Those with a thirst to travel; those who will go to the ends of the earth for the feeling of adventure, will truly understand the rewards that come from venturing off the beaten path. Travelling ‘off the beaten path’, means challenging your comfort zone and exploring locations that open up a whole new world to you. A world that ignites your senses; moves you and enriches your life. A world that helps you to develop new perspectives, and accesses parts of yourself that you may never have explored.
Most often, these ‘off the beaten path’ places are a lot different to what you are used to. They are usually extreme, with extraordinary landscapes and fascinating experiences – and surprisingly, they are usually places where nature prevails.
If you are looking to visit Southern Africa, you don’t want to miss the places we believe are the most exquisite, the most unique and which will certainly mark a distinct before and after in your life’s journey.
Take a look at our favourites below – and just a heads up: you’re in for an adventure of a lifetime!
On the North Western side of Namibia, you will find a lovely seaside town where desert and ocean meet, called Swakopmund. There are beautiful places to stay in Swakopmund, and it’s an absolute treat to explore this small towns hidden gems. Visitors often notice the strong German heritage through the many colonial buildings and the German community that still live there today. This is why Swakopmund is fondly known as “little Germany”. Swakopmund has many attractions for both locals and visitors which include: The amazing sand dunes and the many thrilling activities they bring; The National Marine Aquarium, hot air balloon rides, skydiving adventures, Swakopmund Museum and a crystal gallery. Swakopmund has become very popular because of its beautiful clean streets, and a town that is not overpopulated making it a very relaxed holiday. The climate is hot and dry most of the year, however, during the summer months temperatures can exceed 35 degrees.
Sossusvlei is really a world of its own. Since Sossusvlei makes up part of the Kalahari Desert, the entire place is barren, yet full of energy. The red rolling dunes that look as if they’re touching the clouds, are ever-so inviting for those looking for thrills and adventure of a different kind: Sandboarding, dune jumping or simply hiking along the spine of these majestic sand mountains are just some of the favourites – certainly not all. In Sossusvlei you can find the famous ‘Deadvlei’ (the most photographed spot in Southern Africa); go quad biking, 4×4-ing, hot air ballooning, or, for a cultural treat, visit the Bushmen rock art sites.
The Makgadikgadi Salt Pans, Botswana
The Makgadikgadi Salt Pan in Botswana is one of the most extreme landscapes in the world. The topography is like something out of a sci-fi film! While some people may describe it as ‘eerie’, I believe it to be one of the most extraordinary, jaw-dropping locations on earth. Out on the salt pan, your eye can travel for miles without a single obstruction. There is hardly any sound, and there is absolutely no life to be found in this dry, salt desert. The reason it’s so touching, is because you feel small; far removed from the rest of the world – almost as if you’re on the moon! It’s an experience that cannot easily be found elsewhere, but one that leaves you in absolute awe.
The Karoo, South Africa
The Karoo is a semi-desert, a natural wonder of land that extends as far as the eye can see with mesmerizing rock layers and is one of the world’s most desolate and unique zones. The landscapes of the Karoo are ever changing depending on the season. You either find this semi-desert tranquil and peaceful with its crystal-clear skies of the day or it’s magical night sky with an abundance of stars that take your breath away. The Karoo is broken up into various regions, each leaving you spellbound with its own beauty and uniqueness. The Karoo is very dry and when it senses rain coming, you can almost feel the change in the air as it waits expectantly with open arms. When that first raindrop hits the dry land, everything seems to come alive with growth of a variety of succulents and desert flora. Around 40% of flora species are found only in the Karoo and nowhere else in the world. The Karoo takes you to another world far away from the hustle and bustle of city life, it’s beauty and quietness finds its way deep into your heart and into your soul and you will yearn to return.