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Namibia - a land of contrasts

Wide–open spaces, diverse desert landscapes, unspoilt nature and an eerie, dramatic coastline, along with a vast wealth of birds and animals make this spectacular destination ideal for travel whether its a self–drive, fly–in, small group and private–guided safaris. Perfect for the first–time Africa visitor, or as a life–long devotee, Namibia has something unique to offer. Search for desert–adapted elephant in dry riverbeds, track the last free–roaming black rhino hidden among ancient landscapes, climb a rust–red dune in the world’s oldest desert or simply take in the wonder of the harsh terrain. A country guaranteed to steal your soul.

Self-Drive Safaris

Namibia is an excellent self–drive destination and one of the most affordable ways to explore the country with its range of 5* boutique style lodges, to campsites and ideal for those who want a little more independence. A tour consultant will meet you in Windhoek toanswer any last–minute questions. All self–drive options are tailored to suit your interests, budget and time so let us know when and how long you plan to stay in country, how many there are of you, any must–see destinations and interests – essentially the more info you give us, the better we can plan your memorable holiday.


07 Day Classic Namibia Self–Drive

A short self–drive to see the two iconic destinations of Namibia – the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Namib Naukluft Sand Sea with its spectacular apricot sand landscape, and Etosha National Park one of the greatest wildlife havens with a saline pan so large it can be seen from space. With accommodated options, a final night is spent at Okonjima Private Reserve and the chance to see big cats. Sandwiched between the sites is the charming coastal town of Swakopmund.

15 Day Best of Namibia Self–Drive

This self–drive takes you to the sparsely populated south of Namibia with diverse landscapes from canyons, mountains and deserts. Continue to the quirky adventure town of Swakopmund and drive up to the barren and dramatic coastline to Damaraland and onto Etosha in the north completing a circuit of the country, to include great game viewing and a top conservation programme.

11 Day Namibia Kaleidoscope Private–Guided Safari

A private–guided safari of Namibia exploring the stark yet stunningly beautiful sand dunes of Sossusvlei, the seaside and activity town of Swakopmund before continuing to the dramatic landscapes of Damaraland visiting ancient rock etchings along with local Damara and Himba tribes. Explore one of the most prolific game parks of Southern Africa – Etosha National Park. An all–round tour for landscape lovers, wildlife enthusiasts and those seeking some cultural interaction.

15 Day North Namibia & Cultural Private–Guided Safari

This 15 day private–guided tour focuses on the north of Namibia with rugged and remote landscapes, frontier towns, and a river bordering Angola where the arid region meets lush vegetation. Journey across to the Caprivi, take in a mokoro excursion, explore the wildlife haven of Etosha and combine it with cultures to give you an insight into local life.

Private-Guided Safaris

Chameleon Holidays are specialists in arranging bespoke safaris throughout Namibia. Whether you wish to see the famous sights of Sossusvlei and Etosha or visit the wild and remote corners of the country we will be able to help you. Your experienced safari guide will be a highly skilled individual with knowledge and enthusiasm for the country, who will be eager to share this with you as you explore, be it in a camping style trip or a fully accommodated, luxury safari. We can assist you with planning a trip for two people or for a group of family and friends to ensure that your dream becomes a reality.Please send us as much information as possible to allow us to ensure you have a holiday of a lifetime.

Group Safaris

A scheduled/group safari is an ideal way to explore Africa for the first–time visitor. Not only is it an affordable way to enjoy a country but can be perfect for single travellers looking to journey with other like–minded companions.Scheduled trips can vary in length, group size and comfort from basic camping to luxury trips, as a general rule, a camping tour in a safari overland truck (perhaps 20 people or so) is often the most cost–effective option and can be just a few days long to around 3 weeks and cover multiple countries – ideal for the adventurous and young at heart.A smaller group size and vehicle, a dedicated guide, along with more upmarket lodges is often an indicator of increased expense.Just remember with a scheduled tour, most will have set departure dates and fixed itinerary and can’t be adapted to your individual needs but do provide a great option of travel.

