I adulation animals and wish to go to Africa, but it just seems impossible.

Well the aboriginal footfall to accepting over the abstraction that it’s apparent absurd to go to Africa is that it’s not as alien as you ability think… well, arrangement of. I beggarly it absolutely is still alien and far-flung, with an air of crisis and affair befuddled in? Sure. But is it so altered that annihilation will be like home and you’ll feel absent and out of your aspect and home-sick while 10,000km from your home? Nope, apparently not. And for those who aren’t approved apple trotters alive the itinerant life, that is abundant news.

You see, Africa was colonized by abounding altered European countries and they’ve all larboard their mark. The Romans and Greeks baffled abundant of Northern Africa at assorted times, and you can even acquisition examples of this in admixture cuisine such as Italian/Ethiopian restaurants in America. The Dutch and the English both colonized South Africa, they allege Portuguese in Angola because that’s who came in and colonized (same with Brazil), the West of Africa was abundantly colonized by France (they even had some of America if you bethink – Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Quebec, Montreal, etc.), and the country we’re absorption on – Namibia – was colonized by Germans. “Now, that’s all able-bodied and great”, you’re thinking, “but what the hell does this accept to do with me?”. Simple – lots of Europeans already appointment countries breadth their ancestors colonized. They allege the accent and about apperceive somebody. So while Africa is in accustomed still all-inclusive and untamed, you can absolutely get a bratwurst and a lager during your cruise through Namibia. Sure, you can consistently eat some gazelle or adjudicator too to accomplish it added thrilling, but if you feel alone and wish something familiar, you can absolutely acquisition it.

Now that that’s covered, you ability be afraid to acquisition out how simple it is to get there. There are lots of absolute flights from New York to Cape Boondocks and Johannesburg, and from there it’s no botheration aerial to Namibia’s basic city-limits of Windhoek. There are lots of traditional, European-style hotels there and the US dollar is appealing abundant accustomed everywhere. Namibia’s government is aswell angry to South Africa’s so they’re a bit added abiding than the boilerplate African country. Namibia even has a acceptable alley arrangement and it’s artery signs and admonition were installed with all the accurateness and capability the Germans could muster, which is adage something. All in all, Namibia is possibly the absolute abode to analyze Africa and its wonders.

Okay I can get there, but what about the rebels?

Well accept it or not, not every country in Africa is war-torn and in connected civilian war with rebels alive down every artery aggressive you with AK-47s or lions on leashes. I apperceive this ability blast your apple view, but some countries are appealing able-bodied run. The bigger affair for Namibia is its antecedent Apartheid government it aggregate with South Africa, but that of advance has been clearly over for a while now, and instead of absinthian acerbity it seems like anybody there is just blessed to accept it be done. Abiding some countries are bigger larboard un-seen for the accidental traveler, but Namibia is affluence safe.

Now, that accepting said, Namibia is aswell all-inclusive and sparsely populated. So while it’s safe on a animal level, the countryside and animals can be dangerous. However because of this, anybody is consistently on the anchor for anniversary other. I don’t anticipate I anytime pulled over to analysis a map breadth anyone that anesthetized didn’t stop to accomplish abiding I was okay. It’s just the way it is out there – you accept to attending out for anniversary other.

So why should I go to Namibia if I’ve never even heard of the place?

Good question! Let me acquaint you a little bit about my cruise there.

After landing at Windhoek’s Eros airport, I got a rental corpuscle phone, begin my ride to the rental car annex and took off. Rental cars are absolutely a acceptable advantage in Namibia. They don’t accept abundant accessible alteration and the anchorage are about in acceptable condition. So I had a agleam Toyota Corolla cat-and-mouse to yield me on my carnival dreams if I arrived. I know, I apperceive – a Corolla isn’t absolutely what you anticipate of if you anticipate carnival in Africa. But what can I say, I was by myself and abate cars are cheaper. Plus this affair was a bit beefier than a Arctic American corolla. Assurance me, the car is apparently added up to the claiming of alive in Namibia than you are. Case in point, it survived my blast no problem. I beggarly it wasn’t a huge crash, but still. Ancillary note: abolition your car into the employee’s breach table afore you even leave the rental car lot is not a abundant way to brainwash assurance in a rental car company. Damn the driver’s bench accepting on the appropriate and alive with the left!

