Friday, 2 December 2022

South Africa: Lichtenstein Castle in Hout Bay, Cape Town, Western Cape

Lichtenstein Castle in Hout Bay, Cape Town, Western Cape in South Africa

Lichtenstein Castle is located on the slopes of Karbonkelberg Mountain overlooking the Hout Bay harbor in Western Cape, South Africa.

#Lichtenstein #HoutBay #SouthAfrica

Lichtenstein Castle, a luxury villa in Hout Bay. This holiday rental in Cape Town accommodates 10 guests with 5 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms. Contact us today for daily rates and availability to book your luxurious vacation stay at Lichtenstein Castle.

In the scenic town of Hout Bay, situated in a valley on the Atlantic seaboard of the Cape Peninsula, lies a scene snatched out of a fairytale. Perched upon the Karbonkelberg Mountain overlooking the Hout Bay harbor is the magnificent Lichtenstein Castle.

Built as a replica of the Gothic Schloss Lichtenstein Castle in southern Germany, this Private Estate is yours to rent for exclusive functions, events or any occasion. The entire Castle can also be made your own private villa, with 4 bedrooms and a honeymoon suite, to live out your medieval fantasies with friends and family.

PROPERTY FEATURES :

5 double bedrooms all en-suite

2 lounges / dining rooms

Kitchen

Heated swimming pool

2 Function rooms

24hr security

Breakfast Chef

Daily cleaning service

Luxury Venue in Cape Town, South Africa

Weddings

Every little girl dreams of being a princess and one day marrying their Prince Charming. What better to make your dream wedding a reality than by saying “I do” in the Lichtenstein Castle?

The venue comes complete with a majestic Ballroom, with black and white checkered flooring, hand-blown glass chandeliers, and stable doors opening out to rolling green lawns. The scene is completed with dragons, gargoyles and a magnificent waterfall. The venue has capacity for 150 people seated or 250 people cocktail.

Private Meetings

Impress your colleagues by hosting a private meeting at Lichtenstein Castle, draped in luxury and elegance.  With a capacity of 20 people in a room with teak floors and gold leaf ceilings, alongside a fireplace surrounded by knights and tapestries, you can feel like a king among men and rule your meeting.

Corporate Functions

Whether for a marketing event or a year-end function as a thanks to your employees, Lichtenstein Castle provides the ideal location to treat one and all to a fantastic fantasy corporate function. Perfect for themed events like Game of Thrones, Masked Balls, Steam Punk, Red Carpet, Harry Potter or Oscars, give one and all a night to remember in this unforgettable venue.

Private Events

Whether it’s an amazing anniversary, a rousing celebration amongst friends, or a fantastical 21st birthday party; there’s no place more awe-inspiring to throw a party than at the Lichtenstein Castle. The venue can host private dinners of up to 16 people surrounded by a silver leaf ceiling, a fireplace, lounge, and stained glass windows.

Film & Photography Shoots

With a reputation for being South Africa’s Hollywood, Cape Town is world renowned as a sought-after movie destination for film companies worldwide.

Whether you’re looking for the perfect place to shoot your medieval drama, a magical set for your photo shoot, or an idyllic location for a Shakespearean masterpiece; Lichtenstein Castle provides the ideal backdrop to guarantee your project becomes a success.

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Wednesday, 30 November 2022

Namibia: Walvis Bay Salt Holdings

Walvis Bay Salt Holdings (PTY) LTD, through its various subsidiaries, is the largest producer of solar sea salt in sub-Saharan Africa.

Walvis Bay Salt Holdings (Pty) Ltd, through its various subsidiaries, is the largest producer of solar sea salt in sub-Saharan Africa. The Company processes 90 million m3 (cubic meter) of seawater per annum to produce in excess of 900 000 tons of high-quality salt per annum. The total operation covers an area of 5000ha.

The Group exports to various countries, including Nigeria, Cameroon, South Africa and Europe.

In addition to producing salt for the chemical industry and other general purposes the Group also produces high quality table salt for the Southern Africa market. Besides South Africa, triple refined sea salt is exported to neighbouring countries, including Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Botswana and Zambia, mainly for human consumption.

