2013 marks the 15th Annual Namibia Tourism Expo, and this year is set to be bigger and better than the last. At the heart of this year’s expo will be ADVENTURE… in honour of Namibia having been selected as the first African country to host the 2013 Adventure Travel Summit.
The expo is all about bringing together the people of the hospitality industry, getting the word out about new and exciting products and services, as well as being a place where local Namibians can revel in all their beautiful country has to offer.
There are a few stalls that have built a name for themselves over the years, and it’s always a surprise to see what new ideas (and treats) they’ve got in store. There are also a variety of well-known restaurants that will operate at the Expo, so you can enjoy the gastronomical delights of Namibia as you meander through the stalls.
What to see & do
Join us as we celebrate the best in outdoor & adventure travel:
Local, regional and international establishments
Luxury lodges and tented camps
Interactive Chef’s Demonstrations
Namibian Arts & Crafts Exhibitions
Namibian travel media & publications
Food, beer & wine tasting
And a host of other fun activities for travellers
JV Song Competition
Also part of the Expo is the highly anticipated Joint Venture Song Competition. Every year, staff of the JV lodges across Namibia (who often spoil visitors with their beautiful song as they work) enter the competition to see who will be crowned best of the best and win great cash prizes. Just listening to the contestants sing is sure to light a fire in your soul. Don’t miss it on the 30th of May at 17h00 in the Events Tent, Windhoek Show Grounds.
And if you’re interested in getting married in the middle of nowhere (click here for some Namibian wedding inspiration), then make your way to Hall A where all the wedding destination exhibitors will flaunting their goods. You’re sure to find some of the most spectacular wedding destinations in the world.
The Bank Windhoek – Republikein Motorshow
Any traveller knows that half the journey is getting there. So take a look at what’s new at the Bank Windhoek-Republikein Motorshow. Apart from the amazing cars, there is sure to be some clever accessories and fancy camping equipment that will leave you wanting more!
What's your favorite part of Expo2013?
Let us know what you love most about Expo 2013 via Twitter with the hashtag #expo2013. We're pretty sure at least some of you will be planning your next Namibia vacation before long!
Namibia Tourism Expo
Windhoek Show Grounds
29th May – 1st June 2013
Wednesday, 29th May 2013 - 15:00 to 22:00
Thursday, 30 May 2013 - 12:00 to 21:00
Friday, 31 May 2013 - 12:00 to 21:00
Saturday, 01 June 2013 - 10:00 to 17:00
Gates close 1 hour prior to expo closing times
Adults: N$ 40.00
Children: 6 – 12 Years: N$ 20.00
Children under 6 and Pensioners – Free of charge
Advance ticket sales only available at the standard rates and only available via Computicket
From Hosea Kutako International Airport to Windhoek Show Grounds
1. Head west on the B6 from Hosea Kutako International towards Windhoek (40.8km)
2. Turn right onto Sam Nujoma Drive (950m)
3. Take the 3rd left onto Jan Jonker Street (2.9km)
4. Turn left onto Lazarett Street (350m)
5. Take the 3rd right onto Bell Street (23m)
Official NTE website
This October, the Adventure Travel World Summit is to be held in Namibia, and with good reason: Namibia is one of the world's greatest destinations for extreme adventures.
We've picked just ten Namibian activities for adrenaline junkies, speed freaks and off-road fanatics, as well as ten less extreme alternatives for those who prefer to have a somewhat more relaxing holiday. Which would YOU rather do...?
The fresh southwesterly winds that reach Walvis Bay lagoon make this a prime spot for kitesurfing. Similar to traditional surfing but with a kite to pull you along - and lift you out of the water! - this is certainly one of the world's most extreme water sports. Walvis Bay Kite Centre has equipment to rent of buy, and offers one to one lessons from beginner level upwards. Further south, the bay off the little town of Luderitz are also renowned for its ideal conditions - the fastest kitesurfing speed ever recorded was here! Element Riders offers complete courses for all levels.
Chickened out? Enjoy extreme kitesurfing without getting wet! Come and watch the annual Luderitz Speed Challenge for windsurfers and kitesurfers - who can reach speeds of over 90km/h over 500m. National and world records are broken each year. For more info visit www.luderitz-speed.com
Fishing may not sound like a sport to get the adrenaline pumping - but what if you were reeling in a 100kg shark?! Tour operators along the coast of Swakopmund, Walvis Bay and Henties Bay offer shark angling excursions, and from November-May you may get the chance to battle with a coppershark, also known as a bronzy. These sea monsters can weigh anything between 15-190kg, and are sure to put up a good fight! Other species include smooth hound sharks and spotted gully sharks. For conservation purposes, all sharks must be returned to the sea unharmed.
