A relatively unexplored region, the south-west contains some of Namibia’s most unforgiving environs. This is a truly remote place of often untouched desert, with a new national park in the diamond mining Sperrgebiet area and an astonishing wildlife phenomenon in the wild horses of the Namib. Situated roughly equidistant between Fish River Canyon and Sossusvlei, many itineraries seek to rush through this area, stopping for a night at Aus and perhaps making it over to Luderitz for a day before moving onto the more conventional highlights. But this does a great disservice to an area with such varied attractions.
Luderitz itself is the biggest town in the south west, its attractive pastel coloured buildings hemmed in by the desert on one side and the Atlantic on the other, making it arguably the most picturesque town in Namibia. Just south of here is Kolmanskop, an eerie former German diamond mining town. Abandoned in the 1950s, the grand colonial buildings are now swamped in desert sand, the Namib slowly and perhaps symbolically taking over a symbol of human avarice while providing sensational photo opportunities. Close to Aus, there are incongruous wild horses, somehow thriving amidst the arid conditions, and a selection of Commonwealth War Graves and POW camps that speak of the unlikely history of this isolated region. The attractions are undoubtedly very different from the guaranteed wildlife of Etosha and Damaraland, but there is much in this vast, mostly unspoiled wilderness to keep you occupied for at least three days.