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17 Beautiful Places In Namibia: My Favourites (2024)

There are more beautiful places in Namibia than I could possibly hope to include in this post.  But here are some of my favourites.

I’ve spent almost a month in Namibia and have travelled extensively all over the country, from the towering dunes of Sossusvlei to the haunting wrecks of the Skeleton Coast. This country is truly epic in its proportions.

If you like wide open spaces, spectacular and unique scenery, and a sense of adventure, then you’ll love Namibia.

Plus, it’s one of the safest countries in Africa to visit.

17 Best Places to Visit in Namibia

Namibia is a big country with a lot to see and do. To help you decide where to visit, here are my favourite places in Namibia.

1. Spitzkoppe

beautiful-natural-rock-arch-at-spitzkoppe

The granite peaks of Spitzkoppe can be seen from a long way off, rising dramatically out of the desert.  

Popular with rock climbers, hikers (and geologists), these huge formations are as impressive as they are unique.  Towering almost 700 metres above the desert below, they really are a sight to behold.

It’s also relatively easy to get to Spitzkoppe – about 2 hours drive from Swakopmund, or 3 hours from Windhoek.  (That’s a short drive by Namibian standards!)

In order to enjoy this place at its best, I’d definitely recommend spending the night here.  There is an epic campsite nestled at the bottom of the main formation.  

This is without a doubt one of the most spectacular campsites I’ve ever stayed at.  

Sitting by a fire, watching the sunset paint the mountains orange and gold, is one of my strongest memories of that trip.  

And the stars… They’ll blow your mind, I promise.

The campsite also has a few basic facilities including toilets, rubbish bins and braais (i.e. BBQs).

For more information on camping, climbing, hiking and star gazing at Spitzkoppe, head over to spitzkoppe.com.

If you’re interested in doing a bit of wild/bush camping in Namibia, make sure you’ve got the right gear.  Check out this guide to the best wild camping tents.

In short… One of the best tents that money can buy is the MSR Hubba Hubba 2-person tent.

2. The Desert – The Kalahari & The Namib

orange-dunes-of-the-namib-desert

Over half of Namibia is desert.  The Namib desert runs the entire length of the country’s Atlantic coast.  

“Namib” means “vast” in the Nama/Damara language.  It is one of the oldest and driest deserts in the world, rivalling the Atacama desert in Chile on both counts.

The Namib desert is not the burning hot place that you might expect.  In fact, bizarrely, it’s often misty and chilly!  

This phenomenon is caused by cold, damp air from the Southern Atlantic hitting hot, dry air from the inland regions of Southern Africa.  

It can also result in some spectacular thunderstorms, especially at sunset.

thunderstorm-in-the-namib-desert-at-sunset
Thunderstorm in the Namib Desert

Inland to the east, the Kalahari desert spans much of the Namibian interior.  It also spreads into neighbouring Botswana and South Africa.  

Wild, untouched and still – it’s a very quiet, peaceful place.  The red sands and acacia trees go on seemingly forever under an endless sky.

giant-insect-in-namibia
lizard-with-orange-head-in-namibia

However, the Kalahari is not a dead place.  It’s home to a rich variety of wildlife, birds and plants.  Expect to see plenty of meerkats, oryx, weaver birds, ostrich and maybe the odd lion or African wild dog.

Here are 179 of my favourite desert quotes and captions.

3. Sossusvlei

Giant dune at Sossusvlei with a snaking ridge to the top and sun shining on one side and a dramatic shadow cast over the other side

At Sossusvlei, you will find some of the most impressive red dunes in the world.  

Located in Namib-Naukluft National Park, in the southern Namib, this area is one of Namibia’s most popular tourist destinations – and for good reason.  

A vast sea of towering red sand dunes, spreading as far as the eye can see.  

Some of the dunes are well over 350 metres tall.   From the “summit” of any of these monsters, the view is spectacular.  All you can see in every direction is a sea of red sand.  

The wind blowing across the Namib is constantly changing the shape of these giant mountains of sand.  

