Namibia: Need to know
Published 21/05/2011 | 05:00
Peter flew with British Airways (1890 626 747; ba.com) from Dublin to Windhoek (via London Heathrow and Johannesburg). Fares start at €980 return. A two-week expedition with Biosphere (00 44 870 4460801; biosphere-expeditions.org) costs €2,190, including accommodation, food and all activities, but not flights. Land Rover (landrover.com/ourplanet) sponsors its projects, supplying vehicles and making research possible in remote areas of Africa.
A one-time luxury home on a dramatic hilltop overlooking Windhoek, Hotel Thule (00 264 61 371 950; hotelthule.com) is arguably the country's swankiest hotel. With sweeping views of the city and the mountains beyond, it is the perfect place to spend the night before exploring Namibia's vast wilderness. Rooms start at $2,000 Namibian dollars (€210)
For something a little more rustic, check out Casa Piccolo (00 264 61 221155), a charming nine-room pension in the Afrikaans suburb of Klein Windhoek. Bedrooms are clean and tastefully decorated, while every morning a hearty breakfast is served al fresco in the shaded courtyard. Rooms start at $530 Namibian dollars (€50).
FIVE THINGS TO DO
- Visit the vast, spectacular Kalahari Desert, home to Africa's oldest inhabitants, the Bushmen.
- Take a walk along the Skeleton Coast, the haunting inhospitable northern coastline dubbed "The Gates of Hell" by Portuguese sailors.
- Step back in time to colonial Germany in Luderitz, a port town in the south east, where just about everything -- from street signs to newspapers -- is still auf Deutsch.
- Go on a game drive through Etosha National Park, home to everything from lions and elephants to pelicans and flamingos.
- Eat a zebra steak and drink a stein of German beer in the fabled Joe's Beerhouse in Windhoek.
BEFORE YOU GO
Irish/EU citizens do not need entry visas to Namibia.
Change money before you go: one Namibian dollar is worth about 10c. South African rand are also accepted.
The climate is hot and dry, with some 300 days' sunshine on average every year. Summer lasts from October to April, with temperatures easily reaching 40 degrees. The best time to travel is towards the beginning or end of the summer season.
Hepatitis A and B and typhoid vaccines are recommended for all travellers, while malaria is a problem in wetland areas, particularly in the north of the country. All travellers should consult their doctor before travelling.