Namibia is a beautiful, fascinating and unforgettable country. Its uniqueness lies in the combination of different situations and emotions: the animals, the mountains, the desert, the sea, the light, the colors. It is also a good solution for a "debutant" in Africa and allows you to approach this splendid continent with maximum security. The ease of travel (you can move independently with your own vehicle), the availability of people and the high quality of services complete the picture of an exceptional destination.
WHAT NOT TO BE MISSED
Although there are "classic" itineraries, a trip to Namibia can be built and developed starting from individual tastes and interests. With an important premise: there is no perfect itinerary. Considering two weeks available (difficult to visit Namibia in less time) a standard itinerary should include as key milestones: the capital Windhoek, the Etosha National Park (at least two / three full days of visit), the Damaraland area, the Skeleton Coast, the coastal towns of Swakopmund and Walvis Bay, the Namib Desert and the Mariental area towards the Kalahari desert. With another week available, it is possible to extend the route to the north-west in Kaokoveld around Sesfontein and Opuwo, up to Epupa Falls. Or south with Luderitz and the Fish River Canyon.
This is the "base" Namibia that can be integrated with other northern areas (Ovamboland, Kavango), with the Caprivi parks, with cultural insights or activities in the classic zones. Then there are the more "remote" areas of Namibia to which it is good to rely on an expert guide: the Western Kaokoland (Hartmann, Marienfluss), the Bushmanland (including the Khaudum park), the western Damaraland on the border with the Skeleton Coast (rivers Hoanib and Uniab). Not to mention the wonderful private Skeleton Coast camps that can only be reached by small touring aircraft. As you can see there is no lack of alternatives for months of exploration
Namibia can easily be visited alone with a minimum of preventive organization and few basic rules. The ideal is to build an itinerary starting from personal interests, avoiding too long stops and booking cars and overnight stays in advance. A recommendable solution is to rely on a locally based agency. You can save and get maximum cooperation and lots of advice. Of course also the trip organized with a guide who knows the country well is a very recommendable solution. The quality of guiding in this country is among the best in the world, there is no lack of excellent Italian language guides and there are many things to learn. Visiting Namibia with children (ages 5-6) also presents no difficulty. In fact there are places and possibilities of absolute interest, from parks to excursions, from science to history, from games to activities. Absolutely safe environmental and health conditions make the trip to Namibia an extraordinary opportunity even for the little ones.
THE DECALOGUE FOR SELF-DRIVE IN NAMIBIA
1 - Drive slowly, be careful. Always. Road accidents, often linked to driving too fast, are the only but serious risk of a trip to Namibia. Many tracks give a dangerous sense of security. Don't trust.
2 - Leave early, come back soon, calculate the journey times well and use the "local advice", informing yourself every morning about the tracks you will be on. You will receive useful advice and discover many interesting things. Never leave without knowing where you will sleep in the evening. Driving in the dark is dangerous. Always have with you a water supply and two spare wheels.
3 - A trip to Namibia is not a list of crosses on so many places to see at all costs, but a travel experience. Do not try to see everything, enjoy the spaces, the landscapes, the colors, the street.
4 - Off-piste driving is prohibited, harmful to the environment, dangerous, stupid. You decide in which order.
5 - Respect schedules, laws, regulations. They are made for the visitor and for his safety. If you need a permit for an area, do it. Even if nobody will ask you for it.
6 - Use local products and services as far as possible. Tourism is an important economic voice for the country: supporting local resources is a way to restore the beauty that is made available to us. Eat and drink Namibian.
7 - Free camping is not allowed: use the official campsite, those of the local communities or ask the lodge for hospitality.
8 - If you visit a community or village always do it with a guide. It will help you get in touch with those who receive you and allow you to communicate as well as see. The photographs are a consequence of knowledge, not the goal of the visit. Photograph people with the utmost respect. A visit with the guide will avoid the dilemma of the request (completely lawful, moreover) of money.
9 - Do not light fires, save water, do not abandon garbage. The country is large, inhabited, fragile. Every guest must take care of it
10 - Respect and fear the animals, inside and outside the parks.