They are sometimes referred to as “star dunes”, as the winds blow the sand into shapes with multiple arms that look like stars from above.

This place is utterly timeless.  You could spend hours gazing at these stunning formations.

It’s definitely one of the most unique and beautiful places in Namibia, if not the world.

huge-orange-dune-with-dead-tree-in-foreground-at-sossusvlei

For more information and a range of accommodation options, check out sossusvlei.org.

4. Deadvlei

Black petrified tree at Deadvlei with white salt on the ground, orange dunes behind, and blue sky above

Deadvlei is a white clay pan next to Sossusvlei.  Its name means “dead marsh”, due to the presence of hundreds of dead acacia trees.  These haunting, skeletal remains are believed to be almost 900 years old.  

The dark black trunks and branches contrast strikingly against the white ground, red dunes and perfectly blue sky.  A photographer’s paradise, Deadvlei is as instantly recognisable as it is surreal.

dead-tree-on-the-edge-of-deadvlei-surrounded-by-scrubland-and-sparse-yellow-grass

Whilst not technically “fossilised” as commonly believed, the wood has been preserved by the dryness of the desert.  This place is literally too dry for dead trees to rot!

It’s hard to believe that a river used to flow through this place, supplying the water which allowed the trees to grow.  When the river dried up the trees no longer had enough water, so they died.

I can’t recommend Deadvlei enough – it’s one of those places you just have to see.

The main site is about 1 km from the parking area.  It’s a relatively easy walk, though be sure to bring plenty of water.  It gets seriously hot during the day, and there’s no shade.

5. Dune 45

People-climbing-dune-45-in-namibia-at-sunset

Dune 45 is probably the most famous dune in the Sossusvlei area.  It is located 45 km (hence the name) from the Sesriem Gate entrance to the Namib-Naukluft National Park.

At a “mere” 170 metres, it’s by no means the tallest dune around.  But its relative accessibility makes it a popular destination for visitors to the area.  

It’s a pretty tough slog up to the top.  The sand is very fine, and you might struggle to make progress up the steeper sections.  It’s definitely worth the effort though, the views from the top are stunning.

Running down the side of the dune from top to bottom is ridiculously fun.  Even if you do trip, roll, and get a ton of sand in your eyes like I did…

For the best views and colours, come at either sunrise or sunset.  It’s also more of a bearable temperature at these times.

It should obviously go without saying, but BRING LOTS OF WATER.

6. Fish River Canyon

The view looking down into Fish River Canyon with dramatic rock formations that look a bit like the Grand Canyon

The “Grand Canyon of Africa”, in the south of Namibia, is the second largest canyon in the world.

The sheer scale is staggering:  the Fish River Canyon is 27 km wide and half a kilometre deep in places.  

It’s every bit as impressive as its better-known American cousin.  And best of all, you can often have the place entirely to yourself.

For fans of hiking, there is a five day trail which starts near to Hobas.  

This trail takes in the majority of the canyon, following the Fish River, and ends at the spa resort at Ai-Ais.  Here you can enjoy the hot mineral springs as you rest up and recover post-hike.

You’ll need a decent pair of walking shoes, lots of suncream, a warm sleeping bag (it can get pretty cold at night!), enough food and water purification tablets.  And obviously don’t attempt to do the hike alone…

If you don’t fancy the hike, there are great views of the canyon from the public viewpoint near Hobas.

7. Etosha National Park

Cheetah-hunting-in-etosha-national-park
Giraffe-bending-down-to-drink-from-a-watering-hole-in-etosha-national-park

If you thought that (i) Namibia was just one giant desert; and (ii) you couldn’t go on safari and see the “Big Five” in the wild here, you’d be wrong on both counts.

Etosha National Park should be on everyone’s list of top places to visit in Namibia.  It’s one of the largest game parks in Africa, and you can see a huge range of animals here.  

Vast herds of elephant, zebra, black and white rhino, wildebeest, giraffe, ostrich, lion, leopard, cheetah….  You name it, there are tons at Etosha.

The giant Etosha salt pan covers about a quarter of the national park and glistens white under the sun.  The rest of the park consists of large stretches of woodland and grasslands, with several waterholes.

