Africa’s least populated country captivates visitors with its vast arid landscapes, abundant wildlife, and ancient rock art. From the world-famous red dunes of Sossusvlei to the eerie isolated beaches of the Skeleton Coast, each region of Namibia has its own distinct landscapes, wildlife, and activities. Because Namibia experiences fewer extreme seasonal changes than other parts of southern Africa, a safari in Namibia can be enjoyed all year.
From the towering dunes of Sossusvlei to the German coastal town of Swakopmund and the whales of Walvis Bay, the laidback capital of Windhoek to the shifting sands of the Namib-Naukluft National Park, central Namibia is home to some of the country’s most popular attraction and best adventure activities, making it one of the top areas for travellers.
Etosha aside, central Namibia is the most popular region for travellers to explore. Windhoek, Namibia’s capital city, is where many people will start and end their trip, picking up supplies before they head off north to Etosha, west to Swakopmund or south to Sossusvlei. The coastal town of Swakopmund is Namibia’s adventure centre, with a huge range of activities on offer to suit the most avid of adrenaline seekers, while its colonial architecture and restaurants make staying here for a few days a pleasure. Just south of Swakopmund, Walvis Bay is a port town with abundant birdlife in its lagoon and amazing marine life off its shores.
The capital city, Windhoek, is where you’ll start and end your trip if you’re flying in to Namibia. Most travellers only spend a day or two here to hire a car and stock up on provisions before driving either north or south, but with its laidback atmosphere, colonial architecture, museums and good restaurants, Windhoek makes for a great first stop on your itinerary.
The dry salt pans of Deadvlei
Sossusvlei is the most visited place in Namibia and it’s easy to see why. As one of the most accessible areas in the vast Namib-Naukluft National Park, a visit to Sossusvlei gives you a taste of some of the breath-taking scenery that makes the park and the Namib so special: the soaring orange sand dunes against a deep blue sky, the never-ending horizons and the cracked puzzle pieces of dry clay pans.
A short walk from Sossusvlei is one of the most photogenic places in all Namibia – Deadvlei. This desiccated pan dotted with the charcoal-black skeletons of long-dead trees surrounded by an amphitheatre of towering dunes looks so surreal that it feels like the set from a movie.
Sunrise over Siesriem
Just outside the gates to Sossusvlei, the 30-metre-deep, one-kilometre-long Sesriem Canyon may not be nearly as dramatic as the Fish River Canyon, but it is an interesting natural attraction to visit, especially with its two short easy walks which offer you the chance to explore the gorge at a gentle slow pace.
Sun-bleached sand dunes outside Swakopmund
On the coast, the attractive Germanic town of Swakopmund, with its photogenic colonial architecture, is a great place to spend a few days: there are excellent restaurants serving up hearty German fare, charming bakeries and coffee shops to load up on Black Forest cake and apple strudel, and beer houses where you can drink German brews with locals. The town is best known as Namibia’s adventure capital, with its smorgasbord of activities on offer that take place on the coast or in the surrounding desert: kayaking trips to a seal colony, sky diving, quad biking, sand boarding down desert dunes and guided tours of the desert to explore its fascinating animal and plant life.
Close to Swakopmund, Walvis Bay is a port town that serves as a launch point for boat tours along the coast to do seal, dolphin and whale watching, as well as kayaking trips, kite surfing and wind surfing. South of Walvis Bay, Sandwich Harbour is a haven for birdwatchers who come to see more than 50 species of wetland birds – in particular, flamingos and waders – in the natural lagoon.
As central Namibia is a popular region, it’s best to book far in advance for lodging, especially if you’re travelling during the busiest months of June to September or in December and January. If you’re flying into Windhoek to start your trip, plan to add in a day or two before you head off into Namibia to stock up on supplies that will be hard to find elsewhere, such as medicine and camping equipment.
For travellers seeking untamed wilderness, some of Namibia’s best scenery, dramatic mountains, ancient rock art and off-the-beaten-track adventure with some thrilling wildlife sightings thrown in for good mix, Damaraland doesn’t disappoint. Located southwest of Etosha, Damaraland may not be as easily accessible as other areas in Namibia – you’ll need to have a 4×4 to explore the region’s rough roads – but it offers a wilderness experience that you dont find in many places in Africa anymore.
As one of Namibia’s last unofficial wildlife areas, Damaraland is unfenced, so animals can move freely outside the confines of parks and reserves. Desert-adapted elephants, rhinos and lions roam these vast plains and rocky outcrops, and while tracking these animals can be tricky, getting to see them roaming free against startling desert backdrops is a far more exciting feeling than spotting game in a wildlife park.
Animals aside, Damaraland is home to Namibia’s tallest peak – Brandberg – an imposing granite mountain that glows in the setting sun (giving rise to its name “fire mountain”). It’s not just for climbers though: the ancient rock art in the mountain ravines – thousands of paintings including the famous White Lady – is among the best preserved on the continent. Known as the “Matterhorn of Africa”, the granite peaks of Spitzkoppe loom above the sandy plains of Damaraland. Climbing to the top is a challenge even for experienced mountaineers, but there’s plenty of strikingly unusual rocky landscapes here for non-climbers to explore.
Meanwhile, Damaraland’s major attraction is Twyfelfontein, where more than 2000 engravings – some thought to be over six millennia old – are etched into rock faces across the valley. Preserving Africa’s greatest concentration of rock art, Twyfelfontein gives the chance to get a glimpse into the world of Stone Age hunter-gatherers.
One of Africa’s greatest safari destinations, the 22 000-square kilometre wilderness of Etosha National Park is a top highlight for many travellers to Namibia. Made up of grasslands and woodland savanna and dominated by a giant salt pan, Etosha is home to 114 species of mammals, including four of the Big Five and the world’s largest concentration of black rhino.
A visit to Etosha during the dry months of June to October means you’ll be treated to some of the best wildlife viewing that you can have on the continent. The lack of rain forces animals to congregate around the waterholes spread out in the park, so seeing black rhino, herds of elephant, prides of lion, as well as herds of zebra, giraffe and springbok takes no more effort than parking next to a waterhole and waiting for the animals to arrive.
Credit | Kusini Collection
The rainy summer months have their own appeal though: at this time of year, the vegetation is lush and green, and for keen birdwatchers there are the million flamingos that use Etosha as a breeding ground, and the host of migratory bird species that make the park their temporary home.
The best experiences in Etosha are all about spotting wildlife at waterholes during the dry winter months. There are a number of them which are spread throughout the park near to accessible roads, so all you have to do is park your car, sit with a flask of coffee and wait for the animals to arrive. Each of the camps inside the parks features a waterhole that you can sit around for hours in the afternoon doing the easiest wildlife viewing possible. Of all the camp waterholes, Okaukeujo waterhole (at the camp of the same name) is a stand out. There’s a low wall around one side of the big waterhole so you can sit on a bench just a few metres away from a herd of elephants having a mud bath: Etosha magic at its best.
Etosha is a perfect choice for a self-drive holiday: the roads are easy to navigate and are in very good condition – and suitable for 2WD vehicles, although you might prefer a 4WD for better visibility.
There are several camps inside the park that offer camping grounds, self-catering chalets and luxury rooms, but the lodging options outside of the park gates are also excellent.
Etosha National Park is best visited in the winter months of June to September, when it’s much easier to spot animals than in the rainy summer months. The winter months can get very busy, however, so be sure to book your lodging many months in advance.
The Fish River Canyon, Africa’s answer to the Grand Canyon, is one of the best places in Namibia to stand in awe of the raw power of nature. Measuring 27 kilometres wide, 550 metres deep and 160 kilometres long, it’s the largest canyon on the continent and Namibia’s greatest geological wonder. The canyon lies in different nature reserves: its southern stretch (the deepest section) is in the |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park, while its northern reaches are protected by private reserves. The main viewpoint for the canyon is in the |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park and it’s where you’ll get the best outlook, with views of the Hell’s Corner riverbend.
Stunning vistas from Fish River Lodge
One of southern Africa’s most popular treks and the best way to experience the canyon, the Fish River Canyon Hike covers 85 kilometres – half the length of the entire canyon – in five to seven days. It’s a tough self-guided camping hike but the rewards include soaking up spectacular canyon scenery, soaking in hot springs, cooling off on swims in the river and sleeping under the stars. If you want do some easier hikes, lodges in the area offer shorter and easier walks.
Ai-Ais natural hot springs
Whether you do the Fish River Canyon Hike or not, soaking your body in the healing waters of Ai-Ais natural hot springs at the southern end of the canyon is a real treat. There’s a resort at the hot springs where you’ll find indoor and outdoor thermal baths and spas on the banks of a river surrounded by mountains.
In terms of lodging options for the Fish River Canyon, there’s a range of choices from campsites to luxury lodges located in both the national park and in private reserves.
You need to book a year in advance to do the Fish River Canyon Hike, which is only open during the cooler winter months of May to September. It’s a grueling hike and you may experience temperatures of over 40 degrees, so it’s essential that you are fit, strong and healthy before you decide to tackle it.
The fourth largest national park in the world, the Namib-Naukluft National Park is a 50 000 square kilometre wilderness in the Namib Desert: a place of shifting terracotta dunes, vast plains and shimmering savanna fringed in the east by the dramatic Naukluft Mountains. This is Africa’s largest conservation area and one of the best places on the planet for truly mind-blowing desert landscapes.
Credit | Travel News Namibia
Far from barren, the Namib Desert is home to a stunning array of plant and animal life, all of which have adapted to life under a harsh sun with very little water, from oryx, kudu, giraffe, springbok, black-backed jackals, African wild cats, aardvarks and leopards to more than 340 species of birds, many reptiles and some weird and wonderful plants, such as the strange-looking welwitschia, which can live for up to 2000 years.
