Namibia is a beautiful, contrasting country full of endless desert landscapes, incredible wildlife and picturesque colonial towns. I spent a year volunteering in the country with an organization called WorldTeach and can honestly say it was the most challenging, rewarding and wonderful year of my life.
While it is one of the safest countries in Africa, Namibia can be a challenging country for solo and budget travelers. The distances are long, the roads are often terrible and public transportation links only run between major cities.
Things to See in Namibia
Sosussvlei: Home to towering blood-red dunes and stunning desert landscapes, Sosussvlei is simply magical. Sosussvlei contains the world’s tallest sand dunes and some of the most evocative desert landscapes on Earth. If there is one place to go in Namibia, this is it.
Etosha National Park: Etosha is Namibia’s best wildlife game park. It is home to four of Africa’s Big 5 and an astonishing number of black rhinos. The park is well-equipped for camping and self-drive safaris. Make sure to visit in the dry season, when the animals cluster around the park’s waterholes.
Twyfelfontein: Namibia’s first UNESCO Site and a highlight of Damaraland. Twyfelfontein is an area of red-rock boulders that contains one of the largest concentrations of petroglyphs in Africa.
Epupa Falls: Though not as renowned as Victoria Falls in neighboring Zambia, Epupa Falls is stunning. The waterfall lies along the Kunene River on the border of Namibia and Angola. The best thing about Epupa, is that it is relatively off-the-beaten-path and there will be few–if any–camera-toting tourists standing in the way of the breathtaking views.
Himba Village: Along the road to Epupa Falls from Opuwo, are numerous traditional Himba villages. The Himba are one of the most remote and iconic ethnic groups in the world and visiting a Himba village can be both fascinating and education. You can organize guided visits to the villages from Opuwo. Make sure to respect the privacy of the Himba and ask before taking photos.
Fish River Canyon: The Fish River Canyon in Southern Namibia is second only to Arizona’s Grand Canyon in size. Though out of the way from most of the country’s other attractions, the Fish River Canyon is one of Namibia’s major highlights and should not be missed. Be sure to soak in the hot springs of Ai Ais after a long and tiring day of driving to the canyon.
Skeleton Coast: There is no better place to experience Namibia’s bleak and foreboding landscapes than the Skeleton Coast–a place once described as the “Gates of Hell” by Portuguese explorers. Home to the world’s largest seal colony, dozens of shipwrecks and otherworldly coastal scenery, the Skeleton Coast requires at least one day of exploration.
Swakopmund: Swakopmund is, without a doubt, Namibia’s prettiest city. Swakopmund lies sandwiched between towering dunes and the Atlantic Ocean. It is the adventure capital of Namibia and the place from which one can book skydiving tours, sandboarding lessons and quad-biking excursions.
Where to Stay
Namibia is a fantastic destination for those who love to camp. In general, camping is the best way to explore Namibia on a budget, as the country caters to high-end tourism and doesn’t have much of an infrastructure for backpackers. There are, however, a few hostels in Namibia that I highly recommend.
Blog Posts on Namibia
Map of Namibia