Travelling to Namibia: the highlights

If vast, expansive landscapes are what make you tick and you simply love the African wilderness and wildlife, Namibia has got to be on your bucket list. It is a magical place, with rolling dunes, desert, a rugged coastline and it’s perfect for those who have a taste for adventure and want to explore. Here we have picked our highlights when travelling to Namibia.

Little Kulala Hot Air Balloon Banner

Hot Air Balloon experiences at Little Kulala

When to travel

Namibia is an extremely dry country and a place that can offer a spectacular holiday throughout the year. Wildlife viewing is particularly good from September to November in Etosha. From December to March you can expect some thunder showers and humidity. June to August – make sure you pack some warm clothes as temperatures can drop significantly (freezing) at night.

Where to go

There really is so much to see and do in Namibia and the distances between towns, game reserves and natural wonders is vast. It is for this reason that we highly recommend one of our Namibian itineraries – so that you can see and do all that you dream of without ridiculously long travel times. Get in touch with us and we will gladly arrange.

To illustrate distances:
Windhoek to Fish River Canyon: approximately 8 hours (750km)
Windhoek to Sossusvlei: approximately 5 hours (450km)
Windhoek to Swakopmund: approximately 4 hours (360km)
Windhoek to Etosha: approximately 7 hours (540km)

Etosha
Etosha National Park is Namibia’s prime wildlife location. ‘Etosha’ means ‘great white area’ – referring to the large dried pan in the middle of the park. Most lodges within the park have lit watering holes at night which adds to all the excitement. Expect phenomenal game viewing: cheetah, elephant, rhino, zebra, bird life and more.

Dust_Cloud_in_Etosha_National_Park

Etosha National Park. Source: Wikipedia.

Kholmanskop ghost town
Close to Lüderitz, you will find Kholmanskop which is the famous ‘ghost town’. The town came to be when in 1908 diamonds were discovered here. The diamond industry then caused the town to grow and flourish but this was short-lived as greater diamond deposits were found elsewhere. The town was then deserted. Sand dunes encroach, the buildings crumble but some have been restored and there is an interesting museum. Definitely worth a visit (obtain your permit and join a guided tour), particularly if you are in the Lüderitz area.

Souce: Houggaard Malan

Image © Houggaard Malan

Swakopmund
Swakopmund is Namibia’s most popular holiday destination with plenty to do from surfing, fishing and relaxing on the beach to exploring the old colonial German town. This is the place to stay and explore both the Namib desert and the rugged coastline.

Fish River Canyon
Down in the South of Namibia, the Fish River Canyon is the largest in Africa and one of the most popular sight-seeing destinations. The canyon is definitely worth visiting – a true natural wonder.

Fish River Canyon

Image © Patrick Giraud

The Namib Desert
The Namib Desert is one of the world’s driest areas and is often spoken of as the world’s oldest desert. It is an immense coastal desert with spectacular gravel plains and sand dunes that stretch along the coastline. Sossusvlei is known for the horseshoe dunes – and is an absolute must-visit whilst in Namibia.

Sossusvlei. Image © Hans Hillewaert

Sossusvlei © Hans Hillewaert

Lüderitz
In the South-West of Namibia you will find the old, colonial town of Lüderitz. It was founded in 1883 and grew in the early 1900s when diamonds were discovered nearby. It’s a fascinating place as little has changed here since the early 20th century. Go to the museum, see the flamingos, ostriches, seals and penguins and the old colonial architecture.

Windhoek
The capital of Namibia, Windhoek, is a great place to start or break up your trip. It’s a cosmopolitan city, largely pedestrian-friendly and a wonderful place to explore. From the cathedral to German colonial architecture, the Alte Feste (old fort), parliament buildings and national museum, there is a lot to see and do.

Where to stay

Swakopmund Hotel
If you are keen to explore this historic town, the skeleton coast and Namib desert dunes, the Swakopmund Hotel is a good place to base yourself. It is built in and around the old German Station Building and offers entertainment from desert tours, camel rides, dune boarding and quad biking to fishing and a dolphin cruise.

Swakopmund Hotel Ext

Serra Cafema
One of the most remote camps in Southern Africa, Serra Cafema is set on the banks of the Kunene River, in the North-West corner of Namibia. A luxurious blend of romance and culture, Serra Cafema is nestled beneath shady albida trees, in the breathtaking Hartmans Valley. Experience the luxury of a 5 Star desert retreat, intertwined with the ancient nomadic culture of the land. Bliss.

Serra Cafema main area

Ongava Lodge
Perched on a hill in the Ongava Game Reserve on the southern boundary of the Etosha National Park, Ongava Lodge overlooks a waterhole, where game can be spotted quenching their thirst in the searing African heat. Etosha National Park is not only one of Africa’s largest game reserves, but has one of the biggest concentrations of wildlife in Namibia.

Ongava

Sossusvlei Desert Lodge
A secluded, luxury haven surrounded by awe-inspiring dunes and rocky outcrops, Sossusvlei Desert Lodge is located in the far northern part of the Namib Rand Private Nature Reserve, which stretches out over a vast area of 450,000 acres, between the Namib Desert and the craggy edge of the escarpment. If tranquility, wide open spaces, endless horizons and rugged mountain ranges spark your interest, then the Sossusvlei Desert is where you should spend your next break.

Sossusvlei Desert Lodge

Little Kulala
Situated in Sossusvlei, Namibia, Little Kulala is a luxurious desert retreat situated in a private Wilderness Reserve in the Sossusvlei region. The magnificent Sossusvlei is the gateway to Namibia’s Sand Sea, with huge towering red dunes and bright starry African skies. Experience the ancient beauty of the breathtaking Namib Desert at Little Kulala Camp, the only lodge with direct access to the Sossusvlei desert of Namibia.

Little Kulala 2

Hotel Heinitzburg

A stop in Windhoek is on many a Namibian itinerary and Hotel Heinitzburg offers comfortable, luxurious accomodation with views of the city. Sip sundowners on the terrace and cool ff in the sparkling pool after a day sight-seeing.

Greatest Africa © Hotel Heinitzburg

The pool at Hotel Heinitzburg

Namibia is vast. It is magical. It is quite overwhelming when it comes to planning a trip! Get in touch and we will create a bespoke itinerary for you to take in everything and more that you can imagine!

About the Author
Richard is the Founding MD of Greatest Africa & Richard Hilton Vineyards. He lives in Somerset West with this wife, Fiona, and their two girls. He is passionate about the Cape, travel, global wines, wine education and sharing his experiences of this beautiful country that he calls home.

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