Namibia is a country like no other. Vast, sprawling, sparsely populated with fascinating, stark landscapes that change kaleidoscopically according to the hour of the day.

A safari to Namibia could well be your undoing. For once you’ve visited it … you’ll want to come back for more. And more. And more. It kinda does that to you.

Did we mention that Namibia is vast? It’s roughly about twice the size of Germany and 12 times the size of Ireland.

To ‘do’ Namibia with any sense of justice, you’ll need time – at least 10–14 days of it - unless you fly everywhere. This is do-able but somewhat pricey. Even so, with two weeks to spare, you’d probably need to opt for one of the major safari circuits: northern or southern.

Namibia Tours & Safaris

Lunar landscapes

(Image: © Wim van den Heever)

Your point of departure is usually Windhoek, Namibia’s capital. It is possible to drive from Johannesburg (15-17 hours non-stop) or from Cape Town (12-hour’s drive). Flying in is definitely the quickest way to arrive.

Each circuit is very different with its own set of unique features and attractions. Still overwhelming, but what better way to break this down than with a photo essay of highlights?

Northern Circuit Attractions

If you arrive in Windhoek early enough, you can easily connect with your tour or hire car and set off immediately on your way. Windhoek is an attractive city and has many attractions, history and culture, so you may decide to overnight here and enjoy some of the local night-life.

Etosha National Park.

Etosha is Namibia's safari jewel. It is a place of unique beauty and a photographer's dream. We recommend spending 3 - 4 nights at Etosha.

White elephant Etosha National Park

White elephants

(Image: © Wim van den Heever)

Depending on your budget, there’s a wide choice of accommodation in and outside the park.

Little Ongava Bubbly Bath

Little Ongava

(Image: Wim van den Heever)

A definite highlight of staying within the park is the floodlit waterholes at the camps where you can spend hours watching the wildlife come to drink, even the shyer, nocturnal animals.

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Black rhino, Etosha

(Image: © Wim van den Heever)

Himba Communities

These enduring nomadic people live off the land as they have for centuries, covering their bodies in ochre and animal fat for beauty and sunscreen. They have an intricately-woven and fascinating culture.

Himba women in Namibia

Himba women

(Image: © Wim van den Heever)

Damaraland Desert Elephants

Incredible sweeping views from mountain tops and the unique desert-adapted elephants that have made this area their home are two of this area’s main attractions.

Desert-adapted elephants, Namibia

Desert-adapted elephants

(Image: © Wim van den Heever)

Cape Cross Seal Colony

See hundreds of thousands of seals vying for space in this massive colony. Opportunistic jackals skirt the edges, hoping to pick off an unprotected baby.

Cape Cross Seal Colony, Namibia

Cape Cross Seal Colony

(Image: © Wim van den Heever)

Twyfelfontein

A Unesco Heritage site, there is extensive rock art that depicting the lives of some of Namibia’s earliest inhabitants. Not far from Organ Pipes and the Petrified Forest – also well worth a visit.

Quad Biking in Swakopmund

Quad Biking Swakopmund

(Image: Wim van den Heever)

Swakopmund

Worth at least 2 or 3 nights, this quasi-Bavarian town, wedged between a sea of dunes and the ocean itself, is Namibia’s adventure capital: dune buggies, sandboarding, desert tours, sea cruises and more. Enjoy the superb seafood on offer here and at neighbouring Walvis Bay.

Namibie Fish River Canyon, Namibia

Fish River Canyon

(Image: © Wim van den Heever)

Sossusvlei

The Namib Desert and adjacent Namibrand Reserve are tops on Namibia’s most popular destinations. In the heart of the desert, you'll discover the dramatic landscape of Sossusvlei. These world-famous towering ochre dunes are best viewed at sunrise and sunset when the shadows are sharpest.

Sossusvlei Dunes, Namibia

Sossusvlei Dunes

(Image: © Wim van den Heever)

Don’t miss the nearby Sesriem Canyon of conglomerate rock ...

Sesriem Canyon, Namibia

Sesriem Canyon

(Image: © Wim van den Heever)

Or Dead Vlei with its haunting burnt-tree skeletons.

Ghostly Dead Vlei, Namibia

Dead Vlei

(Image: © Wim van den Heever)

Along the fringes of the Namib is the Namibrand, renowned for its incredible desert-adapted wildlife and spectacular scenery.

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Namibrand

(Image: © Wim van den Heever)

(NB Sossusvlei is normally included on both North & South Circuits)

Southern Circuit Attractions

Ai-Ais Hot Springs

Refreshing and rejuvenating, these hot thermal waters are a pleasure for weary travellers. Part of the Ai-Ais Richtersveld National Park.

Fish River Canyon

The largest canyon in the southern hemisphere and second only to America’s Grand Canyon in size, it is an extensive and craggy canyon, well worth a visit. A gruelling 5-day hike through the canyon is said to be the toughest of its kind in Africa.

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Namibia's iconic gemsbok

(Image: © Wim van den Heever)

Namibia’s Wild Horses

Found in the south-western areas near Aus, these feral horses are believed to be the only such herd on the African Continent.

Luderitz

A strong Germanic influence is still very evident here, especially in the architecture. A fishing village primarily, it offers some interesting and historic gems like Diaz Point, vintage churches and buildings.

Luderitz Bergstrase, Namibia

Luderitz

(Image: Wim van den Heever)

Kolmanskop

A ghost town about 10 km inland from Luderitz, site of a former diamond-rush that saw massive mansions being built in the heady heydays.

Kolmanskop Ghost Town, Namibia

Kolmanskop Ghost Town

(Image: Wim Van Den Heever)

Quiver Tree Forest

Some 14 km from Keetmanshoop is this national monument. The branches were used by bushmen to make their arrows. Some of the taller trees are said to be 200 – 300 years old.

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Quiver Tree Forest

(Image: © Wim van den Heever)

Although these highlights are merely the tip of the sand dune (icebergs just can’t be synonymous with Namibia - it’s the driest country in sub-Saharan Africa!), we hope they'll whet your appetite for a visit soon to this fascinating, captivating, almost otherworldly country.

As with the variety in attractions, there are many options to suit whatever your budget and preferences: flying safaris, scheduled tours, road transfers and self-drives - all with a range of accommodations from basic to superlative luxury.

Doronawas Tent Deck, Namibia

Romantic Dora Nawas

(Image: Wim van den Heever)

Please enquire with your wish list and we'll put together a dream safari itinerary for you.

So what will it be? North … Or South? Or both?

Special thanks to wildlife photographer Wim van den Heever for the use of his amazing images of Namibia! Please contact us if you would like to join one of Wim’s legendary photographic safaris to Namibia, for serious photographers.

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About the author

Alison
Alison

A 'word smith' or copywriter with over 25 years experience, love travelling, wildlife and conservation; fascinated by alternative energy, alternative building and alternative health. Consummate reader and traveller, both internationally and southern Africa. Have two remarkable daughters that continue to amaze and teach me daily. Consider myself privileged to live on the best continent on the planet.