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10 Best Places to Visit in Namibia

Namibia is one of those undiscovered lands that holds a ton of mystery. While many envision the country as simply being the sunbaked Namibian desert, there is a vast array of diverse destinations that make any time the best time to visit Namibia.

When deciding where to go in Namibia, you’ll be spoilt for choice by the fascinating and accessible attractions scattered around the country, including wildlife-filled reserves, beguiling scenery and friendly towns. It's tough to fit all of Namibia's places of interest into a single itinerary, but there are several can't-miss-spots for your bucket list: Sossusvlei is a must for a Namib Desert experience par excellence, while Etosha is a shoo-in for a spectacular Namibia safari.

Read our Namibia safari guide to find out everything you need to know about planning your ideal Namibia safari.

1. Namib Desert & Sossusvlei - Towering Sand Dunes & Desert Wildlife

Deep in the Namib, the world's most ancient desert, lies one of Africa's most magical destinations: Sossusvlei - home to Namibia's famous red sand dunes. Up to 300 metres high, these towering monoliths form the centrepiece to this extraordinary ocean of sand, but the Namib Desert has far more surprises than just the Sossusvlei Dunes. Make your base at one of the many excellent lodges here and discover the secret wildlife and astounding views of this beautifully haunting landscape, much of which falls under the protection of the Namib Naukluft National Park. Considered one of Namibia’s top places of interest, you’re guaranteed an unforgettable trip.

Lose Yourself In the Desert

2. Etosha National Park - Classic Game Viewing & Great Predators

One of Africa's biggest and best conservation areas, Etosha National Park is considered to be the top location for a quintessential Namibia safari. Located in Namibia's far north, the wildlife reserve provides a feeling of being far removed from the rest of the country, but is easily accessible by its gravel roads that can be travelled in your standard family car.

Dominated by its huge salt pan, Etosha is big game country and offers an enticing blend of classic African animals such as elephant, zebra and giraffe, together with desert species such as black rhino, gemsbok and springbok. Lion, hyena and cheetah are often seen and Etosha's famous wildlife-packed waterholes, which are a must-do in the May to October dry season (the best time to visit Namibia for wildlife viewing). Accommodation is available in the park but we'd recommend staying at one of the adjoining private reserves for luxury, exclusivity and a wide range of safari activities.

Visit the Greatest Wildlife Sanctuary

3. Damaraland - Ruggedly Beautiful Scenery & Desert Wildlife

An inland region of rugged mountains, gravel plains and flash-flood rivers, Damaraland is where to go in Namibia for unadulterated scenic beauty. Considered one of the top Namibia destinations, this beautiful space offers utterly grand and breathtaking views by day, while at night the sky glows with countless, dazzling stars.

Situated in the Kunene Region of north-west Namibia, Damaraland is a hotspot for Bushman art and geological oddities while the wealth of animal life will surprise you - desert-adapted elephant, black rhino and many antelope species are among the A-list. Intimate lodges are hidden away in discreet locations and make for comfortable bases from which to explore the region during your immersive Damaraland vacation.

Sojourn In Solitude

4. Skeleton Coast - Shipwrecks, Seal Colonies & Complete Isolation

The battered shipwrecks that litter the beaches of the Skeleton Coast National Park may have given Namibia's far northern shoreline its name, but there's more to this region than just ghost stories. Huge seal colonies provide scavenging opportunities for brown hyenas and jackals, while vegetated inland river valleys support yet more abundant animals and birds – making it one of the top Namibia places of interest for most.

A genuine off-the-beaten-track destination, travellers looking for complete isolation, tranquility and sensational views need look no further than the handful of exclusive lodges in the area. One such spectacular spot to stay when visiting Namibia is The Shipwreck Lodge, which is as interesting and unique to the area as it sounds.

Travel To The Past

5. Kaokoveld - Southern Africa's Last Frontier

The famous ochre-painted Himba people have long made Namibia's far northern region their home, but it is only in recent years that access to the Kaokoveld has been made possible – making it one of the top Namibia destinations for both local and international visitors.

