Those of you who follow me on Instagram may know that I was busy a couple of weeks ago doing intensive research and reading everything I could lay my hands on for our upcoming trip to Namibia. In fact, I did so Namibia reading that I decided to share it all with you so you have your very own resource library for that moment when you decide you simply must follow in our footsteps and go.
We have decided, after friends had an amazing experience with theirs, to use a travel agent. I will say, though, that you absolutely don’t need to use an agent to travel in Namibia. Booking direct or using booking sites is perfectly doable: Self-drive safaris are beyond commonplace and it all seems very straightforward. For the longer term travellers among you, I have it on good authority that this is one of the easiest African countries to travel do a safari with kids in and that booking ahead, while recommended particularly in peak times, is not an absolute requirement.
Namibia reading – general safari resources
I love to research. Love it.
My plan was simple: to take our recommended itinerary and cross reference it with as many articles, recommendations and suggested schedules as possible.
This was the finished result.
How did I get here? Read on…
Namibia reading 101
I started off at a pretty high level. Mr Wanderlust has been sending me articles to read since we decided we were going and I’ve been saving them as we went along. Most of these are from our favourite travel magazine – CN Traveller. So this Complete Guide To Safari was the perfect place to start.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love CN Traveller. As I said, it’s one of my favourite publications. But any article that has the sentence “From the moment you step off your bi-plane…” is going to ring alarm bells for me. Bi-planes were not in the plan (nor could they be) so I knew I needed to dig deeper.
There had to be another way
How could we do it cheaper? How could we make it more authentic to us? As much as I am seduced by the idea of going to some super swanky, expensive place on the edge of the world, I know what the reality will be. I know the Things will melt down and make me feel stressed and uncomfortable.
Better surely, to go to places that feel more, well, like us?
I looked hard, Wanderlusters, for more general articles in the press that would give you some great tips and ideas for family friendly safaris. I found one from the Telegraph who are usually press spot on with their travel advice that was disappointing. So disappointing that I haven’t even linked to it here because it included a comment about riding elephants and had a shocking lack of detail or substance.
I continued my search. CN Traveller came up again. For all that they are usually out of our price range, this post had a couple of options that were more reasonable (still not cheap – sorry). I did love the places they found.
I was discouraged, Wanderluters, there wasn’t much, really, in the Google that independently offered advice on how to do a safari with kids. Nowhere that suggested where to go or what to consider.
Now that I’m a blogger
I know where to look.
2 years ago I would have just gone with what Google had to offer and made my peace with it. Not now! I refined and re-refined my search criteria, hoping to find something. I found much more as I got more specific (which I’ll share later). But not much on the more generic family friendly safari stuff. At least nothing that wasn’t written by a a safari company themselves or that looked like the reporter had been hosted there.
Then I had a brainwave and added the word ‘blog’ to the end of my search. And…
I rediscovered a couple of blogs that I have loved in the past called Full Suitcase and Travelynn Family. Full Suitcase has written a great post called FAQ Guide to Safari With Things (my words not hers) and Travelynn Family has one about doing a safari with young Things and I think everyone should read them! I also came across a new blog that I hadn’t previously discovered Wild Junket and she has a similar post on doing safaris with Things too as does Becoming You!
The good news is that they all recommend Namibia as a great kid-friendly destination (among others). The best news is that they all have several Namibia specific posts that I’ll link to a bit later on.
Namibia reading – general resources
One of the first things I do when researching a place is to head over to their tourist board. Some have absolutely masses of information about a destination, particularly if they’re in the middle or have just finished a big publicity campaign. The Namibia site is a little lighter than that but still has some great information and is a good place to start. http://www.namibiatourism.com.na
The thing about Google is that the more specific you get, the more amazing information will give you. So “African Safari” is waaaaay too general as a search term. Change it to “Namibia with kids” or “safari in Namibia” and suddenly you get much more relevant content.
While I was trawling through posts and articles I stumbled across a MUCH more useful site called Info Namibia. Complete with a very user friendly synopsis on Namibia highlights and an interactive map it was hands down the most useful site I found on Namibia. https://www.info-namibia.com
The Cardboard Box is actually a travel agent in Namibia. We’re not using them but their website is awesome and has loads of useful information on it. http://www.namibian.orghttps://www.africanbudgetsafaris.com/blog/african-safaris-with-kids-made-easy/
Our own travel agent – Namibia Tours and Safaris has a great website with loads of suggested itineraries. We haven’t travelled with them yet but I’ve loved their customer service so far. https://www.namibia-tours-safaris.com/destinations/namibia.htm
Our own travel agent, Namibia Tours and Safaris, has a great website with loads of suggested itineraries. We haven’t travelled with them yet but I’ve loved their customer service so far.
Please do head over to these bloggers’ for their various posts on Africa and Namibia – it was super helpful to read about their experiences.
Namibia reading – other general resources
I have really loved reading and reading about our destination. This is way more research than I have ever done for a trip but it has me SO excited and I can’t help but think that it will pay dividends when we’re there. Here are my faves:
- National Geographic Traveler – Why You Should Go To Namibia Now
- Full Suitcase – best African destination for families
- The Telegraph – Things You Didn’t Know About Namibia
- Atlas Obscura – 18 Cool, Hidden, and Unusual Things to Do in Namibia
- The Telegraph – Digital Detox In The Sand Dunes
- Full Suitcase – 13 Fascinating Places You Don’t Want To Miss In Namibia
- Atlas Obscura – Things To Do In Namibia
Other things that I’ve found interesting as potential things to do include conservation and
Namibia reading – itinerary ideas
Once you have a bit of an idea of all the amazing things there are to do and see in Namibia, your mind should start jumping to where you’re going to go, how long for and in what order. There are so many itineraries for Namibia and most of them are a variation on a circle going to and from Windhoek. I did find it useful, however, to go through some of them to confirm how long we needed in each place. Here are a few of my favourites:
- Responsible Travel – Botswana and Namibia Itinerary
- National Geographic – Namibia Itinerary
- African Travel – Namibia Itineraries
- Namibia Tours and Safaris – Namibia Itineraries
- Travelynn Family – Namibia Itinerary
- Full Suitcase – Namibia Itinerary
Namibia reading – where to stay
Now you’ve chosen the routes, you need somewhere to stay. I love that Namibia has mostly really small, intimate places to stay. And there is a range of high end (though still very rugged and exposed) hotels and lodges all the way through to basic campsites.
All the big publications have good articles on where to stay in Namibia. My favourites were:
Within those and my research, I found far too many amazing options to just list all of them in here. After we get back I’ll be sharing where we stayed and if we would recommend them. In the meantime, here are some of my favourite companies (most have multiple places to stay in Namibia). Not all of them are budget friendly but – hey – we have to dream a little don’t we?!
- Wilderness Safaris
- The Luxury Safari Company
- Namibia Wildlife Resorts
- Okahirongo Lodges and Camps
Namibia reading – what to pack
I hate packing but mostly because I’m a control freak and hate the idea that I might forget something. These articles were really useful: