Best things to do in Namibia

Rough Guides Editors

written by
Rough Guides Editors

updated 07.05.2024

A vast land of mesmerizing landscapes, abundant wildlife and an astonishing array of natural wonders, Namibia promises adventure. Encompassing towering dunes, dramatic mountains and lichen-encrusted gravel plains, it’s populated by desert-adapted beasts. Meanwhile, flamingos and colonial German architecture bring splashes of colour to the waterfront. Here is our pick of the best things to do in Namibia.

This article is inspired by our Rough Guides to Namibia — your essential guide for travelling to Namibia.

See the cape cross seals of Skeleton Coast National Park

Skeleton Coast National Park is one of Namibia's most unique and remote wilderness areas. Stretching over 500 km along the Atlantic Ocean, the park is known for its rugged coastline, shifting sand dunes, and eerie shipwrecks.

Cape Cross Seal Reserve, located inside the park, is known for being one of the largest colonies of cape fur seals in the world. This is one of the most famous landmarks and one of the best things to do in Namibia.

Explore the beautiful Epupa Falls

Epupa Falls, which means "falling water" in Otjiherero, is formed by the Kunene River as it cascades over a series of cataracts before plunging into a chasm. The falls are surrounded by lush vegetation and are home to a variety of wildlife, including crocodiles and hippos. Visitors can take a guided hike to the falls or take a boat tour to explore the surrounding area.

Want to experience Namibia, but without the hassle of booking and planning? Our tailor-made Ultimate Self Drive in Namibia trip offers you the experience of seeing many of the beautiful sites that the Namib desert has to offer — up close and in person.

Climb massive sand dunes such as Big Daddy Dune

The Big Daddy dune is located in the heart of the Namib Desert and is one of the world's largest sand dunes. Visitors can climb to the top of the dune for breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape or take a guided tour to learn more about the ecology of the desert. Exploring these beautiful dunes is one of the best things to do in Namibia.

Namib desert — one of the best things to do in Namibia

The Namib Desert, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is arguably the most well-known geographical feature of Namibia. It is known as the world's oldest desert, and one of the driest places on the planet.

Much of the moisture for plant and animal life is gained from fog, making the Namib Desert home to a variety of unique flora and fauna (including the Namib desert elephants). Taking a guided desert safari to see the desert's wildlife up close is one of the best things to do in Namibia.

Deadvlei, Namib-Naukluft National Park in Namibia © evenfh/Shutterstock

Visiting the Namib Desert is one of the best things to do in Namibia © evenfh/Shutterstock

See the iconic sights of Fish River Canyon

The Fish River Canyon is a vast, sinuous chasm and one of Africa's greatest natural wonders. The second largest canyon in the world, it stretches 160km in length, up to 27km in width and with a depth of 550m in places. To appreciate its grand scale, one can either gaze across the canyon rim or undertake a gruelling five-day hike along the mainly dry river bed.


Visiting Fish River Canyon is one of the best things to do in Namibia © Tilo G/Shutterstock

Find the colourful birds of Walvis Bay Lagoon

Walvis Bay Lagoon is a top destination for birders and casual wildlife lovers. A visit here is one of the best things to do in Namibia. This shallow bay is located on Namibia's Atlantic coast and is home to a variety of bird species, including flamingos and pelicans. Visitors can take a guided boat tour to see the birds up close or go on a guided kayaking tour.

Walvis Bay Lagoon Flamingos© kavram/Shutterstock

See the wild flamingos and sea life of Walvis Bay on your visit in Namibia © Shutterstock

One of the best things to do in Namibia: Stargazing

Namibia’s unpolluted atmosphere makes for a truly glittering night sky and a chance to explore the Milky Way through a telescope. On account of low population density and low light pollution, the country’s glittering night sky is one of the world’s top stargazing destinations. Take a road trip through Namibia and discover the stars as you do.

The right weather will brighten up your trip even more. Make your trip comfortable with our guide to the best time to visit Namibia.


Looking at the night sky — one of the best things to do in Namibia © Shutterstock

Raft or take a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River

Get the adrenaline pumping, rafting or bodyboarding down the world’s most famous white-water river. The Zambezi River is one of the most iconic rivers in Africa and is a great place to experience the country's natural beauty.

White water rafting on the Zambezi is a thrilling adventure, with rapids ranging from Class III to Class V. Guides are experienced and provide all necessary equipment and safety instructions. On the other hand, taking a sunset cruise on the Zambezi's calmer parts is a relaxing and scenic experience.

Start planning your trip to Namibia today! Simply get in touch with our local experts who will tailor a unique itinerary to suit all your wishes.

Whitewater rafting

White water raft on your Namibia trip © Shutterstock

Etosha National Park for its iconic watering holes

Etosha National Park is Namibia's top wildlife-viewing destination. With a large expanse of around 22,000 square kilometres, this park is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including lions, elephants, giraffes, and rhinos. The park's defining feature, Etosha Pan, is a vast saline pan covering one-fifth of its surface area.

This large watering hole becomes a shallow lake in years of exceptional rain, resembling a giant mirror. The lake, when filled, is so massive it is visible from space.

For the ultimate wildlife watching experience check out our guide to the best time to visit Etosha National Park.


