Have you always wanted to rent a 4×4, explore National Parks, and camp under the stars? Or fancy joining a group of like-minded people and experiencing African wildlife on a luxurious tour? Whatever your idea of the perfect safari, Namibia has an incredible amount to offer.
Located on the South West coast of Africa, it borders Angola, Botswana, and South Africa. It’s home to some of the tallest sand dunes in the world in Sossusvlei, and depending on the time of year, you can spot about 100.000 seals at Cape Cross on the Skeleton Coast.
There are many game parks and natural reserves in Namibia, some focus on wildlife and others more on the landscape. Depending on which one you visit, you’re likely to see lions, giraffes, elephants, rhinos, hyenas, cheetahs, wildebeest, antelopes, and many other game species.
African Safari in Namibia
Types of Safari Offered in Namibia
If you’re looking for a truly special way to celebrate Valentine’s day, take a look at the many ways you can experience amazing wildlife.
Hire Your Own Transport
If you’re into road trips, Namibia is hard to beat. Open roads, amazing lunar landscapes, and camping inside National Parks. It’s a once in a lifetime experience which doesn’t have to cost an extortionate amount.
It’s relatively easy to hire a truck stocked with all the camping equipment you might need, just bear in mind that prices differ significantly depending on whether it’s high or low season (July to December / January to June).
There are many campsites located on busier routes, and there are bungalows and camping facilities inside some of the national parks (prices per night tend to be slightly higher than those located outside major cities).
You’ll need to stock up on plenty of supplies; food, water, beer… but your most significant expense is likely to be fuel, as 4x4s are thirsty and distances are long. Also make sure at least one person in your party knows how to change a tire, as the dry, dusty environment can be harsh, and you can’t rely on other cars to give you a helping hand.
As it is such a popular way of getting around, seeing wildlife and exploring the country, demand is high, so it’s best to book ahead whenever you can.
Book through an overland tour
If you have a slightly higher budget to work with, overland tours offer a variety of safaris to suit every need. Here are some of the most common types offered in Namibia:
- Group Scheduled Safaris
These are scheduled group safaris with set dates and a set itinerary. It’s usually the most economical way of traveling when it comes to overland tours, and you have both camping and accommodated options. This is a great choice if you’re interested in a trip which involves minimal planning, all you’ll have to do is help set up the tent.
- Private Guided Safaris
If you don’t fancy joining a group of other people, but also don’t like the idea of driving by yourself, private guided safaris are a great in-between option. The tour company you choose will provide your own guide, and you’ll usually be able to decide where you want to go and what you want to do. This way you can still enjoy the experience as a couple without joining a group of other travelers.
- Self-Drive Safaris
Although this is a similar option to hiring your own transport, booking through an overland tour makes things much easier. They will provide assistance with hiring a truck and booking accommodation, and can also offer great travel advice or suggestions on the best routes. Best of all, many offer 24h backup assistance in case you need help whilst you’re on the road, so you don’t need to worry about car problems in the desert.
Although booking a safari through an overland tour usually works out more expensive than hiring a truck and figuring a route out on your own, you have the added benefit of included meals, park entrance fees, camping and accommodation fees, and the help of a professional guide. Note that you usually pay for alcohol, soft drinks, and bottled water separately.
Namibia’s Best Game Parks and Natural Reserves
If the pull of adventure and the chance to see wildlife in their natural habitat sounds like the perfect way to celebrate an unforgettable Valentine’s, take a look at some of the best spots in Namibia;
Ai-Ais Hot Springs
This rich botanical hotspot is located in the Fish River Canyon, one of the largest canyons in the world. As well as bathing in hot water springs and hiking along Namibia’s most popular trail, you can also spot rock paintings dating back 25.000 years.
Bwabwata National Park
As well as a large number of bird species, the Bwabwata National Park is home to elephant, buffalo, antelope, lion, leopard, cheetah, and wild dog. Most tourism facilities are located outside the park, making it popular for self-drive campers interested in day tours.
Etosha National Park
This is Namibia’s flagship park; one of the oldest in Africa and larger than some European countries. It is mostly formed by a dried-out salt pan surrounded by grassland and is still one of the most authentic, unspoiled places to spot wildlife such as zebra, elephant, lion, rhino, springbok, giraffe, cheetah, and many more.
Waterberg Plateau Park
As well as spotting rare and valuable game species such as white rhino and cape vultures, this park boasts incredible sandstone cliffs and dinosaur footprints. It has hiking trails and camping and bungalow amenities inside the park – including a swimming pool.
As it is the second least densely populated country in the world, you’re likely to see more animals than people! Whatever the priorities for your trip are, Namibia is one of the best places to experience incredible wildlife. So if you’re looking for the perfect travel destination next Valentine’s Day, this beautiful country should definitely be on your bucket list.
About The Author: Cal Bailey runs MountainLeon.com– a travel blog he started after two years on backpacking around the world. If you want to learn more about life on the road or tips for traveling, you can read his latest post about choosing the right sleeping bag.