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Olweendo 52 Travel Namibia Accommodation n1 Heavenly holidays at Sossusvlei Desert Lodge In celebration of the International Year of Astronomy, the magazine Condé Nast Traveller ( UK) featured a list of the six best places in the world to go stargazing. In the top spot was Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, with its in- house observatory where the resident astronomer gives guests guided tours of the night sky using a powerful telescope. Skylights above the king- sized beds allow all- night stargazing. n2 New rooms at Okonjima Okonjima, home of the AfriCat Foundation, has completed 10 new rooms at its Main Camp, all with views of the Omboroko mountains behind. The new rooms are wheelchair friendly and have individual verandahs from which to enjoy the surrounding wilderness. Okonjima is 50km south of Otjiwarongo in North Central Namibia. n3 Mushara deals Mushara Outpost, which opened last year eight kilometres from the eastern gate into Etosha, has introduced fully inclusive deals for 2009. The rate of N$ 2700 per person per night includes all meals, two scheduled game drives, bar and mini- bar drinks. For every two nights booked at Mushara Villas until June 30 2009, you will get a third night free of charge. n4 Cape Cross Lodge expansion Cape Cross Lodge on the Skeleton Coast is building an extra wing with 22 new rooms. It is also expanding its kitchen, restaurant and terrace. The major part of the construction was done in early 2009 with all the work due for completion in July. n5 Driving through Erongo Erongo Wilderness Lodge has added a new nature drive to its activities. The drive, which costs N$ 400, is three hours long and includes sundowners and a visit to the national monument of Paula's Cave with its bushman rock art. Walking safaris are free to all residents of Erongo Wilderness Lodge. Sossusvlei Mountain Lodge's telescope Okonjima Main Camp Caroline Beevis Mushara Outpost Cape Cross Lodge Bushman art at Paula's Cave

A s the 2010 World Cup Soccer tournament throws South Africa into the international spotlight, the roaring crowds will be a distant cry from the solitude and peacefulness found in Namibia. Located on the south- west coast of Africa, only the roars of the country's spectacular wildlife penetrate the tranquil silence. Namibia's natural world is in abundance at some of Africa's most impressive national parks and private game reserves. Namibia's expansive and sparsely populated landscape is a treasure for those who wish to escape the crowds and are seeking a safe and welcoming holiday retreat. Just over two million people co- exist within an area more than twice the size of Germany. The culture, with its kaleidoscope of influences from many fascinating tribes, leaves its visitors captivated. Wild about Namibia In each region, Namibia's natural treasures are bewitching to encounter. The Caprivi Strip, located in the top right corner, borders Botswana and is home to four great rivers - the Chobe, Kwando/ Linyanti, Okavango and Zambezi. Receiving generous annual rainfall the lush vegetation is a haven for hippos, crocodile, buffalo and lion. The diversity of the Mahango Game Reserve is particularly known for its elephant which thrive on the riverine vegetation. Travel west and visit Etosha National Park, undoubtedly one of Africa's greatest game parks. The name Etosha means ' Great White Place' and its shimmering salt pan offers uninterrupted views across the desolate plains. Home to approximately 144 mammal species including lion, elephants and black and white rhino and also 340 bird species, the park's waterholes are the ideal location to observe a wildlife wonderland. The north- west region of Namibia is home to the world's largest population of free roaming black rhino. Along with the desert- adapted elephants, they have learned to adapt to the unforgiving conditions in their bid for survival. In the same region, the fascinating Himba tribe also continue their traditional nomadic lifestyle within the harsh desert climate. The intriguing culture offers astounding insight into how to survive on such extreme terrain. Customs still used include the red ochre and butter fat mixture applied to protect their skin from the sun, and providing an unusually red-tinged appearance. Along the western coast, flocks of pink flamingo and Cape pelicans can be found at Walvis Bay - a birdwatcher's paradise. Marine excursions visit dolphins and occasionally Southern Right, Humpback, Minke and Killer Whales. For closer wildlife encounters kayak in the South Atlantic along the playful seals. For those looking for an adventurous extension to their South Africa trip, the Cape to Namibia route combines Cape Town's excitement and vivacity with the soulful and natural Namibian experience. Namibia's excellent road infrastructure offers visitors the freedom to travel independently on the well established tar roads or the more exploratory off road tracks. In the south there is plenty of wildlife to enjoy within the Southern Kalahari. The deep red dunes provide vegetation to support the game that inhabits the area, such as oryx, giraffe, bat- eared foxes and adorable meerkats. The more adventurous can hike the spectacular Fish River Canyon - second only to the Grand Canyon - and watch the occasional kudu, klipspringer and baboons who live in the semi arid environment. As well as direct international flights to Windhoek's Hosea Kutako International airport, those who wish to see more of Africa during the tournament can fly to Walvis Bay with flights departing Cape Town via Luderitz, or from Johannesburg via Windhoek with Air Namibia. From luxury lodges to more adventurous camping and guest farms, families and holidaymakers will be charmed by Namibia's warm and friendly hospitality. Plus with the South African rand easily exchangeable in Namibia - take advantage of the great value during your stay. For a truly memorable extension to a South African World Cup visit, or a completely contrasting holiday destination, Namibia is the place which will truly capture your heart. For more information about travelling to Namibia contact the Namibia Tourism Board on 0870 330 9333 or visit www. namibiatourism. com. na