Namibia Blog Header

Go Big Itinerary Google3

Follow Namibia

cc248a74-62ee-4595-a3f8-0f97c7ed4663

Interested in visiting Namibia? Request an info packet today

BLOG-clip-2  

Subscribe to Namibia's Blog

Your email:

Current Articles | RSS Feed RSS Feed

The National Parks of Namibia- Nkasa Lupala and Dorob

  
  

Namibian national parks like Etosha National Park and the Waterberg Plateau Park are world-renowned and well-visited by international and national tourists. This blog post is not about those parks. Today we want introduce you to two national parks run that you may not have heard of before...

EXPLORE copy
A Land Rover with Sandwich Harbour in the background.
One of the best things to do in Namibia is to explore locations that are off the beaten path.

(Image via Cardboard Box)


Nkasa Lupala National Park

We start in the north-east of Namibia in the Zambezi (Caprivi) Region. As you may already know this part of this huge nation is markedly different from most of the stark landscapes you find through out the mostly arid countryside. The land in the Zambezi is riverine and lush. It is home to several wetlands which and the region is criss-crossed by perennially flowing bodies of water.

Namibia, National Parks, Namibia National Parks, Adventure, safari, Birding, 4x4 africa

The landscape is spectacular in the Zambezi.

(Image via Cardboard Box)

 

In this corner of Namibia, just to the north of Botswana, you can find the Nkasa Lupara National Park (formerly known as the Mamili National Park). The park contains the largest protected wetland area in the Land of the Brave.

Screen Shot 2014 08 01 at 12.37.22 AM1024px Map Nkasa Rupara National Park

Maps showing the location of the park.
(Images via the MET)

 

The network of rivers flowing around small islands and reed beds are home to hippopotamuses, crocodiles, several buck species and a massive population of birds. There are, in fact, more species of birds in this small area than anywhere else in Namibia.

Namibia, National Parks, Namibia National Parks, Adventure, safari, Birding, 4x4 africa

A bloat of hippos silently swim through the river.

(Image via Cardboard Box)

 

Before you back you pack your bags and head to Nkasa Lupala you should know that journeying through this national park is not for the feint of heart. There are very few facilities and sometimes the park is inaccessible due to heavy rainfall.

This usually will only happen during the rainy months of January and February. However, if the rains don’t spoil the fun, and you have a thirst for adventure then you should know that the camp is a 4x4 enthusiast and wildlife tracker’s dream location. For information on exploring the park by 4x4 click here.

Namibia, National Parks, Namibia National Parks, Adventure, safari, Birding, 4x4 africa, buffalo
Exploring the park is tough, but worth it to see undisturbed wildlife.

(Image via Cardboard Box Travel Shop)

 

In the winter some of the riverbeds dry up and visitors to the park can watch lions, large herds of buffalo and elephants migrate across the park. Making Nkasa Lupala the perfect place for a rough and tumble adventure tourist to do some exploring.

Namibia, National Parks, Namibia National Parks, Adventure, safari, Birding, 4x4 africa, lion

There are even occasional sightings of lions in this riverine park.
(Image via Cardboard Box)


Click here for the official Nkasa Lupara National Park page, courtesy of the Ministry of Environment and Tourism.

 

Dorob National Park

The second national park we are looking at is located on the coast in the middle of Namibia’s vast Atlantic coast. Close to the Skeleton Coast and pressed up against the Namib Desert you will find Dorob National Park. As you might imagine, this national park’s landscape is very different to the lush and watery Nkasa Lupala National Park. Dorob is also far more accessible with the towns of Swakopmund, Henties Bay and Walvis Bay found within the park's borders.

Namibia, National Parks, Namibia National Parks, Adventure, safari, Birding, 4x4 africa, dorob
This map shows the area of the coast that falls under Dorob National Park.
(Map via NACOMA)

 

We mentioned Dorob a few weeks ago in an interview with Chris Nel (that you can read here). However, many visitors outside of Namibia have yet to hear about this gem of a park… Dorob was created in 2010 and since its creation the entire coastline of Namibia now falls under strict environmental protection. The reason this had to happen is because of the fragile biodiversity of the ecosystems found in this part of Namibia.

Namibia, National Parks, Namibia National Parks, Adventure, safari, Birding, 4x4 africa, dorob

This coastline has been rescued from destruction.

(Image via World Super Travel)

 

As far as attractions go in this park, BirdLife International has declared the park an “Important Bird Area” because this part of the Namibian coast is a haven that over 1.6 million birds call home. This makes Dorob an absolute must-visit place for anyone who is a birding enthusiast. Of particular interest to many tourists in this regard is Sandwich Harbour that boasts a sizeable population of flamingos.

Namibia, National Parks, Namibia National Parks, Adventure, safari, Birding, 4x4 africa, sandwich harbour, flamingo

This famous spot located within Dorob and is definitely worth a visit.
(Image via Sandwich Harbour)

 

There is also some excellent fishing in this park and the town of Henties Bay should be the place you should aim for if you are a keen angler. Before you plan a trip read this page, as it details what anglers can and can’t do in the park.

Namibia, National Parks, Namibia National Parks, Adventure, safari, Birding, 4x4 africa, fishing namibia, henties bay

Going to Dorob? Why not go fishing!
(Image via Henties Bay)

 

While unguided exploration of the park is allowed, it is important to note that after years of careless behaviour by locals and tourists the area has had to become subject to some badly needed restrictions. So if you want to explore the park on your own you can check out some maps which detail where you can and can’t go in the park here.

Namibia, National Parks, Namibia National Parks, Adventure, safari, Birding, 4x4 africa, dorob, chris nel

Rare creatures like the Namib Ghecko live along the coastline and need to be protected.
(Photo by Chris Nel)

 

For more information on the park you can download their press kit here or have a look at Travel News Namibia's breakdown of the regulations here.

 

These are just two national parks you can find in the Land of the Brave. In total there are eleven nationally run parks within Namibia and over the coming months we will bring to light some of these other parks. For a list of these parks click here.

 

+++++++

 

Want to know more about National Parks in Namibia?
Check our our posts on Etosha and the Waterberg below.

How to Explore Etosha

Safaris in the Waterberg

elephants window1  11 giraffe copy

 

Three Shipwrecks on Namibia's Skeleton Coast

  
  

Namibia has several thousand shipwrecked vessels strewn across its vast coastline. The Skeleton Coast’s rough seas, roaring winds and strong ocean currents are primarily responsible for many of these beached ships’ fate.

Skeleton coast, Namibia, Namibia photography, shipwrecks, eduard bohlen, shipwreck namibia, adventure
(Image via I Dream of Africa)

 

Many of the wrecks on the harsh coastline have been completely destroyed by the sun, sea, and wind but a few are still visible. The vessels' remains can be seen up close by explorers who are keen on making the trek along the Land of the Brave’s beautiful but perilous coastline.

This blog post is about three of these still visible wrecks.

Skeleton coast, Namibia, Namibia photography, shipwrecks, eduard bohlen, shipwreck namibia, adventure
(Image via I Dream of Africa)

 

The Eduard Bohlen (1907)

This is perhaps one of the most well known shipwrecks in Namibia if not in the world. Its fame is largely as a result of its strange location. This is because the Eduard Bohlen appears to be stranded in the middle of the desert.

Skeleton coast, Namibia, Namibia photography, shipwrecks, eduard bohlen, shipwreck namibia, adventure

Stranded, in the desert.
(Image via BePic)

 

The Eduard Bohlen was a German cargo ship that ran aground while it was on its way to Table Bay from Swakopmund. It is believed that thick fog caused the ship to founder close to Conception Bay. Years after the ship ran aground the desert began to encroach on the ocean and the ship that was once stranded in the ocean slowly became stranded in the desert. The wreck currently sits about 500 metres from the ocean, making it a must visit site for wreck enthusiasts and history buffs alike.

Skeleton coast, Namibia, Namibia photography, shipwrecks, eduard bohlen, shipwreck namibia, adventure

The Eduard Bohlen, up close.
(Image via I Dream of Africa)

 

How to get there

If you want to get as close as possible to the Eduard Bohlen you can go on a guided 4x4 tour from either Luderitz or Walvis Bay with Coastways. You can also embark on a flying safari that will take you over the wreck. Suricate Safaris offer a few flying safari options and one of them will take you over the famous wreck.

An aerial view of the famous wreck.


The Dunedin Star (1942)

During the Second World War the Dunedin Star left Liverpool carrying munitions and supplies for Allied forces. On board as well as the cargo were 21 passengers who wanted to escape a war-torn London. The vessel, however, hit an underwater obstacle and landed up grounding 500 metres offshore, stranding its passengers and crew on the inhospitable Skeleton Coast.

Skeleton coast, Namibia, Namibia photography, shipwrecks, eduard bohlen, shipwreck namibia, adventure

A photograph taken shortly after the boat was wrecked in 1942.
(Image via John H Marsh)

 

The rescue efforts that followed were dogged by bad luck and adverse conditions. A tug boat dispatched to aid in the rescue efforts ran aground, while a Ventura bomber, tasked with dropping supplies for the survivors of the Dunedin Star, crashed into the sea after delivering its cargo to the stranded crew and passengers of the wreck. Both the tugboat and the warplane are still visible today.

