When planning a trip to east Africa, choosing the best time to visit Namibia and its surroundings is important. Guests should be aware of the differences in climate, availability, activities and pricing when choosing between the various months and seasons.
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Best time to go to Namibia: Regions and months
Namibia is a beautiful country to visit, regardless of the season and popular with visitors arriving into Namibia from the U.S, U.K, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, South Africa and beyond. Some visitors may require a Namibia visa to secure their entry.
The country has a subtropical desert climate characterised by great differences in day and nighttime temperatures, low rainfall and overall low humidity.
Namibia also has desert along the coast and in the south, and arid, but with a rainy season from November to March, in inland north-central areas and in the north-east.
The country experiences winter and summer at opposite times as Europe and North America and they correspond to the Dry and Wet seasons.
The best time to visit Namibia is in the Dry season from June to October, although it can be visited throughout the year. Wildlife viewing in all parks, but especially in Etosha National Park is best in the Dry season.
Namibia wildlife viewing
Because of the arid environment, wildlife numbers are relatively low in Namibia, but animals are easy to spot. All of the big predators are present, and cheetahs are especially common throughout.
Huge herds of animals, elephants in particular, can be seen in the Dry season at Etosha pan.
Damaraland is home to a healthy population of desert-adapted elephants, a smaller population of black rhino can be tracked in a similar environment. The secretive brown hyena is sometimes seen lurking around seal colonies on the coast.
Other marine wildlife includes the rare heaviside’s dolphin and migrating southern right whale.
Weather and climate in Namibia
Seasons in Namibia
The climate is generally dry and pleasant. Between December and March, some days will be humid and rain may follow, often in localised, afternoon thunderstorms. In the Wet season, animals move away from the waterholes and scatter around the park.
Namibia is relatively dry throughout the year, but there are two rainy seasons. The little rains are from November to December and the main rainy season is from January to April.
During the rains, vegetation grows throughout the region and wildlife tends to scatter and is harder to find. The end of the Dry season (July-October) is the best time to see animals at the waterholes.
This coincides with the busiest tourist season and visitors are advised to be aware of Namibia vaccine requirements.
Temperatures in Namibia
Mean annual temperature for Namibia is 20.6°C, with average monthly temperatures ranging between 24°C (November to March) and 16°C (June, July). Mean annual precipitation is 269.2 mm.
Rainfall occurs from October to April, with minimal rainfall in May and September, across the latest climatology, 1991-2020.
The dry season in Namibia is from April to October, with the rains mainly falling from November to March. In April/early May, the grasses are still long and foliage quite thick after the rains, making game viewing more challenging.
Namibia’s Wet Season. The ‘rainy’ season is during the summer months, from November to April. The weather tends to be hot and humid with dramatic afternoon thunderstorms.
When to go to Namibia: Activities
The best time to visit Namibia is from July to October, when the temperatures are just above 20°C and the chance of rain is low. This is also the best time for wildlife viewing and so many other great things to do making it peak travel season — you will need to plan well in advance
Namibia has some of the most beautiful landscapes in Africa or perhaps even the world. It’s hard to explain what makes its vistas so inspiring and mesmerizing, but many would say that the country’s biggest asset is its wide-open spaces.
Climbing Dune 45 in Sossusvlei
Deep in the heart of the Namib desert are huge red dunes. At over 300m high, some of these are the tallest sand dunes in the world. The most photographed dunes are those surrounding famous pans, such as Sossusvlei and Dead vlei.
For climbing, however, dune 45 (45km along the road towards Sossusvlei) has the most ideal conditions. Walking along the crest and reaching the top of this sand formation is no easy feat, but more than worth the effort.
Etosha National Park
The Etosha National Park is centered around the vast Etosha salt pan. The pan itself is usually dry and only fills with water briefly in the summer, but is enough to stimulate the growth of a blue-green algae which lures thousands of flamingos.
Most of the wildlife, including herds of zebra, wildebeest and antelope, can be seen around the waterholes that border the pan. Etosha is served by three well established rest camps and offers a great self-drive safari experience.
Fish River Canyon
The Fish River Canyon is one of the best places to visit in Namibia. As one of the largest canyons in the world, it is always impressive, but early or late in the day the combination of soft light and playful shadows reveals its true beauty.
You’ll get a great photo from the main viewpoint, but avid hikers will get a better sense of the canyon’s proportion when tackling the 90km multi-day hike. For guided hikes, it’s recommended to carry a small amount of Namibian currency or USD dollars to tip your tour guide.
Located in the Namib Desert, Sossusvlei is an enormous clay pan surrounded by gigantic, red sand dunes. The Tsauchab River flows through the desert, and its rare flooding waters the vegetation that survives in the clay soil.
During sunrise and sunset, the colours of the sand dunes are constantly changing and provide an opportunity for photographers. The fierce desert winds continually alter the shape and texture of the dunes, providing an ever-changing desert landscape.
What is the best time to visit Namibia?
July to October is the best time to visit Namibia during the dry season for a safari.
What type of climate does Namibia have?
Namibia has a subtropical desert climate characterised by great differences in day and nighttime temperatures, low rainfall and overall low humidity with mean annual temperatures of 20C.