The Namib Desert has often been hailed as the oldest in the world. Its inception began some 50 – 80 million years ago while it has remained unchanged for the last 2 million. Sprawled across an area of 81 000km², the relentless expanse of the desert is home to countless undulating dunes and stretches for an impressive 2 000km from the Olifants River in South Africa to the Carunjamba River in Angola, encompassing Namibia’s entire coastline in between.
The desert’s bizarre ecosystem made up of contrasting landscapes such as dunes, coast, rivers and plains all support a superbly diverse ecosystem. Humans have called the Namib Desert home since the early stone age and have left behind well-preserved rock paintings, tools and pottery. Most of Namibia’s popular tourist sites occur within the Namib Desert region and there are activities to keep you busy from north to south.
Visitors can enjoy camping, hiking, fishing, 4X4 trails, bird-watching, coastal holidays along the fabled Skeleton Coast, hot air ballooning across the landscape with magnificent views of the dunes and pans below or enjoy the hospitality of the charming towns along the way. The Namib Desert’s sun-baked activities are endless.
We've taken the liberty to answer everything you may need to know about visiting the Namib Desert.
The best time to visit Namibia is between May and October. We recommend this time to our guests because the dry winter is the best time for a good game viewing safari in Namibia. Furthermore, the weather is pleasant with more moderate temperatures and clear skies. However, evenings can still be quite chilly, so remember to pack warm layers. It’s also an excellent time for families with children or the elderly to travel to Namibia because malaria risk is at its lowest.
If you visit Namibia in September and October, you can expect very hot weather, whereas June and July can reach freezing temperatures in the evenings. The rainy season is between November and April, which can lead to desert flooding and amazing photo opportunities.
Where do we even start! There’s so much to do in Namibia, which is why it’s a popular travel destination. Home to the oldest desert in the world, the Namib Desert, you naturally have to add this destination to the very top of your list. Sossusvlei, located in this desert, is a salt and clay pan hugged by towering red dunes offering plenty of adventure. You can hike up the biggest dune, Big Daddy, rising about 325 metres high. Or take to the skies to see this dreamlike world from a bird’s eye view. You can also go quad biking if you want to amp up the adrenaline.
Etosha National Park is perfect for a safari in Namibia, with four of the Big 5 (with the exception of the buffalo) calling it home. Other animals you can look forward to seeing include giraffe, cheetah, springbok, hyena, two types of zebra, and many more.
Namibia is massive and sparsely populated at the same time, with plenty of untouched landscapes and diverse wildlife species to admire. Many of these animals have adapted to the harsh conditions, even thriving against all odds. In areas like Damaraland, you can see this first-hand.
But Namibia is not all about the desert. Its coastline is equally spectacular. For example, plenty of adrenaline-fueled activities await in the coastal city of Swakopmund. Photographers will also be in heaven as the dramatic landscapes and abandoned Kolmankop, an old mining town near Lüderitz that’s now deserted and taken over by dunes. Where the desert meets the ocean, the shipwreck coastline of Skeleton Coast is also a must-visit, especially when you see it from a helicopter. Make sure you also add Caprivi to your itinerary– ideal for everyone who wants to combine a trip to Namibia with Botswana, Zimbabwe or Zambia.
Last but not least, the Waterberg Plateau region offers fascinating cultural insights into the local tribes like the Herero people. It’s also a very scenic destination, with plenty of hiking trails and the chance to admire rock art paintings.
When booking a safar in Namibiai with us, your Namibia tour will be tailored to your specific needs and wants. Therefore, the total cost will depend on various factors, including but not limited to the duration of your stay, where you’ll be staying, mode of transport, seasonality, and more. As a guideline, our Namibia safaris usually cost between $100 to $1,500 per person per night and depend on service provider availability and seasonality.
It’s a breeze to get to Namibia as it's so well connected. Daily flights from South Africa and Botswana as well as a Charter Flight Network connecting to nearby lodges for a luxury fly-in safari promise a quick and easy route to your destination in Namibia. You find more details on how to get to Namibia.
Namibia's ocean and desert-scapes are home to a variety of wildlife. To name just a few, these include the Big 5, zebra, free-roaming black rhino, Cape Fur seals, its national symbol the Oryx, as well as various other antelopes. Read more about Namibia's wildlife.
For such a sparsely populated country, Namibia is home to a surprising variety of cultures and traditions. These include many local tribes such as San People, The Himba, Nama, Damara and Herero. German colonisation also left its mark, with German cuisine, architecture and the language that's widely spoken throughout the country. Find out more about Namibia's fascinating cultures.
Nationals from several countries from Australia to the USA are not required a visa to enter Namibia. Travellers are encouraged to check with the embassy before travel to ensure they have the most up-to-date information.
How long will it take to issue my visa?
