Very well the first step to

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Very well the first step to getting over the idea that it could plain impossible to go to Africa is the fact it's not as exotic as you might believe... well, sort of. I mean it certainly is even now exotic and far-flung, with an oxygen of danger and romance thrown in? Sure. But is it so completely different that nothing will be like home and you'll feel lost and out of your factor and home-sick while 10, 000km from your home? Nope, probably not. And for those who aren't regular globe trotters dwelling the nomad life, that is great reports.

You see, Africa was colonized by many different European countries and they've just about all left their mark. The Aventure and Greeks conquered much of Northern Africa at various times, and you will even find examples of this inside fusion cuisine such as Italian/Ethiopian dining establishments in America. The Dutch and the The english language both colonized South Africa, they speak Colonial in Angola because that's just who came in and colonized (same using Brazil), the West of Cameras was largely colonized by Portugal (they even had some of America if you remember - Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Quebec, Montreal, and so forth ), and the country we're concentrating on - Namibia - was colonized by Germans. "Now, that's all well and great", you're pondering, "but what the hell does this have to do with me? ". Simple - lots of Europeans already visit countries wherever their ancestors colonized. They speak chinese and often know somebody. So although Africa is in general still vast and untamed, you can definitely get a bratwurst and a lager during your vacation through Namibia. Sure, you can always eat some gazelle or zebra too to make it more thrilling, but if you come to feel homesick and want something familiar, you can definitely find it.

Now that which covered, you might be surprised to find out just how easy it is to get there. There are lots of direct flights from New York to Cape Town and Johannesburg, and following that it's no problem flying to Namibia's capital city of Windhoek. There are lots of traditional, European-style hotels there and the US dollar is pretty much accepted anywhere. Namibia's government is also tied to Southern Africa's so they're a bit more steady than the average African country. Maltahohe, namibia even has a good road program and it's highway signs and directions were installed with all the accuracy and even effectiveness the Germans could muster, which is saying something. All in all, Maltahohe, namibia is possibly the perfect place to check out Africa and its wonders.

Well contrary to popular belief, not every country in Africa will be war-torn and in constant civil war with rebels driving down every avenue threatening you with AK-47s or perhaps lions on leashes. I know this may shatter your world view, but some countries are pretty well run. The most important thing for Namibia is its previous Apartheid government it shared with South Africa, but that of course happens to be officially over for a while now, and instead of bitter resentment it seems like every person there is just happy to have it be performed. Sure some countries are much better left un-seen for the casual traveler, but Namibia is plenty safe.

Right now, that being said, Namibia is also vast together with sparsely populated. So while it might be safe on a human level, typically the countryside and animals can be hazardous. However because of this, everyone is always looking for each other. I don't think I ever before pulled over to check a map in which someone that passed didn't stop to make sure I was okay. It's just the way it is out there - you have to check each other.

Good question! Let me tell you a little about my trip there.

Following landing at Windhoek's Eros airport, I got a rental cell phone, found our ride to the rental car depot plus took off. Rental cars are really a good alternative in Namibia. They don't have much public transit and the roads are often in good condition. So I had a shiny Toyota Corolla waiting to take me on my safari dreams when I arrived. I know, I know - a Corolla genuinely exactly what you think of when you think firefox in Africa. But what can I say, I was by myself and smaller automobiles are cheaper. Plus this point was a bit beefier than a American corolla. Trust me, the car is probably a lot more up to the challenge of driving throughout Namibia than you are. Case in point, it made it my crash no problem. I mean it wasn't a huge crash, but still. Facet note: crashing your car into the employee's break table before you even abandon the rental car lot is not a great way to instill trust in a rental car corporation. Damn the driver's seat staying on the right and shifting along with the left!

Cars are to Namibians as horses were to cowboys in the U . s . West. Once you're out in the nation, you basically live and kick the bucket by your car, so be good with it. You'll be with it a lot too : the roads are well kept but they're still not an interstate highway system. Think of how driving is within Ireland and you'll get the picture. Price range more time than you think it'll decide on get some where and be sure to grab some maps at the rental car workplace.

Don't be surprised if you see lots of guys in official Jeep or even Mercedes shirts hanging around, or vehicles with black-out tape all over all of them. Namibia is where many car corporations test prototypes for heat and rough roads, and has some of the best all-terrain trails in the world to give SUVs an appropriate workout. See what I'm stating about cars and Namibia? These people just go together.

After checking out down-town Windhoek and stocking up on supplies at a local grocery store, I left for bed early to get a jump proceeding on heading out to the country and on traffic. I didn't want any individual around while I was learning to push on the left. I was off to Sossusvlei in the South to see a real, honest-to-God desert. Taking B1 out of town, you'll see lots of hills and ravines, big river rocks the size of houses strewn here and there instant definitely a feast for the eyes. But the turn-off to C24 is when the real fun starts. Honestly this kind of road could be the newest stage of the World Rally Championships. It's a dirt path that makes the best wooden roller-coaster jealous of all its zips and zags. It runs through the Naukluft mountain range, whose terrain looks like a crumpled up piece of paper. There was even an individual hill steep enough (though just about 30ft height) that I couldn't rise up in 1st gear! I had in order to reverse and try again with more of a running start. Fun travelling, but you're definitely ready for a rest when you get to solitaire.

When you go to Sossusvlei, be sure to head there as early as you can in the morning for two reasons. Primary, because the sun hitting the sand dunes at an acute angle makes for very dramatic and beautiful lighting. Second, cause you'll want to climb those sand hills and hike the vleis ahead of it gets scorching hot outside the house. Miss either of these and you'll truly be disappointed.

