How to travel around Namibia?

Namibia is a large country, albeit with a poor public transport system. So how do you get to explore the country? Here are your options :

Self Drives:

Self-drive holidays in Namibia are very popular. Depending on you budget you can rent anything from a sedan to a 4×4 camping “bakkie”. The best about being a self drive is that you can choose to travel right across the country at your own pace. You will need to be able to drive on the left hand side of the road and will be expected to drive fast distances on gravel as well as tar roads.

Tavel as part of a guided bus group:

Traveling Namibia by “coach” run by various private operators sure is a relaxing way to explore Namibia.  You will be treated well and don’t have to stress about getting from point A to point B These trips are usually planned well in advance and are not flexible. On the plus, if you want a stress free tour or if you are a bit older, this is a great way.

Smaller guided groups:

These exclusive small guided groups are also organised by various smaller tour operators/outfitters in Namibia. The groups are generally smaller ranging anything from 2 – 12 persons and are perfect for families as well.  You will get to see the country with an experienced guide. Similar to other guided tours, you will need to fall in with a pre existing travel plan.

By Overland safaris

Namibia has great camping and adventure activities. There are various overland companies that cater especially to these needs.

The upside is that you will most likely explore great parts of Namibia ( these trucks are usually 4×4) and still be able to relax since someone else is doing the driving for you.

By Bicycle

In Namibia we do see the brave individuals who travel the country by bicycle. It should be noted, that Namibia is a massive country and town are very far apart. Thus making it a real challenge for someone to explore the country by bicycle. There are two great bike shops in Windhoek & if you need information on how to attempt this I would suggest getting into contact with one of these two bike shop owners. ( Mannie Bike Shop, Cycletech)

Public Transport:

Namibia really does not have a “public” transport system inplace to travel the country with. You can travel from A to B by using informal transport, but its really not advised except if you are on a really tight budget and you are happy to not see much of the country.

By Plane:

Namibia is undoubtedly a really beautiful country from the sky. Various operators operate fly in safaris. The advantage is you can see a great deal of the country in a short time. The disadvantages ? Well its expensive and not always an viable option to everyone. It should be noted that scenic flights are available in Namibia ( Swakopmund, Windhoek , Sossusvlei etc) from where shorter flights can be made to explore a specific area.

Conclusion: 

Whatever way you choose to explore Namibia is important and should be made to suit the way you like to travel and explore. Guided groups are more relaxing but less flexible, whilst self drive options offers allot of freedom but takes a bit of effort from your side :).

We have our own castles and fairytales…

Long, long ago a German soldier saw a piece of land in the Southern part of Namibia, perfect for horses and he had a dream…
Meanwhile in America a rich girl inherited a fortune and started her journey to look for a husband who is willing to build her own castle somewhere in the middle of nowhere, not in America and not in Europe…
He bought 55000 hectares from the Namibian Government and called the farm Duwisib. Brought his wife here and it took him two years to build the castle as she wished, shipped everything they needed from Europe to Luderitz, traveling 14days through the desert with every batch that arrived.
Five years later they went back to Germany to buy his horses while the WWI started and he had to serve his country in war, stepped on a landmine and died of his injuries.
His young widowed wife never returned and sold the castle to a guy that also never moved here…

Years later the Government of Namibia divided the land into smaller farms and kept the Duwisib castle as a National Heritage and museum.

Who cares if it is facts or fairytales, I love the story and am in love with our castle. Do yourself the honor to pay it a visit. You can sleep there, or on the farm next door, Farm Duwisib, where thestables used to be.

We spent a lovely family Christmas there this past season.

What is in my camping gear?

You get two types of people… campers and lodgers…

Lodgers are people who say they love camping but they need a bed, cellphone signal, hot water, electricity, running toilets, etc…
Campers on the other hand love camping in the middle of nowhere, without any luxuries, where it feels like you can touch the stars in the middle of the night because there’s no lights in a 50km radius around you to spoil the view….. Ever experienced something like this?

Stars captured by Lerike Burger Photography

Well most Namibians are campers! Including us, so I’ve made a list of what is in our camping gear:

Tent
Ground Sheet/Tarpaulin
Gazebo
Camping Mattress
Sleeping bag
Pillow
Camp chair
Headlamp
Torch
Gas burner
Matches
Grill (rooster)
Insect repellent/ Mosquito net
Fire wood
Fire lighters
Ketle
Camping Crockery and Cutlery set, sharp knife and cutting board
Plastic basin
Camping table
Spade
Pliers
Hammer
Braai (BBQ) tongs
25L container of water
Portable Compressor
Toiletries
Spices
Dishwashing liquid & sponge/cloth
Kitchen towels
Toiletpaper

Top 10 reasons to visit Namibia?

