User Reviews – Namibia
Email Emiel de Lange | under20 years of age | Experience level: over 5 safaris
A Harsh Paradise
I have visited Namibia multiple times, most recently for a duration of 4 months. I am certain to return. Its many sensations and moods often return to my thoughts accompanied by a certain happy nostalgia. Namibia is an impressive country, raw and wild; it rewards further exploration but is also immediately beautiful. If you are anything like me, you may find yourself with a new look on life, certainly if this is your first visit to Africa.
Certainly if this is your visit to Africa, there is no better destination. In Namibia you have vast wildlife, fascinating culture, beautiful landscapes; from lush wetlands to parched deserts, and unlimited adventure. Importantly it is very safe, crime is low and the politics are stable, the infrastructure is remarkably good and everything is well run. Tourism is well established in most areas and is a vital part of the economy, but at the same time it is geared towards low volume-high revenue, meaning you are unlikely to see crowds.
Most visitors to Namibia follow the same circular route, clockwise or anti-clockwise. This route typically takes two to three weeks and covers a lot of the incredible must-see sights and areas and can be done in a rented 2WD drive car. I can not emphasise enough how beautiful and varied this country is; there is far too much to cover in three weeks, but this standard route is perfect in that it pays sufficient attention to the highlights and still allows a great sense of adventure though Im sure one would always wish it had been longer.
To summarise, the main places visited on this circuit:
The Namib desert, which is a unique ecosystem of endless shifting sand dunes and mountains. There is plenty opportunity for walking and to drive along the long gravel roads is awesome. One of the most astonishing natural features on earth is the Sossusvlei and the Deadvlei. The former is a green oasis among the dunes, and nearby the latter is a photographers dream: a clay pan dotted with dead trees.
Swakopmund, a quaint germanic seaside town surrounded by sandy flats. A tourist hub from where it is possible to go on many excursions to interesting birding sites, seal colonies or adventuring in the desert.
Damaraland, a beautifully arid region dotted with rocky hills and villages. It is possible to track down here the famous desert-adapted elephants and there is a large population of free-roaming black rhino. Amidst the other wildlife and still subsisting are the Damara people who graze their cattle. Twyfelfontein is Namibia's only world heritage site (so far), an ancient rock art site.
Etosha, the most famous national park offering the 'classic' safari experience in a rather unique setting. It is dominated by a vast clay pan, the southern edge of which is scattered with waterholes. Particularly in the dry season you will see vast herds of animals waiting to drink as predators such as Lions block their paths. Ive seen incredible amounts of lions here and Rhinos are almost guaranteed at the Okaukuejo waterhole.
A lot of people also visit a reserve called Okonjima. This is the home of the Africat foundation which works to conserve Cheetahs and Leopards. You will almost certainly see these two cats if not truly 'wild'. Ive recently decided no longer to recommend this place due to various ethical issues I became aware of during a volunteering stint.
There are countless other things to see and visit, but I will also summarise here the kost significant regions:
Kaokoland, a large desert area inhabited by the nomadic Himba people. Incredibly remote and rugged, wild, it shouldnt be attempted by unexperienced 4x4ers and certainly not solo. Expect to find vast sandy valleys lightly grassed and not another soul for miles.
Caprivi, a small region crossed by many rivers and characterised by swamps and forests. It is densely populated by a variety of peoples living in a largely traditional manner, but still wild and untamed and there is a large population of Elephants.
Kalahari, a vast semi-desert with sparse but interesting wildlife. Large portions are monotonous and uninteresting but some areas are fascinating. The Khaudum park has much wildlife and is remote and bushmen in the area can demonstrate their skills and way of life.
Fish River Canyon, the world's second largest canyon. Breathtaking and challenging hiking.
Finally, a very small place which I feel deserves more attention is the Mundulea reserve. This is a reserve being restored to its natural potential, and effectively conserves a great deal of endangered species. Visitors here will be received exclusively and be given fascinating lessons about the local nature.
It is easily possible to reach the vast majority of these places in a normal car, and once there tourists of all kinds are catered for. One can have great luxury with expert guides and astonishing views from your room, or one can experience the wild rhythms first hand while camping - of course intermediates are also possible.
Namibia is a truly beautiful country with great variety of things to see and do. It is easy to travel here and there are many options available for accommodation. I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone.
Email bianca | 35-50 years of age
Ancient Deserts and Burning Mountains
I've heard it told that in Namibia, the skeleton of the Earth has been laid bare. And certainly I've never been anywhere the underlying geology is so vividly displayed as here. From the red sand dunes of Sossusvlei, to the great white salt pan of Etosha, and from the desolate, windswept diamond fields of Tsau //Khaeb, to the granite outcrop of the Spitzkoppe, this is truly a land of striking contrasts!
The wildlife is fascinating too. Beetles that do a headstand to catch droplets of water condensing on their backs, snakes that dance across the sand dunes, mysterious elephants that wander through the desert, stately giraffes doing yoga in order to get a drink of water and elegant oryx, marching across the plains are just some of the animals that Namibia has to offer. The birdlife, particularly in the north, is gorgeous too.
