Your Next Great Adventure: A Namibian Safari - Page 2

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Skeleton Coast, Namibia, shipwreck
A shipwreck off the Skeleton Coast near Swakopmund, Namibia  (Lacy Morris)

Where to Go
Namibia offers enough diverse landscape to keep those who are willing to drive (or fly in small airplanes) awestruck for two weeks. From the capital city of Windhoek, head south through the Khomas Hochland Mountains to Sossusvlei in the Namib Desert. This pan is set between blood-red sand dunes, and it's quite possibly the best place in the world to watch the sun rise, as the view is constantly changed by the light and the wind reshaping the dunes.

Photo Gallery: The Sand Dunes and Salt Pans of Sossusvlei, Namibia

Once you’ve climbed the dunes and watched your footprints be swept away by the wind, depart for the coast through Namib-Naukluft National Park, the largest game park in Africa. The Skeleton Coast is a departure from what you’ve seen so far, with days likely to be met with dense fog and cold ocean breezes. The region gets its uninviting moniker from remains of shipwrecks and bones that have washed ashore from when the whaling industry was profitable in the area. From Walvis Bay, take a cruise out to sand bars covered in seals; with a keen eye (or a good guide), you’re likely to also spot humpback whales and bottlenose dolphins. Side note: The area is also well known for housing Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt while they readied to give birth to their first biological child in a local hospital.

Swakopmund, the coast’s most touristy town, is popular among adrenaline junkies. You can surf the infamous waves, ride a quad through towering sand dunes, or try your hand at dune boarding (there are no chairlifts, so the only way back up is with your own legs)—it’s also a prime spot to pick up some cheap souvenirs.

Continue up the coast and a bit inland for a stop at the Moon Landscape. One look and you’ll understand the name—it resembles what folks saw on TV when there was a giant leap for mankind. It's believed that some 500 million years of erosion have carved the granite into inhospitable valleys and peaks. Mother Nature's work here has caused a stir in the movie industry, with film crews clamoring to capture the stark and deserted nature of the canyons. The recent discovery of uranium deposits beneath the landscape has threated the area’s stability—the fight between mining and tourism is gaining speed as the influx of travelers provides the tourism industry with more power, and thus more pull in a political head-to-head.

The last few days of your journey should be spent wildlife-spotting. Continue south through Damaraland and into Etosha National Park—one of the best places in Africa to spot the endangered black rhino. Day and night drives offer a virtual Jurassic Park experience—it’s only here where you can eat breakfast with a lion, lunch with a giraffe, and dinner with a zebra.

Photo Gallery: Giraffes of Etosha National Park

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