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xxxx 2007 Travel Namibia 35 Egypt from where they drove south through Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia and finally South Africa. The Sinclair family trip was even more remarkable given that their youngest daughter Poppy has diabetes. “It was another reason to go,” says Pete. “I wanted to show Poppy that having diabetes was not going to stop her doing things.” Their Land Rover had two solar-powered fridges for insulin and other medication. Poppy also has to have carbohydrates every couple of hours. “The only places we had problems finding snacks were in Sudan and Ethiopia,” remembers Pete, who had packed lots of dried pasta and sauces for emergencies. Pete admits their trip involved more risks than if they had stayed at home in Northumberland but he wanted his children to meet people from different cultures and religions and also to learn about weighing up risks and making balanced decisions for themselves. Whether Poppy, Freddie and Stanley realised they were gaining such valuable life skills is doubtful – they were having far too much fun. They were mock charged by an elephant in Etosha, surfed down the dunes at Sossusvlei, and spent all of Poppy’s ninth birthday in a very posh hotel’s swimming pool in Rundu, in the Caprivi Strip. n You can read more about the Sinclair’s trip at www.a2b.uk.net/index.php Poppy, Freddie and Stanley make lunch Spot the dinosaur footprint I t’s one big sand pit R oad block Etosha style I n the footsteps of giants Y uk, they stink

36 Travel Namibia Essential Namibia Namibia Tourism The Mechanics Right time, right place G ame on! If you’re after animals in large numbers, visit Etosha in October, right at the end of the dry season. With scarce supplies of water, the game is drawn to the permanent waterholes on the southern edge of the pan in tremendous numbers. Be sure to park under a shady tree though, as it will be hot outside and the wildlife spectacle will most likely keep you captivated for hours. L et it rain… Once every five to ten years the rains are so heavy that flash-flooding occurs: the deep ravines of the Naukluft Mountains channel the rushing water east into the Tsauchab River, which in turn surges towards the Atlantic. Eventually it fills Sossusvlei with water, often overnight, bringing dormant lilies and flowers to life and drawing waterbirds and dragonflies to this stunningly serene scene. NAMIAMIAMIBIAIA FACACTFILILE n Language: English (official), Afrikaans, German and several ethnic languages n Time zonene: GMT+2 (winter) +1 (summer) n InternInternInternInternInternInternational dialling code: +264 n Visas: Not required for UK and Ireland passport holders n Moneney: Namibian dollar (N$), currently tied to the South African rand, which is widely accepted for cash payments. Banks are capable and efficient. Most hotels, restaurants and shops accept credit cards; petrol stations require cash. ATM machines (BOBBOBBOB tills) will accept foreign cards. Chip and pin is now common. n GettGettGettGetting thereereere: Air Namibia (www.airnamibia.com.na) flies direct to Windhoek from London Gatwick two times a week. British Airways (www.ba.com) and South African Airways (www.flysaa.com) fly from London Heathrow to Johannesburg and offer good connections to Windhoek. n InternInternInternInternInternInternal flights: Air Namibia operates a small, privately-run 4-6 seater light aircraft that links lodges and bush airstrips all over the country. Flying is the only way to access the northern Skeleton Coast. n SeSelf driveve: The roads are excellent, the traffic lights and signposting clear, making driving a pleasure. The trunk roads are very good tarmac, but most others are smooth gravel: stick to 80kph on these as going faster frequently leads to accidents. A 2WD is ideal unless visiting in the rains or heading to off-beat areas like Bushmanland. n Places to stay: Hotels are generally clean and safe. Private guest farms welcome visitors nationwide. Stylish lodges and bush camps are the norm in the wilds. Very good, clean campsites are nearly everywhere. n Safetfetfety: Namibia is generally a very safe country. n HeHealth: Malaria occurs in the North East and Central Namibia - principally in Caprivi, Kavango, Owambo, and Northern Kunene. It does not occur in all these areas throughout the year and it’s best to consult a travel clinic for the appropriate precautions a few weeks before you leave. Your tetanus, hepatitis A, polio and diphtheria jabs should be up to date if you are heading to remote regions. www.fitfortravel.scot.nhs.uk is a good source of information. n PePeople: The Himba people, with their ochre-coloured skin, are probably the best known in Namibia, but the tribe make up just one per cent of Namibia’s culturally diverse population. A large proportion of the population are Owambo, with smaller numbers of Kavango, Damara, Herero, San Bushmen, Topnaar and Tswana. Around 12.5% are White Namibians or mixed race, mostly of Afrikaner or German descent. n GEOGOGRAPHYAPHYAPHYAPHY: Namibia is essentially a desert country but it also has some vastly contrasting landscapes including the thorn bush savannah and rugged mountains of the Central Plateau, the open plains of Etosha Pan and the lush flood plains of Caprivi. n FIND OUOUT MOMORE: Namibia Tourist Board www.namibiatourism.com.na Ja nFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecDry seasonRainy seasonHottest seasonCoolest seasonBest for photographyBest for game viewingBest for birdwatchingBest for whale watchingBest for walkingBest for driving A rare sight – Sossusvlei full of water THE TRAVELLLLER’S YEAR