03 Day Sossusvlei Accommodated Scheduled Safari

A short safari to the iconic Sossusvlei dunes, there’s the chance to explore the area on foot and enjoy this area of outstanding beauty at every turn, whether gazing from the top of a perfectly–sculpted dune, or wandering across the stark Dead Vlei pan with its ancient trees.

03 Day Etosha Accommodated Scheduled Safari

Join this 3 day scheduled guided safari to Etosha National Park – Namibia’s premier game reserve and have the chance to spot some of the great diversity of wildlife from predators such as lion and leopard to plains game. This Etosha safari is offered as an accommodated trip departing from Windhoek on a Tuesday and finishing in the coastal town of Swakopmund.

04–06 Day Skeleton Coast Fly–In Safari

The famed

Skeleton Coast in Namibia stretches from the borders of Angola in the north, down to the south of the country and conjures up mysterious visions of mist–enshrouded beaches strewn with bleached whalebones and rusted shipwrecks. This is a landscape of haunting beauty, join this fly–in safari exploring the coastline both from a birds–eye perspective and from vehicles enjoying excursions to explore this remote area.

07 Day Desert & Wildlife Namibia Fly–In Safari

This is a 7day fly in safari that showcases the legendary dunes of Sossusvlei, the rugged topography of the Damaraland region with its desert–adapted elephant and free–roaming black rhino as well as the wildlife of Etosha National Park and surrounds. Set within private concessions, accommodation tented chalets or 4–5* lodge accommodation and there are seat rate flight transfers between destinations.

Fly-In Safaris

By far the best way to see this vast country in a short period of time, safaris can be tailored to take in not only the highlights but to experience some of the remote locations only accessible by air. Get a spectacular birds–eye view of this incredible country on a fly–in adventure. For those with a reasonably good budget, there are scheduled or set route options, perhaps taking you to the renowned Skeleton Coast and beyond

Guided Self-Drive Safaris

A guided self–drive is just that! A Chameleon guide will travel in their own vehicle "leading the way" for clients driving behind in their own vehicles and perfect for travellers who lack experience of the area. Not only will your guide will give daily briefings, but explain the history and culture of country, the flora and fauna, and " guide" the group, yet you still have a degree of freedom, independence, personal space and the chance to experience a unique adventure.

A guided self drive holiday is the perfect option for those looking for freedom and adventure while on holiday in Namibia

10 Day Simply Namibia Guided Self–Drive

A guided self–drive in Namibia is just that – a guide will travel in a separate vehicle leading the way, be on hand to answer questions and explain some of the wonders of Namibia. Clients can relax and follow behind in their own self–drive vehicle, and on some days perhaps head off independently – it’s the best of both worlds offering adventure and yet knowing a knowledgeable guide will share some of nature’s secrets with you. This 10 day tour takes in incredible landscapes, the coast, game viewing, cultural explorations and much more, it can be tailored to suit you and your groups’ requirements. Available in both camping and mid–range accommodated options

16 Day Northern Namibia & Cultural Adventure Guided Self–Drive

A guided self–drive is just that – a guide will travel in a separate vehicle leading the way, be on hand to answer questions and explain some of the wonders of Namibia. Clients can relax and follow behind in their own self–drive vehicle, and on some days perhaps head off independently – it’s the best of both worlds offering adventure and yet knowing a knowledgeable guide will share some of nature’s secrets with you. This exciting camping tour takes in various local cultures, stunning landscapes, excellent game viewing and much more, it can be tailored to suit you and your groups’ requirements

Namibia Regions: take a closer look

One of Namibia’s top attractions and its easy to see why – the towering dunes of Sossusvlei and the sand dune sea; Dead Vlei with it’s skeletal acacia trees, shimmering white pan, huge apricot dunes and the back drop of blue skies make this area a “must see” destination for most first time visitors. However, it doesn’t end there with the nearby Naukluft mountain region and incredible desert scenery this is the place to come. A beautiful region for landscapes, you will see animals such as springbok and oryx that have adapted to this harsh region but don’t come here if you think animals will abound!

