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WHAT'S NEW IN NAMIBIA?

By Gaye Jacobs

Namibia is truly awe-inspiring and full of extraordinary experiences any time of year. Between January and March it's considered the "Green Season" with temperate climate, short periods of light rain showers and spectacular wildlife adventures. It's an excellent time to visit this land of soaring dunes, spectacular contrasting landscapes and pure, untouched natural beauty.

 

Top 10 Reasons to Visit Namibia in the Green Season:

1. Escape the damp and dismal northern hemisphere winters, as well as the short days and long nights during the winter months.
2. Enjoy the warm sunny summer days in Namibia (average min/max temperatures over that period are 63/84 ºF and low average relative humidity of 30%).
3. When and if it rains, it is in the form of short spectacular afternoon thunder showers which generally only last an hour or so.
4. Experience the 'season of bounty', which includes a green and flowering desert and all forms of life looking strong and healthy. This includes spectacular birding opportunities with migratory species flocking in to enjoy this abundance.
5. Observe the main calving season for most antelope species and the resulting heightened activity among predators.
6. Look out for antelope species which also tend to congregate in larger herds at this time of the year, allowing for great wildlife photography.
7. Breathe the air which is crisp and clean as there is very limited dust or haze in the air, allowing for great landscape photography.
8. Avoid the crowds (a relative term in Namibia) of the high season and ensure you stay at the right places because availability is good.
9. Share the excitement and enjoyment of the Namibian people at that time of year when they welcome the rains which ensure accessible good grazing for the next few months and also plentiful wild fruit and other natural treasures.
10. Take advantage of the best possible rates for high quality guided safaris.

In the land of endless horizons, below find the latest travel product and tourism experience updates:
ACCOMMODATION UPDATES

The De Duine Hotel, a historical landmark in Henties Bay, will receive a US$20 million facelift. The new De Duine will be something of a first in Namibia, featuring apartments for locals to purchase as well as a 56 room hotel. The high sand dune on which the hotel is situated makes it truly special - providing a spectacular sea view with the beach and sea on one's doorstep. The modern design will be smart, but casual with a chic décor. For guests there will be easy access to the beach using a new pedestrian ramp. Bars, pools, a lawn, spa, Jacuzzi, playground and restaurant will also form part of the development.

Popa Falls Camp reopens in November 2013 after being closed for refurbishment since March 2013. Situated on the Kavango River, this Namibia Wildlife Resorts property features ten spacious chalets, three family/double units, four luxury units, and ten campsites. A very spacious three-room house can be rented out to large families, groups or made available to tour operator guides and drivers. The new restaurant has a fully equipped kitchen with a full service bar. The property's river jetty features a bar facility ideal for sundowners and is the departure point for river boat cruises. A new conference facility is available which can accommodate between 40 to 100 people. http://www.nwrnamibia.com/popa-falls.htm

Strand Hotel, Swakopmund: The redevelopment of the Strand Hotel will turn the property into a new four star accommodation option on Namibia's coast and is scheduled to open in April 2015. The refurbished property will feature 135 rooms, three restaurants, three bars, a conference center, a micro-brewery, a deli shop, a beach kiosk as well as a public spa and fitness center with a heated swimming pool. http://www.strandhotelswakopmund.com/

ACTIVITES AND ADVENTURE UPDATE

New Jewelry Making Workshops: Creative visitors to Namibia can learn how to make jewelry from one of the country's most imaginative jewelers, Frieda Lühl. The workshop offers a unique jewelry-making experience using locally-sourced natural materials, original designs and skilled techniques. Frieda treats groups of up to six hobby jewelers to her knowledge twice a week for three hours. Frieda mastered her own creative skills at a jewelry design school in Germany, after which she completed an apprenticeship as goldsmith, before opening her own studio in Cape Town. She inevitably found her way back to her native Namibia. Visitors can contact Freda to book a workstation at + 264 81 751 3026.

Birding hotspot Namibia - Mahango: This little gem in north-eastern Namibia hosts more than 410 species of birds in an area of less than 97 square miles. The reason for this multitude of different birds is the mosaic of habitats ranging from open water, floodplains and swamps to dry, dense, broad-leaved woodland. Early in the morning, the bubbling cascade of 'water-bottle' notes of the White-browed Coucal (Centropus superciliosus) along the river wake, soon followed by the mocking calls of the White-browed Robin-Chat (Cossypha heuglini). The Woodland Kingfisher's (Halcyon senegalensis) call is almost synonymous with the acacia bushveld.

AIRLINE UPDATE

Air Namibia, has just taken delivery of its first of two new Airbus A330-200 aircraft featuring a two-class cabin layout seating 244 passengers - 30 business class seats and 214 economy class seats. The high efficiency and low operating costs of the A330 makes it a perfect fit into the current Air Namibia fleet. With an aircraft that is both reliable and comfortable, it offers the best flight experience to Namibian bound passengers. http://www.airnamibia.aero/

NAMIBIA TRAVEL PACKAGES
Ultimate Safaris
Namibia Green Season Special - save up to 30% (ground only)
Ultimate Safaris' is celebrating Namibia's Green Season by offering travelers savings of up to 30% on top lodges and fully-guided naturalist safaris in January, February and March 2014. With these special rates, visitors to Namibia will enjoy the benefits of a private naturalist guided safari for much the same price as a self-drive vacation during this period. Choose from more than 60 accommodation offerings such as Camp Kipwe, Mowani Mountain Camp, Mushara Outpost, AfriCat Foundation's Okonjima camps, Onguma Tented Camp, Sossus Dune Lodge, Sossusvlei Desert Lodge and the Wolwedans Dunes Lodge. This package offers travelers the ultimate in flexibility to design a safari that fits their style, interests and budget.

