Located in southwestern Africa, Namibia boasts a well-developed infrastructure, some of the best tourist facilities in Africa, and an impressive list of breath-taking natural wonders. Visitors can explore the capital of Windhoek and discover the lovely coastal town of Swakopmund boasting remnants of the country’s German influence, reflected in the architecture, culture, cuisine and the annual Oktoberfest celebrations. Here is a quick look at all that Namibia has to offer and the Regions that are tourist attractions and World renowned, truley remarkable places to visit.
Encompassing the bustling capital city of Windhoek, and the laidback seaside towns of Swakopmund and Walvis Bay, Central Namibia features an array of towns, deserts and wildlife reserves. The landscape of this region is characterised by a plateau scattered with clusters of acacia and grasslands sandwiched between the arid Namib Desert to the west and the lush Kalahari to the east. Visitors can soak in the steaming waters of the Cross Barmen Hot Springs, viewing a wide variety of wildlife at the spectacularly scenic reserves and explore the untouched beauty of the beautiful Erongo Mountains with the breathtakingly beautiful Spitzkoppe, which offers some of the best stargazing opportunities in Namibia.
Southern Namibia offers a harsh but beautiful environment stretching from the Orange River up to the Central Namibian highlands, Southern Namibia is epitomised by vast, slowly changing landscapes. The breathtakingly beautiful landscape features the Naukluft mountains, Namib desert dunes, and the Fish River Canyon. Southern Namibia is dotted with quiver trees, covered in golden grasslands, and crowned with burnt red dunes fringed by blue sky-lines. A spectacular array of wildlife roams freely including klipspringer, oryx and kudu. Visitors can soak up the breathtaking views of the Fish River Canyon, discover the wild desert horses near Aus, and explore the famous ghost town of Kolmanskop. Don’t miss the ancient ochre dunes of Sossusvlei.
Northern Namibia extends across the remote Kunene River in the west of the country to the densely populated region of Ovamboland in the northeast. Central Ovamboland is part of Namibia’s extensive Kalahari system and is home to one of Africa’s largest game sanctuaries, Etosha National Park. The park provides phenomenal game viewing opportunities, and travellers can look forward to visiting the spectacular Etosha Pan. Damaraland lies to the northwest with some of the most impressive rock art covering this rugged landscape. Further east, the Caprivi stretches for over 450 kilometres and is Namibia’s most tropical region acting as a corridor for African elephants moving through to Angola. Northern Namibia is a remote wilderness with incredible scenery, wildlife and exhilarating experiences make it well worth the effort.
Situated in Central Namibia, the cosmopolitan city of Windhoek serves as the capital of the country. It is home to an international airport and a plethora of restaurants, shops, entertainment venues and accommodation options. The city is clean, safe and well-organised, with a colonial legacy that is reflected in its many German eateries and shops, and the widespread use of the German language. Windhoek has an interesting mix of historical architecture and modern buildings, many of which are worth a look, including the Alte Feste an old fort, the 1896 Christuskirche Christ Church, and the more contemporary Supreme Court.
Otjiwarongo – meaning ‘the place of fat cattle’ – is a tranquil, German-influenced town with numerous lodging options, shops, and other amenities, making it ideal for a stopover en route to Windhoek, Etosha National Park and the Waterberg Plateau. Points of interest include a good craft market, the Cheetah Conservation Fund and the Crocodile Ranch, where visitors can view these fascinating reptiles and, if they fancy, sample a selection of crocodile meat dishes at the ranch restaurant.
Situated in north central Namibia and named for the springs that emanate from its foothills, the Waterberg Plateau National Park is a fascinating geological site featuring compressed sandstone crags, 200 million-year-old dinosaur footprints, and petrified sand dunes. The area’s natural water sources make it far more fertile than its environs, and the park is blessed with a plethora of plant and animal species, including leopards, rhinoceros, vultures, cheetahs, bush babies, ferns and fig trees. Visitors can enjoy a wide selection of activities including: learning about the local Herero culture on an informative village tour, tracking rhino on a guided safari, exploring the Waterberg’s 50-kilometre-long and 16-kilometre-wide sandstone plateau, dubbed ‘table mountain’, and catching a glimpse of the rare and endangered sable and roan antelope.
