Our guide to
Pure vastness, destined to enthral those safari mavericks seeking new found adventure in an ancient land.
Imagine 200 million acres of land ranging from the shifting sand dunes of Sossusvlei, stark gravel plains stretching down to the mist-shrouded Skeleton Coast, to Etosha National Park and its wildlife rich salt pans, not to mention the world’s second largest canyon, Fish River.
This doesn’t even touch upon lesser-known and visited national parks and concession areas that offer truly remote land safaris, wildlife sightings like wild horses, desert adapted elephant and rhino to birding safaris, cultural interactions, boating safaris, canoeing and fishing. There is a myriad of impressive landscapes to see on a Namibia safari too, like quiver tree and ghost tree forests, dolerite boulders, meteorite depressions and underground caves. The list continues with eerie ghost towns in the south overtaken by shifting sands and wonderful untouched waterways and channels in the far northeastern corner with floodplains and magnificent baobabs.
On a holiday in Namibia, you can truly escape the stress of modern day life, experience freedom, admire impressive landscapes, interact with ancient tribes and witness wildlife in their natural habitats.
If the limitless horizons, huge untamed wilderness areas, pleasant sunny climate, beautiful coastline, or abundant national parks and concessions don’t sell Namibia, the well-developed tourism infrastructure, adventure activities, remote luxury safari camps and Namibia safari lodges will.
The opportunities to enjoy the wild beauty of this vast, empty and ancient land are almost as limitless as its horizons. Here are just a handful of Namibia safari styles available to you.
Thanks to a brilliant road system and infrastructure, Namibia self drive holidays are gaining in popularity because there’s so much to see and do. Namibia air safaris remain the top choice because distances are vast between regions and it allows guests to effortlessly move from place to place with more time spent on safari than in transit. Whilst we don’t offer a vast array of Namibia group tours, the hand selected trips we do offer are extraordinary due to custom built vehicles, the best Namibia safari guides and nicely paced itineraries visiting enticing regions and utilising awesome Namibia safari camps and Namibia safari lodges.
Namibia honeymoon safaris are increasingly popular thanks to the freedom to explore, wind beneath your wings if you fly or wind in your hair if you choose a Namibia self drive holiday.
Luxury Namibia safaris with private vehicle and guides offer you an effortless and rewarding experience that’s designed around your interests, needs and preferred safari holiday pace.
More on a Namibia Safari
Facts and figures are not for everyone. So we will keep this brief and interesting, mixing up some statistics and our take on Namibia.
Where is it and what should one expect?
Located in southern Africa on the Atlantic Ocean, you will be privy to one of the world’s lowest population densities and Namibian safari exploring has a real sense of solitude, wonder and awe attached to it. Namibia is the second least densely populated country on earth after Mongolia with approximately 2.5 million people. It is also the country we adore for dramatic, contrasting scenery from a mist shrouded coastline dotted with whale bones and ship wrecks, rolling mountainous sand dunes of the Kalahari Desert to the vast pans of Etosha National Park abundant with wildlife.
Fish River Canyon is the second largest canyon in the world after the Grand Canyon. It was formed over 500 million years ago and is 161 kilometres long, 27 kilometres wide and 550 metres deep. There are lovely accommodation options here and some brilliant trekking options to choose from.
The Namib Desert including Sossusvlei, is home to some of the most epic (and world’s largest and oldest) sand dunes. These ever-shifting sand dunes and powerfully towering landscapes are truly spectacular at sunrise as the light arrives, pushing darkness into pale hues of colour before the sun bursts the horizon banks with a brilliance of bright colours bouncing all around you.
A Namibia safari also allows you a unique opportunity to interact with the San Bushmen of the Kalahari, Namibia’s first people and the nomadic Himba tribe that remain loyal to their traditional life as goat herders.
