The activities and attractions vary like the size of the Namibian towns and cities. Opportunities range from extensive shopping tours, exquisite dinners over dolphin cruises, quad biking to desert walks or just enjoying the stars in tranquility and silence.
Central Towns and Cities of Namibia
WindhoekThe capital city of Namibia, Windhoek, is one of Africa's cleanest and safest cities. It is the largest in Namibia with a population of about 250 000 inhabitants. Situated in a valley surrounded by the Eros and Auas Mountains, with the Khomas Highland in the west, Windhoek's architecture is a blend of both modern and German colonial era.
The German language and culture is still an influence in many ways. German restaurants serve traditional meals, beer and bread and the language can be spoken in addition to the official language, English. Local Township tours give a unique perspective in to everyday life.
There are many interesting sights in the city, amongst them visitors can see the Ink Palace or Tintenpalast, the Christ Church or Christuskirche, the monumental Supreme Court Building and the Reiterdenkmal. The Old Fort Alte Feste - which is now the National Museum and the National College of the Arts are some of the oldest buildings.
Heroes Acre on the road to Rehoboth is one of the most modern National symbols. The Botanical Gardens and Zoo Park are popular places to relax. Windhoek Hosea Kutako International Airport is located 45km (28 miles) north-east of the city.
SwakopmundSwakopmund is a very popular Namibian seaside resort with a pleasant summer temperature. The water is usually a bit chilly for swimming due to the cold Benguela current and a fog hovers over the town until around midday. There are many interesting historic buildings and a lighthouse standing 21 metres high.One of the newest attractions is the aquarium giving examples of marine life along the Namibian coast; visitors can see sharks and stingrays. The drives along the dune lined coastline north or south are very scenic. Of interest also is the Welwitschia Drive which goes to the Moon Landscape at the Swakop River and further north into the Namib Naukluft Park.
This is the town where the desert meets the ocean. Dunes and crystal clear water invite the visitors to take part in various outdoor activities, like quad biking, sand-boarding or dolphin cruises.
Walvis BayWalvis Bay is a busy harbour town with a thriving fishing industry and sea salt production plant, there are many good restaurants, cafes and bars and a variety of affordable and comfortable accommodation options. One of the biggest attractions is the large natural Lagoon where thousands of seabirds, both resident and migratory, flourish. Flamingos and Pelicans are joined by at least 200 000 migratory species.The Langstrand is the 30km (19 miles) drive along the Namibian coast to Swakopmund. This drive is one of the most scenic in the country and a must for visitors on their way to a Namibia resort holiday. The famous Dune 7 on the outskirts of the town is the highest sand dune in the area; once visitors have climbed to the top they can enjoy a great view.
Sandwich Harbour is about 45 minutes drive away for intrepid 4x4 drivers only, once there visitors can enjoy the angling and freshwater lagoon.
OkahandjaThis is a small town on 70km (43 miles) north of Windhoek and is located at the sandy riverbed of the Okavango River; it is the commercial centre of this area. Once a year there is a colourful local festival on the Sunday before 26 August, called Maharero Day, great festivities are held to honour the ancestors of Okahandja. Arts and crafts can be found at 2 centres in the town. About 30 minutes away in the south-west are the hot springs of Gross Barmen.
KaribibThis town is situated on the highway between Windhoek and Swakopmund, Karibib is most famous for its marble quarries and the Black Marble mined here, the only place it is found in the world. Gold is also mined here. The Henckert Tourist Centre in Main Street is worth visiting, as displayed on large grounds, are the greatest offers in jewellery, precious and semi-precious stones.
OmaruruNorth of Karibib is the small town of Omaruru on the Omaruru River. Due to an excellent groundwater supply, this town appears lush and green despite the fact that the river is usually dry. Artists and crafters have made this town their home, giving it an international feel. Karen Johnston, an American jewellery designer and artist has established a unique art and craft centre and coffee shop in the Main Road, really quite unlike any other. In the Erongo Mountains nearby there are a number of interesting caves to explore.
GobabisGobabis is about 200km (124 miles) east of Windhoek and is the centre for this region. Located nearby is an orphanage for big cats and other wild animals called the Harnas Lion, Leopard and Cheetah Farm.
Gobabis is a good stopover on the way to Johannesburg passing through Botswana via the border post of Buitpos which is a further 110km (68 miles). This route is now quicker than in the past (due to the Kalahari highway) but facilities in Botswana are limited and the countryside fairly featureless, more interesting routes are via Maun and Nata in the north-east of Namibia.
Northern And Eastern Towns and Cities of Namibia
KhorixasKhorixas is the centre of Damaraland, it has a petrol station, some shops and some accommodation but it is most noted for certain attractions in the area. A National Monument called Twyfelfontein or 'Doubtful Spring'About lies 90km (56 miles) west of Khorixas.
It has a most extensive gallery of rock engravings, the most in the world. The age of these engravings has not been fully determined but the estimate is around 6000 years old. Not far from Twyfelfontein visitors can see the basalt columns called the Organ Pipes' and a 'Petrified Forest' where the tree trunks are about 300 million years old.
