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Luxury Safaris to Namibia

Safaris to Namibia are unlike safaris to any other country in Africa. Namibia is a vast and beautiful country, dominated by the Namib Desert. Namibia safaris offer visitors a chance to experience wide open spaces, majestic landscapes and sightings of the wildlife that has adapted to harsh desert conditions. Namibia is the best place in Africa to see desert adapted elephants and lions, as well as the endangered black rhinos. It is also a great budget safari location and is a safe place to travel.

Luxury Safaris to Namibia

Safaris to Namibia offer visitors the ultimate escape from everyday life. Here amongst towering sand dunes and desolate shores, you’ll discover desert adapted wildlife, the last nomadic Himba tribes, and some of the most remote luxury camps in all of Africa.

Most Namibia safaris will include a visit Sossusvlei and its towering red sand dunes, Swakopmund on the coast, Damaraland to see desert adapted animals and the country’s premier game location - Etosha National Park.

At Stanley Safaris, some of our other favourite areas to add to a Namibian safari itinerary are the Kunene River region and Kaokaland in the north of the country, which are some of the most remote parts of Africa.

Namibia is an affordable safari destination and an excellent choice for a budget safari. This is because it has a variety of accommodation options, including luxury lodges, remote camps, mobile camps, privately owned ranches and government run rest camps. It is also one of the best countries in Africa to do a self-drive safari. The roads are well-maintained, camps are easily accessible, and Etosha National Park in particular, has wildlife that is easy to spot.

Namibia Safari Ideas

A safari to Namibia is the perfect place for anyone looking for a destination holiday away from the bustle of everyday life. There is a large variety of safari options to choose from in Namibia, and all can be tailored to your budget.

Namibia is one of the best countries in Africa to do a self-drive safari, exploring the vast deserts and mountains with your own 4×4. If that isn’t for you, then a luxury fly-in safari is also possible. Have a look at some of our Namibia safari ideas to see what is possible, and then get in touch to start planning your dream safari to Namibia!

Where to go on your Namibia safari

Namibia is an incredibly scenic country. There’s the large red sand dunes of the Namib desert, towering rocky mountains of Damaraland, grassy plains of Kaokoland, the game rich saltpan of Etosha and the lush greenery of the Caprivi Strip.

Namibia does not compete with other African countries when it comes to high intensity game viewing, but it certainly makes up for it in landscapes.

Sossusvlei and Wolwedans

Namibia’s Sossusvlei is a photographer’s dream. Black petrified trees provide contrast against the white calcium pans, while the whole scene is surrounded by red towering sand dunes. You could be here for hours taking the perfect picture! The name “Sossusvlei” comes from the Nama word “sossus”, meaning “dead-end” and the Afrikaans word “Vlei” which means marsh and so literally means “dead-end marsh”. The name originates from the fact that the sand dunes surrounding Sossusvlei prevent the Tsauchab River from flowing any further.

Other attractions within the area include Dune 45 which is one of the most photographed sand dunes in the world. Then towering at 325 meters tall, Big Daddy the largest sand dune in the Sossusvlei area. Near the Sossusvlei entrance gate is the Sesriem Canyon, which was formed by the Tsauchab River over millions of years. Today, it is the only place in the area that holds water year-round.

South of Sossusvlei is the NamibRand Nature Reserve, home of the stunning Wolwedans Lodges. Vast grassy plains and rolling red sand dunes are surrounded by towering rocky mountains, creating some of the most dramatic landscapes in Africa. The NamibRand Nature Reserve is home to desert adapted animals like gemsbok (oryx), springbok, jackal, zebra, giraffe, brown hyena, cheetah and leopard.


Namibia’s Damaraland is a large, rugged and arid region in north-west of the country. This is a harsh environment of grassy plains and rugged rocky mountains, where animals and people have etched out a living from very little. Black rhino, desert lions and desert elephants have managed to survive in this region by learning over years where to find water and food.

Aside from the desert adapted wildlife of Damaraland, it is the history and landscapes that captivate visitors. From the rock engravings at Twyfelfontein to the petrified forest and Organ Pipes, there is plenty for visitors to the Damaraland to see and do.

Kaokoland and Kunene Regions

Kaokoland is in the very north of Namibia and stretches as far as the Kunene River on the border with Angola. This is vast, remote and rugged landscape, making it the perfect playground for the ultimate explorer. It is easy to feel an immense sense of space in the Kaokoland as you explore grasslands with unexplained fairy circles

This region is home to some of Namibia’s most incredible wildlife. Elephants, lions, giraffe and black rhino have managed to survive the harsh, arid environment by learning where to find sufficient food and water.
Nomadic Himba tribes also make a living in this harsh environment and still live a very traditional way of life, moving their goats and cattle from one pasture to the next.

The Kaokoland is an incredible destination and one we cannot recommend enough! We would definitely recommend adding this to your Namibia safari itinerary. Our favourite properties in the area include Okahirongo Elephant Camp, Hoanib Valley Camp and the Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp. All these luxury safari camps take guests out looking for desert adapted elephants and other wildlife. They will also take guests to learn more about the incredible Himba Tribes of the area.

North of the Kaokoland, the Kunene River which forms the border with Angola, offers a huge contrast from the arid plains you’ll find further south. This is a lush oasis in the desert. You’ll find swaying palm trees along the river, crocodiles resting on the sand banks and lovebirds singing in the trees.

At one point the Kunene River plunges over the Epupa Falls, which is probably one of the most scenic waterfalls we have seen. A series of waterfalls plunges down into the gorge below, creating rocky islands with large baobab trees clinging to the edge of the rocks.

