11 Extraordinary Places To Visit In Namibia

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Namibia can leave you speechless with its sheer size andph beauty. Stretching from the West coast to the desert, there are some extraordinary places to visit in Namibia that you won’t find anywhere else in the world.

For example, it’s home to the world’s largest sand dunes, the largest quantity of free roaming cheetahs and rhinos, the only desert dwelling elephants in the world, the largest quantity of petroglyphs in Africa, and the oldest desert in the world.

There is so much to see and explore, but Namibia still remains an off the beaten track destination.

Namibia is all about nature. Whether you’e looking for hot springs, beaches, savannah or desert, these are some top tourist attractions in Namibia you have to check out.

Places to visit in Namibia

Unmissable Places to Visit in Namibia

1. Sossusvlei

Sossusvlei sand dunes, Namibia, Africa
Sossusvlei sand dunes, Namibia, Africa

Sossusvlei is the one place in Namibia everyone has likely seen a photo of. The name “Sossusvlei” refers to a salt and clay pan that is surrounded by some of the tallest sand dunes on the planet.

It is Namibia’s number one tourist attraction; however, due to the sheer size of the dunes and desert here, you can still find complete solitude.

The dunes tower over visitors and seem to shift around slightly as high winds lead to a constantly changing landscape. It’s also home to the largest dune in the world, known as Big Daddy Dune, which sits at 325 meters high.

dead tree in front of Sossusvlei sand dunes, Namibia, Africa
Deadvlei, Namibia

The most famous part of Sossusvlei is Deadvllei, a white clay pan tucked away in a valley in the Namib-Naukluft Park.

It means “dead marsh” and is famous for its dry, cracked terrain and barren, dead trees, which are said to be around 900 years old, which have been preserved by the dry climate.

Make sure to wake up way before the crack of dawn and catch the dunes at sunrise as the whole park takes on an unworldly feel.

2. Etosha National Park

zebra and antelope around a waterhole in Etosha National Park, Namibia, Africa
Wildlife at the watering holes, Etosha Namibia

Etosha National Park is arguably one of the best places to see animals in Namibia, and one of our favorite game reserves in Africa for spotting wildlife.

The real draw of the park is not only in its animal density or natural beauty, but instead the game-viewing venue.

A massive salt pan dominates the Etosha landscape with a number of watering holes dotting the southern edge.

Simply sit at one of these watering holes and watch the Namibia wildlife come from kilometres away to have a much-needed drink as they try to escape the Namibian heat.

Giraffe in Etosha National Park, Namibia, Africa
I see you friend

Over the course of just one afternoon, we saw lions, hyena, jackals, vultures, zebra, wildebeest, giraffes, and springbok. It’s said to be home to four of the Big 5 (leopard, elephant, lions, rhinos – just buffalo missing).

That’s some serious game viewing for not having to even move. It’s said to be one of the best places in Africa to spot cheetahs and black rhino.

It helps to blend in though, so make sure to wear the right safari clothes.

You can also take boat safaris along the Okavango River, which runs through the park.

3. Fish River Canyon

Fish River Canyon, Namibia, Africa
Fish River Canyon

Fish River Canyon by some accounts is the second largest canyon on earth. The size of the canyon is awe-inspiring and a stop that beckons many when they travel to Namibia.

It is a place that is difficult to convey or conceive in photos. The adventurous can descend down the 550m to the canyon floor, but that hiking option is only available a few months out of the year due to heat and flash flooding.

The hike takes roughly five days and covers 88km of the canyon floor. Our tip for visiting the canyon is to get there in the evening with some cold Windhoeks, the local beer, in hand and watch the sunset.

Alternatively, head to Ai-Ais, a resort in Fish River Canyon known for its hot spring pools.

4. Kalahari Desert

Oryx in Kalahari, Namibia
Onyx in Kalahari

A sunset in the Kalahari Desert is one to behold. The vast expanse of deep red sand stretches across all of Southern Africa and occupies 1.2 million-square-kilometers.

Despite its desert environment there are many animals that have adapted to the conditions and are on display. Lions, gemsbok, meerkats, zebra, and cheetah can all be found here.

Oryx in the Namib Desert, Namibia, Africa
The Kalahari Desert

The Kalahari is a land of contrasts as the deep red sand draw out the thorn bushes and acacia trees that dot the horizon.

5. Skeleton Coast

Cape Cross seal colony on the Skeleton Coast of Namibia, Africa
Seals on the Skeleton Coast

The coast of Namibia was once referred to by the Portuguese as “As Areias do Inferno,” or the sands of hell.

It is little wonder where the phrase originated from when traveling the Skeleton Coast of Namibia.

