The Ultimate Guide to Namibia Safaris
Namibia, located on Africa’s southwestern coast, is a vast and beautiful country that is far less known than its southern and eastern sisters in the safari world. But that doesn’t mean that Namibia isn’t a great safari destination. In this blog post, we’ll share the ultimate guide to all things Namibia safaris, including budget and luxury options, when to go, what to include in your itinerary and so much more.
Is Namibia good for a safari?
The short answer is yes! Safaris to Namibia give visitors the opportunity to see some incredible landscapes and desert-adapted wildlife. Etosha National Park, Namibia’s premier wildlife reserve, is home to four of the Big 5 and is the best place in Africa to see the endangered black rhino. The Sossusvlei region is a photographer’s dream, and the country’s Skeleton Coast is one of the most desolate stretches of coastline on earth, where large herds of seals attract jackals, brown hyenas, and sometimes even desert lions.
How much does a safari to Namibia cost?
Namibia is one of the few countries in Africa where a budget safari experience can be just as exhilarating as a luxury safari option. Namibia is an excellent location for a self-drive safari, where visitors rent a car and set out to explore the region on their own without a guide with them. The roads in Namibia are generally well maintained and animals are relatively easy to spot, making it a great self-drive location. Renting a car and traveling on your own terms is generally a lot cheaper than a luxury fly-in safari. There are also various accommodation options available in Namibia, including government-run rest stops and self-catering accommodation.
Luxury Namibia Travel Itineraries
The 5 luxury lodges mentioned below are spread out throughout the regions of Namibia we recommend adding them to your luxury safari itinerary.
Starting in the south, the Namibrand Nature Reserve and Sossusvlei region is a must-visit location on your Namibia safari. Here you’ll experience those towering red sand dunes Namibia is famous for. The NamibRand Nature Reserve is home to desert-adapted animals like gemsbok (oryx), springbok, jackal, zebra, giraffe, brown hyena, cheetah, and leopard.
Etosha is the country’s best place to see wildlife. The park is dominated by a vast salt pan and water is pumped into various watering holes throughout the park. There is a selection of ultra-luxurious camps and lodges on the edge of the reserve where guests have their pick of luxury accommodation options.
To the west, Namibia’s Skeleton Coast is also essential for a true luxury safari itinerary here. If you get the chance, a helicopter flight over this unforgiving coastline with leave you with goosebumps. It’s the best way to really experience the contrast of the angry sea and blood-red dunes, as well as feel how vast the desert really is.
Guided safari tours in Namibia
When it comes to specific safari tours in Namibia, one stands out above the rest. Stanley Safaris’ Namibian Flying Safari covers Sossusvlei, Damaraland, Kaokoland, Kunene, and the Skeleton Coast, and is guided by brothers whose father was the warden of the Skeleton Coast National Park. They grew up flying across these desolate stretches of coast, and are now the best people to share those incredible scenes with visitors. We are especially fond of a flying safari in Namibia because of the way in which it allows you to experience scenes that would not be accessible via vehicle. A flying safari gives visitors a completely different perspective of Namibia that what you would find on the ground.
When is the best time to go on a safari to Namibia?
We feel that the best time to travel to Namibia is just before the rainy season in September. The daytime temperatures are a pleasant 25°C or 77°F, and the animals are also most active at this time. Alternatively, the very beginning of the dry season in April and May is also pleasant.
Namibia has one of the lowest annual rainfalls on earth, but even so, there are some factors to consider when planning when to do your Namibia safari. Like the rest of Southern Africa, Mid-November to March is the rainy season (if you can call it that), and starting in October, it is also the hottest time of the year, with daytime temperatures reaching an unpleasant 40°C or 104°F. We wouldn’t recommend traveling at this time as it is simply too hot to enjoy being outdoors.
Our Top 5 luxury lodges in Namibia
1. Wolwedans Boulders Camp
Located in the deep south of the Namibrand Nature Reserve, a stay at Wolwedans Boulders Camp gives you the opportunity to experience the true solitude of this desolate and beautiful country. The camp is located 3 hours south of any of the other Wolwedans lodges and offers a space where guests can soak in the wide open skies and vast plains of the Namibrand. Activities on offer here include walking safaris, e-biking, guided drives and so much more.
2. Shipwreck Lodge
Shipwreck Lodge is without a doubt the best luxury camp to stay at while exploring the Skeleton Coast. Uniquely designed to evoke comparisons with the over 1000 ships that have come to their end along this stretch of shore, the lodges’ 10 suites are as unique in design as in location. Guests here can look forward to excursions to see resident seal colonies, some of the coast’s most famous shipwrecks, quad biking, and sundowners perched on mighty sand dunes.
3. Onguma The Fort
No safari to Namibia is complete without a visit to Etosha Game Reserve, the country’s premier wildlife destination. If you’re looking for luxury in Etosha, we recommend staying at Onguma The Fort, located on the park’s eastern border. This beautiful lodge, built with Afro-Moroccan influences, is perfectly placed to enjoy the best of Etosha. Experience game drives, sundowners, nature walks, and the first-class hospitality this stunning lodge has to offer.
4. Serra Cafema
Heading north now, the next luxury lodge on our list can be found far north of the country along the verdant Kunene River. What makes Serra Cafema so unique is the incredible contrast on display at this luxury camp. The green riverine of the Kunene River juxtaposes against the desolate plains, creating a landscape that is constantly changing. At Serra Cafema, guests can look forward to boat safaris, privately guided safaris, walking safaris, quad biking, and getting to know the rich local culture of the nomadic Himba people, who call this spectacular wilderness home.
5. Hoanib Valley Camp
Last, but certainly not least on our list is a camp found in one of the most desolate parts of Namibia. Not many people venture into Kaokoland, but those who do are generously rewarded. Hoanib Valley Camp is a project created by Natural Selection and the Giraffe Conservation Foundation. This luxury camp, found deep in this vast, untouched region, is the perfect place to get to know one of Namibia’s most remote areas. Spend your days at Hoanib Valley tracking the incredible desert adapted wildlife that call the area home, including rhinos, elephants, giraffe and sometimes lions too.