Best time to visit Namibia
Namibia is a year-round destination, and you can visit Namibia any month of the year. The climate is generally dry and warm with little rainfall. Many regard the dry season between June to October as the best time to visit Namibia as temperatures are not too hot and wildlife viewing in Etosha National Park is at its best. The sand dunes of the Namib are worth a visit any month or the year, the only difference will be hotter temperatures during the low season. In the end, both dry as well as rainy season in Namibia have advantages and disadvantages depending on what you want to see and do and how much you want to spend.
THE BEST TIME TO VISIT NAMIBIA - BY SEASON
When is the high season?
The high season in Namibia is between July and October. During these months, it is not too hot, daytime temperatures are usually moderate, while mornings and evenings can be chilly. The high season is also the dry season and in normal years you won’t see any big clouds or even rain fall. These months are best for wildlife viewing in Etosha National Park as animals congregate around the waterholes. Etosha is one of the few places that can feel a little crowded during the high season in Namibia. These cooler months are also the best time to travel if you want to explore Namibia on foot and include hikes during your trip. It is the most popular time to travel, therefore: If you have very specific requests or a bucket list lodge or camp you want to stay at, we advise to book in advance to avoid disappointment.
When is the low season?
Namibia’s low season is during the months of November until around February or March. It can get very hot and sometimes humid during these months. The low season coincides with the rainy season. Rains are usually localised and come in short and heavy bursts. Game viewing in Etosha is very difficult during the low and rainy season as wildlife is scattered across the park and vegetation is denser. The advantage of travelling Namibia during the low season is even fewer other tourists than during the high season and you may benefit from reduced rates and availability at popular camps and lodges.
When is the dry season?
The dry season in Namibia is between May and October. If you arrive in the early months of the dry season, you can still experience some green landscapes before they turn extremely dry towards September and October. Dry season in Namibia equals cooler temperatures and excellent game viewing in Etosha National Park from May onwards. As water sources in the park dry up, animals congregate around the last few remaining waterholes, and you can see many species at the same time.
When is the rainy season?
The rainy season in Namibia is towards the end and beginning of the year, between around November and March. In some years, it will rain very little, and you will hardly notice a difference to the dry season. In recent years, we have seen stronger rains though and you can experience a very different Namibia and even see green patches and small flowers on the sand dunes of the Namib. It is less dusty; the air is nice and clear and the rains are a welcome relief after the long dry season. These months are great for bird watching, but wildlife viewing especially in Etosha is very difficult.
During the green season, dunes are sometimes dotted with green bushels bringing the desert to life.
THE BEST TIME TO VISIT NAMIBIA - BY REGION
Caprivi Strip / Zambezi Region
The north-eastern Zambezi Region, formerly known as Caprivi Strip, has a tropical climate and is usually very lush and green. It is a great contrast to the dry desert landscape of much of the rest of the country. Caprivi is home to some exciting national parks and a great wildlife viewing destination. The best time for wildlife viewing in the Caprivi and Zambezi Region is during the dry months between June and October. No matter high or low season – this remote corner of Namibia never feels crowded.
Namibia’s Damaraland is an excellent travel destination all year-round. During the country’s low season between November and March, you may benefit from better rates at lodges and camps; and there will usually be fewer tourists at popular sites. However, wildlife viewing is best during the high season of May to October when wildlife congregates around the few remaining waterholes. No matter the time of the year, you can visit the Damaraland and have a fantastic experience.
Etosha National Park
Etosha is one of the few regions in Namibia where the time of travel really does make a difference. The best time to visit Etosha National Park is during the dry and high season between May and October. Dry season means less water available throughout the park and a very high chance of seeing many animals come to the few remaining waterholes. However, it also means that these waterholes can get quite busy with tourist vehicles during these months. If you visit Etosha during the rainy season between November and March, the animals are scattered around the park and vegetation is denser – this means, you need quite a bit of luck to spot wildlife. But it also means fewer tourists and reduced rates at lodges and camps.
Fish River Canyon
If you want to see the Fish River Canyon for its impressive size and expanse, you can visit any time of the year. If you want to go on the multi-day Fish River Canyon hike, you need to come in the dry months of May to mid-September. These are the only cooler months the hike is offered as temperatures during other months are too high. Night temperatures in the Canyon can get quite chilly, and you should definitely bring warm clothes on your hike.
Sossusvlei and Namib-Naukluft National Park
The desert landscapes of the Namib are impressive all year round; seasonal differences are not as noticeable as in other regions. Therefore, you can visit the highlights of Sossusvlei, Deadvlei and Sesriem Canyon any time of the year. Temperatures are slightly cooler during the winter months of May to October, but we would recommend going early in the morning any time of the year – not only to experience the stunning morning light, but also to avoid the hot midday sun. The winter months December to March bring hotter temperatures but since it is also the rainy season you may be able to see green patches and small flowers on the orange sand dunes of the Namib – a very special experience.
Temperatures in Swakopmund are moderate all year-round and the coastal town by the Atlantic Ocean is considered an all-year destination. There is hardly any rain in Swakopmund, but thick fog banks develop along the coast. Remember that the water temperatures of the Atlantic Ocean will be pretty chilly any time of the year and Swakopmund is known more for its desert adventure activities, boat and kayak trips rather than as a classic beach holiday destination.
Temperatures in Namibia
The coldest month is July (which falls in the dry season), while the hottest months are December and January (which fall in the rainy season). Temperatures differ depending on which region you travel to but can get up to 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) or even higher during the hot winter months. Night-time during the winter months, especially in July and August can get chilly and even below freezing in the desert.
Winter and summer in the southern hemisphere are opposite to those in the northern hemisphere. Namibia has hot and (somewhat) rainy summers from November to March, and cold and dry winters from April to October.
OUR EXPERT ADVICE
WILDLIFE VIEWING WILL DETERMINE YOUR BEST TIME TO TRAVEL
The decision when to travel to Namibia will largely depend on whether you want to focus on wildlife viewing and game drives. If you come to Namibia for its stunning landscapes and desert highlights, you are very flexible and can travel all year-round. If a visit to Etosha National Park is a priority for you, you are less flexible, and we recommend focusing on the months between June and October.
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