The salt operation at Walvis Bay Salt Holdings comprises three companies, Salt & Chemicals (Pty) Ltd, Walvis Bay Salt Refiners (Pty) Ltd, and Ekango Salt Refiners (Pty) Ltd.

Salt & Chemicals operates the salt field and produces the raw salt, whilst Walvis Bay Salt Refiners further processes and markets the product internationally. Ekango Salt Refiners produces table salt for various local and international markets.

Established in 1964, the Walvis Bay Salt Holdings Group today is a Namibian registered company, consisting of three subsidiaries. 

During 1976 Sentrachem acquired a 50% shareholding in the business. The salt field was also expanded to a total capacity of ± 370kt at that time. Additional evaporation ponds and a new wash plant was also added. In 1988 Sentrachem acquired the remaining 50% shareholding from SWAFIL and the annual production capacity was further increased to 450kt per annum.

In 1999 the Company took a significant step forward in improving its strategic infrastructure by purchasing a loading facility in the Port of Walvis Bay from the then Tsumeb Copper Limited. The capacity of the pans was further expanded in 2000 and 2001 to 600kt per annum.

Further optimization of the business since then resulted in the salt field’s current capacity being in excess of 900 000 tons per annum, dependent on evaporation rates. The business is currently going through exciting times and the new focus is on value addition both locally and internationally.

In the salt industry efficiency of freight and transport are essential for success. The company is focused on optimizing the logistics value chain, including finding the right freight options that can opening up new markets. The company celebrated its 50 years anniversary during 2014. On the back of continuous improvement, the company is looking forward to maintain momentum with regards to future growth, in a sustainable and environmentally responsible way.

Environment

The history of Walvis Bay Salt Refiners involves more than just the capital invested in infrastructure and technology to ensure business success.

The company’s achievements also flow from our passion for continued development of our human capital, ongoing respect for the delicate natural environment and consideration of the interests and well-being of our community in which we operate. The salt production process is intertwined with nature and cannot continue without the following resources:

The land situated in the Kuiseb river delta area, which is a declared Ramsar Wetland of International Importance

The clay silt and sand used for pond embankments, pond walls and roads;

The seawater, the main raw material, is used for the extraction of common salt; and

Sun and wind energy for the evaporation of water to crystallize the sodium chloride.

Although the availability of some resources seems infinite, it instills in the company a deep sense of respect and responsibility for and commitment towards the environment. Walvis Bay Salt Holdings translates this respect and responsibility towards the environment by seeking excellence in environmental management, performance and conformance.

Tuesday, 29 November 2022

Namibia: Tsumkwe Lodge

Tsumkwe Lodge is located Tsumkwe, in the north east of Namibia. To get to Tsumkwe, drive northwards from Grootfontein on the B8. After 55 km, you will find the turn-off to Tsumkwe, the C44. This is a gravel road in good condition and you will enter Tsumkwe after about 225 km and 3 hours.

The road can be travelled with any kind of vehicle, but to explore the area, a 4x4 vehicle will be needed. At the moment, fuel is not available in Tsumkwe. There is a very good gravel airfield 5 km outside Tsumkwe.

Tsumkwe is a small settlement in North Eastern Namibia. The area was formerly called Eastern Bushmanland, the former "homeland" of the Ju/'hoansi which means "real people", also referred to as San, Bushmen or !Kung.

The Nyae Nyae Conservancy was formed in 1998 and gives the Ju/'hoansi the right to benefit financially from the wildlife in the area, mostly through receiving income from a hunting concession. It is not a game reserve, but several species of game are found here and conservation of the environment is a priority.

The Ju/'hoansi live throughout the area in closely knitted family groups on what is left of the land of their forefathers. They are the only community in Namibia who are allowed to hunt on government land, albeit only traditionally.

They are increasingly becoming involved in tourism, which provide capital in an area where formal employment is limited. It is possible to camp at these "villages" after obtaining permission and paying a camping fee. There is a conservancy office in Tsumkwe where tourists can obtain information and arrange for a local guide.

