Encounters Travel is a small-group adventure tour operator offering lively, good value Namibia Tours such as Namibia and Botswana Uncovered and Grand Southern Safari including South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe.
Climb the magnificent Sossusvlei dunes, the world's biggest accessible dunes!
n.b. Dune 45 in Sossusvlei National Park, pictured above, is one of the smaller but shapelier piles, probably around 160m high. The dune opposite 45 is 360m high.
Experienced travelers agree that the richness and diversity of Namibia's tourist offerings make it one of the top exotic holiday spots in the world, if not the best.
We at bugbog rank Namibia alongside Peru and Myanmar/Burma in our top three most colourful, interesting and fun vacations, ever.
Primary targets are
the fantastically wildlife-rich Etosha National
Park, the staggeringly huge and beautifully pink dunes at Sossusvlei,
the massed horizon to horizon yellow dunes of the Namib
Desert and its cute oasis towns such as Swakopmund,
the bleak, seal-stuffed shores of the Skeleton
, ancient rock carvings in Damaraland and Fish River Canyon hikes.
In addition the prices are reasonable, the weather is sunny, tourists are relatively few, the pictures are unbeatable and safety concerns not too bad, though drivers should take special care!
Sit beside a waterhole in the open and watch the action unfold. Here the giraffes want a drink but are intimidated by the elephant. Alternatively drive yourself wild on safari in wildlife packed Etosha
Take a quiet drive down to the coast, the Skeleton Coast.
The roads are wide and
empty, cars are not too expensive and the scenery - at least in the
west half of the country - is staggeringly beautiful, at times reminiscent
of USA's Monument Valley. Throw in the must-see, self-drive Etosha wildlife
park and car hire seems the obvious way to go. However...
Distances between major sights are huge, so you can expect to be driving at least 300 kilometres (200 miles) a day. If this was just on Namibia's hardtop, straight roads, no worries, but most of the driving will be on gravel roads since only 11% are tarred roads.
But there are a couple of problems..
One, gravel travel is relatively slow, noisy and tiring.
Two, for those inexperienced in this kind of locomotion, it's easy to find yourself hammering along a long, wide, empty road at 120kph (75mph) - there's no traffic and it's a long way to go after all, you're cruising in a trance state enjoying the arid, rocky views, and then a bend appears - no worries mate, it's a wide road - but, just a second, there's no grip, you're going sideways! Aaaarggh!
Which leads us neatly to Three, expenses incurred when returning your now substantially less smart vehicle. They could be huge. As a small example the previous owner of the Bug's car was charged for $2,000 damage after he drove too close to a car in front of him on a gravel road so his car got shredded by small but destructive road chips.
Moral of the story
If you rent a car in Namibia, get the fullest possible
insurance, rent the most damaged car you can find and ensure that the
damage is fully recorded.
And carry cash - South African Rand is fine - as gas stations do not usually accept credit cards.
Angry Birds attacking our intrusive hire car. Really he is, of course, attacking a competing bird in his territory, his own reflection.
May-October (winter, up to 25C daytime, down to 0C possible
Worst: Nov- March (excessive heat 35C+. Some rain - though not much - makes wildlife watching more difficult as they are not so dependent on waterholes). South African school holidays as well as Namibian ones can stuff up accommodation.
School holidays: Most of May, late August - early September, early December to about 20 January.