Namibia is a land characterised by the towering saffron coloured sand dunes of the ancient Namib desert, which at 130 million years old, is one of the oldest deserts in the world and from which the name “Namibia” is derived. It is a land of great contrasts with rugged mountains, spectacular gorges and valleys and some of Africa’s most interesting and varied mammal and plant life, including the prehistoric Welwitchia plants sustained by the mists off the cold Atlantic coastline. Due to the abundance of wildlife and birds, and the diverse fish and seal population along the Skeleton Coast, Namibia offers an exciting and unforgettable destination for the more adventurous traveller. Its sand dunes are amongst the highest in the world, and the great variety of geological formations and ecosystems unique in the way that adaptation has occurred to accommodate the harsh desert conditions. It is a wealthy land rich in minerals, precious and semi-precious stones, with huge diamond deposits simply lying in the sands of the beach and in the sea that laps the Skeleton Coast. The Skeleton Coast is so named due to the many ocean-going vessels which have floundered there in the past and which still lie like skeletal maritime ghosts along this remote and turbulently inhospitable coastline. Here, the few remaining desert lions scavenge for dead seals along the beach, lying up in the desert dunes along the shoreline, one of the only places on earth where desert dunes merge with an ocean. The cold Antarctic Benguela current makes the Namibian coastline particularly rich in marine resources, pilchards being a major export as is the guano from the many seabirds that rest on specially built platforms along the coast.
Three times larger than Germany, with a total population of only 1.5 million, Namibia was a German Colony known as German South West Africa prior to the First World War, after which it was mandated to South Africa until it became the independent Nation of Namibia in recent times. The German influence is still very strong, visible within the beautiful capital city of Windhoek which boasts German type beer gardens and a very ornamental old graveyard whose beautiful rose-beds and statuettes are in themselves a tourist draw.
The peoples of Namibia are colourful, the Herero tribe still wearing Victorian type attire and the Bastos a mixture of German and local bloodlines. The earliest human inhabitants of Namibia were the San, or bushmen, whose primitive nomadic ways were well adapted to their harsh desert conditions. Namibia is also home to the famous desert elephants, who are different from their other African elephant cousins in that they do not recycle or “damage” the sparse and fragile vegetation that sustains them.
The Etosha National Park is a very famous wildlife experience where large concentrations of animals gather at watering places during the dry season, and where the desert is transformed after rain into a wonderland of wild flowers and shallow lakes that attract flamingoes and myriads of other water birds.
East Africa: Tropical Rainforest, Savannah Grasslands, Dramatic Semi-deserts, Stunning Wildlife Migrations, Indigenous Cultures, The Great Rift Valley, Soda and Fresh Lakes, Deserted Beaches and Coral Reefs shape the extraordinary landscapes that make up East Africa.
Eastern Africa (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania & Rwanda) is probably the first option for a safari destination in Africa. Its spectacular range of altitude offers incredible climatic diversity; its wildlife spectacle is unparalleled and varied, its wild places with a wealth of wildlife unspoilt and natural, with nothing contrived, and it harbours some of the world’s oldest and most colourful cultures, all of which fuse together to form the richest African tapestry.
East Africa has so much to offer that it would be difficult to combine all five countries in one itinerary; they need to be considered separately and carefully before settling on an itinerary that will include all the options on offer.
South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe: Wetlands Teeming with Wildlife, Tribal Cultures, Scenic Winelands, Uber-luxury lodges, Vast Deserts, Secluded Beaches, The Cape of Good Hope and Historic Cape Town shape the extraordinary landscapes that make up South Africa.
Southern Africa offers literally a world in one block of countries, so varied is the landscape, even within the different countries that comprise this package. The most ancient desert in the world, the Namib of Namibia, is unique in that here is the only place where towering sand dunes touch the ocean along the desolate Skeleton Coast; well named, since ships have foundered there over the centuries, and lie like stark skeletons on the lonely sands where the icy Atlantic caused by the cold Benguela current contrasts dramatically with the heat of the abutting desert dunes. Botswana incorporates the stunning and vast wetland system of the Okavango Swamps, harbouring a rich diversity of life, whilst the lush winelands and sophistication of South Africa with its 300 year long historical background offers a particularly rich cultural heritage in a sophisticated first world setting. The great gold, diamond and mineral deposits of Southern Africa combined with South Africa’s European first world influence has resulted in a sophisticated tourist infrastructure for destinations in this part of Africa, making it a very attractive proposition for all travellers and offering a wide perspective of pleasurable opportunities.
This vast region is emerging from the shadows to become an exciting location to expand our safaris to a very different experience. Primarily covered by tropical rainforest, these regions are prime locations for viewing lowland gorillas, chimpanzees, forest elephants, the rare bongo antelope as well as a host of other forest dwellers. Trips to this region involve a lot of forest walking, however the massive rivers in the area also provide a different experience in exploring by boat & canoe. There are also some grasslands, as well as deserts in the region that offer some more conventional game viewing.
The Indian Ocean off the East Coast of Africa has some incredible experiences to offer. From your idyllic tropical Island Paradise such as the Seychelles and the Maldives, to another totally different experience such as Madagascar’s Lemurs, plus its tropical forests & its semi-desert baobab forests, there is much to see and do.