Windhoek’s close proximity to the international airport and easy access to travel necessities and services makes it an ideal starting point for visitors looking to explore the desert landscapes.
Visitors can venture west to the Namib Desert, winding through the Speetshoogte Pass and descending into the Kuiseb Canyon. En routet ravelers will journey through the lonely settlement of Solitaire, where local roads cut through vast desert landscapes. And when they reach their final destination—the dunes of Sossousvlei—adventurers can bear witness to some of the world’s tallest sand dunes. Whether it’s dune boarding, sand surfing, four-wheeling or hiking, a trip to the Namib desert is a quintessential experience for visitors to this incredible nation.
Travelers can also get a taste of some of the country’s most rugged beauty on a trip to nearby Deadvlei. The skeletal remains of ancient trees reach into the blue sky from a long-dried out salt pan, making for one of the most breathtaking—and photographed—sites in all of Namibia.
Those in search of a different kind of adventure can head east from Windhoek through Gobabis to the Kalahari Desert, which spans some 900,000 square kilometers between the borders of Namibia and Botswana. Despite its desert classification, lucky visitors may spot kudu, springbok and other antelope after heavy rains. The Kalahari is home to several private game reserves, including the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, the second largest protected wildlife area in the world.
What the Kalahari lacks in dunes it makes up for in wildlife, with a spectacular variety of birds and reptiles. And while wildlife may be one of the main draws for visitors to Africa, the San people, a group of nomadic hunter-gatherers who have called the Kalahari home for more than 20,000 years, are a part of what makes a trip to this side of Windhoek so unique. Local tours provide visitors with an up close look not only at the expansive desert landscape, but also at the culture and traditions of a group of people who have managed to survive on this unforgiving land for thousands of years.