Namibia is an incredible country with a huge landscape and biodiversity. There are many amazing places to visit in Namibia from the massive Namibia desert with red sand dunes to the wetlands of the lush green Caprivi Strip. Wildlife in the country is just as impressive as the landscape. Here you can see the famous Big 5 (lion, buffalo, elephant, leopard, and rhino) and many other African animals including hippos and crocodiles, thousands of seals and flamingos, wild horses, many species of birds, reptiles, and insects. Namibia is a real paradise for nature and wildlife lovers; it has many incredible attractions to include in your Namibia road trip.
Reasons we love Namibia
- Namibia offers an incredible landscape diversity; from the dry desert with massive sand dunes in the south to the wetlands and jungles in the north.
- In Namibia, you can see pretty much all African animals from cute meerkats in the Kalahari Desert to lions and elephants in Etosha National Park and hippos and crocodiles in the Caprivi Strip. Not to mention hundreds of other mammals, birds, and reptiles that inhabit the wast territory of Namibia.
- Namibia is probably one of the easiest African countries to travel to. You can drive yourself or join one of the across Namibia tours whichever way you choose it’s easy to get to the main tourist attractions in the country.
- Namibian people are very friendly and helpful. We enjoyed meeting locals, chatting with them, and getting useful tips.
The best places to visit in Namibia
We spent 2 months driving through the country and went to many fantastic attractions. Here are 12 of our favorite places to visit in Namibia from south to north.
Fish River Canyon
The largest canyon in Africa and the second-largest canyon in the world after the Grand Canyon Fish River Canyon is definitely a not-to-miss place in Namibia. The canyon was formed about 650 million years ago. The canyon is about 160 km long and up to 550 m deep. The best views of Fish River canyon you get from the viewpoint. 11 km from the Hobas entrance gate. There are several viewpoints if you have time to venture a bit along the canyon to get views from different angles.
It’s situated in the extreme south of the country on the border with South Africa not many tourists that travel Namibia reach this place. It’s not as crowded and busy as other attractions located in the central part of the country. If you’re doing a road trip from Cape Town to Namibia or another way around the canyon is a perfect overnight stop.
Fish River Canyon hike is one of the most famous trails in Southern Africa. The route is open only during the winter months from May to mid-September. If you visit Namibia during that period and have 4-5 days you can complete the route just make sure to book it in advance.
If you’re an eager trail runner you might enjoy Fish River Canyon Ultra, a 100-kilometer 24-hour race that takes place in the canyon.
- Working hours – daily, from sunset to sunrise
- Admission fee – NAD 160/US$11 per person, NAD 20/US$1,5 per car
Places to stay near Fish River Canyon
- Hobas Campsite offers camping and bungalows, it’s the closest to the viewpoint place to stay. The facilities here are quite basic. We prefer staying at Ai-Ais or Canyon Road House instead.
- Canyon Road House, 27 km from the viewpoint. Camping and bungalows are available here. You can book a room online.
- Ai-Ais Hot Springs, about 78 km from the viewpoint. It offers camping, indoor accommodation, and hot spring pools.
Quiver Tree Forest, Keetmanshoop
The forest is a unique place to visit in Namibia. It’s located in the south of the country, 10 km from Keetmanshoop, the nearest town. The quiver tree is a rare specimen of the Aloe tree found in Southern Namibia and parts of South Africa. It’s not a typical forest. The trees here sit quite far apart from each other between the rocks and boulders. The Quiver tree looks bizarre with a smooth “naked” trunk and many root-like branches crowning the top. It grows very slowly. The tallest trees in the forest, about 2,5 m, are a couple of hundred years old. There are about 250 quiver trees in the forest. Sunset is the best time for taking photos of the forest.
Next to the Quiver Forest, there is another beautiful place to visit – Giant’s Playground. It’s a flat area with massive boulders randomly placed on or next to each other.
Besides quiver trees, rocks and boulders visitors can see here wild animals such as meerkats, ground squirrels, and birds. The night sky here is impressive too with milliards of bright stars and constellations that one can clearly see without a telescope.
