Why Namibia Should Be Your Honeymoon Destination
They say that Africa is a continent that truly gets under your skin, and if that's the case, then Namibia is a country that pumps straight to the heart.
It's this intense grip, teamed with the vast, dreamlike desertscape that make Namibia the most romantic country in Africa and a perfect honeymoon destination for couples keen to escape the factory fit sand, sea and cocktails. Certainly, this is a country fit for high fliers, thanks to its huge swathes of beautiful nothingness and isolated properties. Paparazzi wouldn’t even know where to begin.
Don't get us wrong, Namibia has sand, oodles of it, but here, it's the most golden-hued sand imaginable, and it folds into and over itself in an endless and beautiful mosaic of sun-baked powder. There's sea in Namibia too. Not the calm, yacht smattered waters of the Mediterranean, but dramatic, crashing, foaming waves of that smash into the deserted coastline. The cocktails are probably the same though.
Unlike the classic honeymoon recipe, Namibia's is an enduring love story filled with passion, and plenty of surprises along the way—just like the very best marriages, royal or otherwise...
The first of those surprises are the towns and settlements. Take the capital city of Windhoek for example, a place filled with sand blown travellers telling adventurous tales of desert explorations over local beers while their off-road vehicles cover the pavements outside. There’s style in the city too, with boutique guest houses such as the design led The Olive providing an aesthetically delightful retreat from the heat, and some top-notch dishes to boot. The coastal resort of Swakopmund meanwhile, a favorite haunt of Angelina Jolie, offers easy access to see marine mammals such as seals and dolphins, and boasts a colonial, pastel-hued charm of its own. Just south of Swakopmund is the port town of Walvis Bay—a mecca for bird watchers, and it’s here on Pelican Point peninsula that Pelican Point Lodge can be found. This marvelously remote accommodation is fashioned around a lighthouse, with the sort of offbeat décor and design only isolation could inspire.
The characters that can be encountered in Namibia are another unexpected delight—a blind date with new cultures, faces and lifestyles. The country is home to a number of fascinating tribes and there are opportunities for couples travelling through the country to meet them. One of the most recognizable are the Hereros. The Herero women have retained a distinctive and extraordinary habit of dressing in clothes from the Victorian era, complete with crinoline, and their wealth is measured in cattle. Another well known tribe are the Himbas, a nomadic group famous for their red ochre caked skin and hair.
These tribespeople aren't the only unique faces of Namibia. Venturing into the sandy expanses can also bring some fantastic wildlife encounters. Lions, elephants, rhinos, hyenas, and giraffes might all be found here, and sightings of them are all the more fascinating because of how spartan an environment they inhabit. These desert adapted animals have learnt how to survive and thrive in this barren place. Camps established around them enable operators to support their survival, and for loved up duos to catch sight of them. Hoanib Valley Camp, for example, in Namibia’s northwest runs in partnership with the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, making it a perfect choice for conservation aware couples. In addition to sizable rooms, one-off pieces of artwork, and an open main area, guests here have the opportunity to head out with a researcher working in the field, to see firsthand what's being done to support the animals and gain a better understanding of how these stately creatures live in this part of the world.
“Guests are able to interact with some of the GCF team whether it be chatting about the current situation in the area or Africa-wide, or getting hands-on experience in finding giraffe in the field and gaining a better understanding of how they live in this harsh environment,” explains Julian Fennessy, co director of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation. “This is a unique opportunity to link private-communal-NGO sectors for conservation.”
Those yearning for the deserted island fantasy, though, will find no place better on earth to indulge their wish than Shipwreck Lodge on the Skeleton Coast. Built in the style of a shipwreck, this inimitable property is so startlingly unique that it would be incredibly difficult, if not impossible to find a more secluded and standout spot for romance. Shipwreck is the only accommodation to be situated within the Skeleton Coast National Park and boasts seals on the doorstep and drives out to see the eponymous shipwrecks, Cape fur seal colonies, natural springs and quick sand.
Perhaps Namibia’s most recognizable scene, though, is that of Sossusvlei. Spectacular red sand dunes—some of the highest in the world—tower over a salt and clay pan, resulting in a paradise for photographers, and some seriously impressive honeymoon shots for couples who visit.
Whether you find serenity together on the haunting coastline, get a lasting photographic memory in Sossusvlei, indulge in fine dining in Windhoek, or retreat to the depths of the desert to watch wildlife, Namibia offers a honeymoon destination that's truly a class apart.
Photographs by Michael Turek
Special Thanks to Kitty Cortes? of A2A Safaris
Peter and Pru are married and live in Cape Town with their daughter and giant dog. Australian Peter is an author, world traveller and seller of safaris, whilst English Pru writes for magazines and travel companies. Peter might have more bush miles under his belt but Pru's better at altitude. Both work for Natural Selection Travel, allowing them to combine a love of travel with conservation. For tailor-made itineraries, contact A2A Safaris at www.a2asafaris.com.