The border post at Dobe, 53 km east of Tsumkwe, is now open 7 days a week (7h30 to 16h30 Namibian time) and provides a thoroughfare to Botswana. The 4x4 track to Nokaneng is about 140 km. The average speed one can maintain on this road is 50 km/h. The nearest fuel would be 30km north of Nokaneng at Gumare or at Maun.

At this stage, fuel is not available in Tsumkwe and there are two shops with very basic supplies, a police station, a school, two churches, a clinic, the lodge and some government offices.

The Dutch Reformed Church operates a curio shop in Tsumkwe, which is well worth a visit. The curios are obtained from all the Ju/'hoan communities in the area in exchange for basic food supplies.

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Monday, 28 November 2022

Namibia: travellers tips

Namibia is a vast and mostly unpopulated country, full of otherworldly desert landscapes and wildlife that has adapted to some of the harshest conditions on the planet. Because Namibia is safe and largely free of malaria, it’s a great destination for families and adventurers.

Some of the worst travel stories I heard while there involved theft from open taxi windows and credit card fraud. I know now that hailing a random taxi in the streets of Windhoek is not always a great idea, and while you might think that taxi drivers know the way to your destination, that may not always be the case.

There are cases of credit card cloning, where thieves make a digital copy of your credit card info using a disguised electronic scanner or some other device. Keep your eyes on your card at all times, ask vendors to bring the card reader to you instead of them taking your card and doing the transaction out of sight.

Here are the nine most important things to know when planning a trip to Namibia.

Off-road driving skills are useful on unpaved roads in Namibia.

A self-driving tour of Namibia is a doable adventure

Traveling by car in Namibia is safe though time consuming if you want to explore large portions of the country. Paved roads, like the Trans-Caprivi and Trans-Kalahari highways, are well maintained and link the most-visited corners of the country. If you’ve got the time, a self-drive safari is an affordable way to experience Namibia.

Maneuvering on unpaved roads comes with its own set of risks. On gravel roads, flying pebbles while passing other cars can cause damage to windshields, and driving on uneven terrain requires a sturdy 4WD vehicle as well as off-road driving skills. Driving with headlights on is a must at all times of the day. Avoid driving at night because of roaming animals.

In remote corners of the country, gas stations are few and far between, so keep an eye on the gas tank and fuel up every chance you get. Always travel with snacks and plenty of water.

To avoid credit card fraud or cloning, rent your car online through a major rental company, such as Budget, Triple Three Car Hire or Imperial, which operate across Namibia and at the international airport.

Namibia doesn’t require a tourist visa

You don’t need a visa to enter Namibia if you’re a tourist and staying for fewer than 90 days. Check your passport to make sure it is valid for at least six months beyond the intended stay in the country and that it has sufficient blank pages for entry and exit stamps.

Malaria is a risk depending on where in the country you visit

Check your vaccines

There’s no risk of yellow fever in Namibia, but if traveling there from a country with risk of yellow fever transmission or transiting for more than 12 hours through an airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission, travelers are required to have a yellow fever vaccination certificate.

Other recommended vaccines for traveling to Namibia include hepatitis A, hepatitis B, tetanus, typhoid, and rabies. Confirm that your routine vaccines and boosters, such as MMR, chickenpox, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, shingles and polio are up to date.

Bring malaria medication to Namibia’s north in the wet season

Malaria is a risk when visiting the north and northeast regions of Namibia during the wet season (November to June). You might need to start taking malaria medication several days before your trip, depending on the medicine your doctor prescribes. Check with your doctor about suitable anti-malarial tablets before visiting Namibia. There’s low to no risk of contracting malaria in the rest of the country, including the iconic Skeleton Coast.

View wildlife from a safe distance

Wildlife is, well, wild and unpredictable. If you’re on a safari tour, your guide will give you instructions and protocols to follow. If you opt for a self-drive safari, follow the park’s rules, most of which advise you to drive a safe distance from wildlife and to remain in your car unless you are in a designated area and it is safe to get out and walk.

Don’t drive between elephants in a herd, particularly if you see females with their young. If an animal seems disturbed or agitated, slowly back off.

Stay vigilant of your belongings when visiting Namibia’s cities

Namibia is a stable country, but to stay safe during your visit, you should be aware of your surroundings. Keep an eye on your possessions, particularly when exploring Windhoek and other town centers where pickpockets can target foreign tourists. Beware of scams, such as someone trying to divert your attention while an accomplice snatches your bag or phone.

It’s best not to bring expensive jewelry or watches to Namibia. Whenever possible, leave valuables in the hotel safe. Keep cameras, phones and large amounts of cash out of sight when moving around in public. Avoid changing large amounts of money in busy public areas, and if you’re paying by credit card, try to keep your card in full view to avoid the risk of cloning. To do so, insist that the card reader is placed in front of you.

If you’re renting a car, keep car doors locked and windows shut while waiting in traffic. Keep valuables out of sight during the day and never leave anything in the car when parking overnight.

Taxis are cheap, but know what you’re getting into

If you don’t have a rental car, taxis are a cheap and convenient way to get around in cities like Windhoek, Swakopmund and Walvis Bay. To operate legally, taxis must have a government registration. But that doesn’t stop anyone with a car from driving a “pirate taxi” in search of a fare. Sometimes these pirate taxis pick up more passengers during your ride. Ask your accommodations or tour operator to call a taxi for you or to recommend a reputable taxi company.

Before getting in the taxi, know your destination or ask the driver if they know how to get there, and always negotiate the fare in advance. Taxis don’t take credit cards, so make sure you have exact change because often drivers can’t break big bills and will require you to stop somewhere to get change. While riding in the cab, never place your bag or other belongings on the seat next to an open window; at a stop light someone in the street could reach in and snatch it.

Even in winter, temperatures are still high in Namibia

Be prepared for the heat, but don’t forget there’s a rainy season too

Namibia boasts on average 300 days of sunshine per year, with high temperatures no matter the season. Expect summer temperatures to reach 40°C, while winter temperatures hover around 25°C.

The coastal area, where the Namib Desert is located, is the driest region, as is the Kalahari Desert in the south. The air is humid and can get quite foggy along the coast, particularly in the early hours of the day. The northeast is the rainiest area of the country, with an average of 50 to 60cm of rainfall per year. The peak of the rainy season is from January to March.

Dress in earth tones

Keep your wardrobe for Namibia simple and practical. If you’re going on safari, muted earth colors such as beige, khaki and olive green are best because they blend into the environment. During a safari, particularly a walking one, avoid wearing bright or colorful clothing and perfume. Long sleeves protect you not only from the sun but also from mosquitoes and other insects. Shorts, T-shirts, comfortable pants and long skirts are a good bet for when you’re in town.

Pack a light jacket or sweater for early morning and evening outings, and a lightweight waterproof jacket in case of rain. Comfortable walking shoes are a must, as are hats and sunglasses. Don’t forget sunscreen, swimwear, lip balm and moisturizer.

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Sunday, 27 November 2022

South Africa: Heatherfield Manor - heritage architecture and contemporary art

Heatherfield Manor

Cape Town, South Africa

The Victorians were known as great collectors, so it feels fitting that the owners of this late Victorian architectural gem by Sir Herbert Baker channel that connoisseur spirit, albeit with contemporary South African art as their focus. From the moment you walk into each of the high-ceilinged rooms it’s a voyage of discovery – established artists on the international scene, emerging artists, anonymous prints fallen in love with in the back rooms of auction houses, commissioned works, Ardmore ceramics and family collectables. People and portraits are a recurring theme in a wide spectrum of styles – Marie Stander, Mia Chaplin, Johann Louw, Georgina Gratix, Kate Gottgens and Colbert Mashile are just a few of the artists you’ll encounter as you settle into this historic urban retreat.

Tucked between two churches on a hill, and once a parsonage, the substantial home is a sanctuary away from the city buzz, but still connected to it. It’s within walking distance of Kloof Street’s vibrant restaurant scene but opens on to secluded gardens, complete with a protected courtyard with Table Mountain views (gloriously scented with wisteria each spring). The only room where you are aware of the sounds of the city is in the gloriously old-school conservatory, with its huge arched windows, exotic plants and orchids. It’s truly timeless. ‘I wanted a room where I could drift off into another world,’ says the owner. ‘When guests arrive they tend to stop here and don’t want to move further. It’s a wonderful space to have tea, read your book or newspaper and play board games.’

This Victorian sensibility interpreted with contemporary quirkiness continues in the cosy study with its deep armchairs, fireplace, stuffed peacock and dark green walls chockful of large paintings. A Kate Gottgens called ‘At the Airport’, always reminds the owner of his travel experiences. The green shades are lighter and brighter in the kitchen, matching a fresh bamboo-patterned wallpaper in the adjoining breakfast room, and fade to light sage in the formal living room where ceramic parrots and tigers survey the scene, then a warm grey-green in the dining room, one wallpapered with a pine tree landscape blown up from a Dutch artwork.

Up the stately wooden staircase, presided over by a huge bolt of colour and always a talking point – a striking Matthew Hindley canvas – and another by Johann Louw, and Edith Bullen’s ‘The Protector’ as you walk towards the upstairs landing. Stained glass windows and a skylight open up this informal gallery space that adjoins three bedroom suites, each with access to balconies with striking views of Lion’s Head or Table Mountain.

The owners are animal lovers as well as art lovers, so you’ll be welcomed by resident cat, Duchess, and taken care of by full-time house manager, Joshua Chunga, both of whom make sure that Heatherfield Manor feels like a home-from-home. Two private garage parkings with direct access are the final luxury in this buzzy Cape Town location.

If you’re coming to Cape Town, you couldn’t find a more authentic gem than Heatherfield Manor. We thought we’d give you some insight into the owner’s collection and recommend you stay a while.

At Cape Town’s Heatherfield Manor, heritage architecture blends seamlessly with the owner’s contemporary art.

When did you start collecting art?

In about 2005 (by accident, actually). When I visited a friend I saw that there was an art auction advertised in the foyer of a hotel in Bantry Bay. I saw a particular work by the artist Adriaan Boshoff (French Bistro Scene), which I really liked. I attended the auction hoping to buy it – I didn’t know anything about auctions at the time. I left with nine paintings: I could not stop! I spent my entire ‘first company bonus’ that morning. I still have all of the works I bought that day. I have also met wonderful friends over the years, who are or were avid collectors who guided me and from whom I have learned. I'm a good student.

Which is your favourite piece?‍

There are many favourites. I bought one many years ago at a gallery in Franschhoek by the wonderful artist Marié Stander called ‘Marietjie Gaan Skool Toe’. It hangs in one of the bedrooms. I always wondered what was going through Marietjie’s mind at that moment and where she would be today. I tracked Marié down after buying this work and commissioned a complementary piece, which she did of Marietjie’s mother. Both works hang in the same room. I also love the work at the top of the landing of the staircase at home called ‘The Protector’ by the artist Edith Bullen. Maybe because of where it hangs and also because of its name. Then the very large work by Johann Louw on the staircase. The large artwork in my study is by Diane Victor. A very special and early work by Lionel Smit in the dining room of the face of the young boy. A work by Walter Meyer reminding me of the Karoo. I am a big fan of the work of Jake Aikman. The paintings in the one bedroom by the popular and talented Georgina Gratrix! The very large work in one of the dressing rooms by Peter Eastman. The David Brown sculptures. The large work in the study is by Colbert Mashile.‍

‍Tell me more about the large painting in the entrance.

Mmmm, initially, it was not my first choice. A very good friend, collector and art expert, Johann C Porer, saw it at the Investec Art Fair in Cape Town and recommended that I buy it. It grew on me, and is an excellent conversation piece as it hangs in the absolute right spot – guests always stop at this work to discuss it. The artist is the very talented Alexa Karakashian.

And more about Matthew Hindley’s piece opposite the staircase?

I’ve always loved his work. I was looking for something colourful that could fill the entire wall and create conversation, which I do think this work succeeds in doing. Every time you walk past the work you notice something new in it.

Tell us about the painting above the fireplace in the study.

