Namibia Travel Guide
- Everything you need to know for your trip to Namibia-
Namibia, officially the Republic of Namibia is a beautiful South African country facing the Atlantic Ocean. The landscape has infinite possibilities for pictures, with its lush green areas and arid deserts.
Other than the environment, it also houses marvelous animals on its land and waters. Their population of birds is also unique and a popular attraction. Life and connection with the planet are among the things you can feel in Namibia.
If you are not afraid of new experiences, Namibia will be like a paradise for you to explore and discover.
Why Visiting Namibia?
Namibia is a perfect place for visiting the wildlife and nature of Africa. Like other countries in South Africa, it has a wide variety of scenery and magnificent places. The first thing you can get from Namibia is a great adventure to see our Planet.
You will never be tired of the environment, but it is also good to visit the cities. In their towns and cities, you will not see too much of a crowd to be bothered. You can also see the life of the locals and get to know their culture. Other than that, it is the perfect opportunity to sample their tasty cuisine.
If you found the people interesting (which you probably will), you can then head out to meet the natives and their villages. Their way of life and traditions are unique, and their history and legends will keep you entertained as you stay and learn. Between the deserts and the coasts, you will see numerous creatures. The population of animals and their living is attractive enough for many. You can be one of the many and go on a safari to see exotic animals in the protected areas and national parks.
As you explore and discover, you can visit the Ghost Town of Kolmanskop or the Skeleton Coast and see the decaying past. Heritage sites and history, along with the contemporary elements, can make Namibia your exciting destination for the holidays. Culture, history, the abundance of life, beauty, and all the things known and unknown will create your adventure of a lifetime. Go on a road trip or go camping! Namibia is waiting to give you a memorable traveling experience.
Namibia Top Destinations
Best Time to Visit Namibia
Namibia’s weather patterns are almost unpredictable, but the country is known to have about 300 days of sunshine annually. It has two different seasons; Dry Season and Wet Season. But you will also want to know about the possible winter as it can get freezing at night that may bother camping travelers. Rain in this part of Africa is less frequent, but it will also create or destroy the opportunity for some activities. If you are looking for something specific, you need to keep their seasons in mind and check the forecast before traveling.
The best time to visit Namibia is generally from June to October when the climate is more pleasant. It is dry and warm, and it enables you to see most of the places and visit the majority of the wildlife as they come to the waterholes to quench their thirst. On the other hand, November to February is known to be the hottest and the most unpleasant weather.
Temperature: 6° C (42.8° F) – 29° C (84.2° F)
During this time of the year, rain is little with no clouds in the sky. It means little difficulty moving around and staying in the wildlife. Since it is warm and dry, the animals will have to go seeking vegetation and water, which means you can plan to meet them in certain areas. The nights will get a little cold but nothing unbearable if you have appropriate clothing. It also means you can easily see the stars and enjoy the night sky.
Where to visit in Wet Season?
Temperature: 13° C (55.4° F) – 31°C (87.8° F)
It is becoming warmer at the beginning of the Wet Season, and rains are starting. It gets greener, which means it is suitable to see wildlife. Additionally, it is an excellent time to see the migrating birds during this time of year. The rains are more predictable in the beginning and near the end of The Wet Season in Namibia.
Where to visit in Wet Season?
November to February is ideal for birdwatching in the Caprivi Strip (northern regions of Namibia). Generally, it is best to avoid the desert regions in the Wet Season because of the heat, but if you can endure the heat, it is still possible. Animals are harder to spot, which means it is not suitable to visit in the Wet Season, which is because of the availability of water and vegetation.
Temperature: 6° C (42.8° F) – 23° C (73.4° F)
Winters of Namibia come during the Dry Season, which means it is almost similar to this season. Everything about the two coinciding seasons is the same, but they also distinguish this Winter due to lower temperature.
Where to visit in Winter?
Since it is the same as Dry Season, the same places are also visitable during these months. You should only keep in mind to have warm clothes if you visit the desert during the night. It is possible to see some cold during the night but nothing unbearable.
