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Namibia Safaris

Huge, sparsely populated Namibia is a country of big skies and dramatic scenery.

Namibia Safari

It is of course the gigantic, incomparable sand dunes of the Namib Desert that feature most prominently on a Namibia safari itinerary but this Southern African country, lying between the Kalahari and the Atlantic Ocean, has much more up its sleeve.

Huge, sparsely populated Namibia is a country of big skies and dramatic scenery. Destinations such as Damaraland, the shipwreck-strewn Skeleton Coast or the Kaokoveld literally echo with emptiness and atmosphere, yet excellent lodges are tucked away in these remote regions and provide intrepid travellers with havens of serenity and comfort - and there's a lot more wildlife than you might think.

And if it is wildlife you want, then Namibia won't disappoint. Excellent game viewing is what you'll get at Etosha National Park, famous for its animal-packed waterholes and abundant predators while Namibia's wild and well-watered answer to the Okavango Delta - the Caprivi Strip (newly renamed as the Zambezi Region) - is home to diverse wildlife reserves and incredible bird watching.

A Namibia safari holiday is ideal for wildlife enthusiasts while its decent infrastructure and easy-to-access destinations means self-drive safaris for more independent travellers are a can-do option too. Remote, luxurious and exclusive accommodation makes for an amazing Namibia honeymoon while families with children will be delighted by the country's safe, well-functioning and friendly nature. Try one of our Namibia family holidays for the family vacation of a lifetime!

Our top places to visit in Namibia:

Namib Desert & Sossusvlei - towering sand dunes & desert wildlife

Swakopmund - coastal holiday town & perfect safari stop-over

Etosha National Park - classic game viewing & great predators

Skeleton Coast - shipwrecks, seal colonies & complete isolation

Damaraland - ruggedly beautiful scenery & desert wildlife

Quick links to travel advice:

Why choose a privately-guided safari? Read all about the advantages of tailor made travel.

Planning your safari to Namibia and you not sure where to start?

Sign up for our free 6-part email series on everything you need to know when planning to go on safari to Namibia. Sign up now!

Best Time to Visit Namibia

Cape Town

What is the best time of the year to visit Cape Town?

The dramatic sand dunes at Sossusvlei can be visited at any time of year but the dry May to October winter months are widely regarded as the best time to visit Namibia for game viewing - especially in Etosha National Park. The skies are clear, the risk of malaria is at its lowest, and animals are increasingly concentrated around water sources as the dry season wears on. Prepare however for freezing night time temperatures in June and July whereas September and October can be extremely hot.

The summer rains between November and April turn the country green and occasionally bring floods to the desert. December can see very rewarding game viewing in Etosha and summer is the best time to go to Namibia for bird watching though you'll need to watch out for malaria in the Caprivi Strip (newly renamed the Zambezi Region), Namibia's wettest region and a place best avoided in the peak wet months of January and February.

Where to Go in Namibia

Deep in the Namib, the world's most ancient desert, lies one of Africa's most magical destinations: Sossusvlei, home to Namibia's famous red sand dunes. Up to 300 metres high, these towering monoliths form the centrepiece to this extraordinary ocean of sand but the Namib Desert has many surprises: make your base at one of the many excellent lodges here and discover the secret wildlife and astounding views of this beautifully haunting landscape, much of which falls under the protection of the Namib Naukluft National Park.

Namib Desert & Sossusvlei - towering sand dunes & desert wildlife

Deep in the Namib, the world's most ancient desert, lies one of Africa's most magical destinations: Sossusvlei, home to Namibia's famous red sand dunes. Up to 300 metres high, these towering monoliths form the centrepiece to this extraordinary ocean of sand but the Namib Desert has many surprises: make your base at one of the many excellent lodges here and discover the secret wildlife and astounding views of this beautifully haunting landscape, much of which falls under the protection of the Namib Naukluft National Park.

Etosha National Park - classic game viewing & great predators

One of Africa's biggest and best conservation areas, Etosha National Park is in Namibia's far north but is easily accessible and its gravel roads can be negotiated in a family car. Dominated by its huge salt pan, Etosha is big game country and offers an enticing blend of classic African animals such as elephant, zebra and giraffe together with desert species such as black rhino, gemsbok and springbok. Lion, hyena and cheetah are often seen and Etosha's famous wildlife-packed waterholes are a must-do in the May to October dry season.

