Likes & Dislikes

Opinions

“It’s summer here now, which means it’s brutally hot, and the rainy season is just beginning. That means fewer tourists than usual, but to me, there still seems like a lot. It’s hard to picture the crowds in winter when tourists come from Europe for their summer holidays. The infrastructure is perfectly ok, and even if there aren’t asphalt roads everywhere, it’s no problem to drive on the hard dirt roads. Also, tap water is drinkable everywhere.

Windhoek looks like a small city in America and isn’t very interesting. The natural attractions are great, though, and very diverse. The only problem is the distance between them all. All in all, I’d say it’s a great destination for novice visitors to Africa, or those with children, or just anyone who wants a more chill experience. Seasoned travelers won’t find it much of a challenge.” (2017)

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"We spent most of the day driving and waiting in the cars, where I managed to see lots of antelope, zebra, elephant, giraffe, kudu, and lion – many from up close. Continuing our way north, we reached the river Kunene, which marks the border with Angola, and then the Ruacana-Epupa waterfall. The northern part of Namibia is only recommended for experienced travelers since there are no clear road signs, you have to maneuver on tight passes and steep cliffs while driving an SUV full of people, see no fellow Europeans for days, run out of fuel, frequently have to drive in first gear, and wake up in the morning to find you’re on the grazing grounds of a local tribe. The most significant tribes include Herero, Himba, Nama, and Damara.” (2016)

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“My top five experience, which will always be with me when I think of Namibia:
Watching for hours as lions played in Etosha National Park
Climbing up Namibia’s largest dune (Dune 7, near Swakopmund) and running back down again
Looking up at the Milky Way every night
Riding across the Kalahari desert early in the morning (already at 18°C)
Walking with rescued cheetahs

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We spent two weeks in this gorgeous African country, with our three-year-old daughter, on a trip we organized ourselves. We chose Namibia first and foremost for its animal life because many other African national parks or nature reserves don’t allow children under six years old to enter. Namibia is a safe country for tourists, and we never felt uneasy about our personal safety.”
(s.h.v., 2019)

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“We were in Namibia on a private trip with our friends for three weeks! We rented a jeep and drove 6000 km!!! We have returned home with wonderful, unforgettable experiences that only this country can offer. This is the real Africa, not South Africa or Kenya, where tourists have changed the whole country and show visitors an artificial Africa. If I could, I'd be back in Namibia tomorrow! I am happy to give advice to anyone or share my experiences.” (2019)
 

South West Africa - Namibia - horse carriage - Elter photo

South West Africa - Namibia - bushmen talk - Elter photo

South West Africa - Namibia - souvenir sales team - Elter photo

Practicals

Transport

Car rental

If you rent a car, read the contract thoroughly to be sure what exactly the insurance covers.  Rent only a vehicle with a Namibian license plate (South Africans are also in circulation), and which has appropriate paper.

South West Africa - Namibia - massive safari bus - Elter photo

Namibia - road - y.m. photo

Food

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South West Africa - Namibia - mopane worms - local fine dining - Elter Photo

Namibia - Windhoek - Joe's Beerhouse - on the skewer called Busman sosatie - allegedly - springbok, oryx,zebra, ostrich, crocodile and kudu meat - i.k. photo

Shopping

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Namibia - Tsumeb - marketplace - s.v. photo

Fun

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South West Africa - Namibia - revolutionary greeting - Elter photo

Public safety

Most tourist trips to Namibia are trouble-free, but crimes (robbery, even armed one) against foreign tourists are rising, especially in the capital, Windhoek. Attacks can occur in the daytime in a busy downtown area. Car break-ins are common, especially at gas stations. In city centers, pay attention to pickpockets.

Don't hail a taxi on the street because these drivers may belong to criminal groups that specialize in looting tourists. Ask your hotel staff to call a reliable taxi company.

During your trip, keep a copy of your documents (passport, driving license) for possible proofs. It is advisable to leave the original ID at the accommodation (in a safe, if possible) and take only the photocopies with you.

