Namibia is home to the well know Etosha Pan, the remnants of an ancient lake that that is now home to a vast assortment of wildlife. When, or rather if, the annual rains fall between January and March this seemingly dead stretch of land comes to life, flamingos come, sometimes literally in the millions to feed on the algae and insects that the muddy sludge attracts. The pan itself falls under the protection of the Etosha National Park, one of Namibia’s largest game reserves. The vast area is home to the big five and is a top destination for anyone wanting to experience good game viewing.
The Etosha national park offers various camps for tourists to stay in, the most popular being Okakuyu, Namatoni and Halalli. Within these are a variety of accommodation options from camping to bed and breakfast. What make these camps so special are the water holes around which each is built. While setting out during the day on game drives is obviously recommended, the camps have curfews unless on an organised night drive with an experienced ranger. Within the camp however, at night, one can view game coming to the waterhole not 100m from where you sleep. It truly is one of the greatest holiday experiences you can have. While the Etosha national park is almost certainly the jewel in the crown it is by no means the be all and end all of Namibian tourist destinations.
If crossing the border from South Africa your first stop should be Ai-Aisthis transfrontier park, which offers a natural hot spring that has been turned into a very popular spa. The wildlife is limited but if you’re planning a long camping trip it is a nice way to ease into what could be a hot dusty few weeks. The accommodation is comfortable and the warm pools are welcome after a long day of driving. Even if leaving early in the morning, when travelling from Cape Town Ai-Ais is about as far across the border as you can get before you run out of sunlight.
If Namibia were to be known for one element it would no doubt be sand and the most famous icon of the sand is the spectacularly red sand dunes. The sand dunes at Sossusvlei have been called the highest in the world there are arguments against this, however, due to the mobile nature of Sand dunes it seems a moot point to argue. The best time to visit these natural wonders is at sunset and sunrise, this is partly due to the unbearable heat that area experiences at midday but mostly for the spectacle that occurs when the sunsets and rises against the deep red sand. The area’s deep red sand compliments the spectacular oranges and reds of the African sunset and provides a photo opportunity like no other in the world.
The coast of Namibia is uniquely beautiful, in that its rugged uninviting appearance is what makes it so appealing to so many. Known as the skeleton coast, named for the whale bones that used to litter the coast when the whaling industry was in full swing, this stretch of coast is unforgiving and in parts inaccessible. For the dedicated fisherman though this coast offers much reward. Some of the best game fishing in the world can be found here if you’re willing to put in the effort of getting there you’ll have some of the best shore fishing nearly all to yourself.