Namibia

Namibia

Namibia covers 824 268 square kilometers (318,250 sq. miles). A country with contrasting landscapes ranging from the world’s oldest desert to rugged mountains. Seemingly everlasting sunshine, an abundance of wildlife, scenic beauty and a rich diversity of geological phenomena make Namibia a sought after tourist destination to which visitors return again and again. Namibia is known for the friendliness and cultural diversity of its people, a well developed infrastructure and an extensive choice of parks, resorts and accommodation. The latter range from five-star hotels and up-market guest lodges to simple and rustic accommodation in the quiet seclusion of the bush.  

Touraco Travel Services - Namibia Karte

Namibia Karte

Touraco Travel Services - Swakopmund - Extended Namibia Tour

Swakopmund

Touraco Travel Services - Giraffes in Etosha

Giraffes

Touraco Travel Services - Desert & Coast

The South of Namibia

Most popular tourist destinations :

 

Etosha National Park:

Etosha National Park is one of the world’s greatest conservation areas and Namibia’s prime tourist attraction. A visit to the Etosha is one of the highlights of travelling Namibia. Etosha, which was declared a game reserve by the German kolonial administration back in 1907, covers an area of more than 22 000 sqkms, stretching for about 300 km from west to east and 110 km from north to south at its widest point. In its centre lies a vast saltpan surrounded by grass and thorn savannah, Mopane bushland in the west and dry forest in the north-east. About two million years ago, this area was an enormous lake, fed by the Kunene river. However the lake slowly dried up because over time, the river changed its course. The pan is just about always dry. However, in the southern parts there are have water-holes scattered throughout this area and form the basis of life for countless game.It is a sanctuary to large herds of animals typical of the African plains, and entices tourists hoping to spot four of the ‘Big Five’ – lion, elephant, leopard and rhino. Be it a lion or an elephant, a giraffe or a zebra; almost all African animal species are represented in the huge nature reserve, approx. 22 000 square kilometres in size. There is an estimated number of 250 lions in the park, 300 rhinos, 2 500 giraffes, 6 000 zebras and more than 2 000 elephants. The dainty springbok are especially numerous; at least 20 000 of them roam the reserve. Often, they can be observed in enormousherds of several hundred animals. The Etosha National Park has a good infrastructure. Well-maintained gravel roads (untarred) lead to the waterholes, where game viewing is at its best. In the three restcamps Okaukuejo, Halali and Namutoni, hotels, chalets and camping sites are available as well as restaurants, stores and swimming pools. The main entrance to the park is called the “Andersson Gate” at Okaukuejo in the south, where the park administration is also situated. The “Von Lindequist Gate” lies in the east near Namutoni. A new gate, the “Nehale lya Mpingana Gate” (King Nehale Gate) was opened at the beginning of 2003 in the north-east. Tours visiting Etosha National Park:

Extended Namibia Tour (19 days) 

Namibia Highlights Tour (9 days) 

Etosha Tour (4days) 

Namibia – Botswana – Victoria Falls Tour (28 days)

 

Sossusvlei/Sesriem, Namib Naukluft Park:

The Sossusvlei, Namibia’s famous highlight in the heart of the Namib Desert (the world’s oldest desrt), is a huge clay pan, enclosed by giant sand dunes. Some of the spectacular hills of sand are, at a height of 300 metres, the highest in the world. Only after a heavy rainfall, which is a rare event in this area, does the vlei fill with water. As the clay layers hardly allow any water infiltration, a turquoise lake will remain for quite some time. The dunes of the Namib desert have developed over a period of many millions of years. It is thought that the vast quantities of sand were deposited into the Alantic Ocean by the Orange river. This material was subsequently moved northwards by the Benguela current to be dumped back onto the land by the surf. The coastal dunes developed as a result of this and were shifted further and further inland by the wind. Wind continuously reshapes the patterns of the huge dunes of the Namib desert. It timelessly forces the grains of sand on the flat windward slope upwards to the crest of the dune. Here they fall down in the wind shade. The leeward slope is therefore always considerably steeper than the windward side. Tours visiting Sossusvlei: Extended

