Namibia is a country where a guide is necessary.
I went with Kananga, a spanish travel agency that have a diferent style and make your travels real good and far away from other organizes tours (www.kananga.com).
I did have the great luck to have Uanee Karuuombe as guide. He is just the perfect man to introduce you to this country. With him you will get close to animals, vegetation and culture. He explains us about the Herero and Himba people, that he is part of. He stopped the bus every time we founded a new kind of animal or plants explaining us about them. He had very good eyes that saw for far away lions, birds or what ever.
Roads are sometimes difficult, and getting lost is very dangerous cause you can be long time without seeing no one.
If you want the best guide call Uanee and he will guide you through a country he knows and love.
If you want to call him the better day must be on Saturdays, many tours finish that day and he will have his cell working.
The Risk of catching Malaria is different depending on what Areas you visit.
high Risk (time=months): Cubango-Valley, Kunene-Valley, Caprivi Strip (1-12); rest of the North, as well as Etosha Park, Otjozondjupa, Omaheke (11-6)
Risk (time): rest of the North, as well as Etosha Park, Otjozondjupa, Omaheke (7-10)
Free from Malaria: Cities and the South
It is advised in any case to protect yourself agains Mosquito bites. Use repellent and wear long, light clothes in the morning and evening.
If you stay in a high risk Area, you have to take the Malaria medication before, during and after your journey: Mefloquin (LARIAM® / MEPHAQUIN®), or Atovaquon + Proguanil (MALARONE®) or Doxycyclin.
If you are staying in a risk area, you have to have the Malaria medication with you, but you only have to take it, if you get fever. :
(Mefloquin (LARIAM® / MEPHAQUIN®), or Atovaquon + Proguanil (MALARONE®) or Artemether + Lumefantrin (RIAMET®))
Prepare for the stay:
The following immunisations are advised for everyone:
Diphtherie , Tetanus , Hepatitis A , Poliomyelitis
In special situations (if you work for helo groups and so) the following is advised:
Hepatitis B , Abdominaltyphus , Tollwut
Yellow fever: If you come from an yellowfever endemic area you have to have your shots (and prove for it)
This is a BIG problem here. About 20% of the working population is positive. 18'000 new infections per year.
The hospitals are good and you will not have any problems with transmission there. But if you think about Sex, use a condom! There is just no way around it.
take with you what you normally need. Remember, the next hospital or pharmacy can be some hundred miles away.
Don't forget something against Pain, First Aid Kit, Diarrhoe (not a big problem, but anyway), and maybe some Antibiotics.
It is not so easy to see Lions as other kind of animals at Namibia. I saw this beautiful lion at Africat Fundation, so she was not free.
I also saw lions at Etosha the second day of being there, this time free, as all animals are at Etosha. They where at a waterhole at 6:30 am near the camp. Over 20 lions together resting at the waterhole, given an incredible beautiful imagen. My camera hasn't have a good zoom so I didn't get a good imagen
This is the other kind of bird I saw at Namibia that where very easy to distinguish from the others.
This bird had a incredible bright red chest, very red and shining. I saw it at Africat and at Etosha.
Have you ever seen something more red than this bird? I havent
I did saw cheetahs 2 times in my 14 day travel along Namibia. In both time they where not free cheetahs. The first time I saw one was at Quiver Tree Forest Camp. They had one there 3 cheetahs and they let us to get inside the fence while he was eating. He didn't look at us, he was only thinking in his meal.
The second time was at Africat Foundation. They had many cheetahs together in a big plot. The cheetahs where call for meal and they all come running. The keepers gave them the meal and meanwhile we were invited to get inside the fence without protection. When they finished their meal they began to look at us. They look strait to the eyes, and is not very comfortable
There is a big problem with cheetahs and farmers at Namibia. This animals go to the farms and kills the farm animals so the farmers get angry. What Africat Foundation does is to try to explain farmers not to kill cheetahs and to call them if they catch one so that they can take care of them, Not an easy job.
What I saw of these animals is that they are like dogs for some people ... nearly like dogs ... and they must not be very dangerous when in both times I saw them they let us get inside the fence they where.
There are 2 kind of birds I saw at Namibia that I never seen before and that were easy to difference from the others for me.
This beautiful bird ... (I don't remember the name) was easy to see at Etosha and at Africat Fundation. They where near the cheetas when they where feed to try to catch what ever they left.
In Namibia it is not only done if you just rent a car. Most roads (about 90%) are gravel and the conditions differ from quite good (even and straight) to very bad (lots of potholes and river crossings).
It does not necessarily have to be a 4WD, but if you really want to see something, I would recommend one.
Check the insurance your Car rental offers. Note that in a lot window breakings are not included (this happens a lot if you drive reckless on gravel, mostly if you cross other cars)
Do not only take 1 spare tire, take 2. We have seen people changing tires and after that, driving 1 mile just to the next blown tire...
Take enough gas with you - it can happen that the next gas station is some hundered miles or more away...
Take the tools with you to fix the car, also something to inflate the tires !
Bring a good flash light or other light for the nights.
Take a shovel with you. This is not only good for leveling out the car, but also if you have to dig out of sand holes or if you go on the "toilet".
Always take enough water with you. Namibia is mostly desert, remember that.
Some Car rentals also offer cooling boxes and such. Take them.
If you go camping, rent a camping equipment (with gas heater and pots etc.) and check them before leaving. Some Car rentals also offer this equipment.
Bring good enough maps. Even if there are not so many roads in Namibia, there are always ways to get lost.
