Exploring the beautiful countryside of Namibia is one of the highlights of visiting the country, but it can be easy to fall into tourist traps when looking for family activities. If you want to enjoy the country away from the crowds, you will need to travel like a local while exploring this stunning African country. Outlined below are some helpful hints for travellers who enjoy going off of the beaten path when visiting a new place.
This tip can be used for any trip locally or overseas: leave yourself enough time to explore everything on your itinerary. If you are driving, avoid making the mistake of trying to cover too much ground in one day.
You should factor in time for relaxing in your room at the Ntwala Game Lodges or for taking leisurely drives along dirt roads to out-of-the-way restaurants or curio stores. If you try to do too much in one day, you will find yourself exhausted by the end of your trip. This can be remedied by having a well-planned itinerary for your trip.
Namibians are known for being open, happy and friendly people, and will most likely be able to provide you with advice on where to find the best restaurants, which nightclubs offer the best vibe for nightlife and where to find the most unusual things to do.
Local people can provide you with unique information that tour guides may not be able to, and can offer insights into the culture and traditions of the area. You want to find out about the places that don’t make it into the guidebooks, so be sure to jot down all the places that the local people mention and be sure to visit them on your trip.
Discovering new and exciting local dishes is one of the highlights of any trip, and Namibia has a plethora of culinary delights on offer. However, the best way to experience this food is to avoid high-end, chain restaurants and look for eateries that locals frequent instead.
In Namibia, you will find delicacies such as kapana (flame-grilled meat), gemsbok biltong (dried game meat), kabeljou (a large fish) and omajowa (a giant wild mushroom). To find these foods, you will need to scour local markets and speak to vendors in the area. Eating like a local may expose you to some strange meals, but it is an experience that should not be missed out on.
This may sound difficult, but learning how to speak the languages that are local to the area can help immensely. Namibia is mostly English and German speaking, so if you are an English speaker, you are in luck!
Learning some basic German phrases can help with asking for directions, and if you are prepared to do some studying you can learn some Oshiwambo, the language spoken by 49 percent of the population. You can ask local people to teach you some phrases. This can be a fantastic way to spend time on an overseas trip and you will learn something new about the country you are visiting.
When travelling in Namibia, you will notice that the roads are mostly unfinished, meaning that they are gravel, dirt or simply sand roads. There is no public transport, so you will have to hire a car in order to get around.
Remember this when driving, however, although the land may appear harsh, it is extremely fragile and so you should be very careful when driving. Stick to demarcated roads or tracks. Tyre tracks can remain on the desert floor for decades and colonies of desert plants like lichens may never recover. Locals tend to use well-worn paths so it is useful to ask around about the best routes to and from destinations.
‘African time’ is both a joke and a truth about the country. Things tend to move slower in Africa, so be prepared to have a more languid holiday. It is important to respect the customs and traditions of the country, which may involve doing things in a different and slower manner.
If you are visiting a local area where a tribe lives, it is vital to request permission from the headsman before you do anything, such as drinking water from their well or taking photographs of their homes. Always call from the entrance to a homestead before entering, and be quick to slow down when driving near a donkey cart. You will soon learn to embrace the slow, languid lifestyle that Namibians hold dear.
Visiting a foreign country is an exciting experience and you should cherish every moment of it. Planning ahead will allow you ample time to spend exploring the different towns in Namibia. If you are looking for the best restaurants, nightlife and markets then be sure to speak to the locals. You should always leave time in your schedule for enjoying the local food, and remember that time moves slowly in Namibia so arrive with an open mind. Tread lightly in this African oasis and you are to have a fantastic time.