When is the best time . . .
Namibia has 300 days of sunshine a year and each season has its unique qualities, so there really is no bad time to visit!
Summers (Jan-March) are hot and fairly damp with average maximum temperatures around 25–35°C (77-95°F) and average minima around 10–20°C (50-68°F).
On a typical day during the rains, you will have blues skies in the morning and by early afternoon the clouds will appear. In the late afternoon there will be an hour’s torrential rain on some days. Such tropical storms are spectacular and everything feels terrifically fresh afterwards. By May the rains have generally ceased, with abundant sunshine and the summer’s plants still lush and green.
Typical winters (June-August) have average maximum temperatures of around 15–25°C (59-77°F) and the average minima are around 0–10°C (32-50°F). That said you will still find yourself wearing shorts and a T-shirt during the day, and getting sunburnt if you are not careful. Clouds will be a rare sight for the next few months and sunsets are spectacular. By September the green vegetation has completed faded and the heat begins to return.
Namibia has the big 5!
For a predominately arid country which is predominately arid, Namibia boasts one of the greatest wildlife populations in the world, some species are truly unique, many are rare, and a few whose lineage goes back long before the first ancestors of mankind evolved.
In the Etosha National Park, huge herds of springbok, gemsbok, zebra, and blue wildebeest, as well as smaller numbers of red hartebeest, Bruchell’s zebra, lion, cheetah and the elusive leopard gather at waterholes and are spotted easily against the stark white background immense salt pans. Waterberg Plateau was proclaimed to nurture small numbers of endangered animals – different species of antelope, buffalo, white rhino and many more. Cape Cross on the Skeleton Coast represents one of the largest seal reserves in the world. These three parks represent the most popular wildlife attractions in Namibia, but others dot the entire country – all experiencing a renaissance of sorts thanks to a massive internationally recognized conservation effort.
The end of the dry season (between July and October) is generally the best time to see big game. It is then, as the small bush pools dry up and the green vegetation shrivels, the animals move closer to the springs or the waterholes and rivers.
During and after the rains, it is unlikely to see much game, partly because the lush vegetation hides the animals, and partly because most of them will have moved away from the waterholes (where they are most easily located) and gone deeper into the bush.
For Bird Watching
The rainy season (October to April) is the best time for birding. The last few months of the year witness the arrival of the summer migrant birds from the north, anticipating the coming of the rains. In the lush Caprivi Strip, you’ll find exotic lilac-breast rollers, pygmy geese and African Jacanas. When the rains are good, the natural pans in Etosha and Bushmanland will fill with aquatic bird species, including huge numbers of flamingos.
The best time for hiking is during the cooler months (April- October). Note that most of the long trails in the national parks are closed between November and March. The popular Fish River Canyon Hiking Trail can be undertaken only from April 15 to September 15.
How to Travel
Visitors can travel through the country by means of scheduled tours in luxury coaches or microbuses, by train,
fly-in safaris, self-drive tours, off-the-beaten-track camping trips in 4×4 vehicles, specialised tailor-made tours,
wilderness safaris, safaris on horseback, canoeing and white-river rafting. Specialist tailor-made tours for birdwatchers, geologists, anglers, ethnologists, photographers and other specialist travellers are guided by experts
in the respective fields.
Self-drive trips are excellent for travellers who like to have some flexibility in their itinerary and explore places off the beaten path.
All you need is a reliable vehicle, an international driver’s license, a good map and a good sense of adventure. Namibia has good infrastructure and friendly people and the combination lends itself to self-exploration. The country has a vast, well-maintained road network with international links to South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia, cell phone coverage that spans the entire country and accommodation that varies from community campsites to 5 star luxury. English is the official language, so North Americans and most Europeans find the country easy to navigate
and with the locals. You can connect with other travellers visiting Namibia here.
Most visitors choose to stay in lodge style accommodation while travelling in Namibia, but the country also has a range of hotels.
The choices vary from rustic country hotels to large luxury hotels in the major town such as Windhoek and Swakopmund.
Bush camps and lodges are available at various price levels, and often have a distinct feel and atmosphere.
Guest farms are private farms, which host small numbers of guests and offer a very personal experience. Guests will often dine with the hosts and be taken on excursions by them during the day. Most have some wildlife on their land and conduct their own game drives. Many guest farms cater to German-speaking visitors. As space in these establishments is limited, they should usually be booked in advance.
Namibia is a camper’s paradise. There is a wide choice of sites all over Namibia for seasoned campers or nervous novices on their first camping holiday, from luxury campsites under shady trees and grassy lawns, to wild places under a camel-thorn tree in a sandy riverbed. In the more remote areas, far from settlements, it is perfectly acceptable to just sleep by the road. In recent years, there has been a growth in the number of community campsites. These campsites, especially in the northwest and north-east of the country, have stylishly natural designs, and have been built with material from the area.
Community campsites provide a base from which to enjoy and explore the highlights of the country and magnificent scenery, while offering opportunities to meet the various and interesting ethnic groups of Namibia, eat local food, visit local homesteads, make new friends and experience new cultures.
Visas & Entry
Foreign nationals must be in possession of a passport that is valid for at least six months after date of entry. Passports should also contain a minimum of 6 blank pages. A visa is required from all visitors except nationals of countries with which Namibia has the necessary visa abolition agreement. No visas are required for South African passport holders travelling as bona fide tourists. All other South African citizens require visas, for instance when travelling to Namibia for business reasons. Holidaymakers and tourists are welcome to remain in the country for a period of 90 days. Business visas are granted at the discretion of the immigration authorities. It should be noted that immigration officials have the authority to grant duration of stay, which is to be based on the information provided on the arrival form, and tourists are advised to check their passports and documentation to ensure that the visa granted matches the duration of stay intended. Tourist visas can be obtained from the Ministry of Home Affairs, at Namibian embassies and the NTB office in Cape Town. Please note that visas cannot be obtained from points of entry. Visas can be extended and applications for extension of visas granted must be submitted to any Home Affairs Office, with prescribed fees applying.
If visitors to Namibia have a tourist/holiday visa, they are not allowed to engage in any employment while in the country. Should they wish to do so, they should apply for an employment permit in their country of residence prior to entry. The same applies for study permits.