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Namibia: Africa’s Adventure Playground

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VIEWS

Namibia is known for spectacular encounters with nature and a wide range of activities within nature. The urban areas, however, also offer a lot. The capital Windhoek, with its European-African atmosphere is well worth a visit. Swakopmund is a town where time seems to stand still, boasting stunning colonial architecture, and has a wide variety of activities to choose from. Lüderitz in the south, in Art Nouveau style, has its own charm that lures visitors into wandering about its streets to explore the confluence of past and present, enjoying the adventure of discovering ghost towns of the long-gone heydays of the diamond rush…

Endless seas of sands invite you to go quad-biking, dune-boarding and sand-boarding. 4×4 Adventurers can test their skills in the sand by joining a tour through the dunes. Those who enjoy absolute quiet can opt for a camel- or horse-trail adventure through the desert. Motocross races are offered for the motorbike enthusiast and various hiking routes and caves across the country invite those who prefer to explore on foot. Extreme sports such as mountaineering, endurance racing, motorcycle tours, mountain-biking and abseiling are for those who like to feel adrenalin rushing through their veins.

The perennial rivers of Namibia, found only on its northern and southern borders, lure visitors with activities like canoeing, freshwater angling, white-water rafting, sunset cruises while watching game, raft-races and bird-watching. At the coast, Walvis Bay is the hub of adventure, with marine cruises offered to watch seals, dolphins and marine birdlife. Sea kayaking is offered on the lagoon as well as speed-surfing, kite-surfing and wind-surfing. Waterskiing is done on the major dams of Namibia and scuba diving in Namibia’s underground and natural lakes is an adventure fit only for a specialist.

Those who want to ride the wind can enjoy hang-gliding, skydiving and paragliding. Fly-in safaris offer excellent views from the air and are optimal for those who only have a few days in the country. Balloon safaris let you view the world from above in absolute silence and helicopter rides take you into Namibia’s grandest Canyon or give you incredible views of the seas of sand at Sossusvlei. Furthermore, the night skies of Namibia, with their minimal light pollution, offer unsurpassed stargazing. Many activities can be combined; this way a full spectrum of adventure awaits you.

Hiking

Probably one of the most famous hiking trails in southern Africa, the Fish River Canyon, attracts adventurers with a four-day, 80km trail. The trail is only accessible in the winter months (May to September) and hikers must be absolutely fit and have their doctor’s approval to participate. Many smaller trails exist in the country, amongst them the Namib Naukluft Trail, the Waterberg Trail and various trails in the Namib Desert.

Birding

Bird watching in the Zambezi Region (formerly known as the Caprivi Strip) is a pleasure as the region has the highest concentration of birds in the country, including near-endemic species. The strip is considered one of Africa’s top 10 birding destinations. In Etosha about 340 bird species await keen bird-watchers together with more than 110 mammal species to be viewed.

4×4 Adventure

Join a guided tour in Lüderitz to Bogenfels or to the dunes north of Lüderitz to test your skill in driving a 4×4 vehicle. Several farms throughout Namibia also have 4×4 routes and camping for those who are first time 4×4 enthusiasts. Damaraland and the Kaokoveld in Kunene Region are areas to be explored only with a 4×4. This should always be done in a group with at least two vehicles, or with an experienced Namibian guide. Care needs to be taken not to destroy the fragile environment. Stay on the tracks, take all rubbish back with you, to discard of it properly and not in nature and make use only of dedicated camping and lodging spots.

Horseback, Camel and Mule trails

For those who want to go trekking on horses, camels or mules, or enjoy the experience of riding through untamed wilderness, Namibia awaits you. Join a safari on either horseback or by camel, through the Khomashochland, or the central or southern Namib. Hike through Fish River Canyon while mules carry your kit. Many farms in Namibia specialise in horseback riding, and this is also a fabulous way of viewing game.

Quad-biking and Sand-boarding

Swakopmund is the centre of activities when it comes to quad-biking, sand-boarding, sand-skiing and dune-boarding. Book an activity with an operator who will have all the equipment and skills to teach you the art of the activities in the dunes near this holiday resort town. Explore the area on a four-wheeled motorbike, driving up and down dunes, or slide down a dune sitting or lying on a dune-board. Stand up on a sand-board and experience the thrill of speeding down a dune.

For further information regarding Namibia, contact the Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) on (021) 422 3298.