Skeleton coast, Namibia, Namibia photography, shipwrecks, eduard bohlen, shipwreck namibia, adventure

All that is left of the famous vessel.
(Image via Trekity)

 

How to get there

The wreck is in the far north of the Skelton Coast National Park and as such you will not be able to drive yourself there. Flying into the northern section of the park is the only realistic option if you want to explore this famous wreck. Skeleton Coast Safaris offer a variety of aerial tours of the region.

Skeleton coast, Namibia, Namibia photography, shipwrecks, eduard bohlen, shipwreck namibia, adventure

Sometimes a 4x4 is just not sufficient.
(Image via Skeleton Coast Safaris)

 

The Suiderkus (1976)

Close to Henties Bay there are several visible shipwrecks, one of which is that of the Suiderkus, a relatively modern fishing trawler. The ship ran aground near Möwe Bay on her maiden voyage despite having a highly sophisticated navigational system. After a few months most of the ship had disintegrated but a large portion of the hull still survives to this day.

aaaaaxxxxxxx

Water flowing through the wreckage of the Suiderkus.
(Photo by Charlie Summers)

 

The hull is now perched on the beach and is currently a home for a group of cormorants. Because of its peculiar location and decaying frame it is a popular destination for photographers visiting the area.

Skeleton coast, Namibia, Namibia photography, shipwrecks, eduard bohlen, shipwreck namibia, adventure

The wreck is deteriorating rapidly; so don’t delay in getting there!
(Photo by Olwen Evans)

 

How to get there

The Suiderkus, as with many of the visible wrecks in Namibia, can be found within the Skeleton Coast National Park. The Skeleton Coast Camp offers tours of the nearby wrecks, the Suiderkus included, and if you choose to stay at that lodge then they will happily take you on a tour. Anglers who are fishing at the nearby Terrace Bay drive past the wreck on their way to the fishing grounds.

Skeleton coast, Namibia, Namibia photography, shipwrecks, eduard bohlen, shipwreck namibia, adventure

There is some world-class fishing on offer near Terrace Bay.
(Image via Cardboard Box Travel Shop)

 

As mentioned above, there are literally thousands of wrecks dotted along the coast of Namibia. The three chosen for this article have been picked because they are still visible and are relatively easy to access. As the Skeleton Coast National Park continues to become more accessible to more and more people other wrecks will be easier to visits. For now, however, you can beat the crowds and get exploring in one of the world's strangest and most haunting landscapes.

Skeleton coast, Namibia, Namibia photography, shipwrecks, eduard bohlen, shipwreck namibia, adventure
Bits of ships and old boxes of cargo are strewn across the Skeleton Coast…

Who knows what you could find!
(Image via Africa Travel Resources)

+++++++

Looking for more eerie adventure?
Check out our post on the ghost town of Pomona by clicking on the picture below:

4x4 Africa, namibia, tourism namibia, 4x4 hire africa, namibian tourism, kolmanskop, namibia ghost town, adventure drive, bogenfels, adventure tour africa,

Explore Namibia's Precious Coastline and Dunes with Chris Nel

  
  

Chris Nel is a tour guide who runs the Living Desert Adventure through the Namib Desert near Sossussvlei. On these tours he shares his wisdom and expertise with visitors. Chris was also involved in the establishment of the Dorob National Park in 2010 along Namibia’s Skeleton Coast.

We had a chance to sit down and chat with Chris about desert conservation and the role that ordinary citizens can play in protecting Namibia’s natural treasures.

Chameleon 9

A desert-adapted chameleon photographed on one of Chris' adventure tours.
(Picture courtesy of Chris Nel)

Adventure, Conservation, Skeleton coast, Namibia, Sossusvlei, Swakopmund, quad biking, Namib, dune

Vehicles Chris uses for his Living Desert Adventure Tours.
(Picture courtesy of Chris Nel)

 

How long have you been involved with desert conservation in Namibia? What made you decide to get into it in the first place?

I have always loved nature and always been interested in protecting it since a little child but in 2002 I started doing day tours in the dunes around Swakopmund. At that stage I realised that quad-biking had become the new craze of the nation and thousands of people were driving all over the Namib Desert just for fun.

Adventure, Conservation, Skeleton coast, Namibia, Sossusvlei, Swakopmund, quad biking, Namib, dune

Chris getting up close with a desert chameleon.
(Picture courtesy of Chris Nel)

 

I attempted to run an educational tour for tourists and it was virtually impossible to do a quality tour because of the noise, aesthetic destruction (with tracks all over the place) and the little creatures we were showing people were getting killed under the wheels of the quads and 4x4 vehicles.

The year I started doing tours out of Swakopmund I realised Namibia had a big problem in the coastal Namib, largely caused by quads and 4x4’s. I did a flight over the Namib to take pictures and videos of the state of the desert. It was this day that my heart broke- I saw one of the most destroyed deserts in the world.

Adventure, Conservation, Skeleton coast, Namibia, Sossusvlei, Swakopmund, quad biking, Namib, dune

When Chris saw the damage he knew he had to do something to help.
(Picture courtesy of Chris Nel)


What are the most important lessons you hope to impress upon the people in your tour groups?

For me it is vital that people learn to respect and appreciate the desert, it is only then that we have a chance to understand the desert. If more people understand the desert better then there will be a greater chance that they will see the beauty of the desert.

Adventure, Conservation, Skeleton coast, Namibia, Sossusvlei, Swakopmund, quad biking, Namib, dune

Chris feels that once people understand, they will want to protect.
This is why he encourages guests to close to the fauna of the desert.

(Picture courtesy of Chris Nel)

 

What do you enjoy most about taking a guest into the desert for the first time in their life?

I love showing them from the beginning that this is one of the driest places on earth relative to rain, but because of the fog we have a certain degree of moisture that sustains a large variety of specialised desert life.

Adventure, Conservation, Skeleton coast, Namibia, Sossusvlei, Swakopmund, quad biking, Namib, dune

A desert adapted chameleon having a snack.
(Picture courtesy of Chris Nel)

 

I always start by telling them that because it almost never rains we will not see typical ‘safari’ wildlife (some tourists want to see lions and elephants no matter what part of Namibia they are exploring). I then tell them that the fog is made of micro drops and this means that on the tour we will only find micro elephants, bonzai crocodiles, and tiny lions.

 

The Namib Desert is an extremely fragile ecosystem, what do you think are some of the greatest threats to its survival and continuing biodiversity?

The Namib is very fragile, especially its gravel plains. When vehicles or quads travel on the gravel plains the tracks can last for hundreds of years. Dust and gravel form a crust with the humidity of the fog over hundreds of years. When the wind blows over these tracks, the dust comes out but the ridges of the tracks stay on the plains for just about forever. You can see where the Germans crossed the desert in 1880 in ox wagons.

Adventure, Conservation, Skeleton coast, Namibia, Sossusvlei, Swakopmund, quad biking, Namib, dune

Marks from the German settlers' wagons from well over a hundred years ago.
(Image via Andy Cowley)


I believe the aesthetic damage is of great concern as tourists and local Namibians don’t want to see their beautiful desert scared for life. I don’t think all of the animals are in danger but many get killed from off road driving.

Adventure, Conservation, Skeleton coast, Namibia, Sossusvlei, Swakopmund, quad biking, Namib, dune

Animals like this Namib dune gheko are at risk when vehicle access is not regulated.
(Picture courtesy of Chris Nel)

Can you tell us a bit more about your involvement with the Dorob National Park?

After seeing the destruction of the desert I started an online petition to bring it to the attention of Namibia and the rest of the world. The petition was signed by thousands of people and it lead to the Namibian government forming the Coastal Management Committee (the CMC). The CMC brought together people from all different spheres of the community - town councils, regional councils, commercial fisheries, tourism stakeholders, local residents - to work together in finding a solution to the devastation of our precious desert.

A video about Namibia’s incredible and fragile coastline.
(Video via NACOMA)

 

Around the same time, fellow conservationist Rod Braby managed to get sponsors from the World Bank to start NACOMA (The Namibian Coast Conservation and Management project). Together with NACOMA, the CMC and the people of Namibia, we were able to establish the Dorob National Park.

Helping with a project like Dorob was stressful at first. Holiday makers from all over Southern Africa would flock to Swakopmund with their quad bikes and 4x4s. As an advocate for restricting their playground, locals feared tourism (their livelihood) would suffer. There was a lot of opposition, even death threats. This was despite expert conservationists like the late Dr. Hugh Berry saying: “The most destroyed accessible coastline in the world is found in Namibia”.

Adventure, Conservation, Skeleton coast, Namibia, Sossusvlei, Swakopmund, quad biking, Namib, dune

No rational person could deny the seriousness of the situation.
(Picture courtesy of Chris Nel)

The truth is that we didn’t want to ban people from enjoying our dunes, but there were simply too many people joy-riding over Namibia’s deserts and ruining the beautiful landscapes that would be so important for tourism in the future. Steps had to be taken and access to the park had to be controlled.

Adventure, Conservation, Skeleton coast, Namibia, Sossusvlei, Swakopmund, quad biking, Namib, dune

Etosha has strict rules about staying on the roads in the park…
That’s why it looks like it did 50 years ago even though millions of tourists visit each year.