Situated in north-western Namibia, the Etosha National Park offers a premier game viewing experience. The park’s diverse vegetation ranges from dense bush to open plains attracting a variety of wildlife. Located in the heart of the park is the Etosha Pan – a shallow depression that covers an area of 5000 square kilometres. Dry and shimmering for most of the year, the pans fill up with water after seasonal rains, making it the perfect habitat for wildlife. In the dry season, the wildlife is attracted to the perennial springs and waterholes that makes for excellent game viewing. Visitors can look forward to world-class game viewing including a variety of large mammals such as lion, elephant, leopard, rhino, zebra, giraffe, a diversity of birdlife such as flamingoes and pelicans.
Located southeast of Omaruru, the Erindi Game Reserve is a spectacularly scenic protected reserve in north-western Namibia. ‘Erindi’, meaning the place of water boasts incredible lush scenery. Stretching over 79000 hectares, this natural wonderland features comfortable accommodation options and magnificent landscapes encompassing grasslands, savannah, and rugged mountains inhabited by an abundance of diverse wildlife. This idyllic retreat is also known for its ecotourism, rich cultural heritage, and community involvement. Visitors can look forward to cultural village tours, San rock art, guided bush walks and thrilling game drives to view elephants, giraffes, rhino, lion, hyena, zebra, kudu, wildebeest and many other animals. Don’t miss the opportunity to jump on a night drive to catch a glimpse of the nocturnal species that thrive in the dark wilderness.
Carving out an epic rocky wonderland in the south of Namibia, the Fish River has created Africa’s largest and the world’s second largest canyon. Hot, dry, and stony, the Fish River Canyon measures a whopping 160 kilometres in length, at times 27 kilometres in width and 550 metres in depth. The awe-inspiring natural beauty of this ancient geological marvel draws visitors from around the globe. For those looking for adventure, the intense 85 kilometre Fish River Hiking Trail through1.5 billion years of geological history will definitely thrill avid adventure enthusiasts, and for visitors looking to relax, head over to the canyon’s southern end to enjoy a soak in the mineral waters of the renowned hot springs of Ai-Ais, or take in the spectacularly scenic views from Hobas Restcamp as well as numerous other viewpoints along its rim. Other popular activities include: scenic chartered flights, horse riding, nature drives and seasonal kayaking.
Sandwiched between the rugged and stark Atlantic Coast and the arid Namib Desert, the town of Luderitz is set in an incredibly unique geographical setting. This seaside town is something of an anomaly frozen in time – a piece of 19th-century Bavaria bordering the pinkish sand dunes of the Namib Desert. Lutheran churches, German bakeries, and colonial buildings boasting German art nouveau architecture are dotted about the settlement, while its windswept beaches are home to flamingos, ostriches, seals and penguins. The nearby ghost town of Kolmanskop, which has been taken over by the desert dunes, is one of the most fascinating area attractions, located approximately 10 kilometres from Luderitz central. Visitors can also take a trip to discover the wild desert-adapted horses located near the small town of Aus.
Perched above the plains of the Namib Desert and tucked away in the rocky Aus Mountains, the small village of Aus is located in the ǁKaras Region in southern Namibia. The arid surrounding landscape is known for its unique botanical diversity. Aus serves as an excellent base from which to explore the area and to view the main attraction: the feral horses of the Namib Desert, which run wild and free in the sparsely vegetated plains. Catch a glimpse of these wild desert-adapted creatures at the water trough at Garub just twenty kilometres away from the village. Visitors can explore the Succulent Karoo with a visit to the beautiful Gondwana Sperrgebiet Rand Park, home to the most biodiverse desert in the world, and take a scenic hike to discover fascinating indigenous fauna and flora. Don’t miss the opportunity to camp under the clear Namibian night sky and view the vast desert landscape on horseback.
