I recently had the privilege and pleasure to spend 6-nights visiting 3 different Wilderness Safaris lodges. It was only a taste, but it was enough to learn that Namibia is a beautiful, unique, diverse, and breathtaking country! The landscapes alone are worth the long flights to get there and the opportunities to explore the unique environments and meet the warm, hospitable Namibian people are what make you want to stay.
I was only in Namibia for a short time and there is still so much more I want to see and explore. But, I did learn a lot about travel to Namibia and things to keep in mind if you are considering a trip to see this amazing destination. Here are my general take-aways about the country:
1) Namibia is NOT a traditional safari destination. If you want to go to Africa to see as many animals as possible, Namibia may not be the right destination for you. There is plenty of wildlife here, but you won’t see large herds of plains animals and the predators will be even harder to find. You could drive for hours and all you might see is a jackal. So, If this is your first safari, Namibia may not be the right destination for you. But, if you’ve been on safari before or if you are interested in seeing uniquely adapted desert animals or a large variety of bird species then absolutely, please consider visiting Namibia!
2) Namibia is a photographer’s dream! If you are looking for unique and interesting subjects to photograph, Namibia is more than happy to play the role of supermodel. The landscapes are vast and varied, so you’ll definitely want a wide-angle lens, but there are also many opportunities to get up close and personal with the smaller details and a good zoom will come in handy. I had great fun hanging out with and photographing this little beetle one morning in Sossusvlei:
3) Namibia is an excellent family destination. Imagine climbing giant sand dunes and surfing down them on boogie boards or racing across a wide-open desert on quad bikes. Spend a morning with a rhino protection unit tracking rhinos on foot to check up on the health of the country’s rhino population. Enjoy a bush breakfast on a hilltop cooking eggs over an open fire while watching the sunrise. Go exploring through a narrow canyon with amazing rock formations, interesting bird and monkey nests, and a catfish that is surviving in a small puddle just waiting for the next flash flood to carry him to better waters. Namibia may not be the best destination if you are traveling with young kids, but it is full of surprise and wonder that would be sure to entertain kids age 8 and up!
4) Getting around is very easy. Namibia has an excellent infrastructure system with great roads and accessible regional airports. While you could drive around easily (on your own or with a guide), the distances are pretty far so I would recommend flying as much as possible to make the most of your time. Plus, in Namibia, the journey is often as important as the destination. Flying along the coastline looking for large seal colonies, flocks of flamingos, and 100 year old shipwrecks is a highlight of any Namibian itinerary and, you have the benefit of also getting from point A to point B!
5) Namibia is extremely diverse and can change quickly from region to region. Don’t make the mistake of limiting yourself to just one or two regions when you are planning your itinerary. I saw 3 very different regions: Sossussvlei with amazing sand dunes, Damaraland with rocky outcrops, lush green areas around hidden springs, and desert adapted elephants, and Ongava next to the enormous Etosha salt pan where you have the best opportunity for wildlife spotting.
There is still so much more to see! I want to see the northern border of Namibia along the Kunene River where you can spend time with the Himba tribe and get to know their fascinating culture. The Skeleton Coast, in particular, is high on my wish list for a return trip to Namibia. I want to return and spend more time exploring the shoreline and even get out on the water to see seals, dolphins, and whales. Wilderness Safaris’ newest camp, Hoanib Skeleton Coast, was recently featured and beautifully photographed in a Conde Nast Traveler article. With great media attention like this, Namibia may start creeping up on more peoples’ travel bucket lists!
Wilderness Safaris is certainly not the only company that can manage travel itineraries in Namibia, but they are one of the best. I was very impressed with the smooth logistics of my trip and the professionalism of all of the Wilderness staff from Wilderness Air pilots, to the housekeeping staff, to the lodge managers. The Wilderness Safaris lodges around the country are among the best rated and their circuit offers a variety of ways to see the country and a comprehensive option for first-time visitors.
If you are considering a trip to Namibia, please let me know and we can start brainstorming the best way to design an itinerary so you can see this beautiful country!