Why is Namibia one of the world's fastest growing tourist destinations?
The highlights of Namibia have taken millennia to reach their present state. Nowhere is the age of the earth more evident than in the ancient landscape of the world's oldest desert.
In Namibia, the layers of time are clearly marked and preserved: a dinosaur's footprints fossilised in rock; an ancient volcano worn by wind to its core; a 20,000-year-old meteorite; rock paintings over 26,000 years old; a river canyon 300 million years in the making. It took 5 million years for the dunes in the Great Sand Sea to get to their present state and they are considered young. Their petrified counterparts are over 20 million years old.
Despite its parched reputation, Namibia is one of the best wildlife destinations in Africa. Etosha National Park is a phenomenon unto itself. With a vast saline desert as its eye it is surrounded by tear ducts of natural springs that support an astonishing array of indigenous species. The Waterberg Plateau, Damaraland , Kalahari and Caprivi add fascinating and widely contrasting wildlife dimensions to complete the game viewing experience.
The people who inhabit this land, few though they may be, are no less captivating than their surrounds. San hunter-gatherers continue their ancient traditions in the area known as Bushmanland ; the Himba are nomadic herdsman with proud traditions who live in the remote and rugged Kaokoland and along the Kunene River.
Coastal towns bear witness to the changing fortunes of an inhospitable shoreline. The ghost of a diamond-rush era remains in Namibia People ; Swakopmund thrives despite its precarious location and shipwrecks along the Skeleton Coast reveal the source of its grisly name.
Things to do in Namibia
Etosha National Park : Game Drive in Etosha National Park
Sossusvlei : Hot-air Ballooning over Sossusvlei; Desert Horse Trail and Tok Tokkie Desert Walk in Namib-Naukluft Park
Swakopmund : Hot-air Ballooning over the Namib, Camel and Donkey-cart Desert Trails, Namib Desert Excursion, Kayaking in Walvis Bay Lagoon, Moon Landscape Horse Trails, Paragliding, Quad-biking, Sand-boarding, Sandwich Harbour Excursion, Swakopmund Fishing Trip, Tandem Desert Skydiving, Walvis Bay Marine Cruise, Swakopmund Scenic Flights
Damaraland : Rhino Tracking
Caprivi : Scenic Flight to Victoria Falls
Kaokoland : Kunene River Rafting, Meet the Himba People of the North
Skeleton Coast : Skeleton Coast Scenic Flight
Kalahari : Visit the Quiver Tree Forest and Giants' Playground
Fish River Canyon : Fish River Canyon Guided Hike, Orange River Four-day Rafting Trip
Luderitz : Bogenfels Guided Tour, Kolmanskop Ghost Town Tour, Lüderitz Boat Cruise, Ski-boat Fishing Trip
Windhoek : The Desert Express, City and Township Tour
Waterberg : Waterberg Guided Wilderness Trail
Bushmanland : Hunt and Forage With Bushmen
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The 10 Best Places to Visit in Namibia
Namibia has some beautiful, unique and extraordinary scenery. Attractions abound and activities are limitless. But it's the whole journey that is the most extraordinary attraction of them all. Just driving through the country will be an experience quite unlike any you've had before. While parts of Namibia resemble other places - like the Kruger Park and Okavango Delta - no other place on Earth comes close to resembling Namibia.
Etosha National Park
Etosha Park supports 114 species of mammal and over 340 species of bird including numerous endemics and rarities. At the heart of the park is a salt pan that is surrounded by sparse shrubs and grassy plains that become hilly mopane woodlands as you move away from the sunken saline desert.
Damaraland's hilly savannah supports a large number of species including lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena, eland, kudu, giraffe, klipspringer, steenbok, gemsbok and springbok. Birdlife is prolific with over 33 raptors recorded including cuckoo hawks, Egyptian vultures and peregrine falcons - the world's fastest animal.
The Kaokoveld, a vast and empty wilderness occupying the north-western quarter of Namibia, is roughly divided in two by the Hoanib River. The north is known as Kaokoland and the south as Damaraland. Although these administrative divisions fell away after Namibian independence the colloquial demarcations have persisted.
The springs of Windhoek (pronounced VIN-took) attracted pastoralists long before time was measured with alarm clocks, breakfast runs and train schedules. But since 1840 random claims and several skirmishes for dominion over the precious water have culminated in a city with more facets than a flawless diamond.
When the British annexed the natural harbour of Walvis Bay, Germany was left with mile upon mile of barren shoreline in which to find a decent port. They chose an area north of the Swakop River for want of a better location and set to work building a port. It failed.
And that early failure saved what was later to become Swakopmund.
NamibRand Nature Reserve
This reserve originated in 1984 as a passion of the late J.A. Brückner, who had a dream to extend desert frontiers and this began by integrating numerous livestock farms in the area. To date the reserve is comprised of 17 former livestock farms and with no fences between them, the NamibRand became an exclusive reserve through which animals could roam freely across the expanse of this incredible environment and natural habitat.
This German town of about 25,000 inhabitants was born out of necessity in 1487 when Bartholemu Dias sailed his little flotilla into the natural bay created by the rocky peninsula. Centuries later the the bay was no more than an obscure anchorage on the spice route when whales and guano attracted fierce commercial interest in the 19th century.
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Look. There. Miles in the distance. What is that? It sure ain’t no fire burning. No smoke on the water. It’s mist. Deep, deep, misty mist. With the river running through it. But it’s no babbling brook. No siree. It’s so noisy the Kololo called it Mosi-oa-Tunya, ‘the smoke that thunders’. Sheesh, what a racket.
South Africa is the best of both worlds: it is Africa with its beautiful scenery, glorious weather and relaxed attitude, which manifests itself in the people who are friendly and easy-going; it also has a modern infrastructure making it an easy country to visit with plenty to see and do and plenty of ways to get around.
Zimbabwe is a small country and its diverse attractions are packed into short easy drives or even quicker, easier flights. Expect beautiful waterfalls and rivers, exceptional wildlife safaris and spectacular scenery from classic African plains to vast river valleys, mystical hills and misty mountains.
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