Chickened out? Namibia's freshwater dams offer the perfect conditions for relaxing fishing daytrips, including the hardap, Von Bach, Friednau and Naute Dams. Catfish, carp, tilapia, barbel and bass are some of the species to look out for here. Contact the Namibia Federation for Freshwater Anglers to obtain fishing permits and get a copy of the regulations.
Rafting on Kunene
Not only are the rapids of the Kunene River a challenge, simply getting here is a real expedition! Felix Unite's extreme rafting experience takes place just once or twice a year and is a ten-day round trip from Windhoek, including five days on the river and a drive through Etosha National Park. The river forms the border between Namibia and Angola, and you will paddle your way down towards the 40m high Epupa Falls. Don't think about taking a dip - there are crocodiles in the water!
Chickened out? Go canoeing along the Orange River instead, as it winds through the beautiful landscape along the South African border. Not only are there no rapids to negotiate, there is also no nasty wildlife lurking beneath the surface, so you splash around to cool off as often as you like.
Surely on every true adventurer's bucket list, Skydiving is available for experienced and first-time jumpers just outside of Swakopmund, Namibia's adventure capital. Qualified skydivers can schedule a jump with a local skydiving club, while beginners have two options - a full-day training course with a solo jump at the end (with an automatically opening parachute), or a shorter course followed by a tandem jump, where your instructor does all the work. Don't forget to open your eyes and enjoy the magnificent scenery of the Namib Desert meeting the southern Atlantic Ocean! Check out Swakopmund Skydiving Club for more information.
Chickened out? Try a more relaxing hot air balloon flight instead, and float over the dunes of Sossusvlei at dawn with a champagne breakfast. That's more like it!
The dunes make for a nice, soft landing, but paragliding around Swakopmund is still extreme! The coastal winds offer extra lift, so that gliders can get high enough to admire the stunning views of the desert and ocean. The best flying takes place from October to March, and is regulated by local flying schools to avoid overcrowding. Depending on your experience, choose from a half day introductory course, a full day flight, a pilot's licence course or a tandem flight.
Chickened out? Does the thought of dangling under a parachute make you feel a bit queasy? Try a flying safari instead in a light aircraft - enjoy the views along the skeleton coast, the harbours and the Namib desert, without having to learn how to fly first!
New off-road motorcycle tour operator Madnam is launching a brand new series of biking tours around Namibia, visiting iconic sights such as Cape Cross, Brandberg, Erindi Game Reserve and Waterberg. To join their thrilling eight-day trip you need plenty of experience on a motorbike, including gravel roads - Namibia's terrain in tough! Bring your own bike or hire one of Madnam's BMWs for the ultimate off-roading adventure.
Chickened out? If you don't have motorbike experience and a week on a bike seems a little too extreme, try an afternoon eco quad-biking. Accompanied by experienced guides who will instruct you how to drive your vehicle, your tour begins gently on a flat trail through the Namib, before heading up into the dunes to take advantage of your 4x4. Pause for pictures and to admire the view!
Namibia's two main climbing sites are the jagged, 1,728m bulk of Greater Spitzkoppe, and the Brandberg Massif, which at 2,573m is Namibia's higest point. Justifying its "extreme" reputation, Spitzkoppe does not offer any established hiking trails, so climbers can feel like true explorers. Brandberg presents mountaineers with a constant scramble over boulders - it's a three-day clamber to the top which keeps away all but the most intrepid. Climbs should only be attempted with a trained guide from the local community who knows where to find water and will prevent you getting lost amid the rocks. Find your guide through the Namibia Community Based Tourism Association (NACOBTA) in Windhoek, Tel: +264 (0) 61255977 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fish River Canyon
One of Africa's top hikes is through the arid, inhospitable Fish River Canyon in southern Namibia. The second deepest canyon in the world offers an extreme environment indeed, and hikers must undertake the 80km, 3-5 day hike entirely unsupported, as there are no facilities en-route. The hike can only be carried out in winter, when the temperatures are slightly lowes and the rains have produced enough water for the river to flow - as this is the only source of water for hikers. Book your tour well in advance with Namibia Wildlife Resorts.
