User Reviews – Namibia

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Namibia has a desolate beauty - a land of windswept sand, wild ocean, and vast rocky canyons.
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Namibia is such a unique travel experience! Remote outposts house delightful German bakeries. Desert wastes hide elusive elephant herds. Cape fur seals birth pups in a cacophony of noise and stench and life. The vast white pans of Etosha in contrast with lush wetlands of the Zambezi Region offer stunning wildlife encounters.

Community based tourism is flourishing here. Local groups are represented in management decisions, and profit directly from tourism income. There are well-appointed local camps and cultural tours throughout the country. These offer an intimate look at local habitat as well as traditional cultures, rituals and wisdom.

All the convenience of South Africa without the crowds
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Namibia is a great destination for either an organised safari or a self-drive holiday. The roads and infrastructure are nearly as good as in South Africa, and everything is just as reasonably priced. Wildlife is just as good as South Africa, with all the big five represented.
Etosha is probably the most famous park in Namibia, and is where most visitors head. However, there are other good parks for wildlife viewing. I like Waterberg Plateau. It is ideally located between Windhoek and Etosha and has a resort feel with a nice pool and good self-catering rooms. Great for unwinding if you don't fancy a trip to the nice seaside town of Swakopmund. The seal colony at Cape Cross north of Luderitz is a nice little side trip.
Overall, Namibia is well worth a visit if you're into your wildlife. I like the fact that you can drive the main roads and spot unfenced wildlife all over the place. You don't have to visit the parks to see beasts.

German beer, sandy scenes, blue skies
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Our first night in Namibia was spent in the coolest campsite in Ngepi. OK, it had a swimming cage, so you didn’t get eaten by Hippos or crocs but the bathrooms were something else. All individually designed and to a theme – such as a throne that overlooks the river – very bizarre. From there,we headed straight to Etosha National Park. We spent three nights here in a couple of different (very comfortable) campsites – actually they were really resorts with campsites tagged onto them. Etosha is a lovely place, with loads of different wildlife. We were there though just after some heavy rain so the animals didn’t need to venture to the waterholes as they could get water elsewhere – The National Park had made a number of waterholes, with each resort having its own next to a viewing platform. On the last day in the park we decided to get up early and sit at the waterhole for a couple of hours. There wasn’t loads of activity compared to what we had been used to but it was really interesting to spend a decent amount of time watching the animals interacting – their social characteristics etc. I also managed to get a really good photo of a pair of young kudu interlocking horns, but unfortunately we have since lost the camera and Gem had gone back to bed so cannot verify that!!
The next morning we got up early (again) to make our way to Swakopmund, stopping off at cape cross to see a seal colony – thousands upon thousands of very smelly seals on a rock. Increasingly the terrain looked more desert-like as we approached Swakopmund. Now this town is very odd. It is a kind of german-themed seaside resort, at the end of the desert. Namibia is a former German colony (or at least West Africa was) so it is still populated by German holiday makers, german speaking black-africans, beer-halls and bakeries.
We left Swokopmund (reluctantly got on the truck as it was nice to have a few days ‘off’) early and had a long days driving through the Namib desert – we stopped for lunch at a funny little place called Solitaire. It was in the middle of absolutely nowhere and it looked like a town from the wild west – we had lovely apple pie there though!
Later in the afternoon we met a guide who took us (in the back of the smallest pick up in the world) to the dunes. We walked to Deadvlei which was the ‘dead’ part of the dunes that the river no longer flowed to. It was amazing and quite eerie (especially with the rain coming in). The guide was hilarious and kept on giving us lectures on how to be good wives! He was a good dancer though!

Diverse, absolutely incredible, and a very differnet safari destination
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Having already enjoyed safaris in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and South Africa, we were looking forward to a different experience in Namibia, and we certainly weren’t disappointed.

Just like South Africa, it’s easy to do a self-drive trip in Namibia. The roads are good, there isn’t a lot of traffic, and the parks are relatively quiet in comparison to some of the other countries we had visited. We travelled in January, the ‘rainy season’, which meant even fewer visitors, quiet campsites, and some fantastic experiences. In hindsight, perhaps a bushcamper would have provided a little more comfort during some of the storms, rather than our Toyota Hi-Lux with rooftop tent, but did we regret it ? Not one bit !

We had some incredible experiences in Etosha National Park, coming close to cheetah, lion, and the most spectacular sight, a Leopard stalking a Kudu within a few feet of us. It was just us, there was no one else around, and there she was right at the side of the road, we sat with her for over half an hour, but in the end, she knew that the terrain wasn’t right and walked right past us.

But it wasn’t just big game, out on the Skeleton Coast at Cape Cross we saw thousands upon thousands of eared seals, some just born, huddled at the waters edge, and basking in the sunshine. The smell was overpowering, but after a while, we didn’t seem to notice. We left the seals and drove along the coast passing shipwrecks along the way to the famous dunes of Swakopmund.

From here it was another journey further south to the even bigger dunes of Sosssusvlei. Our trusty 4x4 was a significant advantage here, there was no need to take a shuttle to the furthest dunes, we could drive ourselves and enjoy a picnic under the ancient trees.

Namibia is a diverse and beautiful country, the oldest sand dunes in the world, the Atlantic Ocean, national parks, and the Big 5 game, all combine to make this a great place to do a self-drive safari.

A Diamond Of Beauty and Culture - Land of The Cheetah.This is Namibia!
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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 know the country better, its people, its problems...This is Namibia!
Betty von Hoenning, Milan, Italy
CCF Ambassador for Italy

Namibia: self drive tour
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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.

Wild, empty and beautiful country with wildlife to be seen in many areas.
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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 check out under Namibia and wildlife.

Excellent wildlife, spectacular scenery, lots to do and see, interesting people.
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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.

The Africa you don't know about
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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.

Unexpected, unusual, unbelievable, unforgetable
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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.

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  • 4.7/5
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