South West Asia - Namibia - adventure pissoir - Elter photo

Health

Like other countries in the region, Namibia is severely affected by the HIV / AIDS epidemic, with nearly 20% of the population infected.
In the rainy season, some malaria risk exists in the northern part of the country

Others

1. It is not worth taking the Namibian dollar out of the country because it is mostly non-convertible elsewhere.

Namibia - Bushman outfit, as traditional loincloth and Rolex - Elter photo

Background

Namibia - national flag

Destination in brief

Namibia is a country in the Southwest of Africa. Neighbors: Angola (north), Zambia (northeast), Botswana (east), South Africa (south).

Size: 825,419 km²  (318,696 mi²)

Capital city: Windhoek

Population (in 2020): 2.6. million - about 50% of the inhabitants belong to the Ovambo ethnic group.

Languages: English is the official language, but only about 2-3% speak it in their private life, where 24 indigenous languages and major dialects are used - 13 languages are recognized as national languages - In the southern parts of the country Afrikaans is spoken as a lingua franca - almost half of the population speaks the Oshiwambo language. 

Religions: 97% Christians (about 50% Lutheran)

Political system:  semi-presidential representative democratic republic

Currency: Namibia Dollar (NAD)

Average net monthly salary (in 2020): 840 USD - (South Africa average: 1140 USD)

Most common surname: Johannes



Geography

“Namibia’s landscapes are extremely diverse: from volcanic plateaus to the exceptionally rainy regions of the north, you can also find dry deserts on the coast. The Namib Desert – the sand of which I can still feel in my eyes – stretches 1,600 kilometers north-south along the coast, with up to 160 kilometers of dunes in some places. Although it is one of the driest areas in the world, I have come across water among the largest sand dunes in the world, up to 300 meters high: the Kuiseb River, which periodically flows into the desert from the surrounding mountains, at last, gives up the fight against drought. Among dunes turned red from high iron content, you sometimes find lakes and fossilized trees. Windy mornings prove to be ideal for exploring the area, as at least it lets us avoid the worst of the scorching sun and heat: this is no bad thing if you’re hoping to explore the area, which is home to some unique fauna.”

South West Africa - Namibia - zebra show - Elter photo

Namibia - black rhinos - Elter photo

Namibia - cheetah - Elter photo

South West Africa - Namibia - seals practising social distancing - Elter photo

Namibia - Sossusvlei Sand Dunes - the world's largest sand dunes - y.m. photo

Climate

Namibia has a subtropical climate with two seasons, summer and winter.  Summer (rainy season) lasts from the end of October to the end of April, with about 30-40C  (86-104F) day temperature, at night 16-20C (61-68F)
Winter (dry season) begins in May and lasts until October. The temperature rises to 20-25C (68-77F) during the day and can drop to minus 5-8 C (18-23F) at night.

History

Beginning of the the 20th Century, Namibia was a German Colony. After World War I, it became territory administered by the League of Nations. Following WW2,  South Africa administered this territory (South West Africa) until independence in 1990.

People

Women of higher rank, valued by members of the community, never consume alcohol in public places. In general, it is not appropriate for women to attend a public bar, clubs, nightclubs because it adversely affects their prestige.

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“We continued north, toward the land of the Himba. This tribe lives only in Angola and Namibia and is famous for preserving their centuries-old traditions and still live like their predecessors. But the visitor is struck most by their external appearance: topless women, kids running around in loincloths, and lots of red paint on their hair and skin.

Well, now they can start on to me about isolation and respect for tradition. The situation is that there is a pretty nice business going on in the village we are visiting. A red-haired, Aryan guy is a sort of guide who organizes groups here. Tourists, like in some sort of zoo, watch and photograph the Himba, who carry on their daily activities. Lying on the ground, picking at their hair and other useful things. They seem to be bored to the death of the many European and Asian people with their cameras. They try to sell one or two pieces of home-made jewelry, but without much enthusiasm, meaning that the revenue isn’t too big either. The laundry in the show-hut is clean, and the hordes of curious onlookers can intrude here, but I would have preferred to see inside one of the huts with a solar panel on top. And where are all the men? They must be somewhere because teenage girls don’t walk around with tummies that big without men around. And as for work, I’m certain that’s not where they are. I was already starting to convince myself that they must be drinking under a tree, but I lost some of my cynicism when I saw some kids fighting over an empty, discarded five-liter bottle.

