In part one of this three-part travel blog, Amanda, founder of Sorbet, packs her Sorbet hammam towels off on a once in a lifetime trip to Namibia in Africa.
Scaling sand dunes and mountains one minute and driving through vast deserts the next, she discovers there's plenty of adventure to be had in this astonishing part of the world.
Part One (Days 1-4) – Windhoek, Sossusvlei, Swakopmund
My family and I were very fortunate recently to experience two weeks touring Namibia in Africa on a self-drive holiday. It was trip of a lifetime giving us cherished memories that will stay with us forever.
Arriving in Namibia
We climbed the world’s highest sand dunes at Sossusvlei; encountered rare wildlife including the desert-adapted elephant and Hartmann’s zebra; discovered the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Twyfelfontein and went on thrilling game drives in the Etosha National Park.
Namibia is the second most sparsely populated country on Earth making it an ideal location for ‘off the beaten track’ travel. As you drive around you discover the landscape is so varied, that it simply takes your breath away. You experience ancient deserts, canyons, rocky mountains, coastal dunes, open savannah and forests.
We flew overnight with British Airways from London to Johannesburg and then made a simple transfer on to Namibia. The time difference from the UK is the same and having slept pretty well on the plane, we did not feel tired when we arrived at lunchtime in Windhoek, the capital of Namibia.
We were so excited about our adventure starting the next morning, so we had an early dinner in the centre of Windhoek and an early night, before heading off the following day!
Off we go!
Our first destination on the self drive was the Desert Homestead Lodge located near Sossusvlei and its monumental dunes. We were expecting around a 6 hour drive so left in good time.
Spotting wildlife from the car - baboons!
Almost immediately we were spotting wildlife from the car – baboons, ostriches and antelope to name a few. We then drove through Spreetshoogte Pass - a mountain pass connecting the Namib Desert with the Khomas Highland.
Our first refreshment/petrol stop was at Moose McGregor’s Desert Bakery in Solitaire, famous for its homemade apple cake!
Apple cake and Coffee at Moose McGregor’s Desert Bakery
We arrived at Desert Homestead mid-afternoon and discovered it to be a great place to relax and unwind after a long drive. It was so enjoyable watching the sunset over the desert, eating the simply delicious homemade cooking and indulging in a bit of stargazing after dinner!
Accommodation consists of 20 traditional thatched guesthouses with stunning views across the plains
Sunrise in Namibia
In the morning, we arose at 5 AM in time for a quick breakfast and then went on our first guided trip of the holiday in The Namib-Naukluft Park. The day included experiencing the sunrise, learning about the desert creatures and climbing one of the 300-metre high sand dunes of Sossusvlei.
Sand dunes at Sossusvlei
Climbing the sand dunes at Sossusvlei
We also visited a large ghostly expanse of dried white clay known as Dead Vlei and the ancient Sesriem Canyon. It was a great day!
Dead Vlei – a white clay pan located near Sossusvlei
(Can you spot Sorbet’s ‘Strawberries and Cream’ hammam towel?!)
Horse riding in Namibia
After a much needed late afternoon dip in the pool and once again experiencing the culinary delights of Desert Homestead Lodge, we were ready for a good night’s sleep. Our next activity was one of my favourite and most magical moments of the trip – an early morning guided desert horse ride!
An early morning horse riding experience
Swakopmund and Walvis Bay
After the horse ride and breakfast, we were off to our next destination – Swakopmund and Walvis Bay. Swakopmund is one of Namibia’s premier holiday destinations and is a fascinating place – more of which to follow in my next part of this travel blog…
The Savannahs on the way to Swakopmund
The drive to Swakopmund was epic due to the ever-changing, breath-taking scenery through the Namibian wilderness. One minute it looked like a scene from The Lion King, where we were so lucky to spot from the car the endangered Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra, and the next we were swooping into the steep and sharp turns in the mountains, particularly at the notorious Gaub Pass.
Endangered Hartmann's Mountain Zebras
The Gaub Pass area
The latter part of the drive to Swakopmund was a barren, desolate but strangely beautiful desert. We were driving for miles and miles on gravel and sand roads which was quite tricky, but by no means should it put you off – just make sure you have enough petrol!
Driving in the desert
Nothing but desert for miles and miles...
Sand dunes at Walvis Bay
As we got closer to our destination, the sand dunes situated between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund appeared on the horizon and we began to get excited about our excursion the following day (Day 5!). It was going to be a catamaran cruise across a lagoon that took us to visit a large seal colony.
Look who joined us on the catamaran!
We were just not expecting some of the seals to join us on the boat! More to follow soon in part two of our Namibian adventure.