Namibia’s scenery and sights are as diverse as they are breathtaking, but what are some of the top places to visit in Namibia? From the dramatic Skeleton Coast, where dunes meet crashing oceans, to Etosha National Park’s giant cracked salt pan, and the bewildering depth of the Fish River Canyon, Namibia is a vast and beautiful wilderness.
The breathtaking dunes of Sossusvlei in the Namib Desert are frequently referred to as the world’s highest dunes and are one of the top places to visit in Namibia. Sossusvlei is one of Namibia’s most spectacular sights and offers incredible photographic opportunities. It is located in the Namib-Naukluft National Park, Africa’s largest conservation area. The dunes here are an overwhelming sight, sculpted by the wind into the most beautiful shapes, especially when seen in the warm golds and oranges around sunrise and sunset.
Views from the dune summits, such as Dune 45, provide an incredible sense of scale, with near-perfect ridgelines stretching to the horizon.
Etosha National Park and Damaraland
Etosha is considered Namibia’s most popular wildlife viewing park, distinguished by the vast, saline Etosha Pan. During the dry season, large concentrations of animals congregate at the pan’s waterholes. The National Park is home to a wealth of wildlife, including four of the Big Five, except the Cape Buffalo. The landscape is unique and varied, which attracts a wide range of animals. Here you can see lions, elephants, leopards, giraffes, cheetahs, hyenas, springboks, two types of zebras, eland, and many other species of wildlife. Additionally, the floodlit waterholes of Etosha offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see wildlife at night.
Damaraland has some of Africa’s most remarkable desert landscapes. The Skeleton coast is surrounded by wild desert mountains, while the deep ravines, cliffs, and outcrops provide an ideal setting for well-preserved ancient rock art. To the west, the landscape changes dramatically. where endless sandy wastelands meet the turbulent Atlantic Ocean at the Skeleton Coast.
Damaraland is home to some of the most unusual animals on the planet, which have adapted their lifestyles to survive in harsh environments. There are small populations of desert-adapted elephants, black rhinos, giraffes, ostriches, oryx, and springbok here.
Fish River Canyon
The Fish River Canyon is considered the Grand Canyon of Africa and is one of the top places to visit in Namibia. Its natural splendour can be admired during a five to seven-day hike across the canyon, covering approximately 85 kilometres. It’s a difficult self-guided camping hike, but the rewards include spectacular canyon scenery, floating in hot springs, swimming in the river, and sleeping under the stars.
This spectacular environment also serves as a haven for mammals as well as a plethora of reptiles, insects, and fish. Natural hot springs on the canyon floor create pools of water, which attract a variety of water birds. Mountain zebra, kudu, oryx, and gazelle are other canyon residents that attract predators such as leopards, jackals, brown hyenas, and bat-eared foxes.
Lüderitz and Kolmanskop
Lüderitz is an idyllic coastal town in Namibia’s south. Despite its small size, it offers a wide range of activities, from visiting a desert ghost town to exploring Art Nouveau architecture to kitesurfing and wildlife observation. Lüderitz is not one of Namibia’s most popular tourist destinations, but it is an interesting place to visit.
The old ghost town of Kolmanskop was founded in 1908 and grew rapidly until the 1920s but came to a halt after World War I. Diamond prices fell, diamond fields around Kolmanskop were gradually depleted, and richer diamond deposits were discovered further south in Namibia. Today, a mere 10 kilometres before Luderitz, on an endless road, you will come across the ghost town of Kolmanskop. The Namib desert has been invading the town since 1954, leaving it half-buried underneath a sea of sand. The town is a photographer’s dream come true.
Tsau /Khaeb (Sperrgebiet) National Park is located just south of Lüderitz. This former diamond mining area is a biodiversity hotspot with a wide variety of succulents. In Lüderitz, day trips into the park can be arranged. Furthermore, a few survivors of the area’s once-large population of wild horses can be found on the park’s eastern edge, near the small town of Aus.
The Zambezi Region (Caprivi Strip)
Many consider the Caprivi Strip to be Namibia’s answer to the Okavango Delta, offering an unforgettable river safari experience. Surrounded by four perennial rivers, including the Chobe, Kando, Linyanti and Zambezi rivers, the Caprivi region is a haven for wildlife such as elephants, hippos and crocodiles. The birdwatching is also excellent, with over 600 species recorded in the region. Caprivi has several small game reserves with excellent lodges that offer boat safaris and spectacular sunset cruises.