Nighttime view of a rhino drinking from a watering hole in Etosha
Four-cheetahs-sitting-upright-in-a-line-in-etosha

These waterholes are great places to watch the animals come to drink and bathe.  Some of the waterholes are also floodlit, giving you the rare chance to see the animals at night (see rhino above, taken without zoom).  

You can camp overnight inside the park (super awesome) within designated areas.  Hugely recommended!  

Alternatively, there are lodges for those who prefer more comfort (and/or not to have animals sniffing around your tent in the night).

For more information about visiting Etosha, including park fees, accommodation options and travel info, head over to etoshanationalpark.org.

And if you’re also interested in going on safari in Kenya, check out my post on the best safari lodges in Tsavo East and West.

Here’s a collection of the best safari captions and quotes.

8. Cape Cross Seal Colony

Hundreds-of-cape-cross-fur-seals-both-on-land-and-in-the-choppy-ocean

On a rocky promontory and a short stretch of beach, 130 km north of Swakopmund, you’ll find the largest colony of Cape fur seals in the world.  

During the breeding season in November and December, over 200,000 of the things cram themselves onto the small headland.

They are loud and seem to like fighting with each other.  It’s a bizarre, but certainly cool, place to stop for a picnic on your drive along the coast.

Cape Cross is also the site where, in 1486, the first European explorer (Diego Cao, from Portugal) set foot on what is now Namibia.

Okay, so maybe this isn’t one of the most beautiful places in Namibia (and it smells pretty bad), but it’s still an amazing thing to experience.

Cute-baby-fur-seal-pup-on-yellow-sand

The baby seal pups are also super cute.

9. Skeleton Coast

Wrecked-ship-on-the-skeleton-coast-namibia

There’s an eerie number of shipwrecks along the Namib desert coast.  

Thanks to the infamously thick fog, strong Atlantic currents and vast stretches of featureless desert, countless unfortunate sailors throughout the ages have run aground on this stretch of the Namibian coast.

Throughout history, many seafarers who were stranded here died of thirst, leaving their bones along with those of their ships.  

You can see why Portuguese sailors used to call this inhospitable, remote place “The Gates of Hell”.  

Stuck between the raging South Atlantic and the vast, barren Namib desert, this isn’t a place you want to be shipwrecked.

Dolphin-skull-washed-up-on-the-beach-of-the-skeleton-coast-in-namibia

In case that wasn’t cheerful enough, it’s also an animal graveyard.  The remains of large numbers of dolphins and whales litter the shoreline.  The name “Skeleton Coast” really is deserved.  

It’s a surreal and desolate place but, in some ways I think, morbidly beautiful.

10. Caprivi Strip

Cheetah-walking-on-a-dirt-road-in-the-caprivi-strip

Another fantastic place for spotting wildlife, the Caprivi Strip is a thin sliver of northern Namibia sandwiched between Botswana, Angola and Zambia.

After the immense stretches of desert that make up most of the rest of the country, you’d be forgiven for thinking you had left Namibia when entering the Caprivi.  

The Chobe, Okavango and Zambezi rivers all flow through this strip of land.  High rainfall helps to keep the area green, lush and full of life.

The swampier parts are home to large numbers of hippos and crocodiles.  On drier land, you’ll likely spot lots of other big African wildlife – elephant, giraffe, buffalo, lion and cheetah to name a few.

The Caprivi is also super close to the famous Okavango Delta in Botswana.  If you’ve got time, I’d highly recommend combining the two destinations.

Giraffe-sticking-its-head-out-from-the-bushes-in-namibia
She agrees

11. Damaraland

Damaraland is a region in northwestern Namibia known for its rugged, rocky landscapes and unique desert-adapted wildlife.

Here, you can spot endangered species such as the desert-adapted elephant, black rhino, and giraffe.

Guided tours are available to take you through this beautiful region and introduce you to the local flora and fauna.

A meandering stream flows through Damaraland's arid landscape, flanked by wind-sculpted rocks and a resilient tree, with a backdrop of warm-hued mountains under a cloud-dappled sky.