At nearly 50,000 sq kms, this is one of Africa’s largest national parks and Namibia’s largest. The Namibrand Nature Reserve lies to the south, the mountains to the east and heads north to the coast and town of Walvis Bay border the park. The main attractions of Dead Vlei, Sossusvlei, Sesriem Canyon and the surrounding areas are around 5–6hour drive from Windhoek. A minimum of 2 nights is recommended and if you want to hike in the Naukluft Mountains or explore Namibrand further nights are required. There is a range of comfort levels of accommodation but remember that only the guests staying at Sossus Dunes Lodge or at Sesriem Campsite (both government run) will be able to access the heart of the dunes for sunrise (inner gate opens 1 hour prior to sunrise), all other visitors enter when the outer gate opens at sunrise and its still an hour drive to the 2x4 car park and the main access point.

Sossusvlei and surrounds: Standing amongst the dunes watching the sunrise as the shadows fall and stretch across the ridges is nothing less than spectacular. As the day progresses the hard deep colours of varying degrees of ivory, orange, red and purple soften to pastel shades and appear to merge. Climbing a dune is certainly worth the hard slog if only to enjoy the endless views of surrounding sand sea – Big Daddy is the largest dune of all, towering above Dead Vlei and running down the slip–face is exhilarating – for an easier trek try the dune adjoining Sossusvlei. Dune 45 is the most accessible from the road and popular – so much so that its perhaps the most photographed. Whilst animals are not plentiful, look out for oryx, springbok and ostrich crossing the gravel plains and even into the dunes.

Sesriem Canyon: Located just a few kms from Sesriem Campsite and entrance of the national park, the 30m deep Sesriem Canyon derives its name from the early settlers who passed through the region and found permanent waters at the bottom of the canyon. Six reins (thongs) were tied together with a bucket attached and used to collect life–saving water and how its name arose. The canyon itself is formed by hundreds of years of erosion from the Tsauchab River flowing to Sossusvlei and exposing conglomerate layers of schist, rocks and gravel that were laid down over millions of years.

Naukluft Mountains: This range of rugged mountains that rise steeply on the eastern side of the Namib Naukluft National Park is home to mountain zebra, kudu, klipspringer, springbok and leopards. Most visitors come to hike through steep gorges, plunge in freshwater pools and enjoy the stunning mountains; the most popular short walks are the 9km Olive Trail and 17km Waterkloof Trail.

Namibia’s prime game viewing destination and one of Africa’s largest game parks Etosha is home to thousands of animals including elephant, big cats, huge herds of plains game along with 340 bird species. The barren saltpan can be seen from space and seems endless as mirages blur on the surface, its no surprise that Etosha is one of Namibia’s most destinations and a must for any game–viewing enthusiasts.

Etosha can be visited year round – though the dry season is considered the best time to visit for more guaranteed sightings when thousands of animals congregate at waterholes around the pan including various antelope, giraffe, zebra, elephant, cheetah and leopard. Etosha has a high concentration of lion, and one of the largest remaining populations of black rhino. Bird species include Hartlaub’s francolin, Rüppell’s parrot and white–tailed shrike. In the rainy season flamingos arrive at Fischer’s pan to breed, and blue crane are also found. The animals move towards the plains for fresh grazing and many such as wildebeest, springbok and zebra give birth, in turn, the young bring predators such as lion and hyena so sightings of these species are not unusual but with denser vegetation and animals not dependent on waterholes sightings need to worked upon. Etosha is easy to self–drive around or can be enjoyed on a guided tour. There is an excellent range of accommodation of varying comfort levels both inside and outside the park. Ongava to the south of Anderrsons Gate and Onguma to the east (Von Lindequist Gate) are private reserves offering quality accommodation and game viewing activities that continue into the evening.

The accommodation inside the park is parastatal and as such unfortunately generally isn’t maintained to the services of the privately run establishments – be prepared for varied service and food etc. However, if you are at Halali or Okaukuejo the floodlit waterhole normally makes up for this as during dry season a whole host of animals come to drink particularly around sunset and into the evening. Sit, relax, have wine or a beer and enjoy. Most private lodges are located outside the park and to the south or east – there’s a range to suit most pockets from affordable to luxury (deep pockets needed), those adjacent to the national park generally are on their own private reserve and you can still game view from the comfort of the lodge. More affordable options do not have game viewing options and can be further away from the park entrance so just check first so you know what to expect. If your time allows it, spend a night or two in the park and further time outside.

