• Namibia
    © iStockphoto.com / 2630ben
  • Namibia
    © Dmitry Pichugin / 123RF
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Namibia

By Dmitry Petrounin Dmitry Petrounin Section editor Profile
Although many tourists travel to Namibia, it is an expensive destination to visit. The dunes of Namib-Naukluft national park, the highest in the world, tower at 300 metres. The Fish River Canyon is no other than the second largest in the world. Thirteen regions constitute this country with no ordinary landscapes and very varied wildlife. You will find on this land, most of the species of all African wildlife. The oryx, a gracious and elegant antelope, is actually one of the emblems of the country.

Our Editorial team's advice

When it gets very hot, from December to March, avoid Etosha and Namib-Naukluft parks. It can reach 40 °C in the day time.
It is impossible to see both North and South within 12/15days, unless you fly on charters from place to place. Even at a good rhythm, you will at least need three weeks to drive all around the country. In Namibia, you drive for miles on end, but the roads are in good condition.

pros

  • +The desert and wildlife.
  • +Sunshine nearly all year long.

cons

  • -In July and August, the country's hotels are fully booked.
  • -Along the roads, thousands of miles of wire fence enclose the ranches, that's wearisome.

Traditions

When buying handicraft objects, haggling is only done at the market. When on a safari, out in the country, at sun set, it is a local habit to serve drinks, this is called a sundowner. After a safari, a tip is given to the driver and to the guide.

Food

Porridge, prepared with mielie pap (corn) or mahango (millet) is the Namibians' basic food. It is prepared with meat, fish or black bean stew. It will inevitably be suggested in small towns' local restaurants. If you have the opportunity to be invited to share a family meal, by the Nama, you will taste nara, a melon of the cucumber family, prepared as a cake or fermented then brewed into the local beer. With the San, you will taste the produce of the desert - berries, tubers, grass hopers, game and ostrich eggs. In Windhoek's and Swakopmund's restaurants , you will eat European cuisine and find all international dishes. Meat has a place of honour and is served with all sauces imaginable. But you only really discover Namibian gastronomy, when the meat is grilled on a braai, a barbecue which everybody owns (you will eat beef steaks as thick as a boxing glove). However from May to September, there are very few vegetables and few season fruits. Take some dried meat in your bag, for the road - beef or ostrich biltong and game sausages.

Souvenirs

At the market and along the roads, you can buy wooden statues made by the Kavango sculptors (in Okahandja) and those imported from Zimbabwe. You will find baskets, small wooden toys, and the Bushmen's handicraft: bows and arrows or pearl necklaces. Also semi-precious stones, cut or not, such as rose quartz, malachite, jasper, amethyst. Shops are open everyday but Sundays, from 8 or 8.30 am to 5 or 5.30 pm, and shut over lunch time, from 1 pm to 2.30 pm. On Saturdays, in the morning only, until 1 pm. In winter, some shops are open as early as 7.30 am and shut at 4 pm.