Tucked between South Africa and Botswana lies the world’s second least densely populated country, Namibia. An average flight trip from the biggest airport in the US to this country would take about 17 hours.
A formerly colonized German country, Namibia, got independence in 1990 after 106 years of external rule. While most influences from colonial rule have now disappeared, traces and footprints of the German legacy remain in the Southern African nation.
Famous for its strikingly vast landscape, exotic coastline, and endless red and orange-red dunes, Namibia is a wondrous place to visit.
Although it’s a less-mentioned destination spot for a top-notch safari experience – as opposed to Tanzania’s Serengeti, Kenya’s Masai Mara, and South Africa’s Kruger National Park. Nonetheless, it can also provide a fantastic safari experience and offer all the advantages you can get in each and more. That’s why Namibia is a choice for many savvy tourists nowadays.
This country, which is loosely translated as “the vast place,” boasts of the oldest and the only desert, the Namib desert in the world that can be influenced by fog. With every step you take to explore its depths, you are met with a mysterious aura that hangs in the air of this peaceful and quiet country.
An added advantage to touring this country is that it has not been overwhelmed by many tourists yet – so it can serve as a serene and quiet getaway. You can drive for hours without seeing any traffic congestion on the country’s roads. You can only deal with a traffic jam when a zebra or other wildlife decides to cross your path.
Table of contents: ()
Top Places To Visit In Namibia
While a trip to Africa has not been a priority for a lot of people, the truth is that the continent holds a lot of interesting and exotic attractions that any tourist would love to experience. Namibia should be your first point of call if you are willing to commit to a tour of the continent.
If you are unsure why you should travel to Namibia yet, these are fifteen compelling reasons to visit the country with the Ochre-colored dunes soon.
Visit the Namib and Kalahari Deserts, Walvis Bay, and Other Surreal Landscapes
Photos and video montages of the country are astounding. However, to physically see these cinematic landscapes is the real deal. Nothing compares to being able to walk around 900-year-old camel-thorn trees and explore Ochre-colored dunes, which span more than 300-meters.
There’s also the Namib desert, the oldest desert in the world. It covers 31,274 square meters and stretches from South Africa and into Angola. It also boasts of dunes of 380 meters high, such as Dune 45, Sossusvlei, and several others.
The Kalahari desert is also another exciting place to see in the country. However, it’s not a desert in the real sense of the word, as it receives too much rainfall to qualify as one. It’s home to animals such as the Zebra, Cheetah, Ostrich, the endangered African Wild Dog, the Oryx, Giraffe, Elephant, Springbok, and many other species. It also boasts of the Sociable Weaver, whose home is the most beautiful nest ever built by any bird. These bird nests are huge, usually weighing up to 1,000kg.
Another attractive landscape is Sandwich Bay, where the ocean meets the desert. While touring the narrow path that divides the ocean and the dunes on a 4×4, you are sure to be amazed.
Walvis Bay is also a popular tourist attraction because it’s one of the wealthier parts of the country. You can find more bourgeoisie accommodations and restaurants at the Bay, making it a very indulgent stop during your tour. You can also find pink flamingos and even pinkier lakes.
There’s also the Skeleton coast, a lonely stretch of coastline tempered by shipwrecks dashed across the sands. While it might seem dry and dead, it contains incredible fauna and flora well adapted to live there. It was one of the reasons it was named “Gates Of Hell” by sailors.
You would also find the town Kolmanskop around the coast. In the early 19th century, diamonds were discovered there. However, no diamonds were left as time flew by, and the town was abruptly deserted.
As of now, Kolmanskop is a shadow of its former self. The German architecture has gone into ruins, and houses in the town are empty and filled with sands. However, it still serves as a tourist attraction – especially for folks interested in history.
Take a Tour to Etosha National Park and Kunene River to See Exotic Wildlife
For a country that, at first glance, might look lifeless, Namibia is one of those countries with a top Safari destination. It contains over 80 species of mammals, over 600 bird species, and 240 reptile species. Farther north of the country lies the Kunene River, where a significant population of Nile crocodiles can be found.
Touring south, the Etosha National Park is home to many wildlife species, including giraffes, cheetahs, lions, hyenas, and elephants, amongst others. Some of the birds encountered include ostriches, pelicans, and penguins.