Accommodation is available in the park but we'd recommend staying at one of the adjoining private reserves for luxury, exclusivity and a wide range of safari activities.

Damaraland - ruggedly beautiful scenery & desert wildlife

Wild, remote and little-visited Mana Pools lies along the Zambezi River, its forests and floodplains home to large herds of elephant, rare antelope and plenty of plains game. Its rivers are filled with hippo and crocodile, tigerfish and bream. Best explored on drives, guided walks and canoe expeditions, Mana Pools is a genuine wilderness area that delivers an exciting, off-the-beaten-track safari experience. Mana Pools is the place to go to see the best of Zimbabwe's big game viewing.

Linyanti, Selinda & Kwando: exclusive wetland reserves

An inland region of rugged mountains, gravel plains and flash-flood rivers, Damaraland is where to go in Namibia for unadulterated scenic beauty. By day, the views are grand and breathtaking while at night the sky glows with countless, dazzling stars. Intimate lodges are hidden away in discreet locations and make for comfortable bases from which to explore the region. Damaraland is a hotspot for Bushman art and geological oddities while the wealth of animal life will surprise you - desert-adapted elephant, black rhino and many antelope species are among the A-list.

Skeleton Coast - ship wrecks, seal colonies & complete isolation

The battered shipwrecks that litter the beaches of the Skeleton Coast National Park may have given Namibia's far northern shoreline its name but there's more to this region than ghost stories: huge seal colonies provide scavenging opportunities for brown hyenas and jackals while vegetated inland river valleys support yet more animals and birds. A genuine off-the-beaten-track destination, travellers looking for complete isolation, tranquillity and sensational views need look no further than the handful of exclusive lodges in the area.

Kaokoveld - Southern Africa's last frontier

The famous ochre-painted Himba people have long made Namibia's far northern region their home but it is only in recent years that access to the Kaokoveld has been made possible. Perhaps Southern Africa's last true wilderness, the wild, sun-baked and remote Kaokoveld offers intrepid travellers an insight into how life can flourish in seemingly impossible conditions: head for the handful of riverside lodges in the Kaokoveld, interact with local Himba communities and discover the secret wildlife of the area.

Swakopmund - coastal holiday town & perfect safari stop-over

The perfect stop-over and stock-up destination, the seaside holiday town of Swakopmund blends its German colonial heritage with an unmistakable African character. Often blanketed by early morning sea fog, Swakopmund is where the Namib Desert meets Namibia's Atlantic coast and offers easy excursions into the desert, a wide range of adventure and leisure activities plus many local places of interest.

Windhoek - start or finish your safari in Africa's easiest big city

Clean, safe and friendly - it's little wonder that Windhoek is one of Africa's favourite capital cities, and its central location and international airport means that Windhoek is an ideal base from which to begin or end a Namibia safari. Stock up on supplies, catch up on emails and give yourself a break - there's plenty of accommodation ranging from international chains to boutique hotels and lodges and you won't be short of places to eat and drink either.

Waterberg Plateau - game viewing in a unique environment

The 200 metre-high, flat-topped Waterberg Plateau is sometimes described as the Lost Eden. Isolated in a flat landscape, the wooded grasslands of this brick-red block of sandstone are home to a wide range of animals that includes leopard, cheetah, white rhino, buffalo, plus the rare and endangered roan and sable antelopes and 200 bird species. The Waterberg Plateau can only be accessed on a Nature Conservation guided game drive or guided wilderness trail, both starting from the resort set at the plateau's base.

Namibia Travel Advice

There's nothing like up-to-date, relevant travel information direct from the experts - get True Lion King Safari's essential Namibia travel advice before you go.

Watch a video of our Product Manager Liesel van Zyl talk about: Namibia

Money & Spending

Namibia's national currency, pegged to the South African Rand, is the Namibian Dollar but travellers who have combined South Africa with Namibia can use either currency in shops, lodges, markets and restaurants throughout the country. Note however that the Namibian Dollar is not accepted in South Africa.

