Africa Namibia Travel & Tips Information

In Namibia, upon the parched palate of a vast and contradictory land, the realities of thirst have created a plethora of idiosyncratic societies. The shifting dunes of the Namib Desert are honeycombed with the greatest variety of living creatures of any dunelands around the world.

The desolate Skeleton Coast, monument to by-gone maritime disasters, contrasts with the vibey holiday atmosphere of the quaint German settlement of Swakopmund. Within the precincts of Etosha Pan, the lake of a mother’s tears, where perimeter waterholes enclose the salt expanse, great herds of game are on a perpetual pub-crawl. This provides some of the most magnificent gameviewing opportunities anywhere.

Inland, in surrealist Damaraland, you’ll encounter various social curiosities, including the Petrified Forest; Welwitschia Mirabilis, the thousand year old underground tree; the statuesque Kokerboom; and the diminutive Damara Dik Dik, with its twitching nose.

Namibia – big sky country.

A place where undulating deserts fold down to meet a tempestuous coastline, Namibia offers a diverse range of highlights: Scenic beauty including the Skeleton Coast – untouched and untamed, this desolate and uninhabited landscape is home to the rare Brown Hyena and Desert Elephants, seal colonies and is the burial ground of many ships; the Kunene River – the source of one of Africa’s greatest waterfalls, the Ruacana; the splendour of abundant bird and wildlife; unusual geological formations including Fish River Canyon, Brandberg, Spitzkoppe and the unique star-shaped dune mountains at Sossusvlei;

pristine wilderness including Etosha Pan – an oasis in the centre of a vast semi-desert region, the Namib Desert – the only desert that harbours elephant, rhino, lion and giraffe; the diverse and friendly nation – vibrant African cultures blended with the architecture and traditions of the Germans, British and South Africans; Adventure opportunities – from sand boarding, canoeing, white water rafting to hot air ballooning and The Desert Express Train.

Welcome Tourism Services offers a comprehensive variety of escorted tours; self-drive tours and fly-in safaris; special interest and adventure packages; tailormade tours and safaris throughout this exciting and unique region. We cater for individual travellers, groups, conferences and incentives.

Windhoek, Namibia’s capital city, is set in the Central Region. With its international airport, Windhoek is a convenient point to begin or end your tour and provides a good base for local excursions. The northern part of the Central Region has an astonishing diversity of bird, animal life and mineral wealth while to the west is the Namib Desert and the Kalahari to the east.

The majestic Auas mountains, the Eros mountains and the rolling Khomas Hochland surround Windhoek. Mineral springs offer an oasis in this very dry region and holiday resorts are located close to Windhoek. The national parks, fascinating little towns, out of the way mission stations and cattle ranches all have their own unique attractions.

The Namib Region stretches from Oranjemund in the south up through the Skeleton Coast to the Angolan border in the north, mostly consisting of national parks. The Namib-Naukluft Park is considered the fourth largest in the world, covering 49 768 km sq. Hardy desert plants and the variety of landscapes make this a magical place for scenic photographers.

The ancient Namib Desert features many of Namibia’s tourist destinations and is home to one of the world’s oldest plants – the prehistoric Welwitschia Mirabilis and a large number of endemic dunedwelling creatures.

The Skeleton Coast National Park reaches from the Ugab to the Kunene River. Hardy desert animals congregate around the intermittent watering places, while in the distance craggy mountains and vistas of sand dunes enhance its beauty.

The popular coastal resort of Swakopmund has many buildings dating back to the turn of the century, these national monuments represent the town’s German colonial past. With its numerous excursion possibilities, Swakopmund is rapidly becoming Namibia’s groups and conventions destination. Walvis Bay is 31 km south of Swakopmund, another principal port of entry and has a flourishing fishing industry.

