It is well worth making the trek out to Namibia’s National Earth Science Museum, which boasts small but impressive displays on Namibian palaeontology, minerals and mining. Well-labelled glass cabinets show fossil collections from diverse eras, some remarkably preserved, such as the eggs of an ostrich ancestor, the carapace of a giant nineteen-million-year-old tortoise, and the almost-complete, clear fossilized impression of a mesosaurus – a 50cm-long reptile, found on a farm near Keetmanshoop, in southern Namibia. Fear not if you’re struggling to picture such beasts, since they come alive in the wonderful accompanying illustrations by the late Christine Marais, a South African artist renowned for her portrayals of the Namibian environment.

The museum’s geological section is a more mixed bag: though the detailed, specialist displays may fail to grip the casual visitor, the collection of sparkling gemstones holds more general appeal – don’t miss the cabinet showing UV radiation and fluorescence in minerals, and the exhibits illustrating their household uses in such mundane products as toothpaste and make-up. Namibia’s mining industry has sponsored the displays on the country’s various mines, so, although informative, they are inevitably laden with PR-speak.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Namibia features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

19 places to get utterly lost

19 places to get utterly lost

One of the great joys of travelling is stumbling across unexpected places, wandering without a single destination in mind and embracing the journey. These place…

12 Sep 2017 • Keith Drew camera_alt Gallery
Namibia from above: the world's most extreme landscape

Namibia from above: the world's most extreme landscape

The Namib desert is one of the world’s most extreme environments. Covering 81,000 square kilometres, its vastness can only truly be appreciated from above. He…

17 Jul 2017 • Lottie Gross local_activity Special feature
In pictures: the otherworldly landscapes of Namibia

In pictures: the otherworldly landscapes of Namibia

From the spectacular dunes of the Namib Desert to the serpentine chasm of the Fish River Canyon, the rugged mountains of the Great Escarpment to the acacia-stud…

05 Jul 2017 • Sara Humphreys camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook