All of us need a place where we go to reset. For me, there is no better place in Africa than a trip to Namibia. After more than two weeks traveling through this wondrous country, I feel refreshed, renewed and fully and completely reset. With my perspective re-aligned, I know that I'll be returning home changed for the better.
There's no one thing that makes Namibia the perfect place for adventure therapy, it's everything! The desert wildlife, indigenous culture, endless landscapes and variety of activities all combine into an amalgam of adventure that made my mundane cares, worries and stress of daily life seem really far away.
Namibia is one of the most arid places on the planet so the wildlife here has to be wily and tenacious to survive. Beetles in the Namib desert stand on their heads to let fog collect on their bodies and drip down into their mouths. Desert adapted lions climb over rocky summits and have expansive ranges in order to hunt and find water. Perhaps the most alluring are the desert-adapted elephants. These gentle giants are such a special sight to behold in the midst of such a harsh environment, that I've seen grown adults break down into tears at the sight of them. Witnessing their precarious hold on existence in the face of habitat loss, climate change, drought and poaching cannot but shift one's perspective on what really matters in life.
One of the most interesting cultures to encounter in Namibia are the Himba. These semi-nomadic pastoralists live a life much as they have for thousands of years. They have largely opted not to "westernize" instead keeping to their traditional dress (or lack thereof) and customs. They have but a few possessions and are generally upbeat, enthusiastic and welcoming to visitors. Seeing what it means to live in such a really simple way and still find happiness holds a not-so-flattering mirror up to the comsumer-centric Western lifestyle and asks us if we could learn a lesson here.
The wide-open spaces of Namibia boggle the mind: the stark, rugged Kaokeveld of the northwest, the red desert mesas of Damaraland, the shape-shifting mega-dunes of Sossusvlei and the lonely, foggy expanse of the Skeleton Coast. As the second least densely populated country in the world, there's no shortage of grand vistas without a soul in sight in Namibia. You'll feel as far from a cityscape as you can get out here. These are the places that make you want to run wild, or cry out, or just sit silently and try to take it all in. I'm as guilty as anyone of trying to capture these huge panoramas on film or video to be able to share with others but I often grow frustrated as these types of landscapes can't be captured – they are meant to be experienced with someone you love, or a new group of friends, or even all by yourself.
Namibia is an active adventurer's playground. Intrepid guests can mountain bike through the desert to secret swimming pools or go for a morning jog and perhaps startle a herd of mountain zebra. You can hike some of the highest dunes in the world. My favorite activity was spending an entire morning on-foot, tracking endangered, desert-adapted black rhino across the rugged terrain of a community conservancy and then getting to spend time just watching them with our guide and trackers. Game drives in search of other desert species like giraffe, cheetah, leopard, baboon, oryx, ostrich and springbok are always an adventure and you never know what you will find. There is never a day out on safari when you are not eager to discover what the day will bring.
Namibia's rugged, stark beauty manifests in its wildlife, people and landscapes. As you move among them, it'll leave its mark on you, open your eyes and teach you a few lessons. I came away transformed. So will you. When you are ready for some adventure therapy in Namibia, let me know.
Your friendly safari expert,