Best Things to Do in Namibia Deadvlei

15 Best Things to Do in Namibia

Namibia is one of my favorite countries, not just in Africa, but in the entire world. It’s gorgeous, fascinating and there are seemingly endless awesome things to do in Namibia and discover. 

Whether you want action-packed activities or are looking for your wildlife fix, the best places to visit in Namibia have something for you. 

From searching for lions to hiking for days, read on for the 15 best things to do in Namibia. You’ll see why this captivating country is a must-visit destination.

A special thanks to Dotty and Zandy, from Travel Oasis, who have shared their favorite things to do in Namibia from their 6-week trip for this post.

Best Things to Do in Namibia

15 Best Things to Do in Namibia

Most people have never heard of Namibia, let alone considered planning a trip there. Maybe you’ve seen a photo of the surreal Deadvlei in the Namib Desert or heard about the world’s longest wave.

If you’re wondering what to do in Namibia or why someone would travel to this remote African country, get ready to discover some of the activities that put Namibia on our bucket list when we created our 50-country challenge.

Go on a Camping Road Trip in Namibia

Best things to do in Namibia Camping Road Trip

In my humble opinion, the number one thing to do in Namibia is to go camping! The camping in Namibia is amazing, with tons of excellent sites for you to take in that epic desert scenery. 

To make the most of your Namibia itinerary, it’s very worthwhile to rent a car with the whole camping set-up, including a rooftop tent and all necessary camping gear. This will ensure you’re fully self-sufficient and can explore the country in style. 

Camping sites are pretty prolific, and outside the most popular spots (such as Etosha National Park and Sossusvlei), you don’t have to worry too much about booking in advance. You’ll usually have decent facilities, and hey, sometimes even a pool!

Hike The Fish River Canyon

Hiking in Fish River Canyon Namibia

The Fish River Canyon is the second-largest canyon in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There’s no better way to experience this behemoth than by hiking through it

Every year, the canyon opens up for hiking from May to September. Starting at Hobas, the trail winds for around 75 km to its end at Ai-Ais. It’s commonly done over 3-5 days. 

While it’s an extremely popular hike, numbers are limited to 30 people a day. This means it’s never crowded and it’s a very peaceful thing to do in Namibia. 

The landscape is arid, so expect rock, sand, sun and little shade, but in return, you get beautiful canyon scenery and nights spent sleeping under a million stars. 

If you want to experience the canyon but don’t want to commit to 4 days of hiking, then you can always stop at the viewpoint and simply take in the view of this incredible Namibia tourist attraction.

Climb Giant Sand Dunes at Sossusvlei

Best Things to Do in Namibia Deadvlei

Nothing says Namibia like Sossusvlei. These towering orange sand dunes, some measuring over 300m high, are as iconic to Namibia as Petra is to Indiana Jones. It’s the most popular tourist attraction in Namibia, and for good reason. 

The sand at Sossusvlei originated millions of years ago in the Kalahari Desert and the dunes are part of the 32,000 -sq-km sand sea in the region. 

Climbing a dune is a must-do activity in Namibia but be warned: it’s hard work. If you make it to the top, you will be exhausted. 

Of all the dunes in the park, Dune 45 and Big Daddy Dune are the most popular. For a really fun activity, from the top of Big Daddy, run down the dune into Deadvlei, an expansive clay pan at the bottom.

Deadvlei is filled with dead camel thorn trees that were killed when the climate changed, but have not decomposed due to the extremely dry climate. The dead trees in the white pan, contrasted against the massive orange dune, is quite the sight.

A run down the dune will only take a minute or two, but it’s an essential Namibian experience, and I can’t think of anything else that brings out your inner child so effectively. 

The best way to experience Sossusvlei is to get in as early as you can. If you’d like to watch the sunrise from the dunes, you’ll have to stay in the park at the very expensive, but very basic national park camp.

Otherwise, you can camp just outside the park (for much better value) and enter at sunrise.

Eat Bratwurst at Luderitz

Luderitz German town in Namibia

Luderitz is a historic colonial German town sandwiched between the Namib Desert and the South Atlantic Coast. And when I say German town, I mean German town.

The entire town is filled with German art nouveau architecture and if you grab lunch, you’ll be served bratwurst and sauerkraut. Essentially a weird mini-Deutschland stuck in a time warp, it’s a bizarre place to visit in Namibia.

Luderitz has a long history. It was first a colonial trading post, then a concentration camp and then a diamond prospecting town. 

