& Tours, Your Way
and Tours, Your Way
Wide open spaces await you.
Plan and book your tailor-made private tour of Namibia with help from a specialist African safari travel agent.
Wide open spaces await you.
Plan and book your tailor-made private tour of Namibia with help from a specialist African safari travel agent.
A trip like no other.
Plan and book your tailor-made private Botswana safari tour with help from a specialist safari travel agent.
Do you have dreams of escaping to a land of shifting red sands and exotic creatures and isolated people with fascinating customs? Then a trip to Namibia might be just what you need.
This former German colony – where 30 different languages are spoken – is the ultimate self-drive destination. With a classic self-drive Namibia safari package, a big part of the pleasure is the scenery on the drive itself and the places you find along the way.
However, Namibia is a huge country, and for those who have a bigger budget and want to see as much as possible in their available time may wish to fly between destinations.
New African Safaris can help you plan a Namibian safari tour for you that includes rental of a fully-equipped vehicle and campsite or lodge bookings, or a private guide and all road and air transfers.
Our Top 4 Reasons to Visit Namibia
1. Breathtaking landscapes
Namibia is also known as “The Land God Made in Anger”. From the towering rocks of Giant’s Playground to the desert flats nestled among towering dunes, to the eerie ship graveyards along the Skeleton Coast, a tour of Namibia is guaranteed to take your breath away.
2. Unique variety of wildlife
You can find all of Africa’s big 5 on safari in Namibia, including desert-adapted elephants, rhinos and lions.
Cheetahs are another favourite for safari-goers in Namibia.
You’ll also find a more unique selection of desert animals, such as prancing springboks, majestic oryx (or gemsbok), bat-eared foxes and brown hyena.
Bird-lovers will also encounter species that prefer dry habitats, compared to the wetter countries further to the east of southern Africa.
If you include the Caprivi strip, you can encounter species, such as buffalo, the painted African wild dog and even hippo.
3. Escape the crowds
Namibia has an extremely low population density for such a large country. In some regions to the north, there is as much space as 2 square kilometres per person!
Come here to enjoy wide-open places filled with desolate beauty. That said, tourist places such as Swakopfmund and Sossusvlei can become quite busy, so chat to us so we can help you plan if you want help avoiding the crowds as much as possible!
The south is typically a little more crowded than the north, with self-drive tourists coming up from South Africa typically only going as far north as Swakopfmund or maybe Sossusvlei due to the round-trip distance
4. Great value for money
Whether you like a luxury experience or are happy to rough it for the sake of budget, everyone wants more bang for their buck, right?
This means more money available to stay longer, add more activites, upgrade your luxury levels or buy more souvenirs, like these traditional Herero-made decorations.
Things to do in Namibia
While most tourists come to Africa primarily for its safari animals, every African country has its own unique points of interest besides safaris. Botswana has the Okavango Delta, Zimbabwe and Zambia have Victoria Falls, South Africa has the Garden Route and Cape Town and its surrounding winelands, just to name a few.
Due to the Namib and Kalahari deserts and long coastline, as well as the unique panhandle of the Caprivi Strip just above Botswana, Namibia presents a unique collection of experiences you won’t find anywhere else.
With the experience of many tours of Namibia, New African safaris can recommend which of these activities are the most likely to fit into your Namibia safari itinerary. See some of our favourite recommendations below.
Namibia "Big 5" Safaris
Due to the arid conditions and long coastline, a trip to Namibia offers the opportunity to see a unique variety of birds and other animals suited to dry habitats.
The open grasslands of Etosha trees create the perfect habitat for cheetah, Africa’s most endangered big cat.
A more common sight is the gemsbok or oryx, a large, striking antelope that is the national animal of Namibia.
However, if this is your first trip to Africa, you’ll likely want to tick the “big 5” off your list. These animals are not so named because they are rare, but rather because they are the most dangerous to hunt.
On this list, you’ll find lion, rhinoceros and elephant in Etosha National Park. A 2019 census found that there were an estimated 11,733 leopards in Namibia, and these can be found in Etosha, but also dotted across central and northern Namibia. In spite of fairly large numbers, they are very shy and mostly nocturnal. We recommend booking a safari drive with a professional guide if you’d like to increase your chances of seeing one.
The fifth member of the big 5 is the Cape buffalo. As they prefer wetter climates, your best chance of seeing these will be in the Caprivi Strip, the northeast above Botswana. This corridor is also known as Botswana-lite due to its waterways and vegetation, and visiting this area will offer you the chance to see completely different wildlife than what is found in the rest of Namibia, such as hippo and African wild dog.
Meet the Himba people
If you’re interested in local African cultures and would like to travel off the beaten track, you might want to meet members of the nomadic Himba tribe. They originate in the far north of Namibia in a region called Kaokaland, as well as across the river in southern Angola.
