Taking the road less travelled

Namibia entices you with a diversity of cultures, free-roaming wildlife and spectacular landscapes. Being a very popular tourist destination, there is a large variety of attractions, accommodation and routes available. Well-known main roads lead the way to popular destinations and inspire many travellers to explore more of this beautiful country. The main destinations and routes share limited insights to the riches of this land and there is room for alternative adventures, so why not take the road less travelled and experience something new?

The Side-Tracks brochures are high-quality products, including a fold out map, lots of information and pictures and stories about people, places and wildlife. They are currently available at Cymot for N$ 100 and each brochure sold benefits communities and their projects in selected Namibian conservancies. Explore the side-tracks. These routes were designed for adventurous people who share a love for this country full of treasures and have an interest for its history, its present and its future.

Travelling to the side-tracks in the #Khoadi-//Hôas and Doro !nawas conservancy required a bit of preparation, which included packing the Side-Tracks brochure, a GPS device, two spare tyres, enough water and a camera. A four-wheel drive vehicle with a good ground clearance is essential. When arriving at the conservancy office, the friendly staff offered additional information and provided us with a knowledgeable game guide before starting our journey. A guide is optional, we decided to go with one to learn more about the area from one of the locals. The side-track in #Khoadi-//Hôas consists of a 30km long mixed terrain path that winds its way through the spectacular landscape of the Grootberg region and the Etendeka Plateau. On the way we saw a wide variety of different wildlife, many birds and gained insights to the important work of the conservancy game guards.

The side-track in Doro !nawas is 86km long and traverses the complex and colourful Doros Geological Mosaic along the eastern fringes of the Namib-Desert. The track passes community households, rocks and riverbeds, as well as indigenous plant life and mountains. The vast unfenced lands include free-roaming wildlife like elands, springbok, zebras, oryx, giraffes and elephants. If you are lucky, you can even spot rare rhinos in the area.

Be prepared to drive through challenging terrain and be willing to sacrifice tyres! The track ends up to be the perfect experience for the adventurous, off-road experienced kind who would like to see beautiful Namibian landscapes from a different perspective and learn about community conservation. The tracks include a variety of scenery and wildlife that you would not see if you stayed on the main road. The tracks also offer individualised intercultural experiences. It is not only about enjoying the landscape and the wildlife of Namibia, but also about giving back to the people who live on this land and manage it as their own. The friendly conservancy staff and the informative brochures provide in-depth insights to the efforts and success of community conservation, which is about commitment, awareness, respect and sharing knowledge. Completing the side-tracks leaves the traveller with some adventurous off-road memories.

Nuria Stoermer
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