With its savannah, mountainous sand dunes, exceptional wildlife, salty deserts, canyons, mountains and a few kilometers away the prestigious Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, Namibia will meet the expectations of the most demanding traveler. If the country has fewer sites to visit than its neighbor South Africa, it is nonetheless a great natural spectacle. Here is a suggested itinerary to see the best of Namibia.
For a few hundred quid return flight ticket from Windhoek, the capital of Namibia, do not miss out on the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. The ones travelling on a budget have also the option to go by car (3 to 5 days from Windhoek) crossing the Botswana via Ghanzi to Kasane. The falls are located an hour away from the border at the Namesake village of Victoria Falls and the visa can be obtained at the border for 30 USD. If you are travelling by car, return to Namibia along the Caprivi Strip, the northern part of the country before heading to Etosha Park. Get deep into the Caprivi park only with a 4×4 vehicle.
Etosha will surprise you with the variety of its wildlife: Elephants, lions, zebras, giraffes, buffaloes, and many others animal live there. No need for a guide or a tour operator to visit the park; you will be able to ride freely and stop as you feel like it. Look for water points, this is where animals will go, particularly in the dry season (May to October). Although it is forbidden to leave the vehicle, expect to be very close from nature! Some campsites and hotels are available for you to stay in the park
The Skeletons coast
There, an atmosphere of “the End of the world” with a dark sky and the place littered with shipwrecks and animal skeletons. The Namibian Bushman are said to have called it ‘the land God made in anger’, the Portuguese explorers referred to it as the ‘Gates of Hell’. The landscape and the climate change radically and the contrast with the rest of the country is striking. An entire colony of Cape fur seals can be found in this uninhabitable environment. If the smell is unbearable, the show is unforgettable.
Swakopfmund and Walwis Bay
The only other city in the country apart of Windhoek, easily accessible from the capital. Here the German colonial is shown in the town’s architecture, its buildings and its local gastronomy. Located halfway between the Skeleton Coast and Sossusvlei, you’ll probably spend a day and a night there before heading into the Namib Desert.
Deadvlei and Sossusvlei
Not far from Sossusvlei, Deadvlei. You might experience a sense of déjà vu. Don’t be surprised, you might have already seen photos of red dunes overlooking at what it looks like petrified pitch-black trees coming out of a bleached-white cracked clay pan. The place is out of this world and one of the top attraction. Easily accessible by road from the village of Solitaire, and located in the heart of the Namib Desert, you will be able to camp for a handful of dollars, at Sesriem the entrance of the park. Be sure to visit the park as soon as it opens (5:45am) to enjoy the sunrise, the light and avoid the heat. If the adventure tempts you, climb up the dunes of Sossusvlei more than 500m, and then run down the slopes: the descent, enjoyable, will take you to the heart of the desert, where you can stroll and immortalize the beauty of the site. Don’t forget to take water with you.
Lake Oanob and Windhoek
Before heading back to Windhoek, make a stop at the Lake Oanob, a place with few tourists, offering the possibility for swimming, canoeing and wondering around. As for the city of Windhoek, it’s good to hang out, buy souvenirs and eat local food. You must try out the very popular restaurant Joe’s Beerhouse restaurant before taking your flight home.
The greatest natural spectacle is here.
Unless you prefer travelling with an organised tour, hiring an economy class like a Toyota Corrolla is more than enough to visit these sites by yourself. A four wheels drive will get you a little further in your excursions but is not indispensable. Pay attention to speed cameras in the national parks and the numerous potholes on the roads.
Although it is very easy to find a stay in Namibia (hotels, resorts, B & B, guest houses), book your accommodation ahead during the high season, especially in the national parks. Having your tent and camping gear are very convenient for such trips. Campsites are of a very good quality and very affordable.