Annette is our first exam blogger from Namibia. She passed Part 1 and 2, and is working on the last part. She finally passed the exam in February 2017.
In response to Stephanie’s question:
What to do in Namibia as a tourist e.g. what is the best time to visit during the year, anything to be aware of (e.g. crime / safety related?), landmarks?
Here is my answer.
What to Do in Namibia?
Wow, there is so much!
Namibia is a country most famous for its nature and animals (like any other Sub-Saharan country I guess). Last year I put a “work- in-progress” list together with my colleagues what is unique about Namibia:
- Oldest desert in the world
- Biggest fallen meteorite in the world
- Largest underground non-subglacial lake (Dragons Breath Cave)
- 2nd largest canyon in the world
- One of the biggest salt pans in Africa (Etosha Pans)
- Highest dunes of the world
- Oldest plant of the world (Welwitschia)
- One of the biggest national parks in Africa (Naukluft National Park)
Must See Places in Namibia?
Definitely Sossusvlei, Swakopmund and Etosha National Park. The classic tour usually includes those, but not to forget the Fish River Canyon in the far south, where the ocean meets the desert in the west, the luscious savanna and Perennials Rivers of the north or the red sand of the Kalahari Desert in the East.
Best Time to Travel?
It will depend on many things including your interests, where you want to visit and why you are travelling. Partially covered by the Namib Desert, Namibia’s climate is generally very dry and pleasant – it’s fine to visit all year round. Namibia only receives a fraction of the rain experienced by countries further east.
- December to March – some days will be humid and rain may follow (central and east, less likely in the desert)
- April to May – are often lovely months in Namibia. Increasingly dry and much greenery in the landscape.
- June to August – Namibia cools down and dries out more; nights can become cold, dropping below freezing in some desert areas. As the landscape dries so the game in the north of the country gravitates more to waterholes, and is more easily seen by visitors.
- September to October – warms up again; game-viewing in most areas is at its best, although there’s often a lot of dust around and the vegetation has lost its vibrancy.
- November is a highly variable month – Sometimes the hot, dry weather will continue, at other times the sky will fill with clouds and threaten to rain – but if you’re lucky enough to witness the first rains of the season, you’ll never forget the drama.
Safety is an issue yes, but I always say it is dangerous everywhere in the world and you always have to be on the lookout and not do stupid things (like leaving your camera or backpack in the car whilst out and about). If you create the opportunity for theft it most often will happen. I personally have not yet been attacked or stolen from (and I really look like a tourist in my own country). We have a lot of guest passing our farm and I cannot recall any of them having a huge incident (if you want to check it out www.farm-heimat.com 🙂 Unfortunately in German only as that is our main market, and my parents struggle a bit with English).
More of a concern is that often the first-time visitors are not well informed about Namibia. This creates the biggest problem. We have many backroads, very long distances with not many (or at all) refresh stops in between, wild animals are walking across the dust roads (not in the towns or cities though – such a myth!) and you can’t just show up at any farmers gate and expect accommodation or service. We therefore recommend first-time travellers to rather join a guided tour and get to know Namibia first before attempting a self-drive tour.
There is more to tell about the people, culture, specific (and more) landmarks, history of Namibia (used to be a German colony), weather and life on the commercial farms (and its hardship), it all depends on your interests.
Warning – Once the Namibian fever grabs hold of you, you will feel the need to always return!
Hope that helps and answers your questions. I love my country, I grew up with tourists on the farm, now I am helping out the Bed and Breakfast Association of Namibia, and if I could I would love to combine my two passions – Internal Audit and Tourism/Hospitality.
Note from Stephanie
Wow that’s the most comprehensive answer I can ever get. Sounds like I really should plan on a vacation to Namibia today!
- Next Post: Celebrating IIA Awareness Month