Sossusvlei dunes © Judith Duk
Namibia is a country of vast and astonishing landscapes. Home to the world's oldest desert, and one of the least densely populated countries on earth, there is plenty more than just rock and sand in South West Africa.
The Namib desert plays host to some truly incredible sights. The breath-taking ochre dunes of Sossusvlei are some of the highest in the world, the treacherous Skeleton coast lies to the north, populated with thousands of rusting shipwrecks, and perhaps most dramatic of all, Damaraland is home to the Spitzkoppe rock formations, bizarre petrified forests, and oasis-like valleys.
Cities such as Swakopmund and Luderitz stand as time warps, pretty relics of German colonial rule. Windhoek, the capital, is a modern oasis in the desert, offering shelter from the harsh African plains and a great start or end point to an African desert adventure.
Just north of the border with South Africa, the Fish River Canyon may well be one of Africa's greatest natural phenomenon, 100 miles (160km) long, up to 17 miles (27km) wide, and 1800 feet (550m) deep. Etosha National Park in the north is one of the world's great theaters for wildlife viewing. Waterholes around the iconic Etosha Pan are oases for the vast herds and big predators that roam the salt flats. Caprivi, on the tiny strip of land in the north east of the country, connects Namibia with Victoria Falls and the Chobe National Park in Botswana, and is a haven for wildlife in its own right.
Early Portuguese sailors sought to avoid what they called 'the sands of hell'. Today, visitors have discovered the vast potential of Namibia, a country rich in natural resources, with desert landscapes, sunshine, wildlife, and a stark barren beauty.