Best Attractions in Namibia
Our List Of Don’t-Miss Attractions in Namibia
Namibia has it all. Whether you’re looking for high adrenalin adventures or a scenic respite from the daily grind, you’ll find it in this vast, fascinating country.
While images of desert sands are what first spring to mind when you envisage Namibia, a deeper dive into the country reveals unexpected lush landscapes, gushing rivers, and soaring crags to explore. Safaris take you into unique wilderness areas to discover creatures great and small, and historic treasures are everywhere to be found.
The bustling capital provides bizarre and brilliant markets, museums and galleries while small towns offer intriguing architecture and delectable seaside eats. The oceans and rivers offer exciting opportunities for fishing and boating expeditions, and the night skies light up like nowhere else on Earth.
Find out more about the attractions that we consider to be the best in Namibia:
1. Namib Desert
The Namib Desert is an ancient treasure and Namibia’s signature attraction. It’s a World Heritage site awash with unique fauna and flora.
You can explore this arid abundance on guided tours to reveal the fascinating details of daily desert life. The vast desert landscapes reveal shifting gravel plains and monstrous dunes hiding secrets that date back to the Stone Age.
Occupying the entire western boundary of Namibia, the Namib Desert is an unmissable attraction during your trip to Namibia.
2. Etosha National Park
This 22 000 km2 conservation haven is centred on a huge salt pan. You can explore the park on self-drive safaris from lodges on the outskirts of the park or stay overnight in one of the well-run camps onsite.
Some of the species you’ll get to see include black-faced impala, elephant, lion, rhino, leopard, eland, and plains zebra. You could also come across aardwolf, honey badgers, and African wild cat. Birdlife is abundant, especially during the rainy season when thousands of flamingos arrive to wow the crowds.
The sweeping dunes and stark scenes of the Sossusvlei are one of Namibia’s best-loved attractions. Photographers will have a field day here while nature lovers delight in the desert-adapted species that make their home among these beautiful dunes.
You’ll find many iconic sights in this part of the world including the Deadvlei, Sesriem Canyon, and some of the world’s highest sand dunes ready for climbing.
4. Fish River
Apart from a towering canyon that’s regarded as one of the world’s largest, the Fish River is a haven for hiking and running enthusiasts. It’s the site of marathons and one of Africa’s toughest 5-day hiking trails too.
You can also explore these gorgeous jagged cliffs and arid landscapes from horseback, on foot, or on scenic drives around the perimeter. You can soak in the hot springs at nearby Aus or grab a bite to eat at the quaint Canyon Roadhouse.
There are a number of rustic and luxury accommodations nearby to choose from during your visit.
Twyfelfontein is another UNESCO World Heritage Site to tick off your list while visiting Namibia. It’s home to some of the oldest and best-preserved petroglyphs in Africa, over 2 500 of them.
The Visitor Centre here is an enigmatic example of environmentally-friendly construction. Within its walls you’ll get to relive the ancient San rituals depicted in the surrounding hills and gain insights into the distant past of this area.
Once a flourishing marshland, the Deadvlei is now home to a forest of fossilized camel thorn trees. Uniquely, these trees never decayed once their Tsauchab River left them high and dry.
Thanks to the intense dry heat of the area, they simply dehydrated where they stood. Some of them are over 1 000 years old. Not only is it fascinating to see these specimens frozen in time, these scenes make for incredible photographs too.
7. Skeleton Coast
The Skeleton Coast takes up 500 km along Namibia’s coast between Swakopmund and the Angolan border. It’s a wildlife paradise filled with desert-adapted creatures and abundant sea life. The shores are littered with the shipwrecks that give this area its name.
It’s also a fisherman’s paradise with huge specimens ripe for the picking from boat and land-based fishing excursions. The recreational area along this coast offers unique opportunities for camping or self-catering stays.
Kolmanskop is another fascinating relic of times gone by. It was once a flourishing diamond-mining town and one of the most affluent places in Namibia. Today, Kolmanskop lies derelict and abandoned, subject to the whims of the desert sands.
Take a journey through Namibia’s most famous ghost town on guided tours while staying at the nearby town of Lüderitz and find out more about daily life in this once thriving town.
9. Welwitschia Drive
The welwitschia plant is a Namibian icon, capable of living for thousands of years. Find out more about the survival skills of this unique squat plant with its long flat leaves during a journey along Welwitschia Drive.
You’ll find this scenic four-hour route in the northern part of the Namib-Naukluft National Park. There are 13 numbered stone beacons to guide you along the way as well as highlight noteworthy attractions en-route.
