Namibia Safari - Complete Travel Guide
Backlit by the rising golden sun, Namibia’s natural beauty is magnificent. Dazzling golden rays hitting the arid sand mounds set against the backdrop of rich greens and browns of the savannah or lush Naukluft Mountains, will take your breath away. With Cape-fur seal colonies and the rare Heaviside’s dolphins along the Skeleton Coast, the herds of elephants mounting over Damaraland, and the wildebeest and Black rhino roaming around Etosha, Namibia is perfect for your first or last trip to Africa.
Best Time To Go
June – October
Average Safari Cost
$150 – $800 pp/day
Cheetahs and rare leopards. Namib Desert lions and rhinos; Big Five; Spitzkoppe Mountain; Walvis Bay for whale watching
The Namibian landscape has a harsh and primal beauty that is populated by desert-adapted animals, such as elephants and Black rhino. Namibia is also home to the largest population of cheetahs in the wild.
The name of the country comes from the world’s oldest desert, the Namib, which offers striking night sky views throughout. Even the Milky Way can sometimes be seen in the clear Namibian sky.
Many visit the country for its amazing wildlife. Between May and October, the animals gravitate to the waterholes. So at any given time, you can see zebras, giraffes, various species of antelope, elephants and rhinos, and more, all gathered together. But Namibia is particularly famous for its large predators, including lions, leopards, cheetahs and hyenas.
At twilight, when the sky turns from the beautiful amber and maroon, to deep purple and indigo, the quiet closing of the day emphasises the sounds of smaller mammals and predators starting or ending their days. This is when nocturnal animals take over the landscape.
Although travelling is always very exiting, there are some important points to consider before choosing your safari in Namibia.
- At Etosha, wildlife viewing at the waterholes are usually excellent.
- Marine animals, such as the seal colonies and the Heaviside’s dolphin, can be seen along the long coastline.
- There are self-drive safari options and the country’s infrastructure is good.
- Both budget and high-end safaris are available.
- There is a low human population.
- There is a very low crime rate.
- Beautiful photogenic landscape and colours.
- Mainly desert habitat does not have a high wildlife population,
- Can become over-crowed from May to October; booking months in advance is essential.
Best Time To Visit
To see more wildlife in Namibia, it is best to visit during the so-called dry season (May to October), as animals will converge at the waterholes when other water sources dry up. However, the dry season can get cold, especially in the Namib Desert and higher areas.
The opposite can be said for the wet season, which lasts from November to April, as it is generally very hot and humid. However, many newborn animals can be seen during this time tended by their parents in the lush and vibrant.
Thankfully, Namibia is never too busy with tourists, so you can pick the best time to visit and not worry too much about the crowds of more popular African safari destinations.
Start your Namibia Adventure
8 Days Windhoek to Botswana Victoria Falls
Klein Windhoek Guest House - Windhoek - 1 Ghanzi Trail Blazers - Ghanzi - 1 Dqae Qare San Lodge - Ghanzi - 1 Sepopa Swamp Stop - Okavango Panhandle - 1 Nguma Island Lodge - Okavango Panhandle - 1 Chobe Safari Lodge - Chobe River Front - Thebe river camp - Kasane - 1 Victoria Falls Hotel - Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe - 1
Namibia & Zambezi - NBa15
A variety filled journey covering the must see highlights of Namibia including the Zambezi region at an affordable price. Accommodation is comfortable, often in stunning locations. Zambia’s yellow fever status has been amended and as such travel to and from Livingstone does not require a certificate. In addition the uni-visa between Zimbabwe and Zambia makes travel between both sides of the Falls easy.
Namibia Self Drive Adventure
Your self drive holiday begins in Windhoek. From here you drive to the Kalahari Desert and then you head south to the dramatic Fish River Canyon. Next you visit the ghost town of Kolmanskop, before driving to Sossusvlei to see the iconic sand dunes. You then explore Swakopmund on the Skeleton Coast and search for desert-dwelling elephant in Damaraland. Next stop is Etosha Game Reserve. You spend the last two days in Okonjima getting up close and personal with big cats at the AfriCat Foundation.
Namibia Flying Safari
On this exclusive itinerary, you’ll fly between destinations rather than driving, and you’ll stay at some of Namibia’s most remote and luxurious properties. You’ll begin with a light aircraft flight from Windhoek into a private reserve within the Namib Dessert. You’ll then stay at Pelican Point at Walvis Bay before moving on to the remote and spectacular Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp. Your Namibian adventure ends in style at the incredible Serra Cafema, in the land of the Himba tribe.
Highlights of this Namibian self-drive adventure include exploring the world-famous sand dunes in the Namib Desert, visiting seal colonies on the Skeleton Coast, searching for desert-dwelling elephants in Damarland, and getting up close and personal with big cats at the AfriCat Foundation at Okonjima.
Namibia, Chobe and Victoria Falls
This self-drive holiday offers an opportunity to explore the world-famous sand dunes in the Namib Desert, visit seal colonies on the Skeleton Coast and search for desert-dwelling elephants in Damarland. Observe a dramatic change in the landscape as you drive north and enter the Caprivi Strip, bordered by the Okavango, Kwando, Chobe and Zambezi rivers. You’ll then cross into Botswana for a safari in the Chobe Game Reserve, before driving into Zimbabwe to visit the mighty Victoria Falls.