Spreading across Botswana, South Africa and Namibia, the Kalahari meaning ‘the great thirst’ is an exceptionally beautiful living desert. The landscape is characterised by a large semi-arid sandy savannah draped over a gently rolling inland sea of sand covering most of Botswana and large parts of Namibia and South Africa. It is also the last bastion of the indigenous San people with the modern world having enveloped all the other areas they once roamed. The Namibian portion is made up of red sands covered in thin, wispy, mostly golden grass and dotted with acacia trees and wide-ranging wildlife including gemsbok, impala, jackals and cheetah.
Fringing the western edge of Etosha, Kamanjab is situated in the Kunene Region. It serves as an excellent base for visitors looking for adventure in the surrounding area. It is home to Peet Alberts Rock Engravings the second largest rock art site in Namibia with over 1,200 and 1,500 rock engravings featuring animal and abstract images. Visitors can look forward to an array of activities including a chance to meet the Himbas in Kaokoland and opportunities to see the desert elephants.
This vast desert landscape is known as one of the most beautiful regions in Namibia. Huge, untamed and ruggedly beautiful, Damaraland is an exceptionally scenic landscape featuring open plains, ancient valleys and spectacular rock formations. The major attractions are the sacred Spitzkoppe, the Brandberg, Twyfelfontein, Vingerklip and the otherworldly Petrified Forest. Visitors can take in the dramatic vistas, catch a glimpse of the rare desert-adapted elephant, and enjoy spectacular stargazing in crystal-clear night skies from one of the many safari camps dotting Damaraland. Other popular activities include guided drives, nature walks and visiting the local communities. Don’t miss the opportunity to view the Damaraland’s world-famous ancient rock art.
Bordering Angola in northern Namibia, Kunene is a region as well as the name of a river, which is one of just five perennial rivers in Namibia. The Kunene River is an invaluable source of water for the local Himba people, and it has been the mainstay of their existence for hundreds of years. For travellers, the river’s most striking feature is the magnificent Epupa Falls, which cascade over more than a kilometre downstream, with an impressive vertical drop of around 60 metres. Whitewater rafting and kayaking are both popular pursuits in this area. Visitors can look forward to an array of exciting activities including: learning about local culture with a trip to a traditional Himba village, hiking, sundowner cruises, canoeing, kayaking, game viewing and excellent bird watching.
Palmwag is a nature reserve idyllically located along a palm-lined tributary of the Uniab River. Water is scarce in this area, so the river’s presence often lures elephants closer to the camps. Palmwag is situated halfway between Swakopmund and Etosha and is the ideal base from which to see the sights of the Kunene region or embark on one of the many local hiking trails. The reserve is notable for its unusual species of palm tree, the hyphaena pertesiana, and for being home to the largest population of south-western black rhinos in Africa. Animal lovers can also get a peek at leopard, lion, cheetah, mountain zebra, Angolan giraffe, springbok, kudu, and African bush elephant.
Sesfontein, meaning ‘six fountains’, is home to six natural springs creating a lush oasis rising up from a barren landscape. Set in the Hoanib Valley and surrounded by mountains, Sesfontein is a harshly beautiful town dotted with acacia and mopane trees interspersed with spiky-leafed fan palms. The town serves as a good base from which to launch an exploration of the surrounding Kaokoveld. An old fort, constructed at the end of the 19th century, has been refurbished and converted into a comfortable lodge rich with atmosphere, and makes a great base to explore the southern reaches of the Kaokoveld. Don’t miss a trip to a local Himba village to learn about local customs and traditions and observe how these communities live in peaceful coexistence with wildlife and the natural surrounds.
Opuwo, meaning ‘the end’ in Herero, lies in the north western Kunene region of Namibia. It serves as the capital of the region and is known as the gateway to the magnificent Epupa Falls. The surrounding landscape is characterised by low-lying hills, and vast dry desert plains inhabited by a wealth of desert-adapted wildlife. It serves as the central hub for the Himba culture. The town provides a perfect base for visitors wishing to explore the Kaokoland area and visit the local villages of the itinerant Himba people. The town and the Opuwo surrounding area is known as one of the cultural highlights of a trip to Namibia as it features an incredibly rich cultural heritage. Don’t miss an opportunity to learn about the fascinating Himba community within this starkly beautiful landscape.