Extended Namibia Tour (19 days) 

Namibia Highlights Tour (9 days) 

Namibia South (8 days) 

Desert and Coast Safari (7 days) 

Namibia – Botswana – Victoria Falls Tour (28 days)

 

Fish River Canyon:

The Fish River is, at 650 kilometres, the longest river in Namibia. Its source lies in the eastern Naukluft Mountains and flows south-west of Ai-Ais into the Oranje. The Fish River canyon, situated along the lower reaches of the Fish River, is one of the most impressive & spectacular geological feature in the southern part of Namibia. It developed predominantly during the pluvial times – a rainy climatic epoch – many millions of years ago. With a depth of up to 550 metres, the Fish River Canyon is the second largest canyon in the world, after the Grand Canyon in America. The enormous gorge meanders along a distance of approx. 160 kilometres through the fissured Koubis massif all the way down to Ai-Ais. The canyon starts near Seeheim, is 161 kilometres long and ends at Ai-Ais. The Fish River Canyon probably formed about 500 million years ago. However, the gorge was not only created by water erosion, but also through the collapse of the valley bottom due to movements in the earth’s crust. Because the Fish River is being dammed in Hardap near Mariental, it only contains a small amount of running water. In winter, during the dry season, the river bed is often completely dry or reduced to only the occassional puddle. However, after rainfalls in summer the river can become a raging torrent.

The canyon is part of a Nature Conservation Park. The gate is situated at the restcamp Hobas. From there, you have to drive another 10 kilometres to the actual Canyon which offers a stunning view of “Hell’s Bend”. The Fish River Canyon has become a popular hiking destination. However, hikes require good physical health and should only be undertaken during the cooler winter months (between May and September). A permit from Namibia Wildlife Resorts in Windhoek must be obtained. The hike is 86 km in length and takes about 5 days. Much easier hikes, no less beautiful, are offered in the bordering private “Canyon Nature Park”. The adjacent and also private “Gondwana Canyon Park” offers scenic hikes. Tours visiting Fish River Canyon:

Extended Namibia Tour (19 days) 

Namibia South (8 days) 

Namibia – Botswana – Victoria Falls Tour (28 days)

 

Lüderitz & Kolmanskop:

Luederitz is a slighty sleepy and maybe also bizarre place, which forms the basis of its appeal. The founding settlement of Namibia today consists of some 20 000 citizens. It was built on the bare granite rocks at the fringe of the Namib Desert and is openly exposed to the frequent Atlantic winds. Heavy sea fogs and sand storms contribute to the rough weather conditions of Luederitz. Nostalgic Luederitz presents itself to the visitor as a very colourful town, due to the numerous lovingly maintained buildings in the Wilhelmian Art Deco (the German equivalent to the Victorian style) from the times of German colonialism. Above the town towers the Lutheran “Felsenkirche” built in 1911. The people of Luederitz make a living from tourism and diamond mining and, mainly, from fishing. The cold Benguela current brings in huge amounts of seaweed and so provides for an abundance of fish in the coastal waters. Because the water is very clean, even oysters are being bred here. So far, lobster catching was very lucrative. In the last years the waters were overfished, though, and the quota had to be reduced. Even in the hot summer months the water temperature in Luederitz rarely excedes 18 degrees celsius. The rough coast of Luederitz is thus not a desirable place for the swimming enthusiast, but it has quite a few other attractions. In the Eberlanz Mueum in Diaz Street the history of the town and its diamond mining industry is well presented. On Shark Island, the monument of Adolf Luederitz can be seen, and you will enjoy a stunning view of the town. The buzzing harbour is also quite interesting. Fishing boats are constantly docking and leaving while fish is unloaded and transported away. There are wonderful walks available at the beautiful Agate Beach, 8 kilometres north of town. If you are lucky, you can find an agate splinter in the sand or one of the numerous sand roses which consists of crystallized gypsum. Very rewarding is a drive across the Luederitz Peninsula; a nature conservation area with many little bays and untouched beaches. The drive takes you around the lagoon, where flamingoes and many other birds can be seen.