Long dusty roads and a blazing sun burning out of the clearest blue sky imaginable give your soul space to roam. And it's all kept together by the smiling faces of friendly Namibians.
Namibia is a unique destination that has so much to offer!
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.
Email Manami | 50-65 years of age | Experience level: 2-5 safaris
The safari in Namibia is absolute one of the best choices in Africa!
I attended 10-day camping safari conducted by Wild Dog Safari with my husband in the middle of April 2017, which was just before the peak season. Weather was generally good, good sunshine in daytime and a bit cooler in evening. So good for tourist as we just needed light clothes(short sleeves with light jacket).
What I impressed firstly was the special safari truck which is remodelled the 4t truck for camping use. All camping equipment such as tents, cooking equipment, tables & chairs are well packed. Basically the camping life is to look around safari or sightseeing spots by the truck, park camping site, put tents, spend overnight, shut down tents, then move to another location. It was a bit busy, but we could have short rests during driving in the truck, which is one of the advantages to join such a group tour.
As for transportation, Namibia's main roads are mostly asphalt paved (though we passed some rattled roads), it was quite OK even for senior people, over 60 years old. Every two hours, we had a short break for washroom. If there are no proper facilities, we sometimes used bush washroom :)
During these 10 days, we visited the most of major spots. Namibia, not like other African countries, has varieties of beautiful sceneries such as desert, coast, rocky mountain and bush. Especially I was so impressed by the beauty of Namib desert, its colour and scale. We had also some joyful activities. Quad bike and Camel riding in Namib desert, chatting and playing with Himba tribe children and women.
In the middle of 10 days, we lodged at the hotel for 2 nights, that gave us a break to sleep in bed, time for washing clothes and eating in restaurants as all meals during camping are cooked by the camping staff. It was also good for the camping staff to have a rest to survive the rest of camping days.
Our tour main guide and the assistant were wonderful and friendly. All the time, they gave us the sufficient information and lovely chatting. For me or may all tourists, they are almost representative of Namibian as there was less opportunities to talk with local people during the camping tour. It was also benefit to have interactions with the camping tour mates from different countries, then expand network around the world.
The grand tour of Namibia
The tour Nature Travel Namibia put together for us was undoubtedly one of the best touring holidays we have ever had, helped no end by the fact that I wasnt doing any driving!
Namibia is a fascinating country of so many contrasts, and stunning scenery. Having lived in South Africa for many years, and understanding weather and drought conditions, it was wonderful to see the country looking so green and lush, and even a river or two with water in them! We also understood why there was so remarkably little game to be seen in the Etosha. (A first time visitor wanting to see game would have been very disappointed) But we also knew when we booked it was not the prime time of year to be coming. I was not convinced about doing the 'Living Desert Tour' but it was the most fascinating and informative morning!
Jakes was in all respects a marvellous guide, safe driver, and so attentive and considerate of all our needs before we even realised we had any. He is passionate about the country, and with his farming background, so knowledgeable and interested in all aspects of ecology, flora and fauna. He is a very interesting dinner conversationalist; we tend to have an insatiable curiosity about countries we visit, not just what we are looking at, but also about the people and their thoughts, politics and attitudes and history.
He is also obviously a very popular guide and visitor to all the lodges we stayed in, Always a great welcome on our arrival, all the staff know him and would go out of their way to do anything for him and for us.
The Belvedere was in all respects far more comfortable than the Hilton, and as we joined up with another guest, we had a most amusing evening at the 'Stellenbosch Wine Bar and Restaurant'
All the other hotels and lodges were excellent, rooms comfortable, food good and all situated in amazing environments.
Email reggief340 | 35-50 years of age
From the Etosha in the north to the dunes in the south and from the Kalahari in the east to the skeleton coast in the west I found this to be an amazing country with great friendly people and so many experiences
Email Andrew Thompson | 35-50 years of age | Experience level: first safari
A great variety of habitats, and wildlife (both birding and game viewing) which far exceeded my expectations.
Email Saleha Ullah | 35-50 years of age | Experience level: first safari
Namibia is a country with amazing wildlife and so much more. I was surprised at the abundance of wild animals we saw in Etosha, but also saw other wildlife along our journey travelling across the country. The country has so much to offer in addition to its wildlife, including some of the highest sand dunes in the world, traditional tribes and hiking opportunites.
Email ronmcbride66 | 65+ years of age | Experience level: 2-5 safaris
The country is vast and sparsely populated. It is SAFE. The road system is good. The country has an amazing diversity with vast sand dunes, coastal experiences along the Skeleton Coast, beautiful mountains and Etosha. Accommodation ranges from camping, guest farms and lodges, some of which are really top-of-the-range: one at Doro Nawas, may have 7 light aircraft on its airstrip. Trips thus can be self-drive or fly-in ... or a personal guide can drive visitors around. The experience is breath-taking. The urban centres of Windhoek and Swakopmund are interesting with a pleasant ambience.
Email Ben | 20-35 years of age | Experience level: first safari
Namibia - 3 Day Desert Safari
We did the 3 day desert Safari. Had a fantastic time - this is certainly an experience not to miss. The guides were very knowledgeable and helpful. The food was good. As someone who hates camping, I found this part of the trip tolerable. Shower block was clean.