Straddling the Angola/Namibia border, the Kaokoveld is a dry, mountainous, and relatively undeveloped region that takes in the harsh beauty of Namibia’s Skeleton Coast and the copper sands of the northern Namib Desert. The area is inhabited by three main ethnic groups – the Damara, Herero and Himba people – each with their own unique customs, traditions and rituals. The coastal Kaokoveld Desert stretches over 45000 square kilometres and is home to the renowned prehistoric welwitschia plant. A diverse variety of wildlife can be found in the desert including: giraffes, desert-adapted elephant, black rhino, a variety of endemic reptiles and many different bird species.
Situated in the Kaokoland area of Namibia, Epupa Falls is set near the border of Angola. Named by the Herero people after the spray it creates, Epupa means ‘ water falling. The falls consists of a series of little waterfalls created by the Kunene River as it drops 60 metres, creating hundreds of natural pools that provide the Himba people and visitors with a fantastic recreation spot. These incredibly beautiful falls create a spectacular contrast to the arid desert and rugged surrounding mountains. Visitors can look forward to discovering the unspoilt environment, the majestic baobabs and wild fig trees dotting the surrounds. Don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy world-class birdwatching and spot an array of species including the bee-eaters, hornbills, kingfishers, fish eagles, flycatchers, and herons.
Unlike many destinations in Namibia, Grootfontein is extremely lush and fertile and in the summer months, purple Jacaranda trees create a riot of colour around the town. It is best known for its proximity to the Hoba meteorite, one of the largest ever discovered on earth, located roughly 25 kilometres from the town centre.
Bordering Angola, on the banks of the Okavango River in northern Namibia, the town of Rundu serves as the capital of the eastern Kavango region. Rundu is renowned for its local woodcarvers’ market as well as the numerous woodcarvers’ huts dotting the side of the road. The town provides a great stopover to refuel for visitors heading to Katima Mulilo as well as an excellent base from which to explore the magnificent surrounding areas. Visitors to Rundu can enjoy the beautiful surrounds including the magnificent Popa Falls and Mahangu Game Reserve. Other popular activities include: great game viewing, excellent bird watching as well as kayaking on the spectacular Kavango river.
Stretching over 6200 square kilometres in northeast Namibia, the Bwabwata National Park includes the Caprivi Game Park and the Mahango Game Reserve which extends along the narrow Caprivi strip. The park functions as a wildlife sanctuary and practices community-engaged conservation, which visitors can take part in. It has been dubbed the ‘People’s Park’, as the local Caprivian people live in harmony with the land and the animals. With an ever-growing wildlife population, the park is home to many animals including elephant, leopard, lion, buffalo, wildebeest, crocodile, and red lechwe. Avid birdwatchers will be thrilled to find over 330 bird species in the area. Visitors can look forward to excellent game viewing, boat safaris, nature walks and camping under the brilliantly clear Namibian night sky.
Bordering Botswana, the small Mahango Game Reserve in Namibia provides a convenient stopover between Rundu and Katima Mulilo and forms part of the beautiful Bwabwata National Park. The park’s landscape is characterised by woodlands, the vast floodplains of the Okavango River basin known as ‘omurambas’, and the Kavango River. It is home to a reported 99 species of animals, including many elephants, lion, leopard and a variety of antelopes (including the red lechwe, sable and roan). This park is an excellent destination for avid bird watchers, with its 400-odd species, and provides the perfect location to catch a glimpse of crocodile and hippo in the Kavango River. Besides guided daytime wildlife safaris, the reserve also offers nighttime game drives.
Meandering through the spectacular Caprivi Strip in northwest Namibia, the Kwando River rises from the central Angolan highlands forming the boundary between Namibia, Zambia and Angola. The area surrounding the Kwando River is known for its protected game reserves, national parks and wildlife sanctuaries. It offers excellent game viewing with the perennial waters of the river attracting plentiful wildlife including large herds of elephant, hippos, crocodiles, red lechwe, turtles, zebra, impala, spotted-necked otters and over 400 species of bird. Visitors can enjoy a relaxing stay at one of the many lodges set on the banks of the river and soak up the spectacular views of wild Africa. Popular activities include: game viewing, bird watching, fishing, and camping.
