.. Year Planner
.. West Coast
Namibia never fails to enthral its visitors, it is a photographer’s dream – it boasts wild seascapes, rugged mountains, lonely deserts, stunning wildlife, colonial cities and nearly unlimited elbowroom. A sense of freedom is generated by the wide horizons and a population density, which is among the lowest in the world.
Trips to Namibia in 2012
29 December to 2 January - Saddle Hill
Should you be interested in us putting together a tailor-made trip for you, please don't hesitate in contacting us.
Don't rush to get to Namibia and arrive tired from the trip. There are so many wonderful places to stay over along the way.
Only a small percentage of the roads are tarred in Namibia and although most of the gravel roads are in good condition, they will slow your speed.
Namibia is much nearer to Cape Town than we realize, approximately 680 kilometres from Cape Town to Vioolsdrif/Noordoewer. So, it shouldn't take you longer than 7 - 8 hours to get across the border.
If you're going to be camping, just 15 km from the border on the Rosh Pinah Road is one of our favourite campsites, namely Amanzi River Camp (previously known as Abiqua). Lovely shade trees, grass to the edge of the Orange River, power points, water points, two up-market ablution blocks with lovely hot water and a lapa with fully licensed pub. This is also the base camp of Amanzi Trails that offers 4 and 5-day canoe trips on the Orange River, now called the Gariep River. These trips are catered or self-catering.
Amanzi River Camp
on the Orange River
The fully licensed pub at Amanzi River Camp
Amanzi River Camp, with stunning rock formations
It's when camp is set, the fire lit and you sit back, gazing at the amazing rock formations in South Africa across the smooth flowing Gariep (Orange) River, that the realization sinks in that now you're really on holiday.
Should you not want to camp, there are lovely chalets at Felix Unite, just before Amanzi or further along at Noroshama or at Ausenkehr, 55 km from Noordoewer.
From the border, en-route to Rosh Pinah, the gravel road hugs the Orange River and the harsh scenery is breath-taking.
You can then go through to Luderitz or enjoy a second night of camping or in chalet accommodation at Klein Aus Vista, around 300 km from Amanzi. The first 150 km to Rosh Pinah is on a good gravel road (now partly tarred) that meanders along the Gariep River - it's facinating seeing so much water surrounded by desert.
At Rosh Pinah you can find fuel and a well stocked Spar to replenish your stocks. The second 150 km to Klein Aus Vista is on a recently completed tar road going past the Skorpion Zinc Mines. Namibia's beauty is so different from that of South Africa. It is harsh, yet quite breath-taking.
.. Top of Page
Along its entire length, the vast shifting sand dunes of the Namib Desert spread inland for 80 to 130km. In the interior, the escarpment of a north–south plateau slopes away to the east and north into the vast interior sand basin of the Kalahari. In the far northwest, the 66,000 sq km (25,500 sq miles) of the Kaokoland mountains run along the coast, while further inland lies the Etosha Pan (a dried-out saline lake), surrounded by grasslands and bush which support a large and varied wildlife.
The Etosha National Park & Game Reserve is one of the finest in Africa, in that it remains, to a large extent, free of human influence.
The population density of 1,7 people per square kilometre is one of the lowest in the world. The population is, however, very unevenly distributed, with approximately 60% of the country's inhabitants living in the north with about one third in rural areas.
Namibia is located in southwest Africa. It is a large and mainly arid country sharing borders with Angola to the north, Botswana to the east, South Africa to the south and, in the Caprivi Strip, a narrow panhandle of Namibian territory jutting from the northeast corner of the country, with Zambia and Zimbabwe.
To the west is 1280km (795 miles) of some of the most desolate and lonely coastline in the world. The port of Walvis Bay, situated roughly halfway down Namibia’s coast, was returned by South Africa to Namibian jurisdiction in February 1994.
In soft waves the red and yellow sand mountains of the Namib Desert stretch all the way to the horizon and beyond. At dazzling depths the gorges of the Fish River Canyon cut into vast plains. With untamed pride the rugged mountains of the Naukluft rise into the brilliant blue sky.
Travelling through these stupendous landscapes you will not only look about in wonder but you will also look into yourself with very different eyes. Only occasionally will you spot a farm far off the gravel road; villages and towns are even rarer. You will see surface water only in the shape of the Orange River (Gariep), Namibia’s southern border, and in a few dams; rain is scarce and falls in small quantities. It is this very austerity which makes the south so fascinating. Unique plants like the quiver tree, halfmens or resurrection plant have adapted to this habitat. This is the home of Springbok, Oryx and Ostrich. Man, on the other hand, is often merely a guest, tolerated temporarily, like the deserted diamond settlements Pomona or Kolmanskuppe.
