Three Must-See Namibia National Parks
Namibia is a vast country with a very small human populace (it is the least densely population country in the world behind Mongolia). With such sparse habitation, vast stretches of the country are free for conservation and as a result Namibia has several huge National Parks, perfect for a Namibia holiday with a difference.
1. Etosha National Park
One of the most famous parks in Southern Africa, Etosha has a feel all of its own. It is centered around the giant Etosha salt pan, and bordered by harsh desert. Usually dry, the pan fills with water briefly in the summer, and brings in animals from all over to feed. The park also has several perennial several springs which ensure certain wildlife will be in the area year round, which means it is always popular for Safari holidays. Etosha National Park has a nice mix of public rest camps and private, upmarket lodges. The self-catering public camps provide an affordable way for visitors to see the park from the comfort of their own vehicle (sticking to the roads of course). The private camps provide meals and guided game drives with professional guides, but expect to pay a fair bit more for the privilege.
2. Namib-Naukluft National Park
This huge park on Namibia’s west coast covers an area of just under 50,000 square kilometers. It contains the tallest sand dunes in the world, some rising to over 300 meters, and it contains the much-photographed Sossusvlei and Deadvlei. Blackened, withered dead trees rise out a parched black river bed that is surrounded by tall red dunes. The area is a popular tourist attraction and a truly spectacular part of Namibia. There are several nearby campsites and lodges that allow the visitor to stay in the epic surroundings and visit the park at sunrise when it is at its most awe-inspiring. Balloon trips are an expensive yet unforgettable way to gets a birds-eye view of this unique landscape.
3. Skeleton Coast Park
Namibia’s Skeleton Coast is a good example of life on earth at its
toughest. Countless ships have been wrecked on its treacherous shoreline, and many shipwrecked sailors have died trying to survive in its harsh interior. The parks southern section is open only to 4x4s, no standard road vehicles can handle the harsh terrain. The northern section is too dangerous for even the most powerful 4x4s due to the shifting sands, and is only accessible by light plane. Several top of the range safaris offer fly-in trips to this wild place, but the prices do reflect the area’s remoteness.
There are plenty of ways to travel across Namibia when visiting the National Parks: on your own by hire car, as part of a small international group by minibus, or by private 4×4. You can also combine the different transport options to suit your preferences.
Driving in your own hire car will give you the ultimate sense of freedom on your Namibia trip. You can determine your own pace and route. Driving in Namibia is a novel experience; 80% of the roads are unpaved and the distances are considerable. Although a standard hire car will do the job, it’s worth considering hiring a 4×4. It’s more comfortable and the higher seating means better views and better chances of spotting wildlife.
For more inspiration, or to build your perfect Namibia Itinerary visit Namibia Travel Plan. ‘Like this? Read more travel tips and tales at www.rickshawtravel.co.uk/blog/’