NAMIBIA - COAST
Namibia covers a large area with distinct sections including the Coast, the Interior, and the North with the Caprivi Strip. Namibia’s charm stems from its remoteness and vast stark desert landscapes. The country has a decidedly German character. English is the main language of commerce (and air traffic control) but German and Afrikaans are widely spoken.
Namibia is not regarded as a major game viewing area although a variety of antelope and other animals are found throughout the country. Animals in appreciable numbers will only be found in the far northern Etosha National Park region and Caprivi Strip. Throughout the country distances between destinations are large. A small aircraft provides one of the most convenient methods of getting around. Fuel stops must be carefully planned.
Namibia’s coastline is a combination of massive shifting sand dunes and rugged rocky shoreline. From the Orange River north to the harbor town of Luderitz are large-scale diamond mining operations. Pilots can overfly the area but all landings are prohibited. Violators are subject to arrest and having their aircraft confiscated. By prior arrangement only, small groups can visit current diamond mining operations. Outside Luderitz are three ghost towns. The best known is Kolmanskop, which is visible on short final to Runway 04 at Luderitz.
Farther north is the Namib-Naukluft Park -- one of the largest conservation areas in Africa. The park features the dramatic dunes at Sossusvlei that are said to be the highest in the world. Swakopmund is a small town with fascinating old buildings, public gardens, and wonderful German coffee shops that offer excellent pastries. Further to the north you reach an extremely remote region with few roads, isolated hills and deep ravines. This forbidding stretch of land is called the Skeleton Coast named for the victims of shipwrecks over the centuries along this dangerous coast. Search and rescue operations here are difficult to this day so vast and inaccessible is this region. The Skeleton Coast Park is home a variety of animals including elephants, rhinos, zebra, and cheetah. Landing in the Skeleton Coast Park without prior permission is prohibited.
A harbor-town on the Atlantic coast where diamonds could once be found on the beaches. Those days are gone but the town remains. Strong ocean winds can test your cross-wind skills. The town has the feel of a place that’s at the far end of any civil infrastructure. Here you can visit a ghost town, Kolmanskop, which is partially covered by shifting sands, visit a rock lobster factory, or collect the famous desert rose. Luderitz is famous for the oysters farmed here. Try the NEST HOTEL or one of several B & B’s in town such as Kratzplatz . www.nesthotel.com or www.kratsplatz.co.na.
THINGS TO DO IN LÜDERITZ: Grosse Bucht and the second lagoon are perfect for kitesurfing, birdwatching, and collecting shells. Visit Agate beach and collect agate stones; Also, guided 4 x 4 tours to Saddle Hill; guided tours to Bogenfels - prior booking essential. Coastways Tours with "Sedina" Sailing Trips: Departs daily 8:00am weather permitting. Boat Tours including Fishing and sightseeing trips. Kolmanskop Ghost Town Tours: Obtain your permit from Lüderitz Safaris & Tours or the Kolmanskop gate. Daily tours offered at 9.30 and 11am - Sunday only one tour at 10am. Special tours at odd times - please make prior arrangements. Tel: 063-202719 Elizabeth Bay: This half-day tour also include a guided tour of Kolmanskop. Bookings together with passport copies need to be done well in advance - Mukorob Tours - contact: Manfred Anderson at +264 (0) 812755440. Goerke Haus: This period-furnished art nouveau house (1909) situated "am Diamantberg" street is open Monday to Friday from 14.00 to 16.00 Felsenkirche: The historical German Lutheran Church - Open: Winter 16.00 to 17.00 Lüderitz Museum: (situated in Diaz str) Open: Monday to Friday: 15.30 to 17.00, Lüderitz Safaris and Tours: Marion Schelkle Tel: 063-202719 e-mail:
SOSSUSVLEI DUNE LODGE
The lodge, more on the size of a spreading motel than an intimate lodge, is situated at the entrance of the main gate to the Sossusvlei National Park. Here you’ll marvel at the ever-shifting ridges of sand, reaching over 950 ft. into the desert skies and perhaps glimpse some of the countless varieties of wildlife living in this pristine wilderness. The Lodge was built to blend into the desert landscape with its adobe brick construction. Its 45 chalets have en suite showers, desert view, and solar-powered lighting. The pool affords you a unique (and welcome) swim in the desert. http://sossusvleilodge.com/accommodation.html
SOSSUSVLEI DESERT LODGE –
At the desert reserve as a special afternoon treat, the lodge uses quad bikes to take you into the desert. We had a fantastic time. To top off the day, we enjoyed star gazing with their resident astronomer using their high powered computerized telescope. This was the first time I saw the rings around Saturn! Accommodation is in suites built of stone. Each room has an open plan bedroom with lounge area complete with fireplace for the cold winter months. The rooms are very luxurious. Glass fronts the rooms and sliding doors open to your own private patio. Rooms have mains electricity (220v). http://www.andbeyondafrica.com/luxury_safari/namibia/sossusvlei/and_beyond_sossusvlei_desert_reserve
KULALA DESERT LODGE – Sossusvlei
The chalets all look out over a huge plain to the west affording grand views over the hills and dunes of Sossusvlei. Here you can request a special bed-roll pack and sleep out under the stars on the roof of your chalet. It’s chilly in the winter months but the bed roll was comfortable and warm enough. We put on a wool hat. Kulala has its own private entrance to the Sossusvlei park allowing good access for the early morning tour of the dunes. http://www.wilderness-safaris.com/namibia_sossusvlei/kulala_desert_lodge
SWAKOPMUND. A coastal town with a German flavor. Swakopmund Airport Surprise! The map says Africa but you find yourself in a neat, town remeniscent of Bavaria sandwiched between the icy Atlantic and the Namib Desert. A great change up. A walk through the romantic old quarters, gardens, and inviting cafes is a journey into the past. Sky diving available. Several hotels to consider HANSA HOTEL, STRAND HOTEL, or SWAKOPMUND HOTEL & CASINO.
DAMARALAND CAMP – Huab River
Damaraland Camp puts you in the midst of a starkly beautiful rugged and remote area about 50 miles inland from the Namibian coast. You’ll be fetched from the gravel airstrip by landrover and driven to the tented camp. Activities include searching for desert elephant, black rhinoceros, oryx and other antelope that survices in this dry land. Wonderful area for star gazing. This was one of my favorite places because of the scenery and the feeling I had of being far from everything and everyone! www.wilderness-safaris.com
ETENDEKA MOUNTAIN CAMP -Damaraland
The camp is in the foothills of the Grootberg massif of northern Damaraland. Accommodation is in ensuite tents that areconnected by pathways to the main dining tent. Ammenities include flush toilets, hot-and-cold running water and the stunning open-air “bucket” shower. Activities include drives in search of desert Elephant and black rhino as well as antelope and cheetah. Walks are also very common. Www.etendeka-namibia.com
Palmwag is a very simple lodge with day excursions. A great place to search for the desert elephant, visit an area which has the greatest concentration of rock engravings, spend the day with on a patrol with trackers for Save the Rhino trust, visit the Ovahimba people at their village, or do a wildlife excursions. Sometimes you do not have to search for elephant as they often walk into camp! www.palmwaglodge.com