A Crash Course in Camping Around Namibia
A man once said to me that it is possible to know how wonderful a country is through the words of a storyteller; if you can close your eyes and imagine yourself being there, you will know if you must book your travel arrangements.Namibia is a very low densely populated country; with only 2.2 million people living there, you can just imagine the extensive list of things there is to do and see outdoors. From climbing the iconic red sand dunes to seeing the mud formations at Dead Vlei, a visit to Namibia will definitely be jam-packed, whether you choose to camp from place to place around the country or travel in your 4x4.
Take a hot air balloon over NamibRand Nature Reserve
NamibRand Nature Reserve in the capital city of Windhoek is a private reserve that works to preserve the intricate ecosystems and wildlife of the south-west Namib Desert. It is perhaps the largest nature reserve in Southern Africa; spanning a colossal 202,200 hectares, it runs alongside Namib-Naukluft National Park in the west and the Nubib Mountains in the east. By day, you can travel by air balloon across the reserve and have an unparalleled view of the landscapes that lie below, take a cross-country vehicle across the plains or walk on foot with tour guides. By night, you can stay at any one of NamibRand’s lodges or resorts and gaze up at the stars, for it has been named as Africa’s first international dark sky reserve. At Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, you can join the resident astronomers and gaze through the impressive 12 inch Meade LX200R telescope at the exquisite celestial wonder that lies above Namibia’s captivating landscape.
Visit Impalila Island and see the wonders it holds
If you happen to be in Katima Mulilo, then Impalila Island is definitely somewhere you should consider visiting. An island that sits just off the far eastern tip of Namibia and has the Zambezi River running alongside the north, the island is about 12km in length and 6km in width. Impalila Island has a number of small fishing and farming villages, complete with schools, shops and churches. Impalila attracts tourists from all over the world to see the game and birds that inhabit the island. The rich forests are filled with a range of shrubs and trees such as baobab, water figs and star chestnut trees. The largest and oldest baobab tree that grows in the middle of the island can be climbed, as it has a makeshift ladder running up the length, making it possible for those who dare to, climb to the top to cast their eyes upon the point where four countries meet- Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Namibia.
Relax on the Zambezi Houseboat
A cruise on the Zambezi Houseboat is without a doubt one of the most breathtaking experiences you can have. Watching the game tend their herds and graze down by the waterholes in the Chobe National Park and spotting some of the 400 species of birds that fly over the Zambezi River are two things that you can do. Alternatively, you can ride on a mokoros to view the birds. A mokoros is a dug-out canoe and can drift into the small islands that are on the Chobe River and the polers that will guide your tour have extensive knowledge of all the various bird species to be found during the trip.
Jump on a kayak and see the seals at Pelican Point
If travelling by boat is your preferred way of getting around, then you must consider taking a kayak trip to Pelican Point. Upon arriving at Pelican Point, you are greeted by three colonies of Cape Fur seals, each colony having up to 6000 in population size. The kayak trips start from 7:45 in the morning from Mola Mola Safaris in Walvis Bay. The seals are very playful, swimming and jumping around the boats. After a long morning on the kayak, you can return to the beach where warm rolls and coffee await your return.
Hike through Fish River Canyon
One attraction in Namibia that you definitely cannot miss is the hike through Fish River Canyon; consisting of an almighty 5 steps, this immense hike which lasts a few days is challenging but rewarding in terms of the terrain that you will see. Fish River Canyon is in the south of Namibia and is 550m deep, 27km wide and 160km long, with a trail lasting a total of 85km. The night before is spent 12km from the head of the trail in the Hobas campsite. Upon descending into the canyon you will discover exactly why legend tells of a dragon’s tail being the cause of this seemingly natural formation; one question that is prominent in your mind is, ‘just how was this canyon created?’, due to the rocky ravines that decorate the area.
Dance the night away in Windhoek
In terms of entertainment, Windhoek is the most popular place to go. You can make a visit to the National Theatre of Namibia, information on showings can be found in the Namibian newspaper. A popular spot to have a drink at is El Cubano- situated at the foot of the Hilton Hotel, you can waltz down from your hotel room and relax in an internationally acclaimed hotel. If it is a nightclub that you require, then ‘The Funky Lab’ is one of Namibia’s hottest night-time spots. Café Balalaika is timeless; café by day and live music bar by night, it has one of the largest rubber trees in the city of Windhoek.
So, if you visit Namibia, make sure you are ready to have a whale of a time and see as much as you can in this country that never sleeps…