Namibia

Namibia is world-renowned for its breathtaking, unspoilt scenery, endless horizons, towering sand dunes, tales of survival and adventure along the wild Skeleton Coast, diverse and fascinating peoples and desert-adapted wildlife living against a wonderfully photogenic backdrop.

At almost four times the size of Great Britain, Namibia calls to mind the vast Namib and Kalahari deserts with their desert-adapted wildlife such as oryx, ostrich, elephant and rhinoceros. However, in the far north where the majority of the population lives, the wetlands and lush savannah around the Kavango, Kwando, Linyanti, Chobe and Zambezi river systems provide a significant contrast, with wetland species such as hippopotamus and Nile crocodile as well as large numbers of bird species.

The majority of rivers in Namibia are known as ephemeral; that is, they flow only after heavy rain in their catchment areas. The normally dry riverbeds and some localised springs support scarce vegetation, and these ‘linear oases’ attract wildlife from miles around. Water may also stand for short periods in shallow clay or limestone depressions, such as the enormous Etosha Pan. Such is the attraction of those relatively wet areas that multiple species of wildlife can be seen gathered there, especially in the dry season.

Namibia is home to over 250 mammals including desert-adapted endemic subspecies, and is particularly famous for its desert elephants which roam across miles of desert to reach water and vegetation. Both black and white rhino can be found, including the largest free-ranging population of black rhino in Africa, as poaching is nothing like as serious as in Kenya and other countries.

Hartmann’s mountain and plains (or Burchell’s) zebras thrive in Namibia, and its antelope species range from the tiny Damara dik dik, through springbok, impala and the majestic gemsbok (or oryx – Namibia’s national animal) to Africa’s largest, the eland. It is notably the only Southern African country to support two species of impala (common and black-faced).

Giraffe and blue wildebeest are common in Etosha National Park, providing prey for lion, leopard and cheetah. Wild dogs are critically endangered in Namibia and found only in the Caprivi Strip. The far north-east holds wetland and woodland species such as hippopotamus, Nile crocodile, buffalo and roan, sable, tsessebe, sitatunga and red lechwe antelopes.

Namibia is rich in bird life, with around 660 species (around 72% of all southern African species) with 16 endemic and near-endemics, mostly found in the arid highlands and in the Namib Desert, from the Naukluft mountains northwards to the Kunene River on the Angola border. The greatest variety of Namibia’s bird species are found in the wetlands and woodlands of the Caprivi Strip – particularly diverse in the wet season with the arrival of migrants.

The marine life of Namibia is also special, with the diminutive Benguela (or Heaviside’s) dolphin (endemic to southern Africa) inhabiting inshore waters along the Atlantic coast with the highest density off southern Namibia. Along with bottlenose dolphins and other cetaceans, they can be seen on cruises from Walvis Bay and Lüderitz. Various colonies of Cape fur seals inhabit the Skeleton Coast, with the largest in Southern Africa living at Cape Cross, north of Swakopmund, with over 270,000.

Additionally, Namibia’s geological history, diverse tribes such as the nomadic Himba and San ‘bushmen’, and 28 indigenous tongues including the Khoisan ‘click’ language, add fascinating extra dimensions to that special destination.

Namibia holidays can be designed in various ways, depending on your time, budget, sense of adventure and thirst for knowledge. Distances by road tend to be large and, this being one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world, you often find yourself in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by unspoilt wilderness and endless horizons, with no other vehicle or person in sight for hours. It makes for a fantastic adventure holiday in a self-drive vehicle, but your understanding of your surroundings (and your level of relaxation) will be greatly enhanced by a qualified private driver-guide.

Roads (sealed, gravel and salt) are well-maintained and directions on the more usual routes are quite straightforward – there may be only one junction for several hundred kilometres. The self-drive challenge primarily comes in the form of keeping one’s concentration on seemingly endless straight roads, whilst resisting the temptation to speed. That is another advantage of a guided trip: your guide will be used to such driving conditions and will concentrate on the road, allowing you fully to enjoy your spectacular surroundings.

PLEASE NOTE: Our Namibia guided safaris tend to include all meals, selected drinks whilst on your private vehicle, park fees and permits, fuel etc – as well as a highly qualified and informative guide who will add immeasurable value to your experience.