There are many ways to experience the Namib-Naukluft, whether you’re on a short trip and just have time to visit Sossusvlei, where you can climb the highest dunes in the world or want a more adventurous take on the desert on a multi-day 4×4 trail or hiking route that takes you deep into isolated wilderness. Whatever way you spend your time in the Namib-Naukluft, the beauty, space and serenity of the desert will stay with you long afterwards.
Northern Namibia is home to some of Namibia’s greatest wildlife, wildest landscapes and least accessible areas, from the waterholes teeming with animal life in Etosha National Park, to the forbidding dunes of the Skeleton Coast, and the imposing mountains of Damaraland to free-roaming desert rhinos and elephants. Exploring much of northern Namibia spells adventure: you’ll need a 4×4, navigation equipment and your own supplies, but the rewards are all about being able to immerse yourself in untouched wilderness.
Stretching up to the Angolan border and with a slice of land sandwiched between Botswana and Zambia, northern Namibia is the country’s wildest and most remote region. Its most popular attraction by far is Etosha National Park, which will astound even the most seasoned safari goer with abundant animal life congregated around waterholes in the dry winter months, but northern Namibia also has far more to offer. Waterberg Plateau Park has an unusual setting of a giant sandstone plateau looming over the desert plains, where you can find rare species such as sable and roan antelope, while to the northwest Damaraland is a starkly beautiful rugged landscape where you can explore ancient rock art sites, climb mountains and track desert elephants and rhino. In the far northwest up against the Angolan border, Kaokoveld is Namibia’s least accessible area and one of southern Africa’s last remaining true wildernesses, where desert elephants roam in vast spaces and semi-nomadic Himba people live in scattered villages. In northeastern Namibia there’s adventurous Kalahari safaris to be had in Khaudum National Park, while further north in the wettest part of the country, you can have a taste of the Okavango Delta in the lush forested islands and rivers of the Zambezi Region, where wildlife viewing is done by traditional dug-out canoes.
Etosha National Park is the standout highlight of northern Namibia and one of the top parks on the continent. Come in the winter months to easily spot lions, black rhino and herds of elephants as well as a host of other animals as they traverse the parched landscape and congregate at waterholes. Etosha is an easy option for a self-drive holiday, with good lodging options spread out in the park and well-marked roads that can been driven in a 2WD car.
With its sandstone plateau towering over plains of the desert, Waterberg Plateau Park is another excellent park to the south of Etosha, offering great wildlife viewing from waterhole hides and on hiking trails of species such as black and white rhino, rare sable and roan antelope, eland, kudu and tsessebe, as well as brown hyena and leopard.
One of the best places in Africa to do cheetah and leopard tracking, the 200 square kilometre Okonjima Nature Reserve is home to the AfriCat Foundation, one of the country’s best conservation initiatives. The foundation rescues and rehabilitates cheetahs and leopard from human-wildlife conflict situations and gives you the chance to track these predators on foot in the nature reserve: a thrilling experience, and one that also contributes to the survival of these threatened species.
Covering a vast area in northwest Namibia, Damaraland is harsh, remote and incredibly beautiful – a land of huge plains, deep gorges, granite outcrops and jagged peaks. Here you can track free-roaming desert rhinos and elephants: Damaraland is one of the only places left in southern Africa where wildlife is found outside of parks and reserves. Other highlights of the region are climbing the mountains of Brandberg – Namibia’s highest peak – and Spitzkoppe, and exploring the incredible rock art gallery of Twyfelfontein, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where more than 2500 paintings are spread across 17 sites.
To the north of Damaraland, Kaokoveld is a true wilderness and the least accessible region in the country: a sparsely inhabited place of sandy tracks and massive open vistas, desert elephants and dramatic mountain scenery. Kaokoveld is the ancestral home of the semi-nomadic Himba people, whom you can visit in scattered villages to learn more about their fascinating culture and traditions. Another highlight of Kaokoveld is Epupa Falls, a beautiful waterfall oasis surrounded by baobabs, fig trees and palms.
Shipwreck on the Skeleton Coast
The Skeleton Coast, a 500-kilometre stretch of desolate oceanfront where desert dunes meet the icy waters of the Atlantic and many ships have been wrecked over the centuries, is one of Namibia’s most inhospitable areas. Travellers visit the Skeleton Coast for its harsh beauty of soaring dunes, welwitschia-dotted plains and rolling fogs, the feeling of an end-of-the-world remoteness, as well as the 100 000-strong seal colony at the Cape Cross Seal Reserve and the eerie rusting skeletons of shipwrecks scattered along the coast. While many places along the coast can only be reached by 4×4, most of the Skeleton Coast is inaccessible by road, so if you’d like to really experience the extreme isolation of this wilderness area, a fly-in safari is your best option.
A narrow strip of land wedged between Angola and Botswana and bordering on Zambia and Zimbabwe, the Zambezi Region (formerly the Caprivi Strip) offers a different safari experience to the rest of the very dry country, with its rivers, floodlands and lush vegetation supporting animals such as hippo and buffalo – which you don’t find in many other places Namibia – as well as elephant, lion and more than 430 species of birds in Bwabwata National Park and Nkasa Rupara National Park.
Southwest of the Zambezi Strip, on the border of Botswana, Khaudum National Park in the northern Kalahari offers a truly wild experience of off-road adventure. With few signs and sandy tracks, you’ll be on your own navigating your way around the park to spot lions and wild dogs. Near the park are scattered villages of the Ju/’hoansi !Kung people. Tourism initiatives allow you to have cultural experiences with these former hunter gatherers, as they share some of their traditional skills in experiences such as bush walks and animal tracking.
Parts of northern Namibia are extremely remote with rugged terrain and rough roads (or no roads at all), which means you need to have done some thorough research before your travels and you have to be prepared with two spare tyres, extra petrol and plenty of food and water in the car. In the remoter regions such as the Kaokoveld it’s advisable to travel with a guide and in a convoy of at least two cars. Many roads are only accessible by 4×4 and some roads in the Zambezi Region may be flooded in the wet summer months from November to March.
During November to May there is a medium risk of malaria in northern Namibia, especially in Etosha National Park and in the Zambezi Region. Consult your doctor about taking malaria prophylactics and take necessary precautions to prevent being bitten.
Namibia’s most visited attraction is one of the best places to experience the serene beauty of the Namib Desert: that quintessential landscape of undulating burned orange and apricot coloured dunes towering above the desert floor that you’ve seen on a thousand postcards and posters. Sossusvlei itself is a salt and clay pan encircled by sand dunes in central Namibia, but the name has now come to refer to the surrounding area, which includes other pans and dunes.
Lying within the Namib-Naukluft National Park, Sossusvlei is the only point of call in the park for many travellers to Namibia, due to its ease of reach and accessibility even in a 2WD vehicle, and it offers a wonderful taste of the vast largely untouched wilderness. Despite being the most popular place for travellers in the whole country, the magic of Sossusvlei lies in just how remote and isolated you can feel, even on a busy day, when you’re on top of your own massive dune and all you can see is sand and sky as far as the horizon.
Close by to Sossusvlei is Deadvlei, another clay pan, which is even more photogenic. Surrounding by soaring terracotta sand dunes, the blinding white pan is dotted with the blackened skeletons of 900-year-old petrified trees under a brilliant blue sky: a scene that is so startling you can hardly believe it’s real. It’s easy to see why this is one of Namibia’s most photographed places.
Sossusvlei is surrounded by sand dunes in every direction: these are the world’s tallest dunes and climbing them is a top highlight of any trip to Namibia. Some are famous, such as the 170-metre-high Dune 45, which is one of the most climbed dunes due to its accessibility next to the road 45 kilometres from Sesriem, and Big Daddy – a towering 350 metres above Deadvlei – but if you want to find your own sandy spot away from other travellers just pick a slope and climb to the top for stupendous views over a never-ending sea of dunes.
Soaring high above Sossusvlei and the Namib Desert in a hot air balloon as the sun rises above the horizon is one of Namibia’s most unforgettable activities.
Sossusvlei lies within the Namib-Naukluft National Park. You need to buy a permit to enter the park, and your visit is limited to the hours of the gates, which close around sunset and open around sunrise. The best times to explore Sossusvlei are in the early morning and late afternoon, when the sun isn’t so harsh and the golden light makes the desert glow. Check the opening and closing times of the gates – they differ in summer and winter months – to plan your visit, and bear in mind that it’s a 60-kilometre drive from the parking area of Sossusvlei to the gate, so leave enough time in the afternoon to drive back before the gate closes. If you want extra time before sunrise and after sunset, you can opt to stay at one of the two lodging options within the park: a campsite or an upmarket luxury lodge.
The last few kilometres to Sossusvlei are on a sandy track that’s only suitable for 4x4s. If you’re travelling in a 2WD you can park your vehicle in a car park and get a ride in a safari shuttle.
There are plenty of lodging options near to the entrance of Sossusvlei in the tiny village of Sesriem and just a short drive away: take your pick from well-maintained campsites with all the amenities you would need to high-end luxury lodges set on private reserves.
Bordering on South Africa, Namibia’s southern region has a lot to offer in terms of wild desert landscapes and outdoors activities, from canoeing on the Orange River through the other-worldly desert scenery of the |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park to the jaw-dropping majesty of the Fish River Canyon, Africa’s largest canyon.