Visa and Mastercard credit cards are generally accepted throughout Namibia though holders of other credit cards are advised to check whether their card is acceptable. Self-drivers should note that credit cards are not accepted at petrol stations.

Banking hours: 9am to 3:30pm Monday to Friday and 8am to 11am on Saturday.

Tipping

Tipping for good service is only expected in upmarket tourist establishments but is officially prohibited in national parks and reserves. A service charge is included in many restaurant bills – if not, and the service was satisfactory, a tip of 10% is standard.

For in-depth tipping guidelines, enquire with one of our Africa Safari Experts - they'd be happy to share their knowledge with you.

Climate

Average summer temperatures: 15°C to 40°C

Average winter temperatures: 0°C to 23°C

Rainy season: October/November to April

Refer to “best time to visit Namibia” for climate charts and details on the best wildlife-viewing times.

What to Pack

Temperatures in Namibia vary depending on the region and season but in general days are hot and nights can be unexpectedly chilly, so layering clothing is your best bet on a Namibia safari. Opt for cool, cotton fabrics in neutral colours for the daytime and a fleece or jacket for morning and evening game drives. Comfortable walking shoes or hiking boots are a must.

For more on what to pack for a safari, refer to our Africa Safari Guide travel advice section.

Hosea Kutako International Airport: Windhoek's major airport is the international gateway but to get to the country's far-flung destinations by air you'll be transferring to the capital's second airport - Eros - for charter flights on light aircraft.

Walvis Bay Airport: located 15km east of Walvis Bay, Namibia's second largest airport is well located for easy access to Swakopmund and the Skeleton Coast.

Transfers and game drives in Namibia are usually conducted in open-sided 4X4 vehicles.

The country's good infrastructure means that many visitors to Namibia hire a car for a self-drive holiday which makes for independent, flexible travel within the ambit of a pre-planned itinerary. Self-drivers staying at private reserves join the other guests for guided game drives in 4X4s.

Visa & Passport Requirements

Every visitor to Namibia must be in possession of a passport that is valid until six months after the initial date of travel; however no visas are required for citizens of the USA, UK, most European countries (including France, Germany, Italy, Austria, Belgium, Spain and Switzerland), Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Malaysia, Japan and Singapore. Travellers receive entry for 90 days and visas for onward travel can be obtained in Windhoek.

For visitors from other countries, please check with your nearest Namibian Consulate about obtaining a visa.

Watch this video: Product Manager Liesel van Zyl talks about Namibia on a local TV programme.

About Namibia

History & Economy

For a remote country dominated by bone-dry deserts and arid mountains, Namibia has a surprisingly diverse and complex history. Settled first by San Bushmen and then by migrating African herders and farmers, European involvement only began in the late 1800s. A brief but influential episode under German colonial rule preceded 70 years of South African control. Namibia's subsequent freedom struggle was set against the backdrop of the Cold War and it was only in 1990 that the country won its independence.

Home to significant deposits of precious metals, uranium and diamonds, the mining industry dominates Namibia's economy and accounts for a quarter of its revenue though it is tourism which is one of country's major employers, accounting for 18% of total employment. Offshore gas deposits are set to be exploited in the future.

People & Culture

Twice the size of Germany but home to only 2.1 million people, Namibia has the world's second-lowest population density. Most Namibians are Ovambos but significant minorities are present and include the Herero as well as San Bushmen, Germans and Afrikaners. The overwhelming majority consider themselves Christian though traditional beliefs still hold sway in rural areas.

English is Namibia's official language but German and Afrikaans speakers will find themselves understood throughout the country. Much of Namibia's modern culture is similar to South Africa's but the country is home to some of Africa's best rock art as well as the traditional-living Himba people of the Kaokoveld who still adorn their bodies in a mixture of animal fat and natural pigments.

Landscape & Wildlife

Most of Namibia's population lives on the relatively fertile central plateau but it's the Kalahari and Namib Desert environments that define the country. Running all the way to the icy Atlantic Ocean, the red-sand Namib is the world's oldest desert and home to the famous dunes of Sossusvlei. Open woodlands and grassy savannahs are the main features of the more watered north, while extensive wetlands are found in the Caprivi Strip (newly renamed the Zambezi Region), an oddly shaped part of Namibia left over from the colonial era.

