Five Can't-Miss Things to Do in Namibia
Mention the word "safari" and most people will probably picture thousands of wildebeest thundering across the Serengeti plains or a leopard prowling through a verdant wildlife oasis like Botswana’s Okavango Delta. Namibia, compared to some of Africa’s better-known safari destinations, isn’t teeming with wildlife, and it certainly isn’t very green. It’s comprised of vast and rugged deserts where remarkable desert-adapted species struggle for survival. Still, its popularity as a safari destination has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years, thanks to its incomparable landscapes, fascinating people and cutting-edge wildlife conservation strategies.
Here are just a few of the many can’t-miss things to do in Namibia:
1. Explore the Skeleton Coast.
© Wilderness Safaris
2. Visit a communal conservancy.
Namibia’s communal conservancy program is one of Africa’s great conservation success stories. In the 1990s, Namibia’s government enacted innovative new laws that granted local communities the right to manage natural resources and wildlife on communal lands. The idea was that rural communities would manage the resources in a sustainable way if they received the benefits. Two decades later, 71 communal conservancies have been established and 42 percent of Namibia’s land is now under conservation management. As a result, wildlife in Namibia is flourishing: since 1995 the elephant population has doubled, the desert-adapted lion population has quadrupled, and the endangered black rhino has made a remarkable recovery.
3. Meet the locals.
Encompassing over 318,000 square miles (roughly the combined size of Texas and Louisiana) and with a population of just 2.2 million people, Namibia is one of the least densely populated nations on Earth. But what it lacks in sheer numbers, it more than makes up for in ethnic diversity and fascinating cultures. The indigenous, pastoral Himba are probably Namibia’s best-known ethnic group. Considered to be Namibia’s last semi-nomadic tribe, the Himba have managed to preserve much of their traditional culture and lifestyle. They are known for their practice of covering themselves in
4. Track a black rhino.
Hunters and poachers wiped out 92 percent of the world’s black rhinos in the last three decades. Today, the species is making a comeback in Namibia thanks to farsighted conservation initiatives, including the communal conservancy movement described above, and the growing popularity of rhino tracking among tourists. Simply put, tourists’ dollars provide both the means and the incentive to ensure the ongoing protection of this majestic species. Namibia’s ruggedly beautiful Damaraland desert is home to the greatest concentration of black rhino on Earth.
5. Climb the world’s tallest sand dune.
The Namib isn’t the just the world’s oldest desert, it also
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