Set roughly 200 kilometres east of Rundu on the south-eastern banks of the great Okavango River, the small village of Divundu is known for its excellent location for exploring the river, game parks and national reserves of the area. Take fishing or bird watching boat safaris, or visit the Mahango Game Park, filled with herds of elephants, as well as hippo, buffalo, giraffes, antelope, and many other animals. The spectacular Popa Falls is a must-see. They are in fact a series of cascades that tumble through the split rocks. Divundu makes a wonderfully idyllic base for exploring Botswana and the Okavango Delta.
Situated in south central Namibia, fringing the Kalahari Desert, the city of Mariental lies along the TransNamib railway and serves as the Hardap Region’s commercial and administrative capital. It provides an important petrol stop before heading west to Sesriem to view the red-orange dunes of Sossusvlei. Mariental is located close to magnificent the Hardap Dam, which is the largest reservoir in Namibia. The Hardap Irrigation Scheme has breathed life into this arid terrain, which is now fertile with farmlands covered in citrus, melons, lucerne, wine and maize, and dotted with ostrich farms. The dam is a popular holiday resort which draws city slickers from Windhoek and offers an array of watersports, scenic walks, and abundant wildlife in a 20000-hectare nature reserve set on its western bank; where visitors can spot rhino, ostrich, antelope, springbok and a variety of bird species.
Situated along the Trans-Namib Railway, in the Karas region of southern Namibia, the town of Keetmanshoop is known as the capital of southern Namibia. Founded in 1860, this southern Namibian town is a living slice of history. German colonial architecture is dotted around the town and the local museum, housed in an old church, provides interesting insight into the town’s heritage. Just a short drive out of town, the Quiver Tree Forest is a sea of spikes and twisted trunks, while the neighbouring ‘Giant’s Playground’ is an evocative expanse of strange rock formations. Both offer superb opportunities for photography, particularly at sunset. Visitors can look forward to exploring the scenic and historic attractions of this amazing place and enjoy an array of wonderful activities.
Set in the Kunene Region of north-western Namibia, Twylfelfontein is a spectacularly scenic area, featuring one of the largest and most important concentrations of rock art in Africa. The name ‘Twyfelfontein’ translates to ‘Fountain of Doubt’, which refers to the perennial spring situated in the impressive Huab valley flanked by the slopes of a sandstone table mountain. It was this spring that attracted Stone Age hunters over six thousand years ago, and it was during this time that the extensive group of rock engravings and paintings were produced. Visitors can look forward to basing themselves at some wonderfully shady campsites along the Aba-Huab riverbed, while exploring over thirty different sites of these sacred records of ritual practices relating to traditional hunter-gatherer communities.
Set along Namibia’s spectacularly scenic coast, the seaside town of Swakopmund is known for its wide-open avenues, colonial architecture, and its surrounding otherworldly desert terrain. Founded in 1892 as the main harbour for German South West Africa, Swakopmund is often described as being more German than Germany. Now a seaside resort town, Swakopmund is the capital of the Skeleton Coast tourism area and has plenty to keep visitors happy. The quirky mix of German and Namibian influences, adventure options, laid-back atmosphere and cool sea breeze make it a very popular Namibian destination. Visitors can look forward to a number of exciting activities including: quad biking, horse riding, paragliding, fishing, sightseeing and fascinating desert tours.
Situated in Namibia’s spectacularly scenic Namib Desert, between Usakos and Swakopmund, the Spitzkoppe are a group of bald granite peaks forming one of Namibia’s most recognizable and dramatic landmarks. These enormous towering domes provide a paradise for hikers and mountaineers, from beginners interested in guided historic walks to professional climbers eager to ascend some challenging slopes. Other popular activities include exploring the many bushmen rock paintings and camping in some of the area’s scenic secluded campsites or rustic tented camps.
Situated in north-western Namibia, the Brandberg (Fire Mountain) Massif is Namibia’s highest peak, at its zenith, the Königstein (King’s Stone), standing at a whopping 2573 metres above sea level. Named for the vivid shade of orange it sometimes turns at sunset, this is undoubtedly the main highlight of the region. The Brandberg has been sacred to the San people for centuries. The Tsisab Ravine at its base is permeated with over 45 000 ancient San rock paintings, including the famous ‘White Lady’. Visitors flock here to view this unique bushman painting, said to be over 2000 years old. Other popular drawcards include its untouched natural beauty and its free roaming wildlife such as mountain zebra, kudu, springbok, and desert elephant.
