The north of the country, green and lush, is a far cry from the inland desert, with its towering sand dunes which contrasts spectacularly with the bush land. Towards the coast, more national parks are waiting to be found and the ghostly shipwrecks off the coast add a whole different element to your holiday in Namibia.
Namibia Tourist Board: The official website for the Namibia National Tourist Office – a useful resource for planning your trip to Namibia.
Know Before You Go: Travel advice for Namibia from the FCO.
Things to see and do
- Plan to spend at least a few days exploring the delights of Etosha National Park, arguably the country’s best offering. The game viewing here is some of the best in the world and will be a truly fantastic experience.
- Gaze in awe at the magical sand dunes at Soussusvlei; be sure to visit at sunrise or sunset when the light really does it justice.
- Twyfelfontein was named as the very first UNESCO World Heritage Site in the country. It is celebrated for the paintings and rock carvings in the mountains here, around 2,000 of them in fact, which date back approximately 6,000 years.
- Visit the Caprivi Wetlands. Oddly shaped and referred to as the Caprivi Strip, it joins Namibia to four other countries due to the convergence of several rivers. Crammed with wildlife, particularly birds, and lush vegetation, it’s not to be missed.
- Meeting an African tribe is an insightful experience. The Himba Tribe live among the basalt mountain ranges near to the coast so why not introduce yourself and learn about their way of life.
- Get truly off the beaten path and venture to Bushmanland. Here you will find a sparse land that bushmen, hunters / gatherers, still inhabit and fantastic scenery. Filled with a variety of wild animals and very remote, a guided tour is your best bet for the best experience.
- Enjoy a change of pace and visit the coastal city of Swakopmund, known as Little Germany in Africa due to the relationship between the two countries, where you will find fantastic restaurants and a lovely colonial charm. It’s really not to be missed.
- From here, head to Walvis Bay a little further south and spy the Cape Fur Seals which live on the rocky outcrop just offshore.
- Set off to Namib Naukluft National Park in the Namib Desert, one of the oldest deserts in the world. Endless orange dunes prevail but the east is surprisingly lush with streams, waterfalls and herds of animals. All of it however is breathtaking.
- Embark on a self-guided bush walk through Waterberg Plateau Park where you can spy black and white rhino, sable antelope and blue wildebeest among the red sandstone cliffs and hot springs.
- Visit the Skeleton Coast for an eerie and up close look at the spattering of shipwrecked vessels, many of which are now truly part of the furniture so to speak and home to colonies of Cape Cormorant.
Festivals and events
- Bank Windhoek Arts Festival is one of the first festivals of the year and features everything from theatre and dance to music and visual art. (February)
- Also known as 'Mbapira', Enjando Street Festival kicks off in March and is a fantastic celebration of live entertainment with dancing, costumes and live music. (March)
- 21st March marks Independence Day in Namibia. It is officially a public holiday and there are various carnivals, feasts and general festivities. (March)
- Held at the end of the month, Windhoek Karneval is an event not to be missed. The traditional festivities include live music and balls including Prinzenball which kickstarts the event on Friday in addition to a masked ball. There’s also a children’s carnival and a parade. (April)
- Kuste Carnival is held in the city of Swakopmund on the coast and you can join in with the street parades, food stalls serving local dishes and all night parties. It’s family friendly with plenty of activities on offer for children. (August)
- Maharero Day, or Heroes’ Day, takes place on 26th August and is one of the country’s most colourful events. It takes place in Okahandaja and is held in honour of former war heroes. (August)
- September welcomes the Summer Sound Festival which is held in Katutura and mostly features musical performances, but there are some dance acts to enjoy too. (September)
- Although on a much smaller scale than Oktoberfest in Munich, Windhoek Oktoberfest is attended by people the world over. There are sausage making competitions and beer flows freely among the revelry. (October)
- Experience the very best in Namibian art work at the AE Gams Arts Festival which is held at various exhibition spaces around Windhoek. (October)