Namibia is a land of stark, ravishing beauty. With its dramatic dunes, harsh coastline and rich mineral resources, it is easy to see why they say it is the land that God made in anger while the angels cried tears of diamonds. While not as abundant with wildlife as its neighbor, Botswana, you will marvel at the intense pulchritude of the landscape.
If you have to transfer through the capital city, stay at the Olive Grove House. Iron-framed glass doors, massive concrete tubs and simple décor give this place a chic edge. Ask for Room #8 if you want to bed down where Prince Harry slept after a recent visit for his Black Rhino Project.
Eat at NICE- the Namibian Institute of Culinary Education.
Shopping: Craft Market in Windhoek, boutiques at the camps, Johannesburg Airport
It is hard to describe the iconic sand dunes of Sossusvlei. They are every bit as exciting and dramatic in person as they are in pictures. We climbed up one of the favorites, “Big Daddy”, then ran, slid and screamed our way down the other side.
Stay at Little Kuala Lodge, an intimate, luxury tented camp with amazing food and great plains views. The boys slept under the southern hemisphere stars on a roof-top bed.
The Skeleton Coast is very remote, so the camps are comfortable, but not luxe. We travelled with Skeleton Coast Safaris, one of the first to have camps on the coast, run for two generations by the Schoeman family. The camps, in the Huab River Valley, the Hoarusib Valley and on the Kunene River, have the most jaw-dropping locations. They make the nerve-wracking access by small Cessnas and ancient land rovers totally worthwhile. Andre and his brothers have been running their safaris for years, and he is truly a one of a kind adventurer at heart. Our kids loved scouting for bones on the beach, looking at Bushman cave drawings and other varied geological formations, and sneaking over into Angola for a hike. Ask to visit a local Himba tribe.
Bring: TONS of cream, as it is very dry, plus loads of sunscreen. I relied heavily on Beauty Counter Cleansing Balm, which was heaven after days of sun, wind and sand on my skin. Keep a small bag with you (we used our "Sungkay" puffy kits which are nylon, totally washable and indestructible) that you can easily access with lip balm, sunscreen, and moisturizers whilst on day trips. Hats are essential, bring one for warmth and one for sun protection. It is cold in the mornings and gets very warm by midday, so bring things to layer. Hiking shoes or good trail shoes are a must, but bring flip flops or something light to put on for the camps. You won’t have hairdryers or extensive hot water on the Skeleton Coast, so plan accordingly.