Southern Namibia may not be a prime safari destination but what it lacks in famous wildlife it makes up for in sublime desert scenery: sandy plains dotted with quiver trees, jagged granite mountains, and imposing rock formations. The standout highlight of southern Namibia is the Fish River Canyon, but the rest of the |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park is also full of desert wonders, including the richest diversity of succulent flora in the world. On the coast, Lüderitz is an intriguing colonial town, while nearby Kolmanskop, a ghost town, is one of Namibia’s most photographed places and lies on the edge of the Sperrgebiet National Park, Namibia’s newest national park. Most of the park, a diamond mining area that was closed to the public for a century, remains inaccessible, but travellers can now visit on guided expeditions to explore a rich succulent biome, a huge rock arch and two mysterious ghost towns. At Namibia’s border with South Africa, the Orange River meanders its way through wild desert landscapes. Taking a paddle down the river in canoe for a few hours or a few days is the perfect way of taking in this southern beauty at a slow pace. Further north, the NamibRand Nature Reserve is a vast concession on the edge of the Namib-Naukluft National Park where you see desert wildlife such as oryx and springbok against a backdrop of apricot-coloured dunes and silvery plains.
|Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park
Crossing over the border of South Africa, the |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park has some wildlife – such as oryx, springbok, zebra and baboons – but with its low density of animals and lack of big game, it’s not a prime safari destination. Instead, travellers visit the park for its out-of-this-planet Mars-like landscapes of looming mountains, boulder-strewn plains, striking quiver trees and for its incredible diversity of plant life (try to visit in August and September when wild flowers are blooming). The park is the world’s only arid biodiversity hotspot, conserving the richest diversity of succulents on the planet. Another highlight of the park is the |Ai-|Ais thermal hot springs, where you can soak in outdoor baths in a photogenic setting under the shadow of mountains.
Fish River Canyon
The ancient water-carved Fish River Canyon, which is Africa’s largest canyon at 550 metres deep and 160 kilometres wide, is a truly humbling sight to take in and the star attraction of the |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park. Standing on the edge of the gorge and peering down into the abyss makes you realise how small and insignificant you are in comparison to the mighty forces of nature. There are easy hikes to do around the canyon, but if you’re up for a challenge, the 85-kilometre multi-day Fish River Canyon Hike, which traverses half the length of the gorge, is the best way to get to grips with this geological wonder.
Canoeing down the Orange River
Canoeing trips on the Orange River, which forms a natural boundary with South Africa, are a must-do when travelling southern Namibia. Whether you have a few hours or a few days, paddling down the river at a gentle pace is the perfect way of taking in the desert scenery. There are a few different outfitters that offer guided trips that include all your meals and camp set up, so all you have to do is spend your days paddling and swimming and have magical nights sleeping under a sky thick with stars.
The colonial coastal town of Lüderitz is an interesting place to visit, with its historic mansions and restaurants serving up tasty fresh seafood (don’t miss having local oysters) and boat tours to a Cape fur seal sanctuary and penguin colony. Close by, the abandoned diamond mining town of Kolmanskop is now a ghost town and one of Namibia’s most photogenic places. It’s an eerie experience to wander around the town’s crumbling buildings which are slowly being swallowed by the desert sands. When you’re driving between Lüderitz and Aus, keep an eye out for the herd of wild horses – the world’s only wild desert horses – that roam this area of this desert and can often be seen near the road. Another worthy roadside stop is the beautiful Quiver Tree Forest near Keetmanshoop, where 250 of the unusual and striking looking quiver trees (or kokerboom) stand sentinel over grass and boulders.
South of Kolmanksop is the Sperrgebiet National Park, Namibia’s newest park and a diamond mining area that was restricted to the public for a century. Most of the park remains off limits but you can now explore some of it only on guided excursions which take you to a dramatic rock arch, a diamond mine and to two eerie ghost towns that are being swallowed by the desert.
Further north, close to the central region of Namibia, the private NamibRand Nature Reserve offers a chance to spot a host of wildlife species such as oryx, springbok, kudu, zebra and giraffe in photogenic surroundings of grassy plains fringed with mountains and waves of burnt orange sand dunes. The Tok Tokkie Trail, a three-day guided hike on the reserve, is easy to do (and very comfortable – delicious meals are prepared at an outdoor camp each night) and is a great way of experiencing the Namib up close and learning more about its unique plant, insect and animal life.
It’s easy to drive to southern Namibia from South Africa, so if you’re thinking of travelling to South Africa on your holiday, then you might want to consider flying to Cape Town and renting a car there to drive up to Namibia.
If you’d like to hike the Fish River Canyon, you need to go during the cooler months of May to September and book a year in advance.
While the |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park is extremely hot during the summer months of November to March, it’s a good time to do a canoeing trip down the Orange River as you spend a lot of the day in the water and can sleep under clear night skies.
Do not attempt to enter the Sperrgebiet (Forbidden Area) unless you are on a guided tour – it’s a diamond mining area and you will be prosecuted for trespassing without a permit.
Sandwiched between the ocean and the Namib Desert, Swakopmund, a coastal town in central Namibia, is one of the most popular places in the country for travellers to visit. The laidback town has charm by the bucketload with its colonial architecture, oceanfront promenades, historical sights, cosy guesthouses, and excellent restaurants and beer houses where you can sample traditional German food and beer.
Swakopmund is a perfect base for exploring the coast, from taking boat and kayaking trips from Walvis Bay to spot the abundant marine life of the Atlantic Ocean to going birdwatching at Sandwich Harbour further south. It’s also a centre for adventure activities – it’s easy to fill several days with adrenaline-pumping fun. Take your pick from sandboarding down the huge dunes just outside of town, quad biking in the desert or sky diving.
A lovely activity for families is the living desert tour, where you walk in the Namib with a guide teaching you about the fascinating plants and animals that have adapted to the harsh environment, while another family-friendly day trip is the Welwitschia Drive, a short road trip route that takes you through some fascinating places in the Namib-Naukluft National Park, including to the oldest welwitschia plant in the world – an ancient specimen thought to be more than 1500 years old.
January is midsummer in Namibia, when temperatures in most of the country are extremely hot, and some parts of Namibia receive heavy afternoon showers. The summer rains mean the foliage in Etosha National Park is at its greenest, making for beautiful photos and good birdwatching but wildlife spotting is more challenging than in the drier months. January is a good time to visit the Skeleton Coast as the weather is mild and sunny.
It’s not advisable to travel to the Zambezi Region during the rainy months, as the area receives the most rainfall in Namibia and roads may be flooded. There’s also a higher risk of malaria.
February is the wettest, hottest and most humid month in Namibia. It’s the low season, which means lower room rates and fewer other travellers. It’s tricky to spot wildlife in Etosha but it is birthing season, so if you’re very lucky you’ll get to see some newborn antelope calves.
The rains start to ease off in March in Namibia but it’s still hot and humid. It’s still a good month for birdwatching but finding wildlife in places such as Etosha remains difficult due to the lush vegetation.
April is a lovely time to visit Namibia especially if you’re a photographer: the weather is mild, the skies are clear and the landscapes are green. It’s still the low season so you can get good deals on room rates.
May is a good month for Namibia travel, with moderate temperatures, green vegetation and clear skies. If you want to do a serious hike, the Fish River Canyon hike opens for the winter season in the beginning of the month.
Desert temperatures drop off in June: while day times are pleasant, nights can be freezing. Without rain, the landscape has become much drier, and vegetation sparser, making this a good time for a visit to Etosha, where it’s just started to become easy to spot animals congregating around waterholes.
July is the driest month of the year, so it’s an excellent time to visit the game parks, especially Etosha, where it’s easy to see hundreds of animals vying for space around waterholes. Day time temperatures are mild and night time temperatures can drop well below freezing.
August is a popular time to travel to Namibia, so be sure to have your lodging booked far in advance. It’s an excellent time to see wildlife in the parks and it’s a good time to do outdoors activities in the desert as day time temperatures remain mild (although be prepared for freezing nights). In August you can see beautiful carpets of wild spring flowers covering the arid |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park.
September is an ideal time for visiting Namibia: day time temperatures are still pleasant, and nights are a bit warmer. It’s still dry, so game viewing is excellent. Early to mid-September is the last time you can hike the Fish River Canyon before it gets too hot, and it’s also the last month to catch the wild spring flowers in |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park.
October gets very hot and dusty in Namibia, though it’s still a good time to visit Etosha in terms of dry landscapes and easy wildlife spotting. This is the best month for spotting southern right, humpback and minke whales as they pass through the Atlantic Ocean near Walvis Bay.
The first rains of summer generally start in November and the temperature drops a bit, although much of the country doesn’t receive much rainfall. This month is the end of the season for the migration of whales which you can spot from Walvis Bay. November is a good time to visit the Skeleton Coast National Park, as the weather is mild.
With the summer rains in December, Namibia’s arid landscapes turn to green, attracting migratory birds, making this an ideal time for birdwatchers. December is a busy time of year to travel in Namibia because of the Namibian and South African school holidays over the Christmas and New Year period so be sure to book in advance for lodging and campsites.
Sossusvlei is located about 350km southwest of Windhoek (southern part of the Namib Desert). It is a salt and clay pan surrounded by the high red dunes' of Namib-Naukluft National Park.
Sossusvlei has a wide range of different types of accommodation from the luxury side to the budget side of things. Examples of this include; The Desert Camp, Desert Quiver Camp, Le Mirage Desert Lodge & Spa and much more.
You can fly to Sossusvlei from Windhoek or you can drive to Sossusvlei
The road to Sossusvlei is extremely beautiful and is a great journey to add to a Safari in Namibia
There are many lots of routes to drive depending on where you are starting your journey
A safari in Namibia is best done between July and October, when temperatures are just above 20°C and the chance of rain is low. This is also the best time for wildlife viewing, making it peak travel season.
Long-sleeved shirts that provide sun and mosquito protection
T-shirts and shorts for warmer days
Evenings and cooler days call for jeans or long pants
South Africa, Namibia, Mozambique, Botswana, Swaziland, Zambia, and Zimbabwe are among the countries that offer rail safaris.
Visit the historic Lutheran church - Christuskirche
Go walking at Avis Dam Nature Reserve in Windhoek
Explore the Independence Memorial Museum
See the Gibeon meteorites on your Windhoek Holiday
Visit Joe's Beerhouse
Windhoek, the capital city of Namibia, is located roughly in the country's centre.
