Few countries can match the sheer beauty of Namibia in south-western Africa. More than 40 per cent of the country is protected; hence wildlife is plentiful. It's home to the world's largest population of free-roaming cheetahs, the fastest land animal on the planet. Etosha National Park is one of the best places to view these beautiful, sleek big cats.
It boasts the highest dune in the world at Sossusvlei called instead (boringly) Dune 7. It is towering around 383 metres in the Namib Desert, which, at 80 million years old, is the world's oldest desert.
The list continues with Dragon's Breath Cave – a colossal grotto – the largest non-subglacial lake in the world. Only discovered in 1986 and due to its dangerous topography access is only allowed to professionals. Kolmanskop was once a mining town, but today it attracts visitors to an eerie ghost town where the desert is slowly filling the buildings – don't forget your camera.
Namibia's Skeleton Coast gets the full force of the Atlantic Ocean as it crashes to meet the Namib Desert. The bushmen who once wandered across this region called it "the land god made in anger". There are rusting shipwrecks scattered along the sands and even a lodge built to resemble a wreck.
From ships to trains take the Desert Express as it weaves 354 kilometres from the capital Windhoek through Namibia's central highlands, across the savannah, desert and gravel plains to Swakopmund on the Atlantic coast.
In Windhoek learn about the end of apartheid at the Independence Memorial Museum, see the gorgeous National Botanic Garden of Namibia and sample a glass of wine at the Stellenbosch Wine & Bar Bistro. There is plenty to keep the tummy from rumbling from the local game at the legendary Joe's Beerhouse to Leo's in the majestic Heinitzburg Castle with its polished crystal and bone china. Ah Namibia, you are indeed a jewel in Earths glistening crown.
Namibia has two seasons: Wet and Dry. The best time for wildlife and adventures into the desert is during the dry season from June to October. The Dry is peak season. Namibia can be visited all year, however during the Wet, especially from December to March the days are often hot, humid and finish with an afternoon thunderstorm. Animals during this time tend to move away from the waterholes so you generally may not see as many however the landscape after rain is a photographer's delight.