Namibia Travel Destinations & Suggested Accommodation


Namibia - Officially known as the Republic of Namibia in South Western Africa.  The countries that border Namibia is Botswana in the East, South Africa in the South and Angola in the North with Zimbabwe and Zambia right next door.  Namibia received their independence in 1991 and since then it has become a popular tourist destination.  Namibia has it all, whether you like travelling economically or in luxury, by yourself or with an experienced guide, and whether your interest is landscape, culture, adventure, photography, cuisine, wildlife or geology.   With a surface area of 824,268 km2 Namibia is more than three times the size of Great Britain and twice that of Germany.

Namibia boasts to having 365 days of sunshine a year, but there are definitely days that the sun does not shine and it can be cold and rainy especially along the coast, where you often have fog.  At inland areas, the rain falls in the summer months from November to April.  January and February are the hottest months, when daytime temperatures in the interior can exceed 40ºC, but nights are usually cool.  Winter temperatures in central & southern Namibia can drop to below freezing, but the days are normally sunny with temperatures of about 20 ºC and therefore Namibia is seen as an all year round destination.

Windhoek


Windhoek is often described as a city with a ‘continental’ atmosphere, the meeting place between Africa and Europe, the modern and the old.  In the main street, well preserved German colonial buildings are in sharp contract with modern architectural styles, while it would not be uncommon to see a Herero woman in full traditional dress and a businessman in a suit side by side.  Windhoek is a small bustling city with an estimated population of 280 000 and surrounded by the Auas Mountains in the south-east and the Eros Mountains in the north-east and the Khomas Hochland in the west and because of its central location; Windhoek is the starting point of most holiday visitors to the country.  Windhoek was initially known as Ai-gams, a Nama word meaning ‘firewater’, ‘steam’ or ‘smoke’ and Otjomuise, a Herero word meaning the ‘place of steam’, because of the many hot springs in the area.

In the early 1840’s, the Nama captain, Jan Jonker Afrikaner, named the town after the farm in the Cape where he was born, called Winterhoek, but during the German colonial administration the town was called Windhuk, which was subsequently changed to Windhoek.  Windhoek has a wide choice of accommodation options, ranging from 5 star luxury, to four star hotels and homely pensions to backpackers establishments and even campsites.  There is a lot to see in Windhoek, but as the rest of the country has so much more to offer, this is suggested to only be a one night stay, if any.
Windhoek

Swakopmund


Swakopmund is 356 kilometers west of Windhoek and is flanked by the Namib Desert and the icy Atlantic Ocean.  There is definitely an air of enchantment about it, as if the ornate buildings of the old quarter, palm trees and the lush greenery of the seafront were somehow spirited away from their proper setting, only to be left without rhyme or reason in an African desert.  It was founded in 1892 during German colonial rule and it served as the territory’s main harbor for many years.  With its distinctly German atmosphere, you will see German colonial-style buildings dating back to the early 1900’s.  The street names serve as reminders of former colonial rulers and administrators, while German is still widely spoken.  Well-known historic buildings include Woermann House (1905), the old State Railway Station (1901), Alte Kaserne (Old Fort) and the old Magistrate’s Court which now serves as State House in Swakopmund.  Activities in the coastal town range from sand-boarding and paragliding to camel rides, ballooning, township tours and scenic flights.
Swakopmund

Walvis Bay


Sandwiched between the dunes of the Namib Desert, the Atlantic Ocean and an extensive lagoon, Walvis Bay is Namibia’s major port, the centre of the county’s fishing industry and a fast developing tourist destination and also the largest producer of salt in Africa.  The Walvis Bay wetlands are internationally renowned for large concentrations of waders, flamingos (greater & lesser flamingoes) and shore birds.  This wetland, comprising the lagoon, salt works and western shores, are among the 10 most important coastal wetlands in Africa and supports up to 161,000 birds during summer and up to 68,000 in winter.  For the keen birders, you can expect to see curlew sandpipers, sanderlings and little stints.  Activities in Walvis can be anything from quad biking, sea kayak tours, catamaran trips and sand boarding.
Walvisbay

Twyfelfontein/Brandberg


In the Huab Valley in north-western Namibia is a place called Uis-//aes, ‘place among packed stones’, by the San/Bushmen who inhabited the area.  It was inscribed as a cultural site for its large concentration of rock engravings (2000 plus) and is Namibia’s first World Heritage Site.  The rock engravings are estimated  to be 6 000 years old.  Close by is the Petrified Forest, with a collection of around 50 fossilized trees thought to be over 250 million years old. 

