5 Great Reasons To Visit Namibia

With a population numbering two million people scattered across the expanses of its breathtaking Savannah, beautiful landscapes, and fertile deltas, Namibia is one of the least-densely populated countries in the world. Yet somehow this southern African nation still offers some of the greatest ecological and cultural diversity in the world.

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With a modern capital city, comforting colonial-inspired coastline, and network of well-paved roads, accessing all that this beautiful country has to offer is incredibly easy—even for first timers. As a result, this coastal gem has quickly taken its place among the top spots to visit in Africa and become the perfect entry point into exploring this incredible continent, and to top it all English is the national language, it is widely spoken everywhere you go. Here are some favorite reasons to visit Namibia.
The History is Fascinating
Like South Africa, Namibia’s history is rich with stories of oppression and tales of triumph. When Namibia became a part of South Africa, the country fell under apartheid rule which was a very sad moment in their history as a country. Although this system of oppression no longer exists today, travelers to Namibia can still see remnants of the nation’s difficult past. Monuments to German soldiers and bloody battles exist in many of the country’s larger cities, particularly in Namibia’s southern regions, and German and Dutch colonial architecture is the norm in places like Windhoek, Luderitz, and Swakopmund.
The Landscape is Beautiful
Namibia is home to some of the world’s most diverse landscapes. From the sweltering sands of the Namib and Kalahari Deserts to the unforgiving Skeleton Coast, fertile Okavango Delta and the rocky depths of Fish River Canyon, this is a country that has it all. The best part: its network of well-paved roads with practically zero traffic makes moving one extreme to another a breeze. Explore the vast savannahs of the south in Karas or Hardap or travel to the north, where lush green mango trees and tall grasses line the Okavango River. To the east, in Omaheke, travelers can cruise through the desert under the light of the blazing sun or head to Kunene where mountain passes lead to the land of the Himba people in the unique town of Opuwo.
Adventure Comes in Many Forms
All this diversity in landscape means there’s plenty for the outdoor adventurer seeking a new kind of thrill in Namibia. Avid hikers can pack up a bag and descend into the depths of Fish River Canyon, one of the nation’s most difficult multi-day hikes that dips across rivers and rocky passes with no escape from the blinding Namibian sun. Extreme sports enthusiasts can skydive from tiny private planes over the desert sands outside of Swakopmund or ride the sandy waves while boarding down the world-famous dunes near the coast of the Atlantic.
Travelers can take an evening game drive through the vast Etosha in hopes of spotting a lion pride in search of a kill, or head to one of the country’s well-kept lodges for the once-in-a-lifetime experience of hunting springbok in the bush. And while hiring a car, hopping a tour or traveling with a guide are easy ways to see this great nation, one of the most adventurous ways to get around is thumbing a ride from the side of the road, where friendly locals are often eager to offer a lift to visitors exploring the countryside.
The Animal Life Is Diverse
Namibia’s wildlife is as rich and diverse and its geography and its people. That’s because when the nation gained its independence back in 1990, it made conservation one of its top priorities. Etosha National Park, located in the northwestern part of the country, is one of Namibia’s most popular wildlife destinations. Its 22,000 square kilometers of protected land are home to hundreds of elephants, rhinos, giraffe, lions, kudu, and zebra that gather during rainy season at the park’s famous watering holes. Visitors can stay at one of the park’s incredible lodges, where western comforts meet life in the bush, or spend an afternoon driving through the grasslands of this reserve, but Etosha isn’t the only place where the health and safety of Namibia’s wild animals reigns supreme. At the Cheetah Conservation Fund located just outside Otjiwarango, a team of expert staff led by American Laurie Marker, keep close watch over some of the country’s most beautiful felines. The center, which is a hub for research, education, conservation and habitat restoration, is also home to a number of cheetahs.
Namibia is also home to one of the largest seal colonies in the world. Located in Cape Cross, along the country’s Atlantic coast, the Cape Fur Seals have become one of the nation’s most popular—and unexpected—wildlife attractions. Travelers can tour by boat or kayak up close to these playful sea creatures while on a visit to Swakopmund.
The People Are Very Hospitable
Namibians are warm and friendly people. Whether it’s hitching a ride with a local from the side of the road or visiting a traditional Himba village in the northern region of Kunene, travelers will find Namibia to be a country with a big heart, a warm embrace, and a whole lot of hospitality.

 photo credit: Etosha National Park, Namibia via photopin (license)

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