Chickened out? The hot springs at /Ai-/Ais mark the end of the punishing Fisk River Canyon hike - but you don't have to trek the canyon to be able to enjoy them! The /Ai-/Ais Hot Springs Spa has indoor and outdoor thermal pools and chalets looking over the canyon - you don't have to spend five days hiking to enjoy a foot massage here!
Known locally as the "ultimate speed machine", a waxed, metre-long piece of hardboard can reach phenomenal speeds of 80km/h on Namibia's steep, coastal dunes. You lie face down on the board, bend the front edge up to avoid it sticking into the sand (and flipping you over!) and lift your feet off the ground - then wait to be pushed over the cliff! Definitely not for the faint hearted, this is a major adrenaline kick!
Chickened out? If you don't fancy the steep slopes and high speeds, you can still enjoy an introductory sandboarding session on the dunes. Equipment - including a helmet - is provided, and even the tiniest participants can join in - riding down the dunes on the instructor's back!
With an extreme combination of altitude, deepwater diving, abseiling, rock climbing and pitch darkness, we vote cave diving as Namibia's ultimate extreme adventure. The caves and sinkholes are all over 1,400m above sea level, with depths of between 30 and 130m, and you may have to abseil as far as 140m (with all your diving equipment!) just to reach the water! The Dragon's Breath Cave, 46km north of Grootfontein, is one of the most famous cave diving spots, as it contains the largest subterranean lake in the world. Harasib Cave and Lake Guinas are also recommended. Booking is required at least three months in advance, and it can take up to a week to prepare the caves for diving. Otjikoto Diving Enterprises is the only operator permitted to work in these waters.
Chickened out? For those without the qualifications, experience or courage to try cave diving, you can still spend time underwater without the need for oxygen masks or wetsuits - in Swakopmund's National Marine Aquarium. The newly refurbished site has a walk-through tunnel which brings you up close to marine life including sharks and rays, a much safer underwater adventure that the whole family can take part in!
Information about these activities was taken from Namibia Holiday & Travel - the official Namibian tourism directory. Photo credits: Travel News Namibia
For more inspiration download your copy of the Namibia Adventure Planning Guide
For many visitors to Namibia, its vast desert landscape is the subject of striking photos, a backdrop for wildlife watching, a giant playground for off-roading, sandboarding and trekking. But for those who have lived here for centuries, the desert is their larder, their hardware store, their pharmacy… and even their cosmetics counter.
Strewn throughout the arid terrain are valuable plants which produce scented resins, moisturising oils and soothing balms. Himba women – widely regarded for their beauty and incredible hairstyles and body adornments – favour a myrrh resin from the commiphora plant, which they call omumbiri. The resin is gathered during the dry season, mixed with red ochre and animal fat, and stored in small containers made of cow horn. The women rub this paste into their bodies, giving them their characteristic red skin, and the rich, warm aroma of myrrh.
The Himba women stain their skin with the red paste, scented with myrrh, Photo by Mikael Castro
But now the secrets of the Himba perfume are being shared with the world. The Namibian Essential Oil Challenge competition was launched in order to encourage Namibians to create cosmetic products from omumbiri. Working with communities including the Himba, who know how to harvest the resin sustainably, the innovative participants produced an enormous range of products just from this one essential oil, including lip balm, soap, body scrubs, skin oils, body butters, incense and air fresheners.
In order to bring these delicious smelling products to a wider audience, a small factory has been opened in Opuwo, Kunene, to extract the myrrh oil. A visitor’s centre is also under construction, which will educate visitors about the harvesting and extraction process and offer a tour of the factory. There will also be a shop selling cosmetics, oils, incense and soaps produced by Namibian artisans.
A Himba woman grinds ochre to make the traditional perfumed red paste, Photo by Mikael Castro
The project continues to monitor the harvesting process to ensure that it is being carried out sustainably and that the plants are not being over-exploited. At the same time, the income supports local communities who have little other means of income generation, and encourages them to manage their natural resources and environment so that harvesting can continue into the future.
More cosmetics to sample in Namibia
!Nara seed oil: The !Nara melon is harvested as a valuable food source by the Topnaar people living along the Kuiseb River. The seeds of the melon are pressed to extract the rich oils – which have been used for centuries by these desert-dwellers to protect their skin against the harsh, arid climate. !Nara oil is now available in various products such as soaps, creams and skin peels – so you too can benefit from the ancient moisturising secrets of the Topnaars!
- Baobab oil: This characteristic African tree is more than just a pretty sight – the oil extracted from its seeds is rich in vitamins and extremely moisturising. It is also used to treat mild skin complaints, and some women in Africa may use it to treat their hair.
