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Emerging Destinations: Namibia

From the peaks of the world's tallest sand dunes to the floor of Africa's deepest canyon, Namibia is home to flourishing wildlife, vibrant cities and a deep cultural past. With 120 registered caves to explore and a number of opportunities for travelers to hike, kayak, climb and more, Namibia is an emerging destination in the group travel industry. Here's what you need to know before you go.

1. Immerse yourself.
Namibia is the first country in the world to incorporate environmental protection into its Constitution—and from this commitment, many Community Based Tourism options have sprung forth that provide a more authentic Namibian experience for travelers while providing real and monetary social benefits to the local communities. Namibia also offers volunteer opportunities focused on wildlife conservation, healthcare, the environment and teaching.

2. Getting around is easy.
Paved roads safely link all corners of Namibia, and gravel routes are more than manageable in most cases. Consider a 4x4 for extra power when traveling off the beaten path, and remember to factor plenty of travel time into your itinerary—not only for the drive, but stops along the way, too.

Additionally, bus lines operate within Namibia, and railways connect most of the major towns. Train rides will tend to be lengthy journeys, as the trains stop at every post.

3. Pack layers.
Temperatures vary from region to region, but in general, days are hot and nights are cool. It's best to layer clothing while traveling in Namibia. Pack cool, cotton fabrics for daytime and a sweater or jacket for the evenings and mornings. In addition, pack comfortable walking shoes or hiking boots, a swimsuit and a hat.

4. Pack a first-aid kit.
Along with sunscreen, moisturizing lotion and lip balm, it's a good idea to pack a first-aid kit with insect repellent, malaria prophylaxis, bandages, diarrhea medication and more.

5. Travel with multiple payment options.
The official currency of Namibia is the Namibian dollar and it's fixed to the South African Rand. Both of these currencies can be used freely in Namibia—although the Namibian dollar is not legal tender in South Africa. Traveler's checks and credit cards are also accepted through the country, although not in every case.

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Written by Cassie Westrate, staff writer for Groups Today.

Photo courtesy of WANT Expeditions.


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