolmanskop a few kilometres from Luderitz, dates back to the diamond rush, and makes a fascinating excursion. The shifting dunes, fierce winds and salt-laden mist have reduced Kolmanskop to ruins. En route to Luderitz we recommend a diversion to see if you can find the wild horses of Aus.