The women of this tribe are distinctive due to the red clay they use to coat their skin and long braids. Due to the scarcity of water, it is only the men that are generally allowed to bathe when the opportunity presents itself.
To keep themselves clean and smelling good, the women will add perfumes made from traditionally foraged ingredients to smoking coals from the fire, and waft the sweet smoke over their bodies. They do this on a daily basis.
They also smear a paste made from omumbiri – (a dry, raisin-like fruit), ochre and animal fats over their skin, keeping it clean, sweet-smelling, and protected from the sun.
You can meet Himba people as far south as Swakopfmund, but for a truly authentic experience, you’ll want to go up north. Consider adding a couple of days in Kaokaland with a visit to Epupa Falls to your Namibia itinerary if you’d like to meet the Himba on their home soil.
Meet San bushmen at Tsumkwe in the Kalahari
Another fascinating group of people to meet are the San bushmen who have inhabited the Kalahari Desert in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa for 20,000 years, making them the oldest people on earth. You can book an experience to learn about their culture, such as hunting methods, games and social practices.
Tsumkwe is a district in the Otjozondjupa region in northern Namibia, east of Etosha and just 30km west of the Botswana border, and it is known as the San capital, with 2,400 of the district’s 9,000 inhabitants being San. If you’d like to meet some of the 2,000 San people still living a traditional way of life, we can add Tsumkwe to your itinerary.
Tourism is crucial to keeping ancient African cultures such as these alive. Chat to us about adding a tribal visit to your Namibia tour and you can do good and have truly memorable and rewarding experiences at the same time.
Birdwatching in Namibia
Southern Africa has hundreds of resident bird species, and many more summer visitors. Due to the arid climates, you’ll find a number of different species in Namibia you wouldn’t find in the greener parts of southern Africa, such as Monteiro’s hornbill pictured here.
If you’re interested in a southern African birding safari, we recommend an itinerary including both Namibia and the Okavango Delta, which will guarantee a wide variety of sightings
Visit Giants' Playground
Close to the town of Keetmanshoop in southern Namibia, you’ll find a bizarre sight. Stacks of dolorite boulders lie balanced on top of each other in tall piles, as though they were ancient lego blocks discarded by a giant child. We highly recommend losing yourself for an hour or two among this 180 million year old maze of stacked and teetering rocks.
Visit the quiver tree forest
The important question you might ask about the quiver tree is…does it quiver? This tree aloe – that can grow for up to 9 metres/30 feet tall and is the national tree of Namibia. It is so named not because it quivers or shakes, but because San bushmen hollow out their branches to make quivers for their arrows.
The oldest of these trees are estimated to be 200 or 300 years old, although this is difficult to determine due to the fibrous nature of their trunks, meaning they don’t have concentric rings with which to tell their age.
These tree aloes are critically endangered due to being eaten by livestock, poached by plant collectors, but also due to climate change which has had a negative effect on seedling growth.
You can visit a protected quiver tree forest just a stone’s throw (pun intended) from Giant’s Castle near Keetmanshoop in the south of Namibia. We recommend killing two birds with one stone (pun intended again) and visiting both of these attractions in one day as they are located close together.
Self-drive and camp with a fully kitted-out 4x4 vehicle
Namibia is arguably the capital of African self-drive safari tours for a few reasons.
Firstly, Namibia is, in general, a more affordable destination compared to East Africa and Botswana, so this is a popular country to visit if you’d like your budget to extend a bit further.
This especially holds true if you’re prepared to drive between destinations, as domestic or charter flights within the country, or private guided mobile safaris can rapidly increase your expenses. The same is not always true when travelling in Africa, as in some cases like Zambia and Botswana, the remoteness of locations and conditions of the roads may make flying the more affordable option, or in fact the only possible one in the case of muddy roads. While Namibia is a vast country, its areas of interest are well-connected by roads and driving conditions are generally favourable.
Secondly, besides cost, a self-drive Namibia holiday is worthwhile due to the incredible beauty of the landscape, and fascinating places to stop along the way. The journey can be just as rewarding as the destinations.
Although self-driving is generally more affordable than flying around Namibia, that doesn’t mean it can’t be a luxury experience. We can plan your self-drive itinerary, recommend places to visit along the way and book luxury accommodation for you along your route.
Regardless of budget, some prefer a more rustic and close-to-nature experience and prefer to camp. We can assist you here by organising rental of a fully-equipped 4×4 vehicle with a rooftop tent, and can assist in booking the best spots at the best campsites for you.
Visit the AfriCat Carnivore Care Centre at Okonjima
Okonjima is a private, fenced reserve in northern Namibia that is dedicated to preserving endangered species, primarily large carnivores, in Namibia.
You can either enter the reserve as a day-visitor, or stay at one of their camps or lodges, which come in varying levels of luxury.