A quick note about traveling to Luderitz: it’s a long journey to get there and is out of the way from anything else in Namibia. The drive is about 7 hours from Sossusvlei, mostly on gravel roads. 

If you make the trip, it’s worthwhile exploring the Luderitz Peninsula, an underrated tourist attraction in Namibia. Here you’ll find miles of remote beaches and off-road tracks. 

While you’re in the area, be sure to stop by Kolmanskop, a ghost town swallowed up by sand dunes that has become a tourist attraction of its own.

Visit a Himba Village

Himba Village Namibia

Visiting a Himba village is one of the most fascinating things you can do in Namibia. 

The Himba are one of the last remaining semi-nomadic Indigenous groups in the world. They live in the remote north of Namibia and have strongly retained their traditional culture. Their villages are basic, with no technology, electricity or running water. 

The Himba women are famous for their striking appearance: they are topless, they smear themselves with a mix of ochre and butter, which dyes their skin orange and their hair is set in an elaborate style of red dreadlocks. 

Visits are easy to arrange and you can choose a day trip or, as I recommend, even stay overnight. 

Please remember: these are people and should not be treated like zoo animals. Always ask before taking photos. 

Get Adventurous in Swakopmund

Swakopmund Namibia Things to Do

Swakopmund, a little German city on the South Atlantic coast, is Namibia’s undisputed adventure capital and one of the most popular places to visit in Namibia. 

Home to all things adrenaline-fueled, in Swakopmund you can go sky-diving, sandboarding or quad biking on those massive sand dunes. If you want a bit more fitness in your activities, you can also climb Dune 7, the highest sand dune in Namibia. 

Or, if that’s all a bit too much for you, then just simply take in the German architecture and stare out at the sea.

See The Skeleton Coast

Skeleton Coast Namibia Best Places to Visit

The Skeleton Coast is as eerie as it sounds. This is a treacherous stretch of South Atlantic shore, where dense fogs and swirling sandstorms have created one of the highest concentrations of shipwrecks in the world. 

Traveling along the Skeleton Coast, you can see the remnants of this terrible past, as parts of the shore are littered with shipwrecks. 

The area spans from Swakopmund in the South to the Angolan border in the North. It’s a remote and wild part of Namibia. 

The Southern Skeleton Coast is the most visited part and is home to some of the best things to do in Namibia, including the Cape Cross Seal Reserve and Sandwich Harbour.

The untamed north, however, is completely inaccessible, requires a special permit to visit and is only open to those with very deep pockets.

Cape Cross Seal Reserve

Cape Cross Namibia Itinerary

The Cape Cross Seal Reserve is one of those places you just have to see to believe.

The Reserve is home to anywhere from 100,000 to 200,000 chubby sea mammals, which have thrived here due to the high concentrations of fish in this part of the South Atlantic. 

It’s one of the country’s most visited parks and one of the most popular places to visit in Namibia, because, well, who doesn’t want to see 100,000 seals frolicking on the beach? 

But beware: seals, along with their waste, create quite the smell. Make sure you bring a scarf or a Buff for your nose. You’ll thank me later.

4×4 at Sandwich Harbor

Sandwich Harbor Namibia

With 300 foot (100m) high sand dunes leading straight into the Atlantic Ocean, Sandwich Harbour is one of the most dramatic sights in Namibia.

And taking a 4×4 adventure along those sand dunes is one of the most epic things you can do in Namibia. 

Located 56km south of Walvis Bay in Dorob National Park, Sandwich Harbour is another of Namibia’s great icons. While it’s part of the Skeleton Coast, it’s just so epic that it deserves its own mention. 

The best way to explore Sandwich Harbour is with a guided drive. Due to the thick sand and the tides, it’s very dangerous to drive on your own. 

Even if you’re not normally a tour person (which I’m not), this is one that you need to leave to the professionals. Plus, it also takes the stress out of the adventure, so you can just sit back and enjoy the ride.

Surf the Longest Wave at Skeleton Bay

Here’s one for all the surfers out there: why not try your hand at the longest wave on the African continent? 

Just north of Walvis Bay on the Skeleton Coast is Skeleton Bay, infamous for having one of the longest waves in the entire world. The waves here are so epic, Skeleton Bay isn’t just legendary in Africa, it’s legendary around the whole world. 

At Skeleton Bay, a ride can last for more than a mile (up to 2km). It’s the type of wave that surfers daydream about – getting barreled for 3.5 minutes! It’s almost unimaginable.