It is located about 400 miles (650 kilometres) north of the Orange River and 760 miles (1,225 kilometres) north of Cape Town.
The most well-known rock art areas are Damaraland's Brandberg Massif (2697m – mostly painting sites) and Twyfelfontein, a UNESCO World Heritage rock art site also in Damaraland.
Visit the Twyfelfontein and Brandberg Massif Bushman rock art sites
Explore Spitzkoppe or take photos from afar on your Damaraland holiday
Learn about the amazing Damara culture on an organised cultural tour
Try out scenic flights over Damaraland and see the beauty of the Namibian landscapes
Otjiwarongo has a variety of lodges, guesthouses and hotels to choose from.
Namibia spells adventure with a capital A. Planning your Namibian adventure holiday is a matter of deciding what sorts of experiences you’d like to have.
Without much planning or prepa
ration, you can have a jam-packed itinerary full of adventurous activities – some of which are suitable for the whole family – just by staying in Swakopmund, where various tour operators offer everything from skydiving and sandboarding down massive desert dunes to quad biking and ocean kayaking.
Boating down the Zambezi
With a bit more planning and some necessary experience, going 4x4ing in Namibia’s most remote places is one of the most adventurous ways of experiencing the country’s wildest landscapes. Two of the best 4x4ing areas are the Skeleton Coast National Park and Damaraland – wild, rugged, remote, inhospitable but incredibly scenic.
Exploring the Fish River Canyon
In terms of active adventures, Namibia’s difficult peaks in the Brandberg and the Spitzkoppe mountains lure experienced climbers looking for a challenge. The five-day Fish River Canyon hike, which takes you through some of the best scenery of Africa’s largest canyon, is a wonderful trekking option for those with stamina, while you can also find shorter and less strenuous hiking routes spread all over the country. A perfect family-friendly adventure is an Orange River canoeing journey, where you paddle down the watery boundary between Namibia and South Africa, passing through magnificent desert landscapes along the way.
Onguma Tented Camp is the epitome of Namibian luxury
Namibia is home to superb luxury safari lodges in spectacular locations, often on private concessions in wilderness areas where part of the luxury is going on game drives without seeing other cars. Most of the luxury lodges in the country are concentrated around the most popular destinations, with excellent properties in and around Etosha National Park, in the NamibRand Nature Reserve, on private reserves near Sossusvlei, in the Waterberg Plateau area and in Twyfelfontein, while there are also intimate high-end lodges and camps in Namibia’s more remote areas such as the Skeleton Coast and Kaokoveld, some of which are only accessible by light aircraft.
If budget isn’t an issue, fly-in safaris are the ultimate way to experience Namibia. On a fly-in safari, you’ll travel Namibia in a small plane, flying between exclusive high-end safari camps in remote areas and visiting a number of parks and reserves along the way. With Namibia’s vast distances and 4×4-accessible areas, doing a fly-in safari is the best way of maximising the time on your trip. Fly-in safaris usually include everything from accommodation, meals and drinks to activities such as game drives.
Namibia offers excellent value-for-money, especially if you hire a car and stay in campsites or lodges situated outside of the national parks. While there are a lot of pros to staying inside the parks, these camps can be pricey, especially in high season. Choosing to sleep at a camp or lodge just outside of the park gates means you can get better value for your money and only miss out on being inside the park in the early mornings and late afternoons when the gates are closed.
The low season – February, March, April, May and November – see hotels and lodges drop their room rates, so travelling during these months means getting better value for money on your lodging.
Staying at all-inclusive safari lodges can give you great value for money as many lodges offer a number of activities such as game drives, guided nature walks and animal tracking as part of your stay. Even if you’re travelling to Namibia on a budget and mostly staying at campsites it makes sense to spend a few nights at a lodge to take advantage of activities that would cost more if you had booked them through separate providers.
The best way to travel Namibia on a budget is to rent a car, stay in campsites and cook your own food. Namibia has some superb campsites in beautiful wild places, and many of them offer shops where you can stock up on things like meat, charcoal and canned food so that you can self-cater.
Another way to travel to Namibia on a budget is to join an organised tour that includes your lodging, transport, food and activities.
Travelling in the low season months of February, March, April, May and November means you can get good deals on rooms in lodges and hotels as the rates are significantly lower than in the peak season.
Hiking and exploring the national parks and reserves in your car are two of the top budget activities you can do in Namibia, and they also happen to be the best ways to experience the most beautiful places and extraordinary wildlife that the country has to offer.
Food and cuisine in Namibia are generally divided between indigenous food types and westernised to accommodate a wider range of palates, and range from German, Afrikaans and European in nature. The vast majority of visitors to Namibia concentrate their time in a handful of destinations, where restaurants, National Parks and resort kitchens almost exclusively feature the latter. As such, almost all meals are very familiar to western visitors.
Breakfasts can consist of cereals, yoghurt, cheeses, cold cuts, eggs, sausage, bacon and bread, which are familiar to most tourists. Dinner mains feature a lot of game meats (kudu, springbok, oryx, wildebeest and others) as well as chicken, pork and steak. Sides are your typical variety of vegetables. Bread is served with most meals and seafood is readily available along the coast.
Wines are expectedly dominated by South African varieties but a few establishments carry a handful of French and Californian labels as well.
Be sure to sample some of the Southern African delicacies like rusks (dried pieces of cake that can be dipped in a hot beverage), biltong (similar to beef jerky, but better) and local sausage (known as ‘wors’).
Etosha National Park offers fantastic photo opportunities | Credit: Ongava Tented Camp
Namibia is a photographer’s dream destination. The country’s spectacular desert landscapes of soaring sand dunes, vast horizons and cracked pans, its rugged mountains, dramatic canyon and startling Skeleton Coast and the unpolluted night skies, along with striking wildlife and unusual flora (quiver trees are a particular highlight) make couldn’t be more photogenic.
Namibia’s top photographic destinations are Etosha National Park for wildlife – especially in the winter months, when you’ll be able to capture the park’s animals from up close as they congregate around waterholes, the dunes around Sossusvlei for those quintessential desert scenes, the petrified trees of Deadvlei, the deserted ghost town of Kolmanskop in southern Namibia for images of old houses being swallowed by sand, and in Damaraland, the herds of desert elephants against a backdrop of arid mountains and stony plains.
Make sure you have all the batteries and memory cards you need, as you won’t be able to find them in most of Namibia. Namibia has such diverse landscapes and attractions that you’ll want to be travelling with a range of lenses, from wide-angle for the vast desert horizons to super telephoto for those wildlife shots. A tripod is essential for landscapes, wildlife photography where you can set up at a waterhole (such as in Etosha’s camps) and night sky photos. Namibia is very dusty, so be sure to protect your gear in closed boxes while you’re travelling in the car and clean lenses carefully to get rid of dust.
Don’t forget to photograph one of Namibia’s famous sunsets
Different seasons in Namibia offer varied photographic highlights. In the rainy season from November to March, foliage in some areas (such as Etosha) will be lush and green. These months are also best for bird photography. The rains have stopped by April and May and these months are best for clear, dust-free skies. However, for the best chance of getting close up to wildlife at waterholes in Etosha, June to October is the time to travel.
The huge empty spaces and unspoiled wild places of Namibia make you feel like you’re a million miles away from civilisation, which for many people provides the basis for a deeply relaxing holiday.
The best way to have a relaxing holiday in Namibia is to take things slowly. Long drives between distant destinations can be tiring. Instead of trying to cover all of Namibia’s highlights on one trip, pick two or three destinations to spend your time in or spend all your time in just one region. You could even choose just one destination to stay in and do day trips from there.
Credit | Suricate Kalahari Lodge
Namibia’s luxury lodges are all about as much relaxation as you want: while they offer a lot of activities, you can also take it really easy, whiling away days reading on your private deck overlooking vast desert plains or animals walking across a cracked salt pan in Etosha, taking dips in the pool, having sunset drinks on top of a dune and eating gourmet food surrounded by other-worldly scenery.
Credit | Mowani Mountain Camp
If you have the budget for it, a flying safari is an ideal way to have a relaxing holiday in Namibia. You fly between luxury camps and lodges around the country and get to experience the best of Namibia’s wildlife and wild places without having to drive anywhere.
If you’re after an active holiday in Namibia, you’re in for a mind-boggling array of choices: everything from hiking, mountain biking and sand boarding to river canoeing, ocean kayaking, mountain climbing, animal tracking and quad biking.
Swakopmund is an ideal base for an active holiday, as the coastal town offers a huge range of outdoors activities nearby, including sandboarding down towering dunes, skydiving over the desert, kayaking with seals in the ocean and quad biking.
Credit | Cheetah Ecolodge
There are hiking trails all over the country but the most famous is the 85-kilometre, five-day hike in the Fish River Canyon, a route which is only open between May and September. You’ll need to be self-sufficient for the hike, carrying your own sleeping gear and food and the terrain is tough going, so it’s not for the faint hearted. A fantastic wildlife hike is the four-day Waterberg Hike in Waterberg Pleateau Park (which is open from April to November) where you can spot rare roan and sable antelope, as well as giraffe, kudu and hyena amongst the dramatic red sandstone cliffs of the park. For an easier hiking option, there’s the Tok Tokkie Trail, three-day slackpacking trail in the NamibRand Nature Reserve, where the walking is easy and your luggage is transported for you to comfortable outdoor camps that are set up for you at the end of your walking day (complete with cold drinks, gourmet food and hot water for washing).
Canoeing on the Orange River for a few days in southern Namibia is a perfect choice for a relaxing active holiday for the whole family. Several outfitters offer similar multi-day paddling trips which include guides and meals, meaning all you need to do is paddle, swim, and sleep under the stars.