This part of Namibia is one of the least hospitable places on Earth. On the coast, the colossal sand dunes of the Namib Desert meet the Atlantic in violent fashion.

Cape Cross seal colony on the Skeleton Coast of Namibia, Africa
It’s a tiring day for a seal

Strong winds and heavy fog create a treacherous coast that has shipwrecked many seamen leaving them to an almost certain death.

Still, marine life along the coast flourishes and a massive colony of Cape Fur Seals call the Cape Cross Seal Reserve home.

6. Epupa Falls

aerial view of waterfalls rushing over rocks

Located on the border between Namibia and Angola, are some of the largest and most impressive waterfalls in the country.

Epupa Falls is where the Kunene River drops over a series of rocky cascades, the largest of which is 37 meters in height.

The word “Epupa” means foam, which refers to the spray that’s created by the falling water.

It can be a challenge getting to Epupa Falls, and requires a 4X4 to reach them, but they are worth to see. The site is completely natural and unspoiled, and best seen at sunrise.

7. Caprivi Strip

tree in grasslands

While in North Namibia to see the Epupa Falls, head over to the Caprivi Strip, an area of land between Botswana, Zambia, and Angola.

The area was once used by the German settlers to give them access to the East Coast of Africa, but the path was blocked by Victoria Falls.

Now it’s known for its lush vegetation and greenery, which brings with it an abundance of wildlife.

It’s the wettest region in Namibia, and a great place to look for hippos.

Head to Nkasa Rupara National Park, a private game reserve, which is mostly made up of reed beds, lagoons and islands, the perfect habitat for a hippo.

8. Sandwich Harbour

flamingoes on lake in front of dunes

For more coastal wildlife, head to Sandwich Harbour, which is known for its huge sand dunes reaching heights of 100 meters, which plunge into a coastal lagoon full of flamingos and pelicans.

The only way to reach Sandwich Harbour is by 4×4, from nearby Walvis Bay or Swakopmund.

Sometimes the lagoon is flooded in high tide which means you might have to hike a bit as well.

Like everything in Namibia, it’s an effort to get to, but totally worth it!

9. Waterberg Plateau National Park

plateau and open grassland of waterberg

Another national park worth a visit is Waterberg Plateau National Park, known for its rocky plateau overlooking a grassy, protected nature reserve.

In the early 1970s, many of Namibia’s rare species, such as black rhinos, were moved to the park to protect them from poaching.

It’s now one of the best places to see black rhinos in their natural habitat.

It also has some impressive rock formations. There’s a rock stratum which dates back more than 850 million years, placing it the oldest in the world, and you can also see dinosaur tracks formed 200 million years ago.

The park also has rock paintings from the first human inhabitants of the region, the San people, which are several thousand years old.

10. Kolmanskop Ghost Town

abandoned buildings in ghost town

Located in the Namib desert, in an area known as “the forbidden zone” is a ghost town called Kolmanskop.

In the early 1900s, during the construction of the Namibian railway, a worker discovered diamonds in the soil.

In 1908, tons of prospectors came to mine for these precious gems, and by 1912 it was a thriving mining town responsible for 11% of the world’s diamond production.

By the 1930s, the miners depleted the area and moved out. By 1956, it was completely abandoned.

Now, the sand dunes are rolling in, and the desert is reclaiming the land. If you’re a photographer, you won’t want to miss this incredibly fascinating place to come away with some amazing photos of Namibia.

11. Twyfelfontein

rock art

twyfeltontein, or ǀUi-ǁAis as it’s officially known, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for its ancient rock engravings that date back over 6,000 years.

The site is where the first hunter-gatherers lived, followed by Khoikhoi herders. It was used by both as a place of worship, and place to hold shamanist rituals.

They created 2,500 rock carvings, making it the home of the largest concentrations of rock petroglyphs in Africa.

Final Thoughts

couple on sand dunes at soussesvlei watching sunrise
Sossusvlei sand dunes, Namibia 2003

This is only some of the biggest tourist attractions in Namibia, the country is huge and offers so much to see and do, even if it’s the least sparsely populated country in the world.

We hope this guide helped you plan your trip and gave you some ideas for places to visit and check out on your trip.

If you’re looking for help to plan out your route, check out this Southern Namibia Self Drive Itinerary, which will help you plan your route and give you tips for more places to see.

Tours of Namibia

Most tourists, including us, self-drive through the country as the roads are smooth gravel and offer interesting sights along the way.

But if you don’t want to travel Namibia as an independent traveler, G Adventures offer guided group tours with other likeminded travelers.

We partner with G Adventures for their commitment to the supporting the environment, conserving local cultures and dedication to helping local communities.

More Africa Travel Tips

Thinking of visiting other parts of Africa? Check out these other guides!

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5 of the best places to visit in Namibia, Africa

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