Watering hole of Etosha National Park © Shutterstock

Shop for Namibian crafts

Namibia is home to a vibrant arts and crafts scene, with many artisans creating beautiful handmade products using local materials. Visitors can go shopping for unique souvenirs such as jewellery, pottery, and textiles in the many markets and shops throughout the country.

The main craft shops are located in Windhoek and Swakopmund, while Okahandja has two large craft markets, offering a variety of souvenirs including wooden carvings, jewellery, batik cloth, and cushion covers.


Shopping for local crafts is one of the best things to do in Namibia © Oleg Znamenskiy/Shutterstock

See ancient rock art

Twyfelfontein, meaning “uncertain spring” in Afrikaans, is a collection of large sandstone slabs covered with one of the continent’s greatest concentrations of rock engravings. This UNESCO World Heritage Site includes ancient rock engravings dating back to six thousand years ago when San hunter-gatherers inhabited the region.

The area also encompasses several other geological curiosities such as the Organ Pipes and Burnt Mountain.

Looking for inspiration for your next big adventure? Don't miss our guide to the most exotic places to travel around the world.

Ancient prehistoric cave painting White Lady of Brandberg dating back at least 2000 years and located at the foot of Brandberg Mountain in Damaraland, Namibia, Africa © R.M.Nunes/Shutterstock

Ancient rock engravings are a major tourist attraction when visiting Namibia © R.M.Nunes/Shutterstock

See marine life and more in Swakopmund

Not your average seaside resort, with palm-lined boulevards fronting freezing seas, and some excellent food accompanied by German-style beer. Swakopmund is a picturesque coastal town that is popular with tourists due to its charming architecture and beautiful beaches.

Visitors can take part in a range of activities such as sandboarding, quad biking, and dolphin watching. Visiting Swakopmund is one of the best things to do in Namibia.


Visiting Swakopmund is one of the best things to do in Namibia © Fotografie-Kuhlmann/Shutterstock

Take a hot air balloon ride over national parks

An unforgettable way to appreciate the vastness and beauty of the desert: catch the sunrise as you float above the dunes. Namibia's vast landscapes make it an ideal destination for hot air ballooning. Visitors can enjoy a bird's eye view of the desert, mountains, and wildlife as they float above the ground in a hot air balloon.


Add a hot air balloon ride to your Namibia itinerary © Liz Glasco/Shutterstock

See the iconic tress of Quiver Tree Forest

Southern Namibia’s most emblematic and distinctive plant makes a splendid photo – whatever the angle. The Quiver Tree Forest is a unique landscape of Aloe Dichotoma trees (or Quiver Trees) that resemble quivers used by the San people to hold their arrows.

These beautiful and culturally significant trees are best seen in the early morning or evening light. While here, you'll want to also explore Giant's Playground, a picturesque natural phenomenon of dolerite boulders resembling piles of giant marbles.

Quiver Tree in Richtersveld National Park © Geoff Sperring/Shutterstock

Quiver Tree Forest of Southern Namibia © Shutterstock

The capital city of Windhoek

Windhoek, Namibia's capital, is scenically located among rolling hills in a valley, providing a central starting point when visiting Namibia. Windhoek is Namibia's capital and a bustling city with a mix of African and Germanic influences. Windhoek offers a chance to unwind in one of its many homely guesthouses, restaurants and vibrant bars. While here, explore the city's museums, markets, and architecture or sample its cuisine and nightlife.

First Namibian President monument and Lutheran Christ Church in the centre of Windhoek, Namibia

Windhoek (in central Namibia) © Shutterstock

Experience the rock formations of Waterberg National Park

Waterberg National Park is a stunning mountain range that provides a home for a diverse range of wildlife and birdlife. Towering above the surrounding plains, this impressive sandstone plateau offers varied, lush vegetation, great birdwatching and superlative views from the top. While here, take a guided hike or safari tour to see animals such as rhinos, buffalo, and antelopes. This is a lovely place to enjoy the Namibian landscapes.


Waterberg: one of the best places to visit for spectacular views © Prisma Nova Photography/Shutterstock

Lüderitz and the Kolmanskop

Lüderitz is a coastal town that was founded by the Germans in the early 20th century. Visitors can explore its colonial-era architecture, museums, and its surroundings. Thanks to its isolated coastal location, Namibia’s best-preserved colonial town is relatively tourist-free. This lovely town is a hidden gem with very few people.

Nearby is the old mining town, the now abandoned Kolmanskop, which is partly submerged in sand. This ghost town is known for being reportedly one of the most haunted places in the world. Exploring this area is one of the best things to do in Namibia.

Or browse other accommodation in Lüderitz

Kolmanskop ghost town, Namib desert, Namibia

The spectacular scenery of Kolmanskop ghost town © Kanuman/Shutterstock © Kanuman/Shutterstock

This list could truly go on. There are countless fantastic things to do in Namibia. Ready to start planning your trip? Check out the Rough Guide to Namibia.

If you prefer to plan and book your trip to Namibia without any effort and hassle, use the expertise of our local travel experts to make sure your trip will be just like you dream it to be.

We may earn a commission when you click on links in this article, but this doesn’t influence our editorial standards. We only recommend services that we genuinely believe will enhance your travel experiences.

Rough Guides Editors

written by
Rough Guides Editors

updated 07.05.2024

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