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7 Beautiful Places to Visit in Namibia

Namibia is a country dominated by spectacular desert wilderness. A land of contrasts from deep canyons and dramatic gorges to rocky outcrops and mountains; from enormous golden sand dunes to the rough seas of the Skeleton Coast. Namibia is stunningly scenic and refreshingly remote, drawing travellers wishing to immerse themselves in a desert landscape that enthralls at every turn.

Surprisingly, due to its good road network, many of the remote areas are relatively easy to reach. Travelling by road, visitors can choose to either self-drive or travel with a guide, the latter releasing the responsibility for driving and route-finding. For those happy to self-drive, it is normal to drive between regions and camps and then join activities hosted by local guides. This allows you to experience self-drive without missing out on critical local guiding and activities. While Namibia is a great self-drive destination, the scenery is also amazing when seen from the air. It is increasingly possible to fly between areas and safari camps, offering the chance to combine remote areas and exclusive camps within a shorter time frame. Alternatively, scenic air safaris and hot air balloon flights (the latter from Sossusvlei) can be planned into or combined with a self-drive itinerary.

1 Namib Desert including Sossusvlei

For quintessential dune photography, Sossusvlei is a must-see destination

Within the National Park itself lie the renowned Sossusvlei dunes, which rise some 300m from the valley floor. Sossusvlei is a huge dried up clay pan formed at the end of the Tsauchab River where the vast dunes stopped its progress toward the sea. Nearby are two other pans, Hidden Vlei and Dead Vlei. If you’re feeling fit, you can climb the dunes for a spectacular view of the surrounding area. View our video on exploring the Namib Desert on foot and by helicopter!

The Sesriem Canyon is one of the most amazing features of this desert. It dates to around 3 million years ago, where the Tsauchab River has carved a gorge up to 30 metres deep and about a kilometre long, becoming shallower as it makes its way towards Sossusvlei.

In the exclusive NamibRand Nature Reserve to the south of Sesriem and Sossusvlei, you can explore the desert ecosystem on game drives, horseback, quad bikes, and on foot, including a superb two night walking trail with Tok Tokkie desert safaris.

2 Swakopmund, Walvis Bay and the Coast

Swakopmund is the adrenaline sports capital, and Walvis Bay has a Cape fur seal colony

Most visitors stay in Swakopmund from which there are numerous excursions including those to Sandwich Harbour to the south, and the interior ‘moon landscape’ and Welwitschia plains. From Walvis harbour, a range of wildlife cruises are also available, particularly to the Pelican Point seal colony (kayaking is also possible). Between the two towns, a sand dune belt is used for quad-biking and dune boarding, while sky-diving is also possible for anyone seeking an adrenaline adventure!

Further north up the coast, towards the Skeleton Coast National Park lies the Cape Cross seal colony, home to the largest Cape fur seal colony with some 100,000 ‘residents’.

3 Fish River Canyon and the far South


The full length of the canyon is 160 kilometres with a depth of up to 550 metres. The area is best explored on a guided day tour into the canyon hosted by a local guide. It is also possible to arrange walking tours in the canyon, from shorter walks to multi-day trails, though the latter should only be considered by hardened hikers, and the hottest times of year should be avoided. You can also visit spectacular viewpoints on the more accessible eastern sides of the canyon, and even swim in beautiful rock pools at the base of the canyon.

4 Damaraland

Best region for desert-adapted wildlife

Although mostly accessible, Damaraland is rugged and wild, especially in the north and west. The southern section includes Messum Crater (inland from Cape Cross) and the Brandberg Massif with its renowned rock art. The Brandberg is the highest mountain in Namibia at 2,573 metres, and offers adventurous walking and some excellent birding.

In central Damaraland you can visit the Twyfelfontein rock engravings and search for desert elephants. View our video on Desert Elephants which was partly filmed along the stunning Huab River.

