Namibia A Bountiful Harvest Awaits The Adventure Traveler

Namibia is​ a​ largely arid country of​ stark rough-hewn beauty. the​ most vivid images are those of​ a​ haunting technicolor landscape of​ swirling orange dunes,​ shimmering mirages and treacherous dust devils. the​ apparent desolation is​ deceptive and plant and animal life and even man has adapted to​ this environment. the​ country is​ designed almost specially with the​ active and adventure seeker in​ mind. Timeless deserts,​ thorn bush savanna,​ desolate wind ravaged coastlines,​ majestic canyons,​ and sun-baked saltpans are the​ bounty that awaits the​ traveler.

Namibia's top draw is​ the​ Etosha National Park,​ rated as​ one of​ Africa's finest game sanctuaries. the​ birding experience in​ the​ country is​ truly superior. the​ range of​ activities you​ can indulge in​ the​ unsurpassable physical environment is​ truly impressive. Ballooning over the​ desert,​ skydiving over land and sea,​ paragliding,​ whitewater rafting and sand skiing along coastal dunes are good activities for starters. More fun games to​ pick from include abseiling - that most spectacular of​ rock sports,​ coastal and fresh water angling,​ desert camel riding,​ scuba diving,​ 4x4 desert runs,​ hiking and mountaineering.

Namibia has four distinct geographical regions. in​ the​ north is​ Etosha Pan,​ a​ great area for wildlife and heart of​ Etosha National Park. the​ slender Caprivi Strip is​ nested between Zambia and Botswana and is​ a​ wet area of​ woodland blessed with a​ few rivers. Along the​ coast is​ the​ Namib Desert,​ which at​ the​ age of​ 80 million years old,​ is​ said to​ be the​ world's oldest desert. at​ the​ coast,​ the​ icy cold Atlantic meets the​ blazing African desert,​ resulting in​ dense fogs. the​ well-watered central plateau runs north to​ south,​ and carries rugged mountains,​ magnificent canyons,​ rocky outcrops and expansive plains.

Namibia,​ one and half times the​ size of​ France,​ is​ very sparsely inhabited and carries only 1.8 million souls. the​ people are as​ unique as​ the​ land they live on. the​ most intriguing are the​ San,​ otherwise known as​ Bushmen. These most hardy of​ people have a​ highly advanced knowledge of​ their environment. it​ is​ a​ marvelous thing how well they are adapted to​ their difficult habitat. Just pause and think that these are the​ only people in​ the​ world who live with no permanent access to​ water. in​ the​ Kalahari Desert,​ one of​ their domiciles,​ surface water is​ not to​ be found. Tubers,​ melons,​ and other water bearing plants as​ well as​ underground sip wells supply their water requirements.

In Namibia today,​ Bushmen number about 50,​000. Historians estimate that they have lived,​ mostly as​ hunters and gatherers,​ for at​ least 25,​000 years in​ these parts of​ the​ world. Bushmen speak in​ a​ peculiar click language and are very gifted in​ the​ arts of​ storytelling,​ mimicry,​ and dance. Namibia's other people,​ who are indigenous to​ the​ continent,​ are mostly of​ Bantu origin. They are thought to​ have arrived from western Africa from about 2,​400 years ago. the​ African groups include the​ Owambo,​ Kavango,​ Caprivians,​ Herero,​ Himba,​ Damara,​ Nama and Tswana.

The Africans aside,​ other groups comprise about 15% of​ the​ population and have played an​ important role in​ the​ emergence of​ the​ modern nation. White Namibians amount to​ about 120,​00 and are mainly of​ German and Afrikaner heritage. Germans arrived in​ significant numbers after 1884 when Bismarck declared the​ country a​ German Protectorate. Afrikaners,​ white farmers of​ Dutch origin,​ moved north from their Cape settlements,​ especially after the​ Dutch Cape Colony was ceded to​ the​ British in​ 1806. This strongly independent people,​ whose ancestors had lived in​ the​ Cape from 1652 resented British control.

Two other distinct groups complete the​ spectrum of​ Namibia's people - Basters and Coloureds. Coloured in​ Namibia and southern Africa refers to​ people of​ mixed racial heritage,​ black- white for example. They have a​ separate identity and culture. This makes sense considering that Namibia was run by South Africa after the​ First World War. Even in​ pre-Apartheid South Africa,​ racial classification was a​ fine art. the​ Afrikaans-speaking Basters,​ descended from Hottentot women and Dutch settlers of​ the​ Cape. Alienated from both white and black communities,​ they trekked northwards,​ finally founding their own town Rehoboth,​ in​ 1871. Baster is​ actually derived from "bastard",​ but it​ is​ not derogatory,​ and the​ Basters are indeed proud of​ it.

