Namibia is characterized by its desert habitat and a remarkable variety of landforms. This harsh environment forms a magnificent backdrop for a different kind of safari. Animal populations are smaller, but sightings in this sparse setting tend to be rewarding. Not to be missed is Etosha National Park, a seasonal wildlife magnet.
Pros & Cons
- Excellent waterhole-based wildlife viewing at Etosha
- Long coastline with marine animals, such as seal colonies
- Good infrastructure and excellent self-drive safari options
- High-end and budget safaris
- Low population and vast undeveloped areas
- Highly photogenic scenery and colors
- Desert habitat doesn't support high animal densities
The open, arid landscape of Namibia doesn’t support animals in great numbers, but you’ll certainly have no trouble seeing the ones that do live here. These include plenty of wildebeest, zebra, lion and elephant, with large groups congregating in Etosha. The country is particularly good for seeing cheetah, which are widespread, while the more elusive black rhino and brown hyena confine themselves to coastal locations.
More about the Namibia wildlife
Because of the arid environment, wildlife numbers are relatively low in Namibia, but animals are easy to spot. All of the big predators are present, and cheetah is especially common throughout. Huge herds of animals, elephant in particular, can be seen in the Dry season at Etosha pan.
Weather & Climate
A subtropical desert climate is the norm in Namibian parks. In the winter (May to October), this means barely any rain and afternoon temperatures that hardly ever rise above 28°C/82°F. The rain finally arrives a few months into summer (November to April), accompanied by humidity, and fierce heat in the desert areas that approaches 40°C/104°F. It also gets cooler the higher you climb in Namibia, which refers mainly to the country’s central plateau.
More about the weather and climate
Best Time to Visit
The sunny, virtually cloudless days of the Dry season (May to October) are a very pleasant time to visit. Although from June to August it can get very chilly overnight and in the early morning. The Dry season also happens to be the best time to go wildlife watching, as the animals gather around any water and so are easy to find. It’s harder to get up close to wildlife in the at-times strikingly hot Wet season (November to April), even in Etosha.
More about the best time to visit
Premier Parks & Reserves
- Etosha – Classic safari
- Namib-Naukluft – Scenery, animals scarce
- Skeleton Coast – Scenery and marine wildlife
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