.. Top of Page
The Orange River (Gariep River)
This river is among the most remarkable ones in Africa. Its source is at an altitude of more than 3,100 metres in Lesotho, far away in the east, from where it crosses South Africa and finally forms the border with Namibia on its last 500 km before reaching the Atlantic Ocean at Oranjemund. The Orange River carries water throughout the year – a very rare feature in Namibia where the only other four perennial rivers form the northern border. Due to its many cataracts and relatively low water level the Orange River is only suitable for small boats. This characteristic makes the river quite charming. Guided canoe tours, starting at Noordoewer, allow glimpses - which you cannot have by car - of the largely untouched riverine nature.
The road along the Orange River to Rosh Pinah is still relatively unknown and therefore not much frequented. This is sure to change in the near future. The reason is the merging of two national parks which border on the Orange River: in the south it is South Africa’s Richtersveld National Park and on Namibia’s side the Ai-Ais Hot Springs Game Park.
Garub and the Wild Horses of the Namib
In the early 20th century steam engines on the Lüderitz – Keetmanshoop line had to stop at the railway station Garub, about 20 km west of Aus, to refill with water. It was pumped from a borehole several kilometres away. Later a watering point was set up nearby for the Wild Horses of the Namib, which roam the vicinity.
The horses’ origin was the subject of numerous stories for decades. The results of fresh studies, however, give reason to believe that most of them descended from South African army stock which was dispersed during the First World War and ran wild.
Over the decades the horses have adapted excellently to the harsh conditions of the desert. The watering point, about two kilometres from the tarred road, is a good place to watch them.
The wind tugs at the wooden shutters, doors and roof beams. Rusty water pipes and railway tracks disappear into sandy oblivion. Rooms with high ceilings and even whole houses are filled by rippled dunes. Through broken windows and holes in roofs or walls the sun paints bizarre pictures of light and shadow.
The appealing atmosphere of the dilapidation of this settlement, which once flourished in the hostile desert, attracts around 20,000 tourists each year. Kolmanskuppe sprang up in 1908 after diamonds were found. During the following years the little town was the centre of a veritable diamond rush – which filled it with life. All that remains today are the Diamond Restricted Area, where mining of precious stones continues, and the ghost town of Kolmanskuppe.
You can join a guided tour through the ruins, including the old ice factory, the butchery, the skittle-alley and the hall which was used for gymnastics and festivities. There is also a small museum and an exhibit about mining and processing diamonds. You can even buy diamonds (up to one carat), issued with a certificate and sealed in a pretty package – a lasting souvenir of your visit to Kolmanskuppe.
Guided tours are offered daily at 9h00. Just go there to pay for the tour.
.. Top of Page
Lüderitz, more than 100 years old, is situated on a forbidding and varied stretch of coast. The grey Gneiss serves as an attractively austere backdrop to the town and its buildings, some of which are gaily coloured. The history of Lüderitz fills volumes. It is about Portuguese seafarers, British whalers and sealers, a merchant from Bremen and German fortune-hunters. And it is characterised by a magical rise, a rich golden season, protracted languishing and a miraculous resurrection.
Lüderitz boasts many witnesses of the past. Apart from ‘Diaz Point’, the rock on which the Portuguese put up a stone cross as a landmark, there is the picturesque Felsenkirche (Rock Church), stately ‘Goerke House’ and other magnificent Jugendstil buildings from the period of promoterism – and, of course, the nearby ghost town of Kolmanskuppe.
In addition, excursions into the Restricted Area, to other deserted diamond settlements like Pomona or to Bogenfels (rock arch) beckon. Lüderitz also offers modern-day attractions and activities: the Waterfront with its yacht club, a wellness centre, boat trips to lone islands inhabited only by seals and penguins, drives to hidden bays or 4x4 tours into the Dune Namib, north of the town. Not to mention the culinary delights for which Lüderitz is famous: fresh crayfish and oysters, depending on the season.
All run on 220/240 volts.
Outlets are of the round 3-pin, 15 amp types.
The official language is English and all documents, notices and directional signs are in English.
German and Afrikaans are also used throughout the country and there are numerous African languages and dialects which fall into two main groups: Bantu and Khoisan.
Snakes & Scorpions
Just to put you at ease: most visitors never see a snake or scorpion during their stay in Namibia. In any event, about 75% of Namibia’s snakes are not poisonous. Most snakes beat a hasty retreat when humans approach and therefore are never spotted – they pick up the tremors caused by footsteps.
.. Top of Page
site designed and maintained by