Namibia is a mecca for mountain bikers, with an endless array of routes that traverse some of the country’s most spectacular terrain and take you through wilderness concessions where you may be lucky enough to spot rhinos and elephants from the saddle. There are strenuous multi-day cycles suited for experienced, fit riders through remote and little visited areas such as the Kunene Region and Damaraland, but if you’re just looking to cycle for a few hours, there are many options for short trails on private nature reserves dotted around the country.
For rock and mountain climbing enthusiasts, Namibia’s rugged mountains have something for everyone, from the Spitzkoppe, where you can tackle “Namibia’s Matterhorn”, the country’s most challenging peak summit, as well as clamber over sport-climbing routes, to the Brandberg, where you can do a multi-day summit of Namibia’s highest point and see ancient rock art along the way, and the choices presented by thirty different routes in the Erongo Mountains. All three are found in the same area of Damaraland north of Swakopmund.
In Namibia it’s easy to combine an active holiday with wildlife experiences by tracking animals on foot. Take your pick from the free-roaming desert rhinos and elephants of Damaraland, the cheetahs and leopards of Okonjima Nature Reserve or rare and elusive pangolins in Erindi Private Game Reserve.
Having an active holiday in Namibia means you need the right gear: comfortable and sturdy hiking shoes, long lightweight trousers and long-sleeved shirts in neutral colours (so that you don’t stand out in the landscape when tracking animals on foot), and a wide-brimmed hat. A pair of binoculars is a must for game viewing.
The best months for outdoors activities in Namibia are the cooler winter months of May to September. In summer day time temperatures can be brutally hot, and some activities not available, such as the Fish River Canyon hike and the slackpacking hike in the NamibRand Nature Reserve.
Namibia’s flagship reserve may lack the presence of buffalo (though they are in the nearby Waterberg Plateau and Caprivi Strip) but the abundance of elephant and lion more than makes up for it. Etosha is also the best place in Africa to see black rhino; stake out waterholes at night and check them again during the day – both lions and leopards often use them as ambush points.
Etosha is a stunning park by any stretch of the imagination, both in size the amount of extraordinary African wildlife that it contains. The park is so large that it can easily be seen from outer space, and astronauts have been known to photograph it as they zoom over. How amazing is that? To give another comparison, Etosha National Wildlife Park is as large as the country of Switzerland. It also contains a very large salt pan which covers over 20% of the area, so in the rainy season parts of it become a shallow lake.
You can visit any time of the year, but winter May to September is the dry season, which means animals have to visit the water holes regularly and you can park up and “spy” on them easier. It’s also a bit cooler for humans who don’t like sweltering in heat. However, that is not to say you should avoid taking a Namibian holiday at other times of the year.
Namibia, and Etosha especially, has one of the largest populations of Black rhino left in the world, and is one of the few countries that has both Black and White Rhinos.
For the chance to see Cape buffalo and hippopotamus you will need to travel to the northwest to the Caprivi Strip which reaches all the way to the Victoria Falls. The north is also on the edge of malaria territory, so while it is not likely, it is possible to be exposed to mosquitoes that may carry the disease. Take precautions by wearing dark covered clothing (they prefer lighter colors) and use repellent while there.
Malaria-free safaris are an excellent option if you’re traveling with children, if you’re elderly, if you’re pregnant, or in any way unable to take anti-malaria medication.
Sossusvlei may seem like a lifeless pan surrounded by the arid Namib Desert in the south of the Namib-Naukluft National Park in Namibia, however the area is surrounded by red dunes that seemingly go on forever in every direction. These dunes are among the most sought-after in Namibia for their height and shape, making them perfect for all kinds of activities that will bring out your adventurous spirit. In addition, the scenery in nearby Deadvlei and Sesriem Canyon are a photographer’s dream, with brilliant colors and a silent window into a world that has been around since before antiquity – an amazing contrast to the ever-shifting sands that characterise the dunes.
From November to June malaria is prevalent in north and east Namibia, so that may strike Etosha National Park from your itinerary. However, you can still get a malaria-free safari fix by visiting a game reserve in the Waterberg region or at Okonjima (over 12s only), where the AfriCat Foundation rehabituates cheetahs and leopards.
Having said that, during the dry months of July to September, there’s no risk of malaria in Namibia’s flagship National Park. The dry months are the best time to go to Etosha anyway, as this is when the park’s water sources dry up and the animals congregate around waterholes, making it incredibly easy to spot them. Just park off your car near a waterhole and wait for the zebras, springbok, giraffe, lions, elephants and rhino to arrive!
The ever-enchanting landscapes of Namibia has some of Africa’s most dramatic scenery and many great hikes as well as walking trails. However walking safaris in Namibia offer a slightly different approach to the more traditional walking safaris of its African counterparts in that spotting prolific wildlife may not be as easy to come by because of the vastness of the country.
However, walks through the Etosha National Park are both awe-inspiring and humbling, as you tread along the very paths animals roam free on and observe their intimate lives from a careful distance, it is also one of the best ways to be guaranteed of animal sightings. The slow pace of the walk and the interpretive skills of the armed guides open your eyes to a fascinating world.
Walks tend to be led by experienced and trained guides who tailor the excursions to suit the preferences of guests, whether it’s to view a certain animal or plant species, to learn about the mannerisms of different wildlife species and their habitats or simply to enjoy the vast expanse of bush and the panoramic surroundings that sets Namibia apart. Walkers will be instructed on the identification of various tracks, as well as on the smaller wildlife and plants that live in the park and that are often missed during a game drive.
One of the best regions to walk in is Damaraland which has several really excellent camps and lodges to choose from. The scenery is astonishing, from granite boulders and euphorbia candelabra, to desert dwelling rhino and elephant.
There have also been recent sightings of cheetah and lion in this region too.
If you want to get off the beaten track and into rugged wilderness for a romantic holiday, you can’t get much better than Namibia. While Namibia’s harsh climate and extreme terrain might not seem like an idyllic romantic location, the sublime desert landscapes, memorable intimate experiences (from sunset for two on top of a dune to waking up in bed to a view of animals drinking at a waterhole) and superb luxury lodges that offer private exclusive rooms especially for honeymooners and couples and special extra such as sleep outs under the stars.
Central Namibia is the top pick if you’d like to see Namibia’s most popular attractions without too much driving. Clamber up and down the dunes of Sossusvlei, get your adrenaline pumping with adventure activities in Swakopmund (where you can also indulge in hearty German food and excellent beer in good restaurants). There’s a good choice of luxury lodges near Sossusvlei, where you can stay in exclusive and intimate rooms or chalets with private decks surrounded by breath taking views of the desert.
For wildlife, Etosha National Park in northern Namibia is unmissable, and staying in one of the five-star lodges or camps in and around the park means that after a day of game viewing you can relax in luxury: think showering outdoors while watching giraffes walk by, cocktails while you lounge on your deck overlooking animals grazing and gourmet dinners by candlelit under the stars.
If getting as far away from civilisation as possible appeals to you for a romantic holiday, then opt for a stay in one of the luxury lodges tucked away in Namibia’s remotest corners – in the Skeleton Coast National Park and Damaraland, where you arrive by plane and get to explore some of the country’s most rugged and untouched wilderness areas with only a handful of other people for hundreds of miles around.
Watching sunset from the top of a dune with no one else around, stargazing on the private deck of your luxury chalet, eating dinner by candlelight sitting above the cracked salt pan of Etosha National Park, game viewing from your bed and road tripping on long, lonely desert roads.
Don’t underestimate the driving time between destinations in Namibia and cram your itinerary so that you spend more of your holiday in the car. Plan to spend at least a few days in each destination to really soak up what Namibia is all about: wild scenery, space and serenity.
A Namibian Safari is an incredible choice for a family vacation: it’s safe, easy to travel around on a self-guided journey and offers a wealth of attractions and activities that will delight kids.
Family Vacation in Africa
Namibia also has a much lower malaria risk than many other Southern African countries.
There are fun things to do with kids of all ages: nature walks, wildlife spotting and sand dune boarding for young ones, and multi-day hiking, sandboarding, quad biking, animal tracking and sky diving for teenagers.
With Namibia’s wide range of lodging options, choosing places to stay for a family vacation in Namibia is easy: pick from self-catering bungalows and cottages, well-equipped campsites or luxury lodges (just be sure to check with lodges beforehand if they have a minimum age limit).
Credit | iExplore, Dune Boarding in Swakopmund
Central Namibia is the best area for a family Safari in Namibia because of the broad range of family-friendly activities on offer on both the coast and in the desert.
Swakopmund is an ideal base for families with lots of lodging options, family-friendly restaurants and a wealth of adventure activities ranging from sandboarding (ages seven and up) and quad biking, kayaking with seals, and guided living desert walks for younger kids.
Similarly, Sossusvlei and its neighbouring area is a great place to explore with kids: there are dunes to climb, a canyon to walk through, flying over the desert in a hot air balloon, guided walks, quad buggy nature trails and star gazing at night.
Meerkats in Namibian Desert
Further south, the NamibRand Nature Reserve may not have big predators for stellar wildlife viewing, but it does mean that it’s safe to walk in the reserve, and children aged eight and above can join a three-day guided walking trip that takes in the best of the reserve’s desert landscape and animals.In Namibia’s far southern region, multi-day canoeing trips along the Orange River in the |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park are also an excellent family holiday idea for kids over the age of six: the canoeing is not too strenuous, and it’s a wonderful way of experiencing the park’s beautiful landscapes.
Etosha National Park
Kids of any age will be entranced by the spectacle of hundreds of animals vying for a drinking spot at the numerous waterholes dotted around the park and its camps.
