Namibia Travel Guide

 

Description

Namibia is a startling country – a celebration of the weird and wonderful. It contains the world's second largest canyon, the highest sand dunes, the oldest desert, the largest existing meteorite, the smallest antelope, some of the most bizarre plants and many other truly unusual attractions. Everywhere you look, there is something astonishing.

It's mostly desert, with big rivers on its borders – the Orange on its southern border with South Africa,  the Kunene on its north-western border with Angola and the Okavango on the north-eastern border of the Caprivi Strip, which was tacked on to Namibia in order to give the German colonialists access to the Zambezi.

To the west, the icy Atlantic Ocean pounds the desert shore with relentless fury, throwing up all manner of flotsam, including numerous wrecks. It's called the Skeleton Coast and the name says it all, really. But don't, for a moment, think that desert means boring, dull or monotonous. Oh no. The Namib Desert presents a whole host of spectacular landscapes – from gravel pavements, huge red dunes and contorted geological formations which have been dubbed 'the moon landscape' to vast underground forests of welwitschias. These massive, ancient desert trees literally grow underground with only the top of the trunk, two enormous leaves and flowers showing. Many of the welwitschia trees are thousands of years old.

Vast areas of the country are true wilderness and there are a number of game reserves, most notable of which is the Etosha National Park. Centred on a huge saltpan, Etosha is home to an enormous array of animals. All the usual big guys like rhinos, elephants, lions, giraffes etc, abound but there are some interesting endemics. The black faced impala is much like the usual impala, except it looks like someone ran a sooty finger down its nose. It's hard to imagine anything prettier than an impala, anyway, but the black-faced ones looked like Max Factor got hold of them to great advantage. The smallest antelope in the world is the cute little Damara dikdik, which is endemic to the park.

One of Etosha's main attractions is the floodlit waterholes on the edge of the camps – you can stay up all night with a blanket and a flask of coffee watching an ever-changing parade of animals. The high-lying Waterberg Plateau Park is a bit anomalous, in that it's quite well watered – as the name suggests – and mountainous. Kaokoland, in the northern part of the country is a wild, desert area just to the south of the Kunene River, where the fascinating and friendly Himba people herd their goats and cattle and live as they have done for centuries.

There are desert elephants and desert rhinos, huge ephemeral lakes that support enormous flocks of flamingos that arrive mere days after the rains have filled the pans. Nobody knows how they know it has rained thousands of miles away. They just do.

There is so much to see and do in this awesome country. You could do a rafting or canoeing trip on either the Kunene or the Orange. The game viewing and bird watching is excellent in Etosha, the Waterberg or any of the many other game reserves. There is awesome rock climbing at the spectacular Spitzkoppe, a huge granite inselberg rising up from the plain with dramatic sheerness. Dragon's Breath Cave holds the largest underground lake in the world. There are interesting sinkholes, which local divers have been exploring for decades. Bitterwasser is a glider's paradise where international pilots spend the summer months doing immensely long cross country flights and setting all manner of records.

Only for the bold, a horseback trail across the Namib Desert is a real challenge and a wonderful experience. Camel expeditions are also on offer. There is wonderful sea kayaking near Swakopmund, where you may see seals and dolphins. There is good rock art scattered all over Namibia but the most unusual is the rock engravings at Twyfelfontein. There are some very tough hikes, including one in the Fish River Canyon and one in the Namib Naukluft Park. You could do a balloon flight over the desert at sunrise.

And the capital city, Windhoek, is a clean, modern city rising up from the desert. It has all the usual facilities – golf courses, restaurants, shopping and good hotels. Namibia was a German colony, and many of the smaller towns still retain a Teutonic flavour, particularly Swakopmund and Lüderitz on the Atlantic coast. As well as the European-style buildings, you'll find lots of German restaurants and pubs. And, of course, Namibia makes the best beer in Africa, which is most definitely as a result of its German heritage. All Namibian beer conforms to the German Reinheidsgebod (purity law) of 1516. Germans don't muck about when it comes to making (or drinking) beer.

