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Sand dunes deadvlei horizon

Namibia Desert Tours

Experience the magic of one of the oldest deserts in the world


The silence is palpable as the warm morning sun rises behind a sea of dunes colouring its surroundings in an orange and golden light – like guardians of time, the high sand dunes of the Namib tower around you, making you feel so isolated and so immersed at the same time. A lone oryx appears out of nowhere, crossing the road in a gentle trot, whirling up dust that sparkles in the sun. Namibia desert tours will take you to a world where time seems to be standing still and nothing else seems to matter than being present right here and right now.

Man walking up dune towards grass Namib Desert
Who should go

Anyone who wants to get active in Namibia’s stunning natural surroundings

Namibia desert tours are a classic activity and one of the main highlights to enjoy on your trip. Photographers and nature lovers will appreciate the stunning landscapes, colours, and contrasts. Those seeking a break from long-driving distances can get active on hikes up and down the dunes; and young explorers can learn about chameleons, spiders, and other desert inhabitants in the biggest sandbox they’ll ever play in.

  • Photographers
  • Active travellers
  • Families with children
  • Nature lovers
Camelthorn tree in Deadvlei


The Namib Desert is of course the best place to experience Namibia desert tours. But as you may have guessed: The Namib is not exactly small. One of the most popular areas is the Namib-Naukluft Park and specifically the Sossusvlei region with its iconic Deadvlei, Big Daddy dune and Dune 45 as well as the Sesriem Canyon. The desert around the coastal town of Swakopmund is known as Dorob National Park and famous for its adventure activities and entertaining educational tours.

When to go

You can go on a Namibia desert tour all year-round. The climate is generally warm and dry with some seasonal differences in temperatures especially at night. More than the time of the year, you should consider the time of the day when planning your desert safari: If there was ever a good day to wake up early during your holiday, this is it. Not only are the temperatures much cooler, but the sunrise and morning light in the middle of the Namib is a sight you’ll never forget. When visiting Sossusvlei, make sure to arrive at the park gate a little before sunrise as the gates open at the first light. If you want to see the actual sunrise while sitting on one of the tall dunes, you have to overnight within the boundaries of the park to get a head-start to travellers coming from outside the park.

Night sky Namibia

Dry season

May to NovemberBest for cooler temperatures and night sky photography

May to NovemberBest for cooler temperatures and night sky photography

The dry season experiences warm temperatures throughout the day, but it is not as hot as during the rainy season. The crystal-clear skies with no cloud in sight and light pollution generally being at a minimum make it the perfect time of year for star gazing and night photography. It is also the most popular time to travel Namibia, so we advise our guests to book early, especially if you got your eyes set on a specific accommodation.

Green Season

December to AprilBest for a chance to experience a blooming desert

December to AprilBest for a chance to experience a blooming desert

There is technically no rainy season in the desert and even using the term green season is stretching it. However, in some years Namibia experiences unusually abundant rains and even the Namib Desert gets its share. This doesn’t mean you’ll need to pack an umbrella. But it can mean that you will see patches of green grass on the dunes and pans filled with water. A very rare and exciting sight. As it can get very hot during these summer months, we recommend starting your desert tour as early as possible in the morning. Bring plenty of water to rehydrate throughout your tour.


Spending the day in the biggest and most exciting sandbox you’ve ever come across. From awe-inspiring to action-packed activities.


Luxurious lodges and authentic camping experiences

If you go on a desert tour in the popular Sossusvlei area, you can choose from a number of camps, lodges and even campsites. Accommodations often focus on locations with spectacular views and blending in with their environments. Some lodges also offer a sleep-out under the vast open sky of the Namib. If you’re doing a self-drive trip, you can book 4×4 desert tours with your lodge or camp and explore the Namib together with a guide. Swakopmund is the ideal location to start desert tours in the Dorob National Park; here you will find many charming B&Bs and guesthouses.

The Elegant Desert Eco Camp at sunset in Namibia

The Elegant Desert Camp

The Elegant Desert Lodge interior bed

The Elegant Desert Lodge

Namib Outpost

Namib Outpost

Wolwedans Dune Camp Namib Desert

Wolwedans Dune Camp

Moon Mountain Lodge Sossusvlei

Moon Mountain Lodge

Sossusvlei Lodge Superior Unit

Sossusvlei Lodge Taleni

Swakopmund Guesthouse

Swakopmund Guesthouse

Interior of a room at the Cornerstone Guest House in Swakopmund

Cornerstone Guest House

Organic Square Guesthouse

Organic Stay Guesthouse

Brigadoon Guesthouse Swakopmund

Brigadoon Guesthouse

Atlantic Villa Swakopmund

Atlantic Villa Boutique Guesthouse

Highlights of Namibia desert tours

Activities: what to see and what to do on desert tours in Sossusvlei

It may not be as obvious, but desert safaris offer a variety of activities for different ages, fitness levels, and interests! There is of course the stunning morning light, and we would recommend getting up early and experience it as it is truly spectacular. If you’re somewhat fit and sure-footed you can walk up Big Daddy, the tallest dune in the Sossusvlei area at 325m – you will be rewarded for the demanding walk up with a stunning view of the Deadvlei at the foot of Big Daddy. Run, jump and tumble down the steep dune and feel like a kid again! Arriving down in the Deadvlei, you can see the famous clay pan with its ancient camel thorn trees. The dark trees, white clay pan, orange dunes and blue sky make for classic Namibia photos. If you’re looking for a true highlight as part of your desert tour, you can book a hot air balloon ride across the Namib and enjoy a champagne breakfast amongst the dunes afterwards.

Activities: what to see and what to do on desert tours in Swakopmund

Swakopmund desert tours are famous mostly for two types of activities: adventure activities and educational tours. Quad bike and fat bike tours, paragliding and sand boarding are fun and adventurous highlights and let you experience the desert in a more active way. The educational and entertaining living desert tours are a great activity as well and not exclusively for children. Together with a guide you will get to know the smallest inhabitants of the desert, among them geckos, chameleons, spiders, snakes, and lizards – also known as the “Little Five”.

Man walking across clay pan in Deadvlei

Deadvlei is one of the most famous sights on a desert tour in Namibia. One way to get here is to run down the tall Big Daddy dune.

Hot air balloon flying across desert

You can book a hot air balloon ride as part of your desert tour – a truly magical experience and highlight on your Namibia trip.

Chameleon seen on Living Desert Tour

On Living Desert Tours, you can meet some of the small inhabitants of the Namib Desert near Swakopmund.

How to plan your Namibia desert tour

Desert tours are often part of our scheduled group tours, and you can integrate a desert tour into any private itinerary. If you book a guided tour, your guide will drive you and accompany you, sharing interesting facts and anecdotes. If you book a self-drive tour, you can either go on a desert tour in your 4×4 rental vehicle or book a guided day trip with your accommodation. We recommend planning at least two nights for your Namibia desert tour.

Snake moving in sand

Adventure activities and Living Desert Tours in Dorob National Park

Sesriem Canyon
Different Activities

For photographers, nature lovers, active travellers & families

Zebra closeup Namibia
Namibia travel expert
Sand dunes Namibia

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