Highlights of a family Safari in Namibia include parking off at waterholes in Etosha National Park to watch herds of zebra, wildebeest, and giraffe congregate, going on guided walks in the barren-looking Namib Desert and discovering a fascinating world of insects, birds, lizards and adapted plants, scrambling up the dunes near Sossusvlei and sliding back down, zooming down the dunes of Swakopmund on a sandboard, sitting around a campfire under the twinkling stars of the Milky Way after a day canoeing on the Orange River and kayaking among seals, turtles and dolphins off the coast near Swakopmund.
Family Safari in Namibia
It’s a good idea to just pick two or three destinations and spend longer at each one rather than trying to see all the highlights of Namibia at once, as driving distances in Namibia are very long and you won’t get the most out of your family Safari in Namibia if most of it is spent in the car with the kids getting restless in the backseat.
When you do have to do a long drink, think about breaking your journey up with stopovers along the way, especially if you’re travelling with young children. If you’re going to be exploring wildlife parks – which involves lots of driving around – plan to break up the game drives with snack breaks and picnics at designated areas.
If you have young children, it may be best to avoid travelling to high-risk malaria areas. It’s advisable to travel to Namibia in the cooler months of April to October, as the summer months can be unbearably hot. Bear in mind that Namibia’s climate is harsh and your kids will need to be able to cope with the elements. It’s extremely dry and dusty, it can be very hot and the sun is strong. Be prepared with lots of sun cream, lotion and SPF cream for lips, hats and clothes to protect from the sun, good sunglasses and a big shade cloth if you’re camping.
Take note of lodges’ policies regarding game drives with children – many lodges have a minimum age limit for young children on a game drive vehicle, and some lodges won’t accept children under a certain age at all.
If you’re travelling over the border to Botswana or South Africa after your trip to Namibia you must have unabridged birth certificates for your children.
Going on a romantic holiday in Namibia means you can experience getting-away-from-it-all isolation in remote campsites where you and your partner are the only people around for miles or you can relax in five-star luxury in stylish, intimate lodges with rooms on the edge of sand dunes and waterholes or built into the branches of trees. Watching the sun set together over the desert from your private deck or sipping coffee in bed while zebras have a morning drink a few metres away from you are the kind of romantic moments that you can expect from Namibia.
Whether you choose to explore Sossusvlei, Etosha, Damaraland or the Skeleton Coast, there are luxury lodges that offer romance by the bucket load, with exclusive honeymoon cottages set apart from the main camp for maximum privacy, and special touches such as private picnics or dinners by candlelight.
Take a romantic and panoramic trip across the expansive desert
If you want to combine two of the most popular attractions of Namibia on a romantic holiday, stay in one of the luxury lodges either inside Etosha National Park or just outside its gates and spend your days on game drives with guides, and then spend a few days at one of the high-end lodges in the Sossusvlei area, where you can do a number of day trips.
Namibia is a safe, tourist-friendly country with excellent infrastructure despite its sparse habitation, so as a solo traveller you don’t need to worry about safety. As a solo traveller you have the option of joining an organised safari tour to travel in a group, or you can travel completely solo, hiring a car and driving yourself around.
If you like to be around other travellers, then the best places to explore as a solo traveller are the most popular ones: Etosha National Park in the north and Sossusvlei and Swakopmund in central Namibia. In each of these places you’ll find camps and lodges where you can meet up with other travellers, and a host of activities on offer where you can join up with other groups. In northern Namibia, the Zambezi Region, which is popular with overlanders and backpackers, is another place where you’ll easily be able to meet up with other travellers.
Seeing lions, elephants and rhino on guided game drives in Etosha National Park, meeting new friends around the fire at a camp in the Zambezi Region, skydiving, sandboarding and drinking beer with locals in Swakopmund, soaking up the silence and timeless beauty of the desert atop a dune in the sand sea of Sossusvlei.
The only thing that you really need to be aware of as a solo traveller in Namibia is long driving distances in remote areas – you will often drive for hours without coming across a gas station or town. Make sure that your lodge or hotel knows to expect you in case you have a breakdown.
It’s also a good idea to tell someone where you’re going if you head off from your lodge or camp on a day hike. If possible, join up with a guided hike or find someone to hike with, as it’s much safer to hike in a pair or a group in case of an emergency.
A blockbuster combination of sublime landscapes that will make you feel like you’re on another planet, some of the best wildlife viewing on the continent, a host of fascinating desert-adapted plants and animals and jaw-dropping natural wonders make Namibia a country you’ll never forget.
Namibia’s scenery and sights are as astonishing as they are varied, ranging from the Namib – the world’s oldest desert – a vast and beautiful wilderness that covers much of the country in sandy plains, dune seas and savanna, to where dunes meet crashing oceans on the dramatic Skeleton Coast, to rugged granite mountains adorned with ancient rock art, the giant cracked salt pan of Etosha National Park and the dizzying depth of the Fish River Canyon.
Adventure is always just around the corner in Namibia. Whether it’s tackling a challenging 4×4 route in a remote area, hurtling down a sand dune on a board, or sky diving above the desert, there are endless ways to experience the country with some adrenaline-inducing fun.
To seal the deal, the network of well-maintained roads, excellent tourist infrastructure and a wide range of lodging options mean that Namibia is both one of the safest and easiest countries in southern Africa for self-guided travelling and a strong contender for this world’s best road tripping destination.
Namibia offers space, silence and the chance to really get away from it all: it’s the second least densely populated country on the planet, with only two people per square kilometre. You can drive for hours under huge blue skies without seeing another car, surrounded by landscapes so vast and empty that at times you feel like you’re on the edge of the planet. In an overpopulated world, there aren’t many places left where you can immerse yourself as deeply in remote wilderness areas as in Namibia.
The driest in Africa country south of the Sahara, Namibia is covered in a large swathe of desert, giving rise to an array of unique plants and animals adapted to the harsh climate, such as the welwitschia which can live for more than 1000 years, and the famous desert elephants which are only found in one other place on the continent.
In terms of big game safaris, Namibia has a number of parks and reserves, but its stand out is Etosha National Park, where during the winter months the ease of spotting wildlife is nearly unrivalled in Africa. Other special wildlife highlights in Namibia include tracking black rhino and cheetah on foot.
Namibia’s extreme landscapes are a big part of why the country is so unique. From the sand seas of the Namib where you’ll find the tallest dunes in the world, to the awe-inspiring Fish River Canyon, Namibia is home to some of Africa’s most spectacular natural sights.
Namibia draws people back with its otherworldly landscapes, endless space, strikingly beautiful desert, superb wildlife spotting and memorable animal experiences (such as tracking free-roaming black rhino on foot) and unique desert-adapted animals and plants.
There’s also so much to see and do in Namibia that you couldn’t even begin to do the country justice on one trip. On a first visit many travellers explore Namibia’s best-known attractions and then on return trips they head into remoter regions for more off-the-track adventures.
Namibia also has changing attractions that bring travellers back in different seasons: superb game viewing in the dry winter months, bird watching in the rainy summer months, spring flowers in |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park in August and September, and migratory whale sightings along the coast in October and November.
Botswana is known for its superb luxury camps and its policy of low impact tourism: the country limits the number of people staying in conservation areas, which means that a safari in the country tends to be relatively expensive. On the other hand, Namibia is more tourist-friendly and with its well-maintained roads, is a far easier country to visit on a self-driving trip (and many of Namibia’s most famous attractions can be explored in a 2WD vehicle).
The huge variety of places to stay in Namibia – from excellent campsites to five-star lodges – appeals to broader range of travellers, while Botswana caters largely for the high-end market.
Of the two countries, Namibia has a wider diversity of more startling landscapes, from a deep canyon in the south to rugged mountains in the north, the cracked salt pans of Etosha and the towering dunes of Sossusvlei and the dramatic Skeleton Coast.
Botswana has one of the largest elephant populations in Africa
In terms of wildlife, Botswana has Africa’s largest elephant herds and huge numbers of buffalo, lion and leopard, which makes for rewarding game viewing in its excellent parks. However, the game viewing in Namibia’s Etosha National Park during the dry winter months, when animals congregate around waterholes, is hard to beat. Even if you’re a first-time safari goer driving yourself around Etosha, you’ll be able to have spectacular sightings of hundreds of animals in one go if you park next to waterholes. Namibia also scores for its unique desert-adapted animals, its free-ranging population of black rhino (the last in the world) and desert elephants, and the largest population of cheetah in Africa.
In terms of city culture, landscapes, flora and fauna, South Africa has a lot more diversity than Namibia. South Africa also has excellent game parks where Big Five viewing is easy, as well as forests and mountains, a beautiful coastline with superb beaches and culturally rich cities home to award-winning restaurants, fantastic shopping, art and museums and nightlife. Lots of travellers choose South Africa for the ease of combining a safari with beach time and food and culture in cities.
Camping in Namibia
Namibia can’t compete in terms of beaches or cities but what it does have that South Africa doesn’t is dramatic desert scenery, vast space, extremely wild rugged landscapes and a lot more chance to get far off the beaten track and escape the crowds. Having a real off-grid adventure in Namibia is also easier than in South Africa, with Namibia’s huge choice of 4×4 routes that take you into the country’s remotest corners. In the busy season, the popular hotspots in South Africa can be incredibly busy, while in Namibia even during the peak months the only place where you’ll see a lot of other travellers is Etosha.
An abundance of wildlife congregate around the water holes of Etosha National Park
In the north of the country, Etosha National Park is Namibia’s unmissable wildlife destination. During the dry season when water is scarce, the park’s animals gather around waterholes making game viewing as easy as parking your car in the right spot. Along with herds of springbok, zebra and blue wildebeest, you’ll see lots of elephant and lion and, if you’re lucky, cheetah. You’ll also get to see desert animals such as oryx, meerkat, ostrich and bat-eared foxes.The park is the best place in Africa to spot black rhino, while black-faced impala and damara dik-dik are two other special species: they are only found in one other place – across the border in Angola.
