Namibia — Attractions
Visitors to Namibia will not be disappointed, as the country offers some of the best attractions in all of Africa. Naturally, the safari experience is right at the top of any visitor’s itinerary. Head to Etosha National Park in particular, but any of the other national parks in the country offer premier game viewing opportunities. Natural landscapes such as the dry desert and canyons await those who venture farther out, while those staying in the main cities are presented with iconic landmarks and historical wonders to enjoy.
Etosha National Park
Many visitors to Namibia come to the country precisely for the African safari experience. Located in the northern area of the country, Etosha National Park was Namibia’s first conservation area. The park is centered on the Etosha Pan, a depression of around 1,930 square miles and features a white chalky expanse, grassy plains and hilly woodlands. Watering holes become the most prominent feature during the dry season where wildlife including elephants, giraffes, lions, and rhinos gather to drink. Visitors can stay at any of luxury resorts within or outside the park which organize game viewing excursions for guests. Those looking for a more adventurous safari experience can rent their own vehicle and drive along the network of roads.
Address: Kunene, Namibia
Fish River Canyon
Those looking for Namibia’s best hiking should head down south to Fish River Canyon. Considered the second-largest canyon in the world, certainly the largest in Africa, the canyon features a huge ravine that abruptly drops 340 miles and measures 100 miles long by 17 miles wide. The canyon was formed 500 years ago by river erosion and the buckling of the Earth’s crust. The resulting landscape is spectacularly dry and stony. The Fish River is usually dry, except during the rainy months of January to April. Tourists come here to take on the 53-mile Fish River Hiking Trail, which usually takes four days to complete. The park is open from May to September.
Address: Karas, Namibia
A visit to Namibia is incomplete without seeing the desert that gave the country its name. Visitors who want to marvel at the vastness of one of the oldest desert in the world can head to the most popular entry point for tourists. Located in the southern part of the Namib Desert, Sossusvlei is a major attraction. The name Sossusvlei comes from two words: sossus, meaning "dead end," and vlei meaning "marsh," which evokes thoughts of a harsh frontier land of vast nothingness. Although this description may very well be true, the area is popular because it is home to some of the highest, most spectacular sand dunes in the world. There are many lodges and camps in the area, but the recommended choice is Desert Camp, which provides accommodation, food and sunset excursions by four-wheel drive.
Address: Sossusvlei Lodge, D826, Maltahöhe District, Southern Namibia
Alte Feste or Old Fortress is the main landmark in the capital city of Windhoek. It is the oldest surviving building in Windhoek, while the rest of the city has gradually grown around it. Alte Feste is the former headquarters of the German colonial military force. Construction began in 1890 with the final layout completed in 1915. It has an inner courtyard and four towers, while the fortress currently houses part of the National Museum of Namibia, specifically the institution’s historical and national section.
Address: Robert Mugabe Avenue, Windhoek-Central
Kolmanskop Ghost Town
In 1908, Kolmanskop was established to house the miners who had flocked to the area after diamonds were discovered by a black worker named Zacharias Lewala. The village was built in the style of a traditional German town, complete with school, ballroom, hospital, theater, and the first tram in Africa. The town’s slow decline began after WWI when its mines began to exhaust, and the last resident left in 1956. The Namib Desert slowly began to reclaim the area, with sands gradually burying the town. A permit is necessary to visit this eerie place which can be obtained at Luderitz Safaris & Tours, located along Bismarck Street in Luderitz.
Address: Kolmanskop, Luderitz
Namibia’s contribution to the UNESCO World Heritage list is the ancient rock art of Twyfelfontein. The engravings in the Kunene Region were made by hunter-gatherers and later by the Khoikhoi herders who lived in the area 6,000 years ago. Shamanist rituals are depicted in the 2,500 carvings of Twyfelfontein, which boasts the highest concentration of rock carvings in all of Africa. Stone walkways have been constructed for visitors to prevent further erosion and damage of these ancient relics.
Address: Huab Valley, Kunene Region, Western Namibia