Packing for Namibia: Helpful Travel tips

It often isn’t easy to pack the right things for your next trip. A look at Namibia’s weather data shows that it constantly changes – between summer and winter, day and night, the country’s interior and the coast …are all very different. While it is hot in the desert every day of the year, it often cools down at night.

During the European summer months, it can freeze at night in Namibia. Namibians love the always fresh and cool climate of the coast, the region around Swakopmund is an especially popular resort. Thick clouds often cover the sky and the sun cannot warm the air as quickly as anywhere else.

Image: Lea Hajner

Image: Lea Hajner

What should be in your suitcase for your Namibian holiday and what can you leave at home?

Clothing

More layers are better than not enough. I had a thick Merino sweater for the flight in January and I wore it in Swakopmund quite often. In other places have a thin vest to wear in the evening. A thin, long trouser is the right attire for hikes.

Firm shoes & long trousers - Image: Lea Hajner

Firm shoes & long trousers – Image: Lea Hajner

Safari-Look or Africa chic?

If you are travelling along one of the self-drive safaris and have planned day trips, you might need to capture the entire safari look.

Safari drive

Safari drive

Thin shirts are practical (also against the sun), a hat, sun glasses (that stretch along the sides to protect your eyes from sand and dust) and shoes with a firm sole (thorn bushes are everywhere, without exception).

In the evenings, you can dress up if you’d like – but it isn’t necessary.

Sossusvlei

The best is to be at the gate by sunrise (when the park opens) and the cooler hours of morning will be in your favour.

 Image: Pinterest

Image: Pinterest

Shoes with socks are recommended, but you can manage the climb up Big Daddy, barefoot or with flipflops. However this depends on the heat of the sand, as soon as the sun is up it does not take long before the sand becomes hot enough to burn your feet.

Hiking in Sossusvlei - Image: Judy & Scott Hurd

Hiking in Sossusvlei – Image: Judy & Scott Hurd

Otherwise, things to keep in your backpack: at least 1 litre of water, snacks, a camera, hat and sun block.

The Cool Coast and Rainy Season

A rain jacket never hurts, in the rainy season anyway (even if the rain barely lasts a few minutes). At the coast it also protects against the wind.

A rain jacket - Image: static1.squarespace.com

A rain jacket – Image: static1.squarespace.com

Shoes

I coped well with light ankle-high walking shoes, sandals and a pair of ballerina pumps.

First-aid travel kit

This topic caused a lot of headaches. We finally solved it so that we didn’t take any prophylaxis and were fully committed to a variety of resources from home and from Namibia. By the way, the areas south of Windhoek have a minimal risk for malaria.

For mosquito protection in the supermarket in Namibia - Image: Lea Hajner

For mosquito protection in the supermarket in Namibia – Image: Lea Hajner

If you are sensitive, you will quickly get nose bleeds in the dry climate, nasal ointment helps. For sensitive eyes and contact lenses, eye drops work as well.

Traveling by car

The great distances between sights can be entertaining, fill the time with music and perhaps some or other audio book (get all this together before your trip).

Image: chroniclesofnamibia.com

Image: chroniclesofnamibia.com

We also always had a few soft drinks and snacks with us (Typical for Namibia: Biltong – dried meat of all kinds – dried fruit, nuts and crackers). Chocolate and Gummy bears will be cheaper if you bring them with you from home.

Adapter Worries
Namibia is one of those countries that does not offer a European plug and therefore you will need your own adapter. The best would be to bring one from home.

European adaptor - Image: www.ebay.com.au

European adaptor – Image: www.ebay.com.au

All the Gondwana properties offer European adapters in the rooms, but sometimes they only offer one and it is not beside the bed (i.e. pack enough cables and multiple plugs to suit all your devices).

WIFI and Cell phone Reception

WIFI is mostly available in the reception and main buildings of the Gondwana properties, but not always in the room. Cell phone reception is cool, a SIM card from MTC can be purchased directly in the arrival hall at the airport and the appropriate airtime and data packages as well.

Image: www.puresignals.com

Image: www.puresignals.com

All in all it costs not even 6€ for fourteen days. The phone reception is remarkably good and available almost everywhere.

Camera Equipment

Ambitious photographers – I would advise you bring along a 300mm zoom lens, I (with a 200mm and full-frame camera on the road) would have loved to have one.

Practical: a pair of binoculars! Also an adapter for your mobile phone, you can take amazingly good photos of animals. For night photographs and patient wildlife photographers: Tripod.

Recorded with iPhone and Swarovski binoculars + adapter - Image: Lea Hajner

Recorded with iPhone and Swarovski binoculars + adapter – Image: Lea Hajner

Also useful, is a small camera cleaning kit to clear away sand and dust in the evenings.

Money
A mix would be ideal: Euros, in small bills when needed, and a credit and debit card. ATM’s are available in many of the larger places, the charges vary 2-3€ depending on the bank. For petrol stations and permits to National Parks, you always need cash!