Epupa Falls is very remote and only accessible by self-drive. There are only a couple of basic lodges along the river. But for the more adventurous, this is well worth the trip.

Etosha National Park

Etosha National Park is Namibia’s premier wildlife reserve, and home to four of the Big 5. It is a big park dominated by the Etosha Salt Pan, which forms most of the northern part of the park. The southern area is where the majority of camps and lodges are, and is also the main area to see wildlife. Well maintained gravel roads crisscross this area between pumped waterholes. Because the area is so dry, these watering holes attract good herds of animals, including gemsbok (oryx), springbok, wildebeest, zebra, giraffe, elephant, as well as black and white rhino. In fact, Etosha is the best place in Africa to see the highly endangered black rhino. Lion, cheetah and leopard make up the bulk of predators in the park.

Etosha must be included if you are planning a budget Namibia safari because it offers a wide range of self-catering campsites and bungalows. Outside the park along the boundaries are series of luxury camps and lodges that offer all-inclusive options if this is more your style.

One of the best things about Etosha is that it is an extremely easy park to do a self-drive safari in. You can stay at comfortable self-catering bungalows inside the park and the road network is very easy to navigate. Being an arid park, most of the animals can be seen at the pumped waterholes that are strung out along the road networks.

Skeleton Coast

Namibia’s Skeleton Coast stretches from Swakopmund in the south right up to the Angolan border in the north, and is one of the most desolate coastlines in the world. It received its name from the numerous shipwrecks that litter the coastline. Huge sand dunes of the Namib desert tumble into the cold Atlantic ocean for as far as the eye can see.

But if you know where to look you can find life out here. Colonies of Cape Fur Seals dot the coastline, which attract jackals and brown hyenas who hunt the pups. Desert lions from the Damaraland and Kaokoland occasionally move down to the coast to also hunt seals. The Skeleton Coast is vital for the survival of inland deserts. The cold Atlantic Ocean brings in nutrient rich fog that blows inland, bringing water to the desert plants and animals that rely on it for their survival.

There is only one lodge in the Skeleton Coast that is reached from the Damaraland. Shipwreck Lodge is unique lodge located on the dunes of the Skeleton Coast. Guests staying here enjoy guided activities along the Skeleton Coast including visits to seal colonies and shipwrecks.

One of our top safaris to Namibia, is our Namibia Flying Safari that includes Sossusvlei, Damaraland, Kaokoland, Kunene and the Skeleton Coast. The safari is guided by legend brothers whose father was a warden of the Skeleton Coast National Park and so they grew up flying along this desolate coastline, landing on the beach to explore further. Nowadays, they take guests on the same expeditions - landing on the beach and taking guests to remote areas that are inaccessible by vehicle.

Sossusvlei – A photographers dream location

Located in the Namib-Naukluft National Park, the Sossusvlei region is home to Deadvlei, that well-known white clay “lake” where eerie petrified trees stand like statues against a background of bloodred sand dunes.

Hundreds of years ago, the Tsauchab River flowed through the desert, but was prevented from reaching the sea by the towering dunes, which resulted in the waters flooding an area and creating a marsh. Camelthorn trees grew out of the waters, but soon died in the blazing sun, creating the incredible landscape known as Deadvlei that visitors can see today.

Other than Deadvlei, the Sossusvlei region is home to the biggest sand dunes in Africa. Big Daddy stands over 325 meters tall and towers over the other sand dunes of the area. Guests can attempt to walk up Big Daddy and enjoy views out over the vast Namib Desert. A highlight for visitors to the Sossusvlei region is to climb up Dune 45 which is 85 meters tall and to watch the sunrise from the top. As the rays of the sun pop over the dunes, the sand starts to change colour until it is bright red.

Just outside the entrance gate to Sossusvlei is the Sesriem Canyon. This natural marvel was shaped over millions of years by the Tsauchab River. Today it is the only place in the area that retains water throughout the year.

Whenever a guest plans a Namibian safari and wishes to include Sossusvlei in their safari itinerary, we recommend taking a hot air balloon ride over the area. Soaring silently over mountains, grasslands and sand dunes as the sunrises is a highlight of any visit to Namibia. From up in the air, you can clearly see the fairy circles which are still a mystery.

Sossusvlei can be reached during a self-drive safari to Namibia either at the beginning or end of the safari. If you are not doing a self-drive safari to Namibia, there are regular flights from Windhoek to the area and guides from the luxury safari lodges will take guests on guided activities.

Namibia Seasons and When to Visit

In our opinion, the best time to visit Namibia is in September at the end of the dry season, or in March and April at the beginning of it. All of these months have pleasant temperatures (around 25°C or 77°F) during the day, but September is especially good for travelling, as the animals are very active at this time of year.

Namibia is one of the driest countries in the world, receiving barely any rainfall throughout the year, but even so, when it does rain, it follows similar weather patterns to Botswana and South Africa. The rains beginning in mid-November and continue through until March. Although rainfall is uncommon, it is still important to be careful during these months because flash floods can occur without warning if rain has fallen in the mountains and catchment areas.

This is also the hottest time of year in Namibia. From October until March, the temperatures can rise to over 40°C (104°F)!

May is the beginning of the cold winter months. Night time temperatures can drop quickly as the desert cannot retain any of the daytime heat. From June, night time temperatures are as low as 10°C (50°F), although daytime temperatures are still a pleasant 20-25°C (68-75°F). July and August are the peak of the dry winter months with mild daytime temperatures hovering around 21-25°C (70-77°F), while at night the temperature can drop to 7°C (45°F). At higher altitudes and in the desert, temperatures can drop below freezing.