User Reviews – Namibia
Email Jofie Lamprecht | 20-35 years of age
Namibia has a diversity making it unique in Africa and indeed the World. From the World's oldest desert to sub-tropical climates in the Zambezi Region - all brimming with diverse wildlife.
Namibias nature is beautiful, versalite, unspoiled & original
The wilflife and sceneries in Namibia are simply stunning. We rented a 4x4 vehicle with roof tops and travelled from campsite to campsite which were mostly near the national parks. Another option to book lodges there. Our small camp/lodge resorts were very charming and comfortable and could all be booked in advance online.
There is a supermarket offering all main European consumers goods in each village.
Visiting the etosha national park in the dry period makes sense, as there are only a couple of waterholes left and the animals are more concentrated.
Experience level: 2-5 safaris
Our trip to Namibia
After visiting a few countries in Africa, I was wondering if Namibia could offer the tourist anything new, but after reading comments and seeing pictures in the internet; I realized how wrong I was. Later I spent time with a tour organizer, experienced in Namibia. He gave me a lot of information and together with a Namibian tour guide, prepared our ten days itinerary.
The tour was organized for four people, my wife, me, and a couple of friends, in the tour guide's well equipped VW van.
It was planned to July and we were really lucky, as it was not too hot and it did not rain at all. During the days it was quite warm, but the evenings were a bit chilly, needing a sweater or a light coat.
Our tour driver/guide named Phillip, besides being an excellent driver, is a local born person, who grew up there. He knows every tree, animal, road or dune, almost personally. He also owns a small farm and speaks fluent English, German and Afrikaans.
In many aspects, Namibia has a lot of unique things to offer, landscapes, tribes and an atmosphere, that can not be found elswhere, as I will describe later on. Namibia's population includes 6% white people, mostly of German origin, a small "baster" community of mixed "Afrikaaners" with women from "kikuyu Nama" tribe, and ten more native tribes who marry mostly within the tribe, while intermarriage is not common.
After arriving Windhoek in the evening, Phillip took us straight to the nice "Safari" hotel, where we spent the night before leaving early in the next day.
That day was dedicated to showing and explaining Namibia generally, and the area around Hammerstein, the landscape, the fauna and flora, the ranch system, the water sources, and hardly any agriculture.
In the late afternoon, we arrived at the Hammerstein lodge, where we could also watch a few wild animals behind a fence, including a pair of tame cheetahs, who let us caress them, without grabbing a leg or an arm. This lodge, was a really nice place to stay in. We were served with real hearty dinner and breakfast, as in some other lodges and hotels.
The next day, had to be a really long one, so we started very early. We went by the 'Tsauchab' that once was a river, lost in the dunes, then through the 'Sesriem' park, where we entered the 'Sossuvlie' reserve. This is a wide long valley, with huge sand dunes towering on both sides, a real breath taking view. Most dunes have a sharp twisting edge, therefore when the sun is low, the contrast between the lit area and the shaded area creates a very dramatic scenery. The sand color, changes between yellow to light orange, depending on the time of the day, and the content of iron oxide in it. The dunes estimated age, is about 5000 million years.
They are numbered from 1 to 49, and dune 45 is the only one allowed to climb on, which is a very hard task for normal people. Some of them have even names, and one of the greater ones is called: 'Big Daddy'. We drove to the western edge of the valley, to the 'Sossuvlei flat', and walked to the near 'Dead vlei', with its dramatic view of the dark dead tree trunks, on a flat, almost white sand surface. Then it was already time to start heading back. We took a short side trip, to look at the unique small and deep 'Sesriem' canyon, dug in the "Conglomerate" stone by a prehistoric river. From there we drove to the 'Namib Desert Lodge', situated near the 'petrified dunes' site.
These dunes are not moving by the wind. Millions of years ago, because of heavy rains and water lodging, the sand particles clamped together, and formed a kind of sandstone, colored brown red. More sand was drifted by the wind to cover them, therefore their tops are rounded.
The dune tops are a popular site to watch colorful sun sets. The lodge teem drives you to the top, and sets a table with refreshments, to make your time more enjoyable.
During the next days we met many animals, Oryxes, ostriches, springboks, zebras, jackals, and a bird named: Ruppill's Korhanes, found only in Namibia. We drove to 'Solitaire', an ex farm turned to a gas station, garage and an apple cake bakery. Then we continued north, along the 'Naukluft' reserve and entered a vast flat area, with many strange looking plants, named: 'Welvitchia Mirabilis'. The older one's age is estimated as 500 to 800 years and they exist as male and female plants. In the afternoon we arrived to 'Swakopmund' town, where most people are of German origin. We visited the local small museum, presenting stuffed local animals, old tools, local history, the tribes, and many artifacts.
Next morning we drove to 'Walvis Bay', a small township with a fishermen's port. There special boats take tourist for a sail in the neighborhood, to watch sea gals, pelicans, seal colonies, flamingoes and dolphins. We continued north to the 'Skeleton coast', to see the skeletons of grounded and abandoned ships, slowly rotting in the salty mist.
Then we continued to 'Hentieabaai', a small place making a living from local tourism that comes to stay a while, during December and January.
From there we turned north east on C35 road towards 'Uis' and 'Khorixas', a long drive through a flat wilderness. There we could see the highest mountain in Namibia, 'Mt. Brandberg', towering to 2573 meters, on our left. This region is 'Damaraland', where most of the 'Damara', considered as the poorest tribe, is living. 'Uis' used to be a small miners' town, until the zinc mine was closed. Vegetation is very scarce but one cactus like, huge plant named: 'Euphorbia Virosa', is growing there, in big numbers. It is a dangerously poisonous plant, that one should not ever touch its sap.
Many 'Herreru' tribe women moved to Damaraland because they realized that tourism is a source of income. They sew their clothes with hand operated sewing machines, and sell dolls and clothing to tourists driving by. They wear hats with hornlike edges, to show that they are married to a herdsman. Actually the Herreru and the Himba tribes, are from the same origin, but the Herrera have learnt and adopted many things from the whites, while the Himbas, prefer to stay away and continue their old traditional way of life.
After crossing the dry 'Aba-Huab' river, we arrived at the 'Bushmen rock engraving site', near 'Twifelfontain'. There one can watch dozens of animals engraved on the rocks, and admire the talent of the artists and the beauty of the animals there.
We spent the night in the 'Camp xaragu', which I have to describe as our disappointment. It was a tent camp without electric power to the tents, a poor hot water system and restaurant. From there we went to the 'petrified forest' site. There you can see thousands of broken big tree trunks, scattered around the site. They were buried in mud for millions of years, integrated slowly and different minerals replaced the wood, to form a stone tree trunk. (The "Petrified forest" national park in Arizona USA, is a similar site, but much larger and has many more huge petrified trees).
There we also saw two types of "The tree that never dies". It looks very dead indeed, but as rain comes it suddenly blooms.
'Khorixas', is the 'Damara county town, which includes a hospital, a boarding school and the local administration offices. There you can buy food and gas. We spent a pleasant evening and night, in the nice and cozy 'Gelbingen lodge', near the c35 and c40 junction. A 'Himba village is situated close, and we were very welcome to visit it. Of course we could not understand their language, but our interpreter enabled us to get answers to our questions and supply us with the knowledge about their habits, beliefs and way of living. It was a very impressive and educational visit. I do not intend to describe the Himba, and otheir culture and habits in detail, as these things can be widely found in all tour books.
In that region, we could see a rich wildlife, including giraffes, zebras, elephants, jackals, springboks, lions, ostriches, kudu, springbok herds, impalas, oryxes, wild dogs, wild donkeys, weavers and hornbills.
At this point I would take liberty to advise wildlife lovers and photographers. Unlike other safari countries like Kenya, where one can drive close to the animals roaming around, in Namibia, you are often limited to stay in the parking lots, near the water holes. This closeness, may be many dozen of meters, therefore good binoculars and long Zoom cameras, with image stabilizers or tripods. are essential gear.
We found the 'Etosha Safari Camp', as quite a nice place, and stayed there two nights, as next days were dedicated to 'Etosha national park', with its basin, and rich wildlife near the water holes.
In the "Etosha" reservation, we met a vast array of animals. Except those mentioned above, we saw warthogs, herds of wildebeest, impalas, a leopard, many birds such as Marabous, francolins, kori- busters, eagles, secretary birds and many other birds, that I can not name.
The water holes have names such as: 'Elephant bath', 'Moringa', 'Aus', or 'Rietfontain'. If you arrive at the right time, you can see many animals coming to drink, and often even a predator, trying to catch a meal. Near one water hole, we saw a group of giraffes, taking control over the water from impalas. Shortly afterwards, a herd of about fifty elephants, took complete control of the water hole. The other animals waited patiently for the elephants to finish and leave, but just as they started leaving a second herd arrived, and then a third herd came, drank, sprinkled themselves with water and left. Only then, could the other thirsty animals, return to the water.
It is a rare sight to see as many as fifty or more elephant together, and the reason is that in the absence of a river, or a lake, where they can separate; here they have to gather in one spot.