Namibia Wildlife Holiday Ideas

# Group Tour

Ultimate Namibia Wildlife & Landscapes

Namibia
14 Days from £3193 not including flights
A superb value escorted small group tour to leave you spellbound by Namibia’s ...
# Tailor-Made Tour

Deluxe, Super-Scenic Namibian Wildlife Safari

Namibia
15 Days from £6597
This superb itinerary is mind-blowing in all its facets, with luxury accommodati...
# Tailor-Made Tour

The Classic Namibia Circuit With Private Guide

Namibia
15 Days from £5997
This expertly guided itinerary shows off the breathtaking beauty and diversity o...
# Tailor-Made Tour
# Family Holiday

The Wonderful Wildlife and Nature of Namibia

Namibia
15 Days from £2796
With some wonderfully scenic drives, lovely lodges and incredible wildlife, this...
# Tailor-Made Tour

The Complete Namibia Road Trip Adventure

Namibia
15 Days from £2569
An excellent self-drive itinerary of outstanding value and breadth takes the int...
# Tailor-Made Tour

Namibia Walking, Wildlife and Wilderness Self-Drive

Namibia
17 Days from £3197
Highly recommended for active people who want a closer, more intimate connection...
# Tailor-Made Tour

A Romantic Namibia Honeymoon

Namibia
15 Days from £8695
An indulgent honeymoon itinerary with excellent accommodation, great wildlife, w...
# Tailor-Made Tour

A Namibian Wilderness Extravaganza by Air

Namibia
15 Days from £7593
Come away and be stunned by the unimaginable beauty of Namibia by air and on the...

Safarihoek Lodge

Namibia
Northern Namibia
An isolated lodge in its own private reserve on the southern border with Etosha ...

The Olive Exclusive

Namibia
Windhoek
Luxurious all-suite boutique hotel with beautiful views over the olive trees tow...

Galton House

Namibia
Windhoek
Situated in an upmarket residential area of Windhoek, Galton House offers quiet ...

Rivendell Guesthouse

Namibia
Windhoek
A small, welcoming bed and breakfast a short walk from Windhoek’s city centre...

Cornerstone Guesthouse

Namibia
Swakopmund
Offers the charm and intimacy of a family-run bed and breakfast combined with so...

Serra Cafema

Namibia
Northern Namibia
Luxurious, remote safari camp with a peaceful ambience on the banks of the flowi...

Destination Map

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Namibia: -22.512557, 18.369141

Best Time To Visit Namibia

The Namibian climate varies from arid and semi-arid in the south to subtropical in the far north-east, with great variation in rainfall depending on location: however all areas experience over 300 days of annual sunshine on average (many Namibians are envious of the UK’s more unpredictable weather).

The hottest months in Namibia are November to February when daytime temperatures can top 40C in the Namib Desert and extreme north and south, with cool nights. Winter temperatures tend to be pleasantly warm in the day and drop to sub-zero at night in desert areas. Coastal temperatures are largely influenced by wind direction, with the prevailing south-westerly winds – cooled by the chilly Benguela current – often forming a thick band of coastal fog on meeting the hotter Namib Desert air during summer. By contrast, easterly winds can bring dust storms and sweltering heat from the desert which, oddly, means coastal areas often experience their hottest days in mid-winter.

Namibia welcomes its limited rainfall during the summer months of October to April when humidity increases and localised evening downpours develop in the central and eastern areas. Flash floods are common, saturating the usually dry riverbeds and hampering road crossings – drivers must exercise caution during this period. Generally speaking, it rains less as one travels from north to south and from east to west. Average annual rainfall varies from less than 50mm along the coast to 350mm in the central interior and 700mm in the north east Caprivi Strip. Humidity tends to be very low throughout most of Namibia, but can reach as high as 80% in the far north during summer.

Wildlife congregates in large numbers at waterholes in the drier months (July-October) making it an extremely popular time to travel. Accommodation fills several months in advance and high season rates apply. Conversely, many lodges offer much lower ‘Green Season’ rates in the less popular summer months (January-March). Scenically, April to June are very beautiful for the flora that result from the preceding wetter months and the autumnal colours in some regions, and lower visitor numbers increase the sense of space and wilderness.

Travel Info

Flight Time
13-14 Hours from London to Windhoek

Time Zone
GMT +1

Best visited
May to December

Language Spoken
English

Population
2.3 million

Area Specialist

Alan Godwin
specialist_alan-godwin

If you have limited time, or simply wish to enjoy the sublime views and luxury of flying between locations, fly-in safari holidays work very well indeed. Lodges often have their own airstrips, enabling you to cover great distances and experience a variety of locations with hardly any road travel.

If you have any questions regarding travel to Namibia please feel free to contact me on +44 (0)1803 866965