The Walvis Bay lagoon is one of Africa’s most important wetlands and hosts large flocks of flamingoes, pelicans and other water birds. West of the Naukluft mountains is the Sesriem Canyon gorged out over centuries by the Tsauchaub River. 63 km away is Sossusvlei, a dry clay basin surrounded by some of the highest sand dunes in the world. Lüderitz, between the desert and the coast, was the first German settlement in Namibia and the base of the South African diamond industry in 1908. This sea-side resort is the centre of Namibia’s crayfish industry, renowned for its oysters and the ghost town of Kolmanskop is not far away.

The fertile Northern Region is the largest region in Namibia, with vast areas under cultivation, sustained by underground lakes. The highlight of this region is the Etosha National Park, one of the major wildlife sanctuaries in Africa and an official game reserve since 1907. This 22 270 km sq park ranges from dense bush to open plains and houses prolific bird and wildlife.

Two attractive towns in the centre of a rich mining area are Otavi, sheltered by the Otavi Mountains and Tsumeb further north. Damaraland offers contrasting desert, rolling grasslands and high mountain ranges with unusual geological features, rock paintings and rare animals. It is separated from the Atlantic Ocean by the Skeleton Coast National Park.

The volcanic landscapes around Khorixas bear footprints of dinosaurs and the Petrified Forest (massive tree trunks up to 30 m in length) lies scattered across the plains with Welwitschias and other hardy desert plants growing among them.

Twyfelfontein (Fountain of Doubt) is south-west of the Petrified Forest offering spectacular rock paintings and engravings dating back thousands of years. South of Twyfelfontein is a desolate landscape of volcanic rock called Burnt Mountain. Nearby are the Organ Pipes, a formation of perpendicular basalt. The Brandberg Range contains the highest mountain peak in the country (the Kunigstein 2 573 m) and many rock paintings including the famous White Lady of Brandberg.

The Caprivi Strip is an exciting destination for the adventurous traveller with rivers, forests, swamps and waterways – it is a total contrast to the arid grandeur of the rest of Namibia. Activities in this area include hiking, fishing, gameviewing, birdwatching and mokoro trails. The beautiful landscape of the Southern Region is stark, desolate, hot and dry. Earthquakes and storms have carved the land into wonderful sculptures. Brukkaros, an extinct volcano, looms over the plains north of Keetmanshoop.

The Fish River Canyon – a ravine 161 m long, up to 27 km wide and almost 550 m deep and the hot spring resort of Ai-Ais are popular attractions.

The Kokerboom, an aloe capable of surviving years of drought, and the Quiver Tree Forest, a protected area 23 km north-east of Keetmanshoop, are found here. Although agriculture (dominated by livestock production) provides a livelihood for an estimated 70% of Namibia’s population, mining provides the backbone to the economy.

Diamonds, gold, silver, uranium, copper, lead, zinc, magnesium, cadmium and other base metals are all produced. Having developed rapidly since independence, tourism is currently the country’s third most important foreign exchange earner.

6 Tips & Essentials for Senior Travelers

As we approach our older years, we should not be holding ourselves back from making new memories. If anything, we should just be making up for lost time, but not without caution of course. To avoid little inconveniences that might hinder your smooth-sailing travels, take note of these six tips:

1. Always make a checklist when packing!

This is especially important because it’s easy to forget the smaller items when packing up suitcases (we have all forgotten toothpaste or a toothbrush at some point). Make sure to begin this checklist at least a few days prior to your departure. This way, after making a list the first time, there’s more time to think of more items to write down later. Throughout the day, notice the items used everyday with extra care to avoid forgetting anything.

2. Pack Light.

Try to bring fewer items to lessen the burden of carrying your items. Be sure to check the weather prior to packing and pick out clothing accordingly. Bring clothing that can be mixed together to maximize efficiency. Be sure to wear your heaviest shoes on the plane to lessen the burden in your bag.

3. Make sure to use trusted websites for travel research.

Take precaution when researching for travel locations. Many websites might be providing false deals with hotels and restaurants to grab your attention. Use trusted websites that you are already familiar with. Some popular examples: Tripadvisor, Expedia and Booking.

