Situated in the far north of Namibia, the Caprivi is about 450km long, connecting the 4 bordering countries (Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana), through the rivers of the Okavango, Kwando, Chobe and Zambezi, also gateway to the famous Victoria Falls.
The Caprivi strip mainly consists of wetlands and rivers, and home to a large collection of wildlife and spectacular birdlife.
ETOSHA NATIONAL PARK
Etosha was first established in 1907 (the word Etosha meaning huge, white area). Originally the park extended an impressive 100 000 km2 (38 500 mile2) making it the largest game reserve in the world, but due to political considerations the size was reduced to a modest (but still impressive) 23 175km2.
The Etosha Pan dominates the park and is roughly 130km long and as wide as 50km in some places.
The permanent inhabitants of the pan are limited by the hypersaline conditions. Climatic changes have severely lowered the water level of the pan and now only holds water for a very brief period during the summer - during which flamingos and pelicans can be seen.
This vast area is home to 93 mammal species (Etosha is well known for its endemic Black Faced Impala) and 340 bird species. The park is also famous for being one of the last sanctuaries to house endangered wild black rhinoceros.
Damaraland is one of the most scenic, ruggedly untamed areas in Namibia. Here you will find historic water courses, open grassland plains, deep gorges and massive granite koppies.
These endless sandy wastes are magically able to sustain small, but wide-ranging dessert-adapted elephant, black rhino, giraffe, ostrich and springbok to name a few. The animals have adapted their lifestyles to survive the harsh, almost waterless desert conditions.
The Petrified Forest is described as an occurrence of fossilized trees found in old river channels.
It is neither a forest in the true sense nor did any of the trees turn to stone. In prehistoric times tree trunks were washed down river and deposited in alluvial sands, isolated from any air, the process of diagenesis took place and as a result the sand came under pressure through sedimentation and turned into sandstone. The trees then underwent another process known as silicification (liquids seep into the wood and cause the organic materials of the wood to dissolve and be replaced by silicic acid) fossilizing the wood by turning it into stone.
The Petrified Forest was proclaimed a national monument on March 1st 1950.
Organ Pipes Valley
Molten rock was pushed through the earth’s surface and the outer edges were quickly cooled. The movement of the innermost magma was restricted to vertical movement only. As it cooled and contracted the rock split vertically, forming columns.
Burnt Mountain and White Lady rock paintings
The Burnt Mountain (Namibia’s highest mountain) got its name from its glowing colour which is sometimes seen in the setting sun.
During the same period when the Organ Pipes were formed, volcanic lava intruded limestones and caused metamorphism giving the mountain its distinctive black (burned) colour.
Damaraland (and most of southern Africa) experienced underground volcanic activity, frequently pushing magma up through the earth’s crust at temperatures exceeding 1 000 degrees Celsius.
A particular upthrust of magma encountered the layers of shale, (literally) baking it into a black compacted sedimentary rock.
The White Lady rock paintings are located on a small rock overhang deep within the Burnt Mountain. The bushmen paintings are believed to depict some sort of ritual dance and that the “White Lady” is a shaman - traditional medicine woman.
Twyfelfontein (in Afrikaans meaning uncertain spring and in Damara meaning jumping waterhole) is a site of ancient rock engravings. The valley was inhabited by Stone-age hunter-gatherers, and it is believed that they made most of the engravings and paintings.
Topographer Reinhard Maack (who also discovered the White Lady paintings) reported the presence of rock engravings in the area in 1921. In 1950, Ernest Rudolph Scherz found over 2500 rock engravings on 212 sandstone slabs, today it is estimated that the site contains more than 5000 individual depictions.
The Skeleton Coast is the northern part of the Atlantic Ocean coast of Namibia and south of Angola from the Kunene river. The Bushmen of the Namibian interior called this region “the land God created in anger”, whilst Portuguese sailors once referred to it as “the gates of hell”.
The coast is named after the bleached whale and seal bones which cover the shore when the whaling industry was still active, as well as the skeletal shipwrecks caused by rocks offshore in the fog. On the coast the upwelling of the cold Benguela current gives rise to the dense ocean fog during much of the year.
Swakopund is a German colonial beach resort founded in 1892 as the main harbour for German South-West Africa and the most part of this coastal town is still German speaking today.
Attractions at Swakopmund include the Swakopmund Museum, the National Marine Aquarium, the Crystal Gallery and spectacular dunes near Langstrand (perfect spot for dune surfing and 4x4 dune quad biking). Here you can enjoy a cool breeze while sipping on sundowners during a breath-taking Catamaran cruise or enjoy some never-before-seen places on horse- or camelback, afterwards indulging in a hearty meal at some of the country’s best German restaurants.
The Namib-Naukluft National Park is a national park encompassing part of the Namib desert and the Naukluft mountain range. With an overall area of 49 768km2 the Namib-Naukluft is the largest game park in Africa and the fourth largest in the world. The most popular site being Sossusvlei (the main visitor attraction in Namibia).
The Sossusvlei is a salt and clay pan surrounded by high red dunes, located in the southern part of the Namib Desert.
Access to the Sossusvlei area of the Namib-Naukluft Park is from the Sesriem gate, which is in the surroundings of the great Fish River canyon.
Windhoek is the capital and largest city in the Republic of Namibia. It is located in the central of Namibia. Windhoek is the social, economic, and cultural centre of the country. Namibia gained independence from South Africa in 1990, since then the city gained massive growth and development.