Namibia

The contrasting landscape, big skies and rolling dunes of a photographer’s dream

Overview

Gazing into the impossibly starry sky of a Sossusvlei desert night, all worldly stress and strain forgotten, you’ll find yourself connecting with the universe in a way you never thought possible. With some of the darkest skies ever measured, many top camps and lodges invest in state of the art observatories and resident astronomers to help pick out beautiful constellations and individual planets. Or opt for a simpler experience, wrapped in a warm blanket starring upwards into the endless twinkling lights as the campfire begins to die away.

Squeezed neatly between the Atlantic’s crashing waves and the desolate dry earth of the vast Kalahari, lies the fascinating southern African nation of Namibia. This extraordinary country gained independence from South Africa in 1990 and now, after decades of political stability, investment in infrastructure, and inter-racial reconciliation, it is a bucket list must and a safe and popular destination for honeymooners, families and adventurers. A popular time to enjoy Namibia’s unique experiences is the African winter May to August, coinciding with Europe’s school holidays, when days are mild but nights so cold. At Low Season Traveller we’d recommend arranging your journey from November through April instead. At this time, apart from the busy Christmas period, you can take advantage of great prices for flights, luxury camps, and touring. This is especially true if you enjoy it hot! Namibia boasts an impressive 300 days of sunshine each year with temperatures pushing the mid 30°C. Summer is rainy season, and it is more difficult to spot wildlife, particularly in Etosha National Park. However, Namibia experiences only a fraction of what countries in East Africa receive and in fact has recently struggled with a series of droughts. Join the locals as they celebrate the coming of the rains and the flowing of the rivers, and relish in the lush scenery and stunning light that the spectacular afternoon thunderstorms bring.

Namib Naukluft Park

The fog lifts revealing incredible tones of sandy orange mountains against a blue sky. The Namib Desert is the earth’s oldest, possibly up to 80 million years old, and it’s also the home of the tallest dune – a towering 383 metres. Try sand boarding (keep your mouth closed), or if that’s a bit like hard work, embark on a jeep adventure to the dry Deadvlei salt pan where surreal camel thorn trees stretch their hopelessly parched branches skywards.

The Skeleton Coast

Beautiful but deadly. The bleak shoreline on the edge of the wild Atlantic remains littered with the shells of a thousand wrecked vessels and the bones of long gone whales. More happily, it is also home to one of the world’s largest seal populations. Low season is the ideal time to explore this raw and remote stretch of wilderness, as skies clear, fog lifts, desert nights become warmer and migrant birds return.

Kaokoland & The Kunene Region

Rather less well known and tucked into the country’s north-west, Kaokoland is home to the indigenous semi-nomadic Himba people and the desert adapted elephants that roam the pristine barren wilderness. Low season is perfect for an exploration of the extraordinary Kunene River on an early morning boat safari, looking out for eagles, herons, kingfishers, as well as rare endemic species and a few crocodiles, and visiting the Epupa Falls and Ruacana Falls in full flow.


Major Airport

Hosea Kutako International Airport - WDH

Low Season Months

Jan
24°C
70mm
5hrs
Feb
23°C
110mm
5hrs
Mar
21°C
50mm
5hrs
Apr
20°C
30mm
7hrs
May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov
23°C
30mm
9hrs
Dec
24°C
40mm
5hrs

Featured Hotels

Top Experiences

Track Black Rhino on Foot

Damaraland is home to one of Africa’s largest free ranging black rhino populations and a great area to spot this impressive but critically endangered creature shadowing experienced trackers and dedicated conservationists. Zebra, hyena, giraffe, oryx, elephant, and even cheetah are also seen.

Skeleton Coast Scenic Flight

Get an aerial eyeful of Namibia’s contrasting landscapes on a low level flight out of Swakopmund. Take in geographical features of desert, rivers, mines, saltpans, mountain ranges and the raw and rocky shoreline including shipwrecks and Cape Cross, home to one of a huge Cape fur seal colony.

4x4 Self-Drive

Namibia hits the number one spot for self-drive destinations in Africa. It’s an exciting and flexible way to get around, roads are signposted in English, drivers respect the rules of the roads and road conditions are pretty good. Outside the cities you can expect empty roads with sweeping vistas.

Insider Tips

  • Windhoek and the coastal town of Swakopmund embrace their Germanic heritage and retain many colonial era buildings such as the 1907 Christuskirche. At the start of low season, catch Oktoberfest in the capital with bratwurst and pork schnitzel, live music, and a whole lot of Bavarian beer.
  • Namibia’s human story is fascinating. Among the earliest settlers in the area were the proud nomadic San bushmen. The largest ethnic group is the Ovambo, but others include the Kavango, Herero, Damara and Caprivian. Himba women are easily identified by their hair, coated in red clay.
  • Low season might not be peak for big game viewing, but it is great for seeing baby animals. It is also perfect for birders. Flocks of stunning migratory birds arrive in the lush environment, resident birds come into their plumage and are nesting, and thousands of pink flamingos gather at the pans.

Good To Know

  • Don’t skimp on your vehicle. On a self-drive, a 4x4 is a must for gravel and sandy roads. Allow extra time when driving because the scenery is truly a highlight and you don’t want have to rush through it. Plus you certainly don’t want to be driving in the dark as animals regularly come into the roads.
  • Visit the eerie ghost town of Kolmanskop in Namibia’s far south-west. Now partially reclaimed by desert sands, it was a thriving early 20th century diamond mining centre. Elaborate homes, a school, hospital, bowling alley and opera house are long since abandoned but make for great photos.
  • Despite their speed and agility, cheetah numbers have declined by 90% over a century dropping to less than 10,000. Namibia is home to the world’s largest population of free-roaming cheetah, up to 3000 of them and it is possible to stay overnight at the cheetah conservation centre in Otjiwarongo .

Food & Drink

Joe’s Beerhouse, Windhoek

£££

You can’t leave the capital without a visit to this popular restaurant which serves hearty Namibian cuisine with a German twist. Mix with locals and visitors in the quirky atmosphere and dine on excellent steak followed up with ice cold beer, served until late.

Café Anton, Swakopmund

£££

Delightful family run coffee house serving healthy breakfasts and lunches as well as exquisite German confectionery like Black Forest cake and florentines. Enjoy views of the old lighthouse and the palm tree lined promenade from the terrace.

The Tug, Swakopmund

££££

Designed and built around the original oil-fired Danie Hugo Tugboat which was constructed in the Glasgow ship yards, The Tug is now an established venue serving hearty fresh cuisine. It’s a must for seafood lovers and situated right on the shoreline of the Atlantic.

Hotel Deals

Booking.com

Experiences

Reviews

Menu