Poverty is tangible here, as is a lack of pretension, but I won’t get into that here and now. But to boost my mood, I’m telling you that it’s not the fashion here like with the Maasai, women aren’t chopped up when they reach old age. Here they just knock out the lower four teeth. That’s not a joke, I saw it with my own eyes. Smart people can come here and give me a lot of waffle about other cultures, but it’s just barbarism and there isn’t even any sense in it.” (2019)




Namibia - local women - b.l. photo

Namibia - tour guide - b.l. photo

Namibia - girl with traditional dental modification - b.l. photo

Namibia - elder man - s.v. photo

Tourist etiquette

1. Local women dress conservatively, wear long skirts, their shoulders are never exposed. The restrained style of dress is expected from foreign women as well. Locals think that it is indecent, disrespectful, offensive if a woman shows too much of her body. Do not wear clothing that is too tight and open.

Attractions

Etosha National Park

Namibia - Etosha National park - s.d. photo

Namibia - Etosha National Park - orix gazella - l.p. photo

Namibia - Etosha National Park - crossing without zebra crossing - e.v. photo

Namibia - Etosha National Park - s.t. photo

Skeleton Coast

,, Business spirit on the Skeleton Coast ... :)
Many tourists visit the Zeila shipwreck, which is "in principle" at the Skeleton Coast. Locals placed on the sand a human skeleton created from pieces of animal bones (especially from seals).  The terrible naive tourists than hurry to this skeleton to take pictures, and local guys ask money for the ,,permission", and by the way, sell the visitors some crystals, stones, or carved Makalani balls. "

Namibia - Skeleton Coast - Zeila shipwreck - i.k. photo

Namibia - Skeleton Coast - Elter photo

Safaris

“Our first safari stop was Erindi, a private reserve where tourists are taken for two three-hour safaris, once in the morning and once in the evening, in 9-person vehicles. Children under the age of six are not allowed to go on this excursion, but young children can go on the one-hour safari, which is usually a couple of hours before lunch. The pictures will tell you the kinds of animals we saw. Nat-Geo for adults is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, allowing you to see these amazing creatures in their natural habitat. Etosha National Park is state-owned, and anyone can visit and drive around it in their own car. You can only enter the park after sunrise and have to leave it by sunset – so long as you haven’t booked accommodation within the park, because that is also a possibility. After just one kilometer a herd of 30 elephants crossed our path, and if you stop and wait at the best watering holes, something always happens (if you’re traveling with children it’s worth bringing some coloring books, as well as a good pair of binoculars that they can use as well).” (2019)



Windhoek

Population (in 2020): 431,000

Namibia - Windhoek - in the middle: The Christ Church (Lutheran) - m.t. photo

Namibia - Windhoek - s.a. photo

Windhoek - b.m. photo

Namibia - Windhoek - National Museum - K Elter photo

Swakopmund

“Swakopmund is a German city on the Atlantic coast, where the shadow of a palm tree falls on a hundred-year-old Lutheran church, where sand blown from the desert is swept off the streets in the morning, and where local Africans also drink beer made to German standards.

From its geographical location alone, it is already special. It’s especially spectacular from the air to see how this city on the Atlantic coast is surrounded by the desert. For a visitor, the most remarkable thing about this city is the way, even in the suburban districts, the sand blown in by the wind is swept up and removed every morning. And that local travel agencies organize off-road tours to the surrounding sand dunes.