The northern section of Damaraland includes the vast Palmwag Concession, which borders the Skeleton Coast National Park to the west and the spectacular Hoanib River to the north. This is a vast and rugged wilderness which has the largest population of desert black rhino in Namibia, in addition to a variety of general game including elephant, lion, cheetah, mountain zebra, giraffe, oryx, springbok and leopard. The concession is home to the Save the Rhino project, and there are opportunities to track the desert rhino with the Save the Rhino scouts. Other concessions in the region can also offer rhino tracking and sightings of desert elephant and other wildlife.

5 Skeleton Coast and Kaokoland National Park

For the adventurous escape here to the desert wilderness

Kaokoland stretches north from Sesfontein and the Hoanib River Valley to the Kunene River, the border with Angola, and can only be accessed by four-wheel drive or by air. Few people travel far into this land, and those that do, usually do so with an experienced guide, which is highly recommended.

The coastal belt of Kaokoland is designated as the Skeleton Coast National Park, and access is difficult. The southern section (up to Terrace Bay) can be visited by the general public, although generally a 4×4 would be required (there is little road infrastructure). North of that, the park is closed to all but a couple of companies who operate luxury camps. Flying safaris along the coast are possible, but north of Terrace Bay landing options are rather limited!

The flat and open beaches of the coastline, which are often shrouded in mist, are home to numerous Cape fur seal colonies, which in turn provide food for black-backed jackals and the rare brown hyaena. Inland form the coast various ephemeral rivers are home to desert-adapted wildlife such as desert elephant, gemsbok, springbok, giraffe, lion and cheetah.

In Namibia’s far northwestern corner is the remote Kunene area, with its isolated valleys, mountains and desert. It is home to the semi-nomadic Herero/Himba people, known for their traditional lifestyle and red ochre skin cream. Here you can participate in authentic cultural experiences, explore the Kunene River by boat and quad bike through the beautiful Hartmann Valley.

6 Etosha National Park

Best destination for self-drive wildlife safaris

Etosha National Park is Namibia’s principal big game area. The vegetation varies from the vast desolate salt pans to the surrounding grass plains (of salt-loving grasses and shrubs) to the deciduous bush (consisting mainly of mopane) and mixed woodland (wild figs, wild dates, maroela and tamboti) which covers much of the ground away from the pan. With the exception of buffalo, most of Africa’s large mammals are found here, including healthy lion, elephant and rhino (black and white) populations. Etosha is also notable for being one of the best places to see critically endangered black rhino, especially at the floodlit water hole at Okaukuejo Rest Camp. Etosha is also particularly good for springbok, zenra, gemsbok, greater kudu and black-faced impala.

The best way to game view through the park is to spend time visiting the various waterholes which are found south of the pan itself. It is easily possible to self-drive within the park, though a 4 x 4 vehicle is recommended, or you can join guided game drives from lodges based just outside the park or from the National Parks rest camps within the park.

During the rains, game-viewing is difficult, but the Etosha pan holds sufficient water to enable millions of waterfowl to descend onto it, including greater flamingo which breed here. The extensive habitat is also home for some 340 species of birds.

7 Caprivi Strip and Babatwa National Park

Best destination for water-based wildlife

Northeastern Namibia is miles away from Windhoek and the other wildlife areas, both in distance and in feel, its languid waterways offering a complete contrast to the arid desertscapes more prevalent in the south and west. The habitat is completely different to the rest of Namibia and is largely influenced by the four major rivers which form the boundaries or bisect it – the Zambezi, Chobe, Kwando and Okavango. Home to Bwabwata National Park, the far northeast is ideal for a detour if you’re combining travel in Namibia with a visit to Victoria Falls or Botswana’s Chobe National Park.

Several lodges through the region, all located on the major river courses, offer superb birding and boat excursions. Some of them offer game drives too with good general game, whilst others offer some good fishing opportunities.

Enjoy the night-time symphonies of chirping and river noises and the area’s relaxed lodges and campgrounds while listening to hippos and watching elephants spraying water over themselves along the riverbanks.


If you’d like to find out more about where to visit in Namibia, our team would be delighted to discuss options to suit your personal preferences and requirements. Please call us on +44 (0) 1787 888590, or email us via our Contact Us page.

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