Kaokoland is a remote unspoiled region in northern Namibia where you can gaze back at times gone by. It’s still the home of the proud Himba people who’ve hung onto their traditions despite the modern ways of the world.
This is where you could come across unique desert-adapted elephants and lions among the rugged beauty of this isolated wilderness. Kaokoland is the perfect get-away-from-it-all destination thanks to its sparse population and pristine environment.
At first glance, Solitaire appears to be little more than a pitstop en-route to greater things. Yet, when you stop amongst this collection of rusty old cars and desert vegetation, you’re in for a pleasant surprise.
The small diner in this no-horse town is world-renowned for its sumptuous apple pies, homemade on site every day. It’s the perfect place to pause between Swakopmund and Sossusvlei and close to the Sesriem gate of the Namib-Naukluft National Park.
12. Cape Cross
You’ll find Cape Cross in the recreational area of the Skeleton Coast National Park. This historic spot marks the place where the Portuguese navigator Diego Cão first discovered Namibia in 1486. He marked the occasion by building a large cross to commemorate his visit. Today, a replica of the original has been constructed in its place.
Apart from the historic significance of this place, it’s also the site of the Cape Cross Seal Reserve where you can get to see the local fur seals up close from a purpose-built wooden walkway. Come lunchtime, you’ll find no shortage of delicious local eats in nearby Swakopmund.
13. Caprivi Strip
The Caprivi Strip is a stark contrast to the arid Namibian scenes that make up most of the country. This lush area bordered by the Chobe, Linyati, Cuando and Zambezi rivers, offers a wealth of wildlife experiences and riverside distractions.
Some of the highlights in this area include safaris, bush walks, and boat trips down the rivers. Birdlife is abundant in the denser riverine forests with 400 species in attendance during the rainy season. Wildlife in this area includes leopards, painted wolves, elephants and buffaloes.
The Spitzkoppe is a towering 1 728 m granite massif that juts out of the desert sands between Usakos and Swakopmund. This inselberg is a popular place for rock climbers and hikers to pit their skills against nature and for nature lovers to spend time roughing it under the vast African skies.
If you’d like to delve into the history of this iconic area, guided tours into the hills reveal rock art engravings depicting times gone by.
15. Epupa Falls
You’ll find these large cascading waterfalls on the border between Namibia and Angola where the Kunene River plunges down into a 40m deep gorge. It’s a place for intimate relaxation at one of the nearby camps, or exhilarating 4×4 trips through rugged landscapes. Watching the sun set over these gushing waters is an experience you won’t soon forget.
During a visit here, you might also get to see some of the notorious crocodiles of the Kunene River or Cinderella Waxbill, Rufous-tailed Palm-Thrush and Grey Kestrel flitting among the wild figs and palm trees.
Damaraland is where you’ll find numerous giant inselbergs like the Spitzkoppe and Brandberg where you can hike and climb to your heart’s content. It’s also home to the mysterious Messum Crater, which consists of two concentric circles of hills most likely caused by a collapsed volcano.
At Khorixas, flat-topped mesas a la Arizona dominate the landscape, while eland, klipspringer, gemsbok and other desert-adapted species roam the plains below. Over 60 raptor species are known to patrol the skies overhead.
By far the most amazing things you’ll find in Damaraland are the desert adapted elephants and black rhino which exist in harmony with the local Damara tribespeople.
17. Sesriem Canyon
Explore this unexpected crevice in the Earth before or after heading into the Namib-Naukluft National park. It’s an excellent destination for hikers and explorers with both guided and self-guided tours on offer.
Keep your eyes peeled for the resident pied crows, toktokkie beetles, lanner falcons, spotted eagle owls, lizards, and black-backed jackals as you walk along. Alternatively, you can take off on hot air balloon safaris over the Sossusvlei from this destination.
Swakopmund is a delightful seaside town bordering the Namib Desert where you’ll find no shortage of enjoyments during your stay.
The jetty, lighthouse, Swakopmund mole, crystal gallery and aquarium are just some of the attractions you’ll find in this friendly place. From here you can embark on interesting tours of the town or head out on guided expeditions to discover the desert’s secrets.
The Christuskirche is one of Windhoek’s most iconic sights and has been holding pride of place on Robert Mugabe Avenue since 1907. This beautiful building is a testament to the city’s German heritage and well worth a visit on your trip to the capital city
Inside you’ll discover gorgeous examples of neo-Romanesque, Art Nouveau, and Gothic revival architecture. Stained glass windows, Carrera marble finishes, and three huge brass bells add to the architectural appeal in this historic building.