I have never not had my plane tickets just three weeks prior to a trip abroad. But here I am. Three weeks before a dream trip to Namibia and I don’t have tickets yet. Or a car rental. But those are just details, right?
I have wanted to visit Namibia since I started going to South Africa in 2009. After going to support my doctoral research, I simply fell in love with South Africa, so I went back five more times since then. At some point I read about the Skeleton Coast of Namibia and decided I had to see it. I’ve always had a love and respect for Africa but besides South Africa and Swaziland, I have seen very little of this amazing continent. So I decided to start heading north and as Namibia was sitting atop my Travel Shortlist, it would be my next stop.
So for this Shortlist installment, I thought I would share with you some of my plans for my trip next month. I am a planner (despite evidence to the contrary… the plane tickets and all) and create a spreadsheet for each trip. With the bones in place, I started at the GlobalETA Travel and Outdoors Digital Library of course, and went through each link on the Namibia Resource Guide. There are not a ton of resources out there on traveling in Namibia but these articles, blog posts, and other sites gave me a good idea of the things I wanted to do and see while there.
From these, I was able to piece together a framework itinerary for Namibia that I would fill in and change around as I learned more about the places I wanted to visit and the distances between them. Distances are important when driving in a country as expansive as Namibia; petrol stations don’t pop up behind every sand dune, so planning ahead is important! I think this is what I like about creating itineraries: it’s like a puzzle to me. And I love puzzles! I have learned to not plan every last minute but to at least have a place to stay every night and an idea of areas to visit throughout the days.
I knew I would start and end in Windhoek, the capital of Namibia. I am presenting at a conference on women and poverty at the University of Namibia there before heading out on the road trip. I also knew I wanted to drive (I always want to drive when I travel) and I knew the Skeleton Coast would be part of the itinerary. I also heard incredible things about Etosha National Park so of course I had to see the wildlife there. Since both of these are in the northern part of the country and I only had two weeks, I decided to head north and unfortunately save the southern attractions such as Fish River Canyon until next time around.
In addition to the desolation and shipwrecks of the Skeleton Coast and the oryx and other wildlife of Etosha, I have to see Sossusvlei, located in the Namib Desert. If you haven’t heard of it, you most certainly have seen the photos of the giant red sand dunes, white salt pans, and black dead camel thorn trees that after 900 years have still not decayed because of the dry climate. Four nights we are staying at Gondwana Collection properties and I am especially looking forward to sleeping out under the stars at their Dune Star Camp. As this will be my first desert visit in Africa, I can’t wait to step on the sand and take in this otherworldly place.
As this will be my first desert visit in Africa, I can’t wait to step on the sand and take in this otherworldly place.
Also on the itinerary is Swakopmund and Walvis Bay. While in this area, I am going to book a 4×4 tour and a boat trip of Sandwich Harbour in hopes of spectacular views as well as flamingoes, dolphins, seals, and whales. Rounding out the trip will be exploring the ancient rock carvings at Twyfelfontein and visits to the Cheetah Conservation Fund and/or AfriCat Foundation near Waterberg National Park.
So the itinerary and bookings are coming together, and even those pesky plane tickets, but hopefully I will have some time left over before I leave to get everything set for the blog and social media. I plan to post while I am there but who knows what the internet access will be like in the desert! I am certain to be able to post occasional pics to Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter along the way, so be watching for them… and many blog posts will be written and posted upon my return, to be sure. And the photographs? Opportunities for incredible shots of this country will be innumerable!
Disclosure: I received sponsored stays from Gondwana Collection and tours from Cheetah Conservation Fund while in Namibia but my opinions are always honest and my own. Thank you, Gondwana and CCF!
So now that you’ve read about the things I am planning for my Namibia trip, it’s your turn! Have you been to Namibia? What am I missing? Where are you headed next? Comment below to let me know!