11 cool outdoor Cellphone Apps

Almost every visitor going on a real African Safari owns a cell phone and why not make the best use of some of the available Apps out there. Here are our hand-selected choices which we believe could be of help, just for fun or even a lifesaver. Let’s be honest about the fact that before you enjoy that cup of coffee every morning, chances are high you’ve already turned to a mobile app to start off your day. No matter if it’s finding you a route to your next location, logging your holiday diary, or even adding the cost of your current experience to your weekly budget, one thing is clear – Apps are now an integral part of our daily micro-moments, with people spending an average of 30 hours per month in them*. Apps play a huge role in those I-want-to-know, I-want-to-go, I-want-to-do, I-want-to-buy moments in daily activities. So with, we have listed 11 of our favourite Apps for you to make use of before and while on Safari. Some are free, some not! Furthermore, we made sure that the compatibility of Android and iOS have been adhered to.

     So in no specific order or Rank:

+ No.1 Spyglass (Android, Free; iOS): Spyglass (Android, iOS) is a multipurpose GPS navigation and augmented reality viewfinder app that serves as a heads-up display with navigation details, a smart compass, and map display all rolled up into one mobile package. Users can download offline maps, navigate toward waypoints, get coordinates and find their way to locations. You can track your GPS location data, with altitude, course, and speed, track the sun and stars, use a rangefinder feature, and take measurements with the sextant, angular calculator and inclinometer tools. The app is premium on iOS (currently selling for US$5.99), while a free version exists on Android. (In-app purchases unlock app features.)

+ No.2 Seek: This App is an excellent “all-rounder”. Drawing from millions of wildlife observations on iNaturalist, Seek shows you lists of commonly-recorded insects, birds, plants, amphibians, and more in your area. Use our maps and charts to determine what you want to look for and snap a photo when you think you’ve found it. Our image recognition software lets you know if you got it right and, if it’s a match, adds it to your collection. Drawing from millions of wildlife observations on iNaturalist, Seek shows you lists of commonly-recorded insects, birds, plants, amphibians, and more in your area. Use our maps and charts to determine what you want to look for and snap a photo when you think you’ve found it. Our image recognition software lets you know if you got it right and, if it’s a match, adds it to your collection.

+ No.3 Tracks4Africa Overland Navigator App for Namibia and Botswana: This App is almost a must for the modern day and age of mobile communication. Highly recommended for all Self-Driver Visitors out there. If your GPS fails, this App will definitely back you up for sure.

+ No.4 Butterfly Collection: Roam the world from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch to explore diverse species of butterflies and moths. Butterfly Collection showcases 240 members of the fascinating and beautiful order of insect known as Lepidoptera (ancient Greek for “scale wing”), using photographs of actual insects. You can scroll through gallery screens, showing butterflies and moths sorted alphabetically, and click on thumbnails to view an image of the insect. But that’s not all. Butterfly Collection uses OpenGL to animate the insect’s wings and provide a gentle, life-like fanning motion.

+ No.5 The Namibia App: Namibia is your comprehensive travel guide to Namibia, featuring accommodation, activities and adventure, amenities and services, car hire, tour operators, camping and self-catering facilities, conferencing, restaurants and leisure. Each region features extensive information about its places of interest and peculiarities, also showcasing maps, galleries and all accommodation establishments in surrounding towns and tourist areas. Furthermore, the app presents interesting travel tips, special routes to take and also gives you a take on Namibia’s people, history and demographics. Travelling with the Namibia app in the palm of your hand allows you to make calls and bookings from anywhere in the country. It’s the perfect planning tool. You may even be so lucky as to win one of our dream holiday competitions.

+ No.6 Merlin Bird ID App: This one is for our Bird-Watching enthusiasts out there. Many individuals underestimate the huge variety of species available in southern Africa. Click here to read our past Blog Post on conservation for more clarity. Regarding the App, once installed, you just answer five quick questions and the app comes up with a list of possible species — and with a good deal of accuracy. It uses more than 70 million observations recorded in the eBird citizen science project to make its educated guesses. It also provides bird sound recordings and tips for identifying species.

+ No.7 MyNature Animal Tracks: Sometimes the only thing you spot are animal tracks, but that doesn’t mean you have to go on wondering what kind of animal left a certain paw print. This robust app helps you match a set of tracks to a species through seven track categories and five scat categories. Perfect for visitors attending hiking trails in a remote location like eg. Namibia’s Caprivi Strip (click here for more Info). Use the illustrations to figure out the species as well as even the gait the animal was using as it travelled. It even has a built-in ruler for measuring track sizes and gives tips for tracking animals.

 + No.8 Circa: This next App is ideal for Business Travellers and Visitors with a very busy holiday itinerary. If you’re travelling through multiple countries in a short period, it can be a little tricky to keep track of the time. Circa is a beautiful and simple time zone tracker that lets you check what time it is where you are, and where you’re heading. You can also add your home time, in case you want to keep in touch with people back home. The app will show times that overlap when both parties should be awake. You can also use the app on the Apple Watch and it’s now available on Android.

+ No.9 Snakebite Institute App:  This one is our favourite App for this specific Post.  This App can become a lifesaver in an unfortunate event of a snakebite. We recommend this App to every Tour Guide and visitors/holidaymakers planning to attend multiple-day bush hikes, camping, deep bush excursions or more. This free App Includes first aid information, snake identification features, snake removals information, free snake posters, and more.

+ No.10 UVLens (Android, iOS: Free):  Most of us know the brutality of the Namibian Sun. It is very often underestimated by first-time visitors to Namibia. The Designers of the Namibian Flag knew exactly what they were doing when they placed the Sun on top of the Namibian National Flag. The Sun’s ultraviolet rays can be a cause of skin diseases and cancer, so it’s important to protect your skin with sunscreen to prevent stinging sunburns and reduce the risks of overexposure to the sun. UVLens (Android, iOS) is a feature-packed UV index forecast app and sunscreen calculator that lets you create a personalized skin profile for more accurate estimates of their sunburn risk, including the estimated time before getting a sunburn on a given day, as well as recommended precautions. A UV index forecast can help suggest the best times of the day to be out, and a sunscreen reminder notifies you when it’s time to reapply your sunscreen.

+ No.11 First Aid – American Red Cross (Android, iOS: Free): The American Red Cross’ First Aid app (Android, iOS) is a free (and ad-free) app that provides a wealth of basic first aid information for burns, injuries, and other medical emergencies that might arise. Don’t be fooled by the Title “American…”, this App will also come in handy regardless of where you are in the world. A “Learn” mode lets you read up on a type of injury, basic first aid treatment, and a Q&A section, while an Emergency mode dispenses with the extra information while providing concise first aid instructions in a single page, sometimes accompanied by videos and diagrams, as well as a one-button shortcut to call 911. Additional links allow you to sign up for first aid courses, buy first aid kits, donate or volunteer for the American Red Cross. Even if you do not donate anything, very useful App to have while on an African adventure.

Image rights owned by each mentioned App provider. 

Click here for our past Blog Post regarding the diversity of Namibia’s Wildlife Conservation.