One of the attractions within the reserve is the AfriCat Carnivore Care Centre. Their primary aim is to rehabilitate injured carnivores and return them to the wild. However, in some cases, while the carnivores are still able to hunt and care for themselves, they have become habituated to humans and therefore cannot be released. A few of these serve as ambassadors with which you can meet and interact and develop an appreciation for up close.
The centre provides education to schools and local communities to increase their interest in preserving their local predator species and works in conjunction with researchers, scientists, conservation authorities and local farmers in order to conserve species by managing the health of populations, as well as human-wildlife conflict.
We recommend the Carnivore Care Centre experience, which allows you to meet leopards, cheetah and other big cats, as well as enter an area of the reserve where you will have a higher chance of viewing a rarely-seen brown hyena, which are found in high concentrations in the reserve.
Get the chance to see one of Africa's most threatened animals - a pangolin
This one deserves mention all on its own. Another project at Okonjima is the AfriCat foundation’s pangolin research programme. This shy, nocturnal, armour-plated creature is critically endangered due to poaching and illegal trafficking, as its scales – which are simply made of the same materials as our hair and fingernails – are sought-after for Chinese medicine, much like rhino horn.
These strange-looking mammals are nocturnal and therefore difficult to research, although it is known that they play a vital role in preserving the natural environment by eating termites and ants. By keeping ant and termite numbers down, they preserve large amounts of vegetation that would otherwise be eaten by these insects, and so removing them from the environment has a knock-on effect of habitat degradation. Their burrowing activities are also thought to help with plant germination.
The AfriCat foundation has a pangolin research project to study the ecology of this animal in Namibia using tracking devices attached to their scales as well as camera traps. With this research, they plan to develop strategies to conserve the pangolin in Namibia.
While sightings of this species are never guaranteed due to its shy, nocturnal habits, staying at Okonjima Nature Reserve gives you a chance to spot one of these as they do inhabit the area. Visiting the AfriCat foundation at Okonjima gives you a more substantial chance of a sighting as they sometimes hold some of these creatures for rehabilitation and release.
Scenic flights over the Skeleton Coast
North of Swakopfmund to the west of Damaraland, you’ll find the Skeleton Coast. This section of coastline was so named due to the whale and seal bones that used to litter the shore – byproducts from the whaling and fur industries. However, in more recent years, these animal skeletons have been replaced by the wrecks of ships that dot the shore.
You can view these wrecks up close on foot, or else take a scenic flight and view this breathtaking but treacherous coastline from the air.
If the ominous name wasn’t enough to put you off swimming here, as the current is strong and cold, we don’t recommend this as a beach destination. For those who crave a beach break as part of their African trip package, we recommend you rather check out these beach destinations that make an ideal combination with a safari or self-drive Namibia tour.
Hot air balloon over Sossusvlei
Another aerial experience worth having is a hot air balloon ride over the dunes and crags over the Namib Desert at Sossusvlei.
Feast your eyes on a palette of reds, yellows and browns, stretching as far as the eye can see, that you might believe to belong on the surface of Mars, rather than our blue and green planet.
Living desert tours
Much fuss is made – with good reason – over Africa’s large and charismatic animals. We invite you to shift your view to a closer perspective and go on a tour that brings you face-to-face with the smaller creatures that bring the desert sands to life.
Experienced and knowledgeable guides will fetch you from your accommodation and take you into the desert on foot to see the reptiles, insects and other smaller inhabitants of what appears, at first glance, to be a dead landscape.
Sky-diving over Swakopfmund
Adrenaline junkies will have no shortage of things to do in Namibia.
We’ve mentioned rafting and kayaking in Fish River Canyon, and quad biking and dune-boarding at Sossusvlei.
We’ve also mentioned aerial sightseeing by plane and by hot air balloon.
Now let’s combine the two and go sky-diving over the adventure mecca of Swakopfmund!
Visit Cape Cross seal colony
North of Swakopfmund on the Skeleton Coast, you’ll find a sight that is both smelly and adorable at the same time – a colony of over 200,000 fur seals!
The Skeleton Coast was so named due to the whale and seal bones that littered the shore as a by-product of the whaling and fur industries many years ago. Nowadays, this reserved area of coastline protects one of the largest Cape Fur Seal colonies in the world. The colony also attracts brown hyenas and jackals by land, and killer whales and sharks by sea, all hoping to catch a meal of unsuspecting seal pup.
We can arrange day trips to visit these entertaining, noisy and smelly aquatic mammals in this favoured habitat.
While the seals are present here in large numbers all year round, visiting in November or December will give you the best chance of seeing adorable pups which tend to be born at this time of year.
Meet your Africa travel expert
Pierre Burden, Founder of New African Safaris
Pierre is a specialist Africa travel agent with over 20 years experience. His deep love of Africa has taken him on more than 60 African tours.
He has visited diverse destinations, camped, stayed in luxury lodges, and participated in a range of activities across Africa.
Get the best tour for your budget and unique requirements, with New African Safaris’ personal safari planning services for safari tours, by Pierre.