Namibians are proud of their country and justifiably so as it is one of the few places in the world that can claim to be four countries in one.
Rest assured that the four divisions are purely geographic and have nothing to do with political upheaval. In fact, Namibia is one of the most politically stable countries in Africa.
The most obvious thing about Namibia is its rugged nature. The climate is harsh and the land unforgiving but life always finds a way and Namibia is home to some of the most adaptive species in the world, including a desert-adapted elephant.
There are a number of things to see and do in Namibia; we look at some of the sights most highly recommended by Namibia Tourism.
- Etosha National Park: Namibia’s first conservation area (est. 1907) and one of the most exciting game reserves in Africa. The park is dry, which means that the few water holes around provide perfect game viewing opportunities. During the dry season you can see elephant, giraffe, rhino and lion come down to drink. There are also plenty of buck and rich and varied bird life. The reserve is very user-friendly and contains three rest camps: Okaukuejo, Halali and Namutoni.
- Sossusvlei boasts the highest sand dunes in the world and attracts sand boarding enthusiasts from all four corners of the globe. There are two things not to be missed: 1) the view of the Deadvlei from atop the dunes where you can see skeletons of ancient camel thorn trees that are 500 – 600 years old; 2) sunset (or sunrise) when the sun turns the dunes red.
- The Fish River Canyon was formed over 500 million years ago when the valley collapsed. It was further eroded by water and is now the second largest natural gorge in the world. It is also home to the Fish River Hiking Trail, which is one of the most challenging trails in Africa. It’s a 4-day, 86km hike and you can only go if you have your doctor’s approval.
- Twyfelfontein is a World Heritage Site owing to the proliferation of 6000 year old rock art. The best times to visit are in the morning and early evening, otherwise the heat will melt you into a sad little puddle on the desert floor.
- The Skeleton Coast or the Skeleton National Park encompasses dunes, canyons, volcanic rock and mountains. It’s named for the treacherous nature of the coast which wrecked countless boats, the remains of which stick bleakly up from the sand. There are also old whale and seal bones dating back to the old whaling industry. It is here where you can see the desert-adapted elephant, as well as black rhino and lions.
The hot springs of the Ai Ais are not mentioned by Namibia Tourism but are included on Namibia Direct’s list of things to do.
The Ai Ais are in the Fish River conservation area and are “smouldering cauldrons” of therapeutic goodness, although you need to be careful as they can get up to 60 degrees Celsius. If you get too hot, however, you can always cool off in the indoor or outdoor pools in the area.
Game viewing and safari camping aside, Namibia’s range of activities are awesome and just waiting for you to come along.
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