4. Get travel insurance.

At an older age, travelers are much more prone to injury or sickness. It is especially important for those who carry medication with them. It’s not uncommon for travelers’ suitcases to be lost in transit, and essential medications could be lost in the process. To avoid running out of medication or face an unexpected injury, paying the extra insurance fee is a small price for the reassurance in return.

5. Consult a physician before leaving for travel.

Travelling to new areas expose our bodies to unfamiliar bacteria and illnesses. Make sure to be aware of all destination-specific risks from your physician and take proper preventative measures. Additionally, be aware of traveller illnesses including altitude sickness and traveler’s diarrhea.

6. Always check out senior discounts.

Upon inquiry, many tourist attractions offer senior discounts. For example, many cruises offer additional cruise discounts for members over 55. Prior to booking, if you know any senior travel website, be sure to do some research on the website for a full listing of the offered discounts.

Top 12 Travel Safety Tips That Will Prepare You For a Safe & Successful Trip

No matter where your travel takes you, it is important to be vigilant with regard to your personal safety. It could be visiting friends out of town, driving to the beach, or flying to a foreign country.

One of the most popular times to travel is around the holidays when many people travel to visit family and friends. Roads are packed with cars, and airports are packed with passengers. Give yourself plenty of time to get to your destination and try to be patient with other drivers and the airline. Everyone wants to have a safe day, but the holidays can be a stressful time for many people. Be aware of this fact and don’t be the catalyst that makes someone snap or lash out.

The following are 12 Travel Safety Tips that will help keep you safe!

  1. Research and read up on any type of travel restrictions that may exist where you are planning on going. Be aware of any travel alerts or travel warnings related to the region or country you intend to visit. Check with the US State Department to see if there is anything that you should be aware of. You should also look up and get the contact information about the US Embassy or US Consulate in the country or region that you are visiting. In addition, it is a good idea to consult with your local emergency management agency and the American Red Cross about the likelihood of different emergencies that could occur in your local area or the areas you travel to frequently.
  2. When traveling to other countries, keep in mind that some may have differently defined comfortable personal space distances than your home country. Research this before traveling so that you don’t make a simple gesture or make physical contact that has a vastly different meaning to the people of the country you are going to.
  3. Depending upon where you are going and the time of year is another thing to consider. Weather can cause a variety of safety concerns when you are hiking, swimming or biking in the summer to simply walking around when conditions become slick and slippery from rain, snow or ice. Allocate additional time to get to your destination.
  4. Take your time and learn the area so that you can feel comfortable with where you are traveling to as well as the surrounding area. Look it up on maps (Google Earth or Google Maps is great for this!) and see what is around you. Check out naturally occurring land formations like rivers, forests and mountains. Also note where man-made structures such as major highways, shopping malls and apartment complexes are located. It is important to familiarize yourself with the area in which you are traveling. This way you know where both man-made as well as natural barriers exist that could be significant in case a natural disaster or act of terrorism occurs nearby.
  5. You won’t be just walking around. Chances are you will also use some other forms of transportation such as cars, trains and boats. Each one presents a unique set of safety challenges. Keep your eyes in front of you and watch out for other traffic – on the road or on the water. There are many distracted drivers out there – don’t assume that they see you. Be alert so that you don’t get hurt. Watch out for hazards no matter where you are.
  6. You need to be aware of any specific health challenges that could exist in the country you are visiting. Some may require that you receive special immunizations before you are allowed into the country. This means that you may be exposed to threats to your health that do not exist in your home country. If you take any medications and will be traveling with them, get a note from your doctor that says what the medicine is, the dosage, prescription duration, and what it is for. Keep this with you and with the medication at all times. Some medications may not be legal in the country you are visiting, so do the smart thing and plan ahead.
  7. Another area you want to look into is health insurance coverage. Many domestic insurance plans cannot be used overseas, requiring you to purchase travel health insurance. Having it can be a literal life-saver in the event that you have to get medical treatment overseas. It can also help if you need to be medically evacuated back to the United States. The price for this coverage is modest, but could end up being essential if you need it. Plan ahead so that if you need coverage, get it! It is better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.
  8. Do not assume that buildings in other countries have fire alarms, fire escapes or fire departments that are as capable as those you are used to. Some may be better, but some may be worse or non-existent. Become familiar with this aspect when traveling abroad and know your exits and evacuation routes.
  9. Remember that you are more vulnerable when traveling outside your own home territory – wherever that may be. Once you leave your comfort zone and have to deal with new cultures and ways of doing things, you are at a distinct disadvantage to those who live and work in the area. Take time to learn local customs so you do not find yourself in an awkward or dangerous situation that may have been prevented if you understood what was going on more clearly.
  10. Be more aware at night and stick to well-lit, populated areas when traveling. Avoid alleys, dark streets, areas with poor visibility and places where someone could hide.
  11. Make sure that you have a valid passport and that you get any visas that you may need when traveling. Make copies of all travel documents including your passport and visas and keep them in a safe place apart from the original documents.
  12. Know the equivalent of 911 in any country you visit, and learn how to say “help me” in the country’s language you are traveling to.

