Nambia and It's Insane Landscapes
When people ask me about destinations, favourites, I hesitate. Sure, sometimes I’ll mention a few locations and one spot I’ll say is “Africa,” and specifically Namibia.
It’s a challenge to explain Namibia in words, and probably easier in photographs. If you’re planning on travelling in Africa but have no idea where to go first, head to Namibia. This country is double the size of Germany, bigger than Texas and half the size of Alaska.
I explored Namibia in June of 2016. My tour included a walk on the Tok Tokkie Trail through the NamibRand Nature Reserve. I slept under the beautiful desert sky. Later I visited a local Himba Village and got to know the tribe people. My time included some wonderful wildlife watching with lesser flamingos, lions, giraffes, guineafowl, cheetahs, warthogs, zebras and more.
My trip got down in Namibia’s capital, Windhoek, and took me on a cross-country tour. Each morning, I was up and about before sunrise, mostly to spot the animals when they are at the most vigorous and to see the landscape at its most outstanding, but also to keep away from travelling in the heat of the day.
The coastal diversity
If there is something truly unique about Namibia’s Sea Line, it is the huge range of activities available on hand. From just comforting at the various peaceful beaches along the western coast to driving a 4×4 through the sand dunes, there are a million choices for you to select from.
If like me you love animals, then visit Walvis Bay where you can discover a huge seal colony. If you are more of an urbanite, then check out Swakopmund where you can relax at delightful cafes and shop at local boutiques. If you like to walk “off-the-beaten-path,” then the Skeleton Coast is for you, where you can find more than a thousand kilometres of almost nothing but anchored boats in the sand.
Teeming by the waters of the Okavango River, the northern region of the country, the Caprivi, has perhaps some of the most astounding landscapes I’ve ever seen. Nature’s ideal equilibrium between the never-ending blue waters and the vigorous green of its trees is somewhat really commendable; there are innumerable things to do here but snapping photos at dusk by the river or venturing on a safari to see the wildlife are some of the more notable activities.
Taking on Big Mamma
There are sand dunes and then there are sand dunes, but I had never seen a sand dune-like “Big Mamma” in Sossusvlei, home of the world’s tallest sand dunes. Situated in the Sesriem-Sossusvlei National Park in the Namib Desert, I knew how tall the sand dunes were when I started to climb the ridge and had trouble seeing the top. I made it to “Big Mamma” but I could hardly walk with each foot sinking 6 inches into the sand.
The ‘Big Mamma’ dune is the favourite one for the climbers as can be seen from the number of people on the top. It is also easier to climb compared to ‘Big Daddy’ and its crater is shallower allowing one to climb down the crater if you are daring enough. The slope of the dune changes with the wind. Wind incessantly reshapes the patterns of the huge dunes of the Namib Desert.
You can hit up the Namibian Desert for sand dune climbing at dawn. There are beaches and coastlines full of shipwrecks to travel around. The darkest skies are in Namibia, so the Milky Way is always glowing intensely above your head at night. Oh, and there’s a ghost town in the middle of the desert. Badass. In other words: Namibia is the best.
The German touch
One of the first things I found out about Windhoek was its Germanness. Oh, wait, Germanness? In Africa? (Yes, as per to Wiki, Germanness is a word). Namibia, you see, was once a German colony. Windhoek’s best- accredited attraction, and something of an informal icon of the city, the German Lutheran church stands on a traffic island and lords it over the city centre. A bizarre building, it was built from local sandstone in 1907 and designed by architect Gottlieb Redecker in conflicting neo-Gothic and art nouveau styles. The resulting design looks oddly edible and is somewhat significant of a fanciful gingerbread house.
This is an attractive church, inside and out. It is based on the idea of a basilica, which is a rectangular church with a rounded end and 2 aisles. The walls have been constructed from Windhoek sandstone and the portal is of Italian Carrarian marble, features that complement the neo-Romanic style, combined with an art nouveau influence. I clicked so many selfies there.
From wet to dry
Don’t be fooled away into believing that dessert = no rain. While there are notably over 300 days of sunshine per year, when the rain falls, it falls hard - much to the glee of Namibians. The best time to visit Namibia is often considered to be just before the rains begin when wildlife is clustered around the waterholes. But the rain- fresh landscapes are an extravagance for photographers - and bring baby animals, a treat for all.
Look intimately at the Namib Desert, and you will witness that it is full of little things that have significant full-size stories that divulge this desert’s real values.
With a collection of breathtaking natural marvels, linked by good roads and spread out with top-notch hotels and lodges, touring Namibia is a true delight. Yes, it is me. Little did I know that I would see an inter-species gathering almost every day and, after three days in the park – which is roughly the size of Wales – would encounter three of its ‘big’ five most dangerous animals: rhino, lion, and elephant.
Bolt from the blue
My eyes were on stalks. This trip to Namibia outmatched my expectations. The food was always great and yummy considering how secluded some of these places are and the service was always high-quality.
To me, there is no country in Africa that peps up such a sense of enthusiasm and peace at the same time. Open and empty roads, most of the stony, wander wonderfully through heroic landscapes and iconic wildlife.
There are ample of safari options if you want to see animals close up, but if you are not into that, the landscape itself is something to behold. Luxury eco-lodges abound, offering everything from balloon rides and hikes in the desert to good wine and rhino spotting.
This is a carnivore country, where the attractive aroma of a barbecue often fills the atmosphere. The local beef is good, but you might want to try something more specifically Namibian - venison or wild boar, for instance, or even zebra. On the coast, the accent easily switches from steaks and chops to fresh fish or seafood (for instance Lüderitz oysters and Namibian rock lobsters).
Thanks to the German bond, the menu also included delicious sausages, salamis and a variety of smoked meats to be consumed with copious amounts of pickled cabbage (sauerkraut). Let me tell you guys, I’m strictly vegetarian, but my colleagues relished the delicious taste of all the dishes.
German taste and the climate concur to make beer drinking a well-liked pastime. The local beer is brewed according to grand old traditions formalised in the 16th century, but because of the heat, the alcoholic substance is kept a few degrees lower than the European alike.
As happy as Larry
As they say, it isn’t over till the fat lady sings. You’ll find no greater escapade than in the wild, rocky landscape of Namibia.
Namibia is a land ripe for sighting: an expedition along the country’s everlasting desert sands, get lost in the mighty Fish River Canyon and discover one of the world’s oldest deserts, which breaks up amicably with the Atlantic Ocean.
Namibia has truly shown to be an incredible country. It is the country I want to return to, I left a lot of places that due to lack of time I wasn’t able to explore.
I can’t even find the precise words to portray how heavenly my time in the country was. Namibia has everything. It’s easy to travel around alone, it’s safe and sound, it’s beautiful, and the locals are charming, the landscapes are diverse, and the wildlife is exhilarating.
I had an outstanding trip and everything ran tremendously well. It was a breathtaking trip with many memories made. Sadly quickly back to routine in the shape of work.