Namibia, a realm of distinguishing landmarks, diverse wildlife and unique people. Ranging from the Salt Pans of Etosha National Park to the enigmatic beauty of the Namib desert, Namibia has been blessed as a country bountiful in the department of natural wonders.

Below are just a few examples of the building blocks that make up the mystique and beauty of this land which man has yet to fully tame.

Epupa Falls

Epupa Falls in Namibia

Along the border between Namibia and Angola, a series of misty waterfalls have set up shop, sharing land with the mysterious tribes of the Ovahimba Ovatjimba, Ovazemba and Ovatwe people. This ethereal beauty is spread over 1.5 KM and drops from a height of 60 metres.

 

The journey to this mystic sanctuary starts in the charming city of Opuwo, where you will be gifted with the beautiful sights and sounds of a country-side yet untouched by man. Bountiful baobabs and towering makalani palm trees line your path in a chaotic fashion; a sharp contrast to the organised city roads lined by street lamps you might be more used to. And if that method of conveyance is still too tame for your thirst for adventure, white-water rafting is a viable means of transport around the region.

 

This land is home to a number of beautiful avians and predatory wildlife. The main attractions people come to visit (apart from the falls themselves) are the sightings of the wild birds of bright colour and the serpentine crocodiles in their natural environment. You might even be lucky enough to witness a view of the mysterious Himba tribe during your holiday under the mist.

 

Sossusvlei

Sossusvlei dunes in Namibia

You would be forgiven for believing you had stepped into a post-apocalyptic wonderland as you walk in quiet awe among towers of sand the colour of fresh blood while traversing the bone-white salt pans in the Sossusvlei desert region.

 

It is home to a number of the tallest dunes on the planet, with the most grandiose of them all being affectionately called Big Daddy at a colossal height of 325 metres. But, if what you’re looking for is better photoshoot options, then you might be interested more in Dune 45 which holds itself together with five million-year-old grains of sand and the sweat of tourists for easier pictures.

 

Ideally, you should hire a tourist guide when you choose to explore the dunes and marshes of one of the most scenic spots in Namibia. After all, you wouldn’t want to miss out on the sites of the Deadvlei made from dead camelthorn trees, or the Petrified Dunes who have transfigured into solid rock.

 

Truly a land perfect for ghost stories and vacations alike.

 

Fish River Canyon

Fish River Canyon in Namibia

This enigmatic ravine boasts the title of the largest Canyon in Africa and the second most visited tourist spot in Namibia. 160km long and 27km wide, it plunges down to a depth of 550 metres deep, hosting a hiking trail where visitors can come to visit the longest interior river in Namibia, the Fish River, and the wide variety of wildlife that call this expanse home.

 

Hiking the trail of the Fish River cuts you through the dry stony plateau alongside a flowing river in the late summer region, and intermittent pools the rest of the year. You can take a refreshing dip here, or make your way further on to the lower end of the Fish River Canyon to the austere hot springs resort of the Ai-Ais, as a reward for a hike well done.

 

The hiking trail itself is a wonder all on its own, boasting several sights of Egyptian geese, mountain zebras, dragonflies and the famed Kalahari-Orange and Queens-Purple-Tipped butterflies. Beware though; the canyon is not without its dangers – hyenas and venomous snakes have also built a home in this realm of rocky waters.

 

Skeleton Coast

Skeleton Coast - Namibia Holiday

The term ‘Skeleton Coast’ may conjure up images of joyful playground actors wearing fake eye patches and chasing children who run with their imaginations running just as wild.

 

The reality could not be further from the truth.

 

This region takes up the predominant area of the upper portion of Namibia’s coastline and requires a permit to enter the Southern region, and another more closely guarded permit to visit the Northern region, which is only given to about a thousand people per year, and only via designated tour groups.

 

This is to preserve the delicate ecosystem which has evolved from a series of events that have resulted in Skeleton Coast becoming a landmass of shipwrecks and sun-bleached bones – a far cry from the Disneyland-Esque imagery you might have pictured before.