Namibia's barren and unwelcoming coastlines served as​ a​ natural deterrent to​ the​ ambitions of​ European explorers. That was until 1884 when the​ German merchant Adolf Luderitz established a​ permanent settlement between the​ Namib Desert and the​ Atlantic seaboard that afterwards took his name. Bismarck subsequently declared the​ territory covered by Namibia a​ German colony and named it​ Südwestafrika or​ South West Africa. as​ German settlers moved into the​ interior,​ conflict was inevitable with the​ inheritors of​ the​ land.

The German occupation was a​ particularly unhappy experience for the​ Herero. the​ Herero resented the​ German's harsh and racist rule and the​ effect of​ the​ encroachment on​ their lands on​ their livelihood and way of​ life. on​ the​ first day of​ the​ year 1904,​ the​ Herero led by Chief Samuel Maharero,​ rose suddenly and unexpectedly in​ arms against their colonial overlords. the​ Nama joined the​ insurrection and the​ authorities did not regain control even after six months of​ trying. Over 100 German settlers and soldiers died in​ the​ uprising. Historians now consider events that followed to​ constitute the​ first genocide of​ the​ twentieth century.

Lieutenant General Lothar von Trotha was furnished with a​ contingent of​ 14,​000 soldiers and tasked to​ put down the​ rebellion. the​ governor general of​ the​ territory was then Rudolph Goering -the father of​ Herman Goering,​ Hitler's right hand man. Lothar von Trotha was a​ generation ahead of​ his time and his kind of​ thinking was to​ become government policy under the​ Third Reich. He argued that the​ Herero must be destroyed as​ a​ people and he did not wince at​ the​ murder of​ women or​ children. at​ the​ end of​ it​ all,​ 100,​000 Nama and Herero were killed. the​ survivors were herded in​ concentration camps where unspeakable things happened. the​ Herero fared very badly and 80% of​ her people perished. the​ population of​ the​ Nama diminished by 35-50%.

Windhoek,​ the​ capital of​ 165,​000 people is​ the​ only true city in​ the​ country. For those traveling to​ more remote regions,​ this is​ where you​ settle practical matters. the​ positive aspects of​ the​ German period can be seen in​ the​ charming style of​ older buildings in​ the​ city. Places of​ interest in​ the​ city include the​ State Museum,​ State Archives,​ and the​ Namibia Crafts Centre. the​ Dan Viljoen Game Park lies 24 Km west of​ Windhoek on​ the​ gentle hills of​ Khoma Hochland. in​ this resort you​ find ostriches,​ baboons,​ zebras and over 200 species of​ birds. the​ Waterburg Plateau Park,​ located 230 km from Windhoek is​ popular with weekenders. This extensive mountain wilderness is​ home to​ cheetah,​ leopard,​ kudu,​ giraffe,​ and white rhino.

Etosha National Park is​ what brings wildlife lovers to​ Namibia. the​ park is​ comparable in​ size and diversity of​ species with the​ best in​ Africa. the​ unusual terrain of​ Etosha holds savanna grassland,​ dense brush and woodland. But it​ is​ the​ Etosha Pan,​ a​ depression that sometimes holds water and covers 5,​000 sq km,​ that is​ the​ heart of​ park. the​ perennial springs around the​ pan,​ attract many birds and land animals in​ the​ dry winter months. the​ effect of​ this background is​ magical and some of​ the​ best wildlife photographs have been taken here.

There are 144 mammal species in​ the​ park and elephants are particularly abundant. Some other interesting wildlife here includes giraffe,​ leopard,​ cheetah,​ jackal,​ blue wildebeest,​ gemsbok and black rhino. the​ birding is​ great at​ Etosha and over 300 bird species have been recorded. you​ will get best value by spending at​ least three days here. There are excellent accommodation facilities at​ the​ three rest camps of​ Namutoni,​ Halali and Okaukuejo. the​ best time to​ see animals is​ between May and September,​ when water draws them in​ huge numbers to​ the​ edge of​ the​ pan. Etosha is​ 400 km to​ the​ north of​ Windhoek by road.

The Fish River Canyon is​ unrivalled in​ Africa and only the​ Grand Canyon in​ the​ U.S in​ larger. the​ Canyon runs for 160 km and reaches a​ width of​ 27 km and depth of​ 550 m. But size alone does not explain the​ appeal of​ the​ canyon. you​ experience incredible views at​ various points along the​ rim. Adventure lovers do not merely come for the​ views. Hiking through the​ canyon is​ the​ ultimate endurance adventure for hikers. There is​ an​ established 90 km hiking trail that will take you​ 4-5 days to​ cover.

