Here are some of the most commonly used definitions of Namibia: “the gem of Africa”, “the Switzerland of Africa”, “a fake country”, “a country that you can easily discover on your own”. There is some truth but also the opposite in all these quotes.
Let’s start by saying that:
– Namibia boasts some of the most magnificent and spectacular landscapes of Southern Africa, which are in certain cases unique, as with the Namib Desert.
– After South Africa, Namibia is the country with the best infrastructure and road network of the African continent. Therefore it is definitely suitable to be visited on a self-drive basis but, be warned, one should never underestimate the distances. Carefully plan your trip or use our advice so you don’t turn it into a tour de force.
– Most of the standard routes do provide a “fake” representation of Africa where the highlight is the feeding activity of lions, leopards or cheetahs which are locked in enclosures. This happens almost everywhere in Namibia. Why is this? Because in Namibia safaris do not offer the same chances as South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Tanzania or Kenya. This is mainly due to the rather inhospitable habitat. As such the solutions that have been devised – apparently with some success – are low quality “zoo” safaris that do not however come at a low cost at all.
– In the light of what we have just said, can a trip to Namibia be a true African adventure? The answer is yes, as long as you select your journey with a competent Tour Operator who selects routes that avoid all the tourist traps to be found on the market. You can even see the real Namibia without ever taking part in an expedition off the beaten track.
Leaving the traditionally suggested routes you can discover the more authentic parts of Namibia. In order to do so, you should join a 4×4 expedition. The right compromise may be a combination of a self-drive itinerary, designed by a competent travel consultant, with a few days off the beaten track with a local guide.