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26 Best things to see & do in Namibia

  • Namibia

Last updated: 15 June, 2024
Expert travel writer: Richard Holmes
  • Namib-Naukluft National Park, Erongo Region, Namibia

Sand dunes of Sossusvlei

Bucket List Experience

Sand dunes of Sossusvlei

The ancient dunes of Sossusvlei are amongst the highest in the world. These towering mountains of shifting ochre sand attract adventurous travellers from the world over, keen to climb the dunes – notably the lofty heights of ‘Big Daddy’ or Dune 45.

It’s worth the climb to admire the eye-watering views of this sandy sea stretching away to the Atlantic.

Good for age: 13+

Duration: 1-4 hours

  • Namib-Naukluft National Park, Erongo, Namibia

There are few more enjoyable ways to soak up Namibia‘s serene landscapes than from the silence of a hot-air balloon. Coasting on the airwaves doesn’t come cheap though, so if you’re going to splash out make sure the scenery’s worth the splurge.

In Sossusvlei, home to the world’s most beautiful dunes, that means dawn take-offs that have you soaring over the ochre sands for an hour, before a gentle touchdown and Champagne breakfast on the sands of one of the world’s oldest deserts.

Adult price: £450

Min age 7

Good for age: 10+

Duration: 4 hours

Safari in Etosha National Park

  • Etosha National Park, Oshikoto Region, Namibia

Safari in Etosha National Park

Bucket List Experience

This park, set up to protect a vast and starkly beautiful desert pan, is one of the finest game reserves in Africa, packed with over 114 species of mammal. It’s Namibia’s top safari destination and one of the best in Africa. A multi-day safari here is a must for any visit to Namibia. See our Etosha destination guide to plan a trip.

Good for age: 8+

Duration: 2-3 days

  • Kunene Region, Namibia

Ugabmund gate at Skeleton Coast National Park

Bucket List Experience

Skeleton Coast National Park

This deserted corner of north-western Namibia hides myriad charms beneath a façade of sun-baked desolation. Running for 500-kilometres south from the border with Angola, the coastline is named for the metal ribs of ships that have fallen foul of this treacherous coast and its enveloping fog.

Today, these wrecks are but one of the sights worth discovering: from a handful of eco-minded lodges in the region, visitors can also encounter raucous seal colonies and spot unique desert-adapted wildlife including elephant, rhino, lion and hyena. But the highlight is, quite simply, the enigmatic landscape of lonely beaches and shifting sands.

Adult price: £200

Good for age: 8+

  • Swakopmund, Erongo Region, Namibia

Stretching away from the town, is the glorious, sand-filled wilderness of the Namib desert. ‘Namib’ in the local dialect means ‘vast and empty’, and the visitor’s initial impression is one of dune-filled isolation. But there is life here, and fascinating wildlife tours offer the opportunity to go out and discover the incredible and unusual endemic wildlife that somehow manages to survive here.

Expert guides, driving 4WDs, will take you deep into the dunes to discover ancient rock formations, dune geckos and sidewinder snakes. As you go, they’ll explain the unique geology and ecology of this exceptional landscape.

Full-day tours will also include a visit to the famous ‘Moon Landscape’ outside of Swakopmund, where you’ll encounter welwitschia mirabilis plants, famous for their long, strap-like leaves.

Adult price: £45

Good for age: 4+

Duration: 4-8 hours

  • Walvis Bay, Erongo Region, Namibia

The Sossusvlei desert meeting Walvis Bay

Bucket List Experience

Walvis Bay [boating & kayaking]

The region that earned its keep – and name – from whaling is now somewhat ironically better known for abundant wildlife and biodiversity than harpoons in the surprisingly rich waters offshore.

Boating and kayaking ecotours are top draw. Birdlife is prolific, and close-up encounters with pelicans, flamingos and petrels are all but assured.

The same goes for the ubiquitous Cape Fur seals, while dolphins, penguins and even sunfish are occasionally seen. Tours end with Champagne and a platter of fresh local oysters.

Adult price: £40

Good for age: 8+

Duration: Half-day

  • Namib-Naukluft National Park, Erongo Region, Namibia

Where the desert and the ocean meet near Walvis bay

Bucket List Experience

Sandwich Harbour

The natural lagoon at Sandwich Harbour – 55kms south of Walvis Bay and within the Namib-Naukluft National Park – is renowned as one of the best birding locations on the African coast, attracting thousands of migratory fowl in early summer (October-November).

Designated a Ramsar ‘wetland of global importance’, the combination of dunes and lagoon is breathtaking, while the dramatic drive along the coast – with the chance to sight springbok and brown hyena – make this one of the Atlantic coastline’s natural wonders.

Adult price: £75

Good for age: 8+

  • Swakopmund, Erongo Region, Namibia

Man and instructor in tandem

Bucket List Experience

Skydive over the Namib Desert

As Namibia’s adventure capital, skydives are a popular option for adrenalin-charged travellers in Swakopmund. Unless you’re a qualified ‘jumper’, you’ll need to sign up for a tandem skydive, which offers a scenic flight, then half a minute of jaw-dropping freefall and a leisurely float back to terra firma. Panoramic views come as standard.

No, it’s not unlike skydiving anywhere else in the world, but those desert vistas from 10,000 feet are unbeatable.

Adult price: £150

Min age 16

Good for age: 16+

Duration: 2 hours

  • Swakopmund, Erongo Region, Namibia

Swakopmund has become one of Africa’s adventure playgrounds, and the low-key holiday town of Swakopmund is the best place to score sandy thrills in Namibia. The setting is the nearby, sand-covered dune-filled wilderness of the Namib desert.

Quad bike adventures through the oversized dunes (some of which have enticing names like ‘Big Billy’ or ‘Devils’ Dip’) are top of the list for most visitors and a thrilling way to experience the desert’s unlimited expanse. Tours range from 45 minutes to two hours and cover up to 55kms of desert.

It’s also a great place to try sandboarding, with half-day trips to giant sand dunes that even beginners can be slaloming down in no time.

You can also mountain bike on the dunes and ride on a camel.

Adult price: £20

Good for age: 8+

Duration: 45mins - 2 hours

  • Windhoek, Khomas Region, Namibia

the front of the train with steam rising

Bucket List Experience

Desert Express

There are few better ways to travel from the capital to the coast – or back again – than this overnight, low-key-luxury train service. Wide picture windows from each of the train’s 24 compartments provide panoramic views as bushveld and lonely farmlands give way to coastal dunes, while the spacious lounge and restaurant carriages offer comfortable corners to while away the 22-hour journey that includes a safari or sundowner stop.

The on-board restaurant serves up hearty Namibian cuisine, and has a decent wine list.

 

Adult price: £200

Good for age: 4+

Duration: 22 hours