Exploring Namibia’s stunning landscape is one of the delights of a visit, but it’s easy to be caught up in tourist traps while seeking for family activities. You must travel like a local when touring this magnificent African country if you want to explore the country away from the masses. Some useful ideas for travelers who appreciate venturing off the beaten path when visiting a new destination are outlined below.

Give Yourself Time

This recommendation applies to every journey, domestic or international: allow enough time to see everything on your plan. Avoid making the mistake of trying to cover too much territory in one day if you’re driving.

Allow time to unwind in your Ohorongo Game Lodges accommodation or take leisurely excursions down dirt roads to off-the-beaten-path eateries and curio shops. You will be fatigued by the end of your vacation if you try to accomplish too much in one day. This may be avoided if you have a well-thought-out agenda for your vacation.

Talk To The Locals

Namibians are recognized for being open, pleasant, and friendly people who will be able to advise you on where to locate the greatest restaurants, which nightclubs have the best nightlife ambiance, and where to discover the most interesting things to do.

Locals can supply you with knowledge that tour guides may not be able to provide, as well as insights into the area’s culture and traditions. You want to learn about sites that aren’t included in guidebooks, so compile a list of all the places mentioned by locals and plan to visit them throughout your trip.

Indulge In Local Food

One of the thrills of any vacation is learning about new and intriguing local cuisines, and Namibia has much to offer. However, the best way to sample this cuisine is to avoid high-end chain restaurants and instead seek out cafes frequented by locals.

Delicacies such as kapana (flame-grilled pork), gemsbok biltong (dried game meat), kabeljou (a big fish), and omajowa may be found in Namibia (a giant wild mushroom). You’ll have to visit local marketplaces and interact with local sellers to find these foods. Eating like a native may introduce you to some unusual foods, but it is an experience not to be missed.

Speak The Language

Although it may appear challenging at first, learning the local languages may be really beneficial. Namibia is mostly an English and German-speaking country, so if you know English, you’re in luck!

Learning a few simple German words can help you ask for directions, and if you’re willing to put in the effort, you can learn Oshiwambo, which is spoken by 49 percent of the population. You can learn certain phrases by asking locals. This is a great way to pass the time on an international vacation while learning something new about the place you’re visiting.

Culture and etiquette

It’s also crucial to dress modestly, especially when visiting rural places where Christian conservatism is prevalent. It may be tempting to strip down in intense weather, but despite the risk of sunburn, short clothes are appropriate on the beach but can be offensive in communities. Men often dress in long slacks and shirts, while ladies dress in something that covers their shoulders and knees.

While we’re on the subject of village life, you should always accept an offer of anything to drink or eat. When eating with your hands, which is common in rural areas, use your right hand even if you are left-handed, as the left hand is considered dirty.

Photography is a delicate subject that has been mishandled by many visitors over the years, particularly with regard to the Himba, Herero, and San peoples, with whom snapping images has come to dominate relations to an alarming amount. Some visitors’ obnoxious behavior, such as taking photographs without the consent of the people photographed and with little engagement with them, has strained relations between Namibian communities and tourists. Some Himba and Herero women, in particular, have begun to demand money for having their photographs taken. If you want to snap a picture, always seek permission first, and only after you’ve spent time with the individual or persons in question. 

Tread Lightly

When traveling through Namibia, you will note that most of the roads are incomplete, meaning they are gravel, dirt, or sand roads. Because there is no public transportation, you will need to rent a car to move about.

When driving, keep in mind that, while the land may look harsh, it is exceedingly delicate, and you should drive with caution. Keep to the marked roads or paths. Tyre footprints can last for decades on the desert floor, and desert vegetation like lichens may never recover. Locals like well-worn trails, so asking around about the best routes to and from locations is a good idea.

Learn African Time

The term ‘African time’ is both a joke and an accurate description of the country. Things move slower in Africa, so be prepared for a more leisurely vacation. It is critical to respect the country’s customs and traditions, which may necessitate doing things in a different and slower manner.

If you are visiting a tribe’s house, you must first obtain permission from the tribe’s headsman before doing anything, such as drinking from their well or photographing their homes. Always make a call from the entrance to a farmstead before entering, and slow down quickly if you get close to a donkey cart. You’ll quickly come to appreciate Namibians’ calm, relaxed way of life.

Have Fun!

Visiting a foreign nation is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and you should make the most of it. You’ll have plenty of time to explore Namibia’s several towns if you plan beforehand. If you want to know about the greatest restaurants, nightlife, and markets, talk to the locals. Always make time in your itinerary to sample the native cuisine, and keep in mind that time in Namibia goes slowly, so come with an open mind. You’ll have a great time if you tread softly in this African paradise.

— Bronwyn Reynolds, Fizzin