Desert Diversity: Namibia
Highlights: Namib-Naukluft National Park, Africa’s largest reserve; Etosha National Park, renowned for plains game; the northwest’s Damaraland for fossilized trees and desert elephants; haunting Skeleton Coast National Park.
Namibia’s otherworldly desert landscapes and dramatic coastal plains hit the traveler’s radar in the mid 2000’s and have since grown in popularity. The challenge has always been how to navigate the great distances between attractions and camps. Lately more travelers are opting for high-end, privately guided safaris—involving helicopters and light planes—to visit the most far-flung corners, such as Wilderness Safaris’ eight-villa Serra Cafema camp near the Angola border. At the same time, operators are now offering more affordable group tours. Geographic Expeditions has eight-person safaris that travel from Windhoek to Damaraland for just over $3,000 a person. Wild About Africa also features a nine-day group itinerary, with a tour of the Fish River Canyon, for only $1,179 per person.
When to Go: year round
Cox & Kings 7 days from $5,435.
Expert Africa 7 days from $2,811.
Geographic Expeditions 7 days from $7,700.
Skeleton Coast Safaris 6 days from $8,885.
Wild About Africa 8 days from $1,053.