Southern Namibia offers diverse attractions. Yet it is often overlooked by visitors who don’t have quite enough time to spend in Namibia. But if you do have the time, the Kalahari Desert, Fish River Canyon and Luderitz are just some of the unique memories.
South from Sossusvlei 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. These offer friendly hospitality for an overnight stay. Then you can head to Luderitz on the coast. Or head inland to the Fish River Canyon and the Kalahari.
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 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 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 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 famous big brother, you will not have to share the experience with millions of others. Its remote location means it’s little visited.
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.
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.
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. This means that you can visit the ghost town of Kolmanskop. You can also take a scenic drive to the peninsula where Barthomleus 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. This makes for a fascinating excursion. The shifting dunes, fierce winds and salt-laden mist have reduced Kolmanskop to ruins.