The Animals:

Rhino in Namibia
Rhino in Namibia

Namibia not only boasts with the Big 5, the largest population of cheetah in the world and one of the largest population of Rhino, its also the only place in the world to see desert elephant. BUT what is truly amazing is that it is one of the few remaining places where you will see wild animals even if you are not driving in a National Park. So keep your eyes open!!!

Oldest desert in the World:

Sossusvlei


The Namib Desert is said to be the oldest desert in the world, and its just a NOT to be missed place to visit.

Wide open spaces:

Koakoveld
Koakoveld

Its only with maturity that one appreciates they beauty of wide open spaces filled with nothing . Namibia has this in leaps and bounds, being the second least populated country by density in the world.

Culture Groups

Himba
Himba


Namibia has more than 13 ethnic groups. Although two groups the Bushman/San people and the Ovahimba people, are of particular interest as they can still be seen living largely as they used to.

Birding:

Lilac Breasted Roller


Like the animals, the more than 650 birds species can be seen all across Namibia, and not just in National Parks. The best time to do birding is in the summer months when birds change into their breeding colours. The Caprivi area is a must destination to include in your itinerary should you like birding as this will grant you the opportunity to see some birds drawn to rivers and marshlands.

Sunsets:

Namibian Sunset
Namibian Sunset

Namibian sunsets are some of the best I have ever seen & with more than 300 days of sunshine in a year.. you will hopefully get to see the sun set every night:)

Tourist friendly:


Namibians are very dependent on tourism and it really shows in their attitude towards tourist. People are friendly and even though Namibia was never a English colony, at our independence Namibia chose English as the National language, meaning communication is much easier that allot of African countries.


Affordable:

Did I mention its REALLY affordable? Drinks, fuel, accommodation even activities are really affordable. And there is really a place for each type of traveler whatever the budget.

 

Accessible:

During the last 2 years Namibia has become much more accessible to the global community. Direct international flights currently include our own Spirit of the nation AirNamibia (via Frankfurt), well as international carriers such as Eurpowings,Condor , Qatar Airways, Ethiopian Airways & KLM.

 

1st world conveniences:

Medical facilities is not always something we think about when planning a holiday. Rest assured that Namibia’s medical facilities, doctors and emergency units are really of world class standard.
The only issue here is that these excellent facilities are mostly supplied by the private sector, so do make sure your medical travel insurance is up to scratch before you visit.

I hope you enjoyed the article, although its solely based on my opinions.

There are so many things I would like to include in this list as well, maybe the next article should be.. The next Top 10 reasons to Visit Namibia… We will see :).

List of 10 main attractions in Namibia

Namibia in its diversity and open spaces is full of hidden gems. Most Namibians haven’t even seen them all and because of the distance between places, we rather choose one or two to visit, but the rest is most certainly on our bucket lists.

I’ve made a list of 10 of the most popular attractions in no particular order with suggestions of where to stay…

-Fish River Canyon (- Ais Ais Resort)
The Fish River Canyon is the second biggest Canyon in the world and a very popular attraction, especially for hikers from all over the globe. A hike through the Canyon take you about 5 days. For the not-so-active… it is definitely worth it to wait for the rest at Ais Ais Resort.

-Etosha National Park (- Safarihoek Lodge)
Our biggest National park in the Northern part of Namibia is an ideal family getaway where you either can do a self drive through the park or relax at the watching points near the water holes and see the Big Five (if you are lucky) and other animals and birds as they come to drink water. Safarihoek Lodge is a new destination and very classy for those who don’t like camping that much.

-Erindi Private Game Reserve (- Old Traders Lodge)
See our article on Erindi for more detail, Erindi a highlight to your stay…
Erindi is Namibias biggest and most famous Private Game Reserve and I personally prefer Erindi over Etosha, because it is smaller and thus easier to spot the wildlife.

-Sossusvlei (- Desert Quiver Camp)
Also one of the most visited areas in Namibia is Sossusvlei with the largest sand dunes in the world and most probably the most peaceful place you will ever visit.
There are very expensive upperclass lodges and castles in Sossusvlei to stay but Desert Quiver Camp serves more than enough for what you need for a nights stay.

