For the love of hiking!
Namibia is a hikers paradise with epic landscapes that would take any nature lovers breath away. For those that dream about the challenge of rough, remote and self-guided adventure then why not take on one of Namibia’s awesome multi day hiking trails, anything from the 5 day / 85km hike through the Fish River Canyon, to the Naukluft hike an 8 day / 120km trail only recommended for experienced hikers, to Namibia’s highest mountain the Brandberg and reaching the Königstein summit which can take around 5 days.
However, for those that want to include some multi day hiking trails into a longer trip and looking for something a little less hardcore, then here are out top 3 guided hikes that can easily be included into any private guided or self-drive itinerary.
#1 – Fish River Canyon Hike
From April to September you can get out with a local guide, and from anything to 2 – 5 nights you can meander along the Fish River, camping out under the stars and learning all about this incredible geological formation. Allegedly the 2nd largest canyon in the world, the Fish River Canyon’s towering rock faces and deep ravines were formed by water erosion and the collapse of the valley due to movements in the earth’s crust over 500 million years ago. Today the canyon measures an impressive 160km long, up to 27km wide and almost 550m at its deepest.
The hike itself varies from a steep climb down into the canyon on day 1, followed by some more relaxed walking along the riverbed (albeit through sand and over the occasional boulder), before arriving at camp where the team has already set up camp to include comfy tents to rest the body, and rustic style showers to wash off the dust from the days hike. Once cleaned up, hit the bar (yes there is a bar, and all local drinks are included) before enjoying a 3 course dinner under the most incredible starry sky.
The best part of this is that you can decide how long you want to hike for, 2/3/4/5 nights depending on how it fits in to the rest of your itinerary. Recommend adding a final night at the impressive Fish River Lodge, perched on the edge of the northern side of the canyon, for a night of luxury before continuing on your way.
All photos courtesy of Fish River Lodge
#2 – Tok Tokkie Trail through the Namib Desert on the private Namib Rand Reserve
A completely different experience from the Fish River, this hike through the Namib Rand is easily one of the most impressive walks found in Namibia. Commonly, the understanding of a desert is often that of a hot, dry and lifeless area, however, this is not completely true. Whilst the NamibRand is part of the Namib Desert it is not deserted at all. Relying mostly on the fog coming in from the sea, the Namib supports an abundant desert life which shows amazing adaptations. Whilst exploring this incredible landscape on foot, you can be afforded the chance to spot creatures like the oryx (Namibia’s national animal), springbok, Fog-basking Tok Tokkie beetles, barking geckos, dancing spiders, Namaqua chameleons, golden mole, bat-eared foxes as well as a variety of birdlife.
The hike itself is a 2night/3 day experience fully catered and expertly guided allowing you to take it easy carrying a small day pack as you spend the days hiking (up to 2hrs day 1 / up to 7hrs day 2 / up to 3.5hrs day 3) whilst the rest of the team go ahead to set up your camp in the midst of the desert and prepare dinner and drinks so you can take it easy after your walk. The pièce de résistance of the trip is that instead of sleeping in tents (unless there is the threat of rain) is the stretcher beds that are set up and scattered around so that you can sleep directly under the stars of the Namib Desert. Finishing the hike by mid-morning and returning to base camp then it’s easy enough to continue on to your next destination the same day, and with a short drive through to Sesriem makes the Sossusvlei area a natural choice for onward travel.
#3 – Overnight hikes on the Etendeka Plateau
In the northwest of Namibia, the region known as Kaokoland is home to the Etendeka Mountain, another one of Namibia’s most incredible landscapes yet an absolute contrast to the Namib Desert. This area is home to a variety of wildlife as well as rich cultural diversity with a number of tribes calling this area home. This experience promises to be an authentic and exhilarating engagement with nature trekking through one of Namibia’s most remote and untouched landscapes on foot, enjoying sundowners as you look out over never ending vistas of ancient rock formations and sleep under a blanket of stars.
Starting the walk from Palmwag Lodge into the Etendeka Concession for approximately 2 to 3 hours. The scenery is incredible as you access the concession on foot and look out onto the pristine rocky plains set against the Namibian sky. Your experienced guide will give you a sense of what awaits as he identifies desert plants and trees. Keen birders and photographers should have their binoculars and cameras on hand. Camping out at the two different camps, one in the riverbed overlooking a waterhole where you can spot wildlife, and the other hill camp situated on top of a Crystal Mountain. Each camp is set up with specially designed sleeping platforms equipped with a basin, classic Etendeka style bucket shower and toilet. The longest walk of the 3 days is day two which includes a 15 – 20km hike through the mountains, so best taken on by those with a decent level of fitness.
This is definitely one of the more rugged and remote hikes of the 3, and whilst there isn’t a real focus on wildlife, animal sightings are a definite possibility with the chance of spotting desert adapted elephant, black rhino, Hartmanns mountain zebra and more.
All photos courtesy of Etendeka Mountain Camp