Namibia is a country in the southern end of the African sub-continent and I officially known as the Republic of Namibia. Geographically, it has land borders with Angola and Zambia in the north, the Atlantic coast on the western side, South Africa on the South, and Botswana on the east. In the entire sub-Saharan African region, Namibia is the driest country with an average rainfall of 350mm per annum and thus depends largely on groundwater sources.
With a population of just 2.6 million inhabitants, is a sparsely populated country with its economy dependant on tourism, agriculture, and mining. Tourism contributes 15% to the country’s GDP and creates thousands of jobs for locals. Namibia is host to beautiful wildlife, and therefore, ecotourism is one of the major reasons tourists flock here.
Why visit Namibia?
Namibia is an excellent year-round tourist destination and sunny days average around 300 days per year which is excellent. Due to its dry and arid landscape, the climate will generally be pleasant but dry. Namibia gets very low rainfall per year, and it can be a boon for the tourism sector but not the locals. Compared to the rainfall levels in even its eastern neighbors, Namibia gets only a fraction of it all. The resulting climate of the very arid country will be naturally dry. The high season will typically last from the month of June through October. October is the driest season.
Most of the wildlife is habituated to the low water, arid landscape, and hot climate conditions. They have naturally adapted themselves to survive in desert conditions. Even the same species survive in low water conditions compared to the ones where rainfall is quite good. During the hot season, a lot of the water sources will dry out, and the wild animals will be drawn to one of the available waterholes. It is also a vast country with different climate zones, and weather can be unpredictable. Places like Skeleton Coast, Walvis Bay, etc., will experience cloud cover and foggy conditions on certain occasions in the early mornings. Places like the Caprivi Strip are a sub-tropical climate and thus will be lush green throughout the year.
Partially covered by the Namib desert, the sand-dune filled and the apricot-colored country is a favorite among tourists. So if you enjoy the sights of wildlife, road tripping, extreme sports, desserts, arid landscape, spectacular scenery, and more, Namibia is the place for you.
Due to 300 days or 10 months of beautiful sunshine and low rainfall, this country is accessible to tourists all-round the year. It also offers a lot of different sights throughout the year. It’s up to you when you want to travel and what you prefer to see and do. We will share details of all the seasons below so that you can make an informed choice.
Shoulder Season – September to October
One of the best times to visit the country is between September to October. October is the best season of the year for budget tours. Namibia is an expensive country to travel to, and I am sure a lot of people don’t want to break their banks. These three months are essentially a shoulder season when prices are still low, great weather, and low tourist numbers to keep the crowds low. You can see and do pretty much the same activities like the ones in other seasons, and we have discussed them in some detail in the “Summer Season” section below. Temperatures will be in the range of 12 to 27 degrees Celsius.
Summer season – November to March
November is a key month that will see a lot of transition w.r.t the weather. Temperatures will steadily rise and will the humidity levels. It’s during November that the first spells of rain will fall. If you have made it at that point, you will be lucky to experience thunderstorms across the desert. You can consider this period to be the rainy season in Namibia. Though it can slightly rain other times of the year, this is the period when the country gets its maximum amount of rainfall of the year. But don’t go by the name of the season because it does not rain hard or heavy or even drizzly. These rains are different, and you will see quick spells of sharp storms that are over in no time, which does not even affect your day’s activities.
Even if they do, watching the rainfall in the arid dry landscape is a spectacle you should not miss. It suddenly brings peace and joy to the communities and also the wildlife after a full year of dry weather. After the quick spell is over, you can re-join the group for the remainder of the game-viewing tour. When the landscape turns green with small sprouts all over the place after the rainfall, the view is worth a million as nature leaves you spell bound. Even in Namibrand and Sossusvlei, you will see the desert plains turn lush green. You can go for the game-viewing by boat tour in Kaokoland when the Kunene River floods after the rains. If you head to Caprivi, even the bird watching will be a great tour.
With high temperatures and rainfall, the humidity increases and can make a few uncomfortable. Therefore, you will see many locals and tourists in these months traveling to Swakopmund to enjoy the coastal weather and get a respite. This quiet coastal town will also have lagoons with a large number of flamingos at this time of the year. It’s peak tourist season there, and crowds will swell up. This is also a good time to do the Skelton coast flying safari, which will fly you over a lonely deserted beach surrounded by the high sand dunes that are rippled in the wind so close to the sea. You will also be able to spot remnants of ancient ships semi-buried in the sand. It’s a must-do.
Tourist’s numbers will swell in this season as everything is suddenly in demand. Expect prices to shoot up, and availability of accommodation and tours, unless booked well in advance, may be subject to availability. Temperatures will be in the range of 17 to 31 degrees Celsius.
