How to make the most of your trip to Namibia

Today’s post was written by Femke Gow.

Namibia, Africa, is located on the south-west coast and stretches across a vast landscape of natural beauty. The Etosha National Park is found within Namibia’s borders and is home to a number of elephants who stroll around the shrubs and grassy plains located here. These animals have gradually adapted to the dry conditions of the desert over many years, making them much wiser than us on our excitable travels. Indeed, if you have the luxury of visiting the immensity of Etosha National Park, make sure you bring enough water to last your journey, as the air is very dry and dusty – also shelter yourself from the sun, no matter how much you’d like a tan, and stay cool!

Tip; The best time to visit most national parks and animal sanctuaries is very early in the morning, as this is when most of the animals are out and about. Luckily, due to the extraordinarily dry conditions of Namibia, throughout the period of May to September, the animals gather in bulk around the watering holes, allowing for very easy viewing of the larger than life animals.

If you’re looking for other attractions this country has so many more treats to offer. The majestic sand dunes of Sossusvlei, which ironically means the place of gathering water, are the highest sand dunes in the world and in my opinion, Namibia’s best, most impressive feature. These naturally formed mountains of sand are constantly being shifted by the wind, moving further and further inland, creating ever-changing shapes and patterns grooved into the sand. This however, is not the only fluid characteristic of the dunes; the best time to visit Sossusvlei is during very late and very early hours, as close to sunrise or sunset as possible, as the colourful, warm sky is reflected off the sand. The vividly painted sky melts over the dunes, ranging from orange to red to a deep, almost lavender colour.

These dunes have also gradually been moving away from the coast of Namibia, which was once known as the Skeleton coast. The coast is simply littered with the remnants of old ships that have washed up on shore and almost blend in with the sand. Shipwrecks however, are not the only carcasses found on the Skeleton Coast. Beach whale and seal bones are also found, dating back to the days of the whaling industry. As morbid as it sounds, there is still a surprising amount of life there. Skeleton Coast is also home to desert adapted elephants, rhinos and large cats. All of this can best be seen if you fly in and get a birds-eye view of the eerie but majestic features of the coast.

A final destination in Namibia that I would recommend would without a doubt be Twyfelfontein, an art gallery carved in the red-rock walls by ancient native Bushmen. These carvings emit a sort of spirit, based on the notion that many carve into these walls as a means of entering a supernatural life and existing among the spirits. They carved very basic, rural images of the game they saw, telling stories of epic hunting journeys and battles of animals, and animals against man. As in all of these prime locations in Namibia, there is a best and worst time to go. The heat of the afternoon tends to make photography difficult, so in order to make an everlasting memory, either early morning or late evening to catch the sunset as well. Namibia is easily one of the most majestic, historically beautiful and naturally well-preserved environments I have ever had the privilege of experiencing. Ensure that on your visit, you feast your eyes upon every natural beauty that this country has to offer, and if you have the time, explore the rest of Africa in the most down to earth way as possible to absorb its culture and come away with some amazing images imprinted in your mind.

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