The government zoned areas so everyone could enjoy this unique part of Namibia. So whether you are a tourist, an environmentalist, or a quad biker, there's something for everyone to enjoy. You can download the park’s rules and regulations here.

Adventure, Conservation, Skeleton coast, Namibia, Sossusvlei, Swakopmund, quad biking, Namib, dune

Namibia is now the only country on earth with its entire coastline falling into a national park.

 

Is there a way that people not already directly involved with a conservation organisation can get involved?

The best way for the public to get involved is through NACOMA. You can read their brochure on their website. You can also be a game warden in your own capacity – approach people who are driving off the road and hand them the brochure, stop them littering, and make sure they respect the area.

Adventure, Conservation, Skeleton coast, Namibia, Sossusvlei, Swakopmund, quad biking, Namib, dune

There is still a long way to go, but there is good reason to be hopeful about the future.
(Picture courtesy of Chris Nel)

 

What part of your conservation work are you most proud of thus far?

I am most proud of my involvement in the creation of Dorob. Ten years ago everything was destroyed, it felt like mission impossible, but today it’s quiet, beautiful and flourishing again. Thinking back to all the death threats and stress I had to deal with, I still think it was totally worth it.

I am also proud of our country. It took a lot of years, tears and sweat but now our children can enjoy our hard work. The town of Swakopmund is within the area that has been declared a national park- several thousand people live in a national park, and that is quite something if you think about it.

Adventure, Conservation, Skeleton coast, Namibia, Sossusvlei, Swakopmund, quad biking, Namib, dune

Dorob National Park is Namibia’s first national park since independence.
Its creation ensures that landscapes like the one above can be shared with future generations.

 

+++++++

The Ngepi Camp in Namibia's Zambezi Region

  
  

Bush-bound Girl has written for us once before and now she is back for a second time. In her recent post she shares her experience of staying in one of the most unique accommodations in Namibia: The Ngepi Camp in the Zambezi (Caprivi) region. Read on to find out what makes this camp so special...

My George-of-the-Jungle tree house in the Caprivi

by Rachel Lang

 

jhgvhg

Ngepi Camp.
(Photo © Ngepi Camp)

 

Ever since watching George of the Jungle as a kid, I’ve wanted to live in a tree house. Unless you’re scared of heights or of sharing a bed with the odd creepy crawly creature, who wouldn’t want their own cosy tree hideaway? Recently, I spent time at the legendary Ngepi Camp in the Caprivi region of Namibia where I stayed in the tree house of my dreams! Although George didn’t swing by, I (Ursula) had plenty of company, from hippos and little skittering mice, to fish eagles and coppery-tailed coucals…

The Caprivi, in the upper reaches of the Okavango Delta panhandle, is a magnificent area – calming plains of green viridescent marshland and white Kalahari sand, and, of course, the Okavango (or Kavango) river, where Ngepi Camp (and the beautiful tree houses) are situated.

picture show (80) resized

Caprivi Region – seen from a microlight.
(Photo © Ngepi Camp)

Hippo Ngepi Camp resized

A hippopotamus in the Kavango
(Photo © Ngepi Camp)


The camp has twelve tree houses in total, each one unique and completely open to the river. They are all built of farmed materials upholding Ngepi’s owner Mark Adcock’s strong belief in the importance of safeguarding the area’s indigenous trees. Even the trees that the houses are built around have not been touched or used as building structures, with the intent of symbolising that man and nature can live together peacefully.

IMG_8826

One of the cabins.
(Photo © Bush-bound Girl)


Everything (including hot showers) is run on solar energy. Mark, who can also be referred to as Ngepi’s ‘artist’, has made sure that solar panels are not hidden by vegetation, but placed in full view for guests to see, “I want people to ask questions, I want them to say this works so well, where can I get one for my house?”

resized

Larger rooms are available too.
(Photo © Otto Grimm)

 

Another environmentally friendly novelty is the tree houses’ air-conditioning system. It’s a method so simple yet so clever! At the top of each thatched roof is a tap, and, when it’s switched on the cool water runs down each side of the roof. Air blowing against the water is cooled (the same as when we sweat) and this causes the temperature of the room to drop by at least 10 degrees c. More than a camp, Ngepi is a place of learning. Every element reflects a commitment to live sustainably, to reduce human impact on the environment, and, as a foreign client once put it,“live with your feet in nature!”. This is exactly what I did every morning as I opened my eyes to the sunrise between my toes!

ngepi shower pic resized

Gran and Grandad – you asked if this pretty bum was mine and who took the photo…
Sadly, I have to report that this is not me.
I got the photo from the kind folks at Ngepi and I’m not sure who the model is!

(Photo © Ngepi Camp)

Mokoro in front of Tree House - resized

Instead of George of the Jungle’s ‘watch out for that tree’
it’s a matter of watch out for that mokoro going by while you’re in the shower!!

(Photo © Ngepi Camp)

 

Bedtime in an Ngepi tree house is equally special. I showered beneath a million bright stars, naked for only the hippos to see. I listened with delight to the low hoots of a Pels Fishing owl, which echoed into the evening and eventually sent me soundly to sleep. On some nights you may even hear the roar of a lion from the other side of the river, which is Bwabwata National Park, or from Mahango Park to the South.

hamock- resized for blog

There’s a hammock on each tree house deck to chill with a book in the afternoons.
(Photo © Ngepi Camp)

 

Read more about Ngepi’s tree houses here

For More info email:  bookings@ngepicamp.com

+264 (0) 66 259 903 or +264 (0)81 20 28 200

Capture Namibia: Photography Tips from Willem Kruger

  
  

After hearing about Willem Kruger's excellent landscape photography we decided to track him down and get him to share some of his best advice to photographers who want to capture the best of Namibia. Read on for tips and anecdotes from Willem's last photo safari through the Land of the Brave...

Vlei format

Tell us about your most unforgettable moment while shooting in Namibia.

I went on a landscape photography safari in the southern parts of Namibia with my wife. We entered Namibia via the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and travelled straight to NamibRand Nature Reserve. Just driving through the vast landscape of Southern Namibia is a highlight on its own.

Open road

Our stay in the NamibRand Nature Reserve was the highlight of the photography safari. Many pictures of Namibia usually highlight the beauty of Namibia portraying well-known places but not many images can be found portraying the beauty of the less explored south of Namibia.

Single tree in grass field

I was presently surprised when I arrived in NamibRand and I saw the many opportunities it provides when it comes to landscape photography. The thunderstorms on the horizon against red dunes were particularly spectacular. Therefore, I think my most unforgettable moments were the magnificent colours provided by the sun, clouds, sand and plants, all in perfect harmony.

 

Every destination has its challenges and rewards; how does Namibia compare to other places you’ve photographed?

If you are a serious nature photographer (especially wildlife and landscapes), I am sure you are familiar with the two words – patience and rewards. In Namibia, the same principle applies. As a photographer, even when it comes to landscape photography, one needs to wait for the perfect moment. Wait for the all the elements such as light, clouds, dust, thunderstorms to be in place and just start shooting.

Ghost rain

However, the difference lies in the reward. When I first arrived in Namibia, I asked myself the following question: “What makes this place unique?” I soon realised that the colour, the light, and the storytelling elements can easily be found and matched to produce stunning images. While composition is the backbone of all great photos, in Namibia one just need to look around you to realise how many possibilities there are.

 

Which three photos shot in Namibia are you most proud of and why?

Red Dunes is certainly one of my favourite images of Namibia. It shows a different perspective of Namibia and it is not the usual image of some well-known spot. It shows almost all the colours what Namibia can offer as well as a perspective on what Namibia landscape is all about. Rich in diversity yet everything is in harmony.

Red dunes

Red Dunes

Road to heaven is my second favourite because it is almost if the road is taking you towards heaven and isn’t that what Namibia is all about?

Road to Heaven 

The Road to Heaven.

Thirdly, Quiver tree hill shows the reader the other side of Southern Namibia… Wide open plains and dunes between mountains ranges. These are not easy living conditions for humans or animals but the lines in this photograph, leading towards the clouds on the horizon, offer a glimpse of hope.

Quiver tree hill
Quiver Tree Hill.

 

When going on a Namibian photographic expedition, what is your equipment of choice? And what do you never leave home without?

Definitely any type of camera! From a simple cell phone or a compact point-and-shoot camera, to a professional SRL camera. There are so many opportunities that even the most inexperienced photographer will come home with a great image or two. For the more serious photographer, I would recommend a prime wide-angle lens along with your digital SLR camera with a few filters in the bag. If you have one, bring a 200mm to 600mm lens if you are planning to travel in the southern parts of Namibia.

Windy Namibia

I know it is a controversial issue but I do not leave home without my tripod. An essential piece of equipment when it comes to nature photography – just to assist you the get that super-sharp image and to distinguish you from the rest.

Two colourful doors

 

A photographer friend is desperate to capture the best of Namibia. What top three tips would you give them?  

First, put down the camera and step back from the scene. Without the camera in front of you or even without worrying about the camera settings and the anticipated photo, you can free your mind and enjoy what Namibia can offer. Only then can you see the photo opportunities from a totally different perspective.