Best Namibia Tours
Things to Do in Namibia
Visit the magnificence of planet earth and witness her beauty in Africa and Namibia. There are a lot of things to do in Namibia both in wildlife and among people. You will need a bit of an adventurous spirit and go for some new stuff in its natural environment. As soon as you had enough adventures and exploring, spend some days in their cities and towns where you can learn their history and contemporary way of living. No matter where you go in Namibia, you will have something exciting to do.
Drive Around Etosha National Park and Have a Great Safari
Etosha National Park is a great place to visit the wildlife of Africa and explore. It has four of the ‘Big Five (lions, elephants, leopards, and black rhinoceros) except for the Cape Buffalos and numerous other creatures roaming around freely. One of the best things about the Etosha National Park safari is that you can go where you please because you can drive around on your own, even with your own car. It is fantastic for adventuring and deciding where to go and how much to wait. You can even make it more memorable by bringing a camera and even catching the sunset. When you plan your visit to Etosha National Park, plan to stay for at least 2 or 3 hours.
Spend a Few Days in Swakopmund
The coastal town of Swakopmund used to be a German Colony near the Atlantic Ocean. It has plenty of heritage sites to visit and enjoy history. Additionally, it is a great place to have an adventure on land and ride a Quadbike. Or you can go near the water and relax. In the desert, in the city, or at the beach, Swakopmund has everything you want to relax or have a blast. Enjoy its beauty and spend your holiday in this great town and not miss out on the fun.
Climb the Tallest Sand Dunes of Sossusvlei
Among the best highlights of Namibia are the sand dunes of Sossusvlei. The best thing you can do is find one of the large dunes on Sossusvlei and enjoy the view. It is also a good idea to go camping on these dunes and stay for the sunset. The scenery is incomparable with the other deserts you have seen; therefore, you must not miss it. If it is not crowded, the best of these dunes is Dune 45, which is the most beautiful.
It is not just sitting and watching the magnificent area around you; there are always hot air balloons you can try and explore in other ways. Since there are accommodations inside the area of Sossusvlei, you can stay for as long as you desire.
Visit the Stunning Fish River Canyon
Fish River Canyon is the largest canyon in Africa and the second largest canyon on the planet. Visiting this place is first for enjoying a massive and impressive part of the environment, and then for a great hiking experience. There are many sections to visit and various amazing views of the area to enjoy.
If you are up to the challenge, you can go on a nearly 90 Km hike in the Fish River Canyon. It takes a few days and appropriate gear as well as a permit. There are not infrastructures besides the resort at the end of your journey, so it is better to be on tour or have a guide. Adventure or not, when in Namibia, you have to visit Fish River Canyon at least once.
Explore the Namib Desert and Discover
The vast area known as the Namib Desert is full of all kinds of amazing things to do in Namibia. Two of the most popular items in the Namib Desert are seeing the Wild horses and visiting the Ghost Town of Kolmanskop. There are other things as well; the abovementioned Dune 45, Sossusvlei, and the nearby town of Swakopmund are among its nearby places, but exploring this desert is another thing to do.
As you explore the Namib Desert as an activity, you should also look for Skeleton Coast to its north. The Namib Desert is always fun to visit as it is constantly changing and reshaping itself. Keep the Ghost town a priority as well, because it is slowly sinking below the sands and may be forgotten in the sands.
Take a Picture at the Tropic of Capricorn Sign
While in the Namib Desert, you might go for very simple yet popular tourist activities. We say it is a simple activity because all you have to do is pose and take a picture! There is a sign in the desert at route C14 between Walvis Bay and Sossusvlei, which has oddly enough become a place to take a fun picture. You cannot miss it as it is also on Google Maps. There is no more to do at Tropic of Capricorn, yet it is something to try as you travel and explore Namibia.
Hike at Spitzkoppe and Stay to See the Stars
In a large area full of rock formations and mountains called Damaraland, one of the places you must visit is the Spitzkoppe. Spitzkoppe rarely sees crowds as it has almost no vegetation or animals, but it is perfect for camping and spending the night. Since there is no light pollution, you can clearly see the stars and fall in love with the night sky.
Since there is no water, food, or electricity in the region, you have to bring everything you need to Spitzkoppe. You are also advised to have a guide due to the difficulty of moving in this place’s rock formations. Be mindful of your safety, and make sure to visit the Granite rock formations as well.