The Benguela current which flows along the coast cools the city to a pleasant 22-23 degrees in summer, which decreases by only a few degrees at night, but the temperature does not fall much lower in winter, either. The current prevents cloud formation, so rain is rare, but fog can often form, penetrating several kilometers over the Namib Desert.” (2017)


Namibia - Swakopmund - s.v. photo

Namibia - Swakopmund - Hohenzollernhaus (built in 1904–1906, during German colonial period) - b.l. photo

Namibia - Swakopmund - b.l. photo

Namibia - Swakopmund - Tobias Hainyeko Street - b.l. photo

Spitzkoppe

“The granite cliffs of Spitzkoppe. The highest point of the mountain range protruding from the plain is 1784m and has been subjected to erosion for 120 million years.
When I was getting ready for the trip, I looked at the satellite footage to see what the area looked like and came across an interesting mountain range in the area, which from above reminded me of a full pair of lips.
But it's way more than that from up close. Is it any wonder that I look forward to today with heightened anticipation?

As we moved away from the oceanfront, the look of the villages became authentically African, without any transition. The neat houses were replaced by the mud huts and the tin shacks. Altogether we had a hundred kilometers of the road ahead of us, and we stopped off at a marketplace built directly for passing tourists, where the bulk of the stock was made up of stones and crystals mined in the area, most elegantly wrapped in plastic and placed on the sort of polyurethane tray you might get a slice of pizza on. A sign at the entrance announces that the market and its restrooms were built with German aid. We also tried the latter and pressed the ten Namibian dollars (per person) into the hands of a girl around the age of eight standing at the entrance – a fee that is a multiple of the prescribed tariff. Then, while I was washing my hands at the interesting structure in front of the building, a deaf-mute old woman came over and roared loudly at the frightened little girl. I didn’t understand what she was saying, but suddenly she came up and told to me to pay me the fee for the restroom. I explained to her that I had already done so, and what would happen if she continued to harangue a poor child.

Spitzkoppe really is a big deal. That's what Stanley Kubrick, who shot 2001: A Space Odyssey here, must have thought. Romantic and deserted, at least when we arrived, and not a soul was in the campsite, which practically surrounds half the mountain range. We are already protected by barbed wire and a high-voltage fence here, but I suspect it is not so much because of the animals as because of the settlements scattered nearby. Camping with a small risk of death.
I haven’t mentioned it yet, but these nomadic campsites are all equipped with English-style toilets, and there’s even paper in each. I don’t want to start talking about beer again, but when you’re immersed in a landscape like this, at the end of the world, and you take a sip from a pre-chilled can, you realize how well-prepared Namibia is for travelers.

After lunch, we embarked on a tour with a local guide, the endpoint of which was to see Bushmen cave drawings on one of the peaks. Climbing the steep mountainside is aided by a fixed chain, but the ground also grips well, and anyone with normal fitness could manage. The cave drawings were a little disappointing since only two or three animals had been scratched into the wall, and they may have been just two hundred years old or so. As the guy tried to sell this unimpressive spectacle to us and to grab our attention by speaking the click language of the Bushmen, I wondered whether this could really be the best heritage on offer in Africa, a continent called the cradle of humanity. Why is it that, with the exception of the Muslim parts of North Africa, nothing was built on this continent while the Incas were building fortifications out of tons of rocks, the Chinese were burying their rulers with a terracotta army, not to mention Europe, where the Rhine, Tiber, and the Danube are practically ancient monuments from end to end? Why did African peoples not evolve with the world? Why didn't empires emerge? Most people here remain hunter-gatherers to this day. You occasionally see animal husbandry, (goats graze in the wilderness) but it is revealing how much the land is not cultivated even where the conditions would be ideal. Close parenthesis.

We visited another rock formation, which offers the most beautiful view of the sunset. But here I go again! What do we keep staring at this dumb celestial body? Here is everything you need for a postcard. Natural arches, and giant stone spheres stacked on top of each other as if they were part of a gigantic work of art. Eventually, the sun goes down and we stumble back to our tents in the dark. Mama Soly treats us to a Zimbabwean dinner consisting of grilled oryx meat and some polenta-like mash with hazelnut cabbage. It’s perfect right before going to bed.” (2019)


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