Namibia is the most unique of all African countries where abundant wildlife still roam. It is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world, famous for its stark beauty and contrasts where towering dunes meet a tempestuous coastline. It is Africa’s best-kept safari destination secret.
It is a country with vast, diverse habitats and exceptional game viewing. As a geologists and naturalists paradise, it lays claim to one of the most spectacular desert ecosystems in the world. Namibia is situated in the sub-tropics and flanked by the cold Atlantic Ocean. The cold Benguella current, which drifts northward from Antarctica has a massive influence on the climate causing cool, dry air to push inland, resulting in a temperate coastline and the extreme desert conditions of the Namib.
Namibia has some rare national parks, the most well known of these is Etosha National Park in the north. Plains game such as zebra, wildebeest, giraffe, springbok, impala and eland abound in great numbers on the grasslands and congregate at waterholes here. Herds of fifty elephants are not unusual and often walk right down the middle of the road giving people in cars an incredibly close and thrilling encounter.
A visit to Namibia would not be complete without venturing into the Namib-Naukluft National Park. It is one of the largest conservation areas in the world at 19,305 square miles. If not on foot or vehicle then take a light aircraft or hot air balloon, for the best view you will ever get of an endless rippling desert. In the south, there is the little known but equally mystifying Fish River Canyon Reserve, a canyon second is size only to the Grand Canyon in the U.S.
In the north is the Skeleton Coast National Park – Ghostly shipwrecks on remote and inaccessible shores has given the Skeleton Coast its’ well-deserved name. This 2 million-hectare (20,000 km) park is one of the most inhospitable and least visited places on earth that protect unique desert ecosystems. Desert elephants have been seen in the interior of the Park surfing down sand dunes like snow-boarders. Desert dwelling oryx are completely at home in such dry conditions. Springbok, giraffe, brown hyena, ostrich, rare black rhino and even lion are found inland where riverine bush supports the grazers and fresh water can usually be found. Don’t miss the Cape Frio seal colonies where you will likely see several thousand Cape fur seals. Whales and dolphins swim this coast on their way to and from breeding grounds. Immense whale skeletons are sometimes seen washed up on the sands.
The attraction for visitors to this park is its untouched and mysterious barren beauty, swept by cold sea breezes and often enveloped in a dense fog. The far-ranging sea mist creeps great distances inland and gives life to a singular unique ecosystem and most unusual plants. By mid morning the mist has cleared and the timeless beauty of the Skeleton Coast is revealed. Such isolation as is found here, is not the usual domain for humans, but those that visit are privilege to one of the few places on earth where you can experience fearless solitude and become attuned to ocean echoes and desert silence.
The country holds the largest free-roaming population of cheetahs in the world, with one-quarter of the world’s cheetah population stalking the arid plains. Animals such as gemsbok (Oryx), springbok, bat eared fox, ostrich and black backed jackal are all seen on a regular basis making a Namibia safari different than any other wildlife country in Africa. As it should be in a land of such contrasts, Namibia offers an endless variety of safari options.
Climate in Namibia
May to November is the best time to visit Namibia, as the days are clear and warm but cool in the morning and evenings.
Suggested Namibia Safari Activities
- Experience the haunting silence of the Kalahari Desert and spot one of 430 bird species in the Caprivi region
- Search for desert elephants in Damaraland
- Interact with the unique Himba community in the remote Kaokoveld
- Experience some of the best game viewing in Namibia in Etosha National Park
- Visit the Fish River Canyon and take advantage of the most exquisite photographic opportunities
- Take a scenic flight over the stark but beautiful Namib desert and Skeleton Coast
- Explore the foaming waves, rocks and seal colonies of the desolate Skeleton Coast
- See the worlds tallest sand dunes in Sossusvlei in the central Namiba
- Discover Namibia on a self driven safari through the Northwest in Damaraland and Kaokoveld, a route inspiring you with endless landscapes, beaches, nature, African tribes and culture