Cars are to Namibians as horses were to cowboys in the American West. Already you’re out in the country, you basically reside and die by your car, so be acceptable to it. You’ll be with it a lot too – the anchorage are able-bodied kept but they’re still not an artery freeway system. Anticipate of how alive is in Ireland and you’ll get the picture. Budget added time than you anticipate it’ll yield to get some breadth and be abiding to aces up some maps at the rental car office.

Don’t be afraid if you see lots of guys in official Jeep or Mercedes shirts blind around, or cars with black-out bandage all over them. Namibia is breadth abounding car companies analysis prototypes for calefaction and asperous roads, and has some of the best off-roading trails in the apple to accord SUVs a able workout. See what I’m adage about cars and Namibia? They just go together.

After blockage out city-limits Windhoek and stocking up on aliment at a bounded grocery store, I went to bed aboriginal to get a jump branch on branch out to the country and on traffic. I didn’t wish anyone about while I was acquirements to drive on the left. I was off to Sossusvlei in the South to see a real, honest-to-God desert. Taking B1 out of town, you’ll see lots of hills and ravines, boulders the admeasurement of houses broadcast actuality and there – absolutely a barbecue for the eyes. But the awful to C24 is breadth the absolute fun starts. Honestly this alley could be the newest date of the Apple Rally Championships. It’s a clay alley that makes the best board roller-coaster anxious of all its zips and zags. It runs through the Naukluft mountains, whose breadth looks like a channelled up section of paper. There was even one acropolis abrupt abundant (though alone about 30ft height) that I couldn’t get up in 1st gear! I had to about-face and try afresh with added of a alive start. Fun driving, but you’re absolutely accessible for a blow if you get to solitaire.

When you arch to Sossusvlei, be abiding to arch there as aboriginal as you can in the morning for two reasons. First, because the sun hitting the beach dunes at an astute bend makes for some actual affecting and admirable lighting. Second, could cause you’ll wish to ascend those dunes and backpack the vleis afore it gets baking hot outside. Miss either of these and you’ll absolutely be disappointed.

Sossusvlei is just one of abounding vleis in the area. I took the arid bear over to them and saw Dead vlei, Sossusvlei and abounding abate vleis. The vleis, by the way, are pans of broiled clay and rock. There is so little condensate and so abundant dehydration that it sucks all the damp out of the arena until it is abundant added like accursed ceramics or bricks. About annihilation can abound in them and they are mostly arid boscage amidst by aerial (up to 1,000ft) beach dunes. Actual forbidding, actual deadly, and actual beautiful.

After a day in the arid and adequate the night abroad with French travelers blockage at the aforementioned bedfellow acreage as I, it was time to move on to achieve cooler. Swakopmund is a day-tripper boondocks in Namibia for absolutely the adverse acumen Florida and S. California are for Arctic Americans – it’s algid there. At atomic it is compared to the baking chastening about it, and not alone is it cold, it’s aswell wet. A accepted of freezing baptize from Antarctica makes it’s way arctic forth the bank of South Africa and Namibia. It assuredly warms a bit and rises up alfresco of Swakopmund, cooling the air about it authoritative an air conditioner for the accomplished city. If the air-conditioned air hits the hot arid air alarming in, it makes prodigous amounts of fog. All this adds up to absolutely an arrangement of acreage and sea life, and makes Swakopmund not alone a destination for its temperature, but aswell for it’s anatomy and a booming chance arena to analyze and accept fun in all the breadth offers.

For a abundant apres-adventure beer, arch to the accurate German Brewhaus. Wurst of every appearance and size, beer abounding down waterfalls into 5 liter glasses served with a ancillary of leiderhosen and a polka bandage for every table! Okay, it ability not be that German, but this is absolutely the absolute deal. Appear for the beer, adore the aliment and adulation the reside music provided by bashed over-landers.

Sounds fun, but if I’m traveling all the way to Africa, I’m traveling to see some big animals!

Oh appear on, you absolutely wish it all don’t you? And I accept you wish 5-star dinners with that, and clandestine aeroplane rides over the a lot of agitative areas of the country as well? Able-bodied you’re in luck. You can accept all of that if you want, and Etosha is the name of the bold if it’s time to Carnival in Namibia.

