Best things to do in Namibia with kids

Joanne Owen

written by
Joanne Owen

updated 13.06.2024

From the Martian landscapes of the Namib desert, to epic animal encounters in Etosha National Park, Namibia makes an exceptional destination for families who fancy taking to the open road. Not least if you go armed with the following intel on how to travel in Namibia with kids of different ages — from infants and toddlers, through to tricky-to-please teenagers.

Is Namibia suitable for kids?

If you’re up for travelling long distances with your family, Namibia is wonderfully suitable for kids. 

With opportunities to see incredible wildlife that’ll wow all ages — from flamingos and seals, to elephants and rhinos — plus great lodges and campsites to overnight in, with some planning, you’ll be set for a family trip of a lifetime.

While bijou capital Windhoek has some family-friendly places of interest, the true joy of visiting Namibia comes from taking to the open road to discover incredible landscapes and said wildlife. 

As a result, you need to be prepared to travel long distances, and to factor in time to take breaks from the road to ensure everyone has a happier experience. As for the roads themselves, you’ll be pleased to hear that they’re well-maintained.

Keep reading as we dig deeper into the nuances of visiting with kids of different ages.

Thinking of visiting Namibia as a family? You’ll find inspiration in our customisable Namibia itineraries.

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

Visiting Namibia with kids? Stock up on supplies in Windhoek © Vadim Nefedoff/Shutterstock

Namibia with infants and toddlers

The first key point to note if you’re thinking of visiting Namibia with infants and toddlers is strollers aren’t terribly practical when navigating towns. Better to bring a carrier or sling.

Secondly, outside major towns, you might struggle to find baby-specific products like diapers and formula, so be sure to pack what you need, or stock up in Windhoek.

Also pack a good supply of baby-friendly insect repellent and sunscreen and keep your child well-protected.

Another key consideration is finding accommodation with family-friendly facilities, such as cribs and high chairs.

Renting a car? Be sure to book a suitable car seat in advance. Also plan regular road breaks and downtime to keep everyone happy. 

Walvis Bay Lagoon Flamingos© kavram/Shutterstock

Walvis Bay Lagoon © kavram/Shutterstock 

Namibia with pre-teen kids

In addition to following the stocking-up guidelines detailed above, before going on safaris with young children give them a head’s up on what they might see, and brief them on what to expect, and how to behave.

For example, they’ll need to stay seated, and try to stay quiet so as not to disturb the wildlife. While that's a big ask — especially when they're likely to be bursting with excitement — being forewarned might help a little!

You’d also be wise to keep travel days short so as not to overtire or overwhelm young kids. Though taking a Namibian road trip is anything but run-of-the-mill, it's worth trying to keep some routine to mealtimes and bedtimes. 


Eepupa Falls, Namibia © Shutterstock

Namibia with teenagers

When it comes to visiting Namibia with teenagers, the experience will be all the more rewarding for everyone if you involve them in planning your trip. Let them choose some activities, for example, or pick out a few places to stay along the way.

In addition to enjoying plenty of safari action, if you’re travelling with teenagers, consider planning more adventurous activities into your itinerary.

From sand-boarding, quad-biking and skydiving in Swakopmund, to kayaking, hiking and hot-air ballooning, Namibia isn’t short of high-octane options.

Teenagers who are less active or adventurous could well take creative inspiration from Namibia's awe-inspiring landscapes — ask them to take films and photos that document your trip.

Oh, and while you might want to encourage a degree of digital disconnection during your trip, it’s probably to wise to check your accommodation has wi-fi.

Seals jump by kayak, Walvis Bay, Skeleton Coast , Namibia , Southern Africa, Africa

Kayaking Walvis Bay in the company of seals © Shutterstock

Where to stay with kids

Those with infants and young children might want to consider staying in Swakopmund — a coastal town that’s ideal for young families, as well as being known as the adventure capital of Namibia.

It offers easy walks along the beach and the Swakopmund Jetty, with the child-pleasing National Marine Aquarium also on hand.

If your kids are a little older, we recommend checking out family-friendly lodges on the outskirts of Etosha National Park. 

Meanwhile, in addition to Swakopmund, travellers with teenage children could consider visiting Sossusvlei. Located in the Namib-Naukluft National Park, it’s renowned for its stunning red-sand dunes. 

