Besides Epupa, and having the opportunity to visit the Himba people, there are two other spots in Namibia that I want to talk about. The first is Etosha. While camping there it was possible to observe animals both from the car, and from watering hole observation points. The generally flat land of this national park makes it the perfect place to go out and view game, and the watering holes are utterly fascinating. I saw a lot of amazing interactions between different species in these locations, the likes of which I don’t think I ever could have seen in Kruger, South Africa. For instance, the most amusing thing I saw while there was just the sheer attitude of the elephants that came through for water. They would casually swat the other animals out of the way, and there was even a bull that had to follow a rhino around the water’s edge until the rhino gave up and left. The lions fared no better when the elephants were around, so it was pretty obvious who was boss out there. In terms of seeing animals, I think Etosha is at the top of my list of places to go.
On the flip side, there were a few dangerous things that have happened in Etosha, so anyone visiting needs to make sure that they use their common sense. For instance, don’t fall asleep at the water holes; people have been attacked there in the past. It is fairly clear that those fences aren’t tall enough to keep curious lions out if there is a potential meal snoozing out in the open. Also, be careful when wandering around the camp at night, preferably go with a partner or stay close by. Etosha may be a national park, but it is still wild, and tourists should always be aware that just because they are on holiday, doesn’t mean that bad things can’t happen if they aren’t careful. The same thing is a problem in Phoenix. Always respect nature.
On that note, my final favorite place in Namibia was the Namib-Naukluft Park, which is part of the Namib Desert, and a very daunting landscape. Again, not the sort of place I would mess around in, but definitely somewhere I would suggest visiting. When my class and I came here, we stayed with a woman who lived along the road through the park that goes towards Swakopmund. She knew the desert like the back of her hand, and owed camels besides. So, not only did I have the amazing opportunity to go camel riding in the desert, but my class and I got a backroads tour of the desert. I loved the stone canyons, and desolate stretches of land. It was threatening, in the way that I think any desert is threatening, but it was also so inspiring. Besides the landscape itself, the Namib-Naukluft is home to large, desert chameleons and the welwitchia plant, which is a unique, native plant that any nature enthusiast would enjoy seeing.
In the end, Namibia is full of beautiful places and wonderful people. It is a great country to visit for anyone interested in seeing some of Africa, and it is very safe compared to many other destinations on the continent.
My next post will be about Picacho Peak in Arizona, although location that requires some common sense and care when visiting. Expect this on May 1st. As always, feel free to comment below about your experiences in Namibia, and any suggestions for travelers going there, or questions if you are considering it.