Namibia, a land of vast landscapes and stunning wildlife, is one of the most beautiful and unspoiled countries on Earth, and it’s no wonder it became a popular tourist destination. From the majestic elephants that roam the savannahs to the tiny meerkats that scurry around in the desert, Namibia offers a lot for everyone to see. 

Geographically, the land is in southwestern Africa, where you can find Angola, Botswana, South Africa, and Zambia. The climate is dry to semi-arid, with most of the country receiving less than 200mm of rainfall annually. But even then, the land is home to a wide variety of animals, including some of the most endangered species on Earth. 

There are many places in Namibia where you can see a fantastic array of animals in their natural habitats, from the wide-open plains to the rugged mountains.

Here are some of the best places to see wildlife in Namibia:

1. Etosha National Park

Etosha National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Namibia for good reasons. This vast game reserve is home to a variety of animals, including elephants, lions, leopards, giraffes, and more. The land has a massive pan covering almost a quarter of the park and is dry for most of the year, making it the perfect place to spot wildlife.

The German colonial government established Etosha as a game reserve in 1907. The name Etosha comes from the local Ovambo people and means a “great white place” referring to the vast salt pan covering much of the park.

The Best Places to See Wildlife in Namibia
‘Great White Elephant’ in Etosha National Park, Namibia | @wild.anjadenker

The best time to visit: The best time to visit Etosha National Park is during the dry season of May to October. This is when the animals congregate around the waterholes, making them easier to spot.

Most popular attraction: The Etosha Pan is the most popular attraction in the park. This vast, dry, white pan covers about a quarter of the park and is an impressive sight.

Where to stay: There are several accommodation options within Etosha National Park, from luxury lodges to more basic campsites. There are three main camps consisting of Okaukuejo, Halali, and Namutoni.

2. Skeleton Coast National Park

Skeleton Coast National Park is an area of Namibia that extends along the Atlantic coast. It is also listed as the world’s largest ship cemetery and covers an area of over 40 km wide and 500 km long. The park inhabits vast wildlife consisting of elephants, lions, cheetahs, rhinos, and more. The Skeleton Coast is also known for its shipwrecks and dense fog that blankets the coastline.

The national park was first established in 1971 and was named the Skeleton Coast National Monument. In 2013, the Namibian government upgraded the status of the national monument to a national park. The change in status helped better to protect the area and its wildlife.

The Best Places to See Wildlife in Namibia
Aerial views over Skeleton Coast National Park | @tannernoller

If you’re looking to explore the Skeleton Coast National Park, here are a few things you should know:

  • the park is only accessible by four-wheel-drive vehicles
  • visitors must obtain a permit from the Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism before entering the park.
  • locals recommend that visitors hire a guide when exploring the park as they can get lost easily

The best time to visit:  The best time to visit the Skeleton Coast National Park is during the dry season of May to October. This is the time when the fog clears and visibility is better.

Most popular attraction: The most popular attraction in the park is the shipwrecks. The Namibian coast is known to have dense fog and treacherous waters, which have led to many shipwrecks over the years. It also became a famous filming location for movies and television shows such as The Deadly Hunt and The Survivor.

Where to stay: There are several campsites within the Skeleton Coast National Park such as the Cape Cross Lodge, Kunene River Camp, Hoanib Skeleton Camp, and many more.

3. Sossusvlei

Sossusvlei is a salt and clay pan located in the southern part of Namibia’s the Namib Desert. The name “Sossusvlei” means “dead-end marsh” referring to the fact that it’s a dead-end for the Tsauchab River. The river flows into the pan but evaporates before it reaches the Atlantic Ocean.

The pan is surrounded by red dunes that are some of the highest in the world, reaching up to 400 meters. The contrast between the white salt pan and red dunes is truly stunning, making Sossusvlei one of the most popular tourist destinations in Namibia.

The Best Places to See Wildlife in Namibia
Dreamy scenes in Sossusvlei, Namibia | @martinme5a

The best time to visit: The best time to visit Sossusvlei is during the dry season of May to October. This is when the pan is at its driest and the temperatures are more bearable.

Most popular attraction: The red dunes are the most popular attraction in Sossusvlei. These massive dunes are some of the highest in the world, some reaching up to 400 meters. It offers a stunning view of the contrasting hues between the white salt pan and red dunes.

Where to stay: Several accommodations are available near Sossusvlei, from budget-friendly and mid-range lodges to luxurious homes. Some popular options include Sossus Dune Lodge, Desert camp, and Namib Desert Lodge.

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