Environmental protection is constitutionally guaranteed and some 15% of the country is given over to parks and reserves. Wildlife is prolific, even in Namibia's deserts where familiar species such as elephant and lion have adapted to the demanding conditions, but it's the country's flagship Etosha National Park that delivers the country's best game viewing. Home to a mix of both savannah and desert species, Etosha is particularly famous for its floodlit waterholes and as a stronghold for endangered creatures such as cheetah and black rhino.

Other wildlife highlights include the small but teeming Caprivi reserves which offer amazing bird watching and large elephant and buffalo herds as well as the unique Waterberg, an isolated plateau full of classic savannah animals.

Best Namibia Tours & Safaris

From big game safaris in Etosha National Park to scaling the dunes of the Namib and tracking desert rhinos in Damaraland, Namibia offers incredible experiences and breathtaking landscapes in a number of top destinations. It's a big country but with good infrastructure, and a tour or safari in Namibia can easily combine many of these highlights - most easily as a fly-in safari but also on a guided or even self-drive tour.

Most itineraries take in ever-popular Swakopmund, Sossusvlei and Etosha, but tours into the wild Kaokoveld and Skeleton Coast as well as the green and well-watered Caprivi Strip (newly renamed as the Zambezi Region) also provide plenty of adventure plus great game viewing and bird watching.

Our selection of top Namibia tours and safaris caters for everyone and features everything from luxury fly-in safaris and remote wilderness adventures to affordable scheduled tours and overland expeditions. And if you can't find the perfect itinerary, why not contact one of our Africa Safari Experts and let them create a tailor-made Namibia trip for you?

Quick links to travel advice:

Planning your safari to Namibia and you not sure where to start?

Sign up for our free 6-part email series on everything you need to know when planning to go on safari to Namibia. Sign up now!


Best Namibia Accommodation

Ranging from luxury safari lodges on the edge of Etosha National Park to tented camps in the Namib Desert and modern city hotels, accommodation in Namibia is as varied as the country itself. Several of Southern Africa's wildest and most remote destinations - Damaraland, the Skeleton Coast and the Kaokoveld - are found in Namibia and one of the best ways of travelling around the country is by air - check out our selection of fly-in accommodation in Namibia’s off-the-beaten-track regions.

Usually set in prime wildlife destinations and delivering great game viewing and birding, most of Namibia’s lodges and safari camps also offer a variety of adventure activities ranging from quad-biking and hot-air balloon safaris to stargazing and rock art experiences. Many Namibia lodges are aware of the environmental fragility of their locations and strive to minimise their environmental impact wherever possible - just ask us for advice on the best lodge or hotel for your type of holiday.


Namibia Travel articles

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Kruger

Activities travellers enjoyed: Animal tracking experience Beach activities Bird

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$500

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Siwandu

Activities travellers enjoyed: Bird watching Boat excursions Game drives Guided walking safaris Private game-drives

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$8,895

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Gibb's Farm

Activities travellers enjoyed: Biking Cultural tours Game drives Guided walks Jogging trails Local village visits .

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$8,895

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Fundu Lagoon

Activities travellers enjoyed: Boat excursions Canoeing Day tours Deep sea fishing Dhow cruises Fishing .

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Activities travellers enjoyed: Beach activities Deep sea fishing Scuba diving Snorkelling Kayaking Animal tracking experience .

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Activities travellers enjoyed: Game drives Guided walking safaris Night drives .

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$8,895

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Rubondo Island Camp

Activities travellers enjoyed: Bird watching Boat excursions Fishing Game drives Hiking Guided walking safaris .

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$8,895

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Singita Faru Faru River Lodge

Activities travellers enjoyed: Biking Bird watching Game drives Hot air ballooning Specialist guides Tennis .

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$8,895

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Sayari Camp

Activities travellers enjoyed: 4x4 Drives Bird watching Bush dining Fine dining experience Full-day safaris Game drives .

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$1,475

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The Highlands Ngorongoro

Activities travellers enjoyed: Cultural tours Game drives Hiking Guided walking safaris Local village visits .

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$425

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Ngorongoro Crater Lodge

Activities travellers enjoyed: Bird watching Game drives Local village visits Picnics Private game-drives Scenic drives .

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$1,115