Just remember, if its rainy season and there is plenty of ground water, don’t expect loads of animals at the waterholes – you have to go out and look for them but they are still there!

The two main coastal towns of Namibia sit roughly midway along the coastline with Swakopmund around 30km north of the port town of Walvis Bay.  Swakop is the country’s main tourist town and as such the majority of visitors stay here with its vibrant atmosphere, Walvis Bay is excellent for watching coastal birds on the lagoon and sightseeing boat cruises running from the harbour but overall is more restricted in accommodation establishments and appeal.

Swakopmund: Is Namibia’s main coastal and the country’s top holiday town yet retains an air of enchantment.  With colonial style buildings, palm–lined streets and bordering the Atlantic Ocean it has a charm of its own.  The weather is different from the inland regions generally with fogs hanging in the morning and late afternoon so the climate is considerably cooler, but when the east wind blows hang on to your hat as sandblasting is guaranteed –it’s certainly not a sunbathing destination.  There is plenty to keep visitors entertained with adrenaline activities – sky diving, sand–boarding, quad–biking, and for those seeking more sedate options can experience scenic flights, township tours, along with a variety of desert orientated trips, wander around the town and visit museums or simply enjoy the charm and atmosphere over a coffee.  There is a wide choice of accommodation from budget to 5*, along with cafes with gorgeous cakes, shops, restaurants and numerous shops for those wanting to take gifts home.

Walvis Bay:  The history of Walvis Bay differs greatly to that of Swakop with the port area remaining in the hands of the British and subsequently South Africa until 1994 (after the country’s independence), and the town itself retains this atmosphere.  The lagoon waterfront areas are the most appealing to overseas visitors with many of the accommodation establishments based in this area.  It’s one of the most important wetland areas along the southern African coastline and as such was declared a RAMSAR site in 1971; it’s easy to stand on the edge of the lagoon watching intra–African and Palaeartic migrants in the quiet waters.  Flamingos, pelicans, grebes along with migratory waders can all be found and during the summer months watch out for the endemic Damara tern.  The waterfront offers a couple of restaurant options as well as being the departure point for marine cruises etc.

Cape Cross seal colony: Although history shows Diago Cao landing here in 1486 and planting a cross whilst searching for a sea route to the Far East, nowadays Cape Cross is famous for it’s huge seal colony.  The seals are here year round with largest numbers during the breeding season, males arrive in October where they stake their territory claim, females give birth, and within a few days mate with a new male and the cycle starts all over again, during this time over 200,000 team on the beach in what seems like chaos! The drive north from Swakopmund is 72km.

Located in the northeast of the country, east of Grootfontein and part of the northern Kalahari basin the area is best–known for visiting Bushman/San people who are thought to be the first inhabitants of much of southern Africa.  There are several “Living Museums:” geared to tourists and directly assisting the local communities, however, Nhoma Camp is perhaps the best and most authentic option to get an insight into this remarkable tribe.  It is one of the least–visited areas. 

Driving east from Grootfontein towards Tsumkwe takes you into the heart of the region, as you head across the area is surprisingly vegetated with bush and low trees due to the considerable amount of rainfall that normally occurs.  Though called a desert, the Kalahari isn’t a true desert due to the volume of rainfall but a fossil desert and deep sand (so considered a desert). There are Bushman “Living Museums” in the area but experiences vary and are geared towards tourism, and visits can be just for 1hour to a full day giving a little more insight, however, they do play a vital role and provide income for the local communities.  Nhoma Camp provides the most authentic Bushman experience and they also offer visits to nearby Khaudom National Park and Nyae Nyae Pan.  Sedan vehicles are not suitable for the road conditions and the roads become poorer quality with sandy conditions the further east you travel.  Tsumkwe offers the basics.
Khaudom National Park:  North of Tsumkwe lies Khaudom, a remote, pristine and seldom–visited park.  Here you’ll find clay pans, savannah and woodlands of acacia and mopane along with beautiful teak forests along with a surprising amount of wildlife.  These numbers may be small compared to Etosha but has it’s own unique wild atmosphere unlike anywhere else in the country.  Elephant, big cats and hyaena roam as well as the largest concentration of endangered wild dog in Namibia. The remoteness of the park and it’s general inaccessibility mean few tourists visit, most explore here with guided tours from local operators.