These safety tips for travelers are a good way to kick off your trip. Remain vigilant and more aware than ever when you are in unfamiliar surroundings and especially when leaving your home country. Research things ahead of time and make prudent safety preparations before you even pack!

Vacation Planning Travel Tips to Save Time & Money

Planning a vacation requires a lot of planning and management. A lot of things need to be managed before going for a vacation. Money and time are the major aspects that play a vital role in the process of preparing for the vacation. Though it might take some time to plan, but the result that comes out after the process compensates all the other things. Follow the list of tips that are perfect for saving money and time during vacation.

1. Planning: The first to be followed holds utmost importance in making the vacation budget-friendly. Assess your financial position, decide the destination, book your tickets and move forward to the next step.

2. Stay Flexible: Staying flexible with the travel dates is another way of saving money during the vacation. Book flights on dates where the fares are low, this way a huge amount can be saved.

3. Travel in Shoulder Season: A trip can be taken at any point of time, but traveling during the shoulder season or the off-season is a better way of saving money and avoiding the crowds that hamper the reachability to various destinations.

4. Look for Special Deals: Several travel websites and companies create packages and deals for travelers. Sign-up for the exclusive offers of all of them and grab the one that has the maximum advantage. Book flights/tickets after comparing all the offers.

5. Use Social Media: Social Media is a great tool that helps connecting with different people, communities and places. Take advantage of social media and browse various travel websites to claim their promotional offers that are exclusively available on these sources.

6. Book in Advance: Once the planning is done, book your tickets and hotels in advance. Making advance bookings not only ensures hassle free travel, but also helps in getting the benefits such as low prices, more options and choices.

7. Get access to Locales: Locales help travelers in getting the inside information, thus making their task easy and convenient. Connect with the local people in order to get the inside scoop that can be utilized for further trip.

8. Take Public Transport: After reaching the desired destination, opt for traveling through the public transport to cut down the expenses of commuting. Make the best use of them by taking route maps and guides to find places easily.

9. Carry extra cash/currency: The currency conversion rates may be different in various countries. Taking extra cash from the beginning of the journey decreases the money spending on converting the currency. A lot of money gets saved by adopting this technique.

10. Stay at cheaper accommodations: Finding a cheap accommodation is another way that saves money while traveling. Staying in a hostel or a family-friendly places and hotels acts as great options for sticking with the budget.

11. Act & Implement Carefully: Repeat the first step again and review the whole process. Implementing the ideas curated during the planning makes a good effort towards money and time management. Act wisely and choose better.

Planning is the key to success, follow the travel tips to get the best experience within your budget.