Travel to Etosha National Park
Etosha National Park
Etosha, meaning “Great White Place”, is dominated by a massive mineral pan. The pan is part of the Kalahari Basin, the floor of which was formed around 1000 million years ago. The Etosha Pan covers around 25% of the National Park. The pan was originally a lake fed by the Kunene River. However the course of the river changed thousands of years ago and the lake dried up. The pan now is a large dusty depression of salt and dusty clay which fills only if the rains are heavy and even then only holds water for a short time. This temporary water in the Etosha Pan attracts thousands of wading birds including impressive flocks of flamingos. The perennial springs along the edges of the Etosha Pan draw large concentrations of wildlife and birds.
The game viewing in Etosha National Park is excellent, the best time being from May to September - the cooler months in Namibia. Visitors to Etosha Game Reserve can expect to see many buck species, elephant, giraffe, rhino and lions. More fortunate visitors will see leopard and cheetah. There is a network of roads linking the three campsites and subsidiary roads lead to various waterholes.
Namibia is a country of startling contrasts that straddles two great deserts: the Namib (after which it is named) is the oldest desert on the planet, and its sea of red sand lies along the Atlantic coastline, while in the eastern interior lies the Kalahari, a vast and sparsely vegetated savannah that sprawls across the border into neighboring countries.
Namibians are of diverse ethnic origins. The principal groups are the Ovambo, Kavango, Herero/Himba, Damara, Colored (including Rehoboth Baster), White (Afrikaner, German, English, and Portuguese), Nama, Caprivian, San, and Tswana.
The Ovambo make up about half of Namibia’s people. The Ovambo, Kavango, and East Caprivian peoples, who occupy the relatively well-watered and wooded northern part of the country, are settled farmers and herders. Historically, these groups had little contact with the Nama, Damara, and Herero, who roamed the central part of the country vying for control of sparse pastureland. German colonial rule destroyed the war-making ability of the tribes but did not erase their identities or traditional organization. People from the more populous north have settled throughout the country in recent decades as a result of urbanization, industrialization, and the demand for labor.
The official language is English. German and Afrikaans are also widely used and there are numerous African languages and dialects which fall into two main groups, namely Bantu and Khoisan
Namibia was, due to its barren coastline, colonized by the Europeans as one of the last African countries. It was the German merchant and adventurer Adolf Luederitz from Bremen, who bought in 1883 the bay of Angra Pequeña from Nama Chief Joseph Fredericks from Bethanien. He also bought the area in a 20 mile radius around the bay. The purchase price was then 10 000 Reichsmark and 260 guns. The bay is today known as Luederitz Bay.
In 1884, the German Empire took over the “protection” of Luederitz’ possessions. A tiny corps of the “Kaiserliche Marine” landed in the bay and raised the German flag. From 1884 to 1914, Namibia was a “German Protectorate” called “Deutsch Südwestafrika”. The German Empire sent the “Deutsche Schutztruppe” (Protection Corps). It had the task to transform the area between Oranje and Kunene into a German colony. German settlers were supposed to buy land and freely and safely establish farms. For this purpose the indigenous population, mainly Nama and Herero, was to be subjugated.
Initially the colonization proceeded more or less peacefully. Treaties were negotiated with Nama and Herero representatives. In these “Protection Agreements” both groups were assured of military support. In return, the Nama and Herero agreed to let German settlers take possession of their land and use it agriculturally.
Eventually the Herero and the Nama realized that the German colonization threatened their subsistence and their traditional way of life as free cattle and goat herders so both population groups rose in armed rebellion. These military conflicts lasted until 1908 and resulted in the total defeat of the black population.
At the beginning of the First World War, South Africa occupied the area and in 1920, she was given the country by the League of Nations as a mandate. When this was abolished in 1966 by the UN, South Africa rebelled and the result was many years of military struggle between South Africa and the Namibian liberation movement SWAPO, which was supported by the United Nations. On March 21, 1990 the political independence of Namibia was finally granted and a democratic constitution drawn up. SWAPO won the first free elections and became the strongest party. Its leader Dr. Sam Nujoma became the first Namibian President.
The currency in Namibia is the Namibian Dollar (NAM$), which is fixed to and therefore equivalent to the South African Rand (ZAR). The Namibian Dollar and South African Rand are the only legal tender in Namibia and can be used freely to purchase goods and services. The Namibian Dollar, however, is not legal tender in South Africa.
Travelers’ checks and foreign currency can be exchanged at any of the commercial banks, which are well represented throughout the country. Visitors may bring any amount of foreign currency into the country. Further information and assistance can be obtained from any commercial bank in Namibia.
The climate is typically semi-desert with hot days and cool nights. Midsummer temperatures may rise to over 40 degrees Celsius. Winter days are warm, but dawn temperatures may drop to freezing. Along the coast it is cool with low rainfall and fog prevails from late afternoon until mid-morning.
The rainy season lasts from October to April. The rest of the year is dry and cloudless. Namibia averages 300 days of sunshine a year.
Malaria is prevalent only in the north of the country. Malaria prophylaxis is not required in Windhoek, but is suggested for travel to the north. Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) hotline for international travelers at wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/
A passport and visa are normally required. Bearers of U.S. passports who plan to visit Namibia for tourism for less than 90 days can obtain visas at the port of entry and do not need visas prior to entering the country. Travelers coming for work or study, whether paid or voluntary, must obtain a work or study permit prior to entering Namibia. Passports must have at least six months of validity remaining beyond the traveler’s planned date of arrival in Namibia.
All travelers traveling to or from Namibia via South Africa are strongly encouraged to have five or more unstamped visa pages in their passport. Travelers merely transiting South Africa (those not stopping over or exiting the international terminal in South Africa) should not require visa stamps and may require fewer blank pages for travel. South Africa and Namibia both require at least two unstamped visa pages – one for the entry stamp and one for exit. Visitors who do not have enough blank visa pages in their passport risk being denied entry and returned to the U.S. at their own expense.
Most hotels/lodges, restaurants, travel agencies and the bigger shops will take major credit cards – Visa, MasterCard, and American Express.
220 volts AC, 50hz. Outlets are of the round three-pin type
All water from taps is purified and visitors need have no hesitation in drinking it. Bottled water is readily available.
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