Travel tips: Things you shouldn't miss in Namibia

Q. I have just randomly decided to travel to Namibia at the end of April. Please assist with things to do and places to visit. Will five days be enough to do all the must-sees? As for the weather, will end of April be ideal? How is the crime level? - Ms Khathu

A. April and later is a good time to visit Namibia as the heat of summer will have abated. Crime should not be an issue but take the normal precautions to keep yourself and your possessions safe.

Presuming that you are flying to Windhoek and not driving (driving there and back would use up most of your five days), you will be able to explore a fair amount - but not the whole of Namibia in five days.

It's a huge country with much to see, from the Etosha National Park to the Fish River Canyon in the south, and would take much longer to explore it all. Namibia's natural beauty is its main attraction, best experienced when driving.

From a base in Windhoek, you could hire a car to explore Swakopmund and Walvis Bay on the coast, and do a trip further north or south. Windhoek itself has limited offerings, including the Heroes' Acre war memorial 10km out of town; the historic Christ Church or Christuskirche; and Katutura township.

Okapuka Ranch, 30km north of the city, is a good spot for game viewing from your doorstep, whether you visit for lunch or stay the night.

Swakopmund has some interesting colonial architecture. When I visited some years ago, there were also wonderful cake shops. Its famous Woermann House, the 1905-built, former HQ of a trading company, is now an art gallery and the best place to get a view of the town.

You can visit the Welwitschia Plains, a scenic drive which starts about 45 minutes from Swakopmund, and see the famous ancient plants in the deserts. You will need a R30 permit from the office at the corner of Bismarck Street and Sam Nujoma Avenue.

Nearby Walvis Bay has a lovely esplanade where you can see many birds, such as flamingos, pelicans and seagulls.

Then visit the famous Dune Seven, the highest sand dune in the area - it takes about 20 minutes to climb it.

From Walvis Bay, you could take the C28 route back to Windhoek which crosses the 905m Kuiseb Pass, roughly halfway between Walvis Bay and Solitaire, but that is a longer gravel route back and you would have to have stopped a night in Swakopmund or Walvis Bay.

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