 

Kolmanskop

In 1908, Luederitz was plunged into diamond fever. People rushed into the Namib desert hoping to make an easy fortune and within two years, a town, complete with a casino, school, hospital and exclusive residential buildings, had been established in the barren sandy desert. The diamond-bearing gravel was screened and washed in huge recovery plants. Over 1 000 kg of diamonds were extracted before World War I. However, the amount of gemstones greatly diminished after the war. Furthermore, considerably larger diamonds were found to the south near Oranjemund, causing Kolmanskop to become a ghost town. You can visit Kolmanskop. Every day, there are one-hour guided tours, in the mornings at 9h30 and 10h45. The weight unit for diamonds is called a “carat”. One carat equals approximately 0.2 grams. In Elisabeth Bay, located nearly 30 kilometres from Kolmanskop, about 1000 carats, that is around 200 grams, of raw diamonds were extracted daily. To achieve this, many waggon loads of diamond-bearing sand and gravel had to be brought in to the recovery facilities. The material was then screened and washed in huge drums. Normally, 10 tons of sand contained only 1 to 2 carats of diamonds. Today, Elizabeth Bay, like Kolmanskop, is a ghost town. However, although very picturesque, the place is only allowed to be visited with a special permit. Because a new recovery plant began operation nearby, Elisabeth Bay is situated in a strictly guarded diamond zone. Visitors who apply for a permit must prove that they have no criminal record. Tours visiting Lüderitz & Kolmanskop:

Extended Namibia Tour (19 days) 

Namibia South (8 days) 

Namibia – Botswana – Victoria Falls Tour (28 days)

 

Swakopmund:

Swakopmund was of major importance as a harbour during the German colonial era even though the water at the coast is actually too shallow and the bay is unprotected. But Luederitz was too far away and the seaport of Walvis Bay was in British possession in those days. In August 1892, the gunship “Hyäne” under the command of Captain Curt von François, staked out a wharf north of the Swakop River mouth. A year later, 40 settlers from Germany and 120 members of the Schutztruppe were taken ashore on landing boats to embark upon an adventurous undertaking. The 325 metre long wooden jetty was only completed in 1905 and it was later replaced by a more solid iron construction. Swakopmund became the gate to South-West Africa and the entire supply for the colony was wound up through this little town. The narrow-rail train to Windhoek started operations in 1902 while at the same time, the station in the Wilhelminian style (equivalent to Victorian style) was built. It was completely restored some years ago and has become an entertainment centre, a casino and a luxury hotel. The appearance of the town, with its 30 000 inhabitants, is characterised by numerous colonial buildings with the Woermann House from 1905 as its landmark. The former trading house in Bismarck Street with its 25 metre high Damara Tower and its courtyard bordered by arcades today houses the city library, an art gallery and the office of the Namibia Wildlife Resorts. Swakopmund is a popular seaside resort with a slightly nostalgic atmosphere, many tourist attractions and a pleasant climate in summer. Especially around Christmas the town is full of people from Windhoek and accommodation is extremely hard to find. Driving along the stunning dune-lined coastline is particularly attractive, whether you go south to Walvis Bay (30 km) or to the National West Coast Recreation Area in the north. The road (slippery when there is fog) goes right along the beach and leads to the Ugab rivermouth and further to the fishermen’s resort of Henties Bay and Cape Cross on the way. North of the Ugab, the Skeleton Coast National Park starts, for which a permit is required. Interesting is also the Welwitchia Drive that leads to the Moon Landscape at the Swakop Rivier and into the northern part of the Namib Naukluft Park. Tours visiting Swakopmund :

Extended Namibia Tour (19 days) 

Namibia Highlights Tour (9 days) 

Desert and Coast Safari (7 days) 

Namibia – Botswana – Victoria Falls Tour (28 days)

 

