I heard Namibia was good.
In fact I’d heard it was really good.
But honestly, nothing prepared me for the unending spectacle of adventuring through this remote desert country in a huge overland truck with Absolute Africa.
As an aside, I loved my trip with Absolute so much that I’m currently offering all my readers an exclusive discount on their tours, meaning you can now travel even more in this amazing continent for less!
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But back to one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world (possibly the most sparsely populated), each day in Namibia felt like travelling through a film set – the epic vastness, the sensational colours, the grandest desert-scapes, the silently still mornings… and the list goes on.
As such, trying to choose just 10 epic places to visit in this country was hard, but I’ve managed to whittle it down to the crème de la crème and so here they are, the 10 most epic things to do in Namibia you can’t miss!
- When is the Best Time to Visit Namibia?
- 9 Amazing Places to Visit in Namibia
- 15 Safest Countries to Travel in Africa
This page contains affiliate links meaning Big World Small Pockets may receive a small commission on any purchases at no extra cost to you.
My visit to Namibia was kindly sponsored by Absolute Africa, but, as always, all views are my own.
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#1 Safari in Etosha National Park
Coming in at number 1 on my list of the must-do things in Namibia is to safari in Etosha National Park.
Known to be one of the best parks in the whole of Africa – and I can believe it – this HUGE, barren landscape is like nothing else I’ve ever seen, yet still home to the BIG 5 and a huge array of other wildlife and birds.
Possibly because it is so barren, spotting the animals is easy and plentiful here.
And with 3 fenced campsites within the park, it’s easy to stay right in the heart of the action for a few days and see enjoy game drives both as the sun rises and sets when the animals are most active.
The chances of you spotting elephant, rhino, lions, leopards, flamingos and cheetahs are also high in Etosha because they tend to congregate around the waterholes here, which act as an oasis in an otherwise dry, flat, dusty salt pan, which rarely sees any rain.
Just drive to one of these waterholes in the day, or check out the ones in walking distance from your campsite at night, and prepare to be amazed!
LEARN MORE: The Ultimate Guide to Etosha National Park
And in at number 2 on this list of the 10 most epic things to do in Namibia is the amazing area of Spitzkoppe.
Essentially a private reserve belonging to the nearby village community of the same name, this desert-scape is one of the most dramatic places I’ve been on earth.
Huge, climbable rock formations jut out of the flat sandy plains and the spectacle of the light bouncing off them at sunrise and sunset, in particular, is truly breathtaking.
There’s also some ancient rock paintings here – which reminded me a lot of Kakadu National Park in Australia – and you can take a quick tour with a local guide to learn more about the history of the area for a bargain price of just $60 NAD.
This is also a great way to support the local community who have to survive in this arid and hostile environment.
In fact, all proceeds from the park are split between its maintenance and money for the village, meaning your $170 NAD camping fee or $60 NAD entrance fee ($80 NAD for a vehicle) will also help them.
The photography shots here are next level, so I’d definitely recommend spending the night and hiking to “The Bridge” for sunset before getting your long exposure shots under the epic starry night skies.
#3 Camp Somewhere Quirky
As I toured Nambia with Absolute Africa – a fantastic budget overland company I highly recommend to shoestring travellers in this continent – we camped everywhere in Namibia, which was ideal!
This dry, remote, desert land lends itself to some awesome camping and in Namibia, finding some of the quirkier spots to do that is a must.
One of my favourites was Roy’s Rest Camp, just outside Grootfontein, which had an amazing Outback feel to it, with some super cool décor including a free-standing iron bath in the pool!
This brilliant rest camp also featured nature walks, its own wildlife-spotting water hole, a jungle gym, camp kitchen, some of the cleanest amenities I’ve ever seen and a great bar and restaurant.
Utterly unique, this place fully embraced the “final frontier” feel of Namibia and, across the country, there’s many other campsites offering equally as quirky experiences.
I loved it and highly recommend camping at least a few times during your time in this country – just remember to bring a silk liner, Snugpak sleeping bag and some good merino layers – while it’s scorching here in the day, it can get freezing at night!
#4 Cape Cross Seal Colony
Moving on from camping, it’s time to talk about some of the quirky wildlife you can see in this country too and definitely heading to Cape Cross Seal Colony is one of the best things to do in Namibia!
Located on the Skeleton Coast, this is rumoured to be the largest seal colony in the world… I can believe it!
There were thousands upon thousands of seals there when I visited, including pups surfing the waves and parents lounging in the sun.
It’s the maddest sight, made even more weird by the horrendous smell that emanates from these creatures!
Honestly, it stinks, so do take a scarf you can wrap around your nose and mouth to stop yourself gagging!
And just south of the Cape Cross Seal Colony is the coastal settlement of Swakopmund – a bizarre German colonial town come seaside resort come African adventure spot in the middle of the desert!
And if that sounds bizarre, then I described it right, because this place is weird as hell, but kind of charming for it.
In fact with its cute architecture, beautiful ships, nice beach, good market, attractive ambience and plentiful supplies, Swakopmund definitely grew on me and by the end of my stay there, I loved it!
(The lovely cafes helped, including my favs Slow Town and Kirsjans!)
There’s also loads of adventure activities to choose from including sky diving, quad biking on the surrounding dunes, sandboarding and paragliding.
Swakopmund is also a great place to stock up on supplies and the Amanpuri Travellers Lodge is a great central place to base yourself.
#6 Hoba’s Meteorite
Did you know that the largest preserved meteorite in the world can be found in Namibia?!
Nope, neither did I, but stopping by to see it is definitely one of the best things to do here.
