Few, if any, nations can boast infinite vistas, austere landscapes, hard environments, and untamed wilderness, supplemented by uncommon beauty, outstanding scenery, a warm climate, few people, a stunning coastline, one of Africa’s best wildlife parks, and the world’s oldest desert… Greetings from Namibia!
It is home to some of Africa’s most breathtaking scenery.
Imagine sand-covered mountains, and you’ve got a good idea of what the stunning dunes of Sossusvlei are like. They are among the world’s largest, reaching heights of up to 380 metres and made of sand that is thought to be 5 million years old. These dunes change colour like a chameleon as the sun moves across the sky, from bright orange to deep rusty red. Few areas in Africa compare to this region for pure photogenic beauty, especially to the contrast generated by the landscape’s burnt dead acacia trees.
These wind-sculpted behemoths may be seen in Namibia’s Namib desert, one of the world’s oldest, but it’s not the only one. The Kalahari, a huge sea of red sand and golden vegetation that resembles Australia’s deserts, is right next door. There’s also Etosha’s brilliant salt pans, as well as the Skeleton Coast, a rough but beautiful beach filled with the remains of sunken ships and dead whales. Namibia is truly a photographer’s paradise, no matter where you travel.
It has a fascinating history.
During the imperialist ‘Scramble for Africa,’ Namibia, like other African countries, became a target for European powers. The Portuguese were the first to set foot on Namibian soil, but the Germans claimed the nation as their colony in 1884. Namibia was ruled by the Germans until 1915, and evidence of this may be found in the colourful colonial cities, which have altered little over the last century. Traditional German delicacies such as bratwurst and pork schnitzel may still be found on menus in Swakopmund, while the capital Windhoek has an Oktoberfest every year. And, as you might expect, the beer is excellent!
It is the birthplace of ancient cultures.
Namibia’s human story was one of indigenous tribes long before colonial forces came. The San bushmen, one of the area’s early residents, are perhaps the most well-known of these ancient peoples. They are one of Namibia’s minor ethnic groups that live a nomadic lifestyle in the country’s east, as well as in Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Angola. The Ovambo are the country’s major ethnic group, accounting for over half of the population, while other ethnic groups include the Kavango, Herero, Damara, and Caprivian. The Himba people, who dwell in the north of the nation and have a population of only 50,000 people, practice age-old customs. The women are immediately distinguished by their red clay-coated hair. The isolated and rugged Kaokaland region of Namibia is the greatest site to meet Namibia’s tribes.
There’s a lot of fauna here.
Without safari chances, Africa wouldn’t feel like Africa, and Namibia doesn’t disappoint with an amazing wildlife offering. Etosha National Park is one of Africa’s greatest because of its abundant waterholes, which almost ensure wildlife sightings. The Etosha salt pan, a 120-kilometre-long dry lakebed, is part of the park, and once the rains have stopped, these waterholes provide a vital source of life for the creatures that call this site home, from African bush elephants to white rhinos, leopards to lions, giraffes to zebras. The antelope is one of Namibia’s most iconic creatures, with over twenty species, including the magnificent Gemsbok, which has long symmetrical horns. This breed is so well-known that it is shown on Namibia’s coat of arms. There are nearly 700 distinct species of birds here, including ostriches, penguins, and pelicans.
It’s a year-round vacation spot.
Namibia’s climate is primarily dry, with pleasant cold winters (May to October) and scorching summers due to its largely desert and semi-arid topography (November to April). When it does rain, it’s barely a tenth of what East African nations get, and it’s usually in the form of localised storms that pass rapidly. To put that in context, Namibia has an average of 300 days of sunshine every year. As a result, it’s a terrific place to visit at any time of year, with consistent game viewing regardless of the season. During the rainy season, the lush vegetation and overflowing waterholes in Etosha and the northern parts of Namibia may make things a little more difficult. Bushveld The rains, on the other hand, rarely make an impact in the desert. Patches of green grass emerge up through the rust-colored sands, giving the sand dunes a completely new look.
The English language is commonly used.
Namibia has a surprising range of languages for such a tiny country, but the good news for visitors is that English is the official language. Secondary school students are taught in English, and while many Namibians do not speak it as a first language, it is widely known in the service economy. Road signs are in English, and even in more remote places, at least one person will be able to communicate in English. This makes travelling about a lot easier and gives many international travellers a soothing sense of familiarity.
It is a secure location.
Namibia is regarded as one of Africa’s safest countries. Namibia has had decades of political stability and strong administration since its independence from South Africa in 1990, which has supported inter-racial healing and invested in infrastructure and education. It boasts one of the highest literacy rates on the continent, and the media is permitted to cover rival political parties and viewpoints, something that is not usually the case in African countries.
— Bronwyn Reynolds, Fizzin