Sun and sand in Africa – with a difference

There's plenty of sand, but this isn't your usual holiday, says Chris Carter. You won't find any beaches in these three African deserts.


The Namib desert features the world's highest sand dunes

Namib, Namibia

From the plunge pool of the Wolwedans Dune Camp, located in the reserve, you can watch them coming to drink at the camp's personal water hole. From the nearby city of Swakopmund, an "adventurer's paradise" on the coast, you can take a "sand safari" to see the "fragile and beautiful flora and fauna", such as the "bizarre reptiles and invertebrates" hidden in the dunes.

From £5,045 per person for a 16-night self-drive safari, including flights and 4x4 hire.Contact:, 01273-691642.


A family holiday in the Sahara

Unesco-listed Chinguetti is one of foursurviving ksours (fortified towns) that area reminder of when the region grew richoff the back of the camel trains, loadedwith dates and salt, that crisscrossed thedesert in the Middle Ages. Today, manyof the houses, with their acacia-wooddoors, lie abandoned, "half-buried inthe sand".

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But just off the main street, atthe "welcoming" La Guela guesthouse,you can enjoy dinner under the stars,while a small fountain tinkles "in thelush garden, bold with bougainvillea".Alternatively, take a trip into thesurrounding "apricot and cream-yellowdunes", where you can settle down toeat mchoui "a traditional nomads'feast of goat slow-cooked over a firesunk into the sand".

From £2,499 for a ten-day trip.See

Kalahari, Botswana


But for all its savage beauty, the Kalahari Desert is no full-blown "sandstorm" more a "dusty menagerie" compared to "Africa's desert titan", the Sahara. This semi-arid savannah covers most of Botswana, and parts of Namibia and South Africa.

It is home to a wide range of wildlife and forms a "direct contrast to the lush wetlands" of Botswana's Okavango Delta. Within the 20,000 square miles of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, lions, cheetahs and leopards prowl the bush and grassland.

From £3,062 per person, including flights,on the 15-night Cheetah self-drive safari.Contact:, 020-8232 9777.

Chris Carter

Chris Carter spent three glorious years reading English literature on the beautiful Welsh coast at Aberystwyth University. Graduating in 2005, he left for the University of York to specialise in Renaissance literature for his MA, before returning to his native Twickenham, in southwest London. He joined a Richmond-based recruitment company, where he worked with several clients, including the Queen’s bank, Coutts, as well as the super luxury, Dorchester-owned Coworth Park country house hotel, near Ascot in Berkshire.

Then, in 2011, Chris joined MoneyWeek. Initially working as part of the website production team, Chris soon rose to the lofty heights of wealth editor, overseeing MoneyWeek’s Spending It lifestyle section. Chris travels the globe in pursuit of his work, soaking up the local culture and sampling the very finest in cuisine, hotels and resorts for the magazine’s discerning readership. He also enjoys writing his fortnightly page on collectables, delving into the fascinating world of auctions and art, classic cars, coins, watches, wine and whisky investing.

You can follow Chris on Instagram.