- Working hours – daily, sunset to sunrise
- Admission fee (Quiver tree forest + Giant’s Playground) – NAD 100/US$7 per person
Places to stay near Quiver Tree Forest
Kolmanskop Ghost Town, Luderitz
The famous ghost town is an interesting place to visit in Namibia. The abandoned town is located 13 km outside Luderitz. Kolmanskop used to be a prosperous German settlement after the discovery of a diamond deposit in the area in 1908. For the next 40 years till the Second War II Kolmanskop was a prosperous town. Due to the discovery of easier-to-access diamond deposits in the south of Namibia, many miners abandoned Kolmanskop. The last family left the town in 1956 since then it’s been abandoned. In 1980 the remains of the town were turned into an open-air museum.
It’s recommended to visit the ghost town with a tour. The tour lasts about 1h30min. During it you visit several buildings (butchery, gym, shop, private houses, a skittles alley, etc.) and get to learn about the history of the town and the impressive for that time facilities it used to have such as the first in the southern hemisphere X-Ray machine.
There are many other things to do in Luderitz and around if you have time you can spend here a day or two exploring the area. On the way to Kolmanskop near Aus, you can see wild horses that freely roam in the desert together with gemsboks and other antelopes.
- Working hours – daily, from 9 am to 1 pm
- Admission fee – NAD 75/US$5 per person
Places to stay near Kolmanskop
There are many accommodation options in Luderitz.
Sossusvlei is situated in the Namib-Nauklut National Park in the Namib Desert. Out of many amazing places to visit in Namibia Sossusvlei was the one that impressed as the most. This incredible place with red sand dunes and salt pans is a dream place for a photography lover. The contrast of the orange-red color of the desert, the white color of salt pans, and the blue sky is spectacular.
The best time to visit Sossusvlei is early morning when the rising sun creates smooth shadows on the dunes and highlights their bright color. Many visitors try to make it for the sunset from Dune 45. It’s one of the highest dunes in the park that offers astonishing views of the rising sun from the top. To make it in time you have to stay at the campsite inside the park.
Deadvlei (dead marsh) is another not-to-miss attraction here. This white clay pan with putrified trees surrounded by massive dunes looks surreal like a landscape of one of Dali’s paintings. When visiting Deadvlei go to the top of one of the dunes to get some incredible views of the pan and the area. Walking up sand dunes is quite tiresome it’s highly recommended to wear comfortable shoes, not flip-flops or sandals as later in the day the sand gets very hot and might start burning your feet.
Other highlights of Sossusvlei
- Big Daddy Dune, the tallest dune in the park
- Sesriem Canyon
- Hidden Vlei
- Working hours – from 6.30 am till sunset
- Admission fee – NAD 100/US$7 per person
Places to stay near Sossusvlei
Sesriem Campsite, the only place to stay inside the park. The place is quite pricey, NAD 480/US$32 pp. for what you get the only reason people stay here because they can start driving in the morning before the gate opens which gives them extra time to make it to Dune 45 before sunrise.
Sossus Oasis Campsite, 900 m away from the entrance gate. We prefer camping here. It’s a nice well-priced place with good facilities that can be booked online.
Desert Quiver Camp, 3 km from the gate is more of a luxury indoor accommodation option. You can book a bungalow online.
Flamingo Colony, Walvis Bay
Walvis Bay (whale’s bay) is one of the few places in this part of Africa where you can see thousands of flamingos from close by. A great thing about the Walvis Bay colony is that it’s very easy to access you can watch birds from the promenade. Usually, you can see flamingos in the tidal lagoon by the Pelican Point. The best time to see flamingos in Walvis Bay is between December and March, the peak migration season that starts in November and ends in April. We were there at the beginning of March and there were thousands of birds around.
Besides flamingos tourists can see in Walvis Bay humpback whales and southern right whales. The best time for watching whales is between July and September. If you happened to be that time in South Africa you can go whale watching in Hermanus another great place to see these gentle giants. Among other animals seen here are dolphins, leatherback turtles, sunfish, seals, pelicans, etc.
- Working hours – 24 hours
- Admission fee – no
Walvis Bay sea tours & activities
If you want a closer encounter with some of the animals and like adventures you can join one of the boat or kayak tours in Walvis Bay.