A pair of Cape Vultures, a protected species
To the south of Etosha, Waterberg Plateau Park is home to some rare species, such as sable and roan antelope as well as black and white rhino and Namibia’s only breeding colony of Cape Vultures.
Among the rugged mountains of Damaraland, in Namibia’s northwest, are free-roaming populations of desert elephant (which are incredibly rare – the only other place in the world where they are is Mali) and desert-adapted black rhino and lions. Namibia’s most rewarding wildlife experiences include tracking black rhinos and elephants against spectacular desert backdrops.
In far north-eastern Namibia, the Zambezi Region (formerly known as the Caprivi Strip) offers a different wildlife experience to the rest of the country, thanks to its heavy summer rainfall, rivers and water sources. This is where you can see hippo and crocodile and it’s one of the only places in the country where buffalo occur. A highlight of the Zambezi Region is water-based wildlife viewing either from boats on from mokoro (traditional dug-out canoes).
Cape fur seal colony along the Skeleton Coast
Stretching along Namibia’s northern coastline, the Skeleton Coast National Park has one of the world’s biggest breeding colonies of Cape fur seals at the Cape Cross Seal Reserve. There are around 100 000 seals here year-round, and if you visit the reserve in November and December you’ll see their tiny pups – and perhaps a stalking jackal.
Credit: Mike Lloyd
In central Namibia, there’s marine wildlife to see on boat and kayaking trips from Walvis Bay to spot seals, whales and dolphins. Central Namibia also has two places to do animal tracking: search for cheetahs and leopards at Okonjima Nature Reserve near Otjiwarongo and track rare and extremely elusive pangolins at Erindi Private Game Reserve.
Southern Namibia isn’t a prime big game region, though if you want to see the animals of the Namib Desert (oryx, springbok, kudu, zebra, giraffe, hartebeest, leopard, hyena, jackal and fox) the NamibRand Nature Reserve, a huge conservation area with spectacular scenery and a low density of visitors, is your best bet. An unusual wildlife highlight of southern Namibia is the herd of around 150 wild horses that roams freely in the desert between Aus and Lüderitz – the world’s only desert-dwelling wild horses.
For a first-time journey to Namibia most travellers combine a rewarding mix of wildlife viewing and landscape exploring on a route that takes in the superb game on the salt pan of Etosha National Park, the adventure activities of the Germanic town of Swakopmund and the towering apricot dunes of the Namib-Naukluft National Park at Sossusvlei.
The haunting Kolmanskop
If you’re on a longer holiday, Namibia’s southern region has a lot of gems to discover, from the geological monument of Fish River Canyon and the desolate Mars-like landscapes of the |Ai|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park to the eerie ghost town of Kolmanskop, the German colonial architecture of Lüderitz and fantastic canoeing through the desert on the Orange River.
Travellers seeking more adventure generally head to northern Namibia for rugged wilderness and off-grid journeying: you’ll need a 4×4 and self-sufficiency to explore the desolate Skeleton Coast, mountainous Damaraland and the Himba villages of the remote Kaokoveld.
Hippos in the Zambezi River
In the far northeast, the Zambezi Region is Namibia’s answer to the Okavango Delta: here you can do river-based game viewing by boat and mokoro (dug-out canoe). Many travellers combine a visit to the Zambezi Region with travel to neighbouring countries of Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Namibia’s experiences are all about taking in the spectacular landscapes of desert, mountains, coastline and run the gamut from sedate to extreme, and everything in between.
For many travellers to Namibia, wildlife viewing will be at the top of their list of experiences. Spotting Etosha’s abundant wildlife by driving yourself around the park or going on guided game drives is certainly an unmissable highlight of any holiday to Namibia, but you can also have more active animal experiences including horseback wildlife viewing in various reserves and tracking desert rhinos on foot in Damaraland.
Namibia’s adventures and outdoors activities are endless and cater for all fitness and experience levels: from short gentle walks in the desert to multi-day strenuous hikes, bouldering to serious mountain climbing and easy mountain biking routes to tough-going long cycles through rugged desert terrain. And then there’s family-friendly ocean kayaking, gentle canoeing on the Orange River, quad biking in the desert, sand boarding down huge dunes, and, the ultimate adrenaline-pumping fun: sky diving. For experienced drivers, Namibia offers memorable 4×4 adventures that range from routes of just a few hours to days-long journeys into the country’s remotest and wildest corners.
The Himba people of the dunes
While it’s a sparsely inhabited country, Namibia is not short on cultural experiences. Namibia’s highlight cultural experiences include exploring Twyfelfontein in southern Damaraland, where you’ll find more than 2000 ancient engravings at the largest concentration of San rock art on the continent, visiting a traditional Himba village in the Kaokoveld to learn about the lives and culture of this semi-nomadic tribe, and spending time with a San tribe in the Kalahari, in the north east of Namibia, learning how these former hunter-gatherer people survived in the harsh desert environment by hunting animals and living off wild plants. There are also six Living Culture Museums spread around Namibia, each of which offers you the chance to learn about the traditions of Namibia’s different ethnic groups through interactive experiences.
Namibia generally has a dry climate and you can visit the country year-round. However, deciding on the ideal month to travel to Namibia really depends on which regions and attractions you will be travelling to and what your interests are. For example, the dry months are best for wildlife viewing in places such as Etosha National Park, whereas the rainy summer months are best for birdwatching.
In general, the dry winter season from May to September is the most popular time for travellers to visit Namibia: malaria risk is lowest, day time temperatures aren’t too hot (though nights between June and August in the desert are very cold), and in parks such as Etosha the combination of sparse foliage and the lack of rain forcing animals to congregate around waterholes makes wildlife spotting particularly easy.
November to March are the hottest months in Namibia and temperatures in some regions can reach above 50 C (122 F) during the day. These months are also the rainy season, although many areas in Namibia receive little or no rain at all. During the wetter months, some tracks in the north eastern part of the country can become unsurpassable. These are the hardest months for spotting wildlife in parks such as Etosha and also carry the highest risk of malaria.
Namibia is one of the easiest and safest African countries to travel in, but due to huge distances between destinations and remote locations, a successful trip does usually require some advance planning and research.
In terms of communication, many hotels do not offer WiFi and cell phone coverage can be sparse in remote areas.
Credit | Kunene River Lodge
In the peak season of July to October and over the Christmas holidays lodging and campsites in Namibia get booked up well in advance, especially in the most popular parks, so make sure you reserve your places to stay well in advance of your trip if you’re travelling in these months. Etosha National Park and Sossusvlei are busy year-round, so it’s a good idea to book your camp or lodge in advance even if you’re not travelling during the busiest months.
Distances in Namibia are huge and it’s important that you do some research before plotting out a self-driving itinerary so that you’re not spending the whole time in the car driving from one spot to the next. It’s a good idea to spend a few days in each place rather than packing too many places in to your trip so that you have time to soak up the serenity of Namibia’s beautiful landscapes.
Namibia has visa exemption agreements with the USA and many European countries, so if your country is covered by the exemption then you can travel visa-free to the country for up to three months. Everyone entering Namibia needs a passport with six months of validity from the date of entry to the country and one blank page.
If you’re flying to Namibia from the US, it’s easiest to travel to Johannesburg in South Africa and catch a two-hour connecting flight to Windhoek in Namibia. Travellers from Europe have the option of direct flights to Windhoek from Frankfurt on Air Namibia or from Cologne-Bonn on Eurowings or from Amsterdam on KLM or connecting flights via Johannesburg from London on British Airways or South African Airways. Qatar Airways flies to Windhoek from several European cities via Doha.
If you’re travelling by car in South Africa or Botswana before your trip to Namibia, it’s easy to cross the Namibian border with your hired car – just let the rental car company know beforehand so that they can provide you with the paperwork you’ll need to bring the car across the border.
Namibia is a huge country without many public transport options, so hiring a car is by far the best way of getting around. Namibia’s roads, both tarred and gravel, are in good condition and are well maintained, making it easy to do a self-drive holiday. It’s a good idea to have both a GPS (or offline map on your smartphone) as well as a paper map for navigating.
You don’t need to hire a 4×4 to drive around Namibia – 2WD sedan cars are able to drive on the gravel roads – but it is preferable to have a car with high ground clearance especially for the ungraded dirt secondary roads. If you’re travelling in Namibia’s remoter regions such as the Skeleton Coast National Park, Kaokoveld and Damaraland, you’ll need a 4×4. You’ll also need a 4×4 to explore Khaudum National Park, Nkasa Rupara National Park and parts of Bwabwata National Park in the Zambezi Region.
Some car rental companies offer vehicles fully kitted out for camping tips, with rooftop tents, freezers, gas cookers, camping chairs and tables, sleeping bags, jerry cans and cooking sets.
Namibia has one of the world’s highest rates of road accidents, and it’s recommended to take out fully comprehensive insurance to cover you for any damage or accidents that may happen on your trip.
The currency in Namibia which is the Namibian Dollar is equivalent to the South African rand.
If you’re travelling to Namibia after spending time in South Africa, this South African currency, is accepted all over Namibia (although Namibian currency is not accepted in South Africa). You can draw currency in Namibia from ATMs using your international bank cards.
Many hotels, lodges and restaurants in towns will accept credit card payments, but you do need carry enough currency in Namibia with you to cover yourself for places that don’t accept cards.
You’ll also need cash for park entrance fees and tips. Few petrol stations will accept cards for payment of petrol, and while there are usually ATMs at bigger petrol stations, many small stations will not have an ATM, so have enough currency in Namibia for filling up with petrol in rural areas.
Euro, British Pounds, US Dollars and other major currencies may be traded locally or in advance of departure. In addition, exchange facilities are available in the various offices of change and banks in the major cities of ATMs. It is best to request bank notes in smaller denominations, as it can often be difficult to get a change from large notes, and smaller notes are handy for smaller transactions.