The west includes the free-ranging desert-adapted wildlife – the lions, giraffes, brown hyenas, and several others. The coastal region consists of fur seals, leatherback turtles, dolphins, and humpback whales. If you are an animal lover, you would surely love it here.
Schedule a Visit to the Himba Tribe and Other Iconic Tribes
Because the country is not overdeveloped, many local tribes have conserved their traditional cultures. There are about thirteen main tribes in the country, each with its language, lifestyle, and tradition.
There is the Himba tribe, who are known for the red paste they apply to their hair. They are also semi-nomadic people whose clothes are made of cow skin. Their women are rumored not to have their baths. Instead, they burn the Commiphora plant and cover their body under a blanket. The smoke from the plant opens and cleans the pores.
There is also the San tribe, also known as the Bushmen. These are one of the world’s oldest local tribes, having inhabited here for about 20,000 years. One of the essential traits of the San tribe is their hunting skills and their ability to survive in the harshest of circumstances. The Bushmen have also learned to read nature like a book as any footprint gives them details to a story–age and sex of the animal, kind of animal, size, what time of the day, and many more!
Namibia flourishes in a wealth of cultural diversity, and if you are a lover of great culture, this is enough of a reason why Namibia should be your next travel destination.
Visit Luderitz, Windhoek, and Swakopmund for a Taste of German Culture
Like most African countries, Namibia did not become an independent entity until the late 19th century. It was a German colony until 1915 when it became governed by the South Africans.
Namibia eventually broke free in 1990, but the German legacy and influence can still be seen in cities like Luderitz, Swakopmund, and the capital city, Windhoek. Even today, the German language is still widely used as a means of communication in the country.
The laid-back capital city, Windhoek, is located in the center of Namibia and is home to about 350,000 people. Tourists can check out the Parliament Gardens.
As for Swakopmund, which loosely translates to “River Mouth”, it boasts of 45,000 inhabitants, tourists can check out German architecture, beaches, and coffee places. The Kaiserliche Bezirksgericht (State House) or the Hohenzollern Building are also tourist attractions.
There is also Luderitz – as implied by its name, it’s one of the cities that the Germans named, and there is still a heavy German presence here. Many German tourists visit this city.
So if you would like to combine a German holiday with a trip to an African country, a visit to Namibia is your best bet.
Visit the NamibRand Nature Reserve to Gaze at Starry Nights and Celestial Bodies
Due to an arid climate and low light pollution, Namibia’s night sky is a beauty to behold as they are the clearest and the darkest skies in the whole world. The NamibRand Nature Reserve has been named the International Dark Sky Reserve.
It’s surreal to see a constellation of stars and feel you can touch them. Gaze even further and see the milky scattered over Namibia’s dark skies.
To fully appreciate other celestial bodies, you can use the telescopes which are usually present in each desert lodge to spot other stellar constellations such as Jupiter’s red spot, the Coalsack Nebula, the rings of Saturn, and the Magellanic Clouds.
If you are thinking of planning a romantic getaway or honeymoon, this place is a highly recommended romantic destination.
Take a Tour of Local Restaurants to Experience Namibian Cuisine
There are two significant influences on Namibian Cuisines – the ingredients used by the indigenous people of the country and the colonial influences from the British and Germans.
On your Namibian tour, expect to eat a lot of wilds, including the ostrich, oryx, and zebra. The game is usually presented as sausages, steak, and kebabs. Lentil soups, stews, and side dishes are famous cuisines. These cuisines can be taken in tandem with the Namibian gin or the German-influenced beer lagers.
Thanks to the nutrient-rich waters of Walvis Bay, you can also try the Namibian Oysters, which are arguably the best and freshest oysters in the world.
Enjoy Outdoor Adventures by Visiting the Beautiful Landscapes and Deserts
The country’s variety of terrains and landscapes act as the best avenue for exciting outdoor opportunities such as ultramarathons, windsurfing, kayaking, and horse safaris.
Sandboarding is also a perfect adventure to try out in Namibia. Whether you are a novice or amateur, the adrenaline rush of sliding down the dunes never gets old. To make things better, you need not have prior experience because a guide, a helmet, boots, and sandboards will be provided.