-Caprivi (- Caprivi Houseboat Safaris)
Caprivi is the most North Eastern part of Namibia in the Kavango Region, where Namibia, Botswana, Angola and Zambia kiss each other.
Comparing the rest of Namibia’s nature, you won’t believe that its the same country. Do book at Caprivi Houseboat Safaris and enjoy a sundowner, while watching Hippos…

-Dune 7 (- Protea Hotel Pelican Bay)
Just outside of Walvisbay is the famous Dune 7, you’re not on a real Namibian trip if you don’t make time to climb to its top! Protea Hotel in Pelican Bay are a nice place to stay with restaurants nearby so you can live like a local in Walvis.

-Skeleton coast (-Terrace bay camp)
The Northern coastline of Namibia, from the Swakop River to the Kunene River is known as the Skeleton Coast due to thousands of shipwrecks and skeletons of various species lying on shore. This may be the most harsh and dangerous area in Namibia and I read somewhere that the Bushmen people calls it “The place God made in anger”, but its mystic and thus one of the most beautiful nature gems to be ever seen.

-Kolmanskop (- The Cormorant House)
In the Namib Desert just 10km outside of Lüderitz lies this ghost town with its hidden gems of historical German architecture. It was a very wealthy diamond mine for about 50 years in the early 1900’s. Now it is one of Namibia’s most visited tourist attractions run by DeBeers Namibia. The Cormorant House is self catering units in Lüderitz, each with a balcony and sea view, perfect for having your coffee in bed and watching the ocean.

-Kaokoland(- Epupa Camp)
The North Western part of Namibia is known as Kaokoland, and home to the native OvaHimba tribe… my personal favorite part of the country. Its rural with the most amazing open spaces like the Hartmansvalley and Marienfluss…You need a 4×4 vehicle to drive there, and its better to tour in a group of more than two cars. Near Epupa Falls on the Kunene riverbank is Epupa Camp with fixed tents and much appreciated cold beers at the bar. When you drove through Kaokoland for a few days you will understand why I say much appreciated beers 😉

-Dessert Elephants in Damaraland (- White Lady Lodge)
Another one of my favorites are these gentle giants of the big five, the Desert Elephants. They dwell around in Damaraland, South West of Kaokoland, mostly on the banks of the Ugab River. Near a small settlement, Sorris Sorris (about 30km from Uis) lies the beautiful Brandberg with its famous rock painting of a White Lady and therefore the name to the White Lady Lodge, home of the Desert Elephant at it’s foot.

Spend time in Windhoek before your flight..

Need to spend a few hours in Windhoek before your flight back home? Here’s some tips of what you can do to make up time…

Start with breakfast or lunch at Krisjans Bistro on the corner of Lazarett and Robert Mugabe Street.

Further down Robert Mugabe Street you’ll find a big gold building in the shape of a Coffee Percolator… NIMMS (National Independance Memorial Museum).
If museums aren’t your thing, just go straight up to the restaurant on 4th floor where you will see the most magnificent view of our beautiful city.

Only 10mins walk from NIMMS you can buy your last Namibian Handmade Souvenir or just stroll through and enjoy our creativity at Craft Centre in the Old Breweries building in Tal street. Rumor has it that Craft Cafe, the German coffee shop on the second floor, serves the best apple crumble in town 🙂

In Independence street (our main road) you’ll find Cramer’s and Slowtown next to each other, don’t walk past it! Do you know the word “affogato”? Its a scoop of vanilla gelato or ice cream topped with a shot of hot espresso…just saying, coffee and ice cream goes great together, so Cramer’s is the place to be.
But what goes the best with a cup of coffee? Another cup! Right next door at Slowtown you can taste Namibia’s most famous roasted coffee and buy some to take home with you because you will crave some at home, believe me.

Remember that Hosea Kutako International Airport is about 40mins drive away from the city and our public transport isn’t as great as what you may be used to, so plan your stay well.
CityCab, Windhoek Airport Shuttle cost about N$300 per person and can be booked online.

Unfortunately petty theft may occur in our streets, please don’t be afraid to Travel Namibia, just be wake up. Walking around at night is not recommended, especially when you travel alone. Don’t leave any luggage, backpack, handbag, purse or phone unattended, anywhere. Don’t trust anyone to help you draw some money at ATM’s.