Perhaps Southern Africa's last true wilderness, the wild, sun-baked and remote Kaokoveld offers intrepid travellers an insight into how life can flourish in seemingly impossible conditions. Head for the handful of riverside lodges in the Kaokoveld, interact with local Himba communities and discover the secret wildlife of the area for a truly magical visit to Namibia. You’ll find yourself yearning to stay a little (or a lot) longer.

Explore Untouched Wilderness

6. Swakopmund - Coastal Holiday Town & Perfect Safari Stop-over

The perfect stop-over and stock-up Namibia destination, the seaside holiday town of Swakopmund blends its German colonial heritage with an unmistakable African character. Often blanketed by early morning sea fog, Swakopmund is where the Namib Desert meets Namibia's Atlantic coast and offers easy excursions into the desert, a wide range of adventure and leisure activities plus many local Namibia places of interest. When planning your trip, be sure to include Swakopmund on your list for an immersive seaside town experience, filled with unique attractions on every corner, while on a visit to Namibia.

Sleep By The Sea

7. Lüderitz & Kolmanskop - Seaside Isolation & World-famous Ghost Town

Something one could only conjure in their wildest dreams or fantasy movie, the ghost town of Kolmanskop is undoubtedly one of the top Namibia destinations for most travellers. This is not only due to the unique history, but due to the incredible photo opportunities granted by now-vacant mansions covered in sand dunes. A perfect example of how nature always wins, this spectacular sight is one every visitor should see. Make a day out of it and grab lunch in the slow, historic seaside town of Lüderitz ­– a short drive from Kolmanskop and filled with attractions all its own.

8. Windhoek - Start or Finish your Safari in Africa's Easiest Big City

Clean, safe and friendly - it's little wonder that Windhoek is one of Africa's favourite capital cities and one of Namibia’s top places of interest. What’s more, its central location and international airport both make Windhoek an ideal base from which to begin or end a spectacular Namibia safari. Stock up on supplies, catch up on emails and give yourself a break - there's plenty of accommodation in Windhoek, ranging from international chains to boutique hotels and lodges, and you won't be short of places to eat and drink either. What more could you need?

Tour The Town

9. Waterberg Plateau - Game Viewing in a Unique Environment

The 200 metre-high, flat-topped Waterberg Plateau is sometimes described as the Lost Eden. Isolated in a flat landscape, the wooded grasslands of this brick-red block of sandstone are home to a wide range of animals that includes leopard, cheetah, white rhino, buffalo, plus the rare and endangered roan and sable antelopes and 200 bird species. The Waterberg Plateau can only be accessed on a Nature Conservation guided game drive or guided wilderness trail, both starting from the resort set at the plateau's base. It’s no wonder it’s considered one of the prime Namibia destinations, and should always be included on your travel must-visit list.

10. Caprivi Strip - Wetlands, Wildlife & Birdwatching

Once the forgotten frontier of Southern Africa, the Caprivi Strip (newly renamed as the Zambezi Region) has shed its notorious past and has emerged as one of the region's top wildlife destinations. Much of the Caprivi is taken up by conservation areas, and it offers a wetland experience second only to the great Okavango Delta. Stay at one of the excellent lodges in the area and go on guided game drives and river cruises - it's one of the great Namibia destinations to tick off elephant, buffalo, hippo and many antelope species – and it's where to go in Namibia for some of the country's best bird watching.

Wander the Wetlands

11. Fish River Canyon - Scenic Drama in Namibia's Extreme South

The second largest canyon in the world, the Fish River Canyon is absolutely magnificent and is one of the primary places of interest in Namibia. Breathtaking in its immensity, it comes as something of a shock when you arrive at its edge: a flat arid plateau suddenly drops half a vertical kilometre into 160 twisting kilometres of canyon. Get your cameras at the ready, because you’ll want to forever capture the kaleidoscope of purples, greys and pinks, formed over hundreds of millions of years by the erosive power of the Fish River. You can view the awe-inspiring location from the comfort of your car, or immerse yourself further by venturing on the Fish River Canyon hiking trail.