Have a Beer, Try the Food and Explore Windhoek
The capital of Namibia, Windhoek, is famous for several things, all of which are among the popular items that tourists do. If you want to start your journey by spending a few days in a city and then heading out, the capital city is the place; however, if you prefer to try some famous Beer left from the German Colonial days, head for Joe’s Beer House. Besides, if you’re going to try the best of their exotic food, Windhoek is your first destination. Besides, you can learn a lot about their history in this city and visit their national museum. Also, if you are traveling in October, do not miss the October fest of Namibia!
See the Flamingos and Maybe Even Whales in Walvis Bay
Another place to see more of the wildlife in Namibia is Walvis Bay. It is close to some other highlights of this South-African country. So, you can plan several visits to nearby places as well. Walvis Bay is mostly famous for its population of birds, especially its Flamingos. You will see the Flamingos whenever you visit, but you have to plan for your suitable season to see more lovely creatures. Other than its birds, you can see some sea creatures. Among them are the dolphins and whales, which are seen migrating at some times of the year. The name Walvis Bay is given for the same reason as it means ‘Whale Bay’ that are seen there.
Go to the Himba Village and Meet the Himba People
Have a unique experience and learn about the natives and their traditions by visiting the Himba people of Africa. They have an exotic way of life, far from the modern way of living and cities. Their clothes and connection to the surrounding lands are enlightening and different from anything else you have seen in Namibia. It is one of the famous highlights of the visitors to spend some time among the semi-nomadic people of these traditional tribes.
Local Transportation in Namibia
Since public transportation has several problems in Namibia (they are developing rapidly and this will change), some people use bicycles to get around. Just be careful on dirt roads to avoid punctures. There are shops and repair shops all around, so even if you have problems, you can fix them quickly.
The bus system and trails are non-existent in many places, but this is changing. Using a bus to go from one town or city to another is possible, but if you do not see one in a city, do not be surprised.
In most cases, if your driver’s license is in English, the rental company can tell you if it is valid or not. If it is valid, you can drive around for about three months. If it is not valid, you will not have permission to drive. If you have any doubts, go for an International Driving Permit (IDP) before your trip.
All the main attractions and popular tourist destinations, inside and outside the cities, have suitable roads. As a result, you can bring your own car or rent one. If you have a car, you can also use it inside the national parks for your self-safari. It is also possible to find bikes as well as vehicles in the rental companies. Keep in mind that if you rent a bike, you will not be permitted to use it for a safari because of the dangers.
The same problem with buses exists with taxies, but fortunately, private taxi operators work wonderfully in Namibia. Ask your hotel or resort to give you the numbers for private taxi operators and avoid taxis running in the cities. The major cities have fewer problems with cabs, but there are possible criminals who pose taxis or vehicles that charge too much for transportation.
If you decide to travel between cities, the same companies can also find you a taxi or a bus. The prices for such rides are not much, and if there is a road for your destination, they will get you there.
Intercity Transportation in Namibia
Traveling by train in Namibia is very limited as it connects only some of the major cities. The speed is also very low, which makes this kind of transportation the least favorite. You can look for tourist trains, which are better, but they are still far from perfect. The trains usually run during the night, but if you take the tourist trains with their limits, they can give you some fantastic scenery as you travel.
As for the buses, if there is a road, you have a high chance of a reasonably priced bus for it. Bus travel is the most affordable alternative connecting all major cities and most towns. They run overnight, which means you will have to check the schedule to make your plans.
Air travel is another one of Namibia’s limited transportation system, but it has the advantage of speed between its available destinations.
The same rules of driving in the cities apply to the roads. Your limitations of traveling will only depend on the car you rent.
Flight Deals to Namibia
Namibia Travel Costs
You can get the most affordable options between $5-10 US dollars in towns and cities. In other places, the prices vary, but they are generally fair and cheap. If you are not planning to eat like a king, plan to spend a maximum of $20 US dollars for a meal. Anything above that goes mid-range to luxury.
