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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 ( flies direct to Windhoek from London Gatwick two times a week. British Airways ( and South African Airways ( 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. 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 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