Sunburst over tree

The next piece of advice is not new to photographers but it is vital: We all want to quickly capture the moment and move on to the next scene because Namibia has some much to offer. With that approach, you definitely will miss out on some unique opportunities. Rather take a little more time with your shots. Look for something different such as a more interesting point of view to shoot from. What about finding a different angle of an already well-known spot? I would recommend that you evaluate all the possibilities before taking the shot rather than just jumping in and get that already familiar/well-known photo.  

Mudd formation

Lastly – remember a photographer is an artist and not a forensic documentarian. Enjoy what you do and let your creativity takes over. Do not try and be copycat but rather try something differently. The result might surprise you.  

Milky way in Dead Vlei

Practising photography as a hobby will take you places where you previously would not have been. I do love nature photography and taking photos in Namibia is in my opinion provide one of the best opportunities to see what nature can offer.  

+++++++

Willem Kruger, in his own words...

Nature photography for me is not only a hobby but it is a passion. I hope to capture the essential detail and show people what nature has to offer for those people who are willing to have a closer and a more creative look at it.

Visit Willem's blog for more information and images.


More Photographer Tips

This part of a series of blog post interviews with professional photographers on how to Capture Namibia. Every week we'll be posting tips, tricks and amazing photographs from these impressive photographers.

Follow us to get the latest in the Capture Namibia series:

          

Namibia photography, photos Namibia, Africa photography, photography tips, photography in africa, photographs of namibia, photographs of africa

Namibia photography, photos Namibia, Africa photography, photography tips, photography in africa, photographs of namibia, photographs of africa

 Featured Photographers  

   
Namibia photography, photos Namibia, Africa photography, Marsel van Oosten, photography tips, photography in africa, photographs of namibia, photographs of africa  Namibia photography, photos Namibia, Africa photography, Christopher Rimmer, photography tips, photography in africa, photographs of namibia, photographs of africa  Namibia photography, photos Namibia, Africa photography, Paul van Schalkwyk, photography tips, photography in africa, photographs of namibia, photographs of africa, hasselblad masters

 Marsel van Oosten 

 Christopher Rimmer

Paul van Schalkwyk

Namibia photography, photos Namibia, Africa photography, photography tips, photography in africa, photographs of namibia, photographs of africa, Bill Gozansky  Namibia photography, photos Namibia, Africa photography, photography tips, photography in africa, photographs of namibia, photographs of africa,

Namibia photography, photos Namibia, Africa photography, photography tips, photography in africa, photographs of namibia, photographs of africa, Hougaard Malan

Bill Gozansky

 Roy van der Merwe

 Hougaard Malan

Namibia photography, photos Namibia, Africa photography, photography tips, photography in africa, photographs of namibia, photographs of africa  Namibia photography, photos Namibia, Africa photography, photography tips, photography in africa, photographs of namibia, photographs of africa, Ted Alan Stedman  Namibia photography, photos Namibia, Africa photography, photography tips, photography in africa, photographs of namibia, photographs of africa, Skyhawk photography

 Matthew Hood

 Ted Alan Stedman

 Jan & Jaye Roode

Namibia's Most Exclusive Getaways (Part 2)

  
  

We have already shared three magnificent getaway destinations in our previous blog post. Now, today, we give you another three establishments in Namibia that provide guests with the ultimate in comfort, relaxation and exclusivity.

This post will be giving you a brief look at the Lianshulu Lodge, the Okahirongo Elephant Lodge and the AiAiba Lodge.


1. Lianshulu Lodge

Namibia accomodation, Namibia, Aiaiba, Lianshulu, Okahirongo, desert elephants, remote namibia, exclusive

The lodge overlooks the perennial Kwando River.
(Image via Expert Africa)

 

The Lianshulu Lodge can be found in the north of Namibia on the Kwando River in the lush and ever-surprising East Kavango (Caprivi) region. The lodge is situated on a private concession in the Mudumu National Park of Namibia.

Namibia accomodation, Namibia, Aiaiba, Lianshulu, Okahirongo, desert elephants, remote namibia, exclusive

Wildebeest at the Mudumu National Park.
(Image via Cardboard Box Travel Shop)

 

Since the lodge is on a privately run concession you get all the creature comforts of an exclusive and excellently run establishment, along with the opportunity to explore one of Namibia’s renowned national parks. The focus at Lianshulu is on the guests and the entire staff at the lodge will do everything in their power to make you feel as relaxed and looked-after in the beautiful surrounds of the lodge.

Namibia accomodation, Namibia, Aiaiba, Lianshulu, Okahirongo, desert elephants, remote namibia, exclusive

The main deck is the perfect place to unwind.
(Image via Lianshulu Lodge)

 

Staying at Lianshulu it would be easy to forget that the outside world even exists. The bungalows at the lodge are made from locally sourced materials and put together by local craftsmen. The architecture together with the picturesque riverside, combine to create a truly serene and unique atmosphere.

Namibia accomodation, Namibia, Aiaiba, Lianshulu, Okahirongo, desert elephants, remote namibia, exclusive

Another amazing sunset over the Kwando River.
(Image via Lianshulu Lodge)

 

If you feel like exploring the surrounds and the Mudumu National Park then there are a few options available to you. Lianshulu offers its guests a highly recommended boat ride down the Kwando. On this trip it is not uncommon to see some large game on the river’s banks.

Namibia accomodation, Namibia, Aiaiba, Lianshulu, Okahirongo, desert elephants, remote namibia, exclusive

An elephant on the bank of the river near the lodge.
(Image via Lianshulu Lodge)

Namibia accomodation, Namibia, Aiaiba, Lianshulu, Okahirongo, desert elephants, remote namibia, exclusive

Two adult hippos cruising through the river.
(Image via Lianshulu Lodge)

 

If big game is your thing then you can go on a 4x4 game drive through the national park and see if you can catch a glimpse of a few of these mighty creatures. However, there is also an amazing variety of birdlife, including several types of water birds, that can be viewed whilst you explore the river near the lodge.

Namibia accomodation, Namibia, Aiaiba, Lianshulu, Okahirongo, desert elephants, remote namibia, exclusive

A low flying Great Egret.
(Image via Lianshulu Lodge)

 

You can book at the Lianshulu Lodge here.

 

2. Okahirongo Elephant lodge

Namibia accomodation, Namibia, Aiaiba, Lianshulu, Okahirongo, desert elephants, remote namibia, exclusive

Nighttime at the Elephant Lodge.
(Image via Okahirongo)

 

The Okahirongo Elephant Lodge can be found in one of Namibia’s most sparsely populated northern regions: The Kaokoveld. Okahirongo is located on the Purros Conservancy and is 200km south of the Kunene River and 55km inland from the Skeleton Coast.

Namibia accomodation, Namibia, Aiaiba, Lianshulu, Okahirongo, desert elephants, remote namibia, exclusive

The Kaokoveld- remote and beautiful.
(Image via Okahirongo)

 

The lodge’s remote location means that if you want to get to it you are going to have to climb in a 4x4 or a light aircraft. The drive can be quite long and tricky and the flight is two and a half hours from Windhoek.

Namibia accomodation, Namibia, Aiaiba, Lianshulu, Okahirongo, desert elephants, remote namibia, exclusive 

In many ways this lodge is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
(Image via Okahirongo)

 

The difficulty in getting there, however, is well worth it. The Purros conservancy is home to some of the Namibia’s desert adapted elephants, rhino, lions and giraffe. Okahirongo also offers its guests several activities like game drives, night walks, night drives and a visit to the nearby local Himba settlement.

Namibia accomodation, Namibia, Aiaiba, Lianshulu, Okahirongo, desert elephants, remote namibia, exclusive

Some rare desert-dwelling giraffes.
(Image via Okahirongo)

Namibia accomodation, Namibia, Aiaiba, Lianshulu, Okahirongo, desert elephants, remote namibia, exclusive

A small herd of elephants marching through the Kaokoveld.
(Image via Okahirongo)

 

If you are looking for a place to relax and unwind then Okahingoro is a great place for you to visit. An infinity pool, a library, a world class kitchen and stunning panoramic views of the desert and the ephemeral Hoarusib River await you at this lodge. So if you don’t feel like striking out into the conservancy’s wilderness then you will feel right at home thanks to the lodge’s facilities.

Namibia accomodation, Namibia, Aiaiba, Lianshulu, Okahirongo, desert elephants, remote namibia, exclusive

A fire basket is prepared in the twilight.
(Image via Okahirongo)

 

You can book at the Okahirongo Elephant Lodge here.

 

3. AiAiba Lodge

Namibia accomodation, Namibia, Aiaiba, Lianshulu, Okahirongo, desert elephants, remote namibia, exclusive


The lodge is nestled in the foothills of the Erongo Mountains.
(Image via AiAiba)

The AiAiba Lodge overlooks the beautiful Erongo Mountains north west of Windhoek. It is mostly renowned for its proximity to some of the oldest rock paintings in Namibia. The lodge itself is also part of a group of establishments that is committed to the protection on conservation of the Erongo mountains and their surrounds.

