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Things to See in Namibia – The Deadvlei

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Along with Etosha National Park, Deadvlei is one of Namibia’s most popular attractions and for good reason.

The Deadvlei offers astonishing photographic opportunities during a visit to Sossusvlei. The images of stark black acacia trees twisting up into the clear skies of Namibia captured here are famous all over the world.

You’ll find these desolate scenes close to the Sossusvlei salt pan in the Namib-Naukluft National Park, about 65km from the Sesriem Gate.

What’s in a Name?

The Deadvlei is a long-expired marshland. It was once a floodplain supporting an abundance of life during the heydays of the Tsauchab River. At one time, camel thorn trees flourished here, only to be left high and dry when the river dried up.

Thanks to the unusually arid climate of their new surroundings, the trees never decayed. They simply dehydrated, rooted as a melancholy reminder of a once abundant past. Many of the trees are between 900 and 1 000 years old.

Visiting the Deadvlei

You can take a tour of the Deadvlei on guided trips from the Namib Naukluft National Park’s rustic accommodation or from one of the luxury lodges on the perimeter.

Self-drive tours are also an option in Sossusvlei.

During your visit to the area, keep your eyes peeled for signs of the unique desert-adapted fauna and flora which also call this place home.

You may see living examples of camel thorn trees along buried watercourses and hardy, deep-rooted Nara melons flourishing where it seems impossible. If you’re lucky, you could spot a Toktokkie beetle, Namib Dune Ants or a rare Namib Dune Gecko along with ostrich, gemsbok and springbok.

If you arrive early or leave late, you might spot one of the nocturnal species like bat-eared foxes, black-backed jackals and porcupines, on their way to or from slumber.

Birdlife is surprisingly abundant with Monteiro’s Hornbill, Rueppell’s Bustard, Kopje Warbler, Dune Lark, Black-eared Sparrow-Lark, and Karoo Thrush making the list.

Making your way to the Deadvlei

As with all Namibian adventures, it is vital to carry a supply of water and slather yourself in sun protection during your trip to Deadvlei. Whatever you do, make sure your camera is to hand and ready for action.

You can travel to the Sesriem Gate from Windhoek along the B1 and D854 or take the C14 from Swakopmund. There is a tar road leading to all the main sites of Sossusvlei and you will reach the short walking trail to Deadvlei just beyond the Dune 45 Lookout Point.

Don’t miss the chance to visit Deadvlei during your travels to Namibia.

Diving in Namibia

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Despite its long coastline of over 1 500 km, Namibia is more famous for activities such as adventure sports and game viewing in Etosha National park than it is for underwater activities.

Anglers will argue that this stretch of the Atlantic Ocean along the skeleton Coast is indeed a paradise for them with excellent catches recorded every year.

Ocean Diving

Only the most determined and experienced divers have ever attempted to venture beneath the surface of the tempestuous seas found here. Water temperatures average from 8 to 18C and there’s no telling what the currents will do.

These die-hards try their luck in the depths between Lüderitz and Spencer Bay. Even during the best diving months, December to May, visibility remains low at 3 to 10 meters, tops.

If you are set on getting your suit wet while visiting Namibia, chances are, you want to head inland to find your enjoyment in more accommodating water sources above sea level.

Caves and Lakes for Diving in Namibia

Here you can explore caves and sinkholes where it is much safer to strap on your goggles and oxygen mask for a few hours of subterranean exploration.

While these diving spots may be a lot safer than their offshore counterparts, it’s still a technical venture and not for beginners. Most of these Namibian inland dive sites are classified as Type III by the World Underwater Federation CMAS. This means that they are difficult and need to be undertaken with a qualified instructor in tow.

What’s more, many of these are located on private land, so you’ll have to get the owner’s permission first. It’s a good idea to get in touch with the Namibia Underwater Federation at least 3 months in advance to make the arrangements.

These are some of the best-known inland sites in Namibia:

  • Lake Otjikoto
  • Lake Guinas
  • Lake Harasib
  • Dragons Breath – the largest subterranean lake in the world.

In true Namibian style, diving here is not for the faint-hearted. For more adventure activities and to plan your tip to Namibia, check out the Namibia Travel Guide.

Photography In Namibia

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Namibia is a particularly photogenic country with vast deserts, lush bushveld, a dramatic coastline, unique flora, abundant fauna and colourful citizens. For the professional, as well as the point-and-shoot amateur photographer, Namibia provides the kind of subject matter that almost always produces rewarding results.

