360 Days of Sunshine

This is the climate you might experience if you lived in Namibia. This southern African country can easily be enjoyed year round, due to it?s warm temperatures and virtually continual sunshine. Still it seems to elude many travelers looking to head to Africa.

Travel to Africa has spiked over the last couple of years. Perhaps it?s that South Africa?s hosting the World Cup this year, or that more travelers realizing that visiting Africa doesn?t have to mean trenching into a third world country. While ?must see lists? have taken increasing notice of several of it?s neighbors – South Africa?s Cape Town and Kruger National Park, Botswana?s Chobe region and even Zimbabwe?s Victoria Fall?s – Namibia has escaped the limelight, so to speak, and still remains a relatively uncommon destination, especially for American travelers.

Desert landscape of Namibia

Attractive weather is just the start of Namibia?s acclaims. Etosha National Park?s wildlife – including the big five- the seaside resort of Swakopmond, the mountains of Spitzkoppe, the colonial yet modern capital city Windhoek, the Skeleton Coast in the west and the isolated landscape of Fish River Canyon in the south each offer a unique experience.

Etosha National Park covers 22,000 square kilometers and a wide variety of terrain. The center of the park is a vast salt pan, with grass and bush land in the west and a dry forest in the northeastern section. Water holes in the southern portion of the park offer the best game viewing. Lions, giraffes, zebras, rhinos, elephants, and especially springbok quench their thirst here. There are three camps in Etosha – Oakuuejo, Halali and Namuturi, each with their own restaurant, store, swimming pool and accommodations and camping facilities.

Lions resting in Etosha National Park

The colonial styled buildings and dune lined coast make Swakopmond a popular resort town, especially during the Christmas and Easter holidays. Thirty kilometers south of Swakopmond is Walvis Bay, which offers a natural lagoon and large collection of sea birds (over 120,000). Sandwich Harbor is also nearby – a lagoon surrounded by dunes which is ideal for anglers.

Between Usakos and Swakopmond, Spitzkoppe rises 1728 meters out of the plains. Though it is not the country?s tallest peak, its location create an illusion of greater height. It may appear easily to explore, but these mountains should only be traversed by experienced mountaineers, and only in the winter as the rock gets too hot in the summer months. For photographs of the magnificent rock formations the light is most agreeable right after sunrise or right before sunset, so many visitors choose to camp overnight.

Spitzkoppe - The Matterhorn of Namibia

Windhoek is the capital of Namibia, and the country?s largest city. While much of the architecture still exhibits the German influence in its colonial style, the city also has a modern appeal. Sights to see include the Parliament building, the National Gallery of Namibia – previously an old fort, Christuskirche (Christ Church).

The Skeleton Coast of Namibia, though considered the world?s largest ship graveyard, is less scary than it sounds (unless you?re a ship captain). The coast is a protected national park which stretches all the way up to the Kunene River and the Angolan boarder. The southern part of the coast requires a permit to enter, and the northern portion (north of Terrace Bay) may only be visited on private safari.

Fish River Canyon, at 550 meters, is the second largest canyon in the world. It runs 161 kilometers from Seeheim to Ai-Ais and it?s estimated that it was created 500 million years ago. The canyon is part of a conservation park and is a popular spot for hiking, though hikers have to be in good physical condition as the hike is 86 kilometers and generally takes several days.

Basic Namibia facts:
-Namibia gained its independence in 1990 and is eager for visitors to experience all it has to offer.

-A visa can be received on entry, and passports must be good for at least six months.

-Air Namibia, the national airline, flies four times per week nonstop from Frankfurt to Windhoek. Other carries such as Lufthansa, British Air and KLM fly via Johannesburg.

-Though Namibia can have 360 days of sunshine, certain times of the year are more prone to thunderstorms, especially in the interior, making April through September the best months to visit.

-English is the official language, though Afrikans and German are spoken widely.


Add A Comment