1. Etosha National Park
If you can only visit one national park in Namibia, make it this one.
Yes, sir; Etosha was officially designated a game reserve in 1907 and has long been known for its abundance of unusual animal species. The area, which includes cracked and dried salt pans and the maze-like valleys of the Leopard Hills (followed, of course, by the region’s namesake animal), is now the country’s premier safari destination.
Visit the watering holes to observe African bush elephants and plains zebras, catch a glimpse of the extremely uncommon black rhino, or watch springboks spring.
The salt pan known as Sossusvlei is the Namibia of travel guides, located deep within the boundaries of the Namib-Naukluft National Park, where the sweltering African sun beats down and sidewinder snakes slither across the undulations of sand.
It is surrounded by enormous, towering dunes, some of the tallest in the world, and it never fails to steal your breath away.
These vastly shaped desert areas are subject to wind-driven movement, and some of them, like the enormous mound of Dune 7, reach staggering heights of more than 350 meters above sea level.
Visitors may expect to spot animals like antelope and oryx, springbok and ostrich as they explore the area on 4X4 trips, which are the most popular method to experience the sites into the wilds.
The sculpted lands of Kaokoland are unique among locales in all of Africa.
The area is lonely and undeveloped, divided by tortuous river systems that snake through the rock-ribbed mountains and the enormous Grand Canyon-like escarpments of the north.
Today, though, it is gradually opening up to tourists, who get there after going on safari in adjacent Etosha.
They mostly travel here to meet the friendly Himba people, who have been living as nomads in this desert for generations and are known for their constant smiles.
The interesting mountain elephant, which is uniquely suited for a life without much water, also calls Kaokoland home.
It is simple to see and feel the German influence in the downtown of this beachside resort on Namibia’s Atlantic coast thanks to the Saxon half-timbered facades that line the exterior of the Altes Gefängnis jail, the ochre-hued Woermannhaus, and the other clutch of unmistakably European architecture that peppers the area.
And it doesn’t stop there; in addition to the numerous beer halls and hops-scented pubs that spill out onto the expansive sands of the Swakopmund beach (which is bordered by a lovely, bustling promenade), there are also questionable Nazi souvenirs and lederhosen-like clothing items still for sale in the local craft markets. Weird.
5. Skeleton Coast Park
The Skeleton Coast Park is one of the few places in Namibia that best captures the country’s natural beauty.
The entire length of this vast expanse of never-ending sand dunes and roaring Atlantic surf is at least 500 kilometers.
One of the most hazardous stretches of beachfront in the world, it is defined by the point where the dry deserts of the interior meet the ocean.
Numerous rusted wrecks of vintage tankers, skiffs, fishing boats, and convoy ships provide as evidence for this.
This is definitely the territory of the roaming Namid elephant and the lurking hyena – not people – yet stories of lost sailors still abound.
A fascinating tiny city that serves as a kind of snapshot of Namibia as a whole is Windhoek.
The city, which is almost smack dab in the middle of the countryside, began as a tiny pastoral community famous for its bubbling freshwater spring.
Today, that water table maintains the town’s interior green, from the groomed Parliament Garden to the Zoo Park’s dotted with palm trees.
There are towers in the Bavarian style that contradict the ancient German influence as well as a number of traditional Swabian beer pubs that contribute to a surprisingly lively evening.
The challenges of Namibian living are then brought into sharper relief on the harsher side, which includes Okuryangava with its tin-shack dwellings as well as Katutura, a never-ending barrio.
Twyfelfontein isn’t recognized for having an amazing variety of species or for having a vibrant urban vibe; in fact, it hardly qualifies as a town at all.
Instead, this location in the middle of northern Namibia’s arid Kunene Region is renowned as the location of some of Africa’s most abundant displays of ancient rock art.
Unsurprisingly, UNESCO designated the area as a World Heritage Site back in 2007. It is estimated that people have lived there for up to six millennia.
It is dispersed throughout a network of more than 16 distinct locations, each showcasing its own intriguing humanoid petroglyphs.
Aside from that, the region itself frequently leaves visitors in awe because to its mosaic of towering table mountains and sweeping savannah plains.
