When is the Best Time to Travel to Namibia?
Namibia is a true year round destination and with 300 days of sunshine annually, you can’t really go wrong with a trip in January or July! Landscapes will show off their stark beauty at any time of year while the wildlife viewing comes and goes depending on the rains.
Namibia by the Seasons
In a given year, Namibia will see a dry season (winter) and a wet season (summer). While dry season is considered peak season in game viewing, you will hardly find any crowds in any of the parks (except for Etosha National Park). The wildlife don’t physically disappear in the wet season; they’re just more difficult to find as they spread out among seasonal water holes and get lost in the tall, lush grasses of the bush.
Dry Season (May – September)
Winter time in Namibia is considered the best time to visit if you’re hoping to spot some of the magnificent wildlife that call this land home. Most of the seasonal water holes that are full during the summertime have dried up, and the wildlife are forced to congregate around fewer water sources, giving travelers a better chance to find and view game. While the wildlife viewing is in full force, the landscape will be at its most barren since much of the grass and foliage has withered up or been eaten. You’ll experience typical desert conditions while on your stay in Namibia, enjoying hot days and cool nights. Even in the wintertime, temperatures will reach the 70 to 85°F range, and you probably won’t see a single cloud in the sky. Evening and morning temperatures can be very cool though (even freezing in some locations), especially the closer you get to the Atlantic coastline.
Wet Season (October – April)
First of all, we need to throw in a disclaimer that Namibia receives only a fraction of the rain received by countries further east. For the most part, the climate is mostly dry and quite pleasant. During the so-called “wet season,” you may witness short afternoon showers (usually they don’t last longer than an hour), and these rains will have little impact on your trip. October and November are still great for game viewing, although as the wet season progresses, you’ll see less and less wildlife as they spread out across the now-full seasonal water holes. As it rains, life is born anew and you should see lots of young wildlife. Migrant birds arrive late in September and stay through March or April. During the summer season, it will be warmer with temperatures reaching up into the 100°F+ range, but the evenings are mild and enjoyable. It won’t be too humid in this mostly desert country, but up north in the Caprivi region, you might feel some humidity during the wet season.
Wondering How to Prepare and What to Pack on Your Namibia Vacation?
Packing for a Namibian safari is easy because the weather will likely be fairly pleasant throughout your entire stay. While you will receive a detailed packing list before your journey, we have a few tips to share below on how to pack for your upcoming adventure.
1. Light Safari-Style Clothing
For the most part, you’re going to want to pack light, light clothing (yes, we just said light twice: light -colored and light-weight). It is not recommended to bring white, bright-colored, or camouflage clothing on your safari. Light clothing that covers the surface of your skin is ideal as this will provided much needed protection from the hot Namibian sunshine (and mosquitos in the summertime). Even though it will be hot during the day, you will want to bring extra layers for the evenings and even a warm hat and gloves for the winter time when it can get below freezing in camp.
2. A Good Pair of Shoes.
While much of your Namibian adventure will take place inside a safari vehicle on the prowl for wildlife, there will be times when you get the opportunity to get out and explore on your own two feet. This being said, you’ll want a good pair of closed-toe shoes to protect your feet from hot sand, jagged rocks and prickly plants (this is desert country after all!)
3. Hydrate, Hydrate is our Creed
Whether you visit Namibia in the dry or wet season, it’s going to be hot, and with heat comes the need to drink lots of water. Bring a reusable water bottle or Camelbak with bladder with you on your travels to Namibia and make sure to top it off every time you reach a lodge or hotel with good drinking water. Remember, it’s a dry heat here – any sweat your body forms immediately evaporates into the desert air leaving you high and dry. If you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated. Just take constant sips from your water source throughout the day, and you’ll be fine. (Ahem, and while you’re at it, you may want to start learning how to use the “outdoor loo” if you catch our drift!)
4. Bring a Light Source
On any African safari, you’re going to want to bring some sort of light source, whether it’s a flashlight or a headlamp. You can use your flashlight to get around the lodge after nightfall as many of the lodges won’t have individual lights to give out to guests. At some lodges, the power will be turned off after a certain hour until the morning. At many camps, there is no power, so having a light source is crucial.
Travel Tips for Visiting Namibia
With one of the lowest population densities in the world, Namibia is a country that most travelers fall in love with for its beauty, isolation and spectacular wildlife. With so much to see and do, it’s tough to know where to start – give your Austin Adventures Consultant a call today to figure out what vacation will work best for you.
1. Where, Oh Where Shall I Go?
Namibia is a relatively large country with more land than the state of Texas, so how do you decide where to go? Chances are in your research you’ve ran across Etosha National Park. While Etosha is a wildlife paradise (and we highly recommend a visit there!), we suggest visiting a few other areas of Namibia that truly match up to the magnificence of a visit to Etosha (but with far less people!) To experience Namibian city life and cool activities like sand boarding, horse riding and quad biking, check out Swakopmund, Namibia’s largest coastal town. Visit the Namib Desert and Sossusvlei for inspiring desert landscapes and sand dunes. Damaraland features ruggedly beautiful scenery and desert wildlife. The Caprivi Strip shows off a different side of Namibia with its wetlands, wildlife and bird watching. Take in the majesty of Fish River Canyon, the second largest canyon (that you’ve never heard of) in the world. Spot the enormous colonies of seals along the Skeleton Coast (aptly named for the “skeletons” of ship wrecks littering the beaches). Your Adventure Consultant will help you narrow down which Namibian destinations appeal most to you; often we’ll combine several regions to create the ultimate Namibia vacation!
2. Photography Opportunities.
No one travels to Namibia without their trusty camera. Why? Its breathtaking scenery and rugged desert-adapted wildlife can’t be described without accompanying photos post-vacation! You’ll want to bring extra batteries as you may not have access to power during some days of your safari (or will experience a very slow charge if you do). Many guests bring along a tripod, especially for shooting wildlife at the water holes in the evening when you’ll need absolute stillness for a long exposure time. Since its so sunny year round, it’s a good idea to bring polarized and/or UV filters to reduce glare and protect your lens. Last of all, a waterproof and more importantly, dust-proof camera bag or bag cover is crucial for protecting your camera gear.
3. Bring Your Own Binoculars.
While your safari vehicle will probably have a pair of binoculars, it will likely not have a pair for every person in the vehicle. For optimal game viewing, we recommend for you to bring your own pair. Binoculars greatly range in price (anywhere from $50 – $1,000+), but you shouldn’t have to pay too much for a decent pair (unless you want to!) We recommend specifications anywhere in the 8 x 40 or 10 x 42 range.