Fish River Canyon
The ephemeral Fish River - one of a handful that rise in Namibia - began its work creating the canyon in about 170 million years ago when tectonic rumblings increased the gradient of the river.
All around the canyon, the land rises and falls in gentle undulations marked by dramatic inselbergs. Hardy wildlife thrives in the unspoilt wilderness of two adjacent nature reserves: Fish River Canyon National Park and the privately-owned Gondwana Cañon Park.
The Orange River rises in the highlands of Lesotho and flows all year round into the Atlantic at Oranjemund. It forms the the southern border with South Africa and flows through the Ais-Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Peace Park, which joins South Africa's Richtersveld with Ais Ais National Park.
The vast plains of the Nama Karoo give way, without the slightest warning, to an enormous fissure that is one of the top attractions of southern Namibia. One of the world's largest and oldest, the Fish River Canyon is a meandering incision half a kilometre deep, 161km long and up to 27km wide.
Multi-day self-sufficient hiking trails along the riverbed are popular and the shallow pools and occasional springs belie the arid and rugged conditions. Around the canyon there are many lodges and game parks featuring spectacular scenery and endemic plants and animals. Explore these reserves on horseback, on foot, by air, or in an open safari vehicle.
A scenic flight will complement your ground-based exploration with a dramatic all-encompassing view that gives you an inkling of the canyon's scale.
Ais-Ais Hot Springs near the southern end of the canyon and Warmbad, about two hours' drive from the canyon, are fed by natural springs and an elixir for weary feet.
The Orange River is a malaria-free, bilharzia-free, and crocodile-free river that is reputedly the cleanest in southern Africa. Multi-day guided canoe trips wind through the rocky mountains of the Ais-Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park.
More In Namibia
The 10 Best Places to Visit in Namibia
Namibia has some beautiful, unique and extraordinary scenery. Attractions abound and activities are limitless. But it's the whole journey that is the most extraordinary attraction of them all. Just driving through the country will be an experience quite unlike any you've had before. While parts of Namibia resemble other places - like the Kruger Park and Okavango Delta - no other place on Earth comes close to resembling Namibia.
Etosha National Park
Etosha Park supports 114 species of mammal and over 340 species of bird including numerous endemics and rarities. At the heart of the park is a salt pan that is surrounded by sparse shrubs and grassy plains that become hilly mopane woodlands as you move away from the sunken saline desert.
Damaraland's hilly savannah supports a large number of species including lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena, eland, kudu, giraffe, klipspringer, steenbok, gemsbok and springbok. Birdlife is prolific with over 33 raptors recorded including cuckoo hawks, Egyptian vultures and peregrine falcons - the world's fastest animal.
The Kaokoveld, a vast and empty wilderness occupying the north-western quarter of Namibia, is roughly divided in two by the Hoanib River. The north is known as Kaokoland and the south as Damaraland. Although these administrative divisions fell away after Namibian independence the colloquial demarcations have persisted.
The springs of Windhoek (pronounced VIN-took) attracted pastoralists long before time was measured with alarm clocks, breakfast runs and train schedules. But since 1840 random claims and several skirmishes for dominion over the precious water have culminated in a city with more facets than a flawless diamond.
When the British annexed the natural harbour of Walvis Bay, Germany was left with mile upon mile of barren shoreline in which to find a decent port. They chose an area north of the Swakop River for want of a better location and set to work building a port. It failed.
And that early failure saved what was later to become Swakopmund.
NamibRand Nature Reserve
This reserve originated in 1984 as a passion of the late J.A. Brückner, who had a dream to extend desert frontiers and this began by integrating numerous livestock farms in the area. To date the reserve is comprised of 17 former livestock farms and with no fences between them, the NamibRand became an exclusive reserve through which animals could roam freely across the expanse of this incredible environment and natural habitat.
This German town of about 25,000 inhabitants was born out of necessity in 1487 when Bartholemu Dias sailed his little flotilla into the natural bay created by the rocky peninsula. Centuries later the the bay was no more than an obscure anchorage on the spice route when whales and guano attracted fierce commercial interest in the 19th century.
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