Don't Miss Places In Namibia
Namibia is a dry land, largely taken up by a dusty plain dotted with trees and covered with sparse pasture for cattle, sheep and goats. Along the coast of the Atlantic Ocean are the sandy wastes of the Namib Desert, one of the driest places on Earth. In the east spreading in Botswana, is another arid wilderness – the Kalahari Desert.
Droughts are common and Namibian farmers must struggle to grow crops of corn and millet in this harsh landscape. However, the terrain does conceal Namibia’s vast natural wealth – its reserves of diamonds and uranium.
These are the top ten not to be missed places in Namibia.
NamibRand Nature Reserve
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The NamibRand, a UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most outstanding landscapes in the capital city of Windhoek, Namibia. It is particularly impressive in the evening light or early morning when the long golden grass sways around and rises beside the dark mountains. This reserve is small but it has a large number of wild animals (group of rhinos, cheetahs, etc.) who wanders along the middle prairie. There are two day trail tours (Tok Tokkie Trails) to fully enjoy this attraction and the extraordinary experience. It consists of one full day of walking in the NamiBrand Nature Reserve and two nights under the stars in the Namibian starry sky.
The dune camp has breathtaking views and where a group of campers can set up tents and use the facilities (showers, toilets, and small kitchen).The tour includes discovering the rich flora and fauna, animal tracks, and the gorgeous scenes surrounding the mountain. Desert, landscapes, animals, sunsets, the vast plains bordered by beautiful mountains, silence, and a lot of time for contemplation is what attracts visitors to this untouched part of nature.
A visit to the Katutura Township of Windhoek can be done on your own or pre-arranged with a sightseeing tour company. It is more recommended to hire a guide for convenience and practical reason. Tour guides will provide the transportation with an open jeep to show all the highlights of the capital city after which they can take you to the Katutura. The guide itself comes from the community and knows a lot about the place. The social tourism project involves a visit to the school, a walk through the market and the streets of the small town, a brief stop at a local African restaurant, and a visit to the Penduka - a center for women workers with disability.
The trip shows a lot about the people living in this community in Windhoek and the reality of life. The 3 hour trip goes twice a day; in the morning at 9 am and at 2pm in the afternoon. You will be picked up at a place of your choice and dropped off at a (possibly different) point on where you intend to start your visit and also brought back to where you are billeted or accommodated in the city once the tour is done. Everything can be booked at the tourist office in Windhoek (near Christ Church).
The Swakopmund Museum is located in the vicinity of the beach and the lighthouse. It was founded and developed by "German-Namibians" and still maintained by a private organization. In its exhibit halls, you can find many things from the period of "German South-West Africa" diplomatic relations.
You can see articles and displays about an old pharmacy, dental practice, old carriages, printing machines, wildlife / natural resources, the large collection of stuffed wildlife animals, the fully assembled German car collection, antique beer bottles and beer mugs from Germany, various Namibian ethnic populations, etc. with explanations in German and English Language.
This small private museum allows curious visitors to get an overall view of different areas and artifacts about Namibia. It is a historical museum, ethnological, ethnography and natural science exhibition room.
Hardly anything is left out here and you learn a lot about the country. The contemporary or modern historical development of the city is shown with interesting pieces donated by private individuals. It also provides a good info about the regional mining operations and production of uranium oxide. Uranium is a highly radioactive metal used in nuclear power stations. Namibia’s uranium exports bring much needed wealth into the country.
Quad Biking & Sandboarding Adventure – Swakopmund
For the thrill seekers and those who are in the off the beaten path trails, the best way to admire the sand dunes of Swakopmund is to experience the Quad Biking and Sandboarding Adventure. It is designed for a good moment of relaxation and stunning views that the whole family can also enjoy. With a good coaching course fit for any participant a team of professionals can take you into an extraordinary journey through the dunes riding a powerful quad bike.
It is nice and safe and the guides will teach how to operate the handlebars and how to adjust the speed. It is the coolest way to get “lost” in the dunes and be awed by its magic. Driving is easy and after a few hundred meters you get the bike under control with the guides assisting you on the predetermined paths. A short break is done with a photo opportunity to admire and pose with the beautiful views.
The 1 hour Sandboarding tour is one of the pleasures that one should not be missed if you're in the area. Do not miss the "Iron" where you ride a specially designed surfboard for sands or choose to lie face down from the top and released facing an ocean of dunes. It gives the impression of an amusement park that highlights the charm of the desert. Every participant gets a video copy of their fall and moments of fun while speeding down the sandy dunes.
