Are you thinking of visiting Namibia and wondering what to see and do in Namibia? Or maybe you’re looking for inspiration for the best things to do in Namibia? Read on!
How much do we all really know about Namibia? It’s a beautiful African country that has so much to offer, yet very few people even consider a trip to Namibia. In this article, we are sharing 13 incredible destinations, places that you should see in Namibia.
From the main landmarks, the most beautiful places, most famous tourist attractions in Namibia to the less known fascinating stops that should be on your Namibia road trip itinerary, this list has all the ‘musts’.
Check it out and discover this hidden gem of Africa!
Best Places to Visit in Namibia – Favorite Things to Do
This list of our favorite places in Namibia will not only introduce you to all of the must-see places of Namibia, but it will also show you a couple of hidden gems as well.
I want to show you that Namibia is so much more diverse than you ever imagined; it’s very different from the rest of Africa too.
To make your trip planning easier, I also included some practical tips for each of Namibia’s must-visit destinations. That way you can make the most of your trip. Find out!
Good to know: I sorted this list of best things to do in Namibia in such a way that the main tourist attractions, the best places are listed as last. That way you can also learn about some lesser-known places in Namibia that you won’t find in all tourist guides. Places that will make your trip even more memorable. Find out!
These are the best places to visit and best things to do in Namibia:
13. Canyon Roadhouse
Located just a few miles from the Fish River Canyon (see further below), the Canyon Roadhouse is an attraction in itself. It’s a hotel and a restaurant with the most incredible collection of old cars. A definite must for any family visiting Namibia with kids!
TIP: Plan to visit at lunch as they have a great little restaurant with…. you guessed it.. even more cars inside.
Solitaire is a small settlement with a permanent population of less than 100 people. It’s not really a town, but it has all kinds of facilities and since it’s in the middle of nowhere everyone passing by stops here for gas.
Solitaire became famous because of the book by Dutch author Ton van der Lee dealing with his stay in this place.
To me, it’s a place that has a true Namibian feel. Remote, quirky, and so different from anywhere else in Namibia. One of those places that would be difficult to imagine anywhere else and definitely a great place to visit in Namibia.
TIP: Try a piece of the world-famous apple pie at the Moose McGregor bakery.
11. Tropic of Capricorn
There is not much to see at the Tropic of Capricorn, except for the sign. But it’ not every day you cross the southernmost latitude where the sun can be directly overhead.
So, as far as must-visit places in Namibia go, Tropic of Capricorn is one of those symbolic attractions that deserve a short photo stop.
TIP: You can find the Tropic of Capricorn sign on road C14 between Sossusvlei and Swakopmund.
10. Quiver Tree Forest
Quiver Tree forest is a nice place to break the long drive when driving through Southern Namibia. It’s become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Namibia.
Quiver trees are quite peculiar and make for some nice photos. Bushmen traditionally used the branches of these aloe trees to make quivers, thus the name – quiver tree.
TIP: Visit the nearby Giant’s Playground as well, just make sure you don’t get lost in this maze of large dolerite rocks.
If you visit just one town in Namibia, Swakopmund is the place to be. It’s by far the most lively and touristy town in Namibia, but in a good way.
A beautiful coastal location, charming colonial architecture, lots of hotels, shops, restaurants… Swakopmund is a real oasis in the Namibian desert. It’s one of the best places to visit in Namibia and, in my opinion, should be included in any Namibia itinerary.
TIP: Plan to spend at least 2-3 days in Swakopmund as there are so many activities and day trips you can do in the area.
8. Kolmanskop Ghost Town
Once a prosperous German diamond mining town, Kolmanskop is now an abandoned ghost town, slowly sinking in the sand dunes of the Namib Desert.
Located just outside the colonial town of Lüderitz, Kolmanskop is one of the few places where you can learn more about Namibia’s history. It’s also a real photographers’ paradise.
TIP: Early morning offers the best light for photography. You can also obtain a photo permit and get access from sunrise to sunset (non-commercial photography only).
Twyfelfontein is the largest site of ancient Bushman rock engravings in Africa. It’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and another must-see place in Namibia.
There are several routes that you can choose and a local guide will take you on a tour. If you can’t decide, we recommend choosing The Lion Man route – it’s said to be the best option.
