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If you are considering travelling to Namibia, chances are you are looking for something out of the ordinary. A journey through Namibia is all about daily surprises; the impossible number of stars, the expanse of views over desert mountains, the improbable salmon-pink of sand-dunes at sunrise, the ingenuity of small creatures adapted to the harsh environment, the ochre and leather dress of the Himba and petticoated dresses of the Herero, the first taste of ostrich biltong and the excellent seafood. Jump straight to some of our favourite Namibian experiences.

The greatest surprise about a safari in Namibia, being largely empty and mainly comprised of desert or semi-desert, is just how much there is to see. Etosha and parts of the Caprivi are rich in big game and birdlife, and even the desert hosts specially adapted elephant, lion and rhino. A Namib Desert landscape apparently devoid of life can reveal beetles that collect dew on their backs, geckos that bark, spiders that literally cartwheel down sand-dunes and plants that are barely 2 feet tall but that are over 1000 years old.

Everywhere there is evidence of people’s attempts to tame this harsh landscape (to varying degrees of success). Take for example the wild Skeleton Coast where shipwrecks and seals mingle, and the diamond fields of the Namib which have given rise to quirky little towns, some of which have been partially buried by the encroaching sand. The San Bushmen have left their mark in rock etchings and still live nomadically, with few possessions on the edge of the Kalahari. In contrast, towns like Windhoek and Swakopmund bear every mark of sophistication and have an unmistakable continental feel. Namibia safari lodges are wildly diverse, from the charmingly simple to the elegantly luxurious.

Namibia is one of the few African countries we would recommend for superb self-drive safaris, and it is also one of our favourite and most unusual destinations to visit with your family. There are a couple of experiences in Namibia that stand head and shoulders above others as the sort of life-changing things that you’ll carry with you forever, among which is the Skeleton Coast flying safari.