Namibia accomodation, Namibia, Aiaiba, Lianshulu, Okahirongo, desert elephants, remote namibia, exclusive

Examples of the ancient art can be foudn all around the region.
(Image via AiAiba)

Namibia accomodation, Namibia, Aiaiba, Lianshulu, Okahirongo, desert elephants, remote namibia, exclusive

Some of the paintings are more than 200 years old.
(Image via AiAiba)

AiAiba is perfect for travellers looking to spend some time in the deep calm of nature. The views from the bar and restaurant are unmatched and all you need to enjoy the beauty of the region is find a chair on the deck, grab yourself a refreshment and sit back and watch the natural world go by.

Namibia accomodation, Namibia, Aiaiba, Lianshulu, Okahirongo, desert elephants, remote namibia, exclusive

Sunsets are particularly serene in this part of Namibia.
(Image via AiAiba)

 

If you feel like exploring then the lodge also has several activities that you can take part in. Chief amongst these activities is a guided 4x4 trail which will take you on a mini safari and to the sites of the ancient rock paintings left by the regions first inhabitants thousands of years ago.


Namibia accomodation, Namibia, Aiaiba, Lianshulu, Okahirongo, desert elephants, remote namibia, exclusive

Guests about to embrak on a safari drive around AiAiba.
(Image via Blasdale)

 

There is also a short marked hiking trail that guests can tackle without the aid of a guide. AiAiba also offers guided walks through the region on which guests will be introduced to the various flora and fauna of the region.

Namibia accomodation, Namibia, Aiaiba, Lianshulu, Okahirongo, desert elephants, remote namibia, exclusive

Hiking and wlaking are great ways to unwind in the bush.
(Image via Changes in Longitude)

 

You can book at the AiAiba Lodge here.

*Changes in Longitude seleceted AiAiba as one of the seven most unique places in the world to visit. Read their article here.*

The three lodges we have highlighted in this post, along with the three we mentioned in our previous post make up six unique and inspiring places to visit. For travellers who want a bit more seclusion and remoteness all six of these establishments offer something that you cannot get anywhere else in Namibia.

Keep an eye out for a tour itinerary that will give you advice on how you can visit all six of these wonderful lodges and camps on a trip through Namibia.

+++++++

Namibia's Most Exclusive Getaways (Part 1)

  
  

Sometimes you just have to get away from it all. Lucky for you, Namibia is widely regarded as one of the best travel destinations in the world to do just this. With an extremely low population density and an incredible variety of landscapes to choose from the Land of the Brave has become a top destination for travellers looking for somewhere to retreat to.

This week we are focusing on six remote and exclusive destinations. Part 1, which you have just started to read will focus on: The Wolwedans Boulders Safari Camp, the Serra Cafema Camp and the Fish River Lodge.

*You can find part two by clicking here*


1. The Wolwedans Boulders Safari Camp

Namibia accomodation, Namibia, Fish river canyon, fish river lodge, wilderness safaris, Serra Cafema, travel, luxury, stargazing

Panoramic views at the Boulders Safari Camp.
(Image via Wolwedans)

 

If you are looking for exclusivity then the Boulders Camp is the place for you. The luxuriously appointed camp sleeps a maximum of eight guests so there is never a massive crowd of people at the site. The camp is part of the world-renowned Wolwedans collection of camps and lodges. 

Namibia accomodation, Namibia, Fish river canyon, fish river lodge, wilderness safaris, Serra Cafema, travel, luxury, stargazing

The landscapes in this part of the country are simply stunning.
(Image via Wolwedans)

 

Staying at the camp will allow you to explore the southern reaches of the NamibRand Nature Reserve that is home to a variety of wildlife and several unique geological features. In the reserve visitors can also take guided walking tours through the ancient hunting grounds of the Bushmen. 

Namibia accomodation, Namibia, Fish river canyon, fish river lodge, wilderness safaris, Serra Cafema, travel, luxury, stargazing

Guests tracking animal spoor thorugh the reserve.
(Image via NamibRand)

 

If exploring the surrounds is not really what you are after then you can always relax at the camp and enjoy the wonderful facilities. You can even take a trip to edge of the plateau the camp sit upon and enjoy a spectacular sundowner. 

Namibia accomodation, Namibia, Fish river canyon, fish river lodge, wilderness safaris, Serra Cafema, travel, luxury, stargazing

Watch the sun set with a glorious meal and a refreshing drink.
(Image via Wolwedans

 

If you are more of a night owl then you should know that the night skies around this area of Namibia are widely regarded as some of the best in the world. The NamibRand Nature Reserve is particularly famous for its stargazing facilities

Namibia accomodation, Namibia, Fish river canyon, fish river lodge, wilderness safaris, Serra Cafema, travel, luxury, stargazing

An image of the night sky over the NamibRand Nature Reserve.
(Image by Dr. George Tucker via NamibRand

 

To book at the Boulders Safari Camp click here.


2. Serra Cafema Camp

Namibia accomodation, Namibia, Fish river canyon, fish river lodge, wilderness safaris, Serra Cafema, travel, luxury, stargazing

Serra Cafema is uniquely situated on the bed of a river that runs through an arid landscape.
(Image via Uyaphi)

 

Serra Cafema can be found in the north east corner of the Land of the Brave, near the Angolan border. Its location is so remote that it is suggested that you charter a private plane to land nearby the camp. If you do decide to take the trip up to the camp by car it will take you in excess of a week to navigate the rural roads.

Namibia accomodation, Namibia, Fish river canyon, fish river lodge, wilderness safaris, Serra Cafema, travel, luxury, stargazing

The camp can be found in this remote and awesome landscape.
(Image via Rhino Africa

 

The far-removed nature of the camp’s location means that the 8 million acres (yes you read that right!) of land that camp sits on are available exclusively to Serra Cafema’s guests. This means that if you can find your way to the site you will be rewarded with an experience that will stay with you forever. 

Namibia accomodation, Namibia, Fish river canyon, fish river lodge, wilderness safaris, Serra Cafema, travel, luxury, stargazing

Welcome to the wide-open outdoors.
(Image via Uncharted Outposts)

 

Since there are only eight thatched chalets at the riverside lodge you are ensured a peaceful and relaxed atmosphere. So once you have reached the camp all you have to do is enjoy the beautiful surrounds while you listen to the rushing water of the river that runs beside the camp. 

Namibia accomodation, Namibia, Fish river canyon, fish river lodge, wilderness safaris, Serra Cafema, travel, luxury, stargazing

The Serra Cafema Camp in the twilight- pure magic.
(Image via Kiwi Collection)

 

While at the camp you can visit a nearby Himba settlement, go quad biking through the nearby dunes, or as mentioned above, simply relax at the camp enjoying the contrasts of place where a river runs through a desert.

Namibia accomodation, Namibia, Fish river canyon, fish river lodge, wilderness safaris, Serra Cafema, travel, luxury, stargazing

Part of a Himba settlement.
(Image via Audley Travel

 

You can book at Serra Cafema Camp here

 

3. The Fish River Lodge

The Fish River Canyon is the second largest canyon in the world and it is truly one of the most stirring sites in Namibia. It is found in the south of Namibia and if you are in this part of the country then you simply have to check out this canyon on the border between South Africa and Namibia.

 

Namibia accomodation, Namibia, Fish river canyon, fish river lodge, wilderness safaris, Serra Cafema, travel, luxury, stargazing

Every chalet has a sweeping view of the canyon.
(Image via Fish River Lodge)

 

One of the best places to use as a base when exploring this canyon is the Fish River Lodge. It is the only lodge in Namibia that is perched on the edge of the immense canyon. The parks board has forbidden any more building on the rim of the canyon so the Fish River Lodge is the only lodge where you can lounge by a pool and soak in views of the canyon like this:

Namibia accomodation, Namibia, Fish river canyon, fish river lodge, wilderness safaris, Serra Cafema, travel, luxury, stargazing

Lounge in the pool and take in this impressive natural wonder.
(Image via Fish River Lodge)

 

The lodge itself can only by accessed by driving on a very rocky and challenging dirt road. A decent 4x4 with sufficient is a must if you hope to make the trip up to the lodge. Smaller sedans and two-wheel drive cars will struggle to get through some of the rougher parts of the road.

Namibia accomodation, Namibia, Fish river canyon, fish river lodge, wilderness safaris, Serra Cafema, travel, luxury, stargazing

The rugged roads around and into the lodge are not built for city dwelling vehicles.
(Image via Fish River Lodge)

 

There is much more to this lodge than just amazing views of the canyon. The lodge offers a range of activities. There is a mammoth, and highly rated, five-day hike; a day hike; and scenic day drives around and into the canyon. The stargazing is also spectacular in this part of Namibia as there is very little to no light pollution.

Namibia accomodation, Namibia, Fish river canyon, fish river lodge, wilderness safaris, Serra Cafema, travel, luxury, stargazing

Hikers scrambling down the face of the cliff of the canyon.
(Image via Fish River Lodge)

 

You can book at the Fish River Lodge here.

 

This was part one of two in our series on exclusice and remote places to stay in Namibia. Later in the week we will be posting a second blog on another three places... Keep an eye out on our Facebook and Twitter feeds for the follow up post later this week!

