Windhoek is the capital city of Namibia. It is located right at the center of the country. Whether this is a coincidence or the product of ingenious German civil planning is up for debate.
The city is surrounded by rolling mountains on all sides. Being the capital city of the country, Windhoek is the first and last place that tourists usually go to on their visit to Namibia. On most occasions, it also serves as the base for other Namibian travels.
However, Windhoek is not just a travel base – it has a charming aura around it, making it a tourist destination on its own. The Christuskirche (Christ Church), a Lutheran church erected in 1896, is one of the main attractions of the city. Guided tours to the National Museaum in Alte Feste (Old Fort) are also another popular activity.
Once you enter Windhoek, you will instantly notice that the city is a melting pot of people and culture. Treat it as the first stop in your marvelous Namibian vacation.
The Skeleton Coast
In generations past, the entire coastline of Namibia was referred to as Skeleton Coast – a name conferred to it because of the multitude of shipwrecks that litter the coast of the country. The shipwrecks were caused by the dangerous trio of the strong Benguela Current, the dense fog in the area, and the rough surf. Bones of seals and whales, remnants of a time when the whaling industry was still allowed, can also be seen in Skeleton Coast.
Today, however, Skeleton Coast usually refers to the Skeleton Coast National Park – a far cry from the gloomy description that befitted its predecessor. The park constitutes the entire Namibian coastline, which includes rolling sand dunes, steep canyons, and wide mountain ranges. It is home to a variety of species such as elephants, rhinos, and seals.
Tourists who visit Skeleton Coast usually do so by flying in with a small aircraft, so that they can see the collection of shipwrecks that the Skeleton Coast has amassed before proceeding with their exploration.
Caprivi is in northeast Namibia – a very narrow strip of land that is bordered on all sides by Angola, Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Roughly 400 kilometers long, Caprivi looks like a finger on the map, stretching out from the boundaries of Namibia.
Caprivi is by far the wettest region in Namibia. The area is mostly made up of rivers, floodplains, wetlands, and woodlands, which make it the home of an extensive array of wildlife.
Some of the animals you can see in this area include herds of elephants, buffalo, and zebra. Lechwe and reedbuck, two kinds of antelopes, are also abundant in the area. In the waters are families of crocodiles and hippopotamuses.
Another site to visit in the area is the Popa Falls, which is actually more apt to be called rapids than a waterfall. It crashes through rock formations as high as four meters in its path down the river.
Etosha National Park
The land of Etosha National Park was the first claimed conservation area of Namibia. Today, the park, which was established in 1907, is considered one of the best wildlife reserves, not just in the country, but in the whole of Africa.
The eastern part of the park is covered by sand, while the rest of the park is filled with shrubbery, plains, and woodlands. The total land area of the Etosha National Park is estimated at around 22,000 square kilometers.
During the country’s dry season, several thousands of animals of different species meet at the waterholes of the park to quench their thirst. It is not unusual to see elephants, giraffes, zebras, rhinos, and lions all together in one area.
The park has been designed to make it easy for tourists to explore the area and to observe the animals. Roads have been built and signposts have been erected to make the experience as hassle-free as possible.
There are also lodgings available for guests who wish to stay overnight. Restaurants and stores are located in the park as well.
Kaokoveld, the area once known as Damaraland, is known for its dryness. Although its conditions are unforgiving, it has beauty that can captivate travelers from all over. Kaokoveld covers the Skeleton Coast, along with other attractions such as the Burnt Mountain and the Petrified Forest.
The landscape of the area is filled with rock formations that seem to have been molded into their unique and sometimes unimaginable shapes. Traveling through the Kaokoveld will have you going around, over, and under these rock formations.
The harsh environment has pushed both its people and wildlife to adapt. The Himba, a tribe known for their tall and slender people, slather their bodies with fat and red ochre to fight the heat. Elephants in the area have also made behavioral adjustments to live in the desert.
Tourists, however, would not be carelessly exposed to the harshness of the area. Kaokoveld is a place worth exploring, so comfortable accommodations have been put up in the desert to serve as a starting point for tourist journeys.