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Namibia Travel Guide: 10 Top Places to Visit in Namibia (in 2021)
Travelling through Namibia was one of the favourite things that I did during my trip to Southern Africa.
Whether you’re interested in spotting wildlife, 4WD quad biking on sand dunes, star gazing, experiencing the culture and life lessons of local tribespeople or witnessing vast desert landscapes, Namibia has it all.
It is also home to the largest population of cheetah and has an incredibly small population of less than two million people. To give you an idea of size, that’s less a 10th of the population of Australia.
Before I jump into 10 top places to visit in Namibia, Africa, here’s a quick snapshot into my experience.
My Experience Travelling in Namibia, Africa
Being a solo traveller, I decided to do a group overlanding tour with G-Adventures. It was one of the coolest and most challenging experiences of my life. Particularly, driving through the Namib desert during a heat wave.
At times, the heat got so bad that our van’s air conditioner failed, and we legitimately felt like we were melting.
Although we tried to open a window to get a breeze, it’d only make things worse. No matter where you turned you were surrounded by dry heat.
The discomfort was excruciating.
But as we arrived at our camping spot, you could feel everyone’s relief upon realising it had a pool. I’ve never seen anyone strip down so fast before lunging themselves into a pool.
Here’s the pool. Pretty sick right!!! Literally in the middle of nowhere.
Although we were often tested with the heat, we had some of the most magical experiences in Namibia, Africa.
I even remember driving along the road, through the Namib Desert, with an Oryx (Big Antelope) suddenly popping out from behind a bush and galloping alongside us. We watched in awe, wondering how a majestic animal like that could survive in such harsh conditions.
We also visited various Namibian Tribes and locals who also live off the land. It was fascinating to watch them in their element.
You can read more about the various Namibian Tribes here, in this article.
Overlanding was the best way to experience Namibia for all of its natural beauty. It is a place for nature lovers and explorers, not party animals.
If you’re interested in learning more about the overlanding tour that I did with G-Adventures, you can check it out here.
Now I’ll run you through the BEST places I visited as part of my trip to Namibia. I’ve ordered them based on their location in Namibia – bottom to top.
10 Top Places to Visit in Namibia, Africa
1) Orange River
As you cross the border from South Africa to Namibia, it is likely that you will encounter the impressive landscapes surrounding the Orange River.
The Orange River is the longest river within the borders of South Africa and is surrounded by large orange cliffs and green vegetation.
There’s very few animals or wildlife on the river, with some believing it being related to the animals being hunted to extinction.
As part of our tour, we spent a few hours kayaking down the river to take in all of its beauty. It was a very peaceful experience and a nice escape from the heat.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Do not forget to wear sunscreen. Otherwise, you WILL get roasted.
2) Fish River Canyon
Fish River Canyon was also a pretty cool place.
It’s the largest canyon in Africa and the second largest canyon in the world. It is also the second most visited tourist attraction in Namibia, Africa.
We got to the canyon just before sunrise, so we were able to watch the sun ascend over the canyon horizon which was a stunning experience.
There isn’t much else to do at the canyon other than immerse yourself in the impressive landscapes and take photos.
You can go on some hikes, but our group didn’t do any of those. Therefore, I’m unable to recommend whether it was worth doing or not.
3) Namib-Naukluft National Park
In my opinion, the greatest attraction of Namibia is the Namib-Naukluft National Park.
The park is located in western Namibia and encompasses part of the Namib Desert, the Naukluft mountain range, and the lagoon at Sandwich Harbour.
The Namib desert is the world’s oldest desert and is literally a grand sea of sand stretching for hundreds of kilometres in every direction.
It was also one of the HOTTEST parts of Namibia that we visited.
It is the only desert in Africa that is inhabited by elephant, rhino, giraffe, and lion as well as other smaller animals.
When you get there, you will realise how crazy this is!
The desert is so barren that you wouldn’t believe anything could survive.
We didn’t go to Sandwich Harbour, but if you do a search on Google, you’ll see how beautiful the coastline is.
The best-known area of the park and one of the main visitor attractions is Sossusvlei, which I’m going to talk more about below.
This is likely the place that you’ve seen all those instagram photos from, as it is a major tourist attraction in Namibia, Africa.
The unusual name “Sossusvlei” is believed to be of mixed origin, and simply means “dead-end marsh”.
Once translated, the name doesn’t sound all that appealing but it is truly Namibia’s tourist treasure: a salt and clay pan surrounded by spectacular red sand dunes and blue sky.
5) Deadvlei (Definitely one of the best places to visit in Namibia!)
When you get to Namibia, Africa, all the unique names of deserts and sand dunes can get confusing.