Ultimate Safaris
an.sirafasetamitlu@ofni
www.ultimatesafaris.na

Borton Overseas
Best of Namibia Wing Safari

This journey explores three distinct regions: the sands and red dunes of Sossusvlei; the stark plains of Damaraland home of Namibia's desert-adapted elephants; and the abundance of wildlife on the Etosha savannah. Stay in small luxury camps and lodges within private concessions, hosted by professional guides and caring staff. In-Namibia chartered flight transfers offer a bird's-eye view of the country's endless horizons. To observe Namibia from the air is an awe-inspiring experience: the vast expanses of moving, rippling sands, the great blue skies and the grey of the ocean extending to the horizon.

Price per person sharing a twin/double from US$6,465

Package includes:
• Accommodation with private facilities
• Internal scheduled inter-camp flights
• Shared game drives and activities as offered by the camps
• Park entrance and conservation fees
• Most meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner)
• All local drinks (excludes premium brands)
• Laundry service (limited availability at Damaraland)

Daily departures throughout 2014, no minimum number required. This itinerary is flexible and can be tailor-made to suit the traveler's requirements, as long as the circuit route is followed. Add-on trips to other areas in Namibia can be organized.

Borton Overseas
1 (800) 843-0602
www.bortonoverseas.com

Goway
Namibian Discovery

Namibia is an African destination unlike any other. This 11-day round trip from Windhoek takes in many of the country's most iconic locations.

Etosha National Park is one of Africa's most intriguing wildlife regions. It contains many of the endemic species unique to Namibia such as Black-faced Impala, along with familiar favorites such as Elephants, Giraffes, Zebra and critically endangered Black Rhinos.Discover a past way of life in Damaraland. Passing by Damara villages, discover the UNESCO World Heritage listed ancient rock engravings at Twyfelfontein, the Organ Pipes and Burnt Mountain before arriving at the coastal town of Swakopmund.

The final stop is in Sossusvlei. This eerie moon landscape is the Namibia that has intrigued travelers craving an Africa experience like no other. The incredible dunes here rise up to 1066 feet/325 meters into the air. The sight of blackened acacia trees against the backdrop of bright red sands and brilliant blue sky creates an alien world.
Price per person sharing a twin/double from US$2,660

Inclusions:
• 10 nights' accommodation with private facilities
• 10 breakfasts and 7 dinners
• Most sightseeing activities
• Accommodation taxes
• Park entrance and conservation fees hotel porterage
• All transportation in air-conditioned mini or midi-buses.

Exclusions: international airfare, air taxes, unspecified meals, unspecified activities, gratuities other than porters, items of a personal nature and travel insurance.

Validity: 2014 - 17 Feb, 17 Mar, 14 Apr, 19 May, 16 Jun, 14 Jul, 18 Aug, 08 & 22 Sep, 20 Oct & 17 Nov

Terms and conditions: Price per person sharing, subject to availability. Price based on travel between July and December 2014. For any other departures, please inquire.

Goway
1 (800) 557-2841
www.goway.com

Premier Tours
Diverse Namibia

On this 9 night/10 day adventure become immersed in Namibia's diverse but unique landscapes teeming with local wildlife - Sossusvlei with its iconic red sand dunes, the deep blue waters of coastal Swakopmund ideal for a catamaran dolphin and seal cruise, the rocky brown escarpments of Damaraland which boast the largest concentration of black rhino outside of a national park and the white Etosha pan, offering the highest density of wildlife in Namibia.

Price per person sharing a twin/double from US$3,290

Validity: 2014 - 20 Jan - 31 May 2014; 01 Nov - 28 Dec. Price per person sharing, subject to availability. Departure dates upon request. Additional $ 385.00 per person for travel 01 June - 31 Oct 2014.

Premier Tours
(800) 545 1910
www.premiertours.com

ROW Adventures
Namibia - Star of Africa, An Adventure Safari

On this active journey, spend 14 days exploring Namibia's vast and impressive landscapes, wildlife, and culture. Climb some of the world's highest free-standing sand dunes, visit southern Africa's largest private nature reserve - NamibRand Nature Reserve, kayak amongst dolphins and seals on Walvis Bay, and sleep out under the stars in one of the world's last remaining true wilderness areas - Etosha National Park. Fly along the Diamond Coast and witness shipwrecks, seal colonies, abandoned diamond camps, and Namibia's iconic giant sand dunes. Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of rock art at Twyfelfontein, track on foot the endangered desert-adapted black rhino, game view in the Etosha Pan and visit the world-renowned AfriCat Foundation to see leopards and cheetah.

Inclusions:

• Services of our talented adventure consultants and professional guides
• All meals as indicated in itinerary
• Hotel accommodations as indicated
• Transportation in custom-equipped & air conditioned safari vehicle
• Airport transfers to & from Windhoek International Airport

Price per person sharing a twin/double from US$6,890

Validity: November 10-23, 2013; December 1-14, 2013; April 27-May 10, 2014; June 22-July4, 2014; September 7-19, 2014

ROW Adventures
(800) 451-6034
www.rowadventures.com

About the Namibia Tourism Board
With the mandate of promoting tourism both nationally and internationally, ensuring the quality of accommodations and other tourist facilities, and developing environmentally sustainable travel practices, the Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) was formed by an act of Parliament in April, 2001. It brings together both the private and public sectors and is the only national body devoted entirely to implementing the national policy on tourism. The NTB's domestic and international offices provide custom-tailored services to the members of the travel trade. www.namibiatourism.com.na