Sossusvlei is just one of several vleis in the area. I took the desert ferry over to them and even saw Dead vlei, Sossusvlei and several smaller vleis. The vleis, by the way, are pans of dried grime and rock. There is so little rainfall and so much evaporation that it sucks all the moisture out of the ground until it is much more like fired ceramics or even bricks. Almost nothing can grow in these people and they are mostly barren wasteland surrounded by towering (up to 1, 000ft) sand dunes. Very forbidding, very toxic, and very beautiful.

After a day inside the desert and relaxing the night apart with French travelers staying at precisely the same guest farm as I, it was a chance to move on to someplace cooler. Swakopmund can be a tourist town in Namibia to get exactly the opposite reason Florida together with S. California are for North Americans - it's cold there. No less than it is compared to the scorching deserts close to it, and not only is it cold, it's also wet. A current of freezing normal water from Antarctica makes it's method north along the coast landscaping in Colorado Springs of South Africa and Namibia. It finally warms a bit and rises up beyond Swakopmund, cooling the air around that making an air conditioner for the whole metropolis. When the cool air hits the hot desert air blowing in, it makes prodigous amounts of fog. All this adds up to a large array of land and sea your life, and makes Swakopmund not only a destination for it is temperature, but also for it's ecology along with a booming adventure scene to explore and have fun in all the area offers.

For the great apres-adventure beer, head to typically the authentic German Brewhaus. Wurst of every shape and size, beer flowing down waterfalls into 5 liter glasses served with a side of leiderhosen and a polka band for every table! Ok, it might not be

German, but this can be definitely the real deal. Come for the beer, enjoy the food and love the live audio provided by drunken over-landers.

Oh occur, you really want it all don't you? And I assume you want 5-star dinners with that, and private airplane rides over the most exciting aspects of the country as well? Well you're within luck. You can have all of that if you want, in addition to Etosha is the name of the game when it's time to Safari in Namibia.

Etosha is a monstrous salt-pan in the northern of the country, with an even larger national park surrounding it. Is actually well known for game viewing in the dry winter, when animals come in droves to the man-made watering holes. In the summer, it becomes a birders haven as the pan floods and a huge number of birds (including large flocks of flamingos) come to wade.

I gave myself a bit of a treat and remained at a luxury lodge just not in the park. Cell signal isn't formidable in the north so I wasn't able to ask for more specific directions as I got close. Torrential downpour made typically the roads thick with mud along with the Corolla was having some difficulty on the dirt when I finally determined the turn off for the lodge. When i was trying to communicate with some natives who spoke no English and even couldn't fathom what I was doing in the country in a 4x2, and VOLKS WAGEN minibus comes tearing down the road in addition to through the gateway, followed by a government vehicle. A huge old German inside fatigues gets out, slowly begins smoking a cigarette and methodically - almost strategically - provides directions to the bewildered VW denizens, his help, and myself simultaneously. "You're looking for Nauanaua? " he says as more of a suggestion than a concern, using The Force like he's Darth Vader. "I work for Nauanaua... I will get you there. Park behind the particular fence", he says, motioning to the hot and razor-wired fence he only drove through. And just as I'm stepping into the car, happy to get free from the rain, "No wait! You are unable to park in there. There are

in there... KABOOM Lightning strike! holy crap I'm in Jurassic-freaking-Park!! After the terrified Germans and I get into the military automobile, it's a leisurely ride uphill through waist-deep mud, often sideways, frequently with all differentials locked, fogged-over car windows and constant water dripping in us through the roof. We made little talk about whether we just got kidnapped by a Survivalist or not, and if we'd all be eaten by the elephants. Even so once at Nauanaua, all fearfulness were put to rest. The lovely spouse of the old German in fatigues (together, they're the owners) welcome us with open arms together with fruity drinks. Ahhh, what a method to turn a rough day entirely around! Here's to Africa.

Once you've made it into Etosha, the world appears to open up a bit. There are long roadways going out in all directions, and slow-motion driving a car becomes the name of the game. Take your time, go sluggish and try to spot animals out in the distance and wait for them to come deeper. Remember that the animals are in demand - if they're blocking your path on the road, wait for them to clear. Being patient will often get you better picture ops as well.

You can camp inside park, and I'd recommend this for maximum safari time. You will discover four camps with both hotels plus campgrounds, and all have illuminated sprinkling holes for game viewing. The animals are most active during the nighttime, so this can be a great opportunity. You can also go on guided safari through the camps or any of the lodges surrounding Etosha, which can be a good option since they commonly know the park and animals intimately.

After the big safari experience, it was once again to Windhoek for one last night before winging my way back to America. Now this is where getting a GPS UNIT with my car would've already been very handy. I drove throughout the downtown area for over two . 5 hours trying to find the rental car lot. I had a detailed map of Windhoek and their address, but the two merely never seemed to jive with the fact of the streets. And up to this point looking for someone who spoke decent English had not been hard, but of course this time every organization I stopped at for instructions it was German, Afrikaans, or bust line. Eventually I found it, they were most of happy (surprised? ) to see that I made it back in one piece, and also my shuttle to the hotel.

And what a hotel it was! I wanted to spend my last night at The Heinitzburg, an ancient German-built castle perched on a slope high above the city (and the only Relais & Chteaux hotel inside the country), indulging in luxury after the solo-safari experience but alas, it absolutely was not to be. I had to "make due" with the Executive Suite at the Olive Grove instead. Simply wonderful board and lodging and staff - sure it absolutely was a bit more pricey than the rest, nevertheless every once in a while you have to splurge, correct? Especially on the last night of your African adventure, and I hope you do the same.