The Himba tribes of Kaokoland and Kunene are internationally known for their unique skin rubbed with red ochre. This tribe retains many of its traditions, unchanged since the 16th century. Extreme isolation and a conservative way of life see the Himba surviving to this day. The older generation cling to the traditions and the children are more and more receiving education in the national system and may in time abandon the customs and traditions. Visiting the Himba is possible and we highly recommend it for guests who value the opportunity to spend a brief period of time with ancient culture. Keep in mind you need a cultural sensitivity and respect for tradition and lifestyle.
Namibia city exploring is often a surprising highlight for guests. Swakopmund offers an adventure playground and it is here you can get a glimpse of the Skeleton Coast. The city resembles a small German town and has a colonial charm with palm lined streets, seaside promenades filled with restaurants, cafes, art galleries and museums.
Walvis Bay is close by for a marine safari and sand dunes are on your doorstep, ideal to explore in 4×4 and witness the little things that wander the wilderness here. Windhoek is the capital and starting point for most Namibia safari makers. It’s quite a cosmopolitan town with some great restaurants and markets to explore if your timing is right.
Namibia is home to Damaraland and its UNESCO World Heritage Site, Twyfelfontien. The region boasts impressive petrified forests, cave networks, granite formations and rocky landscapes that shelter ancient (late stone age) rock engravings and the largest collection on the continent. The engravings depict wildlife like rhinoceros, ostrich, giraffe and elephant plus drawings of humans.
The engravings are evidence of the nomadic hunter-gatherer life and their ritual practices. This is also the region where you can experience a unique wildlife safari in search of the rare desert adapted elephant and rhino.
The second UNESCO World Heritage Site in Namibia classified in 2013 is the Namib Sand Sea. It’s the only coastal desert in the world and a stunning sight to behold. Just imagine a desert of rolling sand dunes 300 metres tall, spanning more than 30 kilometres along the coastline. Being close to the coast means moisture is retained in the desert and that heralds great conditions for small wildlife.
Namibia’s history is colourful from German control in the late 1800s, diamond discovery in the early 1900s and South Africa control during the First World War. Namibia Independence came in 1990 after a bush war that stemmed some 25 years. Today as a Namibia holidaymaker, you will experience a beautiful harmony amongst the 2.45million people from 14 ethnic groups speaking 26 different languages. There is an evident commitment to cultural preservation and wilderness protection here too, part of its attraction and certainly a cornerstone of the Namibian experience.
Best time to visit Namibia
The Namibian climate is typical of a semi-desert environment with warm to extremely hot days and more often than not sunny and cooler nights. There is little rain other than the first few months of the year (December to March). Even then it’s not enough to detract you from visiting in our humble opinion.
May to September are traditionally the best months for a Namibia safari. Etosha National Park is considered best in the drier season, June to October when wildlife congregates around waterholes. Photographers prefer April and May when temperatures are moderate, air quality is good (little to no dust pollution), rain fall nil and landscapes are green. If you do not cope with heat, make sure you avoid travelling between November and February!
Conservation in Namibia
Significantly, Namibia was the very first country in Africa to incorporate protection of the environment in its constitution and the government gave people living in communal areas the chance to manage their natural resources through the establishment of communal conservancies. Today this results in over 43% of land in 70 registered conservancies being under conservation management and because if these efforts, populations have been restored in multiple species including lion, cheetah, black rhino, zebra and other native wildlife to the world’s richest dry land.
It has also benefited the locals and today with a direct correlation drawn between conservation and poverty alleviation. One in four rural Namibians are now attached to a conservancy which immediately provides them with improved facilities and resources. Tourism has created employment and fostered a range of revenue sources for locals like craft markets and local produce.
Your Namibian safari holiday will be contributing to conservation and sustainability efforts, another great reason to work with Encompass Africa.
Namibia Safari Feedback
From those who have ventured
From start to finish we have had the absolute best service from Encompass Africa.
Southern Africa family adventure -Wheeler familyRead more
We absolutely enjoyed the Namibia self driving holiday. We agreed that we can go back for longer next time! The ideas are already flowing in my head! We are thinking about 6 weeks in three years so get ready!
Namibia self drive romance – Smith & CoRead more
The trip was one of the most amazing experiences of my life and I loved every single second of it.