From the immense expanses of sand dunes of desert of Namib to the tropical wetlands of the Caprivi fingerNamibia is a country of epic landscapesof a amazing fauna and few inhabitants. And so if you are looking for nature and not the crowds this is the place for you. In fact, the most important attractions, in the first place of any guide that talks about things to see in Namibia, are the shocking ones deserts of the Namib he was born in Kalahari, which however, despite the infernal climate, host a surprising variety of fauna including rare ones black rhinos, cheetahs, elephantsspringbok and large flocks of ostriches.
Things to see in Namibia: a difficult land
And if this seems like a frightening scenario to you, know that we have just begun: the Namibia indeed it may be a harsh and unforgiving land but nothing will prepare you for what you will find along the way Skeleton Coast (the fact that the translation is “the skeleton coast should put you on the right track), a coastal desert swept by the wind and formed by limestone sand dunes where often everything is wrapped in a heavy salty fog. The edge of the sea then, if anything else is needed, is littered with rusted hulks of ships thrown ashore by the ruthless Atlantic Ocean. And then you will understand why the bushmenthe first inhabitants of this area, called it “the earth that God created when he was angry”.
What to see in Namibia: parks, animals and special populations
However, it is not all hostile and harsh. The area is also home to the tribe of the Himbaa population of several thousand people who live in the north of the country and who still practice nomadic farming.
But above all, given the use of paint the body with loud colors, they are perhaps among the most photographed icons of theAfrica also because part of their territory borders with that marvel that has always been at the top of the things to see in Namibia or theEtosha National Park. A magical place that hosts an extraordinary wealth of animal species in a unique context. And here they can easily be admired from Little Cape Sparrow to the magnificent African elephant.
Things to see in Namibia: the capital Windhoek
We talked about a lot of nature and few people. Consequently, one certainly does not come here chasing the dream of the metropolis. In fact, the cities are few and far between and even the capital, Windhoek, is not much bigger than what would be a modest settlement in Europe, without too many pretensions and pride. However it is a pleasant place in terms of climate, placed on the central highlands and surrounded by hills. The city center is characterized by acurious German-style colonial architecture but it also boasts of some impressive modern structures. Dominating the skyline is the striking German Lutheran church, Christuskirchea mixture of Art Nouveau and neo-Gothic style, and the Titenpalastor “Ink Palace”, the palace of Parliament where is this small country governed?
If you want to stroll the way to go is the tree-lined avenue Independence Ave that creeps between the modern buildings of the business district where, however, the women of the tribe still meet Herero: They dress in a Victorian-like style and have eye-catching colorful hats. But we are also, let us remember, in an area that is affected by German influence and not by chance beer it is omnipresent. On the table you will also find sauerkraut and recipes based on game and forOktoberfest the city comes to life as if it were a Monk. In short, in addition to being the gateway to the country, the capital can be a place to take a short break before leaving for a safari. You will be pleasantly surprised.
The city of Swakopmund
The second largest city in the country is Swakopmund built around what was once one of the main ports of theSouthern West Africa. It has many colonial buildings and a decidedly German character that is also found in the kitchen. Although, since we are on the sea, thelobster, fish and oysters. Although it has a desert behind it, it is in all respects a seaside resort much appreciated by local tourists and not only and the main beach area can get quite crowded on weekends.
Swakopmund is also known as an a paradise for extreme sports ranging between the local attractions which are the sand and the sea. So curiously you can go from quad trips to deep-sea fishing among sharks even if paradoxically here is also the Rossmund Desert Golf Course, a splendid golf course. Especially since it’s an oasis of green grass in the heart of the desert.
The big dunes
The desert here it is splendid, and it is certainly among the first places among the things to see in Namibia. But among the deserts, the dunes deserve a special place Sossusvlei in the desert of Namib. These mountains of ocher sand are between the tallest in the world – they reach 300 meters – and are a wonderful sight of endless undulating shapes and sharp ridges sculpted by the wind. They have developed into millions of years and their ever-evolving forms: still today they rise and fall at the mercy of the wind.
Climbing their peaks offers a magnificent sight, with views stretching to the horizon. And the best is at sunrise or sunset. L’water here very rarely falls, even once every two or three years but the solid clay layers hold water for a long time, providing a habitat for countless birds and for resistant animals including white oryx, ostrich and springbok.
Cave paintings and elephants
If you want to travel through time instead, you need to go towards the Brandberg massiffamous for its thousands of cave paintingsengravings. The most famous is theWhite Ladywhich is believed to be around 2,000 years old and sits on a ledge surrounded by a variety of painted animal shapes. Despite the name, it is not a drawing of a woman but rather a man with a painted body: it was discovered in 1955 and since then experts have been trying to decipher its meaning. It is located on a sacred mountain a short distance from Königstein which with its 260° meters is the Namibia’s highest mountain. It can be reached with organized excursions that last about three days and follow various routes that vary in difficulty and length.
The area is wild and untouched, largely uninhabited by people, but is home to a number of desert animals including elephants and rhinos. The landscape is extremely arid and beautiful but leaves you dismayed even if it is nothing compared to other routes that can be done in the country: we are talking about trekking in the Fish River Canyon, an impressive three day endurance test where you need to demonstrate fitness and strength. Hikers travel with an expert guide and must be self-sufficient during the trek. Due to the risk of flooding and high summer temperatures, the trail is only open from May 1st to August 31st.
The oldest desert in the world
Finally, for a less obvious safari than the one in the etosha park you can point to Namib Naukluft National Park. With its rolling red dunes, rocky escarpments and flat, dusty savannah, this park offers a truly special backdrop. The Naukluft is part of the Namib, believed to be the oldest desert in the world and is home to animal species that have adapted to this extreme climate. Here, oryx and hyenas stroll on the orange dunes that stretch to the horizon.
What to see in Namibia and when to go
The Namibian climate it is generally hot and dry. The rains occur exclusively in the summer months, between November and February, when there is a little more humidity and strong thunderstorms also break out which, however, are more frequent in the center and east of the country, while the desert receives significantly less rain. L’summer is very hot and the namib desert it should be avoided while the coast is cooler and often misty.
The best time to visit Namibia is during i winter months from March to October. The months of April and May are cool and green, while June and August are best for safaris as animals tend to congregate around waterholes.