!Nara seed oil products on sale in Swakopmund
The competition was organized with financial support from the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA-Namibia) and the Natural Resources Institute at the University of Greenwich.
The winning products – Sophia Snyman’s “Desert Secret” and Tamarind Nott’s - ‘Rare Scent” will be handed out to delegates during the 2013 Adventure Travel World Summit, held in October in Namibia.
Shop for Namibian essential oil and resin products in Windhoek’s Craft Centre and Maerua Mall, and Swakopmund’s Kubatsirana Arts and Crafts Shop.
How can 44 people in Switzerland spread a message about conservation in Namibia?
1) Give them matching shirts – because matching shirts mean togetherness.
2) Give them music.
3) Make sure they are from Namibia!
Team Destination Namibia recently took the Adventure Travel World Summit in Lucerne,
Switzerland by storm, with their simple message: 42%.
42% is the amount of land under conservation management in Namibia – more than
any other country in the world. This number is a testament to Namibia’s innovative
conservation policies that put conservation in communities’ hands.
Team Destination Namibia sported t-shirts with 42% across the front, and were armed with
maps to show delegates from around the world exactly what 42% looked like and meant to
Namibians. The Director of Tourism, Mr. Sem Shikongo, was right, when he invited the 700
delegates to Namibia, and said “I know we can inspire you.”
Namibia’s passion was contagious, and on the closing night, hosted by Namibia, when the
choir performed, the music literally brought tears to peoples eyes. Not just the Namibians,
but delegates from Egypt, Mexico and Switzerland said they were moved by the authentic
voices resonating through the concert hall.
Watch a video about the 42% here.
The Adventure Travel & Tourism Association announced today that it has chosen Namibia to be the site of its annual Adventure Travel World Summit in October 2013.
Namibia is excited to welcome nearly 600 of the world's leading tour operators, travel agents, destination managers, outfitters, and media professionals for an engaging five days of networking and learning focused on adventure travel.
The Summit will take place in Windhoek and Swakopmund, Namibia's adventure capital, including several opportunities for delegates to explore the country with pre- and post-Summit activities.
The Summit will be an opportunity to highlight Namibia's incredible adventure assets, such as biking, hiking, endurance racing and camping - as well as some more uniquely "Namibian" adventures activities such as dune skiing and sandboarding. The summit will also highlight Namibia's exceptional conservation record and its global leadership in promoting conservation through smart tourism.
When ATTA President Shannon Stowell visited Namibia in June of 2012, he stated:
“Namibia offers one of the most compelling success stories in tourism today, one of joint venture tourism and partnerships between communal conservancies and tourism enterprises. Namibia’s model of conservancies, joint venture partnerships and conservation is a model that we should put on display. It’s a story that should be told. I’d previously heard the discussions, watched the films and I still didn’t understand it fully it until I came and saw it in action. Our delegates are sure to gain immense insights from their experiences in Namibia.”
This will be the first time the summit has been hosted in Africa. Namibia is excited to show the adventure travel tribe the kind of hospitality and excitedment the continent is known for.
Read the official statement from the Ministry of Environment and the Namibia Tourism Board here.
A traditional leader from Namibia’s Caprivi region who has travelled the world sharing his innovative approach to conservation and development, Chief Mayuni has been described as a leader, a visionary and a motivator. A tireless champion for conservation and community development, Chief Mayuni is a Conservation Hero.
The Chief was one of the first to realize that tourism was the key to conservation and the recovery of wildlife numbers in the Caprivi, after years of war and poaching. By negotiating joint venture agreements with lodges he helped to increase employment in the area and to secure the funds needed for conservancy game guards.
As a result, poaching was radically reduced and wildlife numbers recovered, but that brought problems. Elephants trample and eat crops. Predators take livestock. Tourism provides jobs, but that doesn’t help the farmers. Chief Mayuni’s response was to negotiate a compensation scheme with one of his lodge operators, so if a lion took a cow, the lodges would pay compensation. It became the forerunner of a nation-wide scheme that the Ministry of Environment and Tourism has embraced where communities are encouraged to use their income to pay those farmers that have suffered at the hands of wildlife.
As an advocate for conservation, community development and its links to tourism, Chief Mayuni participated in the 2011 Adventure Travel World Summit. In 2007, the Namibia Nature Foundation named Chief Mayuni their Environmentalist of the Decade.
Find out more about how tourism is helping to preserve wildlife in Namibia in the video below.