 

+++++++

 

For more information on Stargazing in Namibia, and to find out what it is like to hike in the Fish River Canyon, check out these two blog posts from our archives:

Exploring Namibia's Starry Skies A Day Hike Through the Fish River Canyon
506 namibia star gazing moon rising windhoek into the sun 

Three New Self-drive Routes Through Namibia

  
  

Open Africa is an organisation that prides itself on promoting sustainable tourism ventures in countries like Namibia. Recently at last week’s Namibian Tourism Expo, Open Africa, in conjunction with the Namibian Tourism Board and the Millennium Challenge Account Namibia, launched three new self-drive routes through Namibia.

Self-drive, Namibia, Adventure, Caprivi, Zambezi, Etosha, namibia self-drive, open africa, millennium challenge account

Each self-drive route has been carefully planned out to highlight aspects of Namibia that are a little bit less well known to both local and international tourists. This blog post will provide you with an overview of all the experiences you can have on each route (for a detailed itinerary visit our page here or click any of the names of the experiences below).


The Omulunga Palm Route

Self-drive, Namibia, Adventure, Caprivi, Zambezi, Etosha, namibia self-drive, open africa, millennium challenge account

What you can expect on the Omulunga Palm Route

There are several notable cultural experiences to be had on this tour as many of the local tribes along of this route have a proud history. The Owambo homesteads along the way are reminders of Namibia’s hard-fought liberation struggles as well as its promising future.

Many of the local communities along the route manage conservancies that aim to provide locals with the opportunity to share their traditions, culture and wildlife with visitors.

Self-drive, Namibia, Adventure, Caprivi, Zambezi, Etosha, namibia self-drive, open africa, millennium challenge account

An Owambo homestead.

 

Regions the Omulunga Palm Route will take you through

The route takes you on a journey from the arid northwest of the country to the fertile and verdant northeast. It should also be noted that this route also takes travellers down to the world famous Etosha National Park.

Self-drive, Namibia, Adventure, Caprivi, Zambezi, Etosha, namibia self-drive, open africa, millennium challenge account

Visitors getting close to some game at Etosha.

 

Experiences on the Omulunga Palm Route 

The Roof of Namibia Experience

The Roof of Namibia experience is 467km long and roughly runs parallel to the Angolan border in Namibia’s north. The journey traces the Kunene River from the Ruacana Falls across to the Okavango River. The trip takes travellers past several pans and flooded channels. These watery ecosystems are home to a massive amount of birdlife on offer.

Self-drive, Namibia, Adventure, Caprivi, Zambezi, Etosha, namibia self-drive, open africa, millennium challenge account

The Ruacana Falls.
(Image by Tom Jakobi via Wikicommons)

 

This part of the Omulunga Palm Route is not just about rural wildlife as there are several urban settlements along the way with attractions such as the Outapi War Museum, Ombalantu Baobab Museum and the Eenhana Shrine.

Self-drive, Namibia, Adventure, Caprivi, Zambezi, Etosha, namibia self-drive, open africa, millennium challenge account

The mighty Ombalantu Baobab.
(Image via Wikimedia)

 

The King Nehale Experience

This experience is a 641km trail through the culturally rich and unique towns of Oshakati, Ongwediva and Ondangwa. There are also several rural villages that surround these larger towns, so be sure to be on the look out for those!

The major attractions on the King Nehale Experience are the Omugulugwombashe National Monument, Uukwaluudhi Royal Homestead, Uukwambi Kings Monument, Oshakati Open Market, Ongula Traditional Homestead, Nakambale Museum and Lake Oponono. This part of the route also takes you through Etosha National Park. Exploring this world-class National Park is a must-do activity when visiting the Land of the Brave.

Self-drive, Namibia, Adventure, Caprivi, Zambezi, Etosha, namibia self-drive, open africa, millennium challenge account
A Blue Crane at Lake Oponono
.
(Image by Alastair Rae via Wikimedia)

 

The Arid Eden Route

Self-drive, Namibia, Adventure, Caprivi, Zambezi, Etosha, namibia self-drive, open africa, millennium challenge account

What you can expect on the Arid Eden Route

This route is a dream come true for travel photographers. As you head away from Swakopmund the arid desert landscapes and the crystal clear skies offer up some of the best photography opportunities in Namibia.

There are several unique locations along this route ranging from ancient rock paintings to modern cultural experiences in the heartland of the Himba people.

Self-drive, Namibia, Adventure, Caprivi, Zambezi, Etosha, namibia self-drive, open africa, millennium challenge account

A Himba woman looks on.
(Image courtesy of Expert Africa)

Regions the Arid Eden Route will take you through

The Arid Eden Route begins in the coastal town of Swakopmund and runs all the way up to northern border with Angola. Something that makes this route quite special is that it winds through the previously restricted western part of Etosha National Park.

Self-drive, Namibia, Adventure, Caprivi, Zambezi, Etosha, namibia self-drive, open africa, millennium challenge account

The beach at Swakopmund.

 

Experiences on the Arid Eden Route

The Welwitchia Experience

The Welwitchia Experience is 860km long and allows travellers to experience all the excitement of Swakopmund as well as the awe-inspiring Etosha National Park. The route, which is mostly gravelled roads, is well maintained and any car with sufficient ground clearance and sturdy enough axel will be able to navigate it.

gravel road namibia 88c90f18 902e 4486 925d 712761bd7ba4

A typical gravel road in Namibia.
(Photo by Andreas Seehase via Foto Community)

 

The Windhoek to Galton Experience

The Windhoek to Galton Experience is the experience that gives adventurers access to the previously mentioned western part of Etosha via the Galton Gate. The route is 520km in length and as you drive from the capital city to the Galton Gate be sure to keep an eye out for wildlife on the verge of the road.

Self-drive, Namibia, Adventure, Caprivi, Zambezi, Etosha, namibia self-drive, open africa, millennium challenge account

Explore the western parts of Etosha.


German delicatessens, coffee shops and local butcheries with locally sourced game and beef are also dotted along the route. So be sure to take a bit of time out and pop in to one of these establishments.

If you have time (and are properly prepared!) don’t forget to get off the beaten track and explore some of the landscapes that the route traverses. Massive mountain peaks, unique geological formations, desert-adapted wildlife and never ending horizons abound in these parts of the Land of the Brave.

Self-drive, Namibia, Adventure, Caprivi, Zambezi, Etosha, namibia self-drive, open africa, millennium challenge account

There is wildlife aplenty on this route!


North West Trails

This trail is for those who seek a bit more adrenaline coursing through their veins. The main attractions on this part of the route are surely the Spitzkoppe and Mount Erongo. These mountains are favourites among both mountain bikers and rock climbers and offer several routes up and down their slopes and faces.

Self-drive, Namibia, Adventure, Caprivi, Zambezi, Etosha, namibia self-drive, open africa, millennium challenge account

Explorers taking in the Spitzkoppe.


The North West Trail also takes travellers past Namibia’s highest mountain, Brandberg. The area around the huge mountain has over 2000 recorded rock art sites and there are professionally run tours that take tourists to the major sites. Such a tour is a must for anyone interested in the ancient history of Namibia.

Self-drive, Namibia, Adventure, Caprivi, Zambezi, Etosha, namibia self-drive, open africa, millennium challenge account

An example of some of the rock art you can find in the area.


The foothills of the Brandberg are also home to some of Namibia’s desert-adapted elephants. The region is easily accessible and it is thus it one of the best places in the world to catch a glimpse of these mighty and rare large mammals.

Self-drive, Namibia, Adventure, Caprivi, Zambezi, Etosha, namibia self-drive, open africa, millennium challenge account

A young desert-adapted elephant near the Brandberg.
(Image courtesy of the Cardboard Box Travel Shop)

 

Twyfelfontein (or ǀUi-ǁAis) is another attraction on the North West Trail. It is an official World heritage Site thanks to its numerous petroglyphs and the naturally formed geological wonders like the Organ Pipes and many petrified trees. If you want to explore Twyfelfontein then using the small town of Khorixas is a good idea as it is the last convenient place to stock up with supplies before heading out in the arid northwest.

Self-drive, Namibia, Adventure, Caprivi, Zambezi, Etosha, namibia self-drive, open africa, millennium challenge account

A unique rock formation near Twyfelfontein.


The Himba Cultural Experience

The Arid Eden Route, as mentioned above, will take you through the heartland of the Himba people of northern Namibia. The Himba Cultural Experience focuses on these unique people and the suggested 443km goes through several homesteads in the area.

The remote Himba settlement at Puros is particularly unique as its massive camel thorn trees provide shelter for all from the unrelenting sun. At Puros there is a supply store where locals and travellers can stock up on essentials like sugar, cooking oil and soap. There is also a billiard table at the store where you can share a conversation and friendly game with some of the Himba people.

Self-drive, Namibia, Adventure, Caprivi, Zambezi, Etosha, namibia self-drive, open africa, millennium challenge account

A group of Himba cutting loose.


The Four Rivers Route

Self-drive, Namibia, Adventure, Caprivi, Zambezi, Etosha, namibia self-drive, open africa, millennium challenge account

What you can expect on the Four Rivers Route

The route focuses on getting travellers off the beaten path and the meandering course it takes through the riverine landscape encourages exploration and discovery.

