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Namibia is an amazing country with incredible landscapes and wild life for many travellers it becomes one of the favourite African countries and they come here again and again. For photography lovers Namibia is a dream-land the scenery is a ready decoration for stunning photos. The best way to travel and explore Namibia is doing a road trip you get more freedom and flexibility to go off the beaten path and discover some hidden gems of the county. Here are our Top 10 things to do in Namibia.
1. Visit Cape Cross Seal colony
The largest mainland Cape Fur Seal colony in the world this place won’t leave you indifferent, especially if you come here on breeding season between November and January when you get a chance to observe cute seal pups from close by. There are between 20 000 to 30 000 seals here. It’s very interesting to watch them playing, hunting, climbing out of the water and cuddling on the sand. The noise and smell here is quite a challenge but the joy of seeing these beautiful animals is worth of this small inconvenience. There is a nice lodge with a campsite 10km away you can stay and chill there, sometimes you can even see dolphins and seals in the water from the restaurant deck.
2. Sandboarding on the highest dunes of Namibia
Dune 7, 20km from Swakopmund is the highest dune in Namibia and one on the highest in the world its height is impressive – 388m. In fact, there are many dunes in the area and from the top of one you can see endless dune chain all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. Just imagine sliding down on a board from 300m through the soft sand enjoying the stunning scenery at the same time! If you’re not very sure about your balance and chances to stay on your feet while going down as an option, you can take a lay-down board. Sand boarding is not as easy as it looks and walking up a dune is quite tough but it’s a nice exercise and a chance to stretch your legs after long days of driving through Namibia.
3. Do a mokoro trip along the Okavango river
Mokoro is a traditional wooden boat some sort of a kayak that locals use for fishing, one person stand on his feet and paddles. The biggest advantage of this boat for spotting animals there is no engine noise, so you can come quite close without bothering or scaring animals away. The main sight on mokoro tours in Caprivi Strip (Northern Namibia) are hippos you can see them from the shore as well but to glide in a small boat along the Zambezi or Okavango river and see these giants in water is a very special experience. Though hippos are huge and very clumsy on the ground watch for them in water they are very fast and strong and can chew a little mokoro into pieces.
4. Watch sunrise from Dune 45, Sossusvlei
Namibia is all about desert and dunes though there are many in the Namib the most picturesque and famous one is Dune 45 to watch sunrise from its top is a must. The dune is in Sossusvlei National park one of the most impressive and stunning places in the world. Watching sunrise is not the only one incredible thing to do here the Deadvlei or Dead Valley is a landscape from another planet, the incredible combination of blue sky, red-sand dunes, white dried lake and black putrefied trees is a surrealistic painting. If you’re tough enough and not scared of extreme heat you can conquer the Big Daddy dune from its top you get an awesome view over the Deadvlei, running down ankle-deep in sand is quite exciting.
5. Camp at Spitzkoppe under the incredible night sky
Camping in Namibia is a big thing for both locals and tourists, you can find a campsite anywhere even if there is nothing else for hundreds of kilometres. The more remote the better it’s for watching stars at night. Spitzkoppe is one of the places where you can enjoy the night sky with little light pollution in fact there is not electricity in the camping area. What can be better sitting next to the fire with a glass of wine in a beautiful place enjoying thousands of starts and the Milky Way on the night sky far from city noises and electric lights. During the day there is something to do as well like swim in a natural pool or do a short hike to find some rock paintings.
6. Hike Fish River canyon
Hiking the second largest canyon in the world, after the Grand Canyon in Utah, is an amazing experience. When you look down from the view point, the start of the hike, it’s difficult to believe that you can go all the way down to the river and walk along it for 5-6 days separated from the rest of the world. The hike is quite challenging due to heat and requires good health and moderate level of fitness but it’s worth of an afford. It’s amazing to see how the canyon changes at sunset or at night when the moon shines so bright that you can see everything around you without a torch.
7. Do safari in Etosha National park
Probably the most visited place in Namibia a huge National park that offers you
a chance to spot many African animals including four out of the Big 5; elephants, lions, leopards and buffalos, there are no rhinos here. For the best sightseeing it’s important to come here in the dry season between May and November when water in the park is scarce and animals come to the waterhole to drink. Then you have a good chance to see all of them just sitting next to a waterhole in your car. The best way to explore the park is to do a self-drive safari. Rainy season November to April is not great for animal spotting but a good time for birdwatching many different birds migrate to Etosha for this period.
8. Get to know natives
There are many different tribes in Namibia some of them; Himba, Herrero, Bushmen and Damara. The Southern Namibia is bushman country, they used to live here and know how to survive in the desert with very little. The Northern territories were populated with Himba and Herrero, while the Skeleton Coast was Damara land. The best way to learn more about their culture and traditions is to visit one of the Living museums where they try to preserve their lifestyle as close as possible to their ancestors. Some Living museums have campsites like Ovahimba living museum near Epupa Falls (North-West of Namibia) here you can combine your visit with camping and have more time to explore the area and to learn more about the culture.
9. Drive 4×4 routes along the Skeleton coast
To drive 4×4 in Namibia you don’t need to search for special routes there are plenty of gravel/sand roads where you can venture with your 4×4 vehicle. One of the best and scenic places for off road driving is the Skeleton coast. The name comes from many “skeletons” of ship wrecks found along the coast most of them were washed here after storms. Here be ready to drive through a lot of nothing seeing occasional fishermen or another 4×4 adventurer. Make sure you have a couple of spare tyres, enough water and food supplies in this part of Namibia towns and petrol stations are not easy to find.
10. Kayak down the Orange River
For adventure seekers this is a great option to see Namibia in a different from the standard tourist way. You can do it in a tour with one of the adventure companies on the banks of the river or just rent a kayak (or bring yours if you have one) and go to explore one of the most beautiful and unspoilt rivers. Every day you can row as far as you wish, swim in the river to cool down a bit, find a good spot for overnight camping, make a fire and watch the sky. A good thing about the river there are no dangerous animals in its waters or around; no crocodiles, hippos, lions nothing that can bite or eat you only harmless fish, birds and occasional meerkats.