As a nature lover, at the top of my 2022 bucket list was – visit Namibia. Namibia offers up to 30 major attractions including game reserves, canyons, desert dunes, safari rides in different breathtaking locations across the country.
Why visit Namibia now?
Remember my earlier blog about balance? While reflecting on practical steps to maintain balance during this EMBA program, I studied more about the benefits of resting. Research shows that rest boasts performance. After 4 months of combining intense study, work and family responsibilities, the next think on my mind was rest. With schools closing and the easter holidays fast approaching, l would have a house full with children. This implies less study time and higher stress levels. Definitely, a holiday will do everyone good, children have fun while I relax and study.
Namibia is located south-west of Africa bordered by Angola, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and the Atlantic Ocean. The natural terrain is semi-arid to arid desert blended with the coastal waters. The country has a small population of about 2.5 million people occupying a land mass of about 850,000sqkm. It is the least densely populated in Sub-Saharan Africa. Namibia is blessed with rich wildlife heritage. There are two key arrival points to visit Namibia – Windhoek, the capital city and Wavis Bay, a port city.
Namibia was know as German South west Africa because it was a German colony in 1884. German settlers killed thousands of Namibia natives who rebelled against their rule between 1904 and 1908. It was a genocide. German officially apologized in 2021 promising 1.1billions euros as financial compensation to be used for infrastructural development in Namibia. There are still so many Germans in Namibia. It is easy to see the attraction of Germans to Namibia. The map below shows the different attractions spread across the country.
Visit Namibia : What you need to know when planning
Tourist visa application requirement for Nigerians is to have an international passport with 6 months validity. Namibia offers tourist visa on-arrival. My application for the visa approval took about 2 weeks. Tourist visas are usually valid for 90 days stay in the country and cost only about forty dollars. Europeans and Americans do not need any visa for entry. More information is available here.
There are three airlines that connect Muritala Mohammed international airport, Lagos to Hosea Kutako International Airport, Windhoek. Daily flights on Ethiopian Airways via Addis Ababa takes two days while South African Airways makes the connection over a seven hour flight up to three times a week via Johannesburg and TAAG flights are the shortest (5 hrs) taking place two times every week via Angola. KLM and Lufthansa have daily flights from Europe. Evidence of negative COVID test result and Yellow fever vaccination are mandatory requirements for all travelers (including minors). Parents are required to show a copy of birth certificates as evidence of parental relationship with their minors.
Hosea Lutako Airport is small but runs efficiently. The immigration clearance at this airport takes less than 40mins. Windhoek has many well rated hotels. We stayed in the 4-star hotel – Windhoek country club and resorts because it offered connecting rooms for my family, buffet at breakfast/dinner, a golf course, lawn tennis court, swimming pool and large walking area for long walks. Arriving Windhoek, the clean sky lines greeted us. On the 20 mins ride from the Airport to the hotel, I could not help but notice the hills, Solar panels on the roof tops and good roads. There were very few cars on the road. Most cars are white. The weather was cool despite the Sunshine. Namibia has 360 days of sunshine every year.
We planned to visit three key attraction in Namibia. Okapuka ranch, Walvis Bay and Swakoupmond. In addition, we had the a road trip to the port city, go-carting ride & water park visit at the FUN family center.
The ranch is just 70km for the Hosea Airport. We booked here for a game drive to see the beautiful mountain landscape and wildlife .Okapuka ranch sits on over 10000 hectares of land. Our visit to Okapuka ranch was on a bright Sunday afternoon. The drive to Okapuka from the hotel was about 45mins. Okapuka ranch offers 1hr 30mins game ride around the ranch to see free range wildlife, birds and anything interesting. At this time of the year, animals spread all over the ranch and difficult to see because they do not depend on the waterholes for water . We chose to go on this trip to learn more about animals and give our boys the learning experience. We saw Rhinos, Zebra, Impala, Giraffes, Pumba, Nile Crocodile, Spring buck and blue wildebeest.
Spring buck is an antelope specie which can run for up to 80km/hr within 700m.Both male and female species have the horn and white belly. It was so relaxing watching the spring bucks graze and run in the wild with no cares/worries.
Another specie of antelopes at Okapuka ranch are Impalas. These are brown coloured as shown in the image below.
Blue wildebeest is also an antelope specie. It glosses out blue when against the sun. Both male and female have horns.
Nile Crocodile is a slow growing reptile the can live up to 100 years. We saw a Nile crocodile about 6.2m long. Under water, it can go up to 65km/min. They play dead to get their preys, with eyes closed. The vibration of the soil and jumping into water gives the crocodile a sense of the direction of someone who jumps into the water. Within 4sec the crocodile can attack over 50m.
Rhinos have good hearing and smelling but poor sight. The poor sight is because they have very small eyes are on their side. They have problem detecting objects visually but reply strongly on their auditory and nasal senses. To avoid the Rhino knocking of the safari truck , they are approached from off-wind to avoid them charging at human. The largest Rhino is the picture is 17 yrs and the dominant bull on the ranch. Rhinos can live for up to 48 years. Gestation period is usually 16months . The rhinos weigh up to 1Tons.
I enjoyed the trip to Okapuka. If you visit Namibia, consider planning a trip to Okapuka ranch.
I need to run now, I’ll share more about my visit to Walvis Bay, Swakopmund, the flamingo and other fun parts of my trip in the next post.