Adventurous types could climb Big Daddy Dune, go on a thrilling 4x4 dune safari, explore Sesriem Canyon, or take to the skies in a hot-air balloon.

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

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

In addition to the suggestions of places to visit mentioned above, here are a couple of Namibia itineraries that can be easily adapted to work for different ages of kids.

Ultimate self-drive trip

We kick off with an ultimate self-drive trip that takes in a host of Namibia’s top attractions. After arriving in Windhoek and resting up for the night, set off on a five-hour drive to Sossusvlei. 

Located in the Namib-Naukluft National Park, this is one of Namibia’s most iconic attractions. Come night-fall, your kids could be wowed by guided walk to see scorpions illuminated by UV light. 

Next up, the wonders of the Namib Sand Sea UNESCO site await, followed by a drive through the desert to Swakopmund.

Stop off at Walvis Bay en route to watch dolphins, before taking advantage of Swakopmund’s adventure sports on arrival.

We also suggest including Spitzkoppe in this itinerary. Oft-called the "Matterhorn of Africa," tour the Spitzkoppe range to see ancient rock art, or else head off on a hiking or rock-climbing adventure.

Another highlight of this itinerary is heading to Etosha National Park to enjoy a safari that could see you and your loved ones viewing 340+ species of bird, large herds of African elephants, lions, rhinos, and much more. 

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

Prehistoric cave painting at the Brandberg Mountain, Damaraland, Namibia © R.M.Nunes/Shutterstock

Adventures of the desert, ocean and wilderness

Also taking in the majesty of Sossusvlei, Swakopmund and Etosha National Park, our Adventures of the Desert, Ocean and Wilderness itinerary will see you cross the country from the Kalahari to the Namib, and visit Damaraland.

On arrival in the Kalahari, enjoy an epic dune walk and afternoon game drive before soaking up a sunset nature drive in Gondwana Canyon Park. 

Come the morning, rise early to spend the day exploring the Fish River Canyon.

Next comes immersion in the Kolmansop area — think guided desert tours, with mountain biking also on offer. 

After spending time in Sossusvlei, take a full-day tour of the Namib Desert dunes in a 4x4 followed by visiting the Atlantic coastline.

Last, but certainly not least, round off your epic trip with drives in Etosha National Park. 

How long have you got? Discover how to spend a week in Namibia, and be inspired by itineraries covering 10-day trips.

A camelthorn tree with a sociable weaver community nest on the road from the N14-road to the Onseepkans border post on the border of Namibia © Shutterstock

Namibia © evenfh/Shutterstock

Practical tips for travelling to Namibia with kids

First up, think wisely about when to go to Namibia. Although Namibia has a brief rainy season, the weather tends to be sunny pretty much every day. 

That said, during the June-August winter months, evening temperatures can sometimes drop to freezing in highland areas, which means jackets are essential. 

Meanwhile, during summer, be prepared for temperatures to rise up to 40°C (104°F) in inland areas. 

Related to that, it’s advisable to plan activities in the early morning or late afternoon when the sun is less intense, and to pack plenty of water, 

Ensure you have travel insurance that covers medical emergencies. Also note that Namibia's hospitals are concentrated in major towns and cities, and rural areas have limited facilities.

Lastly, consider buying a local SIM card for easy access to GPS and emergency contacts.

For more general advice, read our practical tips for travelling with kids.

Lion cubs in Etosha National Park, Namibia

Lion cubs in Etosha National Park, Namibia © Clinton Hastings/Shutterstock

Ready to plan your trip? Get The Rough Guide to Namibia, and discover unforgettable things to do in Namibia

Not fond of planning? See our customisable Namibia itineraries, or talk to our local experts

Joanne Owen

written by
Joanne Owen

updated 13.06.2024

Joanne is a Pembrokeshire-born writer with a passion for the nature, cultures and histories of the Caribbean region, especially Dominica. Also passionate about inspiring a love of adventure in young people, she’s the author of several books for children and young adults, hosts international writing workshops, and has written articles on the Caribbean and inspirational community initiatives for Rough Guides. Follow her @JoanneOwen on Twitter and @joanneowenwrites on Instagram.

Planning your own trip? Prepare for your trip

Use Rough Guides' trusted partners for great rates

Ready to travel and discover

Get support from our local experts for
stress-free planning & worry-free travels

Plan my trip ⤍