Most importantly enjoy your stay!!!

Namibia a fit for you?

Is Namibia your next travel destination or a new entry on your bucket list? Maybe this article will help you decide.

Namibia is a massive country by world standards, Namibia is more than twice the size of Germany, 3.4 times bigger than the United Kingdom. Compared to the USA Namibia is slightly larger than the State of Texas.

The best part?

Our population is around 2.3 Million people in the whole country. This makes Namibia the second least populated country per square kilometre in the world. This is where I think Namibia beats most destinations around the globe. It’s quiet, it’s peaceful and it is definitely not a tourist trap. It’s a country where one can escape the hustle, feel at one with nature and get to experience our planet as it probably once was.

The second best part?

It’s accessible, safe and can cater for any budget. We speak English throughout the country. And if you asked me, it’s the best and only destination when considering a visit to Africa.

The best of Namibia,

The coast

The best of Namibia include the majestic Namib Desert, Sossusvlei with the highest sand dunes in the world. Visiting our small coastal towns such as Swakopmund & Lüderitz is also a highlight. Here you can feast on local seafood, such as kabeljou & oysters. The coast also caters for the outdoor activity lovers and activities. Activities range from Quadbike desert tours, scenic flights, deep-sea fishing, Rock & surf fishing, catamaran tours to see dolphins just to name but a few.

Safari & Animals

A Visit to Namibia is not complete without a proper safari (you know seeing the BIG 5). Etsoha National Park boasts an amazing display of wildlife and is a not to be missed on any trip to Namibia.

Enroute between the coast and Etosha is an area called Damaraland (after the local Damara Tribe). Here are the wonderful bushman drawings and the possibility of seeing Desert elephant, which are endemic to Namibia.

For the very adventurous there is an area called the Kaokoveld, which is described by some as one of the few remaining wildernesses on the planet. Best to travel this area with a guide tough, as most places here not even cell phone reception and proper GPS navigation has reached yet.

But should you travel to the Kaokoveld, you will be richly rewarded with meeting the local Ovahimba people. The Ovahimba people to some extent still live as they have hundreds of years ago, this is also no-mans land and you can get the thrill of not seeing any one for a day or two even.

Rivers & greenery

Is the dry Namibia is getting too much for you? Not to fear, we have a beautiful area called the Zambezi. Here its lush and green, with amazing wildlife from hippos to elephant. Animals roam freely in the many unfenced and largely unexplored game parks.

This area is also en-route to the Majestic Victoria falls(on the border between Zambia & Zimbabwe) and many people include this to their itinerary when visiting Namibia.

Namibia is therefore definitely one for the nature lovers.

If shopping, busy nightlife, concerts and parties is your thing, Namibia will be a massive disappointment. Rather here expect meeting few authentic locals, drinking a sun downer, seeing amazing wildlife experiencing wide open spaces and enjoying nature.

Depending on your budget both money and time wise. You will be required to travel a LOT to see the best the country has to offer, or you must decide to either come back a second time, or your last resort would be to deliberately choose to skip a part of the country (last option).

Namibia can be divided into a few key areas:

The South, The West, Etosha, Damaraland, Koakoland & the Zambezi (formerly Caprivi) region. Of course there are many areas n between.. but these are the biggest highlights.

 

Read the next blog post for more detail on each area, to help you decide your trip.

What to wear on your Namibian Holiday

Do not be easily deceived to just assume Namibia is a hot desert country and a tank top and shorts would be sufficient for your holidays. The desert can get bitterly cold during winter nights & the coast is almost always chilly no matter what season you visit.

The good news is, whether it is summer or winter in Namibia, its easy to get the suitcase packed :).

Here are a few tips on what to pack on your  Namibian holiday.

Your packing list:

This packing list is for whatever time of the year you visit Namibia. No matter when you travel here always pack the following :

Summer clothes to pack on your Namibian Holiday:

Namibia is blessed with beautiful abundant sunshine so no matter the season be it summer or winter, you will be able to get some colour on your skin. Pack your swimsuit, shorts and light clothes. In the winter you will use them less, but you WILL need them at some stage.

Something warm:

Here the advice is the same, be it summer or winter you will most likely need something warm. Most people are seriously surprised by how cold our winter nights can get in the desert. Also no matter the season the coast (which I hope you plan to visit) is almost guaranteed to be cold at night. So even if you see the rest of the country soaring in the high 30C, be warned that you will need something warm.