Traveller’s checks are not recommended as they are often difficult to exchange and incur high fees for currency in Namibian.
Please note that while South African Rand is used in Namibia, Namibian Currency is not legal tenders in South Africa, so make sure you have used or exchanged them before you leave Namibia.
Many lodges in Namibia offer activities, food and drinks as part of your rate. It’s always a good idea to check exactly what is and isn’t included before your stay so you don’t get any surprises on your bill when you check out. Lodges usually explain their tipping practice in the in-room booklet, but if you’re unsure check with the management staff.
Meat – ostrich, chicken, beef and free-range venison such as kudu, eland and oryx – features heavily in Namibian cuisine and is cooked barbecue-style or in potjiekos, a one-pot stew. Most tourist restaurants serve meaty international fare, so you’ll have to look out for restaurants that offer Namibian eats such as oshifima (a millet and maize meal porridge served with stew), dried fish, oshingali (bean soup) and spicy mopane worms. You can taste Namibia’s German influence in dishes such as eisbein (pork knuckle), pork schnitzel and delicious cakes and pastries such as apfelstrudel and black forest cake. Local specialities to look out for are fresh oysters in Lüderitz on the coast and Kalahari truffles from eastern Namibia: delicious rare delicacies which are in season in April and May.
Namibian beer, brewed in accordance with a Bavarian purity law, is excellent. Two favourite local brands are Windhoek and Tafel, and you can also find German beers in bars and restaurants around the country. There are few Namibian wineries so if you’re not drinking beer, you’re most likely going to be sipping South African sauvignon blanc and pinotage.
Credit | Serra Cafema Camp
It’s standard to leave a 10 to 15% tip in restaurants. If you park your car in Windhoek then there may be a car guard who offers to watch over it while you’re gone – it’s usual to tip them a few Namibian dollars when you return to your car. People usually tip petrol attendants around N$5 for fuelling.
Most lodges will offer a suggestion of tipping amounts for guides, trackers and housekeeping staff which is usually an amount per day. Some lodges ask for you to put your tip in an envelope and hand it to the manager or guide, and some have tip boxes at reception. It’s customary to leave a tip at the end of your stay (it’s not necessary to tip at the end of each day or activity), especially for guides and trackers.
Herero women are known for their colourful attire | Credit: Travel Notes
Namibia’s sparse population of only 1,8 million people in a land area of 830 square kilometres makes it one of the most sparsely populated countries in Southern Africa. The San Bushmen are descendants of Africa’s Stone Age tribes and are considered Namibia’s oldest inhabitants. Confined to the desert and semi-desert regions of Namibia, their survival skills in such a harsh climate are renowned the world over.
Bantu-speaking populations include the Himba, Ovamba and Herero people, who are also extremely adept at living in the stark landscape of Namibia.
The Namibia Craft Centre in Windhoek offers a variety of locally produced items
Namibia’s capital city Windhoek has shopping malls and craft markets (the Namibia Crafts Centre is a highlight) where you can buy any clothing items or travel gear you may have forgotten to pack, as well as souvenirs such as baskets, pottery, carvings, art and jewellery, leather goods, to take home. Swakopmund also has a number of souvenir and jewellery shops and art galleries.
When you travel around Namibia you’ll find craft markets and curio stalls in tourist areas, villages, along roadsides and near the entrance gates to national parks such as Etosha.
On March 21, 1990, Namibia, a nation in southern Africa, declared independence from South Africa. The indigenous peoples of the nation were the San, Nama, and Damara. Later, during the Bantu expansion, Bantu immigrants arrived in the region.
Since then, the Bantu people known as the Ovambo have become the majority of Namibia’s population, and their language, Oshiwambo, has become the country’s most commonly spoken language. Which already shows the diversity in languages in Namibia.
Himba women | Credit: Eye See Africa
From 1884 to 1915, Namibia was occupied by German forces and acted as a German Empire colony. The League of Nations mandated Namibia to the United Kingdom after World War I, and it was ruled by South Africa.
The country’s official languages in Namibia, during this time, were Afrikaans and English. Apartheid was also introduced in Namibia in 1948. Namibia gained full independence from South Africa in 1990, after years of unrest.
Namibia has a population of 2.1 million people and is sparsely populated due to the vast Namib Desert, which covers most of the region. Despite its limited population, Namibia has a complex linguistic environment, with languages in Namibia ranging from the Indo-European, Khoisan, and Bantu families spoken.
Languages in Namibia
The three languages in Namibia such as English, German, and Afrikaans were designated as official languages in Namibia during the apartheid regime.
However, after Namibia achieved independence from South Africa in 1990, the country’s new government declared English to be the only official language in Namibia, as stated in the country’s constitution. The language is now used in the country’s government administration as well as in schools and universities as a medium of instruction.
Oshiwambo is spoken by the majority (48%) of Namibians, especially the Ovambo people who live in the region formerly known as Ovamboland.
The Khoekhoe languages in Namibia’s second most widely spoken indigenous language, with approximately 11% of the population speaking it. About the same number of people speak Afrikaans. The Hereo and Kwangali languages are spoken by 10% of the Namibian population.
Other Bantu and Khoisan languages (Fwe, Kuhane, Yeyi, Tswana, Mbukushu) and Khoisan languages (Naro, Kung-Ekoka, Xó, Kxoe) are spoken by smaller percentages of the Namibian population.
Due to its dry climate, Namibia is generally a safe country when it comes to health issues. Windhoek has good medical facilities, although you will probably only spend a few days in the city and the rest of your trip in more remote areas: most of Namibia is rural and sparsely populated and big towns with hospitals are few and far between. If you have minor health problem then you’ll need to travel to the nearest clinic or hospital, which may be several hours drive away. For a serious medical emergency you’ll need to be medically evacuated to Windhoek for treatment.
Private hospitals may insist on a cash or credit card payment before starting treatment, and it’s likely that you will need to pay upfront and then claim back from your travel insurance.
Namibia has a very dry climate so it’s easy to get dehydrated. Make sure to drink plenty of water (tap water is safe to drink in most places in Namibia). The sun is particularly strong so always wear high factor SPF, a hat and protective clothing and avoid the midday rays.
Since many places that you may end up visiting in Namibia are remote, it’s best to bring along any medication you might need, as well as a comprehensive first aid kit that includes antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, antidiarrheal medication, antibacterial ointment, antimalarial tablets, rehydration electrolyte sachets, insect spray and repellent, water purification tablets and bandages.
For driving and hiking navigation, it’s a good idea when you have Wi-Fi to download offline maps of Namibia on your smartphone using the Google Maps and maps.me apps.
A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for people visiting Namibia from countries with a risk of yellow fever transmission. It’s recommended that you get vaccinations for cholera, typhoid, tetanus, hepatitis A and B, and diphtheria. The rabies vaccination is recommended if you’re going to be staying in remote areas where you may not have medical access for an emergency vaccination, if you’re going for a particularly long trip, or if you’re going to have a higher risk of contact with animals and bats.
From November to June there is a high risk of malaria in the Ohangwena, Omaheke, Omusati, Oshana, Oshikoto and Otjozondjupa regions and a medium risk in northern Namibia, such as in Etosha National Park and the Zambezi Region. In all other areas there is a low to no risk of malaria throughout the year. It’s best to contact your doctor or travel clinic about malaria prophylactics before your trip. To prevent mosquito bites, use repellent on your skin and clothes, wear long trousers and shirts in the early morning and evenings and if possible, sleep under a mosquito net.
If you aren’t able to get to a nearby hospital, then call E-Med Rescue 24, a private emergency evacuation company that runs ground ambulances and aircraft. If you’re in a remote location they will be able to arrange transport for you to hospital.
Namibia has both public and private healthcare providers and mobile clinics in remote locations. There are big differences between public and private healthcare facilities: private hospitals and clinics are far more sophisticated and better staffed, while public facilities, which serve the majority of the population, are often understaffed and aren’t able to offer all healthcare services such as organ transplants and dialysis. Travellers are advised to only use private healthcare services for which you will usually need to pay yourself and afterwards claim back from your travel insurance.
It’s advisable to get full travel insurance that includes medical coverage for your Namibia vacation. Make sure that your medical insurance covers you for medical evacuation, as well as any adventure activities you may want to do, such as skydiving, hiking, mountain climbing, sand boarding and quad biking. It’s a good idea to get comprehensive insurance on your rental car too.
Prices for lodging in Namibia range from N$140 (US $12) per person in a campsite, N$200 (US $17) for a budget guesthouse, N$700 (US $60) for a B&B room to N$1000 (US $85) per person for a chalet in one of the camps in Etosha National Park, N$1500 (US $128) per person in a mid-range safari lodge and around N$7000 (US $600) per person for a night in an all-inclusive luxury safari lodge.
Renting a sedan car will cost around US $42 per day (although getting comprehensive insurance will cost a bit extra), while the cost of renting a 4×4 starts from about US $80 per day. Petrol costs around N$10 (US $0.86) a litre.
A meal for two people in a mid-range restaurant will cost around US $30.
Entrance fees for some national parks are N$80 (US$6) per person per day while other parks are N$40 (US$3).
The cost of activities varies greatly, ranging from N$85 (US $7) for a guided tour of Kolmanskop ghost town and N$650 (US $55) for a half-day guided nature walk on the sand dunes near Swakopmund and going up to N$6500 (US$557) per person for a hot air balloon flight.
Erindi Private Game Reserve is a conservation area in central Namibia. With 70,719 hectares of unspoiled wilderness under their care, they have taken on an enormous task of pursuing conservation efforts in the name of eco-friendly tourism, while also empowering their local people. Today, Erindi is a beautiful getaway with a rich cultural heritage, expert guides, and unrivaled hospitality, guaranteeing visitors have the safari of a lifetime.