Etosha is a aberrant salt-pan in the arctic of the country, with an even beyond civic esplanade surrounding it. It’s able-bodied accepted for bold examination in the dry winter, if animals appear in droves to the counterfeit watering holes. In the summer, it becomes a birders paradise as the pan floods and bags of birds (including ample flocks of flamingos) appear to wade.

I gave myself a bit of a amusement and backward at a affluence abode just alfresco of the park. Corpuscle arresting isn’t able in the arctic so I wasn’t able to ask for added specific admonition as I got close. Torrential cloudburst fabricated the anchorage blubbery with mud and the Corolla was accepting some agitation on the clay if I assuredly begin the about-face off for the lodge. As I was aggravating to acquaint with some locals who batten no English and couldn’t appreciate what I was accomplishing in the country in a 4×2, and VW minibus comes disturbing down the alley and through the gateway, followed by a aggressive vehicle. A huge old German in fatigues gets out, boring starts smoker a cigarette and absolutely – about strategically – gives admonition to the addled VW denizens, his help, and myself at the aforementioned time. “You’re searching for Nauanaua?” he says as added of a advancement than a question, application The Force like he’s Darth Vader. “I plan for Nauanaua…I will get you there. Esplanade abaft the fence”, he says, motioning to the electrified and razor-wired fence he just collection through. And just as I’m dispatch into the car, blessed to get out of the rain, “No wait! You cannot esplanade in there. There are elephants in there… KABOOM Lightning strike! angelic applesauce I’m in Jurassic-freaking-Park!! Afterwards the abashed Germans and I get into the aggressive vehicle, it’s a comfortable ride acclivous through waist-deep mud, about sideways, consistently with all differentials locked, fogged-over windshield and connected baptize decrepit on us through the roof. We fabricated baby allocution about whether we just got kidnapped by a Survivalist or not, and if we’d all be eaten by the elephants. However already at Nauanaua, all fears were put to rest. The admirable wife of the old German in fatigues (together, they’re the owners) accustomed us with accessible accoutrements and fruity drinks. Ahhh, what a way to about-face a asperous day absolutely around! Here’s to Africa.

Once you’ve fabricated it into Etosha, the apple seems to accessible up a bit. There are continued anchorage traveling out in all directions, and slow-motion alive becomes the name of the game. Yield your time, go apathetic and try to atom animals out in the ambit and delay for them to appear closer. Bethink that the animals are in allegation – if they’re blocking your aisle on the road, delay for them to clear. Accepting accommodating will about get you bigger photo ops as well.

You can affected central the park, and I’d acclaim it for best carnival time. There are four camps with both hotels and campgrounds, and all accept aflame watering holes for bold viewing. The animals are a lot of alive at night, so this can be a abundant opportunity. You can aswell go on guided carnival through the camps or any of the lodges surrounding Etosha, which can be a acceptable advantage aback they about apperceive the esplanade and animals intimately.

After the big carnival experience, it was already afresh to Windhoek for one endure night afore winging my way aback to America. Now this is breadth accepting a GPS with my car would’ve been actual handy. I collection all over the city-limits breadth for over two and a bisected hours aggravating to acquisition the rental car lot. I had a abundant map of Windhoek and their address, but the two just never seemed to applesauce with the absoluteness of the streets. And up to this point award anyone who batten appropriate English wasn’t hard, but of advance this time every business I chock-full at for admonition it was German, Afrikaans, or bust. Eventually I begin it, they were all blessed (surprised?) to see that I fabricated it aback in one piece, and got my shuttle to the hotel.

And what a auberge it was! I capital to absorb my endure night at The Heinitzburg, an old German-built alcazar perched on a acropolis top aloft the city-limits (and the alone Relais & Chteaux auberge in the country), indulging in affluence afterwards my solo-safari acquaintance but alas, it was not to be. I had to “make due” with the Executive Suite at the Olive Grove instead. Simply admirable apartment and agents – abiding it was a bit added cher than the rest, but every already in a while you accept to splurge, right? Especially on the endure night of your African adventure, and I achievement you do the same.