Best time to travel:
As Namibia is partially covered by the Namib Desert, the climate is generally very dry and pleasant, making it a good year round destination.
- Namibia has a pleasant cool dry winter (May to October) and a hot summer (November to April) with minimal rainfall which often takes the form of localised thunderstorms predominantly in the centre and the east. In the winter, temperatures in the desert can drop below freezing at night.
- Game viewing is good throughout the year but is best in the dry season from June to October.
Namibia is a vast country of breath taking scenery, diverse cultures and abundant wildlife. It consists mainly of a desert and semi-desert environment, with tropical swamplands in the far north eastern corner of the country. Namibia has many state-owned parks and reserves and almost 200 privately owned game reserves. It is a peaceful and politically stable country and is home to many ethnic groups of people, each with their own traditions. English is the official language but German, Afrikaans and a large variety of other languages are spoken. Namibia is a dream destination for adventure. Hiking, birding, 4x4 trails, golfing, horseback riding, hunting, rock climbing, caving, quad biking, sand-boarding, mountain biking, stargazing, angling, canoeing, rafting and diving are all activities to be enjoyed in this sunny country with its wide open spaces and big night skies.
Areas to visit
- Etosha National Park – is undoubtedly Namibia most popular tourist attraction. Etosha owes its unique landscape to the Etosha Pan, a vast, shallow, chalky, white depression of approximately 5000 km² that forms the heart of the park. Once a large inland lake fed by rivers from the north and east, it dried up 120 million years ago. A series of waterholes along the southern edge guarantee rewarding and often spectacular game viewing. In good rain years the pan fills with water draining southwards from Angola, drying out in winter to become an austere expanse of white cracked mud, shimmering with mirages and upward-spiralling dust devils.
- Naukluft Park – is Namibias most versatile conservation area. Deadvlei is a clay pan, about 2 km from Sossusvlei. A notable feature of Deadvlei is that it used to be an oasis with several acacia trees, before the river changed its course. The pan is thus punctuated by blackened, dead acacia trees, in vivid contrast to the shiny white of the salty floor of the pan and the intense orange of the dunes. This creates a particularly fascinating and surrealistic landscape that appears in uncountable pictures. The dunes at Sossusvlei can soar up to 330 meters high. Namibia boasts the highest dunes on earth ascending in the oldest desert on earth. An ideal way to appreciate the area is by doing a hot air balloon trip at sunrise.
- The Fish River Canyon – was created fifty million years ago when the Fish River started to cut its way through a valley within a canyon in southern Namibia. The Fish River Canyon is considered to be the second largest canyon in the world. At 161 km long, 27 km wide and 550 metres deep, it is second in size to the Grand Canyon in Arizona USA.
- Ruacana Falls – are waterfalls located near Ruacana on the Kunene River in northern Namibia. The waterfall is 120 meters high and 700 meters wide in full flood. It is among the largest waterfalls in Africa, both by volume and width. The riverside is dotted with quaint lodges offering a variety of water sports on the Kunene River.
- Waterberg Plateau Park – is a national park in central Namibia on the Waterberg Plateau, 68 km east of Otjiwarongo. The Waterberg Plateau is a particularly prominent location elevated high above the plains of the Kalahari and Eastern Namibia. Due to its inaccessibility, several of Namibia’s endangered animals such as the black Rhino were translocated there. The Waterberg Plateau is ecologically diverse and rich and has over 200 different species of bird with some rare species of small antelope on the lower hills. Geologically, the oldest rock stratum is over 850 million years old and dinosaur tracks were left there some 200 million years ago.
- Skeleton Coast National Park – is a place where mysteries and mists shroud this desolate coastline. Seal and whale bones and shipwreck tales abound. It is where the desolate desert and the icy ocean merge in an untamed wilderness. The Skeleton coast extends from the Ugab River to the Kunene River, covering an area of approximately 16 400 km².
- Twyfelfontien Valley – translated from Afrikaans means uncertain spring. Officially known as ǀUi-ǁAis (Damara/Nama jumping waterhole) is a site of ancient rock engravings in the Kunene Region of north western Namibia. It consists of a spring in a valley flanked by the slopes of a sandstone table mountain that receives very little rainfall and has a wide range of temperatures. The site has been inhabited for 6,000 years, first by hunter-gatherers and later by Khoikhoi herders. Both ethnic groups used it as a place of worship and a site to conduct shamanist rituals. In the process of these rituals at least 2,500 items of rock carvings have been created, as well as rock paintings. UNESCO named Twyfelfontein as Namibia’s first World Heritage Site in 2007
- Petrified Forest – is a dry riverbed between Khorixas and Twyfelfontein made up of a large collection of fossilized tree trunks. The forest is situated in a dry riverbed where the wood was washed downstream and deposited 200 000 years ago. In time the logs turned into stone and trunks of up to 42 meters can be distinguished. The trees were proclaimed a national monument in 1950. An attraction within the Forest is the Welwitschia mirabilis that grows among the trunks. This curious plant is something of a living fossil as it lives for more than 1000 years.
- Windhoek – situated in the central highlands of Namibia and surrounded by high mountain ranges and bush savannah, Windhoek is the ideal point to venture from when exploring the country. The city displays a cosmopolitan flair. Museums, art galleries, parks, craft centres and modern shopping malls all invite the visitor to explore the city on foot.
- Swakopmund is much loved by the Namibians as a welcome respite from the heat of the interior. It is also popular among visitors because of its old world charm and relaxed atmosphere. This quaint desert town, hedged between the sea and the desert, is enhanced by lush green lawns, elegant palm trees and carefully tended public gardens. It has a wide choice of hotels, pensions, restaurants and coffee shops selling traditional German cake. Adventure sports such as sand boarding, quad biking, sky diving and deep sea fishing are all available to do in Swakopmund as well as more gentle desert excursions.