By: Nancy Grimes
As an Africa “junkie” I jumped at the opportunity to visit a new and relatively unknown destination (to me). What a wonderful surprise!!!
Namibia, formerly German West Africa, proved to be so much more than expected. From the immaculate capitol of Windhoek to the salt flats of Etosha National Park, each attraction brought daily wonderment.
Many of the camps are partially owned and operated by the local tribes, which comprise 75% of the population of Namibia. The operators take great pride in providing any type of service one can imagine. The food rivals that of some of the best African safari camps and the joy they take in service, presentation and cleanliness is as good as it gets. They even entertain with their local songs and music, and in one camp we were given the menu choices in both English and the native “Click” language.
One of the oldest and one of the driest places on earth, Namibia is home to a plethora of ecological wonders. Sossuvlei is the location of the towering ochre and red dunes in the Namib Desert, changing constantly with the light. National Geographic has done several specials about Namibia and the dunes are always highlighted. Some of the dunes are still open to climbing and nothing beats a hot air balloon ride over this area. Desert adapted oryx, hyena, springbok and birds live in this area that one would think “inhospitable” to life. Flying low over the “infamous” Skeleton Coast viewing shipwrecks, spectacular dunes, and one of the largest seal colonies anywhere is an ethereal experience.
Damaraland offers rocks, low shrubs and trees, mountains, great vistas and more rocks, many of which are gemstones and ores. But more importantly to the animal lover, desert adapted elephants with their big feet and short tusks, the elusive and highly endangered black rhino, mountain zebras, oryx, kudu, and even the aardvark and aardwolf make this area their home.
The climax of our Abercrombie & Kent trip was a few days at the wonderful Ongava Game Reserve and Etosha National Park. Staying in luxury at Little Ongava was a special treat and something to look forward to at the end of each day. In this area one will find the greatest concentration in Africa of rhinos (both black and white), leopard, lion, rare black-faced impala, and vibrant bird life. Getting to spend hours with a pride of 20 lion and their two boyfriends was a major highlight of the trip.
Choices of classic or luxury camps and lodges are available. The food is some of the best in Africa. There are options for road transfers or small plane flights between destinations. Hiking, biking, ballooning and visits to tribal villages are all available in Namibia, making it a very versatile destination. I would go again in a heartbeat! My advice is to go now before it’s discovered by the rest of the world!