Shoulder season – April and May
Shoulder seasons are always special in Namibia as they bridge the weather between two seasons, making it pleasant and comfortable. The weather remains moderate, and the prices, the lowest of the year in any shoulder season. So if you are looking for discounts and offers of any kind, this is the best season for you. There is no offseason in Namibia, as tourists find something interesting all through the year. April and May give you the best of hot and cold weather, and you will enjoy a mostly dry and green landscape. You can visit Etosha National Park, which has a lot of saltpans, wildlife, and water holes. Salt pans are huge and the size of a country like Holland. The sights are startlingly beautiful and unbelievably calm and real. It’s a photographer’s heaven. Temperatures will be in the range of 13 to 23 degrees Celsius
Please Note: Imagine how beautiful the saltpans would look when they transform into a lagoon when full of water. This is when the birds like pelican and flamingos arrive in droves. This is what we mean when we say Namibia is a year-round destination. Just pick the season that appeals to you.
Winter season – June to October
Summers is the peak season in Namibia, with the maximum crowds converging to get a glimpse of the wildlife, which is so easy to spot during these months. These months are ideal for the excellent temperatures and pleasant weather, the best in the entire year. You must visit the Etosha National Park, which is Namibia’s hotspot during these winter months. All the vegetation is slowly drying out by now as all the rainfall has long gone and extreme dryness has set in. Waterholes will have all the different species of wildlife converge in the hundreds throughout the day and is a spectacle in itself. The sight of hundreds of animals along the water quietly sipping the water and keeping an eye out for the predators is a sight to behold in itself.
Not just the wildlife, even the sand dunes of Sossusvlei are amazing. In the background of bright blue skies, the blood-red color of the sand dunes and their iconic wind ripped surface looks beautiful. It looks as if someone has drawn a live painting in front of you and is simply unbelievable. And imagine watching the landscape with a bird’s eye view on a Hot Air Balloon on one of those early mornings or even on an airplane. Even the most favored activity of stargazing is unrivaled with the absolutely clear skies in Winters. You can indulge in some self-drive safaris or head over to Damaraland to watch the rare desert elephants, endangered Rhino near the last remaining water on the river bed. Other Damara activities include visiting the 260 million-year-old Petrified Forest or galloping across the desert on horseback. Pretty interesting!
Temperatures will be in the range of 7 to 27 degrees Celsius.
- If you have ever traveled to a desert country, you would know how fickle the weather and weather conditions can be. They can change completely in just a few minutes. This dramatic change can be exciting for some and disturbing for others. Not everyone is pleased to see such unreal sudden change. Many can fall sick as well. Even on normal days, the terrible heat in the daytime can lead to cold and chilly nights when you want to cuddle in a blanket and followed by morning fog and cold weather.
- The key is to be prepared for eventualities no matter what. It’s a dessert and expect it to be hot in the day and chilly at night. Pack your glasses, sunblock, hats, linens, some layers for the night, a warm coat just in case.
- Carry good shoes as the varied landscape can take a toll on your footwear too. Shoes must be good to hold up to hot weather, sand dunes, hiking rocky terrain, or traversing the plains. Don’t forget a swimming costume and swimming trunks to enjoy the sea and the sands.
- To block the sun and heat, a Sarong is best recommended as its light and does the job pretty well. In addition, you can use it in multiple different ways.
- Carry your best cameras, as these are some of the best sights and sounds you will experience. Nothing comes close to nature and gets as real as these trips.
- Carry as many extra batteries as you have, because the remote camps will have only basic charging facilities. And you do not want to miss out on that one spectacular dreamy shot.
- You will be exposed to the harsh desert condition. Carry a medical aid kit, including plasters, bandages, roller gauze, painkillers, mosquito (also insect and bug) repellents, antiseptic cream or wipes, and anything more you think necessary.
- Carry a few ziplock bags to pack in your essentials, especially camera gear, and seal it shut. The wind coupled with dust, and sand can damage your gadgets. This will keep it weather safe.
Namibia is an untouched beauty, a world within itself. It is so beautiful, magnificent, and also with an undisturbed landscape that probably has not changed for thousands of years. Check the pictures if you don’t believe and you will be hooked on to it, as it’s far more beautiful in real. Namibia is a safe country to travel to, better developed than the other African countries in the continent, with spectacular landscapes and mind-blowing views in the dry desert is surely going to take your breath away. What are you waiting for? Plan the trip, pack up your bags and leave! Here’s wishing you happy and safe travels.