8. Namib-Naukluft National Park
The Namib-Naukluft National Park, which has already been included on this list as the location of the famous Sossusvlei dunes and salt flats, is undoubtedly deserving of a second mention due to the abundance of additional must-see attractions that can be found within its borders.
Consider the mud flats and sun-scorched acacia trees of Deadvlei, some of which are estimated to be more than 700 years old.
The sceneries soon start to seem genuinely bizarre as you get closer to the beaches and the town of Swakopmund, as the arid plains rise to ridgebacks that look like the maned spine of a prowling hyena!
One of the most alluring vistas in Damaraland and in Namibia’s interior is the Spitzkoppe.
It was instantly compared to the chiseled peaks of Switzerland’s Matterhorn when it was first visited by German troops in the early 1900s.
With that twisted and distorted mass of granite stone towering more than 1,700 meters above the undulating desert plains, it is easy to see why.
There are a ton of carved rock structures, including arches, caverns, and bridges, near the mountain’s foot, along with several ancient rock paintings.
Caprivi, or more precisely the Caprivi Strip, is a long, narrow sliver of territory that juts out of northern Namibia and into the heart of west southern Africa.
It is home to ecosystems and climatic regions that are practically unheard of elsewhere in Namibia, and it serves as a vital connecting link for uncommon wildlife that migrates inland and toward the coast, including the Namibian elephant and the African wild dog.
The region is currently refocusing on its distinctive flora and wildlife, which includes zebras in the Mahango Game Reserve, blue wildebeest in Bwabwata, and lush grassland in Salambala Conservancy. The area had a civil conflict in the 1990s.
The well-known Namibian ghost town is a spooky, haunted location.
Since the entire area was left in ruins in the middle of the 20th century, the residences have been steadily falling apart and the different government structures have deteriorated.
Kolmanskop was formerly one of the richest towns in the nation and was renowned for its diamond boom; legend has it that the brilliant gems were literally just laying on the ground here in the 1900s! The area had included a school, fire station, and ice plant all on its own.
Today, however, hundreds of visitors travel there each year to view the abandoned way of life and take pictures of the eerie desolation.
12. Walvis Bay
Walvis Bay has served as a toy for the historical superpowers in the African theater of war because of its strategic location on the Atlantic coast and access to one of the best deep water harbors this side of the Cape of Good Hope.
During the First World War, the Portuguese, British, and Germans all traveled through this area while building ever-more sophisticated docks and depots.
The city is now one of Namibia’s most popular tourist destinations, with the colonial wars long behind it.
It offers kitesurfing along its beaches, a ton of fishing options, tour operators hawk excursions to the bird-rich offshore islands, and sandboarding on the Namib Desert’s dunes.
13. Penguin Islands
This cluster of rocks and tiny islets that protrude above the Atlantic near to the piece of coast where the former German harbor town may be located is another popular destination for tourists in the area, following suit from Walvis Bay.
They occasionally include colonies of the nation’s iconic Jackass Penguin, as their name implies (we know, it’s a terrible name!). However, there are other attractions than those clumsy waddlers.
There are stunning cliffs and headlands to view, as well as a wide variety of other interesting marine and bird species.
14. Fish River Canyon
The Fish River Canyon flows and curves majestically among southern Africa’s tall mountains.
The terrain is dotted with enormous boulders and red-hued rocks, while the Three Sisters’ rocky mountain ranges are lit up blood-red by the setting sun.
For adventurous tourists, it will be difficult to resist taking the trekking trail that round this magnificent monument.
It travels a whopping 88 kilometers from beginning to end, including difficult stretches of arid plains and steep passes.
One of Namibia’s most well-liked high-season tourism destinations for domestic visitors is the entrance to the National West Coast Recreation Area.
Many people depart from Windhoek’s downtown streets and travel to this seashore, which is battered by the wind.
They travel to witness the tens of thousands of seals that populate the beach banks to the north of the town, ride rumbling 4X4s over the undulating desert dunes, and venture into the hostile wildernesses of the Skeleton Coast.
The town also draws fishermen and boaters because of the variety of marine life there.