Tuesday, February 05, 2013

The Nothingness of Namibia

If getting out in nature and getting away from it all is your thing, then Namibia should be at the top of your list. Located in one of the most desolate corners of our planet, Namibia is an African country with the second lowest population density in the world - fewer than 3 people per square kilometer. That means there's a lot of land, and a lot of space.

Landscapes of the Namib Rand

And not a lot of....tourists.

Otherwordly setting for an afternoon sundowner outside of Swakopmund

What Namibia lacks in human population, it makes up for in stars.  That's right, the night skies are loaded with stars, earning the Namib Rand Nature Reserve recognition as a "Gold Tier" International Dark Sky Reserve in 2012.  At Sossusvlei Desert Lodge in the heart of the Namib Rand, there's an on-site observatory, and an on-site astronomer.  Even if star-gazing isn't your thing, one evening here and you'll be ticking off constellations and star clusters, wanting to reach out and touch the Milky Way or take a chunk of cheese from the moon.

Rising sliver moon over the Namib Rand

When I mention Namibia to people who haven't been, they look at me with this "Why on earth would you ever go there?" glaze.  Some come straight out and ask it....along with other questions like:

"Is it safe?"  

Yes. That's why you've probably never heard of it - it doesn't make the news with terrorist threats or kidnappings or natural disasters.  In terms of political stability, it currently ranks better than it's neighbor, South Africa. And here's an added bonus: even the tap water is safe to drink.

Zebras drink from a diminishing waterhole in Etosha

"Is there anything there?" 

Yes. It is Africa, after all, so there is plenty of wildlife. 

The sleek and beautiful Oryx

Giraffes grace the landscape of Purros Conservancy in Kaokoland

The elusive and free-roaming desert-adapted elephants, found only in Namibia

And interesting indigenous peoples like the Herero and Himba.

Himba Village Children

Not to mention a capital city with shopping malls, fancy hotels, and decent food. But the comforts don't stop there - the safari camps and lodges are among the most luxurious in all of Africa.

The delightfully refreshing "Barefoot Bar" at Emanya Lodge in Etosha
 "But what is there to see in Namibia? It looks like there's nothing there."   

This is the question when I want to shake them silly and scream "that's the beauty of it!" 

Private verandah and view from the Okahirongo Elephant Lodge

When is the last time you truly got away from it all, and found yourself sitting in a spot on the planet where you felt utterly insignificant, and utterly in awe all at once? Have you ever felt that? 

Contemplating a dune at Sossusvlei

"Still, what is there to see?"

Fine. I give up. For some places, there are simply no words.  I'll let my camera answer that.

For captions and details on the above images, plus many more, please visit the Mira Terra Images Namibia Gallery, where all images are also available for licensing.

Also of interest: Namibia by Dune, Full Moon, and Hot Air Balloon

And finally, if you are inspired enough to learn more about travel to Namibia, please join me for an online travel webinar all about Namibia on Wednesday, February 6, at 11:00am (Pacific time). Here's the link: Travcoa's Namibia


  1. Your images are thrilling. I want to go to Namibia!

  2. Gorgeous shots! Love the people, love the colors, love the landscapes. I need to go back to Namibia myself. Thanks.

  3. Love all your animal shots but especially the seals and dolphin. Love the movement in both of those!

  4. Amazing photos, love the vivid colors :)

  5. Namibia is definitely on my list precisely because of its "nothingness." Thanks for sharing such gorgeous photos.

  6. I love your photos. Namibia has been on the dream list for a while since I went to Botswana and Tanzania.The Himba people have always fascinated me..I'd love to see them and their villages and hopefully take some photos.

  7. These are great. Namibia and the Namib Desert are so beautiful in their nothingness...

  8. Your pictures are amazing! My neighbor just got back from Namibia and loved it too.

  9. Absolutely stunning photos!

    I agree with Amy there is beauty everywhere ;)

  10. Nice shots, especially those of the sand dunes.

  11. What beauty! I certainly "get" the pull of this awesome country. Wild life and dunes...fantastic!

  12. Beautiful, Beautiful shots - I especially love the elephants approaching the watering hole. I was surprised by the seals and the dolphin - I had imagined Namibia being desert and sand dunes but hadn't really thought about it being coastal as well. I have wanted to visit Africa for so long but I have such a hard time deciding which country to pick - now I have added Namibia to the list as well.

  13. I had two of the best weeks of my life in Namibia. My husband and I rented a car and drove everywhere - took the best whale watching tour of my life out of Swakopmund, did safaris, climbed dunes. The only down side is getting there and that is brutal from North America.

  14. Why is it that I am so surprised that you can drink the tap water? Wonderful photos, and certainly much better than anything I can do. Thanks for taking us there.

  15. Wow, your photos are beautiful. The contrasts in colours and scenery are truly stunning.

  16. amazing shots... i love the title too. the nothingness, so true. I loved it there, can't wait to get back one day soon....

    stay adventurous, Craig

  17. Those images are stunning.. Great photography..

  18. These pictures are gorgeous and really capture the stark beauty of the country. I feel so lucky to have been able to call Namibia home for the past six months.