The best places to visit in Namibia
As a country of superlatives, these are just some of the best places to visit in Namibia during your holidays. Get inspired here for your personalized self-drive itinerary and let us know what you would like to see!
You chose one of the least populated country’s in the world and one of the most diverse. Impressing with surreal landscapes, the Namib Desert, oldest desert in the world, the second largest canyon and extreme contrasts between the dry south and the green north. Large National parks are home to African wildlife from kingfishers to elephants in contrast to the Namibian cities, which tell stories of colonial times or villages where San-bushmen and Hereros – to just name a few – still live a very traditional live.
Namibia is also one of the best countries to go on a self-drive trip! The roads are in good conditions expect of some gravel roads, but that’s also what makes it a bit more adventurous.
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Best destinations in Namibia's northern part
The northern part of Namibia is known for an abundance of wildlife. One of the best places to visit therefore is the Etosha National Park as well as several Nationalparks located in the Zambezi Region (Caprivi-Strip) but also the Kaokoveld & Damaraland are home to fascinating, desert-adapted species. Are you interested in human history and tribal cultures? Then Twyfelfontein or Brandberg might be your favourite destination to stay in Namibia. Dive deep into the old traditions of tribes like the Himba, Damaras or San-Bushmen.
Etosha National Park
Located in the north of Namibia, the Etosha Park forms one of the largest National Parks in Africa. The unique landscape is dominated by the 5000km2 large salt pan which is nestled in the park. Wildlife like lions, rhino, elephant and leopard – and therefore 4 of the Big5 – roam the area. But also cheetahs, hyenas, giraffes and a huge variety of antelopes live in the park. Whereas in the Namibian dry season (May-Oktober) the salt pan seems like a never-ending white blanket – during the rainy season a small water layer covers the salt and forms a perfect nesting ground for flamingos.
Etosha Park is a travelling highlight the whole year round, although you should keep in mind that during the dry season animal spotting might be easier. Because the water is only stored in the waterholes distributed throughout the park, most animals have to come here to quench their thirst. Our personalized pdf-travel Guide, which will be handed to you when you book though us, provides you with further insights to enhance your chances of animal sightings in Etosha and gives some interesting facts about the most common wildlife you will spot there.
Damaraland - Kunene region
Maybe you’ve heard of the Damara people, which gave this region its name. During the Apartheid, the tribe got this part of the country. Damaraland is located in the north-west of Namibia and is defined by harsh-weather conditions bordering the Namib desert.
The landscape is as well one of the most dramatic and iconic. Changing between red sand dunes to otherworldly rock-formations like Spitzkoppe in the Erongo region as well as the highest mountain in Namibia – the Brandberg. But besides its harsh nature you will find plenty of desert adapted wildlife and plants which only occur in this region. Desert lions, elephants and also black-rhinos are habitants of Damaraland, wandering between the green riverbeds. Most lodges offer specifically elephant or rhino tracking, because the animals roam this huge area freely and its often dependent on rainfall and food availability where one can find them.
Endemic plants are for example the Welwitschia Mirabilis as well as Euphorbia species. For every plant lover a specialty and they make up amazing photo motives.
You wondered if its possible that in such environments humans have lived and still do? Our ancestors the Bushmen lived here as hunter-gatherers and some parts of their live can be explored in Damaraland – Twyfelfontein. At this place (and also around Brandberg) thousands of years ago our ancestors left engravings and rock paintings to inform each other about water availability, dangerous animals and spiritual visions. They can still be seen today and give some insight about the Bushmen’s life in the past.
Close to Twyfelfontein, a small area stands out of the surrounding landscape. A black hill made of volcanic clinker, where nearly nothing grows. You wont spend a long time here but its close to the turn to Twyfelfontein.
Also called the Matterhorn of Africa, you will understand its nick-name when first seeing this rock formation pointing out with its 1728m height of the area around. Its not only a stunning photography object but also well known for rock-climbers though its a serious way to the top and the heat is often underestimated. Therefore you should carefully plan and ask for local advise if that’s an activity you have in mind.
Namibia’s highest mountain reaches 2500m height and is part of the Erongo-mountain ranges. When you enjoy an evening close to the mountain you will understand where it got its name from – the orange setting sun in combination with the mountains sandstone colours let it glow like fire.
As in Twyfelfontein, several paintings can be found here aged between 2000-4000 years.
Damaraland offers one of Namibia’s most hidden wildlife-areas. One of the protected areas is the Palmwag Concession which is 550.000 ha large and is partly accessible for tourism. There are self-drive options but they are only accessible for 4×4 vehicles and the roads feel still bumpy and rough, so we would not recommend it for everyone especially when you are low of time. The easier option is to go on one of the guided tours offered by all lodges within the Concession. The guides usually also know where to find the desert adapted lion, elephant as well as hook-lipped rhinos besides several other predators and antelopes.
Grootberg Pass & Khoadi//Hoas Conservancy
A special area can be found on top of the Grootbergpass, which is close to Palmwag. A Conservation-Community project which includes a lodge that has one of the most beautiful outlooks in Namibia. Even the way there, over gravel roads through the grassy covered mountain ranges, is an adventure. The flora and fauna here is nearly similar to the area around Palmwag and there are conservation efforts supporting the already named hook-lipped rhinos, desert elephants and lions as well as other species which have been brought back here into their natural habitat.
