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Namibia, with its epic desert landscapes, vast endless (and usually totally empty) roads, is an immensely fun and safe holiday for families. Its also so photogenic - with stunning cinematic light - that you'll feel like a pulitzer winning photographer when you look at your photos. The sand dunes make children out of all ages and there are so many different ways to experience the desert landscapes, from dune boarding to quad-biking that you should be all duned out by the end. Boat trips from Walvis Bay are also great fun – seals close enough to touch (beware of exceptionally bad breath) and pelican aerobatics galore (beware of exceptionally large bird droppings).
Further north, the Skeleton Coast has a mystque all of its own, and with the palpable sense of desolation and remoteness, it isn't hard to see why they came up with the name. Head to Damaraland (and along with a landscape so beautiful it can make grown men weep) there’s the chance for interesting walks and drives, and accessible wildlife including the extraordinary oryx that somehow scratches a living from an astonishingly hostile environment.
The camps and lodges often have family rooms or tents, or alternatively will be able to add extra beds to a double room. We tend to favour the smaller lodges which can be more flexible with meal times and activities.
Namibia is rather unusual in Africa in that exploring on your own is easy and enjoyable. A self-drive trip in a reliable vehicle means you have the freedom to dictate your own schedule, and also keep the costs reasonable. The roads are well signed and really good; there's a network of excellent tar roads linking the main towns, and beyond that are wide, regularly graded gravel roads which are usually negotiable in a 2x4 car, although you'll be more comfortable and feel a bit more secure in a 4x4. Namibia is one of the safest countries in Africa, and is surprisingly clean, neat and organised. Consquently, travelling under your own steam is enjoyable and easy. That said, if time is short or you prefer to have arrangements taken care of, there are plenty of options for organised safaris either by road or air.
Rumour has it that Catherine Ronan used to be a spy. We find this slightly hard to believe as she loves nothing more than to divulge her travel secrets and infect other people with her enthusiasm.