With a population of more than 400,000 people, Windhoek is the capital city of Namibia. It is right in the middle of the country, nestled between the Eros Mountains in the north, the Auas Mountains to the south and the Khomas Highlands to the west. It is well worth a visit before or after your journey.
The city is rich in heritage and historical buildings to explore with races of earlier German colonial times, are prevalent throughout. Places of interest to add to your list:
- The Chirstus Kirche
- Katatura Township
- Heroes’ Acre
- Independence Memorial Museum
The city offers a wide variety of restaurants ranging from trendy and cosmopolitan to typical German or authentic Namibian cuisine.
The Kalahari Basin stretches across Namibia, South Africa, Botswana and even as far as Angola, with an area of 2.5 million Km2. In Namibia, this region is characterized by long red dune landscapes running in parallel rows.
Believe it or not, this desert receives above average rainfall and is rich in wildlife and plants. Some areas are home to big cats like leopard, cheetah and lion. Smaller cats such as caracal, African wild cat and black-footed cat have also been spotted in the area. The San Bushmen, inhabit this land and have discovered more than 1000 types of plants. They are proud to share with visitors, their culture and lifestyle.
Visit the Mesosaurus Fossil site an ancient lake and a geological wander of nature. In the Kalahari, you will find more than 5000 specimen of Quiver Trees and a visit to the (Kokerboom) Forest (Valley) is well worth it.
The Fish River canyon, situated along the lower reaches of the Fish River, is one of the most impressive natural beauties in the southern part of Namibia. With a depth of up to 550 metres, the Fish River Canyon is the second largest canyon in the world and the largest in Africa. The enormous gorge meanders along a distance of approximately 160 kilometres through the fissured Koubis massif all the way down to the Ai-Ais hot springs.
The Egyptian Goose, Jackal Buzzards and the African Fish Eagle are but some of the many birds observed in this area.
Adventures seekers will love this challenging hike which takes between 3 to 5 days.
4x4 and helicopter flips are available in the area for those who would like to admire the gorge from a slightly different perspective.
Without a doubt, one of the most spectacular landscapes to see in Namibia. Some of the world’s highest dunes can be found in this area and covers a great expanse of almost 500 square kilometres of the mighty Namib Desert, considered to be one of the oldest deserts by many geologists.
Situated 45 km from the Sesriem gate, Dune 45 is one of the most photographed dunes and sports a peculiar shape.
Big Daddy is the highest dune in this area and measures an incredible 325m. Climbing to the top is not for the faint hearted but oh so rewarding. From the top, you can enjoy the panoramas of the surrounding dunes but most importantly the view into the Dead Vlei.
Deadvlei; The word, directly translated into English, means ‘Dead Marsh’. What was once a wetland with its source of water flowing from the Tsauchab River, is now a dry clay pan. The trees which once sprouted were frozen in time after a drought struck the area. According to statistics, they are said to be more than 900 years old.
Sesriem Canyon is testament to the once abundant waters flowing in the area. The canyon stretches 1 kilometre long and is between 1 and 3 metres wide. The deepest point measures and incredible 30 metres. With its exposed rock formations and unique vegetation it is more than just the gateway to Sossusvlei. If you’re visiting in the rainy season, you might even be able to enjoy a splash in the rock pools.
This is where the desert meets the ocean. Namibia’s coastline is known for its dramatic changes in scenery. Situated along the Atlantic Ocean, Swakopmund and Walvis Bay both offer a refreshing stop when exploring Namibia.
Swakopmund is rich in history and the nuances of old colonial times continue to resonate in this little coastal town. A beautiful marriage of old and modern while the roots of authentic Namibia is prevalent with every encounter. This charming town can easily be explored by bicycle. Museums, art and cultural galleries and a variety of restaurants feature are there for you to explore.
Walvis Bay is home to one of Namibia’s largest ports but is more than just a little a harbour town. An easy 30km drive from Swakopmund with spectacular dune and ocean views along the way, takes you to one of the most important wetlands, a birder’s paradise, in Southern Africa.
Together, these 2 towns form an exciting hub of adventure.
Places of interest and activities to explore:
Dolphin and seal boat cruises
Action packed 4x4 off road excursion to Sandwich Harbour
Quad bike and sandboarding adventures in the dunes.
Kayak, sailing, and windsurfing on the lagoon
Finally, skydiving for the adrenalin junkies.
With shipwrecks and whale remains scattered across the land, it comes as no surprise that the area is referred to as ‘The Land God Made in Anger’ by the Bushmen, and ‘The Gates of Hell’ by Portuguese sailors.
The first to make it through the harsh conditions and discover Cape Cross, was Portuguese explorer Diogo Cão (1486). He erected the first stone cross (padrão) in honour of King João II of Portugal. It was the tradition of the Portuguese to build a cross wherever they landed. These crosses have various functions: a symbol of Christianity, documentation of the rights of possession and landmark for passing ships.
Skeleton Coast is a heavily protected conservation area which requires a permit for entry and as a result, it continues to be one of the most unexplored parks in Namibia. Despite its name, a variety of wildlife can be found. An important migration route, desert-adapted elephant, black rhino and lion are known to roam the dry river course.
Cape Cross is a sanctuary for the world’s largest seal colony and well worth the visit.
This area is filled with drama and mystery. Barren and isolated, there are countless secrets to unravel and discover. Some people say, it is here they may have even discovered themselves. Enjoy the peace and tranquillity and a journey of discovery.
The Petrified Forest perfectly describes the phenomenon of tree trunks that have ‘turned to stone’. They are believed to be more than 280 million years old. Also, in this area, are the living fossils, Welwitschia Mirabilis plants which date back to the 1500 years ago.
The Burnt Mountain is a National Monument of Namibia and one of the significant results of the separation between South America and Africa.
Not too far from the Burnt Mountain the so-called Organ Pipes can be found. Caused by the intrusion of liquid lava into a slate rock formation. These rock formations were formed about 150 million years ago.
A hiking trail no to be missed is the discovery of ancient rock paintings. Twyfelfontein is home to one of the largest concentrations of petroglyphs in Africa and it is declared a Unesco World Heritage site.
The simplicity of the area allows for authentic cultural interactions with the Himba tribe who call this area home.
Known as one of the largest game parks in Africa, Etosha lies in the north of Namibia and covers an area of 22 270km². The park is home to a large diversity of animals including most of the Big 5. Significant about the park is the Etosha Pan, a depression of land which came to existence due to forces of nature. The pan covers an area of some 4 590km² of the park and is even visible from space.
The word "Etosha" is translated from the Oshidonga word, which means huge white area. In the hot summer months, this stark land and its sharp contrasts, is a spectacular sight to see. Even more so as it attracts flocks of nearly 150 mammal species found in the park, including several rare and endangered animals such as the Black Rhino, Black-faced Impala, Tssesebe and Gemsbok.
Winding rivers and shimmering waters as the sun sets is a sight for sore eyes. Undeniably the Caprivi strip has countless magical moments to discover. A narrow strip of land in the far northeast of Namibia, about 400 kilometres long. This is where 4 countries, Botswana, Zambia, Angola and Zimbabwe come together in a spectacular showcase of wildlife, landscapes and lush vegetation.
4x4 Safaris, boat cruises, tiger fishing and hiking are but some of the activities to enjoy in this area.
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