Namibia is one of the most exciting countries to visit with the family in Africa, though it’s largely unknown to most North Americans. I’d been to Namibia many years before as a student , when it was administered by South Africa and known as South -West Africa. This time I was visiting with my 15 year old son Eitan, and our trip was scheduled just as the Covid-19 pandemic began to close down world tourism. It had seemed a perfect destination due to its remoteness and distance from the outbreak in Asia, but after a few short days we would have to cut short our trip. Luckily we had enough time to see the major highlights.
A former German colony, Namibia is a land of contrasts. The South is characterized by the Namib desert, with its huge sand dunes and forbidding coast known as the Skeleton Coast, named after many shipwrecks as well as graves of unlucky seafarers who died after landing on a coast with no drinkable water. The North is totally different – well watered by rivers, it is best known to tourists for the Etosha Pan, one of Africa’s great National Parks.
Namibia is also the ideal destination for a road trip. Its very large country, with very few flights. But it has an excellent network of both paved and unpaved roads, for those like me who love driving long distances, it’s perfect.
The international gateway is the tiny Windhoek airport, situated in the middle or nowhere about 40km from the capital city. It is mainly linked by air to neighboring countries, but there is also a regular air connection to Germany, which was the colonial overlord of Namibia until German forces were defeated in 1915 during World War One. The country then passed to South Africa, who administered it for around 70 years, before becoming independent in 1990.
Windhoek: The small and pleasant capital is really only an arrival and departure point. We stayed the night in a small guesthouse (Namibia has excellent guesthouse and BnB accommodation) and our 4×4 vehicle (automatic!) was delivered to us. That night we ate at one of Windhoek’s best known restaurants, Joe’s Beerhouse, which has an incredible collection of eclectic junk (or treasure – take your pick) from all over the country, dating back at least 100 years. From animal heads on the walls to ancient toilet fixtures, typewriters and telephones scattered about, its a massively atmospheric place to visit.
Food in Namibia is mainly meat and fish, and beer is king! The food here was good – we had a selection of grilled meats from a number of animals we expected to see on safari – springbok, oryx (or gemsbok locally) and kudu! The beer was outstanding (due its its colonial German heritage) and Windhoek Lager is the go to for beer!
The next morning, we were raring to go!
If you are looking for an unforgettable trip to Namibia, contact us at Quivertree!