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  • 9 reasons Namibia should be your next travel destination

    As far as countries that ‘fly under the travel radar’ go, Namibia is pretty much at the top of the list: while most people have heard of this extraordinary destination, few have ever visited. Those who have experienced the rich culture of Namibia agree – this is a jaw-dropping destination that’s not to be missed.

    Image courtesy of Okonjima Nature Reserve

    1. Okonjima Nature Reserve and AfriCat Foundation

    The Okonjima Nature Reserve is an award-winning private nature reserve in Namibia. The 200-square-kilometre reserve is home to one of Namibia’s most impressive conservation programs – AfriCat Foundation.

    The AfriCat Foundation brings together tourism and sustainability. Their focus is on the long-term survival and rehabilitation of Namibia’s wildlife – namely lions, cheetahs and leopards – through animal and environmental education, research, and the prevention of human-wildlife conflict.

    While staying at the luxury Okonjima Lodge, guest can learn and help with the AfriCat Foundation, set out on nature walks, and game drives.

    Image courtesy of Okonjima Lodge

    2. Sossusvlei Dunes

    The stark contrast between the burnt orange dunes of Sossusvlei and the blue Namibian sky will leave you in awe. Located in the Namib-Naukluft National Park, the dunes are among Namibia’s biggest attractions.

    The best time to see the dunes is at sunrise. Hike to the top of one of the dunes (the most popular is Dune 45) or hire a hot air balloon, then watch the dunes change colour as light dances on the five-million-year-old sand.

    Image courtesy of Sossusvlei

    3. Learn about the culture & practices of indigenous tribes

    The Himba people are a semi-nomadic group who live in the northwest region of Namibia. They have a strong connection to their culture and, for the most part, live as their ancestors did. The resistance to over-tourism is supported by the Namibian government, who have strict rules regarding tourists visiting the tribes.

    It’s the Himba women who are the most recognisable, known for their red skin (the men have this too) and red-clay braided hair. The red colouration of the skin helps protect them from sun and is a symbol of beauty, the earth and blood.

    Visiting the Himba people is a truly unique experience but should be undertaken with sensitivity and respect for their traditions and lifestyle.

    Image courtesy of janvdb95

    4. Fish River Canyon

    Fish River Canyon is the largest canyon in Africa – 160 kilometres long, up to 27 kilometres wide and 500 metres deep. Hiking fans can trek the famous 85-kilometre section from Hobas to Ai Ais in about five days* – if you’re one such fan, don’t forget to check out the hot springs at Ai Ais for some post-hike R&R.

    Read the local legends of the canyon before your visit. Geological formation, giant snake or the whiplash of a dragon’s tail – what do you think created the canyon? For the best photographs of this enormous chasm, head to the Fish River Canyon viewpoint overlooking Hell’s Corner.

    *Best time to hike is May – September. You’ll also need a medical certificate before you book your hike.

    Image courtesy of Info Namibia

    5. Swakopmund

    Swakopmund is the perfect playground for adrenaline junkies and adventurers – prepare yourself for quad-biking, sand-boarding, sand-skiing, parasailing and sky diving adventures.

    But heart-racing activities aren’t all this German-style city has to offer: its seaside promenades, art galleries, museums and cafes offer a slower pace compared to the adventures that lie on the outskirts of Swakopmund.

    Image courtesy of HannesVos

    6. Walvis Bay

    The township of Walvis Bay doesn’t have the same picturesque appeal as Swakopmund, but what it lacks in around-town beauty, it makes up in local wildlife.

    You can experience Namibia’s marine Big 5 – whales, dolphins, Mola molas (aka sunfish), leatherback turtles and seals – on board a private catamaran, or head out on an ‘eco-marine’ kayaking tour. Along with the marine wildlife, kayaking provides excellent flamingo viewing opportunities – Walvis Bay is one of the best places in southern Africa to see these unique and comical birds.

    Image courtesy of fbxx

    7. Cape Cross

    From a distance, the sand at Cape Cross appears to be black, but as you move closer, the sand starts to move. As it turns out, the ‘sand’ is actually over 100,000 fur seals, all snuggled up along the coastline.

    Cape Cross is home to the largest breeding colony of Cape fur seals. Each year, during mating season, the seals flock to the fish-rich turquoise waters, and you can see them basking in the warmth of the Namibian sun. If you’re lucky you might be able to spot a seal pup or two.

    *Hot tip: learn to hold your breath… seals might be cute but they smell very fishy, and remember: look but don’t touch.

    Image courtesy of Info Namibia

    8. Zambezi Region

    For many travellers, the Zambezi Region is popular for its easy access from Namibia to Victoria Falls.* However, this tiny strip of land is also considered one of the best-kept secrets in Namibia – connected by four rivers (the Chobe, Zambezi, Linyanti and Kwando), the region is lush, green and full of wildlife.

    Formally known as the Caprivi Strip, the Zambezi region is home to more than 600 species of bird, as well as hippopotamus, crocodiles, and four of the Big Five (no rhino). The area also serves as an important migratory path for elephants. This untouched haven makes for an excellent animal spotting adventure.

    *Read about luxury helicopter flights over Victoria Falls here.

    Image courtesy of Info Namibia

    9. Spitzkoppe

    Namibia’s Spitzkoppe is all that’s left of a 700-million-year-old ancient volcano found in the heart of Damaraland. Sometimes referred to as the “Matterhorn” of Namibia, Spitzkoppe towers at 1728 metres above sea level.

    There are hundreds of rock paintings found around Spitzkoppe. Some of them depict rhinoceroses, which indicates that they must have once lived in the area. The Rock Arch is the most well-known image of this region – it’s even been used as a backdrop in several films (hello 2001: A Space Odyssey).

    Image courtesy of Info Namibia

    For more personalised informsation tips and advice, or to book your incredible Namibia holiday, contact your local TravelManagers’ personal travel manager here.

    With compliments of First Class: visit them online or at Instagram