Namibia’s southern region is dominated by wide open spaces, solitude and silence. It offers an assortment of attractions unique to the area, including historical buildings, fossils, ghost towns and quiver tree forests.
Probably the region’s main attraction would have to be the breathtakingly beautiful Sossusvlei; a clay pan formed when the shifting sands of the Namib smothered the course of the Tsauchab River. Surrounded by dunes, the best time to visit the area is early morning when the light catches the dunes and allows the opportunity to gather some brilliant photographs. Although the pan can be dry for many years, it can hold water for up to a year when heavy rains or flooding has occurred.
Deadvlei lies close to Sossusvlei, and a short 1.1km walk through the dunes allows you to arrive at this unique tourist destination, with its pure white clay floor and dead camel thorn tree trunks, said to be hundreds of years old.
Regions: Hardap, //Kharas
Major towns: Lüderitz, Keetmanshoop, Mariental, Karasburg and Oranjemund
Major Tourism Attractions
Ai-Ais hot water springs, The Fish River Canyon, Sperrgebiet National Park (Diamond Area), Warmbad Hot springs, //Garas Quiver Tree Forest, War Memorial at Gochas, Kolmanskop (Ghost Town)
The region is also home to Namibia’s largest private game reserve, namely the Namib Rand Nature Reserve, situated 60km south of Sesriem. Visitors to the reserve are likely to encounter various animals, including gemsbok (oryx), hyena, hartebeest, zebra and more than 120 different species of birds, along with the mysterious “fairy circles”, which are an omnipresent feature of the reserve.
Duwisib Castle was built in 1908-9 and is located within the rolling hills, south-west of Maltahöhe. It is open for visitors and has campsites available for overnight guests.
One of the most spectacular sites you will ever see in Namibia comes in the form of the famous Fish River Canyon, the second largest canyon worldwide. It reaches a depth of 549m and is 65km long. The popular Ai-Ais Resort, known for its hot water springs, marks the end of the gruelling 85km Fish River Canyon Hiking Trail, one of the most challenging in Southern Africa. Namibia’s first demarcated trans-frontier conservation area is also here in the southern region, comprising the Fish River Canyon Conservation Area and the adjoining Richtersveld National Park in South Africa.
Situated on the south-west coast of Namibia, the town of Lüderitz owes its existence – and survival as other towns around it crumbled – to the discovery of diamonds in the area in 1908. Although other small towns such as Elizabeth Bay and Pomona have long since crumbled into ghost towns, Lüderitz has survived both the passing of time and the area’s harsh conditions.
The area surrounding Keetmanshoop remains one of the most beautiful sites in Namibia, being home to its quiver tree forests, dolerite rock formations that have eroded into unusual shapes and prehistoric fish fossils. Travelling from Keetmanshoop towards Windhoek, travellers should look out for the distinctive landmark of the volcanic rim of Brukkaros, said to be centuries old.