10 Best Places to Visit in Namibia
Windhoek, Namibia’s bustling capital city, makes no visit complete. Here you will find high-end dining and casual pubs alike.
1. Etosha National Park
Etosha (“Great White Place” in Ovambo language) is one of Namibia’s greatest attractions – an expanse of wilderness located five hours’ drive from Windhoek and accessible with either your own vehicle (2WD is perfect) or by taking an organized safari tour with a reliable safari company.
Game drives are the primary means of experiencing this park and large herds of zebras, springboks, giraffes and impala often congregate at waterholes during the heat of the day – floodlit ones at Okakuejo and Halali are especially memorable as they attract elephant herds as well as lions leopards cheetahs and even black rhinos! You can enter through Andersons Gate, Galton’s Gate Von Lindequist Gate or Okaukuejo Camp to enter.
2. Namib-Naukluft National Park
Sossusvlei and Deadvlei offer postcard-perfect desert scenery in Namibia, making for stunning postcard photographs. At sunrise or by hot air balloon you can attempt to scale some of the graceful dune ridges such as Dune 45 and Big Daddy or just drift above them in a hot air balloon ride. Or experience the contrasting landscape of NamibRand Nature Reserve or Naukluft Mountains where desert-adapted mammals such as springbok, kudu, steenbok oryx giraffe desert elephant and wild desert horses along with unique reptiles and insects!
At times, the area can become overrun with tourists; however, there are other parts of the park where you can find peace. Hike to the top of a dune known as Big Daddy for breathtaking views across an expansive ocean of dunes in all directions and star-studded skies.
3. Skeleton Coast National Park
The Skeleton Coast stretches along the Atlantic Ocean and features shipwrecks and dunes. It gets its name from seal and whale bones found throughout this coastline as well as human skeletons discovered among some of its wrecks.
Discover desert-adapted animals such as springbok and oryx, dry river gorges with antelope and small populations of desert-adapted lion. Also, pay Cape Fria a visit between November and January and witness large male seals fighting over territories and females while vultures circle overhead and jackals scavenge the beach for food scraps.
Stay at Halali Camp or explore by foot, stopping at some of the waterholes lined with reeds in order to spot elephant and black rhinoceros. A high-clearance vehicle would be optimal, however standard cars may also pass through this park.
Namibia offers something for everyone: safaris through wildlife-rich Etosha National Park to breathtaking desert landscapes producing magical sunsets. In Damaraland and Kaokoland you’ll also discover breathtaking moonscapes as well as shipwrecks and ghost towns along the Skeleton Coast.
Namibia makes self-driving tours easy with many companies offering tours from Windhoek or Cape Town. A 4WD rental can be easily secured at either airports, with rentals from both available for pick up. Walvis Bay (around 40km south of Swakopmund) is famous for being home to an abundant flamingo colony – their numbers flocking in large flocks to tidal pools are truly magnificent!
5. Duwisib Castle
Namibia boasts breathtaking topography – from majestic table mountains and vast gravel plains to its towering sand dunes – truly make this country one of the greatest bucket list destinations on Earth for safari lovers and photography enthusiasts alike.
Duwisib Castle was constructed 110 years ago for the Von Wolf couple and is open for visitors to explore today. Inside you’ll find furniture pieces, an impressive library and even a smoking room to transport back in time.
Nature enthusiasts must experience Namibia’s spectacular Kalahari region and Kolmanskop’s mysterious diamond town for themselves; also, visiting Himba villages offers an insight into Namibian culture.
Sossusvlei should be on every traveller’s itinerary, whether independent or on tour. As part of Namib-Naukluft National Park, Sossusvlei offers some of the largest sand dunes on Earth and Deadvlei clay pan, famous for containing tree skeletons seemingly from another planet.
Sossusvlei’s optimal time of visitation lies between May and October when temperatures are at their coolest and less visitors arrive – this period also coincides with Namibia experiencing its greatest sunshine levels.
Public transport in Namibia is scarce, making car rental an absolute necessity if you plan on self-driving your trip. 4x4s may also prove useful as roads often feature gravel and bumpy surfaces – you can rent one in either Windhoek or at its airports if that suits you better. Namibia is generally safe country to travel through but always wear seatbelts and keep an eye out for wildlife when on the road.
7. Fish River Canyon
Though its name conjures images of desolation, this vast expanse of fog-shrouded desert wilderness with fierce waves and an apparently lifeless interior is actually quite lovely. Sand dunes, ancient rock paintings and bizarre petroglyphs dot its landscape – an impressive testament to beauty in an otherwise barren place.
Visit Namibia during winter (May to October) for the chance to spot four of Namibia’s Big Five animals as well as many others including zebras, giraffes, oryx and kudu. There are also hundreds of bird species to spot!
Ai-Ais Hot Springs Resort, a comfortable hotel and spa featuring river pools fed by hot springs as well as an infinity-edge swimming pool fed from these natural springs, offers excellent accommodations. Perfect for unwinding before taking on canyon trails classified as difficult, this retreat also offers self-catering and camping services; for adventure seekers the Fish River Canyon Trail takes four to five days to traverse.
Caprivi region in Namibia offers visitors a relaxing alternative, yet remains relatively free from mass tourism. Its national parks boast good populations of iconic species like elephant and buffalo as well as rare antelope like sable and roan. Meanwhile, its lush wetlands offer welcome respite from Namibia’s often harsh desert landscapes, providing visitors with ample opportunity for river safari adventures.
Twyfelfontein stands out among Africa’s best collections of ancient rock art with its expansive petroglyphs revealing that humans lived here for millennia. Additionally, Caprivi boasts various other sites all with unique charm that add interest and variety to any itinerary. Windhoek should also be on any visitor’s itinerary, where supplies can be bought before heading out on the road again.
9. Swakopmund Ghost Town
If you want a unique Mad Max-esque experience, this Namibian hamlet may be for you. Once a diamond mining town, this abandoned settlement exudes an end-of-the-world, final frontier vibe.
Sand Dune Park offers the ideal setting to capture breathtaking, haunting photos of its overgrown sand dunes that have overtaken this former settlement, but is also ideal for more extreme adventure activities.
The Caprivi Strip is a narrow thread of land connecting different habitats and climate zones unique to Namibia. Here, you can spot some of Namibia’s exotic wildlife while witnessing rare species in their natural environment. Don’t miss Sossusvlei either; with its beautiful landscape of rolling rust-red dunes disappearing into the distance and ancient trees gnarled into spirals; no visit to Namibia would be complete without visiting this spectacular destination!
10. Swakopmund Waterfront
Swakopmund is one of Namibia’s premier destinations for outdoor adventure travelers, whether that be kitesurfing on its sandy beaches or exploring the vast desert dunes on a desert safari adventure. Additionally, this former German harbor town is popular among fishermen for fishing expeditions and bird-watching adventures.
Namibia offers many other incredible places to explore, including its haunting lunar-like landscapes of Skeleton Coast National Park and Sossusvlei’s arid desert sanctuary – not forgetting remote towns such as Solitaire and Twyfelfontein! Pack up and explore all that this country has to offer – you won’t be disappointed by all that nature has in store – it will truly be rewarding experience in itself! It’s time to plan a vacation now – let yourself find respite from everyday stressors like work!