The vast Kalahari Desert extends for nearly a million sq km, covering parts of Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. In Namibia it is mainly comprised of savannah, with shrubby grassland interrupted by the odd apricot dune but nothing to resemble the towering soft sands of the Namib further west. Mariental, is the major town in an area usually included as a one night stop-off in itineraries travelling between Windhoek and the Fish River Canyon. This doesn’t really do justice to the increasing accommodation options, stunning landscapes, superb walking programmes and fascinating desert adapted flora and fauna. For this reason we would recommend you consider spending two nights in the region, particularly if your itinerary is confined to southern Namibia.
Highlights include serene nature drives searching out oryx, springbok and ostrich, along with some impressively stark scenery, before enjoying a peaceful sundowner on a dune. There are some outstanding, well-marked walking trails on the private ranches and reserves, perfect for safe desert exploration under your own steam. To get further under the skin of the Kalahari, guided excursions reveal more about the elusive smaller details of this fragile eco-system. And there are now overnight hikes into the heart of the Kalahari and the adjacent Nama Karoo, sleeping in comfortable tented accommodation to truly appreciate the peace of the desert night and the panoramic blanket of stars. The Southern Kalahari perhaps doesn’t have the jaw dropping, headline grabbing landscapes of Sossusvlei and the Namibrand further west, but it is well worthy of exploration, especially for repeat visitors to Namibia.