As with the other two routes discussed there are a variety of culturally diverse experiences along the Four Rivers Route. The people of the Zambezi are particularly culturally distinct from the rest of Namibia and this makes this route particularly worthwhile for travellers who have been to Namibia before.

Self-drive, Namibia, Adventure, Caprivi, Zambezi, Etosha, namibia self-drive, open africa, millennium challenge account

A local homestead in the Zambezi region.


Regions the Four Rivers Route will take you through

This route starts in the northeast at Nkurenkuru and going through the lush Zambezi (formerly Caprivi) region and on to the world-famous Victoria Falls. The regions along this route are crisscrossed with rivers and their tributaries and as such this part of Namibia is verdant and teeming with birdlife, wildlife and surprises.

Self-drive, Namibia, Adventure, Caprivi, Zambezi, Etosha, namibia self-drive, open africa, millennium challenge account

Elephants ahead!

 

Experiences on the Four Rivers Route

The Kavango Open Africa Route

This part of the Four Rivers Route traces 383km through the lush regions along the Kavango River. Starting at Nkurunkuru in the west and ending at the eastern border post of Mohembo the route allows travellers to experience the birds, people and wildlife of the region up close.

 

Self-drive, Namibia, Adventure, Caprivi, Zambezi, Etosha, namibia self-drive, open africa, millennium challenge account

The banks of Kavango River are particularly picturesque.

(Image courtesy of Dr Klaus Dierks)


This route opens up an area for travellers that has only been explored since the nineteenth century and is thus the perfect place for those of you who have the need to explore this lesser seen side of Namibia. The Mahango and Khaudum National Parks on the border of Botswana are also magnificent and are well worth the visit.

Other notable attractions that form part of the Kavango Open Africa Experience include the Mbunza Living Museum, Khaudum National Park, Nyangana Mission, Andara Mission, the Okavango River System and Popa Falls as well as the Mahango National Park.

Self-drive, Namibia, Adventure, Caprivi, Zambezi, Etosha, namibia self-drive, open africa, millennium challenge account

Popa Falls.
(Image courtesy of Dr Klaus Dierks)


The Caprivi Wetlands Paradise

This experience takes you on an incredible 430km trip through some of the most diverse landscapes and unexpected ecosystems in the Land of the Brave.

One of the most unique parks in the world, Bwabwata National Park, just north of the Okavango Delta is part of this experience. Within in this park there are 5000 residents who live side-by-side with the free-roaming animals in the park.

Self-drive, Namibia, Adventure, Caprivi, Zambezi, Etosha, namibia self-drive, open africa, millennium challenge account

A hippo at Bwabwata National Park.
(Image via Cardboard Travel Box)

 

The residents living on this land, thanks to the Ministry of Environment and Tourism in Namibia, help run and conserve the ecosystem. The local people then derive financial benefits from the tourists visiting the area in what is one of the most innovative and community-orientated conservation programs in the world.

Self-drive, Namibia, Adventure, Caprivi, Zambezi, Etosha, namibia self-drive, open africa, millennium challenge account

Locals fishing on the Kavango.


The area surrounding the Kwando River is not only famous for it’s free-roaming elephants but it is also one of the best places to go birding in Namibia. The region is home to over 400 species of birds that live in habitats ranging from acacia woodlands and mopane forests, to floodplains filled with plant and animal.

Self-drive, Namibia, Adventure, Caprivi, Zambezi, Etosha, namibia self-drive, open africa, millennium challenge account

The river banks in this region are full of varied flora and fauna.


The Four Corners Experience

The Four Corners Experience is different from all the other experiences on the three routes we have described as it actually takes you out of Namibia and into two of its neighbouring countries, Botswana and Zimbabwe.

Your journey will begin at the Ngoma border post and the trip will take you through the Chobe National Park in Botswana. The route will then lead you to where the mighty Zambezi and Chobe rivers merge. The area where these two great rivers converge is famed for its wildlife and luxury lodges.

Self-drive, Namibia, Adventure, Caprivi, Zambezi, Etosha, namibia self-drive, open africa, millennium challenge account

The Chobe/Zambezi confluence seen from the air.
(Image via Springbok Classic Air)

 

The final experience on the Four Corner Route will also take you to one of Africa’s truly great wonders: The Victoria Falls on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Self-drive, Namibia, Adventure, Caprivi, Zambezi, Etosha, namibia self-drive, open africa, millennium challenge account

The awesome Victoria Falls.
(Photo via Wikimedia)

 

+-------+

 

These are just three routes through the vast expanse of Namibia. Remember, you can always create your adventure. If you feel like putting together your very own roadtrip then why not have a look at our other blog posts on self-drive adventures through the Land of the Brave:

 


Driving Through Etosha
self drive namibia, namibia, etosha, etosha national park, etosha game park, safari, etosha safari, etosha accomodation, namibia travel tips

 


Motorbiking through Namibia
CAPIRCORN

 

 
Self-drive Tips
namibia, self drive namibia, self drive safaris, 4 x 4 africa, etosha, adventure holiday, namibia roads

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2014 Namibia Adventure Calendar: September to December

  
  

As promised, this is a follow up post to our recently published Adventure Calendar for 2014. You can find the calendar for June to August by clicking here. These two blog posts will equip you with all you need to know about the major adventure events that are happening in Namibia.

Desert Knights Mountain Bike Tour (7 – 12 September)

The Desert Knights MTB Tour is five days of cycling, and one day of canoeing, through Namibia’s scenic /Ai/Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park. The park is located in the southern region of Namibia and straddles the border between South Africa and the Land of the Brave.

Adventure, Namibia, Trail running, canoeing, mountain biking namibia, kiteboarding, Namib, Sossusvlei,

From the seat of you bike you will be able to take in the beautiful landscape.
(Image courtesy of Desert Knights)

 

Adventure, Namibia, Trail running, canoeing, mountain biking namibia, kiteboarding, Namib, Sossusvlei, Fish River,

You will also get a chance to zip down some Orange River rapids in a canoe.
(Image courtesy of Desert Knights)

 

This cycling tour is unique in that it affords its participants the opportunity to cycle both during the day and at night. Cycling through the desert at night, and under the full moon (which falls on the 9th of September), participants in the Desert Knights Mountain Bike Tour will get to witness the isolated and vast region in a light that few people ever will.

Adventure, Namibia, Trail running, canoeing, mountain biking namibia, kiteboarding, Namib, Sossusvlei, Fish River,

The landscapes transform at night.
(Image courtesy of Desert Knights)

 

To enter the event click here. Entries close on the 30th of June. There are only 100 places available on this tour, so be sure to book soon!

Adventure, Namibia, Trail running, canoeing, mountain biking namibia, kiteboarding, Namib, Sossusvlei, Fish River,

Riders riding out into the approaching twilight.
(Image courtesy of Desert Knights)

 

Pick n Pay Cycle Classic (12 October) 

This year will see the fifteenth time this cycling road race is being held in Namibia. Starting off as a small race of just over 750 cyclists the event has grown from strength to strength with each passing year.

The race is a great way for you to visit Windhoek if you are interested in competitive cycling. It will give you the opportunity to meet, greet and compete with the local cyclists in the capital city.  

Adventure, Namibia, Trail running, canoeing, mountain biking namibia, kiteboarding, Namib, Sossusvlei, Fish River,

2012’s runner-up Costa Seibeb (L) and 2012’s winner Till Droblisch (R).
(Image via the Sun)

 

This year the event is taking place on Sunday the 12th of October and there will be several routes on offer to entrants. The race is organised by the Windhoek-based cycling club Windhoek Pedal Power. If you want to be able to register for this race then all you have to do is subscribe to their newsletter here.

Registration for the Cycle Classic typically closes in early October so it is best to book your place in advance. Details are still being finalised for the event, so be sure to keep an eye on your inbox after you have registered with Windhoek Pedal Power.


Luderitz Speed Challenge (October 29 – 9 November) 

The Luderitz Speed Challenge is one of the world’s premier water sporting events for kiteboarders and windsurfers. The perfect water and wind conditions draw out hoards of international watersporting stars and this ensures that each year the Speed Challenge is a thrilling and record breaking event.

Adventure, Namibia, Trail running, canoeing, mountain biking namibia, kiteboarding, Namib, Sossusvlei, Fish River,

A contestant kicking up some spray in 2013.

(Photo via Luderitz Speed)

 

The event has seen numerous world records broken and this year there promises to be more of the same record breaking action. The Speed Challenge will be taking place from the end of October to mid-November, so if you find youself in Namibia's south during that time then be sure to head down to Luderitz to check all the action out.

Adventure, Namibia, Trail running, canoeing, mountain biking namibia, kiteboarding, Namib, Sossusvlei, Fish River,

Windsurfers and kiteboarders flock to Luderitz for this event.
(Photo via Luderitz Speed)

 

If you want to enter the race, or get involved as a sponsor of the event you can contact the organisers, Sebastien Cattelan or Sophie Routaboul on the details below.

Sébastien Cattelan

Email: cattelan.sebastien@gmail.com

Mobile: +33 (0)61 5341 411 (France)

+27 (0)791 634555 (South Africa)

Skype: seb.cat1

Sophie Routaboul

Email: luderitz.speed.challenge@gmail.com

Mobile: +33 (0)61 07 44 69 (France)

+264 (0)817 44 64 69 (Namibia)

Skype: soevent34

If you want a more detailed description of the event and its history then check out our blog post on it here.