Nyae Nyae Pan: Just 18km south of Tsumkwe is Nyae Nyae Pan, and as the name suggests there are a number of salt–pans that can be explored.  During the dry season game is attracted to drink and includes gemsbok, elephant, duiker, kudu, oryx, steenbok and jackals.  After the rains flamingos arrive in numbers to breed along with other waterbirds.

A region located in the far north–east of the country and where Namibia meets Botswana, and Zambia.  This area receives more rainfall than much of the country and is reputed for birding and tiger fishing, along with water dependent game including hippos and crocs; many visitors explore the national parks before continuing to Victoria Falls.

This narrow strip of land that runs from Rundu east to Katima Mulilo (the largest town in the area) and from here you can cross to Zambia or onwards into Botswana and Chobe.  Just north lies the border of Namibia and Angola with the Okavango River separating these countries,  and further east Kwando and Zambezi Rivers flowing  towards Victoria Falls and onwards. There are five small national parks with a surprising amount of wildlife including water dependent species not found in Etosha and numerous species of waterbirds including endemics.   Plenty of villages line the road and are full of rondavel style huts, cattle & donkeys along with sellers lining the road – this area is far more like Zambia or Zimbabwe than many other areas of Namibia. 

Rundu:  A busy little town that acts mainly as a crossing point between Angola and Namibia, often used as a quick stopover for fuel or an overnight stop – it’s best to stay outside of town on the banks of the river.

West Caprivi:  As the Okavango River starts it’s southward flow into Botswana there are two small national parks – along the river are a number of lodges nestled amongst the majestic trees and are bases to explore the parks before continuing onward.

Mahango National Park:  Now part of Bwabwata National Park, this little gem borders Botswana and the Okavango River forms part of it’s border to the east.  Along with the river, there are floodplains, dry woodland of acacias and the odd baobab tree.  With so much permanent water, game such as buffalo, sable, reedbuck and bushbuck, hippos and crocs can be spotted along with elephant, and more unusual species including red lechwe and sitatunga.
Birdlife is prolific with more species here than in any other Namibian park so a must for birders!  Buffalo Park is on the opposite side of the Okavango River.

Popa Falls Reserve:  Popa Falls is the name of a point where the river drops just a few metres (don’t get excited) but if you want a break from driving it’s worth popping in to visit – there are several tiny islands with footbridges to cross and where you can watch out for birdlife in the tall riverine trees, along with water monitors and frogs.

Caprivi Strip (Zambezi): Bwabwata National Park
The main B8 road bisects this underdeveloped section of the park so as tourists travelling you cross the park – watch out for elephants crossing the road along with raptors but there are no real facilities or roads to explore further (currently).

East Caprivi: Mudumu National Park & Nkasa Rupara (Mamili) National Park

Mudumu National Park: a riverine forest area and a park generally visited by the lodges in the immediate area, where the Kwando River borders it , you can expect to see buffalo, large herds of elephant as well as sitatunga and lechwe

Nkasa Rupara (Mamili) National Park:  A 350 sq km area of mainly marshland and swamp, it is notable for two islands Nkasa & Lupala (Rupara), the area borders the Linyanti River and region in Botswana and the park can easily flood after rains.  4x4 access only and a chance to see puku, sitatunga, red lechwe amongst other species and some of the 430 species of birds!

The south of Namibia is dry, with huge–open spaces, far horizons and perfect for visitors seeking remarkable yet varied desert landscapes and solitude! The Kalahari lies southeast of Windhoek whilst to the southwest is the Namib Naukluft National Park; both differ greatly in geological development. The Namib–Naukluft is home to the huge Sossusvlei dunes and rugged mountain ranges (see Namib Naukluft section), but further south intrigues with ghost towns; Luderitz town and the pounding Atlantic Ocean complete with penguin colony. Inland there’s wild horses, quiver tree forests, and the mighty gash across the landscape of Fish River Canyon (see own section).

