Sunday, January 11, 2015

Enjoy The Magic Of Africa With Namibia Safari Packages

By Enid Hinton

If you love open spaces and skies that seem to go on forever, a great destination is Namibia. This African country is large but has a small population, so you can have vast areas to yourself with nobody else to bother you. Its German colonial past means that it has a slightly different atmosphere than most Southern African countries. Moreover, it's a wonderful place to see animals in their natural habitat and you'll be surprised at how affordable Namibia safari packages are.

The country lies along Africa's southwestern coast. To the north is Angola; to the south, South Africa. Botswana is its eastern neighbor. The capital is Windhoek, located more or less in the center and by far one of the most pleasant capital cities in the world.

Namibia was named for the Namib Desert, which makes up much of its western part. However, most of the country is arid and hot and it's best to visit in the winter months. The weather is cooler then and because vegetation is sparse when it doesn't rain, it's easier to spot the vast variety of local wildlife. Apart from wildlife safaris, things to see include the colonial town of Swakopmund, the ghost town of Kolmanskop, ancient rock art and the majestic Fish River Canyon.

The Namib Desert stretches all along the Namibian coast. In the south, Sossusvlei is a popular destination because of its proximity to some very high sand dunes, among them the famous Dune 45. Towards the north you'll find the area known as the Skeleton Coast with its many shipwrecks. Animals in this desolate desert include oryx, springbok, jackal, desert elephants and, along the coast, seals. Parts of the desert are off-limits because of diamond mining, though.

The second-largest Namibian national park is Etosha. This is one of the best places to see a variety of wildlife, from antelope to lions. They come for the water of the Etosha Pan, a large salt pan that forms a gathering place for thirsty animals especially during the dry winter months.

Less visited but by no means less spectacular is Damaraland. This is a place of rocky, almost lunar landscapes. There are many surprises here, including the ancient rock paintings of Twyfelfontein and Brandberg, the rock formation known as Vingerklip and a petrified forest. It's not as desolate as you may think either. Local community organizations offer trips to go track rhinos and elephants.

In the vicinity of the Kunene River is Kaokoland, where cheetah are among the animals you may spot. This is also the place to visit traditional Himba villages and learn more about these beautiful people with their elaborate hairstyles. For lush vegetation and plenty of water, try the remote Caprivi Strip. The Kavango River which flows through here provides water for the Okavango Delta in Botswana.

Finding a safari package to suit your budget and needs is easy. One option is to book once you've landed at the airport in Windhoek. However, you can also book through travel agents or online. Many packages are all-inclusive.

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