'Namutony', used to be the garrison fortress, for the German, and later English army, guarding the area. Today shops and restaurants are found between its inner walls, and stairs lead to the roof, where you can see a close waterhole.
In 'Hoba', we stopped to see the biggest meteorite ever found in the world. It is a huge chunk of iron, with diameter of about 5 meters. It is definitely a rare sight.
After world war one, Germany and England signed In 'Otavi' a treaty, handing Namibia over to England.
In the afternoon we arrived in 'Waterberg Lodge', and climbed the steep path, leading up to the top of the plateau rim. It is not an easy climb for the average elderly person, but it is certainly worth the effort. The vast view of the endless desert, from the plateau edge, is priceless. Just make sure to leave before dusk, as the way down in the dark, may be quite dangerous.
The drive south to Windhoek was long, and did not offer much to admire. In Windhoek, we drove through its suburbs, the rich neighborhoods, the poor slums in the outskirts, and the downtown. We spent the night in the formerly mentioned "Safari hotel", and in the early morning we left to the airport.
To conclude, it was a bit tiring, but a very interesting and educating trip. We now have a lot of memories to recall, and pictures to view again and again.
Email Betty v.Hoenning | 50-65 years of age
A Diamond Of Beauty and Culture - Land of The Cheetah.This is Namibia!
I went to Namibia after having dreamt about it for years...And I organized my journey by myself, choosing among so many offers...! I decided to split my holiday in two, and I took a month leave from my job. Going to Namibia means trying to dive into the culture and landscape for a while, trying to catch more than a short glimpse into this beautiful land....
That's what I did. I then chose my destination to do something valuable: care for the Cheetah, the most fragile and amazing predator, which is bound to extinction.
I was guided by a Namibian guide for 9 days, crossed rivers, mountains, arrived to Sossusvlei early in the mornig to see a balloon up above the desert...the colours of the Desert left a memory in my heart which I tried to fix on my camera, but you have to see it, to feel it to understand the beauty and measure the greatness of this country. Words cannot described it. After the Rainy Season, Nature is flourishing everywhere, with grass, flowers, colours and animals everywhere.
My experience was completed by a long stay as a volunteer at the Cheetah Conservation Fund. I then discovered how much you can do for the cheetahs to try to stop the extinction of this beautiful animal.
Since then, I work for CCF from Italy, to give my contribution to this Foundation...I try to go to Namibia every year since then. One day, I will perhaps stay in Namibia for a whole six months a year...to know the country better, its people, its problems...This is Namibia!
Betty von Hoenning, Milan, Italy
CCF Ambassador for Italy
The landscape is spectacular!
This is the only place on earth where I had chills in front of the stunning landscape.
20-35 years of age
one of the most fascinating place, it will make you fall in love and regret your desire to travel
wildlife wasn't very rich in aprile, but we saw a lots of zebras, kudu, giraffe, springbok, and many birds. and no lion no ghepard and no lepard.
scenery: very beautifull desert and skeleton coast, etosha, burn mountains, epupa falls is so so. windhoek is very small and just one day enough to visit.
weather in aprile doesn't perfect. in some areas it rained a lot(ex. waterberg, and etosha)
accommodation good: campsites are well equipped with hot water and electrical outlets.
food is good. (you can try all types of meat from zebra to crocodile)
transportation: Roads are often unpaved, you need 4x4, one tire more, and bensin reserve. before renting the car checked it for damage. the best thing: let a few tips, their will remember when you return.
be careful driving. Namibians are not very careful drivers often allow very risky moves.
Email Fabrizio Fenoglio | 35-50 years of age
Namibia: self drive tour
Visiting Namibia was a dream for me and my family for a lot of years and when last summer we decided to spend our holiday there we were all excited. I personally take care to plan our tour: my budget and my job allow me to stay unfortunately only for 17 days including transfer from Italy on the second half of August. I decided anyway to have a clockwise round of Namibia and I really recommend travelers to take the tour in this order because landscapes and wildlife became day after day more interesting.
Our was a self-driving tour: I booked on-line flights and we asked a local tour operator to rent a 4x4 pick-up and to book all lodges. We had no guide with us. Strong car is recommended because during our 7000km about 5000km were on unmade roads and there is always the risk to have a puncture on the way.
All lodges are very similar to each other in the services provided: breakfast, dinner and some excursions. The people of the lodge are usually very kind and are pleased to help you: one day we had a serious problem with our car that had an hole in the secondary fuel tank. We asked the car rental company to change the car and the lodge staff took care of everything!
Normally in the lodge the food is mainly based on meat of Oryx or Springbok and we really appreciate it.