Kalahari Basin:The Kalahari stretches across parts of several countries in the interior of the continent from the equator south to the Gariep River. Though not a true desert as it receives too much rainfall this fossil desert it is a vast area of sandy deposits – in some places 300m deep. For visitors this desert is very different to that of the Namib with rolling linear dunes, grassy and tree–lined valleys interspersed with the occasional pan. There are several lodges and camps located in this belt of land and make it an ideal first/last night stop particularly for those continuing south to the Fish River Canyon

Quiver Tree Forest: Whilst quiver trees (Aloe dichotoma) are found in a number of locations in Namibia and northwestern South Africa, many are seen with just a handful of trees growing. Near Keetmanshoop they flourish in the rocky outcrops and several hundred specimens of these strange and prehistoric looking trees can be seen growing. Given their common name by the San people they originally used the hollow branches to fashion quivers and carry the arrows. Growing up to 8m, these massive aloes are worth a visit particularly for keen photographers

Desert Horses of the Namib: In the middle of the harsh yet beautiful desert en–route from Aus to Luderitz is Garub – and home to the famous desert horses. A waterhole and hide is laid out so visitors can sit and watch the coming and going of these resilient animals that have adapted to their environment. A mystery surrounds how they ended up in the desert though nowadays it is thought that they are descendants from the military horses bought up from South Africa and who camped at the borehole in 1915. Other stories include horses bought over by the Germans in 1904, or survival of individuals from a shipwreck that swam ashore and made their way inland. Perhaps the most romantic is that of a horse–stud owned by Baron Hansheinrich von Wolf, who built Duwisib Castle, and died in battle in 1916, it’s alleged his grieving wife released the horses into the desert and made their way south to the Garub Plains. Whatever the truth, these beautiful, strong and wonderful horses continue to survive.

This stunningly beautiful desert region with granite kopjies, mountains and rich in both cultural and natural attractions including Namibia’s first UNESCO World Heritage site at Twyfelfontein for some of Africa’s best Bushman rock art, and Brandberg massif. Wild, open spaces area to visit for those wishing to track free–roaming desert elephant and rhino, along with other desert–adapted species including giraffe and lion. Home to Damara people are mainly based here and the territory is perfectly located between the coast/Swakopmund and Etosha National Park Huge open desert spaces with cultural and game viewing experiences are the main attraction to Damaraland yet many underestimate the stark beauty of this area. To the south lie Spitzkoppe, Brandberg and Erongo Mountains formed by underground volcanoes and subsequent erosion of gravel plains surrounding them along with numerous examples of Bushman Art. Further north experience Twyfelfontein rock etchings and continuing further be surrounded by plateaus, desert, free–roaming elephant and rhino, along with fascinating flora.

Southern/Central Damaraland/Spitzkoppe: One of Namibia’s most recognized and dramatic landmarks, this 1728m granite inselberg can be seen from the Namib plains even on the dustiest of days. Run by a local community you can explore with a guide to see rock art, as well as on foot to the various landmarks. There is a campsite along with a nearby luxury lodge Erongo Mountains: Located close and formed in a similar way to Spitzkoppe, this range of granite mountains has a number of conservancies protecting the varied habitats. A good region to see numerous bird species, rock art and the opportunity to visit local miners digging for semi–precious stones such as tourmaline

Brandberg: Namibia’s highest peak at 2,573m rises majestically about the surrounding gravel plains. This granite massif contains a huge selection of rock art (much of which is inaccessible to the normal visitor) and some examples are estimated to be 6,000 years old. The most famous is the “White Lady Painting” named by Abbe Breuil who studied this and many other examples of rock art – he deemed it a European white lady though more recent studies believe it to an indigenous boy. It’s around 40minute walk from the base with a local guide and you’ll spot endemic Brandberg acacia tree and rock dassies along the way. There are a couple of lodges nearby who provide excursions along the dry riverbed adjacent to this imposing mountain to seek out desert elephant

Twyfelfontein Rock Etchings: Formerly named “doubtful spring” by the first European farmer, Twyfelfontein found recognition not as a farm but by one of the largest outdoor collections of rock etchings and paintings. Namibia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site it was declared in 2007, and there are thousands of etchings scattered around the surrounding hills. A local guide will explain the history of the region and beliefs surrounding some of the etchings (very few paintings are seen due to exposure). Nearby Twfelfontein are the Organ Pipes and Burnt Mountain that are worth a visit particularly for those interested in geology – a separate charge applies here. There are a small number of lodges and campsites in the surrounding area.