The waiting period for a Namibian visa is usually 2-3 working days. Same day processing is available for an additional fee.
What are the visa requirements?
Requirements for a holiday and transit visas (single entry only) are: a completed visa application, original passport, motivation letter explaining briefly your purpose, and an itinerary, two passport size photos, and a copy of your air ticket.
In the case of transit visas, applicants must hold a visa or a permit for permanent or temporary residence for their final destination as well.
For how long should my visa be valid?
Enquire at the Namibian Embassy in your country for the most up-to-date visa information.
Please ensure that you verify this information independently with the relevant embassy, high commission or consulate.
Namibia is one of the finest (and most popular) self-driving destinations in southern Africa. If you’re planning a self-driving trip through Namibia, there are a few rules to bear in mind. Cars are right-hand drive and everyone drives on the left side of the road. The speed limit on open highways is 120km, and varies between 60km and 80km in towns and cities. You will be required to wear a seatbelt at all times and the use of a cell phone (mobile phone) while driving is illegal.
Namibia’s road network is one of the best in the world, and even their gravel roads are safe to drive on. All road signs are international and easy to understand. Avoid over-correction while driving since many roads have slight bends that may cause cars to slide. Also: be wary of Namibian wildlife crossing or grazing alongside the road.
Gas stations are situated far apart in Namibia so it’s important to refuel regularly while self-driving. Just to be safe, make sure you carry a jerry can of extra fuel on your trip. Please note that some gas stations in Namibia only accept cash payments. It’s recommended that you only drive during the day – after sunrise till before sunset.
The Type M (or South Africa) plug is the standard plug used in Namibia. This plug is larger than the Type D and has three circular pins. Make sure you buy the correct travel adaptor before embarking on your trip to Africa.
Internet access in Namibia is firmly established and stable, so you won’t have too much trouble picking up wifi at hotels or lodges. Most cities have internet cafes as well. Please note, in some remote destinations wifi may not always be available.
Namibia has two major mobile service providers: MTC and Cell One. SIM cards and handsets are readily available throughout the country. If you dial 112 with MTC and 120 with Cell One you’ll get in touch with 24-hour emergency services for police, ambulance, or the fire brigade. Both networks have roaming agreements with international providers. Cellphone coverage is good, though slightly patchy in more remote areas.
Internal post in Namibia is infamously slow, but international post can reach its destination in about two weeks.
If you’re planning a trip to Namibia, here are some helpful hints you need to know before you go:
- Avoid camouflage since it is illegal for civilians to wear this kind of clothing;
- Namibia is a safe country, but if you are self-driving avoid deserted areas and keep your car locked at all times;
- Self-driving trips allow travellers flexibility when traversing through Namibia, but it’s best not to rush them – you’ll enjoy them most if you stay at least 2-3 nights at most places;
- The Sperrgebiet (Forbidden Area) en-route to Lüderitz is a prohibited diamond area and is off-limits to the public;
- Namibia still has not fully embraced homosexuality and we ask that homosexual couples be respectful of the country’s regulations by means of withholding and minimising public displays of affection.
Before going on a trip, it is important to consult your doctor and take out comprehensive travel and health insurance that will cover all of your intended activities while on holiday in Namibia. Here are some helpful health hints to bear in mind:
- There are no mandatory vaccinations for travellers into Namibia unless you are arriving from a yellow fever area – in which case you will have to produce a vaccination certificate upon arrival;
- Malaria: medium risk in Northern Namibia, especially Etosha National Park and the Caprivi Strip, and low to no risk in the rest of the country. The highest risk of transition is in the rainy season from October to May;
- Advanced medical service will mostly be concentrated in main towns and cities;
- Consult your medical practitioner to determine which vaccinations you should renew before travelling to Africa.
Holidaying in Namibia? Here are some important money matters you need to know before you go:
- The Namibian Dollar (N$) is the official currency of Namibia. Notes are in denominations of N$10, 20, 50, 100 and 200. Coins are in denominations of N$5, 50 cents, 10 cents, and 5 cents;
- American Express, Diners Club, Mastercard and Visa are all widely accepted throughout Namibia. The South African Rand (ZAR) is linked to the Namibian Dollar on a 1:1 basis, and is an accepted currency while travelling in Namibia;
- Currency can be exchanged at any of the banks or bureaux de change throughout Namibia;
- Persons over the age of 18 can import the following items without incurring customs duty: 200 cigarettes, 2 litres of wine or 1 litres of spirits, 50ml of perfume or 250ml of eau de toilette, and gifts to the value of N$3,000;
- The import and export of local currency is limited to N$50,000, while the import and export of foreign currency is unrestricted;
- Banks are generally open from 09:00 to 15:30 on weekdays, and from 09:00 to 11:00 on Saturdays.