Also, many camps offer opportunities to tour and explore the surroundings, either as a group, as an individual, or with a guide. You can hike to the famous Rock Arch to catch a beautiful sunset over the desert and then engage in some stargazing.
You can also pump up your adrenaline rush with skydiving, scenic flights, paragliding, quad biking, and dune karting. However, if you prefer a bit of a wild adventure, you can do some horse riding or a dolphin cruise.
You can also use the “Desert Express” to cover the 300 km distance between Swakopmund and Windhoek. It will guarantee you a great adventure, memories, a lot of new friendships, and the journey of a lifetime.
Exploring the desert through a hot air balloon can also be a memorable experience. The beauty of the Namib desert is fully appreciated when airborne. As such, a flight in a hot-air balloon gives you a bird’s-eye view of the vastness of the desert.
As the roar of the balloon’s hot air fades, and you begin to rise above the desert, the sun’s rays inflame the dunes below. After an hour of Namib tour, you return to earth, toasting the experience with a champagne breakfast. A great treat, no doubt!
Take a Tour of the Namibian Art Center, Otjihaenamaparero Farm, the Mirabib Rock, and Apollo Cave 11 to Explore Arts and Historical Wonders
The country is full of historic sites and archeological digs. For example, in the heart of the country lies a rock art world heritage site, Twyfelfontein. This site is an open-air rock art gallery with more than 2,000 engravings dating back several thousand years.
They were likely created by San shamans and feature all kinds of animals, geometric patterns, fantasy creatures, human figures, and even footprints.
However, Twyfelfontein is not the only historical site or archeological dump to see in Namibia. You can also visit the fossilized dinosaur footprints at the Otjihaenamaparero Farm, the ancient Mirabib Rock, and the famous Apollo 11 cave.
There is hardly anyone who doesn’t like to purchase chic souvenirs and tell-tale items for their loved ones. It’s even more thrilling if it’s art from Africa. It’s one of the perks of visiting Namibia.
The Namibian Art Center, located in the capital city, displays art, supporting about 4,000 people from around the country with jobs. From carved Makalani kernels to woven baskets to stylish San ostrich-eggshell jewelry, there isn’t anything you can not find.
Explore Stunning Camps
Despite your preference, Namibia offers a lot of accommodations that are spread around the country.
For example, Damaraland Camp offers guests a dip in their pool or the opportunity to relax in the open-air restaurant enshrined in a chain of copper-colored mountains.
The Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp offers modern solar-powered tent camps that border Kaokoveld’s rough landscapes. Finally, the exotic and newly revamped chalets at Serra Cafema Camp offer a lavish treat. They perch behind the Kunene river banks.
When it comes to great accommodations and camps for visitors, this country has never been found wanting.
See the Endangered Rhinoceroses at the Palmwag Concession
The black rhino may be the most sought-after of all the endangered species found within and around Namibia.
While thousands upon thousands once roamed the country, poachers almost drove the species into complete extinction. Luckily, efforts were made to study, monitor, and protect this critically endangered species.
With the rhino population on the rise, visitors can seek out individual experiences that help protect the population. For example, you can stay at the Rhino Camp in the Palmwag Concession to track the animals on foot with the help of trained experts.
Explore Canyons And Falls
There is more to Namibia apart from desert, dunes, and bays. An example is the Fish River Canyon, the second biggest canyon after the Grand canyon – a gigantic ravine with deep history and fun offers.
It’s a great spot to watch the Namibian sunrise and sunset. Also, there’s the Sesriem Canyon on your way to the Namib desert. It’s usually out of sight and can only be explored on foot.
The Epupa Falls, located between Angola and Namibia, is another location to explore. Like the canyons, It’s one of mother nature’s beautiful gifts and can only be approached via foot.
The area inhabits some people from the Himba tribe and is home to crocodiles, so you better watch your step.
A visit to Namibia is sure to be an adventure of a lifetime. There’s never been a better time than now to take the plunge and explore the country’s most beautiful tourist attractions.
In terms of budget, the country offers something for everyone. There is something available for all budgets, from moderate B&Bs and idyllic guesthouses to fine hotels and sophisticated safari camps.
Take a chance by traveling to one of the wildest African countries and create special memories of wanderlust moments.