The big round tour of Namibia

29.10 - 13.11.2016

Program contained 3500 kilometers driving tour in a minibus around the Namibia except the very southernmost part of the country. The group formed a tour leader, driver and nine tourists, total 10 people from Finland. The tour was made by 10 seat minibus.

On the way during exchanging of flight at Johannesburg airport due to some tax reasons, it was not allowed to buy from duty-free shops strong spirits for stomach medicine but only of wine and a lower strength.

You manage very well in the country with the English language.

Included in the tour price was accommodations at total 10 different locations, half board, ie. breakfast and dinner usually on the second, beverages including a glass (or two) of wine or beer, all drinking water and transport. At the bus there was always cool water bottles available at cold box. Propably at least 300 small bottles of water was used. Everything worked well on the way.

The food was good and the half board was enough. Often there was a cook to make scrambled eggs, etc. for breakfast for those who wanted. We ate among others kudu, oryx, springbok, ostrich, oysters and others.

It was possible at a discount to stay four nights in a tent and it was used by one of our group and she was satisfied with her choice.

If you want to get to know Namibia on a prepared tour this kind of travel is the best choice. You can also found Namibia & Botswana & Zimbabwe combination tours from several travel agencies. On a country where everything works you could certainly easily travel only by yourself.

Asphalt roads were all in good condition. On gravel roads there was enough of shake, but they were not even if worst cases quite useless. In the world often the encounters on the roads can have wells, holes and cracks. Sometimes, part of the road can be completely collapsed. In Namibia, the roads were all in good condition and at least at moderately level, for a normal proper car to drive. Only on the way to sand dunes road requires the level of off-road vehicle from the car.

At the beginning of the journey we arrived in Windhoek for one night. We went to a nursing home for cheetahs, cheetahs conservation fund, which is home for maybe about three dozen cheetah.

At Etosha Natural Park we saw a variety of animals. There was the world's smallest antelope dikidiki,

springbok, oryx, kudu, impala and others antelope-like. We saw 34 lions which was more than 10% of the 300 Etosha lion. One morning there was reflected 14 lions, from which 5 were for a short time at the same time in front of the road.

We saw a sitting giraffe.

There was a mother cheetah with young. A Black mamba was swimming in the drinking water place and a couple of giraffes seemed to be monitoring it dubiously.

On the way we saw among others giraffes, elephants, zebras, rhinos, warthogs, jackals, hyenas and guinea fowls. There were many kinds of birds, the greatest species was ostriches. Along the way, was seen many big bird colony nests in the trees. Shelter in a nearby drinking place from our hotel once arrived at big heard of 15 elephants to drink and they were leisurely observed. During the trip, therefore, was seen a lot of animals. There were several large termite mounds.

One night became a dark oryx drink right next to the hotel area, maybe 10 meters away.
Without seeing we missed among others leopard and mongoose.

We wisited a huge salt lake.

Big ancient monkey bread trees were seen.

Finland former president Martti Ahtisaari was also present. There was an example a private street and a private school.
Small Martin Luther museum was also found.

My old shadow was at the shortest almost non-existent.

We saw a warning sign "Elderly people" in addition to the warnings for the elephant and other warnings. Dangerous elderly people?

White tourists in all over the country is not just a normal sight. In Oniipa rushed at dozens of schoolchildren heard to marvel our small bus filled with white tourists. That area, "ambomaa" in Finnish, is not just reflected with white people.

3500 kilometers on the bus for two weeks was not a rest holiday, but when we knew in advance it was no problem. The bus had air conditioning when the outside temperature could be very hot, at best around 40 degrees celsius. Normal for more than 30 grades is a bit too much for the Finns.

Traffic outside population centers is very quiet. There were only occasional other cars.

After the hot African coast Swakopmund was a cold place. At a sea cruise to Whale Fish Bay with departure on the morning we had the temperature only 14 and many of double clothing. We saw pelicans and seals, who came also to the desk of the ship.