Backpackers and budget travelers may have a difficult time in Namibia for accommodation. These prices mostly depend on the time you are traveling and the availability of dorm beds. You can travel cheap but also expect the prices to be high in peak season. Budget travelers can find $8-15 US dollar places to stay, but if nothing that cheap is available, expect the prices to start from $30 US dollars.
If you are in luck, you can get a very cheap experience with public transports. But the chance is rare for public transportation, and it is mostly your selection of a car rental that will determine the price for a ride in Namibia. If you go for a smaller car, you have difficulty selecting appropriate roads and safaris. If you go for better vehicles, it will get expensive. If you try bicycles, you will spend as little money as possible (no petrol either) but going around will become a challenge (no permission to go on a safari with a bicycle).
It is hard to go on a budget in Namibia but not impossible. To travel on a budget, you need everything to be available in an ideal situation, which means difficulty for backpackers. Plan for a mid-range priced journey for having your daily costs on average. Anything below that is highly optimistic in normal conditions.
|Low-end (US $45/day)||Having cheap food and going around on a bicycle or bus and finding affordable B&B places and dorms.|
|Mid-range (US $135-155/day)||Going in a private double room and having better meals and drinks. Consider the price of petrol and renting a car, which can increase your spending. To lower the costs, you can cook your meals yourself.|
|Top-end (US $170+/day)||Stay in better hotels and resorts, have the best meals, and rent a 4WD car to ease transportation.|
Hotels in Namibia
Find the best hotels in Namibia using our best price search engine, or go with one of our All-inclusive tours with 4 Star hotels included. You can book our guaranteed hotels for your extra accommodation; before or after your tour days.
Namibia Travel Tips
Namibia is not dangerous, but it is not very safe either. Keep your wits about you, and if something feels wrong, do not go for it. The people are kind and hospitable, but there are possible con artists and muggers to be aware of. Keep your things close, and do not be so trusting. And avoid going out during the night.
Well, this is not exactly a tip to scare you off, but if you are a budget traveler, things may not go according to plans in Namibia. Plan to spend some money, going as a backpacker is complicated in this country.
Namibia is huge. If you want to explore the country, plan for an extended vacation. If you have a fixed timetable, you will miss some of the stuff you plan to do. And if you want to see the wildlife, do not make a timetable altogether!
Transportation has many issues in Namibia; therefore, it is best to rent the right car and have a guide. The weather can become unpredictable, which is best to have a good ride.
If you do not speak the official language, you can still communicate in English and German. Almost half the population knows these languages but keep in mind knowing German will help you much better.
If you are booking anything in this country, you need to do it way ahead of time. It is difficult to make fixed plans, but it is also best to book whatever you can before visiting.
The taste is not pleasing, but the tap water is safe. Our recommendation is to bring or buy bottled water. The best option for traveling to Africa is to have a water filtration system to avoid harming the environment as well.
You are not required to tip but always tip for good services and improvement of the conditions. The standard rate for tipping in Namibia is 10-15% in most places.
It is against the law. To preserve the wildlife and the environment, do not plan on any hunting activities. If you go hunting, prepare to face the consequences.
Avoid littering and try to use as little plastic as possible. It may not be illegal, but common sense is to help preserve our planet.
Since camping and going on roundtrips has a lot of limitations, plan to pack everything you can. It goes for anything that comes to mind. In the desert areas, there are absolutely no shops or people!
You will do better to receive medical advice for traveling to Africa. If you need vaccines, do it way ahead of time. Malaria may not be a problem, but it is better to be safe.
The climate and weather may be unpredictable, but you should check when is the best time of year and what you can do at that particular time of year. Some activities, such as bird watching, may not be available at all times.
They are hospitable and kind, but there are things you have to know about their culture and tradition before going to their villages. It is excellent to support the local communities, but taking pictures of their daily lives can be disrespectful. You should also respect the environment to avoid offending them. The best thing for a first visit is going on an organized tour or with a guide.
Besides resisting the heat and having sunscreen, you need the right clothes. It depends on the time you want to travel. One thing that will be a necessity all year is good shoes.
You may be able to live without the internet, but with no power, you can not even make emergency calls. Plan for power and charging your equipment if you want to bring any.
