Planning a trip, highlights and helpful links, Namibia
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.
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.
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 ;-)
Namibia was the experience of a lifetime. There was, in retrospect, no way we would not have loved our trip to this out of the way and beautiful land.
But our guide, Julia Tress, made it so much more special. If you'd like to find Julia, she works for CCAfrica. Contact them at www.ccafrica.com. Tell her that Pete from Florida recommended her.... and tip her well.
There are quite a few very good guides in the area. My advice is to find people who've traveled with guides and ask for names. Word of mouth means more than anything else.
Fondest memory: The bonding that took place between our wonderful guide Julia and my daugher Sara. Julia made the trip special for Sara, and since we went TO Namibia primarily to satiate my daughter's love of wildlife, her contribution was the prime factor in making this trip one of the best we'll ever take.
Just as a general tip, let me point out that the South African Rand is interchangeable with the local Namibian $ for cash transactions. In some cases, you'll even be given South African coins or bills as change in Namibia.
This comes in handy if you wish to obtain cash before entering Namibia. While $N are tough to find outside Namibia, most large international airports in Europe and Asia will have a ready supply of South African Rand for exchange.
Think twice what you write on the immigration form when you enter the country. We really made an honest mistake, and ended in one hour consultation of the immigration officers. When we left, though, nothing of it happened again - but we had written down a different reason for our travels.
Fondest memory: The friendliness of people, and their warm welcome. The small children playing with me something my own mother taught me decades ago - and even though we had no common language, we still had it: the language of friendship.
Go to Etosha!!! Namutoni and Okukuejo get excellent reviews, but personally, Halali had just the best, most natural way of viewing, I thought, and it was one of the most moving experiences of my life.
And I'd have to put in a pitch for my community, Okovimburu where I lived for 3 months.
Fondest memory: This is a hard one....Halali was a personal moment that will never be forgotten, my dream come true. But the times I spent with my fellow volunteers and my Namibian family make me teary-eyed when I remember them....
And you can't beat the solitude and the sunsets over the desert were unbeatabe, except maybe by the storms when rainy season was just starting out....most incredible thing i've ever seen.
Don't miss: Ethosha National Park, the Sossusvlei, The Epupa-falls in the North near Angola, the Himba's in the North (Kaokoland) and the Fish River Canyon !!!
(this picture I found on the internet)
Fondest memory: I loved the sanddunes !!!
Meet the Desert Elephants
SENSITIVE and sustainable tourism can solve many conservation problems, says Johannes Haasbroek, founder of Elephant Human Relations Aid (EHRA).
His organisation has started a project to bring in groups of overseas environmental volunteers for four weeks at a time.
"It works on the same basis as Earthwatch, but is much more labour intensive," says Haasbroek.
With a group arriving each month from June to October this year, Haasbroek hopes to build at least five new protected water points for communities in the Sorris Sorris conservancy.
About six farms in the area were left without water during the past rainy season when elephants moved into the area to find green mopani trees.
Desert elephants have been returning to the Ugab River and surrounding areas in the Erongo Region over the past couple of years after an absence of about 50 years.
With their numbers on the increase, communal farmers have been the hardest hit as the jumbos effortlessly destroy water points in their quest for fresh water.
These water points are the local communities only lifeline to survival in an otherwise desert environment.
At the same time the struggling communities have come to realise the value of the elephants in terms of tourism and the income they could generate for them.
One solution to promote symbiosis between the communities and elephants is to build protective walls around water points.
Fondest memory: The vast open spaces - magnificent colours - amazing landscapes
Favorite thing: It is a country of contrasts where cultures live together peacefully, where traditions collide and Old and New co-exist without visible problems. Here in Otjiwarongo, a Herero lady in her fabulous outfit strolls down the street after shopping in a hyper-modern supermarket.
Canoe while exploring the geological wonder of Snail Mountain and camping on Orange river banks. Sleeping under the stars. Climbing highest dunes in Sossusvlei, hiking in Fish River Canyon, Hotair balooning over the desert or just do the 'Africa' bit in Etosha National Park.
Fondest memory: Am I on moon, mars in some prehistoric place or elsewhere?? Dramatic changes of scenery everynow and then.
Should you feel undecided about Namibia because you've never been to arid areas or deserts. Here's my suggestion for you. Should you be visiting Cape Town, or South Africa travelling on a flexible international ticket. Try to change your returnflight via Windhoek. Chances are you'll end up on a local flight touching down in Walvis Bay or another town on the way to Windhoek.
Make sure you have a windowseat! Now just watch and ejoy. Could it be evolution shown in timewarp?
The WAY is the destination! It's never been more true than in Namibia's case. If you're not hooked after this, I'm afraid, I can't help you.
Fondest memory: the awesome "Moonscapes" along the Swakop River Valley or the overwhelming planes of the largest lichen fields in the world.
Completely unexpected came the wild horses in the middle of nowhere.
I'm still to go, but equally in tandem,
SOUSSIESVLEI SAND DUNES and
ETOSHA PAN ANIMAL MIGRATION
Fondest memory: The space and quietness;
The semi precious stones;
The Germanic influence;
Springer choclates, especially the sugar crystal encrusted liquer ones, and nutty or truffles, they're all yummies;
Smoked Game meats: ..........
...............................ad infinitum ;-(
Experience with one's 5 senses
it's amazing diversity
SOURCE of satellite photo:http://spacelink.nasa.gov/NASA.Projects/Human.Exploration.and.Development. f.Space/Human.Space.Flight/Shuttle/Shuttle.Missions/Flight.072.STS-73/STS-73.Mis ion.Images/Africa.Namibia.Kalihari.STS-73.gif
Fondest memory: It's German cultural links,
It's Geological wonders,
Favorite thing: Namibia is an extremely surprising country. It was one which I had not planned to visit but was part of the safari tour which I chose. It is diverse countryside amazed me and I felt it was one of the best countries I've ever visited. You must see the dunes at Sossusvlei. These are sand dunes the likes I had never seen before. After climbing Dune 17 I had to just sit and reflect.