KITE NEST

A windsurfer on the purpose built canal.
(Photo via Luderitz Speed)

           

Desert Ultra (November 14)

The Desert Ultra is an event organised by Beyond the Ultimate and it is a trail running race like no other in Namibia. The course is over 250km and it focuses on well-trained runners who are looking for an extreme challenge through some wonderfully isolated and awesome desert landscapes.

STARK

Stark, challenging and one of a kind stages.
(Image via Beyond the Ultimate)

 

Contestants are expected to be able to carry all your gear and water and the fields are usually very competitive. While there are refreshment stations along the way, you will be expected to fend for yourself along the gruelling stages.

PREP

Preparation is key if you want to succeed.
(Image via Beyond the Ultimate)

 

Here is a good link to a page that deals with FAQ associated with the Desert Ultra. If you want register for the race then simply follow this link.

Adventure, Namibia, Trail running, canoeing, mountain biking namibia, kiteboarding, Namib, Sossusvlei,

Runners making their way through a checkpoint.
(Image via Beyond the Ultimate)


It should be noted that Ultras are not for casual athletes, but if you are fully prepared, and in good physical and mental shape, then they can be some of the most rewarding extreme adventures one can have.

REWARD

Desert heat and tough trails make for a rewarding run.

(Image via Beyond the Ultimate)

 

100km of Namib Desert (30 November – 7 December)

Quite simply this event is a 100km race through one of the world’s oldest deserts, the Namib. The Namib is home to some of Namibia’s most famous wonders; these include Sossusvlei and Sesriem Canyon making it this ancient desert an amazing area to be able to run through.

AMAZE

From the Dead Vlei…
(Image via 100km of Namib Desert)

CANYON

…to the Sesriem Canyon.
(Image via 100km of Namib Desert)

 

The 100km run through the desert is organised by an Italian company who put on races through out Africa (check out some of their other races here and here). It is the ninth time that the event has been held in Namibia and each year the field of participants has increased.

FUN RUN

A runner summits one of the massive dunes.
(Image via 100km of Namib Desert)

 

The race is a tough affair, but, you will be staying in top-notch accommodation for each of the four competing nights you are out on the route. So there will always be time for you to unwind and recharge. For a detailed program check out this page.

NICEPIC

Beautiful surrounds make this race a must.
(Image via 100km of Namib Desert)

 

If you want register for the race then click here and fill in your details and the team will get back to you with all the information you need. If you still need convincing then have a look at the subtitled video below.

(Video via 100km of Namib Desert)


+-------+

 

This and our last post should give any adventure holiday seekers enough ideas to fill a few months up in their trip.

If you know of any other extreme adventure events happening in Namibia in 2014 then leave a comment below.

Happy reading, and happy planning!

2014 Namibia Adventure Calendar: June to August

  
  

Namibia is a land full of adventure. From its churning seas, to its sand swept deserts there are loads of different ways thrill-seekers can get their adrenaline fix. This blog post is the first in a two-part series that will provide you with all the information you need to know about what extreme activities you can take part in across the Land of the Brave this year.

Rostock Fly-in (June –TBC)

The Rostock Ritz Desert Lodge is a luxury lodge in the ancient Namib Desert close to the iconic Sossusvlei. The lodge is a popular destination for people who are exploring the Land of the Brave in a light aircraft and every year the Ritz holds an annual “Fly-in”. The “Fly-in” consists of groups of privately owned planes that make the trip to the lodge to compete against one another in a series of airborne events.

ROCKSTOCKGATE

The entrance to the picturesque lodge.
(Image via the Rostock Ritz Desert Lodge)

 

In previous years the Fly-in’s challenges have included “pot landing”, “bomb dropping” and a navigation exercise that required pilots to follow the trail of famed geologists Henno Martin and Herman Korn as chronicled in Martin’s quintessential book on Namibia: “The Sheltering Desert”.

FLY002

Contestants arriving back from their challenges.
(Image via the Rostock Ritz Desert Lodge)

 

So if you have your own small plane, or know someone who does, then be sure to get hold of the staff at the Rostock Ritz to make a booking, their details are directly below.

Reservation: +264 81 258 5722
Fax: +264 88 616 556
Lodge: +264 64 694000

The Rostock Fly-in typically takes place in June every year so be sure to book your place as soon as possible.

FLY001

Photo opportunities abound at the Rostock Fly-in.
(Image via the Rostock Ritz Desert Lodge)

 

Koës Rally date (July – TBC)

In the first week of July, rallying enthusiasts descend upon the small Kalahri village of Koës. Their goal? To race against each other in one of the most unique and wild DIY rallying events in the world. You can read more about the event here and here.

BUGGY

The rally is a chance for some weird and wonderful vehicle to kick up some dust.
(Photo by Jacobus Blaauw via Facebook)

 

The rally is a must-see event for any petrol-head that is in the area around this time of year. Entries are open to the public and no previous rallying experience is needed. Take note though, you will have to bring your own vehicle. This rally is not a scenic drive through the desert. Contestants will be up against some serious terrain and competition.

If, this sounds like a bit too much for you, and you would rather be a spectator then you can visit Koës while the rally is underway and take in the local fare and enjoy the races from the safety of the spectator areas.

For more info on the rally contact Bonsai Combrink at the Koës Hotel on: (+264) 063 25 2716.

FINISH

The Koes Rally is really a one-of-a-kind event.
(Photo by Annette Erasmus Schoeman via Facebook
)

 

Windhoek Light Fish River Ultra Race (July 11 – 12)

The Fish River Ultra is one of the most gruelling trail running competitions that you can do in Namibia. It is a 96km trail through the spectacular Fish River Canyon, the second largest canyon in the world. The trail follows the extremely popular canyon hiking trail.

FISH RUN

The Stunning Fish River Canyon.
(Image by Marius via I Love Ultras)

 

The trail takes about five-days to do when done at a regular hiking pace but since 2013 trail running enthusiasts have been doing the root in under 10 hours. 2012’s winner, Ryan Sandes, finished the race in an astonishing 6 hours and 57 minutes!

PAINGAIN

No pain no gain!
(Image via Trail Running)

 

If 96km’s sounds a bit too much for your likings then fear not. The organisers have organized a “lite” version of the race that will take contestants on a 65km circuit through the canyon.

For full course information, entrance fees and a full history of the event click here.

RUNNERFISH

Scenic views, and challenging trails.
(Image via Events Nam)

 

The Namib Desert Challenge (July 21 - 25)

The Namib Desert Challenge is a 220km race through the Namib-Naukluft National Park- the park being home to some of Namibia’s most spectacular desert landscapes. The trail will take you through the Sesriem Canyon and up two of the world’s largest sand dunes, Dune 45 and Big Daddy.

DUNE

A runner takes on the Big Daddy.
(Image via Namib Desert Challenge)

 

The race is particularly awesome because some of its trail will take contestants through parts of the popular park that are often not open to the general public.

CONTESTANTS

Warming up before the start of one of the stages.
(Image via Namib Desert Challenge)

 

The race this year is on the 21 – 25 of July and entries are selling like hotcakes. Currently (May 28th) there are only 20 entries left. So if you are interested in this highly regarded and challenging run then you best get a move on! You can register for the race here.

DUNE RUNNING

Contestants charging down the dunes.
(Image via Namib Desert Challenge)

 

Wispeco Otjihavera Experience MTB Marathon presented by FNB (30 - 31 August)

The Otjihavera Xperience is a mountain bike race that covers just over 70km’s of scenic, rugged and challenging terrain in the Otjozondjupa region in central Namibia. The race has been run for the last eight years and its increasing popularity year on year is testament to the dramatic and panoramic trail that the race traces.

 

OTJIX

(Image via Rock and Rut)

 

The route takes riders through several of the area’s farms, and the farmers’ contribution to the race’s success is part of the charm of the event. The local communities not only allow access across their lands to the cyclists, but the locals also set up water stations along the way for the thirsty contestants.

NAMINNNK

The scenic dunes of the Naukluft National Park.
(Image via Wikicommons)

 

This year’s Otjihavera Xperience will take place on the 30th and 31st of August and entries opened on the 17th of April. Spaces are sure to fill up quickly so be sure to book as soon as you can.

For a detailed description of the route, and to register as either a solo competitor or as a two-person team, click here.

CYCLE

Cyclists preparing to set out from the Midgard Country Estate.
(Image via Midgard Country Estate)

 +-------+

Looking for more adventure? Then check out our follow-up post which will tell you all about the up and coming events from September to December in 2014...

Also, check out these three posts on some of Namibia’s year-round adventure holiday activities.


Luderitz -
Extreme Holiday Mecca
Rock Climbing
in Namibia
Three Airborne Adventures
in Swakopmund

namibia, luderitz, souther namibia, luderitz namibia, kiteboarding namibia, kitesurfing namibia, rock climbing namibia

Namibia adventure, windhoek Namibia, Namibia, Richard Ford, Rock climbing, climbing namibia, spitzkoppe

Paragliding, hot air ballooning, namibia, swakopmund, adventure, extreme namibia
All Posts