It will be a short visit and only cost you $50 NAD, but nevertheless, it’s pretty cool to stand by and touch the smooth sides of this huge iron disk, realising its hurtled through space for millions of years and was originally part of a star, galaxies away.
Now this place is AMAZING and definitely deserves a top mention on my list of the most epic things to do in Namibia.
Sossusvlei is pretty much a massive dune area within the Namib Naukluft National Park and boasts some gorgeous insta-worthy landscapes complete with salt pans and petrified forests.
The nearest camping is at Sesreim, so stay here and then get up early to make the 45km drive to Dune 45 out of town.
Climb this epic dune to take in the sunrise before continuing onto to nearby Sossusvlei for more amazing photos before it gets too hot.
It costs $170 NAD to take a 4wd from the car park to the famous dune area and here you can explore Deadvlei, Hidden Vlei, Sossusvlei and Big Daddy (another towering dune).
You’ll def need a hat, camera, water, sunscreen and a sarong to explore here without getting burnt to a crisp, but this epic landscape is worth every drip of sweat!
Welcome to the Wild West!
Next on my list of the most epic things to do in Namibia is stop in to explore the weird and wonderful “village” of Solitaire.
Essentially in the middle of nowhere, this is the sort of one horse town that looks like something straight out of a movie set.
Swing by to try the famous apple pie from the one bakery, before snapping the rusting cars, cactus and desert backdrop in this end of the road / Mad Max kinda place.
#9 Fish River Canyon
The second largest canyon in the world – Namibia’s Fish River Canyon is breathtaking beyond belief.
Hiking down, into and along the canyon on the 5 day trail would be next level, but if it’s boiling hot like it was when I visited, then a short hike between the lookout points that are stretched along the top of this gaping hole in the earth is quite enough!
There’s also some lovely picnic spots from where you can take in the spellbinding views and snap away to your heart’s content.
The nearby hot springs at Ai-Ais are also worth a visit and if you stay at the camp here, you can access the bath-like waters for free and bliss out under a perfect starry sky!
#10 Star Gazing
And talking of blissing out under the stars, the last entry on my list of the most amazing things to do in Namibia is to get seriously involved in some star gazing action!
With the lack of population in this country, the absence of any light pollution and those clear desert skies, the stars here are literally out of control.
And with remote camping options a go-go, tuning into the star channel every night is basically a necessity when travelling in Namibia.
Namibia Mini Travel Guide
When to Visit Namibia?
It’s best to visit Namibia during the dry season from June / July through October.
This is when wildlife is most easily spotted and humidity is lowest – making for the most comfortable trip.
Rains come to Namibia between November and February generally.
Even if there isn’t much precipitation (this is largely an arid country), temperatures at this time can soar and humidity can be intense.
I visited Nambia during the months of January and February, and can definitely attest to this!
Learn more in this post I wrote all about the best time to visit Namibia.
How Long to Spend in Namibia?
I’d suggest at least 2 weeks in Namibia to ensure you have the chance to tick most of the major sights off your list.
This country is huge and travelling between places takes a lot of time, which you’ll need to factor in as well.
If you can enjoy 3 weeks in Namibia, that would be ideal. Check out these best places to visit in the country for itinerary ideas.
Best Tours in Namibia
I travelled through Namibia as part of an amazing adventure with Absolute Africa who I highly recommend for their excellent prices, great customer service, wonderful itineraries and amazing overall experience.
They are especially great for solo female travellers, as it’s easy to make friends and feel very safe with them.
For other tour choices, including those with a more comfortable travel style, check out these top options.
Travel Insurance for Namibia
World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while travelling and claim online from anywhere in the world.
Alternatively, if you’re a long-term traveller, digital nomad or frequent remote worker seeking travel health cover, check out Safetywing’s Nomad Insurance policies.
5 Packing Essentials for Namibia
#1 Namibia Lonely Planet – A great travel aide to this country with tons of historical info, maps and top tips, the Namibia Lonely Planet will help you get the best from your time in this country.
#2 Metal Water Bottle – Bring your metal water bottle so you can refill from big 5l bottles here in Namibia, helping the environment and your small pockets at the same time.
#3 Good Camera – Namibia is one of those ultimate bucket list destinations and travelling here with a good camera will help you preserve the memories. I highly recommend the mirrorless Sony A6000. Light, compact and robust it’s been perfect for my Africa travel adventures.
#4 Sun Hat – Namibia is hot and dry and often, windy as hell. When you’re walking on the dunes, taking day trips or hiking here you’ll be exposed to the sun for long periods of time, so making sure you pack a sunhat for adequate protection is key. I love this one from Hello Sunshine.
#5 Amazon Audible – Travel in Namibia covers some big distances and takes a long time – no matter whether it’s a plane, bus or boat. Having something to listen to while you enjoy the journey therefore is a must! I love Amazon Audible, which is the best audiobook service around!
Learn more about what to pack for this country in this complete guide I wrote about what to wear in Namibia.
Travel Money in Namibia
When it comes to paying for things in Namibia, it’s great to know hotels and tours can generally be paid for by card.
ATMs are available in most major towns.
You’ll also want to ensure you’re not being charged overseas transaction fees or getting poor exchange rates when using your card abroad, which is why I always take my Wise card away with me wherever I travel.
The easy way to spend abroad with real exchange rates, no markups and no sneaky transaction fees, you can use your Wise card just like a debit card in Namibia.. and it links easily with Google and Apple pay – sold! Get yours here.
PIN IT TO PINTEREST!
So there you have it, the 10 most epic things to do in Namibia you can’t miss!
Have you been to this awesome country?
What was your favourite place there?
Tell me all in the comments box below…