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

  • Highlights

    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.

This is midsummer in Namibia and is generally hot and humid with temperatures reaching up to 86-95°F (30-35°C), while desert temperatures can peak at 104°F (40°C). The mornings are usually clear, with occasional torrential downpours in some afternoons. This is the low tourist season, which means that safari and accommodation rates are low and availability is quite high.
This is the end of summer in Namibia; rainfall decreases and usually stops completely around April. The nights start to become cooler, while daytime temperatures are still hot at 77-86°F (25-30°C). This is still the low tourist season, so you can expect most lodges and campsites to be available, and rates will likely be lower. Although, campsites and cheaper hotels may experience a brief peak at the end of April due to Namibian school holidays.
This is the end of summer in Namibia and is a very popular time to visit this beautiful country. This is because the rains have just stopped, leaving the landscape lush, green and simply stunning. The nights are still fairly mild, and daytime temperatures are on average around 75-82°F (24-28°C), with clear skies. Apart from early in the month (which is Namibian school holidays), availability should be quite good. Plentiful water sources make it slightly harder to view the wildlife.
This is arguably the best month to visit as it is between the Namibian school holidays in May, and the high tourist season. Weather conditions are colder at night (50°F (10°C); and freezing in desert areas), but daytime temperatures are mild and lovely averaging at 68-75°F (20-24°C). It’s better to pack a couple of top layers to keep yourself warm during morning and night safaris. It will not be hot, but you are most likely to see a lot of animals in June.
It is essential to book months in advance as this is the busiest tourist time of the year in Namibia. This is the time to see a lot of wildlife. Availability is at the lowest and prices are at the highest and set at premium. These are the main winter months, so pack warmer layers. The average maximum temperature hovers around 70-77°F (21-25°C), but it usually drops to 45°F (7°C), while desert and mountain temperatures fall below freezing.at night. Although you are unlikely to encounter much rain, as this is a rather dry time of the year.
The weather is September is lovely, as the hot desert summer has not yet taken hold, and the rain is quite rare. Days are still relatively mild and mornings are less chilly. Wildlife is still easy to spot in Etosha and Ongava. By October, the green has mostly faded and waterholes are just starting to dry out, which makes wildlife viewing easier. October is the last winter month in Namibia. Availability will be a little better, as the high season ends in October, although prices may still be a bit higher.
Weather unpredictability makes this a difficult but exciting month for travelling to Namibia. By now, the heat is rising daily and temperatures are high at 86°F (30°C), although humidity is still low, and temperatures are generally even higher in the desert areas. In the afternoons, there may be cloud build-up as the rains are fast approaching, with a few thunderstorms not unusual for this time of the year. Wildlife viewing is still relatively good, and the high tourist season is officially over which makes safari and accommodation availability better and for less.
As the first month of summer, this is the month when the first rains come, dropping the temperature slightly. With the rain comes new life, and while the landscape changes from arid golds and browns to lush greens, newborn animals could be spotted around water sources. If you don’t mind the heat and occasional phenomenal thunderstorm, Namibia could be a great place to spend Christmas.
Start your Namibia Adventure

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.

Safety Precaution for Wildlife Watching
  • 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:

Malaria Risk
The risk of contracting Malaria is moderate in northern Namibia, with most of the risk being at the Zambezi Region (Caprivi Strip) and Etosha National Park, and mostly during the time between November and April. As for the rest of the country, there is little to no risk at all.
Drinking Water
All tap water in Namibia either comes directly from boreholes or is purified, and is safe to drink.
Travel Insurance

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.

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