 

A combination of unruly waters, thick fog and a landmass that allows for no settlements mean this region is littered with the carcasses of unlucky ships and stranded whales whose bones are thicker in number than the local flora. In the past, any sailor who made it off a capsized ship in time and managed to swim ashore stood no chance at survival in this wasteland and died of thirst, becoming one with nature.

 

Despite these living conditions, life finds a way. Skeleton Coast is home to a number of wild animals such as Rhinos, Elephants, Giraffes, Oryx and Kudu, and even a tribe of the Ovahimba people, who use the numerous Whalebones to construct sturdy huts for their own residence. Even plant life has adapted to the inhospitable conditions and relies heavily on the daily and deadly fog from the Atlantic Ocean to survive.

 

Etosha National Park

Etosha National Park - Namibia holiday

With salt pans so large they can be seen from space, and flocks of birds living in harmony with herds of animals, the Etosha National Park in Namibia is top on the list for getting up close with the creatures of Africa for your natural wonders holiday.

 

Etosha means “The Great White Area” in Ovambo, due to the salt pans which are home to thousands of Flamingos who migrate here and nest in the ephemeral waters every year  (“The Great White Pink Area”?)

 

Through safaris and tours, you can witness elephants, giraffes, zebras and springbok gather en masse as they graze peacefully in massive herds together, unknowingly being stalked by sinuous leopards and regal lions.

 

This landscape has many unique features and species of wildlife, and several camps have created specially made photography hides near the waterholes, designed for nature and animals lovers alike. Many of the lodges have private decks and viewing platforms so you can see the wonders of Africa from the peace and comfort of your own abode.

Namibia holiday vacation travel

If you’re seeking a holiday that promises to deliver a combination of awe, beauty, adventure and eternal memories, then Namibia will happily provide.

Looking for package deals or accommodation? Check out our travel options here.

When someone says the word “Africa”, you probably envision vast wild plains, animals running free and barely any human contact apart from wild men and women living in huts, draped in hunters’ skins and brandishing spears.

 

And while those places indeed exist, there is a whole lot more that encompasses Africa; roaring waterfalls by 5-star hotels, the finest beaches in the world, homely wooden lodges surrounded by wild ferns and wilder animals, cities pulsating with nightlife, and places of worship beautiful enough to bring you to your knees.

 

Africa has enough to offer for ten lifetimes, but she is a fickle friend, and when planning your trip to bask in her wonders, it would be in your best interest to always keep a few things in mind that require research and planning before you can travel.

 

  1. Language issues 

 

 

In South Africa alone there are 11 official languages.

In the Congo, there are an estimated 242.

 

Luckily, most people in larger towns and cities in Africa will be able to hold a conversation in English. In rural villages, however, you might run into a few minor communication difficulties. It is recommended that you find the most popular language of the region you plan to visit and download an offline translation app – I preferably use the Google app 

 

This will allow you to effectively communicate even when there is no Wi-Fi or reception available.

 

Here are a few basic phrases to learn that will always elicit a smile, a look of appreciation or even the coveted grasping of hands from one of the locals.

 

Common Phrases for Congo:

 

  • Yes – Ee
  • No – Te
  • Maybe – Mbala mosusu
  • Hello – Mbote.
  • How is it going? – Ndenge nini?
  • (It’s going) well. – Malamu.

 

Common Phrases for South Africa:

 

Afrikaans

 

  • Thank you – Dankie – pronounced dunkey
  • Thank you very much – Baie dankie – pronounced “Buy a Dunkey”
  • Please – Asseblief  – pronounced asser-bleef
  • Goodbye – Totsienspronounced  tot-seens

Zulu

  • Hamba Kahle – go well, goodbye; see you ( Kahle is pronounced “kashle”)
  • Sawubona – Hello
  • Ukudla – food
  • Isiphuzo – drink
  • Thenga – buy
  • Siyabonga – thank you

 

Common Phrases for the North African Arabic-speaking countries

 

