Namibia is a remarkable country, presenting many pleasant challenges for the tourist. About 1.7 million people occupy a vast, generally dry and thinly populated land of 824 290 sq. kms, and given a month or more, full camping gear and a tough vehicle, the visitor can see a great deal of the country. Sadly, holidays tend to be a bit shorter than that, so the best way to go is to take an organized package that includes as many of the highlights that can be fitted into the time available, using air travel when required.
Almost anywhere in Namibia offers wonderful vistas, extraordinary geology, wild animals and space, but the variety is astonishing. There is the 40 000 sq. kms park of the Namib Naukluft, with its massive desert of red sand dunes and the world renowned Sossusvlei, the seemingly endless salt pans of the Etosha National Park, and the Fish River Canyon - the largest canyon in the Southern hemisphere.
Add to this the lush vegetation along the Zambezi River and in the Caprivi Strip, the harsh shipwreck beaches of the Skeleton Coast, the colonial architecture of Windhoek and Swakopmund, weird desert plants and rich bird life, and the visitor will find difficulty in deciding what to leave out.
Although there is plenty of wild life, and Etosha offers unique game viewing, Namibia is not so much a wild life holiday as a mix of experiences - in one day the tourist may see wild animals, strange plants, dinosaur fossils, and early rock paintings and engravings.
For the historian, rock art and humanoid fossils are particularly dramatic, while the turbulent recent history of the region has led to a human population as varied as its landscape, rich in different cultures and lifestyles. And the gemstones are stunning-it is not unknown for walkers to find a diamond lying on the ground, such is the vast array of precious and semi precious stones that can easily be seen in many parts of the country.
In such a wild land, with a harsh climate, the traveller is generally better off to seek advice and take a trip that is well planned in advance. Such a trip will be an adventure not quickly forgotten.