Places to stay in Walvis Bay
Swakopmund is our favorite town to visit in Namibia. It’s a great place if you need a couple of days or weeks tourist from long-distance driving, chill on the beach, enjoy good food and craft beer. We liked it much more than Windhoek.
Swakopmund was established in 1892 as a harbor for German southwest Africa. Until now it preserved its colonial architecture and original German names. The center of the town is quite small you don’t need a car to get around hotels, beaches, restaurants, and shops are walking distance from each other. There are many amazing things to do in Swakopmund. From skydiving over the desert to sandboarding or quad biking over sand dunes. The town has many restaurants, coffee shops, and bars where you can enjoy fresh seafood and fish, craft beer, and traditional German delicacies. The beaches are close to the center, they are nice for chilling, running, walking or even swimming though the water here is quite cold.
Tours and activities in Swakopmund
If you’d like to spice up your Namibia trip with some adventurous activities Swakopmund is the perfect place to do it.
Places to stay in Swakopmund
Cape Cross Seal Reserve, Hentisbaai
Cape Cross is another amazing place to visit in Namibia for animal lovers. The reserve is situated on the Skeleton Coast, 60 km north of Hentisbaai. The coast is a 40-kilometer stretch. It got its name because of its inaccessible shores with many shipwrecks. Some of the shipwrecks can be seen from the road some require a 4×4 vehicle.
The Cape Cross Seal reserve occupies a small peninsula. It’s one of the largest Cape Fur seal colonies in the world. There are more than 200 000 seals in the reserve. It’s truly impressive; wherever you look you just sea seals. The best time for visiting the colony is the breeding time between December and February when you can see thousands of cute curious seal cubs here. There are special boardwalks for visitors to minimize people’s interaction with animals but you can see seals from very close they lay next to boardwalks and sometimes cubs even climb through handrails. The only drawback of this place is the smell if you’re sensitive to that bring a mask or a handkerchief to cover your nose.
- Working hours – daily from 10 am to 5 pm
- Admission fee – NAD 150/US$10 per person, NAD 50/US$4 per car.
Places to stay near Cape Cross
Cape Cross Lodge and Campsite, 3 km from the seal colony, is one of our favorite campsites in Namibia. You can camp here or stay indoors in one of the rooms. There is a restaurant/bar and a small shop where you can buy wood, ice, bread and some other basics.
First Group Desert Rose Appartments, 60 km from Cape Cross in Hentiesbaai.
Spitzkoppe is a group of granite peaks in the Namib Desert, 150 km east of Swakopmund. For its dominating position in the area, it’s often called the Matterhorn of Namibia. The highest peak rises to 700 m. Smooth granite rocks and boulders form arches and tunnels. Spitzkopp is a perfect place to watch the sunset just find a rocky hill or a boulder that will serve as a lookout point. Watching the sunset is not the only activity here; you can go hiking, rock climbing, stargazing, or bird watching here. It’s possible to visit Spitzkoppe as a day tour from Swakopmund.
Spitzkoppe is an incredible place for camping. You can visit as a day trip too but camping here is something special. The campsites sit far apart from each other you don’t see or hear other campers. It gives you a feeling of being solo in the desert surrounded by massive boulders and bizarrely shaped mountains. The facilities here are quite basic but it’s a part of “wild camping”.
- Working hours – 9 am to 4 pm
- Admission fee – NAD 80/US$5 per person
Places to stay near Spitzkoppe
The best is to stay at Spitzkoppe Campsite. It’s quite basic though you can find some facilities like a hot shower and a restaurant at the reception.
If you’re not ready or geared to stay at a very basic campsite in the wild you can choose one of the nearby indoor alternatives.
Etosha National Park
A visit to Namibia wouldn’t be complete without a safari drive in Etosha National Park, one of the country’s top tourist attractions. The park is an incredible place to observe wildlife thousands of animals roam freely on the territory over 20 000 km². The diversity of mammals and birds in Etosha is impressive. Here you can see four out of the famous African Big 5 animals; elephants, rhinos, lions, and leopards. The buffalo is the only one that is missing here. Besides the Big 5, there are hundreds of other mammals to observe here; giraffes, wildebeests, zebras, many different antelopes, hyenas, cheetahs, warthogs, jackals, bat-eared foxes, honey badgers, and many others. In total, more than 114 mammal species can be seen in the park. For a successful animal sighting, it’s important to visit Etosha during the dry season between May to October when animals are easy to spot at the waterholes.