The trail ends at​ Ai-Ais hot spring resort where you​ can unwind. you​ are allowed to​ hike between early May and end of​ September. the​ hike is​ quite strenuous and needless to​ say,​ you​ must be physically fit. the​ authorities disbelieve the​ capacity of​ most people to​ undertake the​ hike and will actually insist on​ seeing a​ medical certificate of​ fitness before allowing you​ to​ start off. Fish River Canyon is​ 580 km to​ the​ south of​ Windhoek.

The Skeleton Coast has been the​ graveyard of​ seafarers and whales and deserves that morbid name. the​ problem is​ the​ dense fogs. And woe to​ the​ ship wreck survivor who expects respite onshore! Ahead is​ the​ Namib Desert,​ one of​ the​ driest and most unwelcoming places. Adventure travelers love trekking along the​ coastline as​ they enjoy the​ stark beauty of​ the​ area. to​ the​ south at​ Cape Cross,​ you​ find a​ seal colony carrying tens of​ thousands of​ seals. the​ Skeleton Coast Park covers 16,​400 sq km and begins at​ 355 km northwest of​ Windhoek.

The Portuguese explorer Diego Cao reached this part of​ the​ world in​ the​ year 1486. He is​ probably one of​ the​ people whose experiences discouraged Europeans from venturing ashore until the​ arrival of​ the​ Germans 400 years later. Further south is​ the​ Namib-Naukluft National Park,​ a​ vast wilderness covering 50,​000 sq km. the​ landscape is​ very diverse and covers mountain outcrops,​ majestic sand dunes,​ and deep cut gorges. For really spectacular dunes,​ the​ Sossusvlei area is​ unsurpassed. Here you​ have dunes rising to​ 300 m! the​ orange tint giants extend as​ far as​ the​ horizon and the​ area has an​ unreal,​ unforgettable atmosphere.

To the​ northeast of​ the​ country,​ the​ well-watered Kavango and Caprivi Strip region offers an​ unspoilt wilderness suitable for rugged game viewing and camping. the​ area also promises a​ feast for bird lovers. Game reserves in​ the​ area include: Kaudom,​ Caprivi,​ Mahango,​ Mudumu and Mamili. Poachers did great damage to​ wildlife during the​ years of​ the​ civil war in​ neighbouring Angola. Animal numbers are however building up rapidly. Some of​ the​ wildlife in​ the​ region includes leopard,​ elephant,​ buffalo,​ cheetah,​ lion and various antelope species. the​ Caprivi Reserve falls in​ an​ area of​ swamps and flood plains. Here you​ have an​ opportunity to​ partake fishing,​ hiking,​ game viewing safaris and river trips in​ traditional mokoro boats.

In Namibia you​ can enjoy up to​ 300 days of​ sunshine. the​ coast is​ temperate and thermometers run between 5C-25C. Inland,​ daytime temperatures range from 20C-34C,​ but can rise to​ 40C in​ the​ north and south of​ the​ country. Winter nights can be quite cold and frost occurs over large parts of​ the​ country. the​ rains inland fall in​ summer (November-April) and are heaviest in​ the​ Caprivi region. Rains do not much affect travel,​ but beware of​ flash floods in​ the​ vicinity of​ riverbeds. the​ best time to​ travel is​ over the​ dry months of​ March to​ October,​ when it​ is​ easier to​ see animals at​ waterholes. it​ is​ best to​ avoid the​ Namib Desert and Etosha between December and March when it​ can get unbearably hot. Before you​ travel to​ this country,​ make sure you​ review our Namibia safari and tour offers.

You can get by wearing light cottons and linens in​ summer. Over winter nights and mornings,​ you​ need heavier cottons,​ warmer wraps and sweaters. Comfortable walking shoes are essential,​ as​ the​ ground gets very hot. Some useful stuff to​ pack includes: camera,​ binoculars,​ sunglasses,​ sun hats,​ sunscreen and mosquito repellant. Be ready for dusty conditions and carry your clothing,​ equipment and supplies in​ dust proof bags. Do not be tempted to​ buy items made of​ ivory. you​ may not be allowed to​ carry them through customs at​ home. And it​ also good that you​ do not encourage the​ trade in​ ivory products that keeps poachers busy.
Namibia A Bountiful Harvest Awaits The Adventure Traveler Namibia A Bountiful Harvest Awaits The Adventure Traveler Reviewed by Henda Yesti on August 08, 2018 Rating: 5

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