Explore Africa – Namibia
Flanked by ocean and desert, Namibia boasts both landscapes and wildlife of world-class diversity. With one of the world’s most barren and inhospitable coastlines, it is the adventure- seekers dream destination. Here you can climb the highest sand dunes in the world or descend to the floor of the deepest canyon in Africa. Immerse yourself in the past at one of Africa’s richest rock art sites and watch wildlife shimmer against one of the most spectacular pans on earth. Explore the oldest, driest desert in the world and take time to listen to the silence and to your soul.
The history of this land can be found carved into rock paintings found to the south and in Twyfelfontein, some dating back to 26,000 B.C. A long lineage of various groups including San Bushmen, Bantu herdsmen and finally the Himba, Herero and Nama tribes among others, have been making this rugged land home for thousands of years.
Namibia is truly unique, influenced by various cultures during colonization and now reborn from the shadows of Apartheid in 1990. What has emerged is a true sense of unity in diversity, the coming together of at least 11 major ethnic groups, each celebrating their past while working together toward the future. You will notice this in dress, language, art, music, sport, food and religion. There exists a wonderful collage, but first and foremost, Namibians are proud to be Namibian.
What to see and do – 10 of the best places to visit on your trip
Endless horizons, clear skies and a population density that ranks among the lowest in the world, it all combines to give visitors a true sense of freedom. This is part of what makes Namibia the quintessential African vacation,whether your interest is in wildlife, landscape, adventure, people or culture, as your days in Namibia will be filled with plenty of sunshine, beautiful sights and unforgettable experiences found nowhere else on earth.
Sossusvlei is the endless sea of rust-red dunes, the bleached white pan and its gnarled ancient trees. Sossusvlei is the oryx flashing its flowing tail and giving you front and side views of its extraordinary features in front of a bright red dune that soars into the deep blue sky above.A visit to Namibia is incomplete without making the long trek into Sossusvlei, climbing and sitting atop the world’s tallest dune looking out over a sea of equally big dunes disappearing into the western horizon.
Etosha National Park
With the full quota of wildlife including elephant, lion, leopard, black and white rhino, cheetah, caracal, brown and spotted hyena, giraffe, zebra and many antelope. Birdlife is equally impressive with 340 species on record including a high proportion of raptors.
The unique natural waterholes that surround an ancient pan attract a daily parade of wildlife and staying in the park gives you a floodlit spectacle to boot. Stay in the private parks on the edge, take a guided safari through the park or just sit at a waterhole. Whichever way you want to experience it, Etosha is the genuine African safari experience.
Half way between Namibia’s top two attractions, Swakopmund is the natural base from which to explore the Skeleton Coast – a fog-shrouded desert wilderness of ferocious seas, apparently lifeless interior and its own fair share of visual oddities.
Dunes meet sea at the Skeleton Coast and there is a lot to see and do here that makes Swakopmund an ideal break to the vast distance between Sossusvlei and Etosha.
Desert tours, sea kayaking and scenic flights are complimented by a host of adventure activities including quad biking, paragliding, sandboarding and skydiving.
The home of desert-adapted elephant, rhino and lions as well as oryx, springbok and hundreds of bird species, Damaraland is at once beautiful, unique and fascinating with rocky mountains, grass-covered plains and every conceivable range of brown from dark russet to bleached blonde. Except the sky which is a deep vivid blue.
Covering 50,000sq km, the Namib-Naukluft Park begins on the plateau of central Namibia and drops to the vast basin of the Namib Desert – the 20-million year-old remains of an ancient sea.
Wide open spaces framed by purply-blue mountains and impossible sunsets make the Namib-Naukluft a place of singular beauty and peace. The only sound you’ll hear is the gentle breeze.
Red sand dunes, swaying bleached-blonde grass and endless blue skies: the Kalahari is for escapists.
Home of the San Hunter-Gatherers, the Kalahari is not without its share of wildlife including lions, oryx and those adorable meerkats bopping their heads and chirruping at each other all day, the Kalahari is a place of beauty, contemplation and giant venison steaks.
Fish River Canyon
The Fish River Canyon is Africa’s largest canyon, thought to have formed about 500 million years ago. The canyon is located in southern Namibia, on the border with South Africa. The Fish River has carved out over 160 km’s of rock (100 miles), and some of the canyon walls are over half a kilometer high. You can hike the canyon but only during the cooler months between May and September. The hike takes 5 days (it’s 85 km’s) and there are no hotels or places to get food or water along the way. Accommodation is in tents or in the open air. The hike offers spectacular views and common sightings of baboons, klipspringers and hyraxes.
Enormous, virtually impassable mountain ranges, all the desert-adapted wildlife of Damaraland to the south and mile upon square mile of uninhabited, scenic splendor. Kaokoland is where the fascinating Himba people live – off the land in harmony with nature.
Best suited to adventurous self-drive 4×4 camping adventures with more than one vehicle.
The Caprivi Strip
The Caprivi strip is quite different from the rest of Namibia, it’s green and populated. The Caprivi strip is a narrow finger of land in northern Namibia, that juts eastward and borders Angola as well as Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana (Africa’s four corners). This area is filled with wildlife and ideal for a water based safari since several major rivers flow in this region, this area is home to the Zambezi, Okavango, Chobe and Linyanti rivers. It’s also a big birding destination, with over four hundred species flying around. With several national parks to enjoy, lovely lodges and even houseboats to choose from, it’s a destination not to be missed.
Swakopmund is Namibia’s premier seaside town. The main street is lined with palm trees and German style colonial buildings. Swakopmund is a very popular spot for local tourists who visit to escape the heat, especially during the hot Namibian summer (November – February). Swakopmund has lots of hotels, restaurants and even a casino to enjoy. The water temperatures are usually too chilly to really enjoy swimming here, but shore based fishing, dolphin, seal and whale watching, as well as birding will fill your time nicely.
For more information on planning your Namibian adventure visit the Namibian Tourism website on www.namibiatourism.com.na