What you will Not need to pack on a Namibian holiday:

Anything related to heavy rain or snow you may leave at home ;). No umbrellas, snow boots, thermal wear etc will be needed in Namibia. They will just steal the space for some extra curios and presents :).

 

Hope this helps you with your packing on your Namibian safari.

Erindi a highlight to your stay…

Erindi is Namibia’s biggest Private Game Reserve and the place to be if you want to see a lot of animals on a shorter visit, including most of the Big 5 if you are lucky.
You can stay at The Old Traders Lodge or Camp Elephant, but we decided to visit the nearby town, Omaruru, where we stayed at Omaruru Guest Lodge.
If you are traveling from Windhoek, Erindi is about 180km Northwest. Make sure you have enough time to make a stop in Okahandja on your way to buy a souvenir at the locals selling handmade African crafts.
A day trip Game drive in Erindi cost NAD700 per person. Book beforehand to make sure you are on time and have a seat on the Cruser. The Game drive through the beautiful savannah fields takes about 3hours with a snack stop halfway. *They provide snacks and beverages.
Bring your camera!! There are a lot of different (and some dangerous) wild life on the Reserve and you most probably won’t see all of them, but the guides do their best to take you near the animals you prefer to see.
We were lucky to see a Black Rhino and her baby on our way to The Old Traders Lodge for the take off of the Game Drive, but don’t stop when you see animals near the road, they are wild…!
The Crusers are open so make sure you know what the weather will be on your trip to Namibia and if you plan to visit Erindi, bring sunblock, a hat, an umbrella and/or a jacket.

On your way:
*Omaruru – Take a walk through this pretty little town, you might be able to find some home made chocolate! Relax at Bambu Wellness Boutique right next to Omaruru Guest house. Omaruru is the gateway to Damaraland, if you drive with a car, I’ll say take the road to Karibib, but if you drive with a “Bakkie” (Pickup truck) then take the road further Northwest to White Lady Lodge in Damaraland, home of the desert Elephant!
*Karibib – On your way back to Windhoek from Omaruru you will have a choice to take a tar or a gravel road. The gravel road is shorter but the tar is much safer. With the tar road, you will drive past Karibib, a small mining town. Stop at Wilhelmstall, a road stall on your way to Okahandja, to taste homemade pies or Biltong!
*Okahandja – Eat/stay at Okahandja Country Hotel… I love their food.
Keep a look out for further posts about where to stay and what to do on your trip in Namibia!

FRI-YAY 5 Awesome sundowner spots in Windhoek

 

 

Around the globe we all have one thing in common, we love Fridays. And…we love cocktails… especially on rooftops with magnificent sunset views!

My 5 favorite sites in Windhoek are:
Rivercrossing Lodge. Outside of Windhoek on the Airport Road. Excellent food, nice cocktail lounge, swimming pool, free internet, amazing view of the nature, mountains and city, and overnight rates are around N$2000 per night, breakfast included. Their road isn’t suitable for a small car.
Nimms, (National Independence Memorial Museum Restaurant). The only building with a 360 degree view of the city. Definitely worth a visit.
Hilton Hotel, Sky bar. Little more expensive than the other cocktail bars in Windhoek, but the vibe at Sky bar with it’s comfy chairs are worth it. There is also a swimming pool, wifi, gym and lovely spa for those who just need to unwind and relax. Rates per night more or less N$1600 and a buffet breakfast to start the day with.
On the Edge restaurant, Hotel Thule, I love a Cosmopolitain, but heard that they have the best Bloody Mary in town. Enjoy the sunset and an amazing snack basket… if you want a more upper class dinner, eat at the hotel’s restaurant, it might just be the best steak or sole you will taste in Windhoek! Their rooms are also around N$1600 per night. Hotel Thule are in a more quite area of the city, very peaceful but further from the shops if you need to walk around.
Hotel Heinitzburg, I am absolutely in love with this beautiful Castle-like hotel, but to be honest, I can only afford one glass of wine or cocktail on an evening… They are expensive but definitely worth the money, the staff are friendly and make you feel at home even when you’re not an in-house guest. Their rooms are around N$ 3000 with breakfast included…

I haven’t been this excited
about FRIDAY
-since –
last Friday
Cheers