Travel Roundup: Exploring the dunes and denizens of Namibia


Namibia is probably best known for its huge, brilliantly colored sand dunes. For those attracted to Africa’s famed wildlife it would seem a less likely destination than East Africa and the Serengeti. Yet it’s a place that’s home to elephants that have adapted to the desert as well as zebra, giraffe, various antelope, ostrich, lion, cheetah and leopard. Adventure Life offers a 14-day/13-night tour that provides an immersion into the dunes and the wildlife, including an outing that involves foot tracking rare black rhinos. That’s the highlight of a stay at the Desert Rhino Camp, a luxe lodging in the Palmwag Concession, which contains nearly 70 percent of the world’s largest free-roaming population of black rhinos. In the vicinity of Palmwag in the northern part of the country is Etosha National Park. There’s more luxe accommodations here, with Ongava Lodge featuring the main lounge and dining areas that overlook a watering hole that attracts all manner of game. South of Etosha is Okonjima Nature Reserve, home to the AfriCat Foundation, which rehabilitates big cats, particularly injured or captured leopard and cheetah. Namibia borders the Atlantic Ocean, and on a visit to Swakopmund there’s sea kayaking to watch seals and dolphins play in the wild. This isn’t an inexpensive trip, but lodgings are first rate, and all meals are included. Pricing starts at about $12,400 per person, double occupancy. International air is extra. Info: 800-344-6118, http://tinyurl.com/ycehr2qh 

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LOOKING UP HISTORY 

Members of the Historic Hotels of America typically are architectural masterpieces, and some of their most breathtaking features are overhead. Ceilings and domes may include striking frescoes, stenciled wood and stained glass. The hotel group has compiled a list of the most impressive examples of this ornate work. Among the list are the French Lick Springs Hotel in French Lick, Ind.; Palmer House, Chicago; The Pfister Hotel, Milwaukee; St. Louis Union Station Hotel; West Baden Springs Hotel, West Baden Springs, Ind.; Amway Grand Plaza, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza, and Morris Inn at Notre Dame, South Bend, Ind.; http://tinyurl.com/ybdlpll3 

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SEARCHING FOR SCALLOPS 

If you love seafood and would like to harvest your own, the Plantation on Crystal River in Crystal River, Fla., has an interesting package. Scalloping season on Crystal River runs through Sept. 24 this year, and the Plantation will help you gather your dinner. The package includes two nights’ lodging and sets you up with snorkeling gear and a guide who’ll help you find the wily scallops that frequent the shallow grass flats of the Gulf of Mexico that range anywhere from 4 to 6 feet deep. After you have your catch, the Plantation’s chef will prepare them for lunch or dinner. Cost of the package for a mid-week stay is from $695 for two people. The Plantation has other special offers, including a chance to swim with manatees. Info: 800-632-6262, http://tinyurl.com/y7em8mll 

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(Phil Marty is a freelance reporter.)


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