While Namibia might not be an easy country to travel, its beauties are well worth the effort! Here are my 10 highlights from Namibia, from North to South, and plenty of additional info on how to get to these places and where to sleep, so you can have an easier and all together awesome time in this hot, hot country!
1. EPUPA FALLS
Epupa Falls is as north as you can go in Namibia. In fact, if you look at the picture above, the left side of the river is Angola! It’s a beautiful area, a little bit of green surrounded by the red Namibian earth. It’s also much cooler than in the rest of the country. Apart from the falls and the Himba village nearby, there’s not much to do there, it’s simply a wonderful place to stay at for the night.
How to get there? Ask around in Opuwo. Cars are going there almost every day to bring people and provisions to the villages on the way. It’s a four hours drive on a very bumpy, dusty road, but that’s Africa right there. All worth it!
Where to sleep? The Epupa Falls Lodge (book here) is right next to the water and has a nice restaurant and bar. Camping spots also available. Just be careful with the mosquitoes and crocodiles!
Opuwo is not the most beautiful place, but it’s the one that got my heart. If you want to understand the Namibian culture, this is where you should go. In the town, the tribes are coming to sell their goods and Himba and Herero women mingle in the streets. At night, all the young people go out to the many (many) bars, such a great atmosphere!
How to get there? Using local shuttles, you can take one directly from Windhoek. If you’re coming from somewhere else in the country, there’s a good chance you’ll have to go to Oshakati first. From there, it’s very easy to catch a taxi to Opuwo.
Where to sleep? I stayed at Oreness Rest Camp, where I had my own private rondavel for a very small price. I liked this place and the owner is very helpful! If you have a bigger budget, go to Opuwo Country Lodge (book here). It’s very chic, camping spots are available, and you have a pool with a beautiful view on the bush (see above)!
3. ETOSHA NATIONAL PARK
It’s not a surprise to see this one on my list. This is one of the best National Parks in Africa, and animals are so easy to see there! I wrote a post about the experience with plenty of animal pictures: look here!
How to get there? If you don’t have a car, you’ll have to take a tour. That’s what I did, I went with Acacia Africa! If you’re there in the touristic season, you can also try to catch a shuttle to Outjo or Tsumeb and try to find someone else with a car going to Etosha!
Where to sleep? Okaukuejo Camp, so you can hang around the waterhole!
Arriving in Spitzkoppe is a bit like landing on mars. Big rock formations surround the road quickly, and it gets higher and higher as you go in. It’s definitely worth spending a night, or more if you like climbing!
How to get there? Once again, it’s a car or a tour, sorry!
Where to sleep? At Spitzkoppe Campsites, you can go deep into the nature and enjoy some quiet, beautiful landscapes and night sky. The only downfall is that you’ll have to go without a shower. If you’d rather be more comfortable, try Spitzkoppe Mountain Camp (book here)!
Windhoek is not the most dynamic capital in the world, but it’s worth visiting to understand a bit about Namibia’s history and colonial past. The park is beautiful, there’s a huge Craft Market and I urge you to try out karaoke night at the Warehouse, it’s the best way to meet some young locals and it’s really fun too!
How to get there? By plane (shuttle from the airport to Windhoek’s center for 200ND) or by bus (many long distance buses coming from South Africa or Botswana)!
Where to sleep? I stayed at Chameleon Backpackers and it was great! The atmosphere is good, there’s a pool and a nice bar/restaurant. They also organize interesting free walking tours every morning.
I really enjoyed Swakopmund. This town looks like a german small city and is situated both near the sea and the desert (you can see both in the picture above that I took from the jetty).
Solitaire is one of the weirdest place I’ve ever been to. This town started when someone decided to open a bakery in the middle of the desert. This bakery’s apple pies were really good, they became famous, and now there’s a small town built around it! There’s also a pool, an old car cemetery, a gaz station, a restaurant and many imported cacti. The whole thing stands on an area smaller than a mall and the only thing around is the desert … that’s Solitaire.
How to get there? Once again, car or tour … although I’ve heard there’s sometimes shuttles going there from Walvis Bay.
Where to sleep? Only one option: the Solitaire Lodge (camping available).
This desert is so beautiful and exactly like I dreamed it would be! I gushed about Sossusvlei, Deadvlei and Dune 45 here already, don’t want to add to it!
How to get there? Car or tour, as usual in the south.
Where to sleep? If you sleep in Solitaire, you can get to Dune 45 early in the morning. You can also book in advance at Sesriem Rest Camp, which is situated inside the park. If you want to see the sunrise on Dune 45, you have to sleep there, as the park gates open only after sunrise!
Kolmanskop is a phantom town. It was built for mining activity but is now deserted. You can wander around the old colonial houses full of sand as much as you want, it’s so eerie!
How to get there? Car or tour, sorry! If you can make it to Luderitz on your own, you should be able to find a taxi to go to and from Kolmanskop.
Where to sleep? You’ll have to sleep in Luderitz. Fortunately, there’s a comfortable Backpackers Lodge there for small budgets!
10. FISH RIVER CANYON
The Fish River Canyon is the second biggest canyon in the world (the first one being the Grand Canyon, of course). It’s beautiful and impressive. I recommend going there for sunset, there’s a few benches facing the sun so you can enjoy the view in comfort! If you plan on staying in the area longer, there’s plenty of hiking opportunities around.
How to get there? Car or tour. I know it’s annoying, but there’s a reason I took my first group tour in this country!
Where to sleep? The Canyon Roadhouse (book here) is a funny, comfortable and colorful place to stay at very near the canyon. Camping available!
If you have more questions about Namibia or on how to get places, ask in the comment section below and I’ll do my best to answer!