Namibia Safaris – Welcome to the Most Superlative landscapes on Earth
Namibia Safaris are a photographer’s dream, the ultimate land of discovery and soul-searching. Immense red desert meets with surreal rock formations and dramatic canyons. You explore landscapes beyond the imagination, escaping into the solitude and beauty of a land untamed. But you are not alone – there is wildlife here as well, and it is quite spectacular.
A Namibia Holiday
Namibia Safaris are if you want to escape the world. If you’re stressed or fed up, or want to bask in new surroundings, there simply is nowhere else like Namibia. This country inspires the eternal bliss of Mother Nature. It’s not just how beautiful and surreal the landscapes appear. But the sense of solitude and getting away into a land that is untamed by people or modernity. Namibia presents nature at its more dramatic and untouched. So when you need to reset, when you need some sunshine, this is a country with experiences that can inspire you for years to come.
Namibia safaris are wide ranging. This won’t just be a safari holiday; instead, you’ll have chance to explore a variety of otherworldly landscapes and natural phenomenons. Namibia holidays can’t be short either. A week is the very minimum given how vast the country is. Furthermore, the highlight here is escaping the world. Once you’ve found this feeling of escapism, you won’t want to rush back to normality. More than anywhere else in Africa, this is the country where you must take your time and embrace the adventure.
Although dominated by desert, the landscapes are remarkably varied. The world’s second largest canyon is in the south and it receives less than 1% of the tourists that go to the Grand Canyon – just imagine how incredible it feels when nobody else is around. Sand dunes cover the western half of the country. They’re the biggest in the world, spectacularly showcased on a scenic flight. Sossusvlei and Deadvlei are ancient clay pans within the dunes. They are the most accessible places in the Namib Desert and the most popular Namibian destinations.
All these sand dunes snake their way into the Atlantic Ocean. Located along the coast you’ll find otherworldly colonial towns. Swakopmund is like 19th-century Germany with palm trees while Kolmanskop is now a ghost town, completely overtaken by sand. Along the coast you also encounter great colonies of fur seals along with the haunting remains of colonial shipwrecks. Damaraland covers the heart of the country. An ethereal assortment of rock formations and wandering elephants, it’s a destination that truly makes you feel humbled by nature.
Keep going north and you can have intimate experiences with local tribes, such as the Himba people. It’s here you’ll also find Etosha, one of Africa’s ultimate safari destinations. Rhinos are endangered but there are so many in Etosha you’ll lose count on the first game drive. Lions and cheetah prowl the arid plains, along with dusty elephant herds and giraffe. Not only is the wildlife very abundant, it is incredibly easy to spot on such an arid, open landscape. Plus, Etosha offers Africa’s best value big-game safaris.
All this adds up to adventure. You walk along ridges, slide down sand dunes, bump across the desert, and feel the wind rush past your ears. This is raw and redolent Africa, with strange nature unfolding all around you. If you want a traditional big five safari then we usually recommend elsewhere. Similarly, if you seek high-end luxury then South Africa or Botswana are better. In comparison, a Namibia holiday will provide stunning value in places that few people can ever dream of.
NAMIBIA SAFARIS HIGHLIGHTS
- Come face to face with lions and rhinos in the superb Etosha National Park.
- Explore the country on a scenic aerial safari, the quickest and most beautiful way to travel around.
- Stay at remote lodges and camps, surrounded by animals.
- Spend a day with a Himba tribe, learning why they paint their faces with ochre stone.
- Take a walk along the ridge of the world’s second largest canyon – Fish River Canyon
- Hot air balloon above the incredible red landscape of Sossusvlei.
- Admire migratory elephants and San rock art by spending time in Damaraland.
- Walk up a sand dune for an incredible sunset view in the Namib Desert.
- Feel the beauty of silence and solitude.
- Enjoy the stars – in a desert country you are treated to an incredible nighttime show, every single night.
- Take a safari up the Skeleton Coast to a huge colony of seals and a series of shipwrecks.
- Feel the sun on your skin – Namibia has more than 300 days of sunshine a year.
- Gaze at the bizarre skeletal trees of Deadvlei and walk up a dune for sunset.
- Two spectacular deserts – the Kalahari and Namib.
- The Namib desert, at 80 million years, is the world’s oldest desert. Namib means “open space”.
- Namibia is the second least densely populated country on earth.
- Namibia, known as the “Gem of Africa”, is a unique place for eco-tourists. Much of Namibia is as it was centuries ago. Namibia has a host of unique natural wonders and astonishing places.
- Etosha National Park is home to Africa’s tallest elephants
- The Namib and Damaraland offer remarkably clear skies where the Andromeda Galaxy is sometimes visible.
- Stunning Fish River Canyon is the second largest canyon in the world, after the Grand Canyon.
- Namibia was a German colony, then captured by South Africa in World War I. It became independent in 1990.
- Namibia is one of only two countries in the world that has desert elephants!
- Sossusvlei Sand Dunes are some of the highest in the world.
Recommended Destinations in Namibia
Rhinos plod the arid plains of Etosha, sometimes dozens of them in a single vista. Lonely elephant bulls wander past your camp. Lions roar through the night and there’s no better place in Africa to see cheetah. Etosha is an oasis in the desert, a park formed by an enormous salt pan and a series of permanent waterholes. Water and nutritious salt attractions animals, making for stunning game viewing during most of the year. The wildlife is profuse, from the big mammals to unusual antelope and the antics of Angolan giraffe.