In august the weather seems to be quite nice but with no clouds on the sky (a pity from the photography point of view): the temperature are affordable everywhere (the max temperature of 31° C was of course in Soussvlei/Deadvlei).
The east side of Nambia, from Windhoek to Fishriver, is not very interesting (with the exception of the Kokerboom forest and the Giant Playgrond): no animal or great landscape are facing you.
The thing will change in the south and west part of Namibia, where scenery and landscapes are the main subject (you can spot some wild horses, oryxes or springboks anyway): the Fishriver Canyon and the ghost town of Kolmanskop really require a visit.
After leaving Aus take the scenery route D707 instead of the main national road: you will face many great landscapes that are very different one to each other for colors and wildlife. Really recommended.
Then there are the awesome red dunes of Soussvlei and the Deadvlei: you have to be there early in the morning in order to enter when the gates open to see the dunes when the sun rise up providing an amazing orange color.
From Soussvlei to Swakopmund I really suggest to drive through the Moon Landscape, hopefully during the sunset: I never saw an incredible place like this one. The name is self explanatory. If you go there take some time to see the old plant Welwitschia Mirabilis.
In Swakopmund or in Walvis Bay there are a lot of activity to do: from boat trip to see seals or sea birds, runs with buggy on the dunes or flight trips (really recommended: Namibia from the above is dramatically different and amazing).
If you rest in the Twyfelfontein Lodge, take the chance to see the Himba village that is far one hour from the lodge (you cannot go by yourself, but you have to book the excursion at the lodge): here the Himba people are still living in the original way.
I had no time to visit the north part of Namibia, so I cannot provide any indication.
On the last days of our tour it was planned to visit the gorgeous Etosha National Park to see finally all the animals altogether in one place. It is possible to stay seat on a chair near the water pools waiting the animal or to have some self or guided safaris (you have to do it if you want to spot some lions). I suggest to have both and in particular to spent more time on the Okaukejo pool. Here it is possible to see: elephants, zebras, giraffes, rhinos, onyxes, springboks, etc.
As final suggestion I highly suggest the visit to the Cheetah Conservation Fund located 44km east from Otjiwarongo.
As a conclusion I can say that for Italian people this is an expensive tour but it really worth it: it is very difficult to see such gorgeous and awesome landscapes plenty of animals like in Namibia.
35-50 years of age
Namibia - beautiful, safe, packed with wildlife.
In October, 2010 my wife and I traveled through Namibia with Rockjumper Tours on a wildlife watching expedition. This was our first trip to Africa and everything, from seeing hundreds of new birds to close encounters with lions and elephants, was great. We highly recommend this destination, especially if you are considering a first trip to Africa. Our tour company (Rockjumper) was super professional and our guide (Markus Lilje) fantastic.
Some pictures from our trip are available here:
A full report on the expedition is here:
20-35 years of age
An incredible country, one of my favourite destinations in the world.
20-35 years of age
Harsh landscapes that represent the beauty of Africa with its endlessly vast plains.
Itinerary : Windhoek - Kalahari desert - Keetmanshoop - Fish river canyon - Lüderitz - Sossusvlei - Namib Naukluft - Swakopmund - Damaraland - Etosha - Okahandja - Windhoek.
We used to be a party of 25 people driving in a tour bus with one tour guide who also used to be the driver. Our guide told us a lot of the country and the people itself and did a great job. Considering the accommodations, Namibia is a country with a great price / quality ratio, similar to South Africa in fact and better as Kenya / Tanzania, countries we visited the year before. When it comes to landscapes, Namibia is a real treasure for the adventurer; endless landscapes in the middle of nowhere, beautiful colors (especially in the Namib desert) and harsh vast plains are just among a few things to highlight. Wildlife is great too, especially in the Etosha national park where we unfortunately just stayed one and a half day. We would recommend to go for a jeep with a private guide (as we did) and not to ride with the tour bus through the park as it is done by many tourists, ...this is no real safari feeling watching animals through windows in a sticky tour bus. By the way, the Etosha national park is well known for its bird watching possibilities. Besides Etosha, the Namib desert with Sossusvlei / Deadvlei (something not to miss) was our second highlight. The colors during sunrise / sundown are among the most beautiful things you can see, especially for photographers. Weather was great during our 2 week trip through Namibia (no rain in fact). Only two things we would change when returning again to Namibia : 1) Looking for a tour operator who travels in smaller groups, in fact 25 people per bus is above average and a bit too much. 2) Trying to expand the trip to the Zambezi Region who touches Botswana and is well known for its incredible wildlife.