What to pack for an African safari holiday
6th May 2023
There are many reasons why Namibia is the perfect honeymoon destination. If you are after spectacular scenery, incredible wildlife, night skies that give you goosebumps and experiences you will never forget… then read on.
Our local experts in Namibia have gathered together some of the best things to do within their borders, perfect for the ultimate honeymoon. Here we’ve picked out our top ten to help inspire your holiday plans.
The towering dunes of Sossusvlei are perhaps one of Namibia’s most iconic features. Most reach around 400 metres or more, and their red sands contrast spectacularly with the bright blue sky. Keep your eyes peeled for the desert wildlife of ostrich, gemsbok (oryx) and springbok, each perfectly adapted for the barren desert environment. Climb Big Daddy, one of the tallest dunes or – if you truly want a magical experience – you can take a scenic flight or hot air balloon ride over them, or sit down to a champagne breakfast surrounded by the sandy slopes…
All over Namibia, the stargazing is truly spectacular – NamibRand Nature Reserve is also Africa’s only International Dark Sky Reserve. The vast empty spaces mean that there is very little light pollution and clouds rarely gather to obscure the night sky. Make sure you set aside some time to simply sit outside and admire the infinite number of stars to be seen. Count comets and asteroids as they burn through the atmosphere, and marvel at the Milky Way… here, it is clearer than you’ll have ever seen it before.
Safari is a fantastic experience to share with a loved one. Watch startled zebras gallop across a dusty plain, admire the rangey grace of giraffes, hear the huff of lions echo through the night as you rest safely in your lodge, gaze at elephants as they stroll through rhino, antelope, zebra and countless birdlife to quench their thirst at a watering hole… Etosha National Park is packed with wildlife! Count the four of Africa’s Big Five to be found there – lion, buffalo, elephant and rhino – and keep your eyes peeled for other big cats such as cheetah and leopard.
Though the name may not seem the most appealing, Deadvlei is actually a strikingly beautiful area near Sossusvlei, where the blackened skeletons of ancient camel thorn trees stand silhouetted against a white clay pan. The area was actually once a little oasis until an ancient river changed direction with little warning, leaving the trees stranded with no water to sustain them. The climate is so dry that they never decomposed and now – some 900 years later – they’re preserved by heat, their bark blackened by the sun’s glare. Don’t forget to pack your camera when you visit; the white pan, black trees, red dunes and blue sky make a stunning composition.
Namibia’s coastline is another of its claims to fame, and how better to explore it than from on board a catamaran. Climb aboard in Swakopmund and head to Pelican Point, Walvis Bay or the shores of the Namib-Naukluft National Park. On your voyage you are likely to spot bottlenose or Heaviside dolphins, the common mola (sunfish), pelicans, gulls and even whales like humpbacks or southern rights when you travel in the correct season. While on board, you can sip on sparkling wine and dine on the finest of oysters as well as other delightful morsels… delicious.
Explore the desert on four wheels by taking a quad bike tour through the dunes. You can choose how hard-core you want to go – tours vary in length from 45 minutes to overnight expeditions and can be designed for every kind of thrill seeker. Adrenaline junkies will love scaling the dunes at speed while those with more sedate tastes but a love of nature can explore the sands at a slower pace, keeping their eyes peeled for desert animals and plantlife.
If you think snowboarding is fun, then you have to try sandboarding! That being said, neither of you need any previous boarding experience to partake in this thrilling activity, as you can choose to stand or lie down as you whizz down the dunes. The brave can reach speeds of up to 80 km/h but you don’t have to go hell for leather if you don’t want to – there are different slopes and runs to choose from to suit your adrenaline-junkie levels.
Get even closer to the water and with it a more intimate insight into the marine life of Namibia by setting out in a kayak to explore the coast. As with the catamaran tour, you are likely to see dolphins and seals amongst plenty of other wildlife. In fact, the seals see absolutely no threat in the kayaks, and when you paddle to their colonies they are likely to come out and swim playfully around you. A lovely memorable experience to share.
If either of you get goosebumps from being surrounded by ancient history, then make sure you pay a visit to the UNESCO recognised rock art at Twyfelfontein. It is estimated that this north-eastern area of Namibia was home to a Stone Age population around 6,000 years ago, the some 2,500 rock carvings and paintings giving clues as to how abundant the wildlife was at the time. You will see ancient drawings of lions, elephants, giraffe and antelope… a rather uncanny thought as you stand in a land of baked red rock and scrub grass.
For those couples that love big cats, a visit to the AfriCat Foundation is a must. It was founded by the Hanssen family, who made it their mission to better understand the needs and movements of Namibia’s carnivores in order to protect farmers’ livestock as well as the big cats being persecuted for hunting them. They believe in conservation by education, and visiting their foundation is a true eye-opener. You also have a far greater chance of spotting your favourite African big cat while on the Okonjima Nature Reserve where they are based.
Make it happen
If you are planning your honeymoon and like the sound of Namibia, then get in touch with our local experts. They have planned a fantastic sample itinerary to inspire you, and can create you a bespoke tailor-made holiday at the drop of a hat. Remember to plan in advance for Namibia – there is limited accommodation so it tends to book up quite quickly. We recommend planning a year in advance to avoid disappointment. To speak to someone in the TravelLocal office, please call +44 (0) 117 325 7898.