Namibia Border Posts Information

South Africa – Namibia Road Entry Points

Velverdiend / Mata Mata: 08:00 – 16:30
Klein Menasse / Rietfontein: 08:00 – 16:30
Ariamsvlei / Nakop: 24 hours
Vellorsdrift / Onseepkans: 08:00 – 17:00
Noordoewer / Vioolsdrift: 24 hours
Sendelingsdrift: 8:00 – 17:00
Oranjemund / Alexander Bay: 06:00 – 22:00

Botswana – Namibia Road Entry Points

Impalila Island: 07:00 – 18:00
Ngoma Bridge: 07:00 – 18:00
Muhembo / Shakawe: 06:00 – 18:00
Buitepos / Mamuno: 07:00 – 18:00

Zambia – Namibia Road Entry Points

Wanela (Katima Mulilo) / Sesheke: 6:00 – 17:00

Angola – Namibia Road Entry Points

Ruacana: 7:00 – 18:00
Omahenene: 8:00 – 18:00
Oshikango / St. Clara: 8:00 – 18:00
Rundu: 8:00 – 18:00

Easter Weekend, Public & School Holidays in Namibia

Book your holiday long before Namibia’s peak season begins. During the year-end holiday season and over Easter, most top destinations in Namibia are booked a year in advance. And if you’re living outside Namibia, it’s worth noting that banks are closed on public holidays and shops close for Good Friday, Christmas Day and New Year's Day.

Public Holidays and Easter Holidays 2015

1 January – New Year's Day

21 March – Independence Day

3 April – Good Friday

5 April – Easter Sunday

6 April – Easter Monday

1 May – Workers' Day

4 May – Cassinga Day

14 May – Ascension Day

25 May – Africa Day

26 August – Heroes' Day

10 December – Human Rights Day

25 December – Christmas Day

26 December – Family Day

2015 School Holidays

December 2014 – 13 January 2015

18 April – 18 May

14 August – 31 August

5 December – mid January 2016 (tbc)

In and Around

Nearby Locations
Nearest Airport
Featured Destinations
Gallery and Museums
 

Accommodation near Namibia

*Distances are shown as the crow flies and not necessarily the actual travelling distance.

from R170
1 night, 2 adults

Umvuvu Tented River Lodge

Sleeps 88 Katima Mulilo Safari, Katima Mulilo Camping and Caravanning in Katima Mulilo

Umvuvu Tented Lodge is located on a still backwater of the Zambezi River, about 24 km east of Katima...

from R1200
1 night, 2 adults

The Desert Castle

Sleeps 8 Hentiesbaai Self-catering in Hentiesbaai

The Desert Castle offers self-catering accommodation ideal for families and groups looking for a pea...

from R200
1 night, 2 adults

Terra Rouge

Sleeps 41 South Namibia Self-catering in South Namibia

Terra Rouge is a Kalahari sheep farm operated by the owners, only 45 km from the Kgalagadi National...

from R1250
1 night, 2 adults

F1 Waterfront Estate

Sleeps 4 Swakopmund Self-catering in Swakopmund

F1 Waterfront Estate is a stylish two-bedroom Waterfront Estate apartment located in Namibia's holid...

from R300
1 night, 2 adults

Buschberg Guestfarm

Sleeps 23 Etosha National Park Guest House in Etosha National Park

Buschberg is one of the few working cattle farms in Namibia that has a guest enterprise as well. Th...

from R730
1 night, 2 adults

Hotel Uhland

Sleeps 44 Windhoek Hotel in Windhoek

Situated within 15 minutes' walking distance to Windhoek City Centre, Hotel Uhland is your ideal sta...

from R1860
1 night, 2 adults

Blue Oyster

Sleeps 6 Langstrand Self-catering in Langstrand

Set within the coastal little area of Langstrand, Blue Oyster offers the ideal destination for a rel...

from R200
1 night, 2 adults

Duwisib Guest Farm

Sleeps 56 South Namibia Lodge, South Namibia Self-catering in South Namibia

Duwisib Guest Farm is situated directly next to Duwisib Castle on the edge of the Namib desert and i...

from R1234
1 night, 2 adults

Norotshama River Resort

Sleeps 20 South Namibia Self-catering in South Namibia

Some 50 km Northwest of the village of Noordoewer on the farm Aussenkehr lies an undiscovered gem, t...

from R200
1 night, 2 adults

Red Dune Camp

Sleeps 66 Gochas Self-catering, Gochas Bed and Breakfast, Gochas Camping and Caravanning in Gochas

The Red Dune Camp is situated on Farm Tranendal, south of Gochas in Namibia, on the road from Stampr...