Namibia

The vast Etosha salt pan, the shimmering dunes of Sossusvlei and the Namib Desert and the Caprivi wetlands make Namibia an exhilarating safari destination.

Overview

Namibia offers an exhilarating and varied safari experience. From the vast Etosha salt pan, to the shimmering dunes of Sossusvlei and the Namib Desert, to the waterways of the Caprivi. Namibia means ‘place of great arid plains’. This is an apt description of this starkly beautiful land. Here gemsbok, springbok, kudu, even desert-dwelling elephants and rhino roam wild and free. Have a look at our suggested safari trips as well as independent unbiased reviews of lodges in Namibia.

Namibia is a large country so you need to allow at least two weeks – ideally more – for your safari to see the country at an enjoyable pace. One of your first decisions is to decide how you want to travel the country. It’s easy to take a self drive tour, or you can opt for a private or scheduled tour. Some of the more remote regions such as the Skeleton Coast are best tackled via a fly-in safari, or you can use charter flights to cover some of the country and self drive the rest. We find that using one of our private guides is a great option for your Namibia safari. Talk to us about your preferences!

Namibia’s climate varies from arid and semi-arid to subtropical, with significant differences in daytime and night time temperatures, low rainfall and mostly low humidity.

Apart from the temperature, Namibia’s parks share a similar climate, although they are hotter (especially those located in the desert).

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Kate Bergh

Co-founder & Director
Our experienced band of Safari Planners can create a bespoke plan for you. More enriching, more restorative and making more of a difference. Discover how working with a specialist adds value to your African adventure.

Features

Why you may love it

  • The dunes of Sossusvlei in the Namib Desert
  • Big five game-viewing in Etosha National Park
  • Tracking desert-adapted elephant and rhino in Damaraland
  • Drifting over the desert in a hot air balloon
  • Meeting some of the Himba people in the Kaokoveld & Skeleton Coast

Explore the Namibia map

When to visit Namibia

December to March

Summer Rainfall

Namibia is pre-dominantly a dry desert country and so, though it shares the same summer rainfall as most of Southern Africa, it doesn’t rain that much. However there are clear regional differences between the much wetter Zambezi region (Caprivi strip) and the very dry Kalahari and Namib Desert. Similarly between temperatures on the coast versus the interior. Broadly speaking, it tends to be hot and humid, except in the western desert regions with clear mornings. Afternoons may see torrential downpours which can cause flash floods. But not every day. The summer is not the ideal time for game-viewing as, particularly in Namibia, the wildlife tends to be widely dispersed and harder to spot. But the countryside is at its most lush, the summer skies are amazing and – if you can cope with high temperatures – it’s a very quiet time to visit.
AVG RAINFALL 52mm
MAX TEMP 29 ℃ / 83 ℉
MIN TEMP 17 ℃ / 62 ℉

April to June

Shoulder Season

This is considered the shoulder season as the summer rains taper off and stop somewhere in April. It’s a wonderful time to visit as the landscape is still green and lush but grasses start dying down. This makes game-viewing easier. And as it is before the peak season, there are fewer visitors and the prices are slightly keener. We recommend June in particular. Day-time temperatures are very pleasant (25-26C on average, away from the coast). However in the desert, the night-time temperatures are very cold getting down to a chilly 5-6C by June.
AVG RAINFALL 20mm
MAX TEMP 26 ℃ / 78 ℉
MIN TEMP 12 ℃ / 53 ℉

July to September

Dry Season

Traditionally this is the best time to visit as the dry season continues so the game-viewing in Etosha and Damaraland keeps on getting better and better. However it is also a very popular time to visit so you need to book many months ahead to get the accommodation you want. Note that night-time and early morning temperatures can remain very chilly. But temperatures start heating up In September. We particularly recommend September as it’s slightly less busy, the nights are warmer and game-viewing is excellent.
AVG RAINFALL 1mm
MAX TEMP 22 ℃ / 72 ℉
MIN TEMP 8 ℃ / 45 ℉

October to November

Transition

October sees hot temperatures prior to the start of the summer rains. It is now noticeably dry everywhere. Broadly speaking, somewhere in late October or November, the summer rains start. This leads to a fairly dramatic change in game-viewing as the wildlife disperse across the plains. November is thus a transitional month. It could be very hot and dry but with good game-viewing. Or it could be slightly cooler with some rain and widely dispersed wildlife.
AVG RAINFALL 15mm
MAX TEMP 28 ℃ / 82 ℉
MIN TEMP 14 ℃ / 57 ℉

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My family holiday to Namibia

My 12 day trip to Namibia in January was an unbelievable experience for all my family. We drove all the way through the country from the south (Fish River Canyon) to the north (Etosha National Park) with my two boys in our double cab 4x4. This is the ideal vehicle for travelling with children – especially because of the distances.

The following are some highlights.

We visited the Fish River Canyon at 9:00am in the morning and were the only people at the second largest canyon in the world - unbelievable!! Here we stayed at Canon Lodge with rooms built into the boulders.

The towering dunes of Sossusvlei and climbing “Big Daddy” were also an experience that we will never forget. The children charge ahead whilst the adults puffed along behind! Sossusvlei is a paradise for the keen photographer as I took hundreds of photos of the towering dunes. Our stay at the Wilderness Safaris properties (Kulala Desert Lodge & Little Kulala) was exceptional and to be recommended.

Swakopmund was the next highlight and definitely the children’s favourite town as we all did the quad biking in the dunes, tried our hand at sandboarding and even went fishing at Henties Bay (about one hour north of Swakopmund). We stayed at the Hansa Hotel which is centrally located and near all the sites to visit.

Next we headed to Etosha National Park and had a fantastic stay at Ongava Lodge, situated just outside the southern boundary of Etosha, and at Onguma Bush Lodge on the eastern side. They have an active floodlit waterhole where we saw lion, giraffe, zebra, springbok and various other antelope. Etosha National Park itself was the best overall game experience I have ever had in a national park as there was such a variety of wildlife at every waterhole – just as those classic Etosha pictures would suggest!

We drove from Etosha to Windhoek for the last days of our trip and stayed at The Windhoek Country Club Resort which was also very popular with the kids. This is the most resort-like place on our stay as they have an outdoor water play area, an 18 hole golf course (which allows children to play) and lots of space to run around.

Cedarberg : Sonja Brand

Experiences in Namibia

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Did you know
  • GeographyHome to the world's oldest desert
  • AnimalsHas the largest population of free-roaming cheetahs in the world