It is by Kate Gottgens and is called ‘At the Airport’. It reminded me a lot of my own experiences. Because I travel a lot for work, I often sit at the airport wondering about the people I see there. I wanted the study painted dark and moody. It is also my clutter and memory room, with lots of things inherited, collected over the years or bought at auctions. I am an avid auction attendee and love walking to find shops with long-lost treasures! I also have a leather bag standing on an ottoman that my great grandfather made by hand in 1880, which has been passed down the generations. I have another Kate Gottgens in the dining room, which is a wonderful work I found at the SMAC Gallery in Stellenbosch – it reminded me so much of our childhood in the Karoo and Free State.

And what about the Ardmore?

I bought the Ardmore works many years ago at an exhibition at Groote Schuur. The process and the way they made it as explained to me at the time attracted me more than the name Ardmore, with which I was not familiar at the time. I was a very young man then. Since then I have become an avid follower of Ardmore and everything they do. The print of the young boy and dog behind it was found in a back room at an auction house. It was from previous auctions but did not sell. I was so excited with my find at that moment… it is not worth much, but still. I am known to walk into the back rooms of shops and auction houses that are not normally open to the public or on display.

Who was the painting of your mother done by?

Mia Chaplin: a young and very talented artist! I discovered her before she got signed up by the galleries. There is a bright future ahead of her. We sent her two separate photos of my mother and the dogs, because in the original photo my mother was actually holding a friend’s dogs. Mia brilliantly combined the photo of my mother and my dogs into one. Animals are another big love in our lives!

‍And the bamboo wallpaper and the paintings in the breakfast room?

Those happened by accident, but it works. The breakfast room was a bit dull and I was looking for something to fill the room and make it a bit warmer. We looked through various wallpaper books but could not find anything we liked. We were about to give up when I saw this at the back of one book. In this room there is also a favourite work by the talented young Chris Denovan of a lady who worked close to his office in Woodstock; he followed a very clever technique, as well. Chris is a great friend of mine and another artist with a bright feature.

We love the conservatory makeover and the colours – what inspired you?

I wanted a room where I could drift off into another world! When guests arrive they tend to stop in this room and don’t want to move further. It's a wonderful space to have tea, read your book or newspaper and play board games. I also love orchids and absolutely everything grows in this room. The idea was to have a cluttered room filled with cane furnishings, colour, worn carpets, lots of books and plants. You can also hear the street noises from here, which adds to the pleasures of city living. Seeing that I was painting everything green at the time, this room had to be green as well.

Can you tell me about the paintings on the landing upstairs?

There is a work by Christiaan Diedericks; I like its name: ‘Mother – I cannot sleep at night’; another work by Marié Stander, the wonderful and soulful artist living in Jamestown, Stellenbosch; and the clock is a work I bought a long time ago by Stephen Inggs.

You seem to have a passion for historic homes – what do you love the most about this one?

The memories, the history, maybe? I like anything old with history and soul. I also like to look after and nurture things. You may also notice a lot of portraits with facial expressions all over the house, which is another favourite. Saying this, I still want to build a very modern home one day because I also enjoy and appreciate modern architecture and structure.

And your favourite restaurants, within walking distance?

There are many and we always try to explore and experience them as they pop up in Kloof Street. Mana for breakfast! Liquorice and Lime for their cakes. Maharajah for their Indian food.

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Saturday, 26 November 2022

The 12 best things to do and places to explore in Namibia

The 12 best things to do and places to explore in Namibia

Garth Owen-Smith once said of the Kaokoveld, one of the wildest places in Namibia: ‘The region is stark and hostile, but in the early morning and late afternoon light, when the basalt rocks turn to the color of rust, and the distant mountains to soft shades of purple and blue, it can also be breathtakingly beautiful.’

It’s places and descriptions like that which have long lured South Africans to our northern neighbour. We go for the surreal landscapes, roadside cafes, unusual wildlife, and the sense of exploration that comes with a road trip into that vast and dazzling wilderness of Namibia. If you feel its pull, consider all of these stops well worth your time.

1. Explore the deserted town of Kolmanskop

This ghost town just outside of Luderitz is as eerie as it gets. The town sprung up in the desert when diamonds were found littering the dunes, but when bigger diamonds were discovered elsewhere in Namibia, the town’s inhabitants moved on. The last people left around 60 years ago and since then, the desert has taken over the buildings. You can go on a tour of the bowling alley, dairy, butchery, town hall, and some of the houses, learning about how the 300 Germans lived in the inhospitable environment.