For refueling you always need cash - Image: Lea Hajner

For refueling you always need cash – Image: Lea Hajner

Lea Hajner is a Travel Blogger. On her Blog, Blog Escape Town she writes about outdoor adventures and lifestyle.  The thing she found most beautiful in Namibia, was to watch the sunset with biltong and a cold beer in hand.

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Why is it called the Skeleton Coast?

A rather threatening concept… associating the entire coastline with a skeletal formation. This was not done unknowingly though. The Namibian Bushman are said to have called the coastline ‘the land God made in anger’. Similarly, the Portuguese explorers referred to it as the ‘Gates of Hell’.

Rights to Paul van Schalkwyk

Rights to Paul van Schalkwyk

As Namibian citizens, we all know our little stretch of the Atlantic is not to be taken lightly.

With the cold Benguela current running so close to our coast line, pushing the cold air into the arid heat of our Namib Desert, what else can we expect? It is perfectly unique and therefore perfectly translates into pristinely Namibian.

Image: Pelican Point Kayaking

Image: Pelican Point Kayaking

As per its name, the coast is littered with a variety of skeletons, both animal and ship, and every now and again human. The coastline is known to be home of thousands of lost souls, one of the most prominent shipwrecks being the Dunedin Star.

"Namibia skeleton coast ship story"

Image: Namibia Tourism Board

A British liner that was beached by her captain in the 1940’s after apparently striking a reef. Another two ships were said to come to the Dunedin’s aid but sank in the process.

Image: Judy & Scott Hurd

Image: Judy & Scott Hurd

Every now and again the rough surf settles just long enough to reveal the ship’s sunken grave. And along the shore you will find the remains of the crewman whose last attempt was to bring the ship’s occupants ashore.

Rights to www.traveller.com.au

Image: www.traveller.com.au

Thousands of ships and lives have been claimed by this harsh coastline, but there is more to it than mere death and destruction.

Rights to www.namibiatourism.com.na

Image: www.namibiatourism.com.na

The almost 500km of barren wasteland is actually a Nature Park. And serves as the home to some remarkable creatures. As the park is laced with intersecting rivers, there is a fair chance of survival for those animals that have been able to adapt to the harsh environment.

Rights to freewheely.com

Image: freewheely.com

An entire colony of Cape fur seals can be found along a certain area of the coast. And yes, Elephants can also be found in the desert sand.

Rights to Luxury Safaris

Image: Luxury Safaris

When visiting the area you might also spot giraffes, lions, zebra, rhino and hyena. All these animals have found a way to survive in an area thought to be uninhabitable.

Rights to www.sunsafaris.com

Image: www.sunsafaris.com

The Skeleton Coast is also one of the only places in the world where one can experience the ‘roaring dunes’.

A unique combination of wind, air and sand cause a roaring sound that has been compared to that of a low flying plane. And of course one can never forget the remnants of the Diamond Mining town, Kolmanskop.

Rights to www.bbc.com

Kolmanskop – Image: www.bbc.com

 Kolmanskop - Rights to Judy & scott Hurd

Kolmanskop – Image; Judy & scott Hurd

This hard stretch of land may be referred to as the Skeleton Coast. However, realizing it as a treasure trove of natural and historic phenomena you cannot help but wonder maybe in this case ‘skeleton’ could be interpreted differently.

Rights to traveldigg.com

Image: traveldigg.com

Some cultures believe that skeletons and particularly skulls are symbols of bravery and courage in the face of death and danger. This is the quality that should be attributed to the Skeleton Coast.

A place of harsh and drastic environments and yet a place of life and a place of preservation for what was once lost but won’t be forgotten.

Rights to nmnh.typepad.com

Image: nmnh.typepad.com

Most of the coastline is considered a Nature Park and you will need permits to gain access. Although a great place to use as a headquarters for your travels is The Delight Hotel in Swakopmund.

If you have any stories or information about the Skeleton Coast, we invite you to share them in the comment section below.

Author – Jescey Visagie is a proud Namibian and is passionate about writing and language. Tag along for the ride as she tries to uncover new insights into Namibia and explores what the country has to offer.

Jescey Visagie

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A million views for Namibia First

NAMIBIA FIRST NOT SECOND

America First – Namibia First (NOT SECOND) Response to the Netherlands Trump welcome video.

The whole world was watching the inauguration of the 45th president of the United States: Donald J. Trump. Because we realize it’s better for us to get along, and because the Netherlands (Zondag met Lubach Late Night Show) did this great introduction video – we decided to introduce our country to him as well. In a way that will probably appeal to him the most.

The video clip ” America First – Namibia First (NOT SECOND) Response to the Netherlands Trump welcome video” was also feature on Mashable:

Namibia has joined Europe in mocking Trump and it’s glorious

 

Namibia First

 

 

 

Make a Namibian Tour again! With http://www.gondwana-collection.com

http://www.namibia2go.com

If there is anything you would like to add , we invite you to share in the comment section below.

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