Best time to go
Namibia can be visited year round and, in general terms, it is hot and dry with little rain. The cooler, winter months of June to September are dry with pleasantly warm temperatures during the day although nights can be extremely cold. In terms of game viewing this is the best time to come as the drier, thinner vegetation makes viewing easier and the animals are not as dispersed as they stay close to what water is available. Temperatures rise during October and November when late in the month or in December the rains arrive, usually in the form of afternoon or evening downpours. Some areas however see very little, if any, rain. April and May see the rainfall lessen, temperatures start to drop, but still remain pleasant, and the landscapes are green.
Best areas to visit
A typical Namibia itinerary will start and finish in the capital Windhoek and take in the huge red sand dunes around Sossusvlei, the coastal town of Swakopmund, the desolate Skeleton Coast, Damaraland’s rugged wilderness and ancient rock engravings and the country’s prime game viewing area, Etosha National Park. Those with more time may want to also include Fish River Canyon, the world’s second largest, the lush Caprivi Strip in the north-east of the country or more remote areas such as Kaokaland and the Kunene River in the far north.
Where to stay
Namibia has some wonderful places to stay from family-run guesthouses to luxury lodges and some quirky, unique properties. Little Kulala and Kulala Desert Lodge are perfectly placed for visiting the dunes at Sossusvlei and the various camps and lodges at Wolwedans in the Namib Rand Reserve allow for exploration of this unique desert environment. The newly opened Shipwreck Lodge on the Skeleton Coast has rooms resembling the wrecks of this famed region. The desert adapted wildlife found in the rocky landscapes of Damaraland can be viewed from the likes of Damaraland Camp and Desert Rhino Camp while Mowani Mountain Camp enjoys a magical setting amongst huge granite boulders. Inside Etosha National Park you will find comfortable lodge accommodation such as Okaukuejo while adjoining private reserves such as Ongava and Onguma offer a variety of accommodation including luxury tented camps. A very popular place to stay is Okonjima, situated roughly halfway between Windhoek and Etosha, which is home to the Africat Foundation that works to protect and rehabilitate big cats. This is just a small selection of the accommodation available in Namibia so please do contact one of our consultants to discuss which hotels, guesthouses, lodges and camps will be just right for you.
While Namibia is more about the scenery and landscapes than wildlife there are still good opportunities for game viewing. The main wildlife area is in and around Etosha National Park whose waterholes attract a wide range of animal life including elephants, rhinos, giraffes and zebras while lions and cheetahs can also be seen. The (normally dry) river valleys in Damaraland are home to various desert adapted species including elephants, black rhinos and oryx with herds of springbok present too. Despite being a desolate place you may see brown hyenas and jackals on the shores of the Skeleton Coast and lions are a possible, but rare, sight here. Large colonies of Cape fur seals can be seen along the coast with pelicans and flamingos among the birdlife that can be spotted at sites such as Sandwich Harbour and Walvis Bay. While exploring the dunes around Sossusvlei you may see oryx and ostrich. The more lush area of the Caprivi Strip in the north-east of the country supports a range of animals including buffalo, sable and kudu. Okonjima offers a great chance to see big cats up close as guests can track radio-collared leopards and approach cheetah on foot.
Namibia has an incredible array of activities and excursions to suit all tastes and interests including hot air balloon trips and scenic flights; boat trips and kayaking; sky diving; quad biking; tracking black rhino on foot; game drives; bird watching; rock art and engravings; cultural tours to visit the Himba tribe; hiking; biking; desert tours; sand boarding; horse riding and fishing. If there are any particular activities or excursions you are interested in taking to enhance your holiday in Namibia do let our consultants know so we can incorporate these into your itinerary.
How to get around
When it comes to travelling around Namibia there are basically three options – self-drive, flying around or a guided tour. Self-drive is a very popular way to explore Namibia and while some of the distances may be long, the roads, including the graded dirt roads found in much of the country, are generally in very good condition with little traffic. Opting to self-drive not only allows for flexibility in the planning of your trip but also means that you can explore at your own pace. Before you leave we will provide you with detailed driving directions to get you from A to B. Flying around Namibia may be the more expensive option but for those not inclined to hire a car or those who are on a tighter timescale this is a fantastic way to cover a lot of ground in a relatively short amount of time. Flying on light aircraft is not just a way of travelling from one place to another but rather is an experience in itself as you can view Namibia’s varied landscapes from above. A guided tour, whether on a private or small group basis, can be a very rewarding and informative way to travel as you learn about Namibia’s wildlife, history, politics, geology and more from your guide.
What to Pack
When on safari neutral bush colours of green and khaki are recommended and wearing layers allows you to remain comfortable as conditions change throughout the day. When travelling in winter warm jackets are essential for evenings and early mornings. Coastal areas such as Swakopmund can be cool and breezy at any time of year. A hat to keep off the sun is recommended at any time of year. A camera with spare memory cards is a must to capture your wildlife encounters and Namibia’s spectacular scenery. Binoculars are also essential especially for close up viewing of the wonderful variety of birdlife that you will see.
A trip to Namibia may involve flights on light aircraft with limited baggage space. Luggage is usually limited to a total of 20kgs per person including hand luggage and one small, soft-sided bag as hold luggage. For safety reasons and the planning purposes of the charter company we will usually ask for the weight of each passenger on booking.
Many nationalities including UK and US passport holders do not require a visa.
The local currency is the Namibian Dollar which is pegged 1:1 to the South African Rand which is also legal tender here. ATMs can be found throughout the country and most shops, restaurants and hotels accept credit cards. For self-drivers it is recommended to carry enough cash for a full tank of fuel. Cards can be used at many petrol stations but for those where that is not possible, or if the card machine is not working, it is best to have cash to hand.
We always recommend you speak to your doctor or a travel clinic before your trip. Some parts of Namibia including Etosha and Caprivi are malarial areas so anti-malaria prophylactics should be taken.
If you are interested in booking a safari holiday to Namibia, please get in touch with our Africa Travel experts on 020 7843 3500 and they can start planning your dream holiday to Namibia today.
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