Africa For Sissies

 Image:  Etosha Game Drive

Many of you may not have heard this phrase, but if you work in the travel industry and start working with lots of travel agents selling Africa travel, you often here Namibia being refered to as "Africa for Sissies."

This is one of those blog posts I know that I had to write one day.  I have mixed feelings about the phrase.  Let me explain.

There are many aspects of Namibia that are unique in an African sense.  I am not talking just about measurable things, I am talking about things like how clean it is, how good the infrastructure is, communications, road conditions, general travel safety and even the how friendly the people are and so on. It's not usually defined. It's a stereotype.

I like the phrase because it implies that Namibia is wonderful! I agree. Done some cliche Safari stuff and want to see a different side to Africa...Namibia. Want less hassles with bribes and lost guarantees, but Namibia stacks up well. Windhoek is getting worse, but if you want less crime, the country side is fantastic. Namibia is clean by African standards, and perhaps by any standards (you tell me? I haven't been out of Africa much.) Certainly, I would rather bring up my kids here than in South Africa (just one aspect to which I have given a lot of thought...though I may one day take my family to Kenya, if I can wangle it...but that's a different story.) In short, yes, there is some truth to the phrase that Namibia is Africa for Sissies.

What I don't like is the wording. "Sissies??????" This country has lots to keep you on a buzz. There is danger, there is excitement, there is high profile game, there are fantastic places, there are lots of things to do and see.

There are elephants and rhinos and even lions in the deserts, areas that you can walk around in on foot. There are interesting hills and mountains to climb and explore. Go to Sossusvlei and spend a day walking deep into the dunes, far from the crowd and you can start to get the draining feel of real dehydration in one day. Want even more excitement? Sandboarding or Quad biking. Skydive in of the most active skydiving clubs south of the equator. Despite the aridity, you can even do river rafting on both the northern border and southern border.

In conclusion, if you want an African country that is well organized, clean and beautiful, easy to travel around and easy to organize, well, Namibia isn't perfect, but it's certainly a good option. Because of this ease, it is a great country to travel around on your own, though there are clearly risks to driving yourself on gravel roads.

But if you are a seasoned Africa traveler, don't dismiss this country. It is amazing. It is beautiful. And it has it's share of adventure on offer.

If you walk in to a travel agent to book an African experience, and you want more than a 12 day game drive after game drive, don't let them put you off with the "Africa for sissies" attitude towards Namibia. It's a great place with adventure to be had!

Some links if you would like to visit Namibia:

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