Following in the footsteps of Alfred Russel Wallace
June 15, 2023
New Year’s Eve: a night of seemingly infinite overcrowding and overpricing. As Christmas passes and January beckons, it’s an ideal time to get away and experience something new. Alive with colour and wildlife, Namibia and Senegal are a real departure from the New Year’s norm. These African gems are sure to inspire and excite even the most seasoned traveller with their diversity and flair. From safaris to street parties; it’s time to welcome 2018 from a new perspective.
As New Year becomes more and more commercialised, and the price of drinks inevitably skyrockets, dodging the chaos seems more and more appealing.
Nestled in the north of Namibia, Etosha National Park is an ideal choice for an unforgettable New Year. A million miles from pulsing cities and ill-fated resolutions, this tourist hotspot goes back to its roots during the winter months. Gone are the heaving crowds of July and August, leaving Namibia’s best game reserve practically deserted.
In Etosha, the winter traveller can spend New Year’s Eve at a floodlit waterhole. Located just a stone’s throw from the overnight camp, it is thought to be one of the best game viewing experiences in Southern Africa. The spot is popular with elephants, rhinos, lions and many of the other 114 species of mammal which call the park home. With a salt flat so vast it can be seen from space, Etosha has a variety and vibrancy which few experiences can hope to match. Whether you’re a wildlife fanatic or simply an outdoor type, Etosha is sure to bring you into 2018 with a smile on your face.
Dakar, Senegal’s capital, is the cosmopolitan jewel of Western Africa. A cultural experience all year round, New Year’s festivities take this vibrant city up a notch. Locals decorate their houses in traditional colours and street vendors, of handicrafts and food alike, do a roaring trade. The winding streets and promenades, lit by colourful lanterns, snake towards Independence Square; the heart of the carnival atmosphere. Throughout the festive period the square is home to events from folk dancing to organised concerts. New Year’s Eve itself sees locals, young and old, gather to watch the midnight launch of an impressive firework display. For the more musically minded, there is the famous Abene Festival. Now in its 12th year, this ten day festival is a true celebration of Senegalese culture. Drumming groups perform each evening, often adding a theatrical twist to their routines, followed by a disco which carries the party late into the night. Alongside the music and dance, sports and local art are also brought to the fore.
A million miles from a traditional New Year’s Eve, the streets of Senegal are sure to blow your mind.
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