Photo blog: Northern Namibia highlights

In northern Namibia, Mark Bland fell in love with the rugged landscapes. He shares highlights and tips from his time searching for Namibia’s famed desert-adapted animals. Not to forget the much-needed downtime in the Zambezi region.

Rested, reset and restocked in Swakopmund, it was time to hit some gravel roads once more. We opted to take a slight detour to Spitzkoppe and first explored the Moon Landscape just a stone’s throw from Swakop. Be sure to get your permits in Swakopmund before heading out!

Also read: Exploring southern Namibia

Spitzkoppe’s unmissable sunset

In Spitzkoppe there are generally two main ways to do it. Either camp inside the mountain reserve at one of their famous campsites or just outside at Spitzkoppe Tented Camp and Campsites. The latter is a great alternative for young families or groups as there is a pool, restaurant and bar. It is also not a bad option for those overlanders looking for a break from their camp set-up. Their simple yet inviting tented accommodation is just the thing.

The iconic Spitzkoppe. Could there be a more striking backdrop for your tent? Pictures by Mark Bland

The place to be for sunset is undoubtedly The Bridge, as it is known. This natural rock arch provides perfect framing and compositions for professional and amateur photographers alike. Pack a few cold ones, find your spot and settle in for the sunset of a lifetime.

This was a particularly special place for us as it is one of Paul Marsh’s favourite sunset spots in southern Africa. Paul and Jo were instrumental in helping us get ready for this trip at such short notice. My business, Routes Rediscovered, is a proud partner of Paul Marsh 4×4. Jo was also one of my yoga students. So of course we had to strike a pose in the perfect evening light to send back to them and make them just a little bit jealous.

The Bridge in the last rays of the sun.
The rock arch creates the perfect frame.
Striking a yoga pose in one of Namibia’s most unforgettable settings!

The wild routes of Damaraland and Kaokoland

This is where having Tracks4Africa installed on your GPS really pays off. Travelling the main gravel tracks of the north will deliver a fantastic overlanding experience. But it is in the dry riverbeds and the ‘off-the-beaten-track’ tweespoor that you truly get to experience and appreciate all that Kaokoland and Damaraland have to offer. Utilising the countless miles of data that Tracks4Africa translates into the most up-to-date route information available makes route planning a breeze.

There are a host of legal wild camping options in this area, which we strongly suggest you use in order to support the local communities. A few favourite stops for a little R&R include Brandberg White Lady, Mowani and Gondwana’s Palmwag. The photos say it all really!

Enjoying the view from a high lookout point at Brandberg.
Namibia’s desert-adapted elephants know where to find water in Damaraland.
Copying a move from their cousins at Mana Pools.

Small is beautiful in Etosha

A perennial favourite in Etosha is Olifantsrus campsite (pictured in the main image above). It is limited to a handful of campsites, an exceptional hide, a simple little cafeteria and exceptional game viewing. The small dedicated team of staff and free wifi at the office (handy if working on the road) just sweeten the experience.

A typical scene in Etosha National Park.
Etosha lionesses and cubs striding out.
Who’s the king of the hill?
Saying goodbye to the day from the hide.

Also read: Six cool campsites in northern Namibia

Chilling out in Zambezi

The Zambezi region (formerly known as the Caprivi Strip) is often done as a slightly extended transit route to/from Botswana. What a wasted opportunity! There are a host of river and water systems, parks and campsites to explore across much of this region. It also delivers a very welcome respite from the raw, beautiful harshness of the rest of Namibia. To see the colour green and hear the sound of flowing water is something relished by all overlanders. Be sure to stock up in either Rundu, Divundu or Katima Mulilo if spending an extended period of time in the area.

The cool waters of the Zambezi Region, here at Mudumu National Park.
Camping by the water’s edge in Mudumu.

Read a more detailed account of Mark’s trip through northern Namibia or visit to plan your own trip.

T4A’s Namibia Self-Drive Guide is an indispensable resource for overlanders eager to explore this vast desert nation. At 400 pages, it’s loaded with information on major attractions, road conditions, campsites, trip planning and more. The traveller descriptions provide context and recommendations, helping you to make the most of your journey.

Let us know about your experience