Damara Living Museum: En–route to Twyfelfontein, this living museum was set up by the local community and supported by EU funding. Whilst this is only a showcase of traditional lifestyle it enables the community to support themselves in this barren terrain and pass on lived in the past – enjoy singing & dancing, games, traditional huts and jewellery making.

Northern Damaraland: The geology changes once again, to ancient Erongo lava fields, plateaus and desert valleys. Home to free–roaming desert elephant and black rhino, this is the most popular region to track them in an unfenced wilderness (though the elephants tend to move further north in rainy season). Other game includes mountain zebra, giraffe oryx, springbok and cats such as lion and cheetah though these are not regularly seen. Fauna includes euphorbia damarana and though poisonous seem to not trouble rhinos! Welwitschia – the national plant is found here. There are a number of lodges both run privately and with conservancies offering a range of activities from game viewing, elephant or rhino tracking , walks , community visits

Located in the geographical heart of the country and dominated by the capital (Windhoek), the majority of visitors arrive/depart here and serves as the main crossroad for transportation to the main tourist areas heading north to Etosha, south to the Fish River Canyon and west to the coastal town of Swakopmund. There is a range of styles of accommodations around the city and surrounding mountain regions.

One of the most inhospitable tracts of land – a harsh and remote area with stark, rugged desert mountains, this wilderness is bordered by the Skeleton Coast, Etosha to the east, Damaraland to the south with the Kunene River and Angola to the north.  This is also home to the Himba people – one of the most iconic and photographed tribes found, semi–nomadic livestock herders they have adapted to living here – the women cover themselves with a mix of ochre and fat, hairstyles represent status along with jewellery.  A visit to one of the villages will give an insight into their lifestyle and how tradition meets the modern world. 

The major town is Opuwo and this is easily reached by tar road, however, the majority of the remaining road links are poor or simply tracks so not a region that is accessible by most visitors unless they join a guided safari.  Venturing into this area is not for the faint–hearted.  The border of Angola and Namibia is separated by the Kunene River that offers a welcome respite to the desert with palm–fringed riverbanks, Epupa Falls (where there are a couple of lodges/campsites) along with a couple of remote luxury lodges only accessible by plane.

Epupa Falls: Translated from the Herero word “falling water”, Epupa Falls is a 500m wide set of falls dropping just 60m but nevertheless a beautiful sight.  Surrounded by a small tract of greenery and trees before the desert recaptures the land, visitors can meet with Himba tribes, hike along the riverbank area west of the falls, or climb a nearby hill to enjoy the view onward to Angola.  There is a small selection of lodges and campsites.

Skeleton Coast: An almost surreal landscape occupies the narrow part of the coastal Namib from the Kunene River south to the Ugab River.  To the far north barchans dunes stretch inland whilst further south these thin out to find gravel plains, ephemeral rivers and mountains.  Centuries ago, the foggy coastline and rough seas with sandy coastal shallows caused many a shipwreck and those that made it ashore were doomed – over time it became known as the Skeleton Coast.  Access is limited generally only accessible via plane – there are just a handful of options currently for visitors to see the Skeleton Coast Park.  However, you can visit the recreational area north of Swakopmund and enter the southern section of the park

This coastal and surreal town is full of character with beautiful German colonial buildings and developed from the existence of the discovering diamonds in 1908; and worth a visit to those that have ventured to the far south.  A rocky peninsula often hosts wild winds and the freezing waters from the Benguela Current ensure this isn’t a beach destination. Visitors can explore the Sperrgebiet (Dorob) National park on a guided trip, drive around the peninsula to see an African penguin colony, Diaz Point, Agate beach, and onward to nearby Kolmanskop Ghost Town. 