To be honest… I actually thought that the Deadvlei and Sossusvlei were the same place up until recently.
Although they are both located near each other and have names with similar meanings, they are actually different salt pans.
The Deadvlei is often considered the smaller sibling of the more famous salt pan of Sossusvlei, but in my opinion, it was just as spectacular.
The Deadvlei is surrounded by some of the highest sand dunes in the world!! With the highest sand dune reaching 300–400 meters.
This may not sound that big, but once you’re standing at the bottom of it preparing to climb up, it’s pretty freaking high.
If you like to have unique experiences and get one-of-a-kind photos, visiting the Deadvlei or Sossusvlei should be 100% on your itinerary.
6) Dune 45 (My favourite place to visit in Namibia!)
Dune 45 is a sand dune in the Sossusvlei area of the Namib Desert.
The reason it’s called Dune 45 is because it’s located at the 45th kilometre of the road between the Sesriem gate and Sossusvlei.
Not only does it stand at 170m high, but it also contains sand that is believed to be over 5 million years old.
When we got there, it was freaking HOT! We were all dripping with sweat and many of us just wanted to crawl up in a piece of shade and go die.
Yet, the magnificence of the dune and the views from the top peaked our curiosity. We accepted the challenge and decided to climb the beast. After all, it was a once in a lifetime experience.
I can never say no to that…
If, like us, you get the chance to climb Dune 45 – 100% do it!
Although it is not the easiest hike, the views from the top are magical and running back down the sand dune is really fun.
Disclosure: you will get sand in places that you never knew existed.
Swakopmund is the place to go for adventure activities, Atlantic beaches & German colonial-style buildings.
Although there’s not too much to do inside the town itself, there’s many fun things that you can do outside of it including:
- 4WD Quad Biking
- Walvis Bay 4×4 Driving
- Namib Desert Driving Adventures
- Scenic Desert Bike Tour
- Segway Tours
- Catamaran Tours
That’s why it’s one of the top places to visit in Namibia – especially if you’re an adventure junkie like me.
I did keep getting trouble though….
Unlike the others who neatly followed behind the instructor as told, I was often tempted to create my own route, zipping and weaving up and down the different sand dunes.
Yes, it was a bit naughty, but look…I’ve never been very good at following rules.
- For safety purposes, it probably is best to follow the instructor…(ignore my antics)
If you’re interested in doing a 4×4 Sand Dune Drive, here are some great tours to check out:
Another place with an interesting name…
In simple terms, Spitzkoppe is a group of extravagant granite rock peaks in the Namib desert of Namibia. They’re located between the towns of Usakos and Swakopmund.
The granite in these peaks is believed to be more than 120 million years old with the highest ridge rising approx. 1,728 metres above sea level. The highest peak is about 670 m above the floor of the desert below.
When you’re driving through the Namib Desert plains, the peaks stand out quite dramatically and somewhat randomly.
It really is a beautiful site as you can see below.
If you’d like to do a guided day tour of Spitzkoppe, you can read more here.
Twyfelfontein is a historical site in Namibia, Africa that is known for its ancient rock engravings amongst slopes of sandstone mountains.
Scientists believe that the site has been inhabited for over 6,000 years, with hunter-gatherers and Khoikhoi herders using it as a place of worship and ceremony.
When you’re there it’s quite an eerie feeling.
As you observe the engravings, you realise that a tribe member was probably standing right in where you are…but thousands of years ago in an entirely different century.
10) Etosha National Park
If you’re not visiting any other countries in Africa, then Etosha National Park could be a good place to spot wild-life and see the Big 4.
But if I’m 100% honest, it wasn’t my favourite National Park in Africa.
I think my experience was let down because I didn’t see a huge diversity of animals there, unlike some of the other National Parks I went to including: South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Tanzania etc.
But your experience may be different.
If you’re only spending time in Namibia as part of your travels, then Etosha is the place to go for safari and game drives.
So, there you go: the 10 of the top places to visit in Namibia, Africa.
As a solo traveller, I had the most amazing experience with G-Adventures.
If you’d like to travel to Namibia, you can check out the tour I did here: G-Adventures Namibia Tour
You won’t be disappointed, and they always strive to support the local community and sustainable tourism which is fantastic. If you’d like any further advice about Namibia, feel free to give me a hola!
So, there you have it:
The 10 Top Places to Visit in Namibia, Africa
As always, here’s a quick summary so you can copy and paste them into your travel itinerary as desired.
- Orange River
- Fish River Canyon
- Namib-Naukluft National Park
- Dune 45
- Etosha National Park
If you’d like to read more about Cape Town or South Africa, click here.