In the South about 150km (93 miles) from Khorixas is the highest mountain in Namibia, the Brandberg Massif, with a peak 2573 metres high called Knigstein.
OtjiwarongoThis town is 250km (155 miles) from Windhoek and 50km (31 miles) west of the Waterberg Plateau. The little town is quite green, prosperous and neat. In this area are some of Namibia's most luxurious lodges, integrated with reputable private game farms and reserves.
There is a crocodile farm here and also a Cheetah Conservation Trust / Information centre and the AfriCat Foundation for the protection of big cats in Africa.
OutjoJust 100km (62 miles) from Etosha, this little town has all major banks, good restaurants, a hospital, hotels, supermarkets and petrol stations and a wonderful German bakery that produces Black Forest cake, fresh rolls and light snack.
GrootfonteinGootfontein is on the main road between Windhoek and the Caprivi Strip, and makes an ideal overnight stop. The town has lush greenery and beautiful Jacaranda Trees that bloom in spring. There is a good museum in town housed in an old fortress, and most notably, the largest meteorite ever found is located half and hour away, where it fell, 80 000 years ago the farm is now called Hoba.
TsumebAnother oasis-like accommodation stopping point, close to Etosha, and on the way to Caprivi and also the far north, Tsumeb is famous for its mining industry with rare minerals - the highest variety in the world, the local museum is a good place to find out more. Visitors can watch crafters at work or venture out to the north-west to see mysterious Otjikoto Lake.
Katima MuliloThis town is the centre of the eastern Caprivi; it is located on the banks of the Zambezi River, a wonderful area for fishing, boating, kayaking and birding. There is an airport and the road through here is a good link to Livingstone and Victoria Falls. Market goods can be found here and also art and craft.
RunduRundu is situated on the Okavango Riverbank and is also called the gateway to the Caprivi. It is the centre for this area with beautiful scenery and wonderful sunsets. Activities on offer include canoeing and boating - although no swimming due to crocodiles, hiking, also arts and crafts can be found in the town. This is the ideal place to fill up with petrol and shop for groceries visitors should stock up wisely as there is really nothing else between here and Katima Mulilo.
OshakatiOshakati is the administrative centre for this part of the far north of Namibia, with flat and green landscapes. It has modern shopping centres, hotels, banks and some soccer stadiums, there is also a large market with an African flavour along the main road where just about anything can be bought and roadside food is available. The Tsandi Royal Homestead nearby gives insight into Royal families in this area.
KeetmanshoopSituated 500km (311 miles) south of Windhoek, Keetmanshoop is the economic centre for the whole of southern Namibia. It is a major traffic junction and a nice place to stop over. A variety of accommodation is offered and there is an interesting museum to visit.
Close to the town is the famous Kokerboom or Quiver Tree Forest, now a National Monument, and Giants Playground, located on the farm by the name of Gariganus. Just north of the town is Brukarros, thought to be a volcano and in the south-east is the Naute Recreation Resort.
LuderitzA very colourful and unusual town with quite a history located in the Diamond belt, Luderitz is built on bare rock at the edge of the Namib Desert and is exposed to the chilly Atlantic winds, heavy sea fogs and rough weather. A big attraction here is the excellent seafood available including crayfish and oysters.
The German Art Deco architectural style is evident everywhere from the colonial era, many brightly painted historic buildings can be seen and the local museum is well worth a visit, giving details of diamond mining, life in the desert, fishing and marine life and information on the indigenous people.
There is a modern waterfront, yacht club, wellness centre and a variety of drives to scenic areas and walks available. One of the most famous excursions is to the ghost town of Kolmanskop, which was once the most important diamond mining centre; it was later abandoned when the industry relocated to Oranjemund.
A boat trip around the lagoon is a pleasant activity and visitors looking to find a sand rose worn from crystallised gypsum, can contact the Nature Conservation Office to be escorted by a guide and dig one out from Agate Beach.
AusLocated on one of the most scenic drives in Namibia, Aus is between Keetmanshoop and Luderitz. The big attractions here are the wild horses of Garub; there is a sign on the highway and a visitors station near the waterhole. From Aus it is about a 1 hour drive to Luderitz, just before entering the town the highway passes through drift sand dunes and caution should be exercised while driving on this stretch.
MarientalSituated about 260km (162 miles) south of Windhoek, Mariental is the site of Hardap Dam and Game Park. The dam is the largest in Namibia, located on the Fish River, it is a popular holiday resort with watersports, and where hiking and game viewing (including possibility of seeing Black Rhino) are also available. There are a number of scenic drives as well.
MaltahoheThis town is an ideal base for visitors wanting to explore Namib Naukluft Park and Sossuvlei (where a 4x4 is required) also Sesriem and Kuisib Canyons. Maltahoehe has a variety of guest farms who offer tours into the vlei.
The hotel in the town has a German atmosphere and good meals can be found there, visitors can also watch Nama crafters at work in the vicinity. Attractions nearby include Duwisib Castle which has an interesting history, now a museum that is open daily, and Namib Rand Reserve.
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