Top places to visit in Namibia
Top places to visit and bucket list attractions to see in Namibia
Where to go in Namibia
More than three times as big as the UK, but with a population of only 2.5 million – from the Fish River Canyon to the Namib Desert and the Caprivi Strip, there are many stunningly beautiful and exciting places to visit in Namibia. Despite its many tourist attractions, Namibia will hardly ever feel crowded, and you can enjoy an experience off the beaten track, in the middle of nature. The South is known for its deserted and remote desert landscapes, while the North with Etosha and the national parks of the Zambezi Region is the best place to see wildlife.
Namibia offers different types of attractions and activities depending on your interest: ancient rock art paintings, colonial ghost towns, and cultural village visits; desert elephants, safari game viewing and big cat conservation; catamaran trips, fat bike tours and hiking trips – not to mention the incredibly beautiful scenery and never-to-be-forgotten sunsets. Whether you travel as a couple, with friends or as a family, there are many exciting places to visit in Namibia.
There are three ways to travel Namibia: on a self-drive tour, a guided trip, or a fly-in safari. All types of travel have advantages and speak to different types of travellers. Whether you want to go on an epic road trip in a rental car, lean back and relax on a guided tour, or travel luxuriously and in comfort on a fly-in tour.
Namibia borders South Africa in the South, the Atlantic Ocean in the West, Angola and Zambia in the North, and Botswana in the East – making it a popular starting point for crossing-border trips to some of the best-known attractions of Southern African travel.
Caprivi Strip (Zambezi Region)
Lush and green, the north-eastern part of Namibia will surprise you if you expect dusty desert landscapes. The Caprivi Strip (today’s Zambezi Region) is known for its dense vegetation, fed by the rivers Kavango and Kwando. Home to lesser known but equally exciting national parks, this is a great place to visit if you want to focus on game viewing during your Namibia trip. Elephant herds, hippos, crocodiles, and rare antelope species roam these remote parks off the beaten track. On boat cruises you can see the local bird life and enjoy beautiful sunsets. There are a number of personal camps and lodges, many of them right at the river front. The Caprivi remains a hidden gem among the tourist attractions in Namibia.
The Damaraland in Namibia’s north-western Kunene Region is best known for its stunning landscapes, geological rock formations, and cultural sites. Spitzkoppe, Erongo Mountains, and Vingerklip are some of the scenic highlights of the area, while Brandberg and Twyfelfontein are best known for their impressive collection of ancient and well-preserved rock art paintings. Damaraland is also known as a place to see the desert adapted elephants and desert dwelling black rhinos. At the Living Museum of the Damara, you can get an understanding of the lives of the local Damara people. Thanks to its popularity amongst travellers, there is a very good selection of accommodations to choose from, whether you prefer lodges, tented camps, or guest farms. The Damaraland is a diverse region and a popular place to visit in Namibia.
Etosha National Park
Etosha National Park is one of the most visited places in Namibia and the safari highlight of the country. Located in north-western Namibia, it is best known for different species of animals congregating around waterholes during the dry season between June and October. Elephants, giraffes, lions, wildebeest, zebras, and springbok are among the animals seen most frequently. At some camps you can observe wildlife coming to flood-lit waterholes at night. You can go on guided game drives together with a professional guide or go on self-drive game drives in your rental car. The vast Etosha salt pan is a dramatic scenic highlight and certainly worth a visit. If you come to Namibia to see some of Africa’s iconic wildlife, Etosha is the best place to visit in Namibia.
Fish River Canyon
Fascinating geological formations, different hiking options, and stunning views across the second largest canyon in the world make the Fish River Canyon in southern Namibia worth a visit. If you visit for a short time only, try to come at either sunrise or sunset which is a truly beautiful sight. If you have more time to explore, there are different hiking options, either around the canyon rim or even across the canyon floor (only offered during the cooler dry season). The Fish River Canyon is one of the most popular and scenic attractions in southern Namibia.
Its conic red sand dunes and stunningly beautiful landscapes make the Kalahari Desert – which actually isn’t a real desert! – a great place to visit in Namibia. Most first-time visitors to Namibia choose the better-known Namib over the Kalahari Desert, missing out on a very special Namibian experience off the beaten track. The serene silence, rugged beauty and surprisingly ample wildlife are characteristic for the region. Nature walks and sunset drives, star gazing, and bush camping make for an authentic holiday in the great outdoors. You can also access the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park which is located in South Africa as well as Botswana from the Namibian side. If you’re in search of remoteness and solitude, the Kalahari is one of the best places to visit in Namibia.
Kaokoland (Kunene Region)
A true wilderness area with wide open spaces, adventurous 4x4 trails and mountain passes, dramatic sunsets, and beautiful waterfalls – the Kaokoland is one of the best places to visit in Namibia for those who want to experience a true adventure. The remote Kaokoland (today officially known as Kunene Region) in northern Namibia, bordering Angola, is not included in most ‘Best Of’-itineraries which makes it all the more interesting for those returning for a second visit or those wanting a truly remote experience. The Epupa and Ruacana Waterfalls along the Kunene River are scenic highlights in this sparsely populated region, that is home to the Himba people.
A remote coastal town that seems frozen in time – Luderitz will be one of the rather peculiar places you visit in Namibia. Built by the Germans during colonial times, you can still see the typical architecture of that time in many buildings; the well-known Felsenkirche being one of them. One of the attractions of Luderitz is the nearby ghost town Kolmanskop, an abandoned diamond settlement, now being claimed back by the desert sand, as well as the wild horses of Garub, near Aus, whose exact origin remains a mystery until today. If you’re fascinated by times gone by and find beauty in the bizarre, Luderitz and its surroundings will be a great place for you to visit.
Without a doubt, the Sossusvlei region in the Namib-Naukluft National Park is one of the most visited places in Namibia and arguably its most famous tourist attraction. Here you will find the iconic and often photographed Deadvlei as well as the Big Daddy dune, Dune 45 and the Sesriem Canyon. Seeing the morning sun rise across the Namib Desert truly is a special experience, while running down one of the highest dunes of the Namib will be a welcome break from long hours in the car. On balloon safaris, you can even see the area from up above. Despite its popularity, it will only rarely feel crowded as there is simply so much space!
Namibia’s adventure capital by the Atlantic Ocean. If you’re looking to integrate entertaining as well as educational activities in your itinerary, this is one of the best places to visit in Namibia. On kayak trips and catamaran tours, you can experience the waves and the wildlife of the Atlantic Ocean; the famous Living Desert Tours will show you the Little Five of the Namib Desert, and on fat bike or quad bike tours, you can explore the desert in a more active way. Swakopmund itself is a picturesque seaside town, where you can enjoy cake and coffee as well as seafood in one of the many restaurants and take a walk on the jetty and along the beach. The remains of the colonial German architecture remind of times gone by.
Windhoek is the starting point for most Namibia trips: The international airport, the many car rental agencies as well as well-stocked supermarkets make it the ideal place to start your self-drive trip, and also your guided tour. But Windhoek can be more than just a stop-over! On a city tour, you can experience its colonial history as well as its vibrant presence, relax in one of the cafés or shop for souvenirs. If you’re not in a rush, you can visit one of the guest farms in the capital’s surrounding farmlands, go on hikes or relax by the pool. Windhoek is the biggest and arguably only city of Namibia.
MAP OF NAMIBIA
Namibia is a wide and vast country; the roads are lonely, the driving distances are long and it is all part of the experience. You can travel Namibia on a self-drive tour, guided tour, or as a fly-in trip.
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