The essence of the Swakopmund and Khan River Valley tour
Discover the many faces of the Namib Desert amidst an exceptional eco-system of vast landscapes and gravel plains, far-reaching dunes and rocky river valleys. This four-hour tour sets off through a range of sandy dunes, marveling at desert-adapted reptiles as they skirt over velvet grains of sand and skulk along rocky outcrops. Gaze at the outlines of graceful birds as they fly overhead and admire the rich population of insects that lies under gravelly ridges.
Discover the desert from a historical perspective as you scan centuries-old railway lines that once dominated the region and stop at the unnerving Horse Graveyard, where the mass slaughter of South African army horses took place during World War I.
Venture deeper into the desert at the Namib-Naukluft National Park, which stretches along the Swakop River Valley, boasting glorious lunar landscapes formed over 460 million years ago. Marvel at 1 500-year-old welwitschias, lithops, hoodias and mist-gathering lichen before heading to the oasis of Goanikontes. The remnants of a 19th century German Schutztruppe garrison can be found here, surrounded by towering palms and blue gum trees, testament to the desert’s authority over man and man’s inability to tame the wild plains.
Explore the smallholdings that line the Swakop River, brimming with lush asparagus farms, bristly date plantations, dense olive groves, riding stables and rugged camel farms. Wander among the magnificent geological formations of the Khan River Valley, keeping an eye out for the tiny form of the klipspringer antelope, the stately ostrich and the sleek jackal.
The rich minerals that line the plains of the Namib Desert add a splash of colour and shimmer to the otherwise arid desert landscape. Watch out for the blushing glint of rose quartz and the bold gleam of aquamarine tourmaline against the stark backdrop of the Namib. End the tour with a sumptuous desert picnic in Swakopmund, where you can indulge in traditional local fare and continental appetisers amid a stunning setting of desert plains before heading off on the next adventure on four wheels, racing across and over polished dunes and velvety grains of sand.