Namibia Safari Vacations
Namibia sits atop the oldest desert on earth and is where you’ll find the largest sand dunes, the iconic smooth red slopes of Sossusvlei.
Namibia is not the place to take the kids for a big game experience, as it pales in comparison to its neighbors. However it does offer fab big game viewing in the rather manicured Etosha.
Think of a Namibia safari vacation as the place for a wild experience of self-reliance, with some extreme sports thrown-in.
Top 4 Reasons For A Namibia Safari Vacation
1. Wide Open SpacesThere are so few people here- both living and visiting – this is the place to explore the planet before humankind exploded.
The country is 4x the size of England, but fewer people live there than live in South-West London. It is one of the only places you’ll find wildlife roaming genuinely free (i.e. without fences) and where you can venture into the bush, using riverbeds for roads, and not get told off.
2. Extreme SportsAlthough we wouldn’t go to Namibia just for adrenaline sports, Swakopmund happens to be the adrenaline capital and if you are passing through, there are some fantastic opportunities to try something new and get the teenage heart racing – in a good way.
We’d recommend sandboarding, sky diving, quad biking and paragliding for your morning off.
3. The HimbaWe love Namibia’s Himba tribe the most of all the tribes we have met in Africa. They manage to exist essentially without water: they wash themselves in smoke, and cake themselves in red ochre to prevent dehydration – and you can witness this, and even cake your kids in red ochre!
4. Value For MoneyThe Namibian Dollar is pegged to the Rand, so you can find a very good value safari even at the luxury end of the market.
Driving is straightforward and this can really bring the price down for a family safari too.
Why not to travel to Namibia
Don’t travel to Namibia if you’re looking for a “traditional” African safari, as you are likely to be disappointed.
This is a level 2 safari destination, where you appreciate the finer details of a wilderness adventure, and you are looking to spend time together in a fascinating environment, rather than looking to spot a pride of lion taking down an elephant while wrestling a crocodile.
When to visit Namibia
We love the consistent temperatures of much of Namibia.
It can get a little hot, but you’re pretty much guaranteed sunshine – and that’s a big plus in our book.
Namibia does follow the rainy/dry climatic pattern, but there is often little rain to make it obvious.
When there is rain, it falls from November to March/April, and this is the rainy summer season.
The dry winter starts around April when the days are clear and the nights cold.
This is the peak of the rainy season, which doesn’t mean much rain, but can mean fresh green grass in the desert and splashes of colour as the flora comes to life.
The air is clear which will please photographers, and the clouds produce some heavenly backdrops to top it off.
This is one of the best times to visit Namibia for photography. When there is a bit of moisture in the air and the light is a little softer, the clouds are arresting, the flora bright.
If you’re a birder or around wildlife you’ll be pleasantly surrounded by migrant birds and young animals.
The dry season presses on and wildlife heads to dwindling waterholes, making for easier game-viewing. This makes May and June a great time for a Namibia safari holiday.
This is a good time to spot wildlife as water becomes still more scarce.
It’s a good time for photography too. However the sun can be just that bit too bright so you might want to request a gentle, very-early-morning, wake up.
The rainy season takes hold (usually – although recently there has been relentless droughts).
This is still a great time to visit, particularly if you enjoy the unpredictability. We love hearing the locals discuss daily whether it will or won’t rain, whether the river will flow this year, or how they can stop the hungry wildlife from breaking into the kitchen to steal fruit.
What to do in Namibia:
Our Top Experiences
Himba visit – Namib DesertThe Himba are semi-nomadic, so you can’t be sure of finding them, but we can’t recommend enough an interaction with these remarkable people, no matter how brief.
We get so caught up in our houses, jobs and schools. But one hour with the Himba and you recognize how ridiculous our first-world worries are.
Flying Safari – Skeleton CoastFly in a light plane over the Hoanib River and floodplain, the dune fields and Klein Oasis, and visit the Skeleton Coast’s shipwrecks and huge Cape fur seal colony.
It’s an excellent way to see at least part of the huge Skeleton Coast which runs half the length of the country.
Sandboarding – SossusvleiSandboarding has grown up since we first shredded the dunes, now there are marked runs of varying difficulty and you will regularly reach speeds of 50mph as you fly down them under the watchful eye of professional instructors.
This is a brilliantly fun activity which is (reasonably!) self-paced, so even grandma can get involved.
Cheetah Interaction – OkonjimaWe don’t tend to support any activities where wildlife is petted or in captivity. However, Okonjima’s Africat Foundation is a genuine non-profit organisation doing great things for wildlife.
Guests have the opportunity to track the rehabilitated cheetahs, wild dogs and spotted hyaenas within the 200km2 (77 sq.m) rehabilitation nature reserves. There are some age restrictions: talk to us to find out the ins and outs.
Black Rhino Tracking – DamaralandTrack the elusive and rare black rhino with some of the best guides in Namibia, by vehicle and on foot (teenagers only).
This is not your entry-level safari activity, and the time and money it takes to get to a position where you are able to track one of these fellas on foot ensures that it will never become so.