This huge national park is one of our favourite African safari destinations and not just for the animals. Because the landscape is so flat and arid, spotting the animals is incredibly easy. Just drive to the waterholes and you’ll see lots of drama unfolding. Many of the camps overlook waterholes, so after a game drive you can relax on a private verandah and continue to enjoy the animals. The biggest highlight for us is the cost. Etosha offers authentic African safari, at a fraction of the cost of Africa’s other famous destinations. We can even arrange a self drive safari for the super adventurous!
Namibia’s capital is a blink-and-you-might-miss-it sort of city. There’s not much to keep you interested but you may need to pass through, as it is the crossroads in the middle of the country.
Swakopmund and Walvis Bay
Out on the Atlantic coastline, Swakopmund is a more enchanting town for breaking the desert adventure and returning to a little civilisation. It’s a German colonial time that still feels as if it’s in the late 19th century. After a few days in the dunes or on safari, Swakopmund is where you return to solid Wi-Fi, get a drink at a pub, and actually encounter other people.
There is a lot to do here as well. Quad bike and sand board on the world’s very highest sand dunes. Take a scenic flight over the Namib. We’d highly recommend a day trip along the Skeleton Coast from here as well. Walvis Bay is a rather ugly port town close to Swakopmund. It’s included here because of its international airport. Walvis Bay can be a good option for combining a Namibia holiday with a Botswana safari or South Africa safari. Just touch down, go on a dolphin cruise, then transfer to Swakopmund.
Namibia’s peculiar panhandle is an excellent destination for a self drive holiday. There are six different national parks here and a number of great little camps. Wildlife abounds, however, you won’t see lions or many dangerous animals. This makes the Caprivi Strip a good place for relaxed and unguided encounters with zebra and antelope. Oh, and there are hundreds of hippos as well!
Mighty mountains and ethereal rock formations cover the heart of Namibia. This is the land of San bushmen, nomadic wanderers who traditionally follow the migratory pattern of animals. Evidence of their presence is drawn onto rocks and Damaraland has the best rock art of any place in Africa. Elephants and zebra are among the animals passing through. Although you don’t see loads of animals, spotting an elephant on such a huge landscape offers a real impression of nature’s scale.
Many dramatic scenes from David Attenborough’s BBC Africa series were filmed in Damaraland. Visit on a Namibia holiday and you can create an adventure that suits you. Stunning walking trails weave off in many directions. The mountain bike trails are superb. Just driving through in a four-wheel drive is an experience you won’t forget. Spend the night and we know some stunning lodges, perched on strange rocks, cut off from the world.
The Namib Desert – including Sossusvlei and Deadvlei
Sand dunes carpet the Namib Desert. Their wondrous red hues provide Namibia’s most iconic images. As you may expert, a desert of sand dunes isn’t very accessible. There are no roads and no people live there. In fact, these dunes were so impenetrable that they prevented Namibia from being colonised for 300 years – explorers would get shipwrecked on the coast and nobody could penetrate the interior. Quite simply, the Namib is the classic preconception of a desert, with nothing but sand dunes in all directions.
Sossusvlei and Deadvlei are located in an area called Sesriem, in the middle of the Namib. Although the road here is a bumpy four-wheel drive track, it’s the only place where there actually is a road! We’d recommend visiting the area for two or three nights. This allows you to spend early mornings and late afternoons deep in the desert, experiencing its primitive majesty. Camps are hidden inside the dunes and there’s a serenity that will live with you for eternity.
Fish River Canyon
6.8 million people visit the Grand Canyon every year. Fish River Canyon is the second largest in the world, but it receives less than 50,000 visitors a year. Canyon walls glisten red with the moving sun and the open valley is just as dramatic as the canyon in America. Unlike the Grand Canyon, Namibia offers a pure wilderness experience, where you can experience natural beauty without the crowds. Plus, the sightseeing flights are far more affordable and you can stay at lodges perched on the canyon rim. Fish River Canyon is in the far south of the country.
Key Considerations for Namibia Safaris
It’s very difficult to visit Namibia for only a few days. Realistically you will need ten or more days to tour the country’s four main highlights – Sossusvlei, Swakopmund, Damaraland and Etosha. With less time we’d recommend a scenic fly-in safari, using light aircraft to touch down in remote locations.
GMT + 2 hours
Passports must be valid for 6 months.
May to October is the best time for a Namibia safari. This is the Namibian winter. The days are warm and dry, with the wildlife easiest to spot as it crowds around the few waterholes that remain. During these months the skies are clear and it can get very cold at night. Although this is peak season there are so few people in Namibia that the experience remains very private.
From November to February it’s very hot and the desert is lashed by sporadic thunderstorms. Driving such long distances in the daytime heat can be uncomfortable and we recommend against these months. The shoulder months can be considered and we can talk you through destinations to choose for March and April.
Namibia holidays are all about freedom and connecting to the wilderness. Itineraries don’t run to strict schedules here and there’s always the exciting sense of adventure. However, a desert country should not be taken lightly. Namibia isn’t a place for making plans after you arrive – it’s too big and wild for that.
At SafarisOnline we will guide you through all the available options, including the places to see, the things to do, and the best camps to stay at. We’ll help plan a Namibia holiday that offers excellent value for money and provides memories for decades to come.