Windhoek, the Capital of Namibia

With 250 000 inhabitants, Namibia’s capital of Windhoek is the biggest city in the country. The attractive town lies at an altitude of 1650 metres in a beautiful valley bordered by the Eros Mountains in the north and the Auas mountains in the south. Towards the west, stretches the Khomas Highland to the Namib and the coast. Windhoek combines the modern city architectural style with that of the German colonial era. The city is – for an African town – very clean and a bit provincial, although the city does have cosmopolitan flare as well. The influence of the German language and culture is, in many ways, still present. There are German restaurants where one can have traditional German dishes, bread and beer, and even celebrate the German carnival. Although English is the official language, one can use German just about anywhere. The city centre of Windhoek lies on both sides of the Independence Avenue, and can be explored by foot. The busy main road ( formerly known as the “Kaiserstrasse”) starts at the Ausspannplatz in the south and stretches up to the former township Katutura in the north. Worth a visit are the “Tintenpalast” (“Ink Palace”), which houses Namibia’s parliament, the Christuskirche (Christ Church) of the Lutheran parish from the year 1896, the “Reiterdenkmal” from 1912 and the “Alte Feste” (Old Fort); former headquarters of the Schutztruppe and today, Namibia’s National Museum. Since 1997, the historical buildings of Windhoek are overshadowed by the monumental Supreme Court building. Windhoek has an international airport 45 kilometres out of town. Tours visiting Windhoek :

Extended Namibia Tour (19 days) 

Namibia Highlights Tour (9 days) 

Namibia South (8 days) 

Desert and Coast Safari (7 days) 

Etosha Tour (4days) 

Namibia – Botswana – Victoria Falls Tour (28 days)

 

Twyfelfontein & Petrified Forest

Some 90 kilometres west of Khorixas lies Twyfelfontein (“Doubtful Spring”), with one of the most extensive galleries of rock engravings in the world. They aren’t really paintings, but have been done by cutting through the hard surface layer of sandstone. More than 2000 petroglyphes have been counted here, and in 1952, the valley of Twyfelfontein was proclaimed a National Monument. The rock engravings are found on a number of smooth rock surfaces and most of them depict animals and their tracks. Scientists have estimated their ages to vary between 1000 and 10000 years: The majority agrees on an age of about 6000 years. Tours visiting Twyfelfontein & Petrified Forest :

Extended Namibia Tour (19 days) 

Namibia Highlights Tour (9 days) 

Namibia – Botswana – Victoria Falls Tour (28 days)

 

 Vingerklip

For years now the Vingerklip, or rock finger, has been a well-known landmark in this area. Around it are flat-topped mountains, reminiscent of Monument Valley (in Arizona), which are so typical of much of Damaraland. They are the remains of an ancient lava flow which has largely now been eroded way. Amidst this beautiful scenery, Vingerklip is a 35 metre-high striking pinnacle of rock, a natural obelisk balancing vertically on its own. It’s an impressive sight, and similar to the (now collapsed) Finger of God near Asab Tours visiting Vingerklip :

Extended Namibia Tour (19 days) 

Namibia Highlights Tour (9 days) 

Namibia – Botswana – Victoria Falls Tour (28 days)

 

  Quivertree Forest

About 13 kilometres north-east of Keetmanshoop lies the spectacular and much photographed Kokerboom or quiver tree forest on the farm Gariganus. The site has been declared a National Monument. The quiver tree or “Kokerboom” is indigenous to the hot and dry southern part of Namibia. The plants are succulents and can reach a height of up to 9 metres in height. They have adapted to the extreme environmental conditions by storing water in their trunks. The tree only blossoms for the first time after 20 to 30 years and can reach 300 years of age. The wood is very light and spongy inside. And because the trunk and branches can be easily hollowed out, they were used as quivers by the bushmen (San people) who formerly inhabited this area. Tours visiting Quivertree Forest:

Extended Namibia Tour (19 days) 

Namibia South (8 days) 

Namibia – Botswana – Victoria Falls Tour (28 days)