Sparsely populated with dry, extraordinary – and often surreal – landscapes, Namibia is a mysterious and increasingly popular place to visit located on the southwest coast of Africa. It’s known for its incredible wildlife, huge range of outdoor activities on offer, protected parks, stargazing opportunites and haunting photogenic landscapes whose images are fast becoming world-famous.
It’s a tough choice but here are my most beautiful places to visit in Namibia, Africa…
1. Henties Bay
Along the western shores of Namibia lies the charming coastal town of Henties Bay, which stands out for its pristine white sand beaches and dramatic sand dunes.
Here, nature’s majestic beauty reigns supreme and is complemented by an abundance of wildlife, with playful dolphins and seals often seen frolicking in the water.
Henties Bay is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, offering exhilarating opportunities to hike or quad bike through the dunes while taking in the mesmerizing natural surroundings.
The town itself boasts a vibrant community of artists and craftsmen who produce unique, locally made souvenirs, adding to its cultural charm. As evening falls, the town’s restaurants come to life, offering a plethora of culinary experiences featuring delicious seafood and traditional Namibian dishes.
Nestled within the Namib-Naukluft Park a mere stone’s throw from the town of Sesriem, Deadvlei is a strikingly beautiful salt pan.
The stark contrast between the dark camel thorn trees, the white cracked clay pan, and the orange-red sand dunes of the surrounding Sossusvlei area creates a mystical, almost otherworldly landscape.
Visitors here can spend hours admiring the scenery, taking photographs, and simply marvelling at the beauty of this unique natural wonder. Hiking through the dunes, watching the sunrise, and embarking on a hot air balloon ride over the area are some of the many activities on offer here.
3. Skeleton Coast
Skeleton Coast is a bucket-list destination for adventure and nature enthusiasts alike and nestles along Namibia’s windswept and untamed northern coast.
This vast and remote expanse, spanning over 500km, has long enticed explorers and thrill-seekers to its rugged and desolate shores.
The dark and jagged coastline, lapped by the relentless waves of the Atlantic, is elegantly contrasted by the glittering white of the majestic sand dunes that tower above.
A visit to the Skeleton Coast is a journey of discovery, where you can witness the abundance of wildlife, marvel at the mysterious shipwrecks, and experience the thrill of sand dune boarding.
4. Walvis Bay
The enchanting port town of Walvis Bay is a jewel of natural beauty and fascinating culture and features miles of pristine white sand beaches that make for epic windsurfing, kiteboarding, and kayaking experiences.
The bay is also home to an abundance of flamingos, dolphins, seals, and pelicans. Beyond the stunning scenery, Walvis Bay boasts a rich cultural tapestry, with a fascinating history shaped by the indigenous Damara and Herero tribes and the German colonialists who once ruled the region.
Besides exploring this rich heritage, a stand-out experience here is embarking on a trip to the nearby Sandwich Harbour, which is a breathtaking lagoon bordered by towering dunes.
5. andBeyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge
andBeyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge is the perfect destination for those seeking a unique and unforgettable desert adventure, where the beauty of nature and the luxury of modern living combine in perfect harmony.
Set in the heart of the Namib Desert, this luxurious oasis of tranquillity offers unparalleled access to some of the most spectacular desert scenery in the world, including the soaring red sand dunes of Sossusvlei.
A masterpiece of modern design, the lodge blends seamlessly into the surrounding landscape, and each suite was crafted to maximise the desert’s jaw-dropping panoramas.
To embrace the sheer beauty of the surroundings, guests can enjoy a range of activities including guided nature walks, quad biking, hot air balloon rides, and stargazing under the clear desert skies.
6. Cape Cross
This spectacular stretch of coastline impresses with its rugged terrain, endless sand dunes, and stunning backdrop of the wild Atlantic Ocean.
Cape Cross is home to one of the largest colonies of Cape fur seals in the world, and visitors can watch in awe as thousands of them frolic in the waves and bask in the sun on the rocky shoreline.
The area is also steeped in history and culture, and visitors can learn about the Portuguese explorers who landed here in the 15th century through guided tours. There’s also a whole host of opportunities for hiking and fishing, or simply taking a leisurely stroll along the beach.
7. Agate Beach, Luderitz
This breathtaking coastal haven boasts a mosaic of crystal-clear blue waters, ivory-hued sandy beaches, and rugged craggy outcrops.
It is most famed for its abundant Agate stones, which are scattered along the shoreline making it the ultimate spot for rock collecting and beachcombing.
Amplified by the spectacular pounding waves of the Atlantic, Agate Beach presents an awe-inspiring panorama that is certain to leave an indelible imprint on the minds of its visitors.
For those seeking more of adventure, the beach also offers a range of activities such as surfing, windsurfing, swimming, kayaking, and even snorkelling with the seals.
8. Etosha National Park
Etosha National Park is renowned worldwide for its breathtaking vistas and diverse wildlife. Nestled across a sprawling expanse of 22,270 km², this natural reserve is characterized by a striking salt pan, ensconced by verdant grasslands and mopane woodlands.
Discerning travellers are drawn to this iconic destination to witness the sight of majestic creatures, including lions, elephants, rhinos, zebras, and giraffes, roaming freely across the sprawling savannah.
Beyond unforgettable game drives, you can relish a multitude of activities such as birdwatching tours, guided walks, and epic night drives where you can quietly marvel at the nocturnal creatures in their element.
Sossusvlei, located in the heart of the Namib Desert, is famed for its majestic red sand dunes which dominate the surrounding terrain.
These towering natural formations, which reach heights of up to 325 metres, provide a dazzling canvas of shifting hues that reflect the changing light throughout the day, from golden ochres to fiery reds.
A visit to Sossusvlei is a journey into a surreal landscape that offers endless opportunities for adventure and exploration, whether you choose to hike to the top of the dunes or take a serene hot air balloon ride for a panoramic bird’s eye view of the desert.
10. Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary
Situated on the outskirts of Windhoek, here we have a haven for endangered and orphaned wildlife, set in over 4,000 hectares of pristine wilderness.
Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary offers a unique opportunity to observe and interact with a diverse range of species, including cheetahs, baboons, zebras, and giraffes.
The sanctuary’s picturesque landscape of undulating hills and savannah grasslands provides the most idyllic backdrop for once-in-a-lifetime game drives and nature walks.
In addition, you can also take part in conservation initiatives and animal welfare programmes, so it is an experience certainly not to be missed for animal lovers and nature enthusiasts alike!
A trip to Spitzkoppe is a journey into the heart of Namibia’s raw beauty, where the rugged terrain and tranquil surroundings offer a sense of serenity like no other.
In essence, Spitzkoppe is a group of bald granite peaks that rise dramatically from the surrounding flatlands of the Namib desert, and visitors can climb up to admire the awe-inspiring vistas from the top.
When the sun begins to set, the unique rock formations reflect the fiery glow of the sky, before the stars come out to provide an enchanting ambiance. The natural splendour of the area is complemented by the diverse animals that call this place home, from the playful baboons to the elusive leopard.
12. Epupa Falls
Nestled in the remote north-western corner of Namibia, Epupa Falls present an extraordinary panorama of untamed natural splendour.
Here, the cascading waters of the Kunene River plunge dramatically over rocky outcrops, and the serene atmosphere is enhanced by the surrