Real African exoticism, the largest number of sunny and hot days a year, a very rich flora and fauna, amazing “lunar” landscapes, luxurious hotels, campsites and loggias – all this gives travelers tours to Namibia. Numerous vacationers from Moscow and other regions cannot be dissuaded from this trip even by the rather high price of air travel (with the affordable cost of living in the best hotels and a rich “excursion”).
Rest in Namibia is an opportunity to see the Namib and Kalahari deserts, the Amhem Cave and the Gamsberg pass, the vibrant dunes of Sossuflea, enjoy the vibrant life of Windhoek with its numerous markets, luxury hotels and restaurants, museums and architectural ensembles of rare beauty.
Namibia borders in the north with Angola and Zambia, in the east – with Botswana, in the southeast and south – with South Africa, in the west it is washed by the waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The name of the country is derived from the Namib Desert, the oldest desert in the world, which occupies a significant part of the country. Tourism is one of the main sectors of the Namibian economy, the only country in South Africa that Russian citizens do not need a visa to visit. For Russian tourists, Namibia is still an unfamiliar place. This amazing country is fraught with many amazing opportunities and discoveries.
The Namib Desert originated on the Atlantic coast of southern Africa 80 million years ago. For almost one and a half thousand kilometers, colored dunes and black rocks, snow-white sands and gray pebbles stretched along the ocean coast, reminiscent of the evil ominous Skeleton Coast. At night, a cold fog creeps into the desert from the Atlantic side, which in some regions of the Namib dissipates only by noon. Origs, large antelopes with sharp straight horns, hide from the daytime sun in the shade of rare oases. Namibia is also the famous Etosha National Park, the oldest plant on the planet, velvichia, one of the largest Hobo meteorites in the world, the Himba tribes that have been wandering for centuries in the north of the country, the Bushmen living in the Kalahari, but at the same time, the country has good roads and a decent hotel infrastructure.
Namibia is difficult to see in one trip. Having divided the country into northern, central and southern regions, the most that can be done in a typical two-week trip is to visit two of them.
This region of the country is located between two deserts – the Namib in the west and the Kalahari in the east. The capital of Namibia, Windhoek, is located here. Among the attractions of this area are the Arnhem Caves (100 km southeast of the capital), the Dan Viljoen National Park, Gamsberg, and the Okapuka Game Ranch.
Windhoek is the country’s capital, a bustling cosmopolitan city with good hotels and attractive shops. There is an international airport here. The city, especially on Independence Avenue, has a very interesting architecture: Art Nouveau buildings side by side with German, English and Dutch colonial buildings. On the pedestrian streets, special ceilings have been created to protect from the scorching rays of the sun. From Windhoek you can go on a day trip to Kotutura, a picturesque suburb of the capital. It is curious to visit the National Botanical Garden and the zoo. Every year, the Oktoberfest beer festival and the Windhoek Autumn Carnival, known as WIKA, take place here.
Surroundings of the capital. In the central region, the lands are very dry, but numerous mineral springs enliven these desert lands, making them attractive to tourists. Water sports and fishing are organized in the reservoirs surrounding the city. This area is home to beautiful national parks, charming towns… On the territory of cattle ranches, there are often unique sights – rock art, petrified trees or ancient wooden sculptures. Around Windhoek are majestic mountains: Auas (Auas) in the southeast, Eros in the northwest and the rolling mountains of Khomas Hochland (Khomas Hochland) in the west. Some resorts are located near Windhoek, so weekend trips are very popular here. In the west, 24 km from the capital, there is the Dan Viljoen Nature Reserve. It offers two two-day hiking trails, there are also tours by car along the ring road. In the reserve you can meet oryx, blue wildebeest, red cow antelope (bubala), impala antelope, as well as numerous birds.
In the city of Okahandja, 70 km north of the capital, there is an Ombo ostrich farm, a historic missionary church, two souvenir markets selling wooden sculptures of the Avango tribe. It is interesting to see the graves of the leaders of the Herero tribe. Near Okahandja is the resort area of Von Bach, where you can watch the life of baboons, and the thermal springs of Gross Barmen (Gross & Barmen).
How to get there. About an hour by ground transfer from Windhoek.
In Namibia, you can also travel underground. Approximately 120 km southeast of Windhoek is the largest cave system in the country, Amhem, with more than four kilometers of tunnels. Southwest of Windhoek, several scenic routes link the central region to the Atlantic coast. The longest and most popular is the Gamsberg Pass, which winds up a steep slope and across the Namib Desert along the Kuiseb River. The sky over Gamsberg is so clear that many research institutes set up their telescopes here to study the southern sky.
The Namib Desert was a barren area already 80 million years ago. Geographically, the Namib region includes a narrow long strip of land along the western coast of Namibia from the Angolan border in the north to Oranjemund in the south. The central part of the desert is known for its high apricot dunes, which are constantly moving, changing shape. Their palette of shades ranges from pale beige to burnt brick color, the play of light and shadow makes them very attractive to photographers. The coastal resort towns of Swakopmund and Walvis Bay seem to divide the Namib into two parts: the Skeleton Coast National Park stretches to the north, and the Namib Science Luft National Park stretches to the south.
Namib Naukluft National Park. The famous Sossusvlei sand dunes are located on the territory of the national park – an area allocated as a separate reserve. Here is the Sesriem Canyon. Its stone pools are fed by the Tsauchab River. The name of the canyon is translated as “six belts” – a reminder of the hard work of farmers who used six cowhide belts to lower buckets to a reservoir in a narrow crevice. In the mountains of Naukluft, in the east of the park, three rivers originate: Tsondab – in the north, Tsams – in the west and Tsaushab – in the south, their channels are filled with water only during the rainy season. In the dry season they are covered with desert vegetation. Among the rocks of Naukluft, clean springs flow, feeding green oases, habitats for animals and birds. In the morning and in the late afternoon you can meet antelope here. During the German colonization, the leader of the local people, Nama, made sorties against newcomers from Europe. Now numerous monuments remind of the battles of African warriors with German soldiers.
How to get to me. Air charter from Windhoek, Swakopmund or ground transfer from Windhoek (about five hours).
Swakopmund is Namibia’s most popular coastal resort located in the West Coast National Tourist Area. It looks like a Bavarian town.
In the center are German colonial buildings, now national monuments. There is a lighthouse on the shore (1903), the old pier (1911) was chosen by local fishermen. Swakopmund has a crystal gallery that houses the world’s largest quartz crystal. Other sights include a local history museum, a brewery (pre-registration required), and a large aquarium. In some small aquariums, you can touch the exhibits. Local entertainment includes sports games, horse racing, sailing, surfing, car racing, sports and beer festivals. It has excellent shopping, including famous jewelry stores, restaurants, beaches.
How to get there. By plane, train from Windhoek or ground transfer from Windhoek (five hours).
North from Swakopmund along the coast to the Ugab River, the National West Coast Tourism Recreation Area extends for about 200 km. There are popular fishing spots near the main campsites. Traveling along the coast of the Atlantic to the north impresses with the harsh beauty of landscapes, oceanic deserts, which so strongly struck the European discoverer of Southwest Africa, the Portuguese Diego Kahn. In 1486, he erected on the shore, in a place now called Cape Cross Seal, a basalt cross that has survived to this day, which has become one of the attractions of the tourist route along the Skeleton Coast. Here, on Cape Cross, there is a reserve of seals, where the largest colony of fur seals on the west coast lives, during the peak of the mating season in November and December, their number reaches 200 thousand individuals. The reserve is open for visiting from 10.00 to 17.00. Paid entrance. It is also interesting to see the clay castles of Hoarusib and the salt marshes near the Agate Mountain. 67 km north of Swakopmund is the small fishing town of Henties Bay, which has golf courses, a small airstrip and an information center next to the Die Duine Hotel, which has the longest bar in Namibia.
How to get there. Ground transfer from Swakopmund.
Walvis Bay is another popular seaside resort. It is located 31 km south of Swakopmund. Initially, a whaling base was located here. Now it is the main harbor of Namibia. There are a variety of accommodation options and a good potential for eco-tourism. Walvis Bay’s wetlands are abundant with wading birds and flamingos. Southwest winds create excellent conditions for windsurfing, sandboarding, parasailing and quad biking. Alternatively, you can book a harbor tour in Valdis Bay.
How to get there. By plane, train from Windhoek, ground transfer from the capital (five hours).
This is a fertile and most densely populated region of the country relative to other places. However, there are practically no large cities here, mostly people live on farms and in small towns.
Etosha National Park- the main attraction of the north of the country. Established in 1907, the park was the largest nature reserve in the world until the 1960s, when it was reduced by three-quarters for political reasons. But even today it remains one of the largest in Africa. In its landscape, dense thickets alternate with open plains. A significant part of the park (about 5,000 square kilometers) is occupied by the Etosha Salt Flats. It is a silvery white plateau with mineral-rich water springs. During the rainy season, the entire lowland is filled with water, and many animals and birds gather here. Etosha Park is open to the public all year round. It is entered on a paved road through the Andersson gate from the west or through the Von Lindekvist gate from the east. Etosha has several tourist complexes and private lodges, shops, restaurants, swimming pools and petrol stations. The flora and fauna of the park is very diverse, there are many representatives of the “big African five”, local elephants are considered the largest in Africa. In the western part of the park is the famous “Fairytale Forest” – the only place in Africa where the moringa tree grows, the so-called “inverted tree”, which, according to Bushman legends, was thrown out of the ground by the God of Thunder and landed upside down.
How to get there. Air charter from the capital or Swakopmund, ground transfer (six to seven hours).
To the northwest of Etosha stretch picturesque sandy plains and brown mountains with stone-strewn slopes and deep gorges. Only the strongest and hardiest plants and cacti survive here. Between the rivers Hoanib (Hoanib) and Kunene (Kunene) is a protected nature reserve. This is the land of Kaokoland, along whose dry river valleys herds of desert elephants roam, and the flat lands are inhabited by giraffes, oryx and antelopes. Kaokoland is the ancestral home of several generations of the Himba tribe. The people of this tribe lead a nomadic semi-primitive way of life, with almost no contact with civilization. The Cunene River, which flows along the border with Angola, crosses rocky plains, mountains and sandy desert, moving towards the coast. Here, at the Epupa waterfall, the water froths and rushes down in a rushing stream. Having reached the coast, Kunene spills into a wide delta, into which sea turtles, sharks and crocodiles swim. This region is full of contrasts: ancient sands, bizarre rocks, blue coastal waters…
How to get there. By plane or air charter or ground transfer from Damaraland or Etosha.
Hoba meteorite. To the east of Etosha, 20 km east of Grotfontein, on the Hoba farm is one of the largest (50 tons of nickel and iron) meteorites found on Earth – Hoba, which fell about 30-80 thousand years ago. An amphitheater was built here. Information about the weight, age and composition of the meteorite is engraved on the wall. There is a utility block and toilets. The unique regular shape of the meteorite is the basis for numerous theories of its artificial extraterrestrial origin. Bushmanland is located to the east of Grotfontein. These are the lands where the Bushmen live – one of the last indigenous nomadic tribes left here. In the Ghaub caves near the city of Otavi, among the stalactites, rock paintings of ancient Bushmen were found. This place has been declared a national treasure.
How to get there. Two hours by ground transfer from Otjiwarongo.
The city of Otjiwarongo, located 180 km south of Etosha and 250 km from Windhoek, is used as a transit point when traveling from the country’s capital to national parks in the north of the country. Here is the Cheetah Conservation Center with a herding dog kennel and a crocodile farm where Nile alligators are bred.
How to get there: Two hours by ground transfer from the capital.
Waterberg Plateau Park, located 90 km east of Otjiwarongo on a vast elevated plateau completely surrounded by steep cliffs, was established in the 1970s. specifically for the conservation of endangered animal species. Hiking trails and guided tours provide the opportunity to see rare and nearly extinct animal species such as the white rhinoceros and roan antelope. Waterberg is not at all like Etosha Park, as it is located high in the mountains, where rainfall is higher and vegetation is much richer. The area is known for its rock art, as well as the incredible hues of the rocks, which give them 140 species of lichen.
How to get there. 30 minutes from Otjiwarongo by ground transfer.
Southwest of Otjiwarongo and Etosha is Damaraland.. The highest mountains of the country coexist here with vast plains, dry riverbeds, eternal sands and bizarre rock formations (laccoliths). These lands are separated from the Atlantic by the Skeleton Coast National Park and are full of interesting geological features and rock art. In the capital of Damaraland, the city of Khorixas, footprints of a dinosaur were found on volcanic rocks. Just outside the city are massive petrified tree trunks. On the way from Etosha to Khorikhas, 95 km east of the town of Outjo is Vingerklip, or “Rocky Finger”. Of the many bizarre rock formations in the area, this 35-meter pillar, topped by the “Rocky Finger”, which was carved by winds and rains, is especially memorable. An amazing stele is located on a private farm Betram (Betram).
To the west of Khorihas is Twyfelfontein (“Fountain of Doubt”), where you can see the most interesting rock paintings in Africa. It is assumed that these are the work of hunter-gatherers who lived here a thousand years ago. Southwest of Twyfelfontein is the Doros crater with fossilized remains of the prehistoric era.
Brandberg (Brandberg), or “Burned Mountain”, south of Khoriksas, is the highest mountain system in Namibia. It received this name due to the rays of the sun falling on it, in which the mountain glows with an orange-red light. Nothing grows on its fertile surface. It is better to climb to its top accompanied by a guide, as there are no clearly defined routes. It is cut by numerous beautiful gorges, which during the rainy season reflect the crystal echo of seething waterfalls. Among the rocky gorges, thousands of rock carvings have been found, of which the most famous is the “White Lady”. The Brandberg chain belongs to Kunigstein (2646 m) – the highest mountain peak in the country.
How to get there. By air charter or ground transfer from Swakopmund (four to five hours) or Etosha (three hours).
In the vicinity of Kalkfeld (Kalkfeld), about 60 km from Otjiwarongo to the southwest, dinosaur footprints have been found that are special.
How to get there. By ground transfer from Otjiwarongo (one hour).
Along the entire northern part of the Atlantic coast of the country, almost 500 km from the Ugab River (Ugab) in the south and to the border with Angola in the north, the legendary Skeleton Coast National Park extends. In width inland, the park stretches for about 100 km. Its area is about 16 thousand square meters. km. In this part of the coast of Namibia, the skeletons of old sunken ships are often found.