Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Bucket-list destination: Namibia

Just like most people who love to travel, we have a bucket list of places in the world to visit. Last summer we added a destination that most folks I know would not include. In fact, when we told friends we were going to Namibia, they had to ask “Where is that?”
But I guarantee if you put it on your list and go, you won’t be disappointed.
Only in Namibia will you see such spectacular sand dunes.
What first attracted me to this western African country were pictures of stark red sand dunes. I must see those!” I said to myself, my husband, and a travel-savvy friend. And so, within days, we had booked a trip with Natural Habitat almost a year in advance of actually going. 
Namibia is a country of stunning contrasts. It is home to two great deserts. The Namib (the world’s oldest desert) runs along the country’s entire Atlantic coast and is where you’ll see the red dunes and sea of sand. Kalahari Desert in the eastern interior is an arid savannah that extends into neighboring countries.

Sand even covers mountains in the desert regions of Namibia.
In between these deserts lies the Central Plateau with wide-open plains and rugged, virtually impassable mountains. Getting from place to place generally involves flying in a small private airplane. But from the air you see open landscapes that are a panorama of endless blue skies, dark starry nights, and sunny weather. This astonishing array of natural wonders increasingly attracts visitors to this extraordinary country.
Aerial view of the desolate landscape in much of Namibia.
Most of the sparse population (just over two million people) lives in the northern region where water supplies are more reliable. This is also where the greatest diversity of wildlife can be found and includes popular Etosha National Park  Here you can see increasing numbers of rare large mammals that have learned to adapt and thrive in this semi-arid region. Among those to be seen on safari: the world’s largest concentrations of free-roaming cheetahs and desert-adapted elephants and black rhinos.
Wildlife safaris are increasingly important to the economy of Namibia.
The culture comes from previous rules: German, British, and South African, Namibia is a young country having gained its independence in 1990.  Various colonial influences and African cultures are evident in cities like Windhoek, the capital which is located in the Central Plateau. This is where our journey began, and I’ll describe highlights from our trip in future posts.
Sunsets in Namibia are glorious.
Fact: Namibia was the first country in the world to incorporate the protection of the environment into its constitution. Namibia’s many national parks and game reserves are owned by the government and managed by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism. As the country continues to realize the importance of tourism, this commitment is increasingly evident. Despite receiving low annual rainfall, having private conservation areas and governmentally-protected regions allows the lands of Namibia to support hundreds of species of wildlife including large mammals, big cats, plains game, and more than 600 species of birds.
Accommodations range from basic to luxurious in the many camps
of Namibia.
To accommodate increasing numbers of visitors, many high-quality, affordable lodges and campgrounds are sprouting up amidst Namibia’s spectacular scenery. It is here you’ll be able to have close encounters with wildlife, as well as enjoy the food, cultures, traditions, and stunning landscapes of Namibia.

I’ll write more about our journey southward to see (and climb) the dunes, northward up the wind-swept Atlantic coast, and then eastward across Namibia and onward to the Okavango Delta in Botswana.

Photos by Larry and Beverly Burmeier


1 comment:

DEEPA said...

Amazing post with great information