Luderitz Peninsula: Immediately outside of Luderitz, the peninsula gives a good account to the explorers that first headed to the coasts of southern Africa and the treacherous conditions and weather they would have endured.  Diaz Point 22km from Luderitz has a replica of the cross erected by Bartholmu Diaz on his return from the Cape, from here you can spot African penguins on Halifax Island and a number of waterbirds.  The lighthouse stands guard over it all. Continuing along the peninsula there are a number of beaches.  North of Luderitz is Agate Beach.

Sperrgebiet: To see this “Forbidden Area” a day tour needs to be arranged – visit Elizabeth Bay and Pomona where the ruins of a town built to support diamond mines stand, along with Marchental (fairy valley) where prospectors historically collected gem quality diamonds by moonlight!  Bogenfels is also included in the trip and is the highest rock arch on the southern Africa coast at 55m jutting into the Atlantic Ocean

Kolmanskop Ghost Town: This popular tourist spot was once home to a local diamond industry from 1908 where gem quality diamonds were picked up from the ground and traded; there was a bowling alley, concert hall, hospital and a number of homes all of which now make for great photos

As it’s name implies, the flat–topped Etjo sandstone plateau is named for its many springs and streams, and the park is a sanctuary to rare and endangered wildlife such as rhino.  Open vehicle game drives are offered from the NWR resort site and taken to the sanctuary to see buffalo, tsessebe, roan and sable, along with more common species.  The Waterberg Plateau Park has a few shortish walks – one to the top of the 150m plateau, great for viewing the surrounding landscapes as well as walks around the base amongst the woodlands – watch out for rock dassies and the smallest antelope– the bambi like dik–dik; and the historic sites of the park including the cemetery. Just outside the national park are a number of privately run guesthouses.

At the heart of the country lies Windhoek, the capital of Namibia and home to around 320,000 people from all walks of life.  Sitting at around 1,700m above sea level and surrounded by mountains rising to 2479m (Molteblick) it is the main entry and exit point for tourists (most using Hosea Kutako International Airport 40km to the east).

Despite being one of the smallest capitals in Africa there are plenty of hotels and guesthouses to choose from along with an increasing amount of restaurants.  It’s a good base to stay for the first or last night, and the chance to purchase items for your trip. There are small museums including the National Art Gallery, or see the Meteorites on Post Street Mall.  The craft centre on Tal Street is a good option for gifts and coffee (as well as the diamond store where you can watch diamonds crafted). Alternatively half–day trips to Katatura (township) or game viewing visits just outside the city are available. Windhoek is not a city offering a huge amount of historical sites so generally 1 or 2nights is long enough for most tourists.

Situated between Etosha and Windhoek the privately run 200sq km Okonjima Reserve is one of Namibia’s conservation success stories.For many years farmers utilized the land until the Hansson family turned their hand to conservation and tourism; and a non–profit organization formed. As one of the leading conservation programmes it was mainly a capture–release for cheetah and over time this evolved.For visitors highlights now include opportunities to see beautiful predators including cheetah and leopard in their natural environment.Track cheetah, leopards, wild dog and hyaenas, visit the Africat Foundation, enjoy a Bushman Trail or hike.

The Africat Foundation researches and rehabilitates cheetahs, wild dogs and hyaenes ensuring awareness of natural habitat is protected along with an educational centre giving an insight into conflict of human/wildlife and animal welfare. There is a choice of accommodation varying in levels of comfort as well as a campsite. Okonjima is located half way between Etosha and Windhoek so a great first/last night destination though can easily warrant 2 or 3 nights.

This unspoilt 2,100 sq km wilderness area just south of Namib Naukluft National Park is a showpiece of creating a conservation area from fenced farmlands to open deserts offering a haven for desert–adapted wildlife.  The varied landscape includes vegetated inter–dune valleys, red sand dunes, mountains and gravel plains.  This private reserve has limited lodges /camps set within concessions ensuring exploration of this pristine area remains intact.

Namibia Tourism Board
Air Namibia
Budget Car Rentals
Tour & Safari Association