Northern Namibia

damaraland spring Damaraland in the spring

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 4x4, navigation equipment and your own supplies, but the rewards are all about being able to immerse yourself in untouched wilderness.

etosha national park

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.

Highlights

etosha national park gemsbok

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.

hyena etosha Spotted hyena

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.

cheetah

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.

zebra damaraland

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.

epupa falls

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.

skeleton coast 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 4x4, 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.

elephants zambezi

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.

Ju/'hoansi !Kung

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.

Practical advice

  • 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 4x4 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.


Our Recommended Itinerary

Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)

day 1

Touch Down in Namibia's Capital
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)

day 2

The Big Cats of AfriCat
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)

day 3

  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)

day 4

Etosha's Famous Waterholes
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)

day 5

Game Drive in Etosha
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)

day 6

Discover Etosha's Remote Camp
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)

day 7

Kunene River
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)

day 8

Birder's Paradise
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)

day 9

Epupa Falls
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)

day 10

Guided walk to the Falls
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)

day 11

Drive to Palmwag
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)

day 12

Twyfelfontein & the Petrified Forest
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)

day 13

The Beauty of Spitzkoppe
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)

day 14

Markets & Hot Springs
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)
  • Northern Namibia Camping Road Trip (15 days)

day 15

Fly Home

View Full Itinerary

You might also like

Namibia in December

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. ...

A luxury Namibia safari

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…

Namibia on a budget

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…

Central Namibia

The majesty of Sossusvlei 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…

Etosha National Park in Namibia

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…

Value-for-money safaris in Namibia

Namutoni Rest Camp in Etosha National Park 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…

Popular Namibia Safaris

These popular itineraries can be customised to match your budget and travel dates

Ready to start your adventure?

Your tailor-made African holiday starts here...

How can we get hold of you?

How many people will be travelling?

Details

Please tell us more about your travel plans?


Discover Africa needs the contact information you provide, to us to contact you. You may unsubscribe from these communications at anytime.

Submitting your inquiry

Thank you, your enquiry has been received

Thank you, your enquiry has been received

Reference:


   discover.africa
    info@discoverafrica.com
    8AM - 5PM GMT+2