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3 places to visit in the Namib desert.

After my trip to South Africa, I finally visited Namibia after longing for many years. It was just as I had imagined, sparse, with endless roads, and extremely hot. A lot of my time in Namibia was spent watching the changing scenery from the tour bus window.

I brought along a book to read whilst travelling, but it was useless in Namibia, how could I take my eyes from the view outside? The burnt orange mountains, hundreds and hundreds of poisonous bushes, enormous rocks perched on hillsides, velvet soft deserts, and carpet-like grass-covered expanses.

When most people think of Namibia they are actually thinking of the Namib-Naukluft Park which is an astonishing 49,768 km². We visited a minuscule amount of the park but the 3 places we visited were all very different and a good overview of the landscapes across the whole park.

1. Dune 45 and Deadvlei

2. Spitzkoppe Mountains

3. Sesriem Canyon

Naukluft National Park Drive

1. Dune 45

If you are going to the Namib desert to climb a Dune it will probably be Dune 45  It is the most photographed and climbed dune in the desert. At 170 m it is certainly not the smallest dune, but despite that, it is a strenuous climb. Make sure you attempt it at sunrise.

Not surprisingly the desert heats up pretty quickly and climbing up a dune in the heat is not advisable. I opted to scale the dune shoeless so as not to have shoes full of sand.

The sand is as soft as silk which makes the climb all the more difficult. Halfway up I wanted to abandon the climb, luckily I didn’t because the view from the top was just breathtaking and made all the more satisfying.


Deadvlei is a clay pan a short beautiful drive away from Dune 45. It is a perfectly round pan where water pooled, due to drought it has dried up leaving trees dead but still standing, like time stood still.

The visual of the dried pan and trees is surrounded by huge sand dunes, including Big Daddy which is one of the highest sand dunes in the world at 383m high.

See for more information on the area.

Namibian desert pans
namibia desert
Naukluft National Park

The view from the top of Dune 45.

sand dunes namibia
Spitzkoppe mountain range
Spitzkoppe landscape

2. Spitzkoppe Mountains

Spitskoppe is the name of the highest mountain in the range. It is known as the ‘Matterhorn of Namibia’ due to its especially pointed shape. The area around the mountain is home to leopards, rock climbers, and rock paintings by the San people.

The area is stunning. Huge granite boulders are precariously placed on steep hills, smooth outcrops are just begging to be climbed. The rocks have a beautiful smoothness to them like lumps of kneaded plasticine.

The San People

trekked and settled in this area and created rock paintings to depict their lives. Images of lions, rhinos, and elephants describe the animals which migrate through the mountains.

Sadly some of the paintings have been tampered with, but the majority of the work is in great condition. Storytelling at its best. In 2020 the stories of the people of the area are still being discovered by new visitors to the area.

rocks at spitzkoppe
Matterhorn of Namibia

Sitting with view of Skitzkoppe mountain.

sesriem canyon walk

3. Sesriem Canyon

Venture down the bumpiest of all dumpy dirt roads a short ride away from Sesriem is Sesriem Canyon. A ragged scar on the earth where the Tsauchab ran through and left its mark. The canyon is 30 meters deep. It is relatively easy to navigate your way down despite the textured rock.

In another Namibian rock climbers’ dream, the canyon walls are covered in hand and feet-sized holes left by discarded large pebbles. The bottom of the canyon is very peaceful, a moment of calm and respite from the scorching sun.

Take a walk along the canyon the discover pools of water and small pops of greenery.

You will need a permit to visit the canyon.

Sesriem Caynon walls
jane badu Sesriem Canyon
Sesriem canyon water pond
sesriem canyon trip

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