The Namib Desert offers opportunities to photograph some of the world’s oldest and highest sand dunes, while the Skeleton Coast is littered with shipwrecks that put a story in every image, as well as opportunities to capture thrilling action shots revolving around hair-raising activities. Deadvlei is dazzlingly spectacular, Etosha National Park positively writhes with life, and the scenic Fish River Canyon is the deepest canyon in Africa.

Plan ahead
When planning your trip remember that in Namibia travelling by car is the way to go, particularly if you intend to take your time over each shot. Take your photography needs into consideration if you are hiring a vehicle for your trip – large automatic windows are a win and game drives in open vehicles allow for unhindered close-up shots.

Some die-hard enthusiasts prefer to pack a tent and wander wherever the wind blows, while others like to have a professional safari company arrange everything for them – there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to photographing Namibia.

What to bring

Make sure you pack some long lenses for wildlife shots as well as your landscape photography gear for capturing your surroundings effectively. Pack loads of memory cards – you will be amazed at the number of things you will want to take pictures of and running out of space will seriously put a spoke in the works.

Wherever you travel in this large country you are bound to encounter cloudless skies, providing a great backdrop to that magical hour when the bright glare of daylight is tempered by the rising and setting of the sun.

Etosha Wildlife Photography Tips

Landscapes are all very well, but most photographers travel to Africa to capture the magnificent wildlife, and there are a few things you should bear in mind while attempting to get that once in a lifetime image, particularly on a visit to Etosha National Park

  • The cool dry winter months from July to August are the best time for game viewing in Namibia.
  • Sunrise and sunset are the premium times for wildlife shots. Apart from the superior light, wild creatures are also at their most active when it is cooler.
  • You will meet with the most success at places where a variety of species congregate – the waterhole. Find a source of water, make yourself comfortable, and hunker down for a long wait. Patience is the single most important factor in wildlife photography.
  • Try to stay in accommodation close to your chosen watering hole, as this will enable you to get there as quickly as possible after first light, and allow you to linger longer once the sun starts setting. Lion, leopard and rhino are most frequently spotted first thing in the morning, while large herds of game tend to gather around the waterhole in the dying hours of the day.
  • Most of the camps within Etosha National Park have floodlit waterholes on site, so pack your night-time equipment for a taste of the unforgettable African nightlife.
  • Don’t overlook the small stuff – birds and other small creatures can alert you to the presence of bigger things and often make worthy subjects themselves.

A minimum of 7 to 10 days is recommended for a successful photographic expedition to Namibia, but no matter how long you stay, the experts agree that there is no better way to see Namibia, than through the eye of the lens.


Take a Whirlwind Tour of Wonderful Windhoek, Namibia

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Once you have settled in to your Windhoek accommodation, you can prepare yourself to sample the smorgasbord of sightseeing to be enjoyed here. The busy capital city is filled with buildings, monuments and neighbourhoods bursting with historical interest and is well-suited to walking tours and casual touring. Don’t miss out on the following interesting sites:

Independence Avenue
Some of the famous Gibeon Meteorites which fell in Southern Namibia have been crafted into unusually beautiful art forms near the Sanlam building on Independence Avenue.

One of Windhoek’s favourite and most famous statues is the bronze kudu statue, a symbol of hope and passion for the wildlife of Namibia, which stands at the intersection of Independence Avenue and John Meinhert Street.

The Christus Kirche
Located on a traffic island in the centre of Robert Mugabe Drive, the Christus Kirche is a magnificent example of Neo Gothic and Art Nouveau and universally acknowledged as the face of Windhoek on postcards and brochures.

Katatura Township
For an interesting peek into the cultural and colonial history of Windhoek, take a tour to Katutura Township. Katutura means “the place where we do not want to settle” and was set aside as a black residential area during the apartheid era. Today it is a fascinating, vibrant and prosperous suburb and about 60% of Windhoek’s population live here.

Markets and Craft Centres
At Single Quarters you can sample some ‘kapana’ which is a combination of meat and fat grilled on a roadside barbeque and a favourite snack in Namibia.

Soweto Market bustles with seamstresses, vendors, hairdressers and bargains.

At the Penduka Centre you can purchase lovely hand-crafted souvenirs crafted by disadvantaged and disabled women.

Not for the faint-hearted, Eveline Street is the domain of shebeens and informal traders with humorous names and bad reputations.

Eating out in Windhoek
If you can’t develop a taste for kapana, Windhoek presents a wide range of dining options from traditional Mopani worms to the more usual European dishes.

Whether you decide to go it alone, take an organised tour or enlist a private guide, exploring Windhoek is a fascinating and enjoyable experience.

We can assist you in planning your trip to Namibia, from finding you accommodation in Windhoek to organizing your guided or self-drive tour of the capital city. Contact us for more information.

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