During Namibia’s history, the country was reshaped until it gained its independence and unity; therefore, several problems and limitations are not yet fixed. As a result, you do not see national emergency numbers that are set for the entire country. As you travel, it is best to check for the emergency numbers of each city.
If you are a U.S citizen and are in an emergency, you can also contact the U.S. Embassy in Namibia via two numbers:
- Emergency during regular office hours: +264 (61) 2958522 or 2958551
- Afterhours Emergency hotline: +264 (0) 85-686-0853
Currency & Money Tips
Currency & Money Tips
Ever since 1993, the official currency of Namibia is the Namibian dollar. This currency uses the symbol of $ and N$ to show the price. Their banknotes are N$10; N$20; N$30; N$50; N$100; N$200. Their dollars are equal to 100 cents, and their coins are 5 c; 10 c; 50 c; N$1; N$5; N$10.
You can get the best and updated exchange rates in Namibian banks and exchange offices in major cities. Their leading bank is known as the Bank of Namibia, but other banks are also reliable. You can also exchange in their international airport upon arrival.
The easiest and safest method of obtaining cash and exchanging into the Namibian dollar is the ATMs belonging to any of the leading banks. You can use Visa and Mastercard as your safest options if the banks and exchange offices are not available.
Credit & Debit Cards
Debit Cards are rarely accepted, but you can use your Credit Card in most hotels and restaurants. To be sure of this possibility, check with your hotel\resort or restaurant. The safest way of spending money is to have cash but not in large quantities.
Food & Drink (Namibian Food)
People of Namibia love meat. You can see many dishes that include meat or varieties of exceptional steaks. These dishes are prepared with spices and vegetables and offer flavors that you cannot refuse. Vegetarian dishes are not very common but also not impossible to find. However, you can see them in almost all of their cuisine in many forms. Besides their tasty cuisine, you should also look for their exotic and satisfying drinks to have with or without your food.
Wild Game Steak
One of the favorites of the locals and the visitors is a Wild Game Steak. The Wild Game meat can be from ostrich, giraffe, zebra, or any other animal, which you can ask from the restaurants. The meat for a Wild Game Steak can be prepared in many ways, so you can even take the meat and cook it in the wilds. Keep in mind that if you plan to do the cooking while camping or on a safari, you need a kind of meat that will not go bad as you travel. Besides, if you plan to have the best steak of your journey, you can have it in the resorts or the hotels near the places you want to stay.
Biltong is a kind of traditional meat that has existed in Namibia for centuries. Like many other countries, to preserve the meat for a long time, the meat is marinated, salted, and dried. The Biltong is famous and popular in the country and other parts of Africa because of its flavor. The meat for this type of food is usually beef, but you can find Biltong with other games as well. It can be used in a meal, as a snack, or something to bring on a journey to the wilds.
Fat Cakes are simple, cheap, and sweet street snacks that will go very well with Kapana. It is just a simple local dough that is deep-fried in sunflower oil and served hot. Being fresh and hot is critical with these sweet Far Cakes shaped like balls, or else they lose their magic touch. The dough and everything that will be served with it are prepared overnight and then deep-fried. It can go well with a wide variety of things or on its own. It is also possible to see them with some fillings or having your Fat Cakes served with a special sauce or some vegetables.
Potjiekos is an African-German dish pot that is very similar to a stew. The is rich in flavor and nutrients that are cooked uniquely. First of all, you should know that Potjiekos is an outdoor meal in Namibia. Second, it is mostly the pot that can make it taste exceptional! This dish is a mix of meat and vegetables, cooked in the open in a three-legged iron pot.
You have to let it cook for a few hours for all the ingredients to release their taste and aroma. And as soon as this meal is ready, it is time to get some beer to make it even better! It has been perfected since it was made in the 17th century; therefore, you must not miss a chance to give it a try.
People of South Africa, especially the people of Namibia, love their meat, so you have to try their Kapana. They barbeque seasoned red meat and serve it with a lot of vegetables in the street. Meat for Kapana is chopped and prepared in a way to be easy to eat as a street snack. The unique smell of these delicious pieces of meat will make your mouth water even before they are served with tasty bits of vegetables and spices.