The area is also home to the Himba people, one of the last semi-nomadic tribes in Africa.

Many tour companies offer cultural visits and experiences with the Himba, allowing visitors to learn about their traditional way of life.

For a truly unique experience, consider staying at one of the eco-friendly lodges in Damaraland.

These accommodations often provide opportunities for nature walks, game drives, and cultural interactions with the people who live in this unique place.

It’s the perfect way to experience the beauty of Namibia while supporting sustainable tourism initiatives.

I’ve personally stayed at Lodge Damaraland and would definitely recommend it.

Don’t miss out on exploring this lesser-known but stunning region of Namibia.

12. Kolmanskop Ghost Town

Have you ever wanted to explore a deserted town full of abandoned buildings slowly being taken over by nature? Then Kolmanskop Ghost Town is the place for you.

Located in the Namib Desert, this former diamond mining town was inhabited by German miners and their families in the early 1900s.

However, after World War I and the discovery of diamonds elsewhere, the town was abandoned and is now a ghost town.

Inside an abandoned building in Kolmanskop, Namibia, where desert sands reclaim the space, creating a surreal tableau of nature's reclamation amidst human history.

The desert is slowly reclaiming the town, with dunes creeping into buildings and through windows.

The eerie atmosphere combined with the stunning desert scenery makes for a unique and slightly spooky experience.

You can explore the empty buildings, including the hospital, casino, and homes of former residents.

It’s a photographer’s paradise, with plenty of opportunities to capture hauntingly beautiful shots. Guided tours are also available for those who want to learn more about the town’s history and legends.

13. Ui-Ais / Twyfelfontein Rock Engravings

The Twyfelfontein Rock Engravings (also known as /Ui-//aes) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site home to some of the largest and most important concentrations of rock engravings in Africa.

Some are believed to be over 6,000 years old.

Prehistoric rock engravings at Twyfelfontein, Namibia, with depictions of animals and tribal symbols, bearing witness to the area's rich cultural heritage amidst its rugged terrain.

The engravings depict various animals, humans, footprints, and abstract shapes, providing a fascinating insight into the lives of the area’s ancient inhabitants.

The site is located in Damaraland (see above), an area known for its beautiful landscapes and wildlife sightings.

14. Kaokoland

For a truly off-the-beaten-path adventure, head to Kaokoland in the northwestern corner of Namibia.

This remote and sparsely populated region is home to various ethnic groups, including the Himba people.

A solitary desert elephant strolls in the vast Kaokoland, Namibia, with sparse vegetation and a mountainous horizon, highlighting the adaptability of wildlife in arid environments.

The landscape here is diverse and ever-changing, from rugged mountains and deep valleys to open plains and riverbeds. It’s also home to some unique wildlife, such as desert-adapted elephants and lions.

Kaokoland is a challenging but rewarding destination for adventurous travellers. You can explore the region on a guided 4×4 tour or embark on multi-day bush camping expeditions.

15. Solitaire

Solitaire is a small settlement in the Namib Desert. It’s a popular stopover for travellers making their way to Sossusvlei or Swakopmund, home to the only filling station for miles.

But this tiny town has its own charm and character, making it worth a visit in its own right.

An old, colourful car half-buried in the sand in Solitaire, Namibia, evoking the passage of time in this remote and tranquil desert town.

Take a walk around and admire the quirky sculptures made from discarded car parts. And be sure to stop by the iconic Solitaire Bakery for a slice of their famous apple pie – it’s delicious.

The desert scenery here is breathtaking and stretches out as far as the eye can see. It’s an excellent place to experience the vastness and solitude of the Namibian desert.

16. Quiver Tree Forest

Located in southern Namibia, the Quiver Tree Forest is a unique and otherworldly landscape.

It’s home to over 250 Aloidendron dichotomum trees. These are also known as quiver trees (or kokerboom) because San people use them to make quivers for their arrows.

The iconic Quiver Trees stand tall against the rocky terrain of Namibia's Quiver Tree Forest, their unique silhouettes etched against the early evening sky, symbolizing the resilience of desert flora.