  • Saalam Alekum – General greeting
  • Alekum Saalam – response to first greeting
  • Shukran – Thank you
  • Inshallah – “If God is willing” – a common phrase used when hoping something good will happen in the future

 

Common Phrases for Swahili (most spoken language in Africa)

 

  • Habari – Hello
  • Afya! – cheers! (when toasting during drinks)
  • Samahani – Excuse me

 

  1. The locals are a different kind of magic

You will be stared at, quite a lot, especially if you are an obvious foreigner and it won’t be intended in a disrespectful or malevolent way. The people in African countries are super friendly and insatiably curious, particularly within the rural areas where they don’t experience many foreigners. Any skin other than dark black will be ogled by children and adults alike.

 

This is also a land where neighbours invite each other over to dinner on a regular basis, where office workers will chat to you like an old friend and where everyone is your brother, sister, uncle or aunt, regardless of your race or heritage. A good piece of advice would be to go with the flow and readily accept your newfound friends and family. Mama Africa’s bosom accepts all!

 

  1. Travelling around:

Africa travels Morocco

Most of the countries do not have a set and reliable public travel transport system. Train stations and taxis do exist, but proper research will be needed to ensure you use the safest method to travel from point A to B in a timely fashion.

 

Make sure you check with the government officials of the country you are heading to going on holiday with regards to reputable travel companies.

 

Most taxis and informal methods of transportation are negotiable, and haggling is almost expected. Don’t be constantly paying the “foreigner tax” wherever you go!

 

Try to plan your trips during the day, mainly so you can fully appreciate the wonders of the African countryside, whether it’s the Archipelagos of Zanzibar off the coast of Tanzania or the Garden route of Cape Town in South Africa… but also for peace of mind in regards to your safety.

 

  1. Medications and vaccines required

Travel Africa Medication

Certain parts of Africa hold a great many wonders for the brave traveller to discover and explore. Unfortunately, there are also risks of sickness in certain regions due to the shifting climates and pathogen-carrying mosquitoes.

 

In any Mid-African country, you will need to make sure your vaccines are up to date, and that you carry the proper medication on you at all times. The malaria mosquito is no laughing matter, and while most lodges and places to stay for tourists have plenty of amenities to ensure your safety (Bug repellent, mosquito netting for beds etc. etc.) you can never be too careful.

 

The government websites on these countries will always carry a great deal of information on what to pack, what to bring and what medical precautions should be set in place before your travels. Make sure to go over them carefully.

 

  1. Travel insurance and valid documents

Travels through Africa Documentation

You might think that Africa is a free-for-all country, where borders don’t truly matter and western ideas like visas and embassy appointments are a silly western concept.

 

Regrettably, just the opposite is true. Africa has some of the strictest and most thorough border patrol officers in the world. And unfortunately, in some cases, the most corrupt as well.

 

To circumvent these problems, always make sure you have at least two pages available in your passport, along with a minimum of six months validity and all the proper visas in place.

 

Some tips to get your sorted out and on your way fast:

 

  • Be well informed and in possession of any and all legal documents required when travelling. You can cross-check what you’ll need via Project Visa which will hold all the info you need.
  • Be sure to carry around extra Dollars, Euros and Pounds so you can make exchanges in case something goes wrong with your card (fair warning now; a lot of places don’t accept American Express).
  • Approach the entire border-check adventure with a smile and a positive attitude. This helps speed along the process in your mind and will make the guards more likely to want to help you. They can be the difference between and quick and painless process or a stubbornly long wait. And believe me when I say there is no customer complaints office around these parts so don’t try pulling the “Let-me-speak-to-your-manager” card. This will just add to your pile of problems.

 

  1. Some countries are third-world and it shows

Africa Third World Travel

Electricity, running water, Starbucks…these are all the things we take for granted every day. And depending on where you visit in Africa, these can turn into more of a privilege than a right. Learn to take the good with the bad.

 

Instead of cell phone screens at night, enjoy an array of stars splashed brightly above your head against an inky black canvas. No Wi-Fi? Go chat to the locals or walk around with a tour guide who can tell you more interesting stories of the land than any Wikipedia page.

 

This is a holiday where you will get to see and experience magical moments like nowhere else on the planet. Creature comforts will always be waiting for you back home – but this is where real adventure awaits you.

 

In a world made up of artificial lights and busy people, enjoy the moments where you can relax and connect again with the land and the heavens.

 

  1. The Food – Ranges between delicious and “interesting”

Shows Africa Food

Where you head to in Africa will determine what you will be mostly consuming throughout the day. In Tunisia, it will be hundreds of different types of bread. in Kenya its Ugali and Pilau. And in South Africa its copious amounts of smoked meat and fine wine.

 

Many places focus primarily on grains and pap, which might not be to everyone’s liking. But there is a myriad of different dishes to try, and your tongue will be going on its own holiday experience that will leave its tiny head whirling.

 

Meat is quite a staple food in most countries in Africa but there are many vegetarian dishes as well if you know where to look. If you are Vegan then make sure to be very clear about this as many rural villages might not know the difference between that and vegetarian.

 

Don’t worry about any sudden surprises – most of the dishes are pretty self-explanatory with regards to what is in them – and If you’ve visited Asia then you’re enough of a veteran foodie to dig in without fear.

 

 

 

  1. The wildlife 

Africa Wildlife

This is the main reason many choose to visit the majestic Mama Africa.

To go back in time and experience pure survival in a raw and natural setting, with no cages or man-made constraints to separate you from the Earth’s largest creatures and most apex predators.

 

Enjoy Safaris from all over in the landscapes of the Serengeti, Botswana, and Namibia as you experience (from a safe distance) the wonder of a travelling herd of elephants rumbling through forests, hordes of Wildebeest during their annual migration, slinking Leopards stalking through the thorny underbrush and even shark cage diving where you get to see eye-to-eye with blood-chilling Great White Sharks that roam the coastal waters.

Wild Life Africa

Once you’ve experienced Africa’s wild pets without their leashes on your travels, regular zoos’ will be quite the dull affair.

 

  1. The environment and weather patterns

Africa Weather

Africa is a fickle mistress even when she’s in a good mood. She’s prone to spectacular temper tantrums; gale force winds, savanna fires, and flash floods are just a few tricks in her repertoire to let those on holiday know she’s not happy and therefore you aren’t going to be happy. Usually, it’s best to research before you travel what the recommended holiday period is, which varies from region to region.

 

On the other hand… there are few sights more mesmerizing than a bulging thunder cloud gliding over dead-still desert dunes, bloated with lightning and ready to strike the dry and quivering veld below.

 

It is here that Mother Nature likes to show off her power, and Mama Africa is more than happy to accommodate.

 

  1. Being in a place where you are the strange entity

You are delving into a world where you are the alien, the visitor, the “Mzungu”.

 

Enjoy this part of your trip where you are a novelty while being surrounded by wonders and surreal glamour’s beyond your most intense fever dreams.

 

Africa is a land of wonders and mystery and even those who have lived within her all their lives would not be able to divulge every single one of her secrets.

 

But there is quite an adventure waiting for you if you care to try.

Clubs, pubs, and taverns galore decorate the streets of South Africa’s most touristy city during its pulsating weekend nightlife – but what’s there to do and see when the weekend is a distant dream and we need a fix for those Monday to Thursday blues?

Cape Town is home to several cultural activities, and when the daytime fades and the streetlights come on, it’s time to play. But for those not in the local know-how, what can one do during the weekday that doesn’t leave you digging deeply through your wallet?

1.) Go to House of The Machine on Tuesdays for Open Mike night

You’ll be forgiven for believing that “open-mike” is synonymous with karaoke-level quality singing, implying a variety of performers ranging in levels from poor to semi-professional.

The House of Machines, based in the heart of central Cape Town, throws all of that out the window by showcasing top-shelf singers, exotic instrument players, rappers, and slam poetry artists –  sometimes a dizzying combination of all the above. The MC of the evening – Andy Lund – is no exception; effortlessly juggling between hyping up the crowd and playing a few songs of his own (both originals and covers). He has been the main attraction of The House of Machines since its inception.

It’s open seating with no bookings, so first come first served!

Venue: The House of Machines – 84 Shortmarket Street, Cape Town.

Day of the week: Tuesday

Times: Registration to perform opens at 8 PM, performances begin at 9 PM

Cost: No cover charge.

Link to the official website

2) See a show at Alexander Bar

Alexander Bar is a hidden hole-in-the-wall bar in the centre of town and the centre of the heart of every theatre nut in Cape Town.

Home to a diverse crowd made up of avant-garde soaked youth and classically-aged thespians, this sought-after venue requires booking in advance, with shows typically selling out a week before opening. The Theatre Upstairs has hosted a hotbed of dramatically charged one-man-performances, comedic stylings of South African satire, live music, poetic art readings and jaw-dropping magic shows.

It’s the ideal venue to enjoy a light meal and a sensual glass of wine with lovers and friends before soaking in the raw talent of the deep waters of Cape Town’s underground entertainment scene.

Venue: 76 Strand Street, Cape Town.

Day(s) of the week: Monday to Saturday.

Times: 5 PM to midnight

Cost: Tickets range from R50 to R220 depending on the show.

Link to the official website

3) Play Bitchy Bingo at Beefcakes

The stakes of a Bingo game have never been higher than when a large man in drag yells out obscenities between winning ball numbers.

Enjoy the finest buns and meat in town, paired with fresh cocktails and fresher-faced waiters. There are great prizes to be won and greater laughs to be had every Thursday at Beefcakes in the Greenpoint area of Cape Town.

Beefcakes was inspired by the Heydays of the ’50s and the trend-setting styles of Miami’s South Beach, as shown by its fabulous displays of frolicking flamingos and its buffed up beefy waiters. A family-friendly luncheon by day, a decadent stage by night.

You have been warned.

Venue: 36 Somerset Rd, Greenpoint, Cape Town,

Day(s) of the week: Thursday (Regular drag shows on Friday and Saturday)

Times: performance starts at 9 PM

Cost: R150 – Includes a Dinner

Link to the official website

4) Mojo Market

Do you feel like Italian-style pasta tonight? Mexican tortillas? Turkish kebab? South African Dessert? American Smash Burgers? Wood-fire Pizza?

Ugh, why do we have to choose?

Well, now you can get all these and more under one roof. Adorned with live music, the latest in modern indoor décor, and a warm and welcoming ambience, Mojo Market is located within the bustling heart of Cape Town’s Seapoint region and is an ongoing hotspot for those craving entertainment and a culinary experience you can write home about.

Venue: 30 Regent Road, Seapoint, Cape Town

Day(s) of the week: Monday – Sunday

Times: 8 AM to 11 PM

Cost: No cover charge

Link to the official website:

5) Labia Theatre movie night

Don’t worry, this isn’t your regular movie theatre, it’s one of the hottest spots for locals to meet up on a night out.

The Labia Theatre is a renowned Cape Town relic and the oldest independent cinema in South Africa. Originally the Italian Embassy’s Ballroom, it was opened by the royal Princess Labia in the year 1949, before being converted to a public cinema by theatre-lover Ludi Kraus in 1989.

It aims to feature mostly screen cult classics and art movies with the occasional box office hit. Many original features remain within the theatre to this day, including the ticket booth, snacks counter and the cinema seats.

Tickets are cheaper here than at other larger company cinemas, often accompanied by drink and dinner specials that promise to deliver a night of movie-stardom adventures and old school classics in one of Cape Town’s most esoteric entertainment venues.

Venue: 68 Orange Street, Cape Town.

Day(s) of the week: Mondays to Sundays

Times: They differ depending on the season, but typically from 12 PM to 9 PM

Cost: All shows are R50

Link to the official website