Senior Safari – Not an Oxymoron

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Text and photographs: Sharri Whiting De Masi

If your vision of vacationers in Africa is confined to young, fit, twenty-year-olds with state-of-the-art rucksacks, think again. Namibia is the land for all ages, even prehistoric creatures like me and my friends.


Seeing Namibia’s vastness requires time and you’ve got plenty of it. You want weeks, we’ve got ‘em. Months? Got those, too. This is the beauty of being a pensioner.

Normally we rent a car to explore the country, but there are other ways older travellers can make the most of being in southern Africa: commercial aircraft, private plane and pilot, tour guide and driver, tour bus. There are balloon tours, bicycle tours, camel rides, motorcycles, and your feet to get you around. Even if you don’t plan to go trekking, supportive ankle boots are a real asset for older people who must climb in and out of vehicles during a safari, or when having lunch or a sundowner in the bush.


Rule of thumb: you do not, repeat do not, have to sleep on the ground in Namibia unless you have a very strong desire to do so, along with a very strong back. The last thing you want to do is wake up in the night and be unable to get out of your sleeping bag to find the loo or discover yourself frozen in place the next morning with sciatica. Instead, there are remote tented lodges with comfortable beds, farms with cottages, treehouses, country houses, and five-star hotels.



Namibia is swimming with fish, oysters and rock lobsters; there is wonderful game and excellent beef. Fresh veggies, German pastries, local beer and wine. Mealie meal and other soft foods. Salads. You don’t have to eat anything stranger than what you find in your local grocery store unless you are feeling adventurous (see Function below).


It’s not necessary to trek into the bush to see Namibia’s myriad of species, although you may have that opportunity. Visitors to Etosha National Park are not allowed out of their vehicles and they do their bird and animal watching from the comfort and safety of their cars. No stress, no physical exertion. Yes, you can go on safari on the back of a horse, but you can see the best of Namibia from a four-wheeled vehicle as well.

Need you be reminded to bring binoculars on this trip? Along with your glasses, eye drops, sunglasses, hat, sunblock, and zoom lens for your camera. We suggest having your cataract surgery done before you come to Africa on vacation. After all, you’re here to see wildlife and amazing landscapes without stumbling into the path of an ageing elephant who can’t see any better than you do.


Hmmm, how to put this? When travelling, your body may get a bit out of sync. New time zone, new food, new schedule, etc. Bring along your treatment of choice and know that there is more at hand in every pharmacy in every town. (There is always the bush potty for braver souls – refer to ankle boots above).

If you plan to travel in a malaria zone, you should plan in advance which anti-malaria drug to take. Depending on your other physical ailments or medicines, your doctor will help you choose.

Namibia enjoys an excellent medical system, with good hospitals in the main towns and medical rescue services using helicopters. There is a wide range of specialists.

The country is usually very dry and you may need lubricating nose sprays or decongestants to keep your nasal passages happy. You might even want to pick up a few disposable face masks to block the dust when you travel in an open vehicle.


This article was published in Autumn 2018 Travel News Namibia.
Travel News Namibia
Travel News Namibia
Travel News Namibia is a high-quality glossy Namibia travel and lifestyle magazine tasked with promoting Namibia to the world. With riveting stories, first-hand encounters and magnificent photographs showcasing tourism, travel, nature, adventure and conservation, TNN is the ultimate and most comprehensive guide to exploring Namibia. Travel News Namibia is published in five different editions per year. These include four English- language editions and one German. Travel News Namibia is for sale in Namibia and South Africa.

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