Feature

Photo Essay: Namibia

Issue 6 - 2017
· Images George Steinmetz/National Geographic Creative; Jim Brandenburg/Minden Pictures/National Geographic Creative; Pim Vuik/Gallery Stock; Jen Goerlich/Gallery Stock

One of the most sparsely populated countries in the world, Namibia possesses a stark and mesmerising beauty. From its vast ochre deserts to inky-blue seas and magnificent wildlife, we celebrate a land of extraordinary contrasts

Issue 6 - 2017
· Images George Steinmetz/National Geographic Creative; Jim Brandenburg/Minden Pictures/National Geographic Creative; Pim Vuik/Gallery Stock; Jen Goerlich/Gallery Stock

One of the most sparsely populated countries in the world, Namibia possesses a stark and mesmerising beauty. From its vast ochre deserts to inky-blue seas and magnificent wildlife, we celebrate a land of extraordinary contrasts

Of all the countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, Namibia is arguably the most stunning. Its coastline and deserts are among the most photographed in the world. The word “namib” means “vast place” – and here, space is everything.

So where to begin when describing its raw beauty? Possibly the desert, which is the world’s oldest, dating back 55 million years, and stretches over 2,000km. Serving up the warmest palette of pastel pink, burnt orange, rust red and sienna, it’s home to the world’s tallest shifting sand dunes. It’s also teeming with wildlife; you may spot the gemsbok (a national symbol) helping itself to wild desert melons. Lions, elephants and rhinos roam freely, while ostriches gather in pairs, ready to flee at the sight of a cheetah.

Bursts of colour pop up sparingly across the country: gorgeous emerald-green lakes, purple jagged mountains, and the bone-white mudflats on the Tsauchab River.

Tribal groups still live off the land. In the remote Kunene region in the north reside the isolated Himba people. Their origins can be traced back to the early-16th century and their traditions hold fast. Women are only allowed to bathe in smoke; they put smouldering charcoal in a bowl with herbs and wait for the steam to rise.

Framing the north is the Skeleton Coast, an endless stretch of deserted beach with seal and flamingo colonies. Viewed from the air, it’s sublime: a twinkling turquoise ocean with surf breaking out over the dunes. When you see the shipwrecks and whale and seal skeletons dotting the coastline, you begin to understand the origins of the spooky name. It’s unforgiving territory, but there’s a wealth of untarnished beauty in the barrenness.


For more information about holidays in Namibia, call 020 8682 5070

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