Namibia

Namibia is one of the most fascinating countries in Africa. Sparsely populated, it offers unique geological formations, stark deserts, unusual plant and animal life and an interesting history. It is a paradise for geologists and naturalists. Namibia lies on the west coast of Africa, its entire western border being the Atlantic Ocean. It is bounded on the north by Angola and on the east by Botswana and South Africa. The country is divided into four distinct geographical regions: The Namib Desert which extends along the entire coast; the mountainous central plateau extending over half the country; the low lying northeast and southeast semi-arid Kalahari Desert areas; and the northern area, beyond the Etosha Pan, which is bush covered plain.

Top 5 places to visit

Etosha
Etosha National Park

Etosha National Park is Namibia’s greatest wildlife sanctuary. The landscape is unique and varied and subsequently home to a wide variety of animals. For example, lion, elephant, leopard, giraffe, cheetah, hyena, springbok, two kinds of zebra, eland and many more species of wildlife are found here. Etosha means the ”great white area” and refers to the huge salt pan. Subsequently, when it rains, the water pools in the pan and attracts hundreds of thousands of flamingos!

The Fish River Canyon, the world’s second largest canyon, meanders for 161 km between the steep, spectacular cliffs that divide the Nama plateau. In places the canyon floor is more than 550 m below the plateau, exposing rock of up to 2 600 million years old. The area is renowned for housing most of the richest succulent flora of the world. The animal species found in the area are adapted to withstand the harsh, arid climate. Other species are concentrated in the denser vegetation bordering the Orange River, including 56 species of mammals and 194 bird species. Furthermore, a large variety of lizards (35 species) and snakes (16 species) are found in various microhabitats.

Fish River Canyon
Namib Naukluft
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The fourth largest national park in the world, the Namib-Naukluft National Park is a 50 000 square kilometre wilderness in the Namib Desert: a place of shifting terracotta dunes, vast plains and shimmering savanna fringed in the east by the dramatic Naukluft Mountains. One of the best places on the planet for truly mind-blowing desert landscapes. Highlights of the Namib Naukluft Park:

The Namib Desert is the oldest desert in the world and extends far beyond the borders of the National Park and includes the whole of western Namibia. The part of the Namib within the Park is about 500 km long and between 100 to 180 km wide. Here the highest dunes worldwide are found, which reach a height of up to 300 metres.

Sandwich Harbour is situated in the north of the Park, about 45 km south of Walvis Bay. It consists of a 10 km long bay or lagoon, surrounded by dunes, and vegetated by reeds. This bay is home to more than 200,000 birds (flamingos, cormorants, pelicans, and other sea birds) and can only be reached by 4×4 from Walvis Bay.

Sossusvlei and Sesriem are the main attractions of the Namib Naukluft Park. At Sesriem the Tsauchab River has dug an approximately 1 km long and 30-metre-deep canyon into the ground. Sossusvlei is the name of a salt-clay pan surrounded by dunes and is approximately 60 km away from Sesriem.

Damaraland

The breath-taking mountainous region of Damaraland is home to an assortment of desert-adapted wildlife such as elephant, rhino, zebra, and lion. A not-to-be-missed attraction is the picturesque Brandberg, Namibia’s highest mountain, which is home to thousands of ancient rock paintings – most notably the White Lady. The rocky outcrops of Twyfelfontein feature exceptional Bushmen engravings, which are considered to be some of the best-preserved etchings on the continent. Visit the Petrified Forest, which dates back millions of years and offers a haunting landscape of gigantic, fossilised trees.

Damaraland (5)
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The Zambezi Region, previously named – and still known as – the Caprivi Strip, is a narrow stretch of land forming the extreme north-eastern area of Namibia. The Caprivi is 450 km long and its width differs in size from only 32 km to 105 km. Wedged between two mighty rivers, the Caprivi is bordered to the south by the Chobe River, separating it from Botswana and to the north lies the Zambezi River, bordering Zambia and Angola. The Caprivi’s most eastern tip is where the two rivers confluence on the edge of the Zimbabwe border. To the west, the Kavango River (later becoming the Okavango River) pours over a 4m high reef of rocks creating a series of impressive rapids named the Epupa Falls, a main feature of the region. The Kwando and Linyanti Rivers also flow through the Caprivi and due to this abundance of water, the landscape is highly diverse, forming a fascinating combination of waterways, marshes, woodlands, and forest.

National Parks surround the Caprivi, protecting the great variety of flora and fauna endemic to this intriguing area. Animals that may be seen regularly include large mammals such as elephant, buffalo, hippo, sable and roan antelope, eland, giraffe, and kudu. Numerous antelope and other wildlife inhabit the region which is also home to often shy but ever-present predators, as well as a multitude of bird species. The rivers teem with aquatic life and are renowned for their good populations of tiger fish.

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General Information

Currency: Namibian Dollar (NAD)

The Namibian Dollar is the official currency and is fixed to and equals the South African Rand. Both these currencies can be used freely in Namibia, but the Namibian Dollar is not legal tender in South Africa. In the bigger cities you can withdraw cash with international debit and credit cards (mainly Visa & Mastercard) at ATMs. Your card needs to have a chip and pin. Not all ATMs allow you to withdraw money with a debit card, so far it has mainly been possible at Standard Bank and Nedbank, but these banks are represented in all major cities. The possibility of direct payment by credit card is widely used but payment by debit card is not. In remote locations and safari camps there is often no way to pay by card. It is therefore advisable to always have some cash with you in case of emergencies or if you want to buy something in remote areas. It is also a good idea to have cash with you for refueling, as many petrol stations still do not accept credit / debit cards.

While changing money at a Bureau de Change is possible, it is not recommended as it is often a complicated and lengthy process.

Please be sure to advise your bank before you travel that you will be using your card in a different country as they may block access to your card if they do not know that you are currently travelling.

For current exchange rates please use this website. 

Official Languages: English

Visa Requirements: Citizens of most European and Commonwealth countries do not require a visa for entry into Namibia. Please find a list with countries that require a visa here.

Please also consult the Namibian Embassy or Consulate for any updates before departure, especially when travelling with children.

Independence: 21 March 1990 from South Africa

Religion: The Christian community makes up 80%–90% of the population of Namibia, 10%–20% of the population hold other or indigenous beliefs.

Souvenirs: Wood carvings, baskets, and clay urns, jewellery, diamonds, and semi-precious stones

Agricultural products: Corn, sorghum, millet, beans, and groundnuts

Main Industries: Diamond mining coupled with copper-nickel, soda ash, coal, and gold

Best time to visit: Every single month is worth a journey to Namibia. Most visitors prefer to travel during the months May to October. It hardly ever rains, and the visitor can enjoy the uninterrupted sunshine, except at the foggy coast. The climate is moderate and during the day it does not get extremely hot. Nevertheless, it can get very cold in the evenings.

These months are also ideal for game viewing. The vegetation is receding and drying out and open water in the veld is drying out. Thus, the animals have no option as to visit permanent water holes which again results in perfect game viewing and photographing opportunities for visitors.

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