Namibia – one of Africa’s Best Kept Secrets

Recently an opportunity to travel to Namibia for a 10-day tour presented itself, I grabbed it! Having lived in South Africa for 34 years it disappointed me that I, and I’m not alone, had never been to Namibia, having only seen and heard positive feedback on its underlying natural beauty, its abundance of wildlife, its monster dunes which locals refer to as their mountains, and the remnants of a very strong German colonial-era influence which can be seen everywhere.

First stop was a 4000 hectare working farm about an hour from Windhoek, Namibia’s capital, where game drives, walks in the bush, target shooting, sundowners on a purpose-built platform on the top of a big hill, followed by the customary braai back at the farm house became the daily routine. Peaceful and tranquil, the only thing that didn’t relax was the trigger on my camera.

From there it was a half-day drive to Swakopmund, a beautiful coastal town situated on the eastern side. On route we experienced some dramatic changes of scenery, most clearly illustrated by our arrival in the dunes on the periphery of the town. Abounding in German-style architecture, it’s a beautiful place, where a morning ride on a 4-wheeler in the dunes is a must and where a ‘Boot of Beer’ and an Eisbein is compulsory if you want to truly experience what Swakopmund has to offer.

Packed up we headed north for the Etosha National Park, possibly the greatest treasure that can be found in Namibia. Staying in a campsite just 2 kilometres outside one of the main Park gates, I was amazed at both the size and affordability of our designated camp area not to mention the fact that we had our own private ablution block which was fit for living in.

On entering Etosha we headed for the waterholes and became immediately awestruck by the abundance of wildlife that presented itself there. More Zebras than I’ve ever seen before and herds of elephants out for a morning drink and a shower-down. On one of the link roads we then came across two lions chilling on the side which presented a fantastic photo opportunity, but definitely make sure your electric car windows are working before you open them too far!

All in all, we barely touched the surface of what Namibia has to offer. It really is a big country, some 824 292 square kilometres, and it’s amazing to think that it’s so sparsely populated with only 2.48 million people. It’s a place that gets inside your soul, the beauty of the land, the friendliness of those that live there, and once it’s got a hold on you, it will bring you back for more.