TIP: Go early in the morning for fewer crowds and better light for the pictures.
6. Walvis Bay Flamingos
Walvis Bay waterfront is home to a big colony of wild flamingos. Expect to see thousands of pink flamingos, as well as pelicans and other birds.
Don’t miss Walvis Bay flamingos when traveling in this part of the country. It’s definitely one of the places to visit in Namibia.
TIP: Book a Walvis Bay boat trip to see dolphins and other sea life.
5. Cape Cross Seals
I cannot even try to describe this place, Cape Cross Seal Reserve is another absolute favorite from our Namibia trip.
Hundreds of thousands of seals, as far as the eye can see. It’s one of those places that you have to see to believe it, and an experience you’ll never forget.
TIP: Go early in the morning (access from 8 AM), and ideally on a windy day to avoid the smell.
Very little known and somehow left out of the main tourist routes, Spitzkoppe was one of the most breathtaking places we visited in Namibia.
Most spectacular landscapes and practically no people at all. Don’t miss this hidden gem that, in my opinion, is one of the most beautiful destinations in Namibia!
If you can, stay for the sunset. However, don’t drive at night. There is a campground at Spitzkoppe and it’s one of the most beautiful places to camp in Namibia!
TIP: You can also visit Spitzkoppe with this day tour from Swakopmund or from Walvis Bay. It also visits a few other nice places in the area.
3. Fish River Canyon
The second-largest canyon in the world, Fish River Canyon in southern Namibia is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the country. It’s a long drive to get there, but definitely worth it.
Visit Fish River Canyon at sunrise for the best views. You don’t have to hike in order to see the canyon, as there are plenty of great viewpoints. However, hikes and multi-day treks are available too.
TIP: Stay at Gondwana Canyon Lodge and take a free sundowner tour to the top of the hill adjacent to the lodge – it offers some of the most spectacular scenery you can imagine!
2. Etosha National Park
Etosha is a large salt pan in Northern Namibia. It’s also the biggest wildlife sanctuary in Namibia, with guaranteed animal sightings. You can see pretty much all African animals here and in big numbers.
Furthermore, Etosha National Park is one of the most accessible wildlife reserves in Africa and can easily be visited individually. Plan at least 2 days/ 3 nights for Etosha National Park. Don’t miss the Okaukuejo waterhole! Read why Okaukuejo is the best place to stay in Etosha.
TIP: If you are staying in the Okaukuejo area (inside or just outside the park), you can also opt for this guided half-day or full-day game drive (the more people share the jeep, the cheaper it gets per person). Most lodges in the area will also offer guided tours, but – depending on the lodge and the number of travelers in your group – they might be a lot more expensive.
1. Sossusvlei and Deadvlei
My number one on the list of must-see places in Namibia is Sossusvlei. This place should be number one of any ‘best things to do in Namibia’ list!
Sossusvlei is a desert that is home to the world’s largest sand dunes. Don’t miss Deadvlei too – the white salt pan with ancient acacia trees that you see in all Namibia travel guides. Make sure you climb at least one of the higher sand dunes. I recommend Big Daddy, Big Mama, or Dune 45.
Stay at the accommodation inside the park and try to catch the sunrise from the top of Big Daddy Dune. But beware that driving all the way to Sossusvlei on your own might not be a good idea since the last few kilometers are on sand and many vehicles get stuck in it… There are tours from most accommodations in the area, and often, you can also hire a 4×4 vehicle for the last part, but they won’t be there before sunset yet.
So, this is our list of the best places to visit in Namibia. I hope that it has inspired you to visit this beautiful African country and explore it a bit deeper, beyond the main tourist attractions.
Are you looking for more practical information for visiting Namibia? Make sure to check these articles as well:
- Namibia Itinerary
- Namibia Travel Tips
- What to Pack for Namibia
- Namibia with Kids
- Namibia Tribes
- My Favorite Pictures from Namibia
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Saturday 17th of July 2021
Thanks for rekindling the beautiful memories of our family road trips to Namibia. I've been to numbers 1, 2, 5, 6, and 9. Namibia is beautiful. Number 1 is amazing and you're right that you need a good 4x4 vehicle, otherwise you'll have a rough ride. The stopover at Solitaire is refreshing. Beautiful memories.