The wave breaks year-round, but is at its best between June and September (coincidentally, the perfect time for travelling in Namibia).

The conditions at Skeleton Bay are intense, with extremely strong tidal rips and offshore winds, so this isn’t something to do in Namibia if you’ve never hopped on a board before. This is for experienced surfers only.

But don’t worry, for all you newbies out there, there are plenty of other epic things to do in Namibia for you!

Spend the Night at Spitzkoppe

Spitzkoppe Nature Reserve in the Namib Desert Camping

The Spitzkoppe Nature Reserve in the Namib Desert is fast becoming one of the most popular Namibia places to visit.

The grand mountain for which the nature reserve takes its name is often referred to as the Matterhorn of Africa, because, well, it resembles the famous Swiss Mountain. 

It’s best known as one of the most sought-after camping spots in Namibia and we can confirm, the camping at Spitzkoppe is lovely! The sites are big and spread out and there’s a sense of beauty and magic to the place. 

There are some lovely hikes you can do (all require a guide), but overall, this is a place to just enjoy the scenery and take it easy.

Go on Safari at Etosha National Park

Etosha National Park Namibia Safari

Etosha National Park is one of the best national parks in Africa. Yes, really.

After spending more than a year in Africa, Etosha still ranks as the best wildlife-watching I had on the entire continent. If I had to decide, I’d say this is the top thing to do in Namibia. 

What makes Etosha so great is its network of waterholes. In the dry season, when water elsewhere is scarce, the animals congregate at these waterholes.

So, instead of driving around endlessly seeking out animals, all you need to do is park up at one and let them come to you. It’s that great. 

Etosha has all the animals you could hope to see on any African safari: lions, rhinos, elephants, giraffes and much more. It doesn’t have buffalos (so you can’t see all the Big 5) or hippos. 

Camping in Etosha is pretty affordable and it’s highly worth spending a few nights there. Each camp has a floodlit waterhole of its own, so you can sit there for hours and watch the animals come out at night. It’s a pretty cool experience.

See the Flamingos in Walvis Bay

Flamingos Walvis Bay Namibia Things to Do

This one is a simple, but cute thing to do in Namibia. On the south side of Walvis Bay is a lagoon that attracts a lot of flamingos. More arrive in summer, but we were told they’re often present year-round. 

Walking over the lagoon at sunset and taking in the sight of thousands of chillin’ flamingos is really special.

Marvel at Epupa Falls

Tucked away in the very far north of the country, along the border with Angola, is magical Epupa Falls.

I’ve seen a lot of waterfalls in my life, but very few have left the impression that Epupa Falls did. Move over Victoria Falls! This is one place you should visit in Namibia. 

Epupa Falls is created by the Kunene River falling into a geological fault, which creates a series of cascades. Contrasted with the harsh desert environment around it, it makes for an incredible sight. 

The best thing to do at Epupa Falls is simply to marvel at this natural wonder, especially at sunset. However, if you’d like a few organised activities, every lodge in the area can organise some sort of activity.

From rafting to bird-watching to guided walks, the choice is yours. Or, if you’d like to do nothing at all, it’s a great place to relax (and most lodges have a pool).

Get Wild in the Caprivi Strip

Caprivi Strip Namibia

If you really want an adventure, then check out the Caprivi Strip, the ultra-narrow panhandle in northern Namibia that runs above Botswana and below Zambia and Angola. 

The Caprivi is a wild, off-the-beaten-track part of Namibia. There’s plenty of wilderness, raw, epic scenery and a growing wildlife population.

Three of Africa’s greatest rivers, the Zambezi, Chobe and Okavango Rivers all flow through it and you can expect to see (and hear) lots of hippos grunting in them. 

There are some excellent national parks, all relatively unvisited and super cheap. So long as you have your own set of wheels, you can explore these at leisure and take in some great wildlife watching.

Bwabwata National Park, Buffalo Park and Mahango Park are the ones to watch out for. The Caprivi also has some of the best wild camping in Namibia, where you can camp unfenced and completely immersed in nature.

Final Thoughts About the Best Places to Visit in Namibia

Have you added Namibia to your adventure bucket list yet? From climbing giant sand dunes at Sossusvlei to surfing mammoth waves on the Skeleton Coast, Namibia offers an endless list of incredible things to see and do. 

Take the time to explore the vast deserts, rugged coastlines, and quirky communities, and you’ll discover why Namibia is a gem waiting to be explored. And I promise, travel in Namibia is never boring..

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Best Places to Visit in Namibia

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