The trees are best visited at sunrise or sunset when they glow with an ethereal orange light.

This is another spectacular place for stargazing. The clear desert skies offer excellent views of the Milky Way and constellations, making it a must-visit for astronomy enthusiasts.

17. Swakopmund

Known as Namibia’s adventure capital,  Swakopmund is a popular coastal town with a strong German colonial influence.

Here, you can try sandboarding or quad biking on the massive dunes surrounding the town. You can also take a boat trip to see dolphins and seals or go fishing for some fresh seafood.

Quaint, triangular-roofed cottages line the sandy landscape in Swakopmund, Namibia, with palm trees punctuating the blue sky, capturing the charm of this coastal desert oasis.

For those interested in history and culture, Swakopmund offers museums, galleries, and traditional German architecture – I found it strange and fascinating to see this in the desert of southern Africa!

It’s also a perfect place to relax and refuel yourself with German beer and sausages during your adventurous trip through Namibia.

Car Hire in Namibia

To fully enjoy this amazing country, I strongly recommend hiring your own car – preferably an SUV with four-wheel drive

Although many roads are paved and in excellent condition, some of the most beautiful places in Namibia can only be accessed via dirt roads.

Namibia is a pretty big place – larger than Texas, and more than double the size of Germany.  

And with a population of just over 2 million, it’s not surprising that there isn’t a particularly extensive public transport network.

🤩 Click here to compare car hire options

Tours in Namibia

If you’d rather let someone else take care of all of the logistics for you, there are many excellent tours available in Namibia.

These range from short one-day trips to multi-day (or even multi-week) adventures.

🤩 Click here to check the latest prices and availability

FAQs

Here are answers to a few frequently asked questions about visiting Namibia.

Which part of Namibia is best?

The best part of Namibia depends on what you’re looking for. For dramatic landscapes and wildlife, visit Etosha National Park and the Namib Desert, including Sossusvlei’s dunes. For cultural experiences, the Himba villages in Kaokoland are exceptional. Swakopmund is excellent for adventure sports.

What is the most visited place in Namibia?

Etosha National Park is the most visited place in Namibia. Its vast salt pan and numerous waterholes make it a spectacular spot for spotting wildlife, including lions elephants, giraffes, and rhinos.

Which region is the most beautiful in Namibia?

The Namib Desert, particularly Sossusvlei, is often considered the most beautiful region in Namibia. It features iconic red dunes, Deadvlei, and some of the tallest sand dunes in the world, offering a unique desert experience.

What is the most famous thing in Namibia?

The Namib Desert, especially the Sossusvlei area, is the most famous attraction in Namibia. It is known for its stunning red sand dunes and unique desert landscapes, including the striking Deadvlei.

Is Namibia a cheap country to visit?

Namibia isn’t particularly cheap. While eating out and transportation can be reasonable, accommodation, guided safaris, and park fees can add up. Self-catering and self-driving can help reduce costs.

How many days do you need in Namibia?

You need at least 10–14 days to explore Namibia properly. A two-week itinerary provides a well-rounded experience of the country’s diverse landscapes, but more time allows for deeper exploration.

What is the best time to visit Namibia?

The best time to visit Namibia is during the dry season, from June to October. Wildlife viewing is excellent during these months, especially in Etosha National Park, as animals gather around water sources. The weather is also cooler and more comfortable.

What is the best way to see Namibia?

The best way to see Namibia is by self-driving, which offers the flexibility to explore at your own pace. Renting a 4×4 vehicle is recommended due to the terrain and long distances between attractions. This allows convenient access to remote areas like the Namib Desert, Etosha National Park, and the Skeleton Coast.

Final Thoughts

There are so many beautiful places in Namibia, this list only scratches the surface. It’s a country I’d love to return to.

Have I missed any of your favourites?  Let me know in the comments below.

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Who Am I?

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  • I’m Alex Tiffany.  Former corporate city robot; lifelong travel addict.

 

  • I’m on a mission to make adventurous travel accessible to all.

 

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