Mopane Worms (Omagungu)
Prepare yourself to try something traditional, healthy, and very exotic with a bowl of Mopane Worms or Omagungu, as the locals call it. It is something that is offered to valued guests and considered something delicate, which it is! These Mopane Worms are prepared in many ways and can be served with other dishes. You can even try a small bowl as a sample before a meal. The best way to have them as a first try is to get the fried and crispy ones cooked with onions and other vegetables with a little bit of spice. In any way you want to try them, they are always great snacks or appetizers.
Oshifima is a staple food of Namibia found in all of their homes. It is a kind of porridge made with a mix of pearl millet flour and sometimes cornmeal, boiled in water. As soon as it gets a thick texture, its center or core is hollowed and then filled with something else. Oshifima can have several names and be served with various sauces and fillings. It is a popular thing to eat, and among the ones, you have to try.
If you are lucky, you can find something very unique and rare in Namibia, which is their Kalahari Truffle. You may have to plan your trip in April to have some of them or try your luck in other seasons, but keep in mind that they are rare. The sauces made of these Kalahari Truffles are excellent and, if they are served with any of the meals you order, you will have a memorable experience. Since they can be hard to find, you must not pass them.
On a very general note, the Seafood of Namibia is one of a kind! If you are near their coastal regions, you must try them. Seafood near their rivers is also excellent and tasty. They also have a reputation for their oysters and lobsters. The only reasonable excuse for not having the Seafood of Namibia is allergic to them, or else you have missed a very delicious aspect of Africa and Namibia.
Naming only one drink in Namibia is not a good idea as you can find several options that will leave anyone satisfied. If you are a coffee lover, be sure to look for some of their popular Coffee in Namibia. If you like to drink something left from the German Colonial times, try their beer. It is not the same as the ones in Germany, but they are still amazing and special in Namibia.
Want something specific to Namibia? Try the fresh Fruit Juices of each region. Other than these, if you want to quench your thirst, you can try some Rock Shandy or Beer Shandy. Other than having tasty food you can find marvelous drinks to have with your meals.
Mobile & Internet
You have only two options in Namibia; Price or coverage. The two major providers are TN (the cheaper option) and MTC (most coverage in-country).
The best company
The best option would be MTC because it has a signal and coverage in the cities and most towns and villages. They are easy to find and simple to use.
Where to buy it?
If you are going by plane, you can find the booth near the airport’s exit at Windhoek. If you missed this one, you could look for MTC shops in supermarkets, gas stations, or at a kiosk. It is better to buy at a shop to adjust your SIM card’s size and get a better price.
- MTC SIM card (N$275 ($22))
- 1.5GB Data
- Calls and texts require different credit rates
- All offices must have a table for prices
- Some street vendors may charge extra. Avoid them if you can
Holidays & Festivals
|Holiday||Date 2021||Date 2022|
|Independence Day observed||22-Mar||22-Mar|
|Day of the Namibian Women and International Human Rights Day||10-Dec||10-Dec|
|Family Day observed||27-Dec||26-Dec|
Shopping in Namibia
Biltong (Dried Meat)
One of the products that last long and tastes fantastic is Biltong. This spice and flavorful meat can be a part of the experience in Namibia that you can take home for yourself or your friends.
Do you want protection against evil spirits? Want a reminder of your time among the natives? The wooden masks are made to ward off evil and represent heroes, warriors, and sacred animals. If the lore interests you, they serve as amazing souvenirs.
There are various crafts made out of wood. If you want useful utensils, try the Namibian wooden bowls and other crafts. If you are looking for something exotic, try their wooden figures of humans and animals.
They are made of great quality and use natural dyes. You can keep them or make them into clothes. You can even buy traditional clothes, instead of the fabrics, to remind you of a great time among the natives.
A gift for a loved one or something exotic for yourself can be some famous Namibian wine. It is related to the local’s culture and history. It is also not your ordinary wine, and anyone can feel the difference when you try it.
If you love music or have someone interested in music, purchase one of their finely crafted instruments. They are valuable gifts with good quality and unique tools to get closer to the culture of an entire country.