Best places in Namibia

Sossusvlei. Namibia. Photo: Pedro Sagüés

Best places in Namibia

December 31, 2010  |  Africa
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I will get straight to the point: Namibia is the country in Africa I would recommend the most. I’ll explain why:

This article is part of my previous one: “Best Safaris in Africa“. Namibia is a young and stable country located in southern Africa that I had the change of visiting in 2003, after several trips to Africa. The thing that impressed me most was its variety of landscapes: savage seascapes, lonely deserts, rough mountains, impressive wildlife, colonial cities and an amazing ethnic mix of people. Perfect for honeymooners, adventurers, anthropologists, or photographers… In my opinion, the best places to visit in Namibia are:

Best places in Namibia

Etosha National Park: The safari experience

Although Etosha is not, in my opinion, in the top 5 best National Parks in Africa, it is an excellent choice for enjoying African wildlife. Known for its vast shallow pan, which was once a huge lake and now is usually dry, but fills with water briefly in the summer, when it attracts pelicans and flamingos in particular. In Etosha you can see almost everything: from black rhinos to lions, elephants, impalas and all sorts of birds and reptiles. Etosha has also dozens of waterholes. During the dry season they become an excellent spot to watch game. The best game-viewing time is during the coolest dry months of May to September, but bird watching is at its peak in the rainy season from November to March. As this is a National Park, no off-road or night driving is allowed. For more info, visit Game Reserve website
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Damaraland: The desert elephants experience

Located in the northwest, Damaraland is one of the most scenic areas in Namibia: Amazing, arid, unforgiving and dramatic. In fact, attractions near this area are named “Burnt Mountain”, the “Petrified Forest”, the “Skeleton Coast”. I stayed in an absolutely stunning hotel called Mowani, located in the middle of a rocky desert. During the day I did the best game drive of my life: we tracked down a herd of desert elephants for nine hours (they had special characteristics to adapt themselves to such rough conditions) until we finally found them. Back in the hotel we celebrated our find in the relaxing natural rock pool and with a cocktail while we watched the sunset. This place is definitely one of the highlights of my life and a place for honeymooners. A short distance from the hotel you will find Twyfelfontein, a massive open-air art gallery carved into red rock by ancient Bushmen overlooking an expansive valley below.
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Kaokoland: The Himba experience

Really close to Damaraland you wild find Kaokoland. The most represented ethnic group are the Himbas: a tall and svelt people that rub their bodies with red ochre and butter fat to protect their skins against the climate. These friendly people are herdsmen, breeding mainly cattle and goats while leading a semi-nomadic life. For them, clothes, hair and jewelry hold a special meaning and form an important part of their tradition and culture. Due to the uncontrolled influx of tourists, the Himba’s lifestyle and culture have become increasingly endangered.
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Skeleton Coast by plane: The best sightseeing ever?

on our way from Kaokoland to Walvis Bay we flew over the Skeleton Coast. So-called because of the many shipwrecks that have littered the beaches over the years. Because of the enormity of the area and harshness of the landscape, the best way to experience it is by plane. Flying at sea-level you’ll cross ancient rock formations, wide open plains dotted with zebra and oryx and look down on ghostly shipwrecks buried in the sand dunes where the desert meets the sea. This place is a dream for photographers.
Click on images to enlarge

Swakopmund and Walvis Bay: adventure in the desert

Swakopmund is Namibia’s playground, a holiday destination for tourists and locals alike looking to escape the heat of the interior and to have a little adventure. The real action happens in the desert surrounding: quad-biking through the sand sea, sand-boarding slide down the dunes, exciting 4WD drives, parachute jumps or live out your “Lawrence of Arabia” fantasies on a camel safari… At Walvis Bay you can join a dolphin and whales cruise.
Click on images to enlarge

Sossusvlei: the tallest sand dunes in the world

Namibia’s most outstanding scenic attraction. These dunes, part of the Namib Desert, have developed over a period of many millions of years. Climbing up one of these dunes provides breathtaking views of the whole area. The best time to view Sossusvlei is close to sunrise and sunset when the dunes refract spectacular colors. It’s a photographer’s dream!
Click on images to enlarge

Photo credits: Pedro Sagüés
Fot further info: Namibia, Namibia Tourism, Lonely Planet

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