Popular Parks in Namibia
As one of Africa’s largest game parks, Etosha offers a magnificent variety of landscapes of woodlands, open grasslands and permanent waterholes, all of which are to the south of the shimmering silver Etosha saltpan that covers most of the park
Stretching along the Atlantic shore, the Skeleton Coast mountains and canyons are an eerie, windswept desert coastline. It is surreal to see the wild sea waves crashing into the desert. The shipwrecks along the coast evoke a ghostlike feeling and serve as a constant reminder of the nature’s unyielding power. Most visitors come to see the Cape fur seal colonies, with Cape Cross colony (south of the park) being the most notable and accessible.
As one of the largest parks in Africa, the Namib-Naukluft is a remarkable sight. The rocky escarpment of the Naukluft Mountains, leads to the breathtaking ocean of red sand dunes of the Sossuvlei. This vast red ocean is one of nature’s most extraordinary creations. Namib-Naukluft is generally visited for its spectacular landscape – not its wildlife viewing. While there are wildlife present in the park – such springbok, Oryx, Hartmann’s zebra, hyenas and smaller mammals – it is more suitable for birdwatching, with over 200 species of birds.
Getting There And Safety
As there are few direct flights to Namibia, there is a stopover for most travellers at OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg, South Africa. Add-on connections (including overnight) are common for some of the main airlines flying to Johannesburg.
Hosea Kutako International Airport (WDH) is Namibia’s main airport, and is located 40km/25mi east of Namibia’s capital city of Windhoek. You can travel from the airport by a small aircraft or by car. Many people choose to drive as the roads are excellent and safety is generally not an issue in Namibia. Another option is to have your tour operator arrange an airport transfer for you, but check this in your itinerary.
- All foreign visitors need to have a passport valid for at least 6 months.
- Return or onward tickets are also necessary for all foreign visitors.
- Citizens from USA, Australia, UK, and most of EU (except for the newer members), according to the High Commission of Namibia will receive a 30-day entry permit and as such, a visa is not required. Please check whether you qualify. The simpler list is available here.
Due to the low crime rate, Namibia is considered to be one of the safer African destinations for travellers. The country has a small population and is politically stable. It is, however, always a good idea to do your own research and to form your own judgements.
It is very rare for safety problems to occur at the various lodges and campsites. When out on safaris, always follow the instructions and safety precautions of your guide – do not take risks.
It is recommended to avoid driving at night, and to apply caution when visiting cities, because, as with anywhere in the world, this is where most crime would occur.
- Except for designated areas, always remain inside the vehicle during came drives.
- Don’t wonder off from the group. To avoid issues, always ask your guide about toilet facilities in advance.
- If you are on a self-drive safari, don’t get too close to the animals, and move away from them, if they seem distressed.
- Don’t drive too close to elephants (especially lone males), and never drive between them (especially not between a female and her young).
- Don’t make any loud sounds (including talking or laughing too loud).
- When walking in the bush, watch where you place your feet.
- Running and jogging entices predators: never do it. If confronted by a predator, ask your guide for advice and help, if you are alone, walk backwards slowly, while facing the predator. Do not turn your back on the predator.
- Walking between a hippo and water will cause it to panic and charge: do not do it. You will be blocking its safety route to the water and it will attack you.
- Stay in the shallows while on a canoe safari, to avoid hippos, while also keeping a safe distance from the animals along the riverbank.
- Never leave food in your tent, if camping – it attracts animals.
- Carry an insect repellent and cover arms and legs at night in order to protect them against mosquito bites.
- Stay hydrated, wear a hat and sunscreen in summer (November to April), as temperature can reach 104°F (40°C) in midsummer.
- Pack warmly for winter (May to October), as morning drives will be cold in open vehicles, and night time temperatures can drop to 45°F (7°C), or lower in desert areas.
- Don’t wear bright and colorful clothes, or strong perfume – especially when on a walking safari.
The information provided below is only a general guide and should in no way replace a professional medical opinion. For complete, up-to-date health information about travelling to Namibia, please view the government and travel clinic websites listed below.
Check your local travel health authority for more information:
Going on a safari in Africa comes with obvious risks. We recommend you get travel insurance for all safaris in Namibia. Make sure your insurance has full medical coverage, emergency air evacuation, repatriation and the standard travel insurance for cancellations, delays and luggage cover.
Check World Nomads’ travel insurance calculator to see the cost of your safari trip cover.
For flight to Namibia, it is advised to check Skyscanner (for multiple destination flights), to see which airlines can take you to Namibia and their various ticket costs.
If you are based in the UK and Europe, check out these flights to Namibia.
If you are based in the USA and Canada, check out these flights to Namibia.
Domestic flights: Air Namibia operates most domestic flights from Windhoek’s Eros Airport (ERS). Travelling between lodges and parks is made easier with small charter flights. It is much simpler to book the flights as part of you package with your preferred tour operator.