Africa conjures a primitive land bereft of life, and the deserts of Namibia, one of the oldest in the world, is where nature reveals itself in stunning glory. But the ochre, windswept sand dunes of the Namib Desert are just a slice of the iconic Namibian landscape littered with wildlife sustained by seasonal rains and sea mist pushed inland from the Atlantic. In this barren landscape, the San bushmen continue to live the hunter-gatherer life as they did since the dawn of time.
Namibia’s deservedly named Skeleton Coast is testament to the raw power of nature: This is where mighty Atlantic waves crash into the dry desert littered with shipwrecks. Inland to the east lies Etosha National Park where hundreds of mammals, including endangered species like the black rhinoceros, inhabit. Travellers may want to consult a Namibia travel blog if they want to do a self-drive safari in and around the park.
Another distinctive feature of Namibia is that mighty gash on the African continent called the Fish River Canyon spanning 160kms. It is the largest canyon in Africa plunging 550m. deep in some places. Surprisingly, in the middle of it all, in the capital Windhoek, stands a very visible German heritage (Christuskirche) and a lively Oktoberfest.
Namibia Travel Blog and Tips
Dietary Restrictions: Namibian cuisine has a high proportion of meat but it’s possible to remain vegetarian all throughout your trip.
Crime and Safety: While the 2002 Angolan civil war that spilled into northeastern Namibia no longer poses threat, there is still a relatively high crime rate, such as pickpocketing and robbery, particularly around ATMs. It’s also not advisable, even for men, to walk around the streets or even to ride a cab after midnight; women travellers are especially vulnerable. Namibia travel articles suggest tourists need to keep their wits about as robbery and theft are still a concern.
Health and Medical Concerns: Namibia’s medical system is modern and HIV transmissions in hospitals is not much of a concern; still with the country’s HIV infection rate at 25%, it’s crucial to be extra careful when there are bodily fluids involved. Water supply is generally drinkable except when labelled otherwise. Do not drink water drawn from rivers where there are campsites as these are likely contaminated.
Race Issues: Because Namibia was taken over by South Africa after WWII, the former remains affected by race issues that stemmed out of the apartheid system, so be sensitive when such topics encroach in conversations, as they inevitably do. Nonetheless, Namibians are used to Western ways (as they have become used to the presence of UN volunteers) so are not easily offended by clothing choices that show a lot of skin.
Transport: Public transit in Windhoek is non-existent; independent travellers can get around via a shared taxi system, or an on-demand taxi system if you are willing to hire the entire car to yourself. Getting around the rest of the country is often done by a combination of air-conditioned buses, trains and rental cars. Look up Namibia travel blogs for the most updated fare rates and schedules.