Often seen dolphins were gone. Ship marine meal was among other oysters and beverages during the trip was the sherry and sparkling wine. Swakopmund seemed pretty cozy place. There was a crystal museum.

Shopping malls were modern and everything basic things were found. Your bags were not allowed to take into the supermarkets, and outside at the front door you had to show a receipt and a shopping bag.

Actual money exchange places were to be found only in the larger population centers. With ATM you were able to raise money from around the country and debit cards can be used.

On side of the highway there were often little houses with the label Bar or Pub. How can they manage because the most seemed empty?

The weather was in favor for our group. One night there was a breeze and black clouds and slight rumble, but it became just a little drizzle at night. On another occasions once it became a little bit of rain in the morning before breakfast when we were going there.

The prices are, of course, compared to Finland low, but not overly cheap.

Our accommodations were generally about three star level with standard facilities. At Swakopmund we all had huge suites so that is maybe was the biggest apartment I've ever stayed in the hotel.

Some sort of air conditioning was in general present. There were a couple of the larger hotels, cozy little hotels and missionary Station accommodation. At two places there was a sauna.

The country is huge, more than 2.5 times the size of Finland, but has a population of less than half of Finland. Landscapes were generally dry and barren.

Mosquitoes were quite a few. In the north part of the country there is a small risk of malaria, so at least most of our group ate a precaution prophylaxis.

Someone has evaluated that Windhoek is Africa's cleanest capital, which is probably true. The overall impression everywhere was pretty neat. Sure there was also garbage by the ledges of the main roads but it affected so that they have been cleaned up from time to time so there was not the garbage of many years. The toilets were mostly clean places. Even the Slums Areas did do not seem quite awful when we saw these from the bus.

Safari riders develop accurate sighting of sense. That had also our tour leader Stefan, who among other things observed from afar away the black mamba to bathe in the water as a snake.

In addition to the true long sitting at the bus, we saw a wealth of the country's attractions. The animals were seen at all times. At "Amboland" we visited Onandjokwe hospital and a museum which was founded by a Finnish lady doctor Selma Rautio. We saw former home of Martin and Frida Rautanen at Nakmbale now a museum. At Olukonda we enjoy a traditional ambo meal with millet porridge, organic chicken and spinach and flour drink.

Direct quote (translated) from travel program: "We visit special fossilized woods (the Petrified Forest), where hundreds of millions of years old fossilized tree trunks have due to erosion come to the ground. Here we also see a special Welwitschia mirabilis plant, which only grows in the Namib desert in the north. Then, at Twyfelfontein, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, we were exploring thousands of years old rock drawings of san-people. "

Tho visit those petroglyphs is not for a bad moving condition for foot.

Slightly longer walking distances was for the cave where two Germans were hidden during the Second World War (they hid four years of wartime exile) and walking to the soft sand dunes.

The drive to these Namibian sand sea , the dunes, was done by off-road vehicle. When entering we had to walk part of the way. In the middle of the dunes was 800 years old petrified forest, which did not seem to be so old.

Otherwise, no other just physical exercise have been, and probably all gained weight during the trip at least a kilo or two.

We visited at Opuwosa a Himbo village where the women are topless. The Himbos do not wash. The word for hello is "Moro". They had some mobile phones.

We passed the Tropic of Capricorn district coming and going.

The level of hygiene is obviously quite high. In some places, for example. Windhoek, tap water is safe to drink - but not in "Ambomaa". On far away travelling, usually always someone gets stomach bug. Here, all remained in good health, so stomach disease incidence was 0% (0/9) for example in Ancient India & Nepal round tour and a couple of years ago with a round tour of Bangladesh it was 100% (16/16 and 6/6).

On one dinner a salad looked a little weird and part of us were skeptical that it was old. Some of us even ate the salad and even ice-cream for dessert without any stomach problems for us.

Tour operator was a Finnish Koonono tours , where in web page, can be found our original tour programs. The order of the trip places was changed in the opposite direction than was the plan because of problems booking a place to stay.

The general impression was neat, clean, friendly and safe.