Friday 23rd of July 2021
Namibia is such a beautiful country, isn't it! Happy travels, Stephen!
Friday 16th of July 2021
I would love to plan a family trip to Nambia in December? Is it a good time to go. But based on the above list there is just so much too see so Im not sure do I stay in one place and do day trips or move on to next place every few days. I am On quite a budget so cant look at the very expensive places. We are family of 4 and kids are 10 and 13. What would you advise as the best itinerary for a 2 week holiday? Swakopmund, Walvis bay, Soasosvlei? I def want some beach time, def want the sand dunes and some history. Please help.
Sunday 18th of July 2021
Hi Lize, I think you need to take a closer look at the map of Namibia- it's a huge country and there's no way to see it all from one or even a few places. If you want to visit even just the main highlights, you'll have to make a road trip. Also, it's not a budget-friendly destination unless you are prepared to camp. Check our other guides for more information about Namibia so that you have a better idea what to expect when planning a trip: things to know before travelling to Namibia and also our Namibia itinerary. As for December, it's summer there, so hot, busy, and it can also rain which might make driving in the North a bit more challenging. But that's hard to predict. If you're looking for an 'easier' place to visit in Africa with family, check out South Africa- it has better infrastructure, and is also possible to plan a cheaper vacation. If you want to stay in just a few places and do day trips, check out this itinerary we did in South Africa with kids where we basically stayed in two areas over two weeks. Either way, plan your trip well in advance because December (Christmas break) is very busy. Good luck!
Saturday 24th of April 2021
Planning a holiday trip in october of 3 weeks to a month with my friend in Namibia. Advise want we can carry and best affordable accommodation. It Will bê our first trip together, want it to memorable. Thanks
Monday 26th of April 2021
Hi Joy, please see our Namibia itinerary suggestions. There are some links to accommodations in that article. You have to keep in mind, however, that bigger towns like Swakopmund will have much more affordable accommodation options, whereas remote areas hardly have any choice, so often the only option is either an expensive lodge or camping. Keep that in mind when preparing your itinerary. As for what to pack, please see this guide - Namibia packing list. Hope this helps.
Tuesday 6th of October 2020
I started to plan our trip to Namibia one week ago and won't lie - it feels equally exciting and overwhelming. Namibia has SO many spectacular places to see and choose from. I am grateful I discovered your blog and found the "must see places", "itinerary" and "packing list" very informative, comprehensive and useful. Such a great starting point. Aciu labai! :)
Wednesday 7th of October 2020
Happy to help - nėra už ką! Namibia is a wonderful destination, just don't plan too much of driving every day or you won't enjoy it. It's ok to cover a bigger distance in one day once in a while, but you can't drive fast, the days are short, and you should also always plan for some unforeseen delays. It's also really nice to come to your next destination early enough so that you can still join the sundowner ride that afternoon. It's these little things that will make your trip more relaxing and enjoyable! You'll love it!
Monday 5th of August 2019
Hi Jurga. Which dunes did you climb with your children at Sossusvlei? Going there in a week and my children are 3 and 5. I think big daddy dune might be too much for them. We are camping inside the park, so will head straight to Sossusvlei before sunrise.
Wednesday 7th of August 2019
Our kids also were that age and we never made it to the top of Big Daddy for several reasons - it was dark and VERY cold and they were just too tired and refused to walk. During the day, they could have done it without any problems. We climbed the Big Mama instead and also part of Dune 45 afterwards when it warmed up and the kids were better awake. Thinking back, not getting to see the sunrise from Big Daddy dune is the only thing we couldn't do as planned in Namibia. Every time I think of it, I wish we could have done it, but sometimes family travel requires sacrifice. I hope for you that your kids will cooperate better or maybe you can carry them if needed since you only have 2 kids. But it's not easy to get a 3-year old out of bed at 4 AM and tell them to go climbing dunes in the freezing cold in the dark... :) On the other hand, not getting to the dune meant that we had Deadvlei completely to ourselves and it was simply magical seeing it come to life as the sun rose... Good luck and have a great time in Namibia!