The Brandberg Mountain is the highest in Namibia with Konigstein peak rising into the sky at 2 573 meters above sea level and littered with gigantic granite boulders which are transformed into a glowing reddish-orange color in the rays of the setting sun.  This, combined with the dark basalt at the base, gave rise to its descriptive name, Brandberg, which means ‘burning mountain’.  The famous White Lady painting is its main attraction.
Twyfelfontein Brandberg

Etosha National Park


Etosha National Park is one of Africa’s great game parks.  Centered on the vast expanse of the Etosha Pan, a shallow depression of approximately 5 000km2 which forms the heart of the park.  The park is a sanctuary to the largest population of the western sub-species of the black rhino, white rhino, large herds of elephant, the striking black-faced impala, lions and a profusion of other animals and birds.  Etosha is open throughout the year and is accessible by tarred roads via the Andersson Gate in the central southern sections, the Von Lindequist Gate in the east, the Galton Gate in the west and the King Nehale Gate located on the Andoni plains just north of the Andoni waterhole, which provides access from the north-central Owambo regions.

The park has five tourist resorts - Okaukuejo, favored for its floodlit waterhole where you will find an abundance of animals all through the night;  Namutoni, characterized by the historic fort around which it is centered;  Halali, situated halfway between Okaukuejo and Namutoni and normally only used for a lunch stop, but also have a stunning waterhole where during the dry months you will find big herds of elephants coming to drink;  Onkoshi Camp, an exclusive low-impact, environmentally friendly tented camp about 25km north-west of Namutoni; and the newly opened Dolomite Camp situated in western Etosha.
Etosha National Park

Waterberg Plateau Park


Waterberg Plateau Park, south-east of Otjiwarongo, is a popular en-route stop, especially for keen birders, as there are over 200 bird species found here.  Because of its elevated position and high rainfall, the Waterberg Plateau Park forms a stark contrast with the Etosha National Park.  The park was established in the early seventies as a sanctuary for the rare and endangered game species of the Caprivi and today it is home to 25 mammal species.

Namib Naukluft Park


Namib Naukluft Park, with its size approximately 50 000 km2, it is the largest conservation area in Namibia and one of the largest in Africa.  The top attraction in the park is Sossusvlei.  Up to 325 m high when measured from the base, the star-shaped dunes at Sossusvlei are a sought-after topic for artists and photographers.  The highest point is where the west-flowing Tsauchab River empties itself into the vlei.  Early morning when the first sunrays catch the dunes and the warm tints on the sand, from red, maroon, orange to apricot will take your breath away, not to forget to eerie Dead Pan with its ancient skeletons of desiccated white camel-thorn trees

At the entry to Sossusvlei is Sesriem Canyon, where centuries of erosion have incised a narrow gorge about 1km in length.  The name is translated as ‘six thongs’ - a reference to the fact that pioneer farmers had to use six ox thongs to lower buckets to the pools in the narrow canyon, as at the foot of this gorge, which plunges 30-40 metres, are pools that become replenished after good rains.  This is definitely worth seeing on your way out of Sossusvlei.  The Namib Rand Nature Reserve, 60m south of Sesriem is Namibia’s largest private reserve and visitors to the reserve are more than likely to encounter gemsbok (oryx), hyena, hartebeest, zebra and some of the more than 120 different bird species recorded.  The mysterious “fairy circles” are an ubiquitous feature of Namib Rand.
Namib Naukluft Park

Luderitz


The town of Luderitz stands in isolation on a great frontier between the dessert and ocean.  Except for the structures huddled together on the shore and the lighthouse, the surroundings are much as Bartholomeu Dias found them in 1487, when his flotilla of three small ships first sailed into the uncharted bay.  It is renowned for its old-world charm and distinctly German colonial architecture, like the Goerkehaus built in 1909 and the Felsenkirche consecrated in 1912.
Luderitz

Ai-Ais& Fish River Canyon


Awe-inspiring is perhaps an understatement when describing the raw beauty of the Fish River Canyon which ranks amongst the largest canyons in the world.  The most spectacular section is 65km long and the canyon reaches a depth of 549m.  The Ai-Airs Resort is known for its thermal springs and marks the end of the 85km long Fish River Canyon hiking trail, which in terms of difficulty can be compared to the Otter Trail in South Africa and ranks amongst the Big Five hiking trails in the Southern African Region.  Situated east of the Fish River Canyon, the Gondwana Ganon Park, which covers 1000,000ha of plains characterized by clumps of milkbush, granite outcrops and low mountains.  It is here that you will find solitude and wide open spaces with spectacular scenery.  Activities include guided drives and nature walks, as well as horse riding and scenic flights over the Fish River Canyon.
Fish River Canyon

Epupa Falls


In the Kaokoland area you will find the Epupa Falls in the Kunene River and it is definitely one of Namibia’s top scenic attractions.  This area is home to the Damara people although you will find some Herero.  The Epupa Falls is about 190km upstream of the Kunene River mouth.   Here the river fans out into the number of channels before cascading into a deep gorge.
Epupa Falls



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