Namibia Dolphin Tours – Walvis Bay
If you switch on the coast of Namibia, near Swakopmund and Walvis Bay (the two cities are about 25 km of paved road), you cannot leave to escape the ocean excursion with the Dolphin Tours. It starts from Walvis Bay and takes tourists out to sea on board pleasant and large motorboats/catamarans. During the tour you can admire the sea pelicans, seals, cormorants, Mola Mola fish, dolphins and photogenic flamingos from afar. In particular, some seals are also rising in the boat and the guide teaches everyone to give them small fish to eat.
You can throw the pieces of fish and the hungry pelicans flying will also join in to catch them. During the course the guests are usually offered a table full of snacks, a glass of sparkling wine along with fresh and delicious oysters reared in their farms (the oyster field) which is also visited during the tour. It is a nice way to spend the afternoon and learn a lot about how rich Namibia’s aquatic paradise is.
Kolmanskop Ghost Town – Luderitz City
The Kolmanskop Ghost Town allows you to understand through photos, everyday objects, restored homes or left to the fury of the elements the lives of the diamond miners who use to work here in the early twentieth century. The entrance fee includes a guided tour of about 45 minutes then you can take pictures at will to buildings invaded by the sand and you can also visit the small museum, gift shop and a cafe. The scenery, the history, contact with nature, the smells, the walk among the ruins take you back to an ancestral dimension of existence. Taking the tour alone is well worth the trip to Luderitz.
The hike can be done independently or accompanied by a local guide (hire a local as there are no tour companies in charge to explore the site). Discover dozens of buildings and houses filled with sand even up to the second floor. This is what remains of a colony of people working in the extraction of diamonds in the Sperrgebiet area (a forbidden zone). The sand dunes took hold of the houses creating a surreal landscape of high impact photo. The hospital visit is equally interesting with many rooms that seem to be inhabited by the memories of the people who have stayed and perished there on its 250 bed capacity.
The landscape is almost lunar but this is no big news in Namibia where most of the land has these characteristics. The main roads of Luderitz peninsula are unpaved but well-maintained, although some deviations for the isolated bays are not well marked and you run the risk of going around in circles for a bit steep terrain. To arrive at Diaz Point you must pass from the forbidden zone (Sperrgebiet) of a diamond mining company. The view is great you can see the towering dunes of the diamond mountain area.
It has a different landscape and the huge algae formation on its fjords, lagoons, and bays studded with pink flamingos and seagulls resting on its rocky mounds. Offshore the islets are inhabited by seals and a number of merchant ships safely anchored in the bay of Luderitz. It is reached by a wooden walkway suspended over the ocean and where you can enjoy a beautiful view.
The huge waves crash constantly on the black shale cliff creating ridges and sprays that creeps through the grooves creating an impressive artistic effect. Once you arrive at the forecourt of the viewpoint, there is a small restaurant where you can buy water, snacks and beer. Next from here stands the flagship and the lighthouse of Dias Point.
This site was named after the Portuguese navigator Bartolomeu Dias, who positioned a cross here in 1488 during his trip to the Cape of Good Hope. On the cliffs you can just admire the ocean, but you have to pay attention to the strong wind that blows almost constantly. You can go around on the rocks in the most protected part from the waves around the bridge to collect shells and pebbles of various origin, shape, and color. You can also take a walk on the beach in front of the camp. The light at that time of day is beautiful and will make your photo really special.
Cheetah Conservation Fund
Located in the city of Otjiwaronggo, the Cheetah Conservation Site is an exciting way to see these magnificent animals in about a few meters away. It opens at 8 in the morning where you can see the cheetahs run before they are taken back to the reserve and stay the whole day in their enclosures.
The center is well organized with helpful and knowledgeable staff and dedicated to protecting the lives of the cheetah. There is a game drive to see them in their natural habitat, a few bars for a chance to eat something and a small gift shop where tourists buy the cute and plush cheetah stuffed toys.
Waterberg National Park
It is one of the most important national parks in Namibia because it is where the black rhinoceros a rare species is protected in a unique way and saved from further extinction. This special reserve must be explored with an official park staff or be driven into the safari (in a converted truck) to see their habitat. There are in fact rare antelopes such as Sables that can also be seen.
The flora along the sidewalk and on the slope below is worth seeing and the camp offers good accommodation for those who want to spend an overnight stay in the park. A beautiful pool invites you to cool off where you can be able to observe a number of animals inside the camp without a safari reserve. A visit to the Waterberg Park is totally recommended.
Quivertree Forest and Giant’s Playground
The Forest of Quiver trees is located not far from the town of Keetmanshoop town on the road between the Kalahari and the Fish River Canyon. The trees are actually a variety of aloe used by the Bushmen to build quivers (hence the name). The plants are all concentrated on a hill farm although the other smaller plants can be seen even down the road without paying the entrance.
The Giant’s Playground is instead a collection of rock boulders piled up to be like the playground of a giant. It is highly recommended to visit the area in the late afternoon at sunset to make great photos along the way.