Fondest memory: This (in the picture) is my boyfriend with a tire.
Even the best tires can get ripped on this roads.
We were lucky, it did not blow -yet. But it was a close call.
One of the five big are easy seen at Etosha. Males alone and Females and youngs in big groups of 15 or 20.
At one of the Etosha's waterholes we saw up to 3 big groups of Elephants at the same time.
There were a little conflict when few adults males where at the same time at the same waterhole. Young elephants plaid to scare other games that wanted to drink some water, so while the elephant where at the waterholes the others must wait.
Namibia is a big country and the gravel roads mean that you can’t cover large distances, so you need to plan your route carefully to fit in everything you most want to see, especially if like us your time is limited. We had only two weeks, so had to make some tough decisions about what NOT to see as well as what we would fit in. With that amount of time you can probably see either the northern half, or the southern half, or like we did, focus on a band in the centre.
This meant that Fish Canyon in the south, and the Caprivi Strip in the north were off our list. Regretfully we eliminated the Skeleton Coast too, on grounds of cost – that, and the Caprivi Strip, are still very definitely on the list for a return visit!
So what route did we follow? Starting from Windhoek we drove south to the Kalahari and then west to the Namib Desert and Sesriem. Then north and west again to Walvis Bay and Swakopmund. From there further north up the coast and then inland to Damaraland and beyond to Etosha. Finally we drove back south to Windhoek.
This route filled the two weeks comfortably. With a little more time, and hindsight, I would have split the drive from Sesriem to Swakopmund into two days as it was long and tiring on those roads, and would have tried to fit in an extra day in Swakopmund so we could have done one of the flights over the Skeleton Coast (by the time we arrived the next day’s tours were booked up, and we had to leave the following day). Otherwise, this is a route I can certainly recommend if you have limited time and money.
Favorite thing: You will find free ostrich as you drive through Namibia. This Ostrich I found it at Aus Klein Vista Camp. Hi was with his female in a big plot, but free ones are very easy to see, and is something that for me was very curious cause ... I didn't imagen this animals to be wild ones
Exploring a country on your own takes a different dimension when you know what you are doing, and makes the waiting and preparation to get there so much more fun!! (Warning - such research is especially wonderful and enticing if you are supposed to be studying for an important exam instead!! .......)
Do invest in a guide book, to help with the preparation and to take with you for reference. The best one around at the moment is Bradt's Namibia
If you are a wildlife lover like me, than it is absolutely necessary to familiarise yourself with what you might encounter BEFORE setting foot in Namibia. A good all round book for general information is Bradt's Southern African Wildlife. If you will need more detail, especially concerning the birds, one of the best guides around is Sassol's Birds of Southern Africa. More info on animal behaviour can be found in the excellent book The Safari Companion (Richard D.Estes)
Of course all this should be supplemented by plenty of research from the net, and especially VT ;-)
Giraffe are easy to be seen throughout the park. I only saw them at Etosha park. It was the first animal I saw as I get inside the park.
Especially easy to see along the roads. I saw them at the waterholes, near the roads ... especially curious to see them at night waterhole. Always attend to noises and looking around for possible dangerous
Meeting and interacting with local people is always an important addition to the overall impressions of the country. In case of Namibia I'll have wonderful memories. I didn't have a chance to make friends or spend time discussing some important issues, but those short moments of exchanging a few kind words and smiles were very frequent and I managed to record some of them on my camera.
I hardly ever take pictures of people without their permission. It should be a point of each traveller's etiquette - people are not part of the landscape. When you ask them they usually agree, at least in Namibia.
Photo one - that young girl holding a baby was standing with a group of friends next to a shop in Bethanie. We started talking to them and it turned out she was a young mother. She looks so beautiful with her baby daughter.
Photo two - We met this young woman with her son also in Bethanie. The boy looked so cute in his wollen cap that we asked them to pose for a picture.
Photo three - We bumped into this lady several times while walking around Swakopmund. So when we met again in the supermarket we burst into laughter and I asked her for a picture.
Just a few smiles and words, but I will remember those people for a long time.
Meeting children is one of the things I love. Perhaps my teacher's soul doesn't leave me even when I'm on holidays? Besides, children are so easy to approach. They have no inhibitions and are curious to get to know someone from a foreign country, even if verbal communication is very limited.
So here are the photo recollections of some of the kids met in Namibia:
Photo one - the boys from Bethanie. What made us curious was a very simple car toy the boys were playing with. When we expressed our interest, the boys proudly posed for a photo.
Photo two - school kids in Swakopmund. When talking to them I remembered the school children I met in Cambodia. The ones here, in their clean uniforms and with fashionable school bags, look much more lucky.
Photo three - the little boy met at the Herero stall proudly showed the big sun glasses presented to him by some tourists
Photo four - Himba kid. The kids we visited in their village seemed to enjoy playing pranks on us - like leaving traces of their ochre-coloured hands on our clothes.
Kudus are especially beautiful animals of great grace and elegance. I saw this group at 17:30 at Etosha but I also saw some out Etosha ... not in my plate :) ...
They are easy distinguish because they are big and have very big ears that make them look very handsome ... for me is one of the most beautiful antelope they have a loud call
We only stayed for one night sadly, as on our return to Windhoek we travelled on to a game farm. But...more
If you want a good campsite at Sossusvlei (Sesriem campsite) you need to book in Windhoek and/or...more
the hotel was well located and the rooms that I had to pass by on the way to mine looked good. Mine...more
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