2. Hike the Fish River Canyon

As one of the largest canyons in the world, the Fish River Canyon makes for one of the most unique hiking trails in Africa. Its surreal landscape will make even the most blasé of travellers fall in love with this place. The canyon is a whopping 160km long and almost 30km wide, giving you some of the most dramatic scenery in the world to enjoy. There are a few trails to hike and vary depending on how tough you’d like your hike to be.

3. Spend a morning or three at Etosha National Park

Etosha National Park covers more than 20, 000 sq-km and is one of the most unique reserves in Africa. Everything revolves around the watering holes bringing all animals close together to drink. At dusk, you’ll find all kinds of species of animals making their way to the waterhole for a drink. The wildlife activity goes on all night with elephants, giraffes, rhinos, and even lions if you are lucky.

4. Just drive

The D826 and C27 are considered the most scenic roads in the whole country. Think long, straight, red, dusty roads surrounded by mountains, silvery swathes of grassy plains punctuated with terracotta dunes. And silence. You’ll only pass a car occasionally.

5. Hike the Tok Tokkie Trail

This three-day desert experience will see you walk for the day over sand dunes and in the vast landscape of the NamibRand Nature Reserve. Camps include a semi-permanent kitchen set up on a hill with ‘bedrooms’ spread out from it, which consist of two stretchers with bedrolls and a paraffin lamp. Think three-course meals, fantastic guides, hot water bottles, stargazing and waking up to a sunrise from bed.

6. Hot air balloon over the Namib Desert

Taking off at dawn, you’ll watch the sunrise over the Namib-Naukluft National Park, fly over dunes that look otherworldly, gaze down on gemsbok and drift over the endless spans of orange dunes contrasting with a large white salt pan island. A bird’s eye view of the massive desert and both its rocky and sandy character puts Sossusvlei into perspective.

7. Climb a dune at Sossusvlei

Dune 45 is 150 m of burning orange sand dune in Sossusvlei. Hiking to the top won’t be the easiest morning you have in Namibia but the sunrise from the top is worth it. This is what many visitors to Namibia come to see – the iconic red dunes of the Namib. The nearby Dead Vlei – a big cracked mud plain dotted with dead trees – is just as captivating. The trees are thought to be around 1,000 years old. They’re not petrified, but rather haven’t decomposed because the air is so dry here. 

8. Relax in Swakopmund

Namibia is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world, but this seaside city of 44,000 people is a must-visit while in the country. The town has a relaxed atmosphere with lots of local eateries and specialty shops. It’s an excellent place to base yourself for a few days with lots of top attractions nearby.

9. Wonder at the rock art at Twyfelfontein

ǀUi-ǁAis is the official name for the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Twyfelfontein and is the largest concentration of rock carvings (2,500) in all of Africa – and totally worth a visit when you’re in Namibia. With prehistoric hunter-gatherer rock engravings that date back more than 6000 years and petrified forests at its doorstep, Twyfelfontein makes an obvious choice for travellers wanting to explore one of Namibia’s most enigmatic locations. Just make sure to pack lots of water and an umbrella and hats. There’s little to no shade around there and it can get very hot around midday.

10. Marvel at the Cape Cross seals

It’s not just lions and elephants that you can see in Namibia – the coast is famous for the Cape Cross Seal Reserve, a place where you can come and see 100s of Cape Fur Seals. The Benguela current is home to a big population of fish so you can rest assured that the seals aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

11. Climb at Spitzkoppe

Known locally as the Matterhorn of the south, Spitzkoppe is a 120 million-year-old chunk of granite that springs out of the desert floor. It’s a 1,784-metre tall rock formation surrounded by nothing but miles and miles of flat desert. If you make a visit, staying the night is a must and choose between a chalet at Spitzkoppe Lodge or the campsite. 

12. Stargaze in the desert

The dry cool desert air at night is perfect for gazing up into the night sky. Without moisture in the air, the night sky is crystal clear and stars are very visible. If you want to stargaze, try plan your time during a new moon as the less light in the sky will make the stars shine even brighter.

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