Etosha National Park ("Great White Place" in the local language) is about five hours from Windhoek, capital of Namibia, and a true sanctuary where you can find amazing sunsets, star-filled skies, and the true stars of the park: the animals. You can see elephants, giraffes, zebras, warthogs, kudus, gazelles, and impalas drinking at the watering holes near the three main campsites, and you can pull the Jeep up to the edge and (as long as you're quiet) you can get an up-close view of the animals. With some luck and a little patience, you might even be able to see a leopard at sundown. The three main campsites (Okakuejo, Halali, and Namutoni) have individual watering holes and are built up so you can enjoy some comforts along with your nature.
Take it from me: it's an amazing and unique experience and a spectacle that you have to see to believe.
We found ourselves somewhere in the southern Namib, the oldest desert on Earth. At the crack of dawn, we went to Sesriem to enter the splendid Namib Naukluft National Park and it's amazing 50,000 square km. expanse. We started at the foot of a vast sea of sand, the same one we saw from the window of our Cessna only days before. It makes you feel small, insignificant, and lost in a universe dominated by gigantic dunes hundreds of feet high.
The dunes seem alive, slithering and changing their shape in the wind and forming whimsical formations. The Sossusvlei dunes also change their color with the changing rays of sun, reflecting in an infinite array of chromatic glory ranging from deep orange to fiery, extraterrestrial red. Your eyes scan the horizon looking for movement, but there's nothing. Our guide, though, assured us that the dunes were home to hundreds of small and unique creatures that have adapted to this harsh climate.
These dunes are skyscrapers...literally, they're upwards of 70 and 80 stories high. We've only been in this wonderland for a few hours and it's now hot and the dunes have shifted from light gold to intense red. It's a true world of contrasts...an extreme world and a fascinating one at that.
When we started planning this trip with friends I never thought it was going to be one of the prettiest and most impressive travel experiences I've ever had. The dune impressed us right away, but as I said, after about 45 minutes of climbing up it in the sun it's worth it if only for the views you'll get from the top, I've recommended it to many friends and I recommend it to the whole world, a fantastic country and its wonderful people.
The vast colony of Cape Cross seals is a wonderful sight. The smell is strong and the animals' roars fills everything. There are hundreds of seals spread on the sand and rocks. They dive into the sea in search of food and enjoy long naps lying on the shore. The babies drink milk from their mothers, the elderly fight each other with fierce roars, while jackals watch the scene, waiting to snatch a baby if the mother is forgetful. The spectacle of life before our eyes.
Swakopmund is located about four hours away from Windhoek, Namibia's capital. To get there you can take the Intercape bus line, or if you prefer, take vans or even the train.
The people are very nice. The city was founded by the Germans and still retains its German colonial architecture. The streets are clean and well-maintained, and have a delicious smell of sausages (no joke). It is rather surprising that people still speak German there.
It is on the coast, with the sea on one side and the desert on the other. When I went in April it was cold. It is a good place for activities such as sandboarding. The Himba people, a local, indigenous people, can also be found in the area, and is close to the Skeleton Coast, so you can organize your trip from there.
In this charming place on the border of Namibia and Angola, there is this lovely place with an indigenous population. They are nomadic and coexist with nature and continue to honour their customs. They are really grateful to the tourist, and they are surprised when you show them a photo you have taken of them, since they do not identify with an image. It is a pleasure to visit this place and live with the people even if only for a few hours. At Cape Cross, there is a natural reserve of seals, but the truth is that there is a factory that makes coats and they use the seal pups.
Surprised by the tranquility and order of Windhoek, accustomed to the chaotic and bustling African cities. At 18:30 h it is almost night and it shows in the activity of the city, the center is literally desert and it is almost impossible to find anything open to eat or do. As local people always recommend that you not go to the center but there is more supply than limited to those hours
I would like to get to know the Himba tribe from nearby, I consider them the protagonists of the history of the planet and who live in the cradle of mankind ....they are interesting and not contaminated ... there is no evil, or policies only rules of respect and ancient customs.
Situated just four kilometers away from Sossusvlei is where you'll find this interesting canyon. It's not too big, and not too deep, but it's a canyon in the desert and in the rainy season (from October to March) you can find water in the river. I was there in March and I enjoyed a wonderful evening bath there! He he. The water is cold and green, but has a certain power, but it's very light. Almost all tours end a beautiful day by the Namib Desert in the canyon and that bathroom is appreciated "May as water." If you own a car it's easy. In Sossuvlei there aren't any street signs. You have to take the road that goes behind the gas station. You can't miss it, there's only one and is at the entrance.
Erindi is not an alternative to Etosha. It is a game reserve that is smaller and much newer than Etosha, but it has its charms. The facilities are spotless, comparable to any 5-star lodge and have an attention to detail to make your stay perfect. There are complete buffets at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and afternoon coffees and teas with homemade pastries. Guided tours of the park (with an open-car safari) are at 6:30 am and 4:30 pm. Both last 3 hours and the drivers strive to find the animals and have interesting details of flora and fauna. Before returning you stop at a small stop along the way and enjoy a small breakfast in the morning and a few croutons in the afternoon amid the stunning scenery of the nature reserve. They often have deals so ask or consult the website if you plan to visit.
We discovered this place because it was on the map as "green route - natural interest", and to go on the road you should open and close gates as you go. At sunset, dozens of animals appeared and it was one of the most impressive natural spectacles I've seen. We were completely alone, on this dirt road, surrounded by wild animals, and watching the sun set over the horizon. Finding accommodation for the night is another story and another photo.
The coastal town of Walvis Bay is the place of choice for the local white Namibians. The most interesting part of this area is the desert that stretches offshore for miles. Large dunes, which are the highest in the world according to come say, surprise by joining the coastal scenery. It is really peaceful there. The immensity of the sea next to the vastness of the desert