Caprivi-Strip (Zambezi Region)
Nestled between Botswana, Angola and Zambia, Caprivi-Strip is Namibia’s wetland-paradise in the far north. Its dominated by different rivers creating a fascinating landscape ending in the Victoria Falls. The biggest rivers are Cuando, Kavango, Chobe and Zambesi. The Caprivi Strip is definitely for adventure-seeking wildlife enthusiasts. Though it has a good infrastructure – most places can be accessed with a 2×2 car we would recommend taking a 4×4 to fully experiencing this place.
Most lodges are located along the river banks, where you can see crocodiles and hippos sunbathing from your bed. The days can be spend exploring the Bwabwata National park, which is part of a conservation area connecting Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Angola and Namibia. The critically endangered African Wild Dog’s call this area their home as well as elephants, hippos, lion and a large variety of other game.
Close by is the Mahango Wilderness-area as a part of Bwabwata and is listed as Important Bird Area
Further National parks are the Mudumu, Khaudum and Nkasa Lupala. If you want to have a breathtaking nature experience with wild animals roaming between the boarders of several countries – this is your region.
The Skeleton Coast National Park is located in Kaokoveld and hosts the world largest ship cemetery. The 500km long coastline stretches up along the Atlantic ocean where it meets the desert landscape of the inland. Stranded whales and ships gave the area its name.
Driving up from Windhoek you will also come across the Cape Cross Seal Colony where you should take a stop. Thousands of seals call this place their home and you can spot them on land and fishing in the rough ocean.
Dont miss out stopping along the way for several ship-wrecks. There are plenty of maps with the GPS-locations due to a lack of road signs but also because you need a 4×4 for some of them!
We equip you with a google-map which you can download in advance to the tour and explain which of the ship-wracks are accessible with your chosen car.
Divided into two parts, the southern section is freely accessible and the permit can be purchased directly at the gate in Ugabmund and Springbockwater or in the city’s of Swakopmund & Windhoek.
The northern part instead is just reachable with a specific tour operator – though that might be worthwhile due to the areas fascinating landscape.
Best destinations in Namibia's southern part
Namibias South is dominated by deserts – the most iconic and the oldest in the world – Kalahari & Namib. These are some of the best places to stay if you want to have an amazing stargazing experience. Be prepared for a breathtaking road-trip through this wonderful landscapes. Explore the fish-river canyon and get to know more about the ghost town history – Kolmanskop. And if you are an ocean lover you should not miss Swakopmund and the close by Sandwich-Harbour!
Namib Desert - Sossusvlei
The iconic Sossus Dunes are one of the highlights of every Namibia travel itinerary. Situated in Africa’s largest conservation area, the Namib-Naukluft National Park, they are also one of the most photographed attractions in Namibia. Up to 400m high stand the red sand dunes and fascinate hundreds of people when the golden morning or evening light gives them a special red glow and thereby captivate not only photographers. The oldest desert in the world is a harsh place to live, still there can be animals and plants found, which have been perfectly adapted to it, like the Oryx-Antelope, Springbock as well as Elephants to lions in the northern parts in Damaraland. You can climb one of the Dunes to have a phenomenal sunrise or sunset view from Big Daddy, Dune 45 or Dune Elim.
The Deadvlei is also a must see on your Namib tour. Known for its 900year old fossilized acacia trees and clay pan, it forms a surreal place nestled within the orange-red dunes
You want to find the only place holding water all year round in this dry area? Sesriem Canyon was crated by the Tsauchab river where the water passed through the rocky landscape 2 million years ago. Even though its relatively small in comparison to the fish-river canyon, climbing down to its ground provides a fascinating view into the valley.
The sea of dunes reaches the Atlantic ocean on Namibia’s west-coast. Just a 60km south of Walvis Bay you can reach Sandwich Harbour, where the giant sand dunes fall into the cold Atlantic Ocean and form a spectacular landscape with salt pans and birds paradise within the coastal wetlands.
Kalahari Region & Fish-River-Canyon
Characterized by red dune landscape, the Kalahari offers a special nature experience not only for 4×4 lovers and photographers. Located in the South-east of Namibia the desert has a relatively high rainfall and is home so the San-Bushmen who have lived here for centuries because the desert provided them with a variety of useful plants. Also iconic animals like black-maned lions, brown hyena and honey badgers are known in this region. The Fish River Canyon is the worlds second largest canyon in the world (right after the Grand Canyon in the USA).
The area will provide you with the most stunning sunrise & sunset sceneries and therefore is every photographers dream.
Even though its not possible to hike the canyon without a guide due to several accidents, you have a fantastic view from the rim-pathways.
And if you are a keen hiker, we are more than happy to organise a guided hiking experience for a day or overnight trip.
Close to the Fish River Canyon and on the way of the 80km hiking track you reach the Ai-Ais Hot springs – no better way to end a hiking day!
The Canyon is dominated by two vegetation zones – the succulent Karoo which are semi deserts. Therefore you will find desert-adapted plants like Quiver trees, Aloes and Euphorbias. But also mammals like mountain zebras, oryx, leopards and many more species are able to survive in this harsh environment.