If you’re interested in birds rather than mammals the wet season (November to April) is the best time to come here. During that time you can see thousands of birds, about 340 different species many of which are migratory. Some of the bird species are flamingos, eagles, owls, vultures, storks, hornbills, parrots, ostriches, kori bustards, and many smaller birds.
You’ll need at least two days in Etosha to explore the area but staying here for longer is a good idea. You can join a safari drive if your vehicle is not good enough for a self-drive safari or do a 3-day tour from Windhoek to Etosha that includes transport, safari drives, guides, meals, and accommodation.
- Gate opening hours – sunrise to sunset
- Admission fee – NAD 80/US$5 per person, NAD 10/US$1 per car (10 passengers or less).
Places to stay in Etosha
The best is to stay inside the park at one of the six campsites. Each campsite has a camping area, bungalows/lodges, a restaurant, a shop, and a bar. If you don’t like camping you can stay indoors.
If the campsites inside the park are full and indoor accommodation is too pricey you can stay just outside Etosha at Etosha Trading Post Campsite, 4 km from the Anderson Gate, or at Etosha Village Campsite, 2 km from the Anderson Gate.
Himba Village, Kunene Region
Visiting a Himba village in Namibia was one of the highlights of our 2-months trip. The Himba is indigenous people of Northern Namibia. They are semi-nomadic people that dedicate themselves to sheep and goat herding, gathering, and growing crops. A visit to a traditional Himba village is a very interesting cultural experience. People living in those villages try to preserve their lifestyle in every detail from building houses and raising children to preparing food and making clothes.
We really enjoyed staying for a couple of days at the Ovarhimba Living Museum, 44 km north of Opuwo. We stopped at this place by chance on the way to Epupa Falls and were really happy that we’d decided to stay there.
- Working hours – 9 am to 4 pm
- Traditional life in the village 2-3-hour tour – NAD 250/US$17 per person
- Camping – NAD 100/US$7 per person
An impressive group of waterfalls in the North of Nambia on the border with Angola comes as a surprise after the endless Namib desert. Epupa Falls is probably the least visited place on this list due to its location away from the main tourist attractions not many people make it here. Epupa in the Herero language means “foam”. The waterfalls are created by the Cunene River Epupa is a series of waterfalls that extend for 1,5 km. The highest single drop fall is about 37 m. The area around the falls is spectacular; massive baobab trees, big fig trees, tall palms, orange boulders, dramatic drops, and roaring waterfalls. Epupa is a nice place to come for a couple of days to relax under palm trees enjoying the beautiful scenery and the tranquility of the place. You can combine Epupa Falls with a visit to a Himba village. Himbas are one of the tribes that inhabit this area.
- Working hours – 24 hours
- Admission fee – no
Places to stay near Epupa Falls
It’s not just a place but an area in the northeast of Namibia situated between Angola, Botswana, and Zambia. Caprivi is Namibian wetlands the landscape and climate here are very different from the rest of the country. A 450-kilometer strip is often overlooked by international tourists if you want to escape crowds it’s the place to come. The area gets a lot of rain every year it’s a great place to do a river safari to see hippos and buffalos these giants you won’t be able to see in Etosha. Another unique feature of Caprivi is boat safaris. You can spend several days going down the river on a boat watching hippos, elephants, crocodiles, and other mammals and birds.
Five big rivers (Kwango, Okavango, Chobe, Linyanti, and Zambezi) float through Caprivi creating a unique environment for bird watching and safaris. There are several national parks and reserves in Caprivi where visitors can see many elephants, buffaloes, hippos, crocodiles, antelopes, and occasional lions, leopards, and wild dogs. Many freshwater birds can be seen in the area especially during the wet season between December and April. The Caprivi Strip is a perfect stop on a Namibia to Victoria Falls trip.
Places to stay in Caprivi
- Ngepi Campsite, Divundu, a great in-nature place for camping or staying in a bungalow situated on the river bank.
- Caprivi River Lodge, Katima Mulilo on the shores of the Zambezi River.
- Camp Kwando, Kongola, another nice place with bungalows on the river bank.