User Reviews – Namibia
Wild, empty and beautiful country with wildlife to be seen in many areas.
We spent just over 3 weeks in Namibia travelling around in a SUV and staying in a variety of accomodations from top end lodges to campsites. We went in Jan/Feb 2011 and it was the wet season. The rains were heavier this year than normal so caused a few problems with driving around. A high clearance vehicle is recommended at this time of year as there are several rivers to cross. The days are warm, with occasional sharp showers.
We headed north from Windhoek and stayed at Aloe Grove safari lodge. We were the only guests and were treated to an individual safari experience with the owners family where we saw leopard, cheetah, lion and lots of various antelopes.
We next headed to the Cheetah conservation fund where we learnt a lot about the conflict between farmers and environmentalists.
Next spent 3 days at Etosha NP. There was a great variety of animals to be seen but no elephants at this time of year. Birdlife was good.
Headed to the Namib Naukluft NP where we went on a desert adventure with Tommy's tours. Great fun, educational trip where you get to see small desert creatures and drive over high dunes.
We went to the Fish river canyon and to Ai Ais thermal springs in the south of the country. Heading back to Windhoek we stopped at the quiver tree forest just outside Keetmanshoop. Here we had another cheetah experience which was great value as was included in the camping and entrance fee. The Hardap dam is another good place for spotting wildlife.
We only had one other trip - a walk around the Sossussvlei area - very remote and beautiful. In Feb 2011, they had a lot of rain so we saw the dunes with grass growing on them and flooding in the area making for a unique experience.
The scenery in Namibia is superb, the roads are empty and in most places are in good condition (most are gravel). It's a good idea to take plenty water, food and plan for delays. We booked very little in advance and just went with the flow. Nowhere we went disappointed.
Our favourite places would be Etosha, Spitzkoppe, Sossussvlei, the fish river canyon and lake Oanub. Food was excellent in Windhoek and Swakopmund and in the good lodges. Sometimes the choice was limited in other locations. All campsites come well equipped with BBQ, so we tended to cook ourselves when in remoter places.
Photos from our trip are posted on http://www.flickr.com/photos/racheldunsdon/ check out under Namibia and wildlife.
Email pjrinkel | 20-35 years of age
The wildlife was superb! The landscape and scenery as well.
Email Sallyrango | 50-65 years of age
Excellent wildlife, spectacular scenery, lots to do and see, interesting people.
We did a 2 week basic camping safari with a local company called Wilddog safaris. I would highly recommend this, as we covered long distances which would have been impossible if we had hired a car ourselves. We also stayed in deserted camp sites where we were on the only occupants. The only crowded campsite was in Etosha, but the proximity to a spectacular waterhole made it worthwhile staying there. The roads were largely unmade, and you can drive all day without seeing another car. It is very reassuring to have local guides and drivers. Our guides were excellent and cooked great food at camp in the evenings. We saw the dunes in the south, and went right down to Fish River Canyon, and then travelled North to Etosha, the Skeleton Coast and Damaraland. We also went out on a boat to see dolphins and penguins in Swakopmond. It was also privilege to meet the Himba tribe. We stayed on afterwards and had a few luxurious days at the Okonjima Lodge where the Africat Foundation is based. There we were able to see rescued leopards and cheetahs up close. Those three days cost nearly as much as the whole camping trip but it was well worth it.
Email Jan Travelingcrow | 50-65 years of age
The Sound of Silence of Amazing Namibia
It is hard to write a review about our (self-drive) roundtrip in Namabia without ending up in a copy of my >100 page diary, which I wrote during our visit. The first thing that comes to my mind is the absolute earshattering silence once you leave Windhoek. No planes, industry, traffic or other background noise. Then the breathtaking vast and wide landscape which changes by the hour in colour and scenery. Driving on the gravel-roads, once you leave the tarmac of the Trans African Highway is a joy. However I would recommend a 4x4 twincab (or similar) for comfort. The lodges, farms and tented camps were excellent and so where the meals. In some cases we even felt uncomfortable looking at how the local people live. That brings us to the local people of Namibia. Never have we encountered such friendly people, who are very much interested and eager to have a chat. Although it is a bit awkward in the beginning being the only whites in the crowd. Apart from getting used to that, we have never felt unsafe or not being welcome. We traveled in May-June which is just outside the high season. Advantage is that it is not crowded, not even in the main touristic areas. Disadvantage is that the wildlife is more shattered and more difficult to spot as water is still available and the grasses are rather high. But we saw more than enough to balance the scales. Where to go? Make your choice, it is beautiful everywhere. My personal highlight: sitting between two cheetahs on the grass and stroking their necks, while they were licking my bare legs. Advice is, do not travel more than 300 km per day and try to plan a longer stay at highlights as Etosha, Namib Rand and Namib Naukluft Park. A warning: Africa get under your skin! You will always want to come back.
50-65 years of age
The Africa you don't know about
While Etosha park in Namibia is one of the GREAT African parks for seeing the Big 5 animals (especially the black rhinos), and really a marvelous place to travel in, it is really the rest of the country that springs to mind when I think of Namibia. Desert, the Bushman people, giant red and white dunes, unearthly red rock mountains, breathtaking narrow roads through rocky hills. Where there is no water you will see amazing deserts that seem to go on forever. You will find more cheetahs in Namibia than anywhere else in Africa (although most are now in protected reserves). The Cape Fur Seal colony and the Sossusvlei are unlike anything else, anywhere. I toured Namibia with Intrepid Travel's partner Dragoman. I did a different African camping trip (also in 2010) with Intrepid Travel and their partner Bundu, and really I liked the Bundu experience better -- the food was much better, and both the trip leader and the driver were South Africans. On the Dragoman trip, the trip leaders were not from Africa, and their knowledge was really superficial. I would also point out that even for people in their 20's, sleeping in a tent for 3 weeks or more becomes less pleasant as time goes on (assuming you're not used to it). Two weeks is not bad at all, but 3 weeks requires endurance. So it you're looking into tent-camping trips in Namibia or elsewhere, you should look closely at who is going to be your guide or leader throughout the trip.
20-35 years of age
Abundant wildlife and feeling like civilization hasn't really hit this country yet are the two things that I love about Namibia and was glad I was able to spend a part of my life (7 months) living in Opuwo. Go to Opuwo.
We have visited many African countries but Namibia is the most elemental - the deserts and dunes are just stunning.
35-50 years of age
Unexpected, unusual, unbelievable, unforgetable
I had no preconceptions about Namibia - I'd always been interested in the sand and the desert elephants and Skeleton coast and i thought I'd visit this place called Etosha but having been to Kruger just a month beforehand I expected little - especially as it was salt flats and not what I considered t be 'bushland'. What did i know? How wrong was I?! Etosha was incredible. We sat in the car just yards from lions for an hour. We saw hundreds of zebra. There were hyena and ostrich and warthogs and rhino and just about everything you wanted to see. In just two or three days we'd seen hundreds of animals in a very relaxed atmosphere - very little traffic on Etosha's 'roads' (it's basic but it's great for that reason). Outside the park though we saw giraffe 'wild' just wandering about the desert. Sadly we never found the desert elephants but the Skeleton Coast had huge seal colonies (man, they smell!) and the vast sand dunes of Sossuvlei are just unreal - I paid $100 for a sunset flight in a small plane and it was totally unforgetable. Namibia isn't as polished as some locations but that's its appeal for me. Just a stunning and unruined country.