Namibia is a country of compelling beauty, abundant sunshine, and a feeling of confined space. With its unspoilt landscapes and large variety of game, Namibia is one of the larger countries in Africa and draws an increasing number of visitors from various part so the globe
A sense of freedom is generated by the wide horizons, the clear unpollutted skies and a population density which is among the lowest in the world. This feeling of tranquility and stillness combines with a landscape which is singular in its colors, full of contrasts of light an shade. In addition, the diversity of its people creates a rich blend of cultures and traditions.
Namibia is known for its contrasting landscapes. There is the brooding, desolate Namib Desert, said to be the oldest in the world, with its high dunes and awe-inspiring sense of space. The central plateau, with its thronbush savanna and rugged mountains, rising abruptly from the plains, gives way to the majestic Fish River Canyon in the south. In the north the country, landscapes range from dense bush and open plains of the great Etosha Pan, to woodland savanna and lush riverine vegetation. Dinosaur footprints preserved in the sandstone, prehistoric rock art, and the ancient fossil plant, Welwitschia mirabillis, bear witness to the eons past in this- “the ageless land”.
All these facets combine in a country which can justifiably be called ‘Africa’s Gem’.
Namibia is the first country in the world to include protection of the environment and sustainable utilization of wildlife in its constitution. About 15.5% of the country has been set aside as national parks. In these areas, rare and endangered species of animals, birds and plant life are preserved and protected. They serve as a living reminder to us all, and to the generations of the future, of how it once was in Africa.
Most of the African game species are well represented in Namibia, with the largest concentration of game in Etosha National Park, which is firmly entrenched on the world map of international parks. Etosha provides memorable experiences. A waterhole at dawn with a medley of giraffe, zebra, rhino, graceful antelopes and a solitary hyena is like a finely etched painting of African wildlife.
Wilderness and modern amenities co-exist happily in this land of vivid contrasts. Visitors to Namibia can see the country by means of comfortable coach tours, fly-in safaris, self-drive tours, or guided tours tailored to suit individual needs.
For the more adventurous, there are wilderness safaris and hiking trails.
A large number of comfortable guest farms are found all over the country, where guests share the table with their hosts, and you are assured of personal attention, typical Namibian hospitality, and its people. Privately owned games ranches offer controlled, professional services to trophy and meat hunters. Photographic safaris can also be arranged.
In Namibia, not only hotels, but all other accommodation establishments including rest camps, caravan parks, private hotels, guest farms and safaris companies, are graded according to the services offered. Regular inspections to ensure that each establishment complies with expected standards are carried out by official from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism.
The Central Region is dominated by Namibia’s capital, Windhoek, a mall bustling city with an estimated population of 280 000 (based on the 2001 census). Situated in an airy basin in the central highlands, Windhoek is surrounded by the Auas Mountains to the south east, the Eros Mountains to the north east and the Khomas Hochland to the west.
There are several recreation resorts and guest farms close enough to Windhoek for day and weekend excursions. These include the Daan Viljoen Game park, Gross-Barmen Hot Springs Resort, Von Bach Recreation Resort 65 km to the north of B1 to Okahandja and a popular venue for aquatic sports and fresh water angling enthusiast, and the Reho Spa Recreation Resort in Rehoboth, 90 km on the B1 south of the city.
Guest farms close enough to Windhoek to offer visitors short on time the opportunity to gain a “bush experience” in the space of a day or two include Okapuka Ranch, 30 km to the north; Midgard Guest Farm, a hour’s drive to the north east; and Elisenheim Guest Farm in the Eros Mountains 15km north of /Windhoek. For 4 x 4 enthusiast the Okahandja 4×4 Route, starts our 30 km north of Windhoek.
Southern Region spans two famous deserts – the Kalahari in the east and the Namib in the west – with rugged, mountainous terrain in between, This arid region of colorful sands and sunsets has a close to the soul charm, as the traveler along the back roads will experience when driving pas locals going about their business in donkey carts, the landscape punctuated by the odd windmill pumping water into concrete or corrugated iron reservoirs.
The main agricultural activity in the south is karakul farming, an industry that developed rapidly farming, an industry that developed rapidly after the first karakul sheep were brought to Namibia from Central Asia in 1907. Today karakul pelts, known as Swakara, are fashioned into high-quality garments by international and local furriers, and the durable karakul wool is used for weaving carpets with unusual designs and color combinations. Ostrich farming, for which the south is highly suitable, has expanded tremendously in recent years.
Because of the rugged terrain and pristine beauty of the grassy plains and mountainous areas, the south is sought after by 4×4 enthusiast.
Main Tourist Attractions in the southern region included the Soussusvlei, with its monumental dunes. The Sesriem Canyon, were centuries of erosion have incised a narrow gorge about 1 km in length. The Fish River Canyon, one of Namibia’s most spectacular geological phenomena and on the African continent, second in size only to the Blue Nile Gorge in Ethiopia. Hardap Recreation Resort is one of Namibia’s oldest and most extensive rest camps. Duwisib Castle built by the legendary Baron von Wolf for his American wife, Jayta, the castle was completed in 1909. There are more attraction in Lüdertiz and surrounding areas which include beaches, bays and birds including the Lüdertiz Waterfront. In Keetmanshop we find the Eagle’s Monument in the Garden of Remembrance, Brukkaros Mountain, Quiver Tree Forest & Giant’s playground.
The definitive feature of this region, the Namib Desert, is knonwn for the unusual beauty of its landscape, which changes from expansive gravel plains to vast dune seas, rugged canyons with towering walls of volcanic rock and distant mountain ranges. The Namib Region consists of the coastal desert between the Kunene River and Sandwich Harbor, the adjoining Kunene and Erongo regions and the northern section of the Namib-Naukluft Park.
The coast and its hinterland afford many opportunities or sport, angling and other recreational activities. Accommodation ranges from tented camps, desert lodges and seaside rest camps, to comfortable pensions and luxury hotels. Annual highlights at the cost are the yacht race and regatta for wind-surfers, coastal adventure cruises to Lüderitz, and the triathlon in December between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay. A marathon is run in mid-October, when runners take on the stretch of desert between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund.
Namibia’s Northern Region extends from the sparsely populated Kunene Region in the west across the four densely populated regions of Owambo, to the aquatic and species-rich habitats of the far north east with their densely populated communities of subsistence farmers. Large herds of game including Africa’s Big Five can be seen in the Estosha National Park and Waterberg Plateau Park, as well as in the lush riverine forests and seasonal flood plains of west and eastern Caprivi and Kavango.
Accommodation options in this region range from luxury river lodges, tented camps, basic trail camps and rustic reed and thatch huts, to guest farms and comfortable chalets in rest camps with all the necessary amenities. The larger towns offer a choice of hotels and caravan parks. Locals and visitors are asked to show consideration towards the inhabitants and wildlife in these densely populated areas by not camping too close to settlements and waterholes.