"I never knew of a morning in Africa when I woke up that I was not happy"
~ Ernest Hemingway ~
Namibia completely exceeded my expectations. It is a beautiful African country that has so much to offer and it has a variety of diversity than you ever imagined. It is one of the most unique, incredible destinations for photography lovers with its fascinating landscapes, friendly people and abundance of wildlife.
The country is located along the Atlantic Ocean in Southern Africa. Namibia shares borders with four countries: South Africa in the South, Zambia and Botswana in the East and Angola to the North. The longest border is shared with Botswana.
Interesting facts about Namibia:
1. The capital and largest city of Namibia is Windhoek with a population of 477,267.
2. Namibia is home to about 2,58 million people. It is the vast country, almost as sparsely populated as Alaska, and is the second most sparsely populated country on the African continent after Western Sahara.
3. The currency is the Namibian Dollar, though the South African Rand is also accepted.
4. Namibia has a desert climate, which is hot and mostly dry all year round. The best time to visit Namibia is from July to October, when the temperatures are just above 20°C and the chance of rain is low. This is also the best time for wildlife viewing, making it peak travel season.
5. The most parts of the country lie on a high plateau. The central plateau is over 2,000m high and borders the Skeleton Coast with the Namib Desert in the West, the Orange River in the South and the Kalahari Desert in the East.
6. The Namib Desert stretches along the Atlantic ocean over 1,000 km with huge dunes as far as the eye can see. This desert is considered the oldest desert in the world and has been dry for more than 55 million years. The Namib also has some of the highest dunes in the world.
7. The Kalahari Desert stretches along the eastern border of the country and is varied in vegetation. Some parts are very dry and desert-like whereas others have more grassland and mountainous and rocky regions.
8. The highest mountain in Namibia is the Brandberg mountain ('fire mountain') with its highest peak called Königstein ('king's peak').
9. The most important rivers in Namibia are the Zambezi River, the Orange River, the Okavango River and the Fish River.
10. Fish River Canyon is the second largest canyon in the world - after the Grand Canyon in the USA.
People in Namibia:
11. Namibia is a multicultural country as there are many different cultural groups living in this region. Namibia once was a former German colony, and you will encounter still many Germans here.
12. Some towns like Swakopmund, Lüderitz and Walvis Bay will still display German names and signs on shops or name German dishes on menus that are written in German, but will also be able to hear quite a few people communicating in German when out and about.
13. There are many different people sharing the land, of which there are the Herero, the Nama, the Himba and Kavango or the San Bushmen are the largest groups, but there are many others. In the photo below, you can see a Herero woman and Himba woman, both dressed in traditional clothes.
14. The Owambo, which live mainly in the northern parts of Namibia, are the biggest ethnic group. More than half of all Namibians belong to the Owambo people.
15. Several indigenous African languages are spoken as home languages in Namibia. Oshiwambo is the African local language, which is most widely spoken and understood.
16. Even though English is the official language in Namibia, many people are more comfortable with speaking Afrikaans or German.
17. About one third of Namibians still speak German because Namibia as South West Africa was settled by German immigrants in the last century and many families were influenced by the Germans as they worked and lived together in rural areas.
18. Namibia was a German colony between 1884 and 1915 and after this, was named South West Africa and ruled by South Africa until Independence in 1990. Many Namibians therefore now speak Afrikaans at home. Afrikaans is one of the official languages in South Africa.
19. There is a wide variety of food available in Namibia with the ocean supplying fish and seafood and the farms in the countryside providing lamb, beef and ostriches.
20. There are as well dishes made with with kudu and springbok meat in form of steaks, fillets or as ingredient in a typical potjiekos or stew.
The most commonly known dishes are:
pap: porridge made with cornmeal, usually very thick so it can be eaten with the hands
potjiekos: slow cooked stew made with a variety of vegetables and meat in a heavy cast iron pot, made usually over the open fire.
braaivleis: grilled BBQ-meat
Mopane worms: crispy fried caterpillars
kapana: grilled meat strips, usually sold in townships or in street markets, can be made with any kind of meat
Namibia Attractions: What is great to visit in Namibia?
We started our road trip in Cape Town and continued to Windhoek, Namibia. We were driving 6000 km in 13 days with our Mini Cooper Countrymen and a toy poodle, sometimes driving on bumpy roads and finding a pet friendly accommodation was more challenging but in overall we loved Namibia. We saw many beautiful places in 13 days, apart from Etosha National Park, but we will definitely be back there soon.
Where did we go and how our itinerary looked like:
Day 1: Cape Town – Keetmanshoop (1 night accommodation at Maritz Country Lodge)
Day 2: Keetmanshoop - Windhoek (1 night accommodation at Roof of Africa Lodge)
Day 3: Windhoek - Kolmanskop (Ghost Town) is located just outside the seaside town of Luderitz, on the South Western coast of Namibia. It was built over 100 years ago to facilitate the German population who had moved to the area to mine diamonds.
Day 4-5: From Kolmanskop to Sossuvlei & Deadvlei Desert (accommodation 2 nights at Sossuvlei Lodge and Desert Camp)
Day 6: From Sossuvlei to Walvis Bay & Swakopmund (1 night at Rossmund Lodge)
Day 7: From Swakopmun to Twyfelfontein (1 night accommodation at Twyfelfontein country lodge)
Day 8-9: From Twyfelfontein to Palmwag & Opuwo (2 nights Palmwag Lodge)
Day 10: Opuwo - Waterberg Private Game Reserve /Wilderness (1 night at Waterberg Valley lodge)
Day 11: Waterberg - Windhoek (1 night at Guesthouse Voigtland surrounded with 3 giraffes)
Day 12: From Windhoek to Fish River Canyon (accommodation 1 night at Gondwana Canyon Lodge) - Fish River Canyon is in fact the second largest canyon in the world - after the Grand Canyon in the USA.
Day 13: Driving back to Cape Town