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Namibia: just go! What a great place (mini-TR)

Namibia: just go! What a great place (mini-TR)

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Old Jun 17, 15, 5:59 am
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Namibia: just go! What a great place (mini-TR)

My mom, a friend and I just finished up a 16-day self-drive trip around Namibia. The whole thing went amazingly well, Namibia being much better set up for tourism than I would have expected. The roads (while mostly gravel) were well maintainted; signage was excellent throughout, even on minor roads (SA could learn from the Namibians here); corruption was nonexistent; and the lodges were uniformly excellent.

We flew into WDH from JNB on SA, picked up an Avis 4x4, and stayed our first night at the amazingly nice (for an emerging market) Hilton Windhoek. I was expecting this hotel to be tatty and old, but it was either new or newly refurbished, and extremely comfortable. The next morning we stocked up on provisions and drove to Swakopmund, passing through the "moon landscape" and Welwitschia flats area along the way.

In Swakop we stayed at the Hotel Zum Kaiser, which was fine, although we were dismayed to learn that they had screwed up our booking and walked us for the second night to the Europa Hof (much less desirable). That was the only negative moment in all of our nights in the country, though, so it's hard to complain much. Swakop in May was dead as a doornail but we had an amazingly great time kayaking at the Pelican Point seal colony in Walvis Bay--highly recommended. From there we drove to a succession of lodges: Mowani Mountain Camp, Desert Rhino Camp, Okahirongo Elephant Lodge, Grootberg Lodge, and Okonjima Lodge. All of these were just great, and each had a different focus for game viewing and a different landscape.

In general the countryside is stunning, with desert landscapes that seem to change every few minutes as you drive through the country. The isolation, lack of human habitation, clear and immense skies, and general unspoiled-ness are just amazing. Also, in contrast to South Africa and many other countries, in Namibia conservation of wildlife is a nationwide endeavor, not confined to national parks and preserves. You are more or less guaranteed to see things like ostriches, oryx, springbok, etc. roaming anywhere you drive, and there are even elephants and big cats around. In general, modern Namibia seems to be doing an excellent job of rebuilding its natural heritage after decades of poaching and over-hunting that nearly destroyed wildlife populations. It is working well.

If anyone would like more detail on the trip, I'm happy to provide it.
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Old Jun 17, 15, 12:11 pm
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Namibia can be summed up in very few words:

drop-dead gorgeous.

The country looks at its very best at the end of a good rainy season.

Johan
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Old Jun 19, 15, 9:52 pm
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Originally Posted by johan rebel View Post
Namibia can be summed up in very few words:

drop-dead gorgeous.

The country looks at its very best at the end of a good rainy season.

Johan
Completely agree. Drop dead gorgeous. Throughly enjoyed our visit last year. Soussevlei is spectacular and climbing sand dunes harder than it looks. Loved damara land and deseRT rhino camp. EtoSha was our least favorite, but interesting as well. On the non wild life side, found heroes acre in Windhoek and other N Korean built structures very interesting.
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Old Jul 9, 15, 9:45 pm
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I'm heading there in a few days for business. I will be working out of Swakopmund and spending some time at a work site in the desert. I'm really looking forward to it!
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Old Jul 10, 15, 3:50 am
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Thanks - we have just booked a 3 week trip around Namibia for 2016
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Old Jul 10, 15, 5:31 pm
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What's your itinerary?
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Old Jul 11, 15, 3:02 am
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Originally Posted by worldiswide View Post
What's your itinerary?

Windhoek
Sossusvlei
Swakopmund
Damaraland
Etosha
Waterberg
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Old Jul 11, 15, 10:18 pm
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Sounds great ..you have a lot of diversity in scenery, activities and animals. Are you self driving or on a tour?
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Old Jul 12, 15, 3:30 am
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Originally Posted by worldiswide View Post
Sounds great ..you have a lot of diversity in scenery, activities and animals. Are you self driving or on a tour?
Thanks - a private tour
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Old Jul 12, 15, 1:42 pm
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We did private tour with wilderness. They were fabulous from beginning to end, all arrangements and staff exceeded expectations. Hope your trip is the same. We had a few people asking us where Namibia was, and how we decided to go there. It has an interesting history, scenery, and really really wide open spaces where you might not see another vehicle for hours. That can't be said for etosha which was filled with cars and tour buses.
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Old Jul 13, 15, 1:34 am
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Originally Posted by worldiswide View Post
We did private tour with wilderness. They were fabulous from beginning to end, all arrangements and staff exceeded expectations. Hope your trip is the same. We had a few people asking us where Namibia was, and how we decided to go there. It has an interesting history, scenery, and really really wide open spaces where you might not see another vehicle for hours. That can't be said for etosha which was filled with cars and tour buses.
Thanks. Your enthusiasm is making me wish the holiday was tomorrow . Our inspiration was a BBC documentary.
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Old Jul 13, 15, 7:04 am
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Originally Posted by worldiswide View Post
It has an interesting history.
You can say that again.

Probably the only country where you can pitch your tent at the site of a former concentration camp with a fatality rate beyond atrocious.

Johan
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Old Jul 13, 15, 9:20 pm
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And see a parliament built by the North Koreans, and an intersection of Robert mugabe and Sam Njoma streets, and in our case a wonderful Austrian guide in Windhoek named Adolf.. Who named their child Adolf in the early 1950's?? And know you are walking where hermann goring father was a colonial officer and the brown shirts started.
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Old Jul 14, 15, 3:55 pm
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Originally Posted by worldiswide View Post
an intersection of Robert mugabe and Sam Njoma streets
Personally, I was most amused at the intersection of Bismarck and Fidel Castro Streets!
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Old Jul 17, 15, 12:40 pm
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Picked Swakopmund for a totally random week trip back in 2012. Loved every bit of it. Great town, great things to do in/around the town. Just a perfect break. Namibia is on my list of countries I really want to visit again and more in depth.
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