The small headland of Cape Cross lies on western Namibia’s Skeleton Coast, roughly 60 kilometres north of Henties Bay. The historic area was landed on by the Portuguese in 1486, and they erected a stone cross here in honour of the Portuguese King. In the 1800’s, this was replaced with a cross by German settlers. The headland is best known for its extraordinary breeding colony of Cape Fur Seals, and has been made a reserve. With the abundance of fish swimming in the cold Benguela current, the seals have plenty to snack on, and they also enjoy lying and playing out in the sun on the wide spread of rocks. From a 200-metre-long walkway, watch the seals at play and learn about them through the area’s information points.
The Namib Desert is the world’s oldest desert, and although it stretches along the entire length of Namibia’s coastline into southern Angola and even the northern Cape Province of South Africa, the Namib commonly refers to the vast sea of sand extending from Luderitz to Swakopmund. This vast expanse of breathtakingly beautiful sandy desert features remarkably varied scenery including, the massive red dunes of the world-renowned Sossusvlei, the moonscapes of the Namib-Naukluft Park, the stark beauty of the Atlantic Coast and a diversity of fauna and flora. This windswept, arid, ancient landscape is teeming with desert-adapted wildlife such as endemic chameleons, brown hyenas, gemsbok, jackals and seals along the coastline and a variety plantlife including the famous welwitschia plant, a unique living fossil. Other highlights of the Namib include: Fish River Canyon, Kolmanskop ghost town, Luderitz, Cape Cross seal colony and the Skeleton Coast.
Located in Central Namibia, the Naukluft Mountains cut a fine silhouette against the vast open skies of this incredibly beautiful country. Private farms occupy the northern reaches and to the south, the range falls within the spectacular Namib-Naukluft National Park. Rising steeply from the vast plains of Central Namibia, the rugged landscape holds a fascinating history, interesting geology and a boasts a variety of deep gorges, caves, small streams and beautiful waterfalls. These mountains support an array of wildlife including over 50 mammal species such as leopard, mountain zebra; various antelope species and almost 200 species of bird. Popular activities include: game viewing, hiking, bird watching, camping, off-roading in a four-wheel drive and swimming in the spectacular rock pools at the Kudusrus campsite.
Located in the scenic Namib-Naukluft National Park, Sossusvlei is where you will find the iconic red sand dunes of the Namib. The clear blue skies contrast with the giant red dunes to make this one of the most scenic natural wonders of Africa and a photographer’s heaven. This awe-inspiring destination is possibly Namibia’s premier attraction, with its unique dunes rising to almost 400 metres-some of the highest in the world. These iconic dunes come alive in morning and evening light and draw photography enthusiasts from around the globe. Sossusvlei is home to a variety desert wildlife including oryx, springbok, ostrich and a variety of reptiles. Visitors can climb ‘Big Daddy’, one of Sossusvlei’s tallest dunes; explore Deadvlei, a white, salt, claypan dotted with ancient trees; or for the more extravagant, scenic flights and hot air ballooning are on offer, followed by a once-in-a-lifetime champagne breakfast amidst these majestic dunes.
Spanning an area of 172,200 hectares and encompassing four distinct ecosystems, the Namib Rand Reserve is among the largest privately owned game parks in Southern Africa. Founded to conserve the unique environment and wildlife species of the south-western Namib Desert, the park’s mix of dunes, mountains, rocky outcrops, sandy flats and gravel plains provides habitats for a diversity of mammals – including hyenas, jackals, foxes, antelopes and various wild cats – as well as a plethora of bird species, reptiles, insects, frogs and flora. Visitors can discover the mysterious ‘fairy circles’, which dot the landscape and sip on sundowners while watching the sunset over this unspoilt ancient landscape. Having been named Africa’s first International Dark Sky Reserve, it is one of the least light-polluted areas in the world, so don’t miss this excellent star gazing opportunity.