Namibia is a special country full stop and offers experiences that will appeal to every type of traveller; from trekking through the Fish River Canyon or climbing up the famous red sand dunes at Sossusvlei to skydiving and sandboarding at Swakopmund. Undoubtedly though, it’s the wildlife and safari trips on offer that brings many tourists to our country. Here are some of the most special safari experiences Namibia offers:
1. Witnessing a nocturnal waterhole meeting in Etosha National Park: There’s nothing like taking your mug of wine or lager down to one of Etosha’s many floodlit waterholes after dinner and watching as elephants, rhinos, lions and other animals head down for some after dark hydration. The lights mean you can look on as different species encounter each other, with some getting along better than others! Just be sure to keep quiet and avoid camera flashes, so as not to disturb the animals.
2. Spotting big cats: A quarter of the world’s cheetah population lives in Namibia, though it’s thought that 90% of the cats live on and around farmland, which often leads to farmer/cat conflict. That said, our national parks are home to a good number of cheetah, leopard and lion, so keep your eyes open when on safari!
3. Checking out our marine life: Head out onto the water on a boat trip from Walvis Bay or Swakopmund and you’ll be sailing the Atlantic sea. The water off of Namibia is home to the unique Benguela Current, a flow of water that brings a diverse set of marine life, thanks to abundent plankton. Be warned; it’s very cold, so stay aboard. You might spot: Heaviside’s, bottlenose and dusky dolphins, humpback and southern right whales, sunfish (mola mola), leatherback turtles, sixgill cowsharks, great white sharks, sand sharks, spotted gully sharks and thintail thresher sharks.
4. Watching the unique wriggle of the sidewinder snake: The Namib Desert is home to a snake which does a very unique dance; the sidewinder snake (also known as Peringuey’s adder). Living in the Namib desert, it shuffles side to side, keeping as much of its body off of the hot sand as it can. Observe from a safe distance; they’ll only attack if threatened, but their venom can cause blindness.
5. Seeing desert elephants: While you’re most likely to see elephants in Namibia in Etosha National Park, you might also get lucky and spot some down south, in the mostly-desert Kunene region. These eles have a smaller body, longer legs and larger feet than other elephants. The changes enable them to trek over miles and miles of sand dunes to reach water, and they can go several days without drinking if they have to.
6. Visiting the only place where penguins and flamingos live side by side: Just off of Luderitz is a spot called Halifax Island. It’s home to a colony of Jackass Penguins who’ll jump in and out of the water as you watch from a boat. Alongside them live a number of bright pink flamingos – in fact, it’s the only place in the world where the two birds live side by side.
7. Seeing (and smelling!) the Cape Fur Seal Colony at Cape Cross: This spot on Namibia’s skeleton coast is home to more than 100,000 breeding seals at some times of the year. Tourists can walk along a boardwalk behind them and observe the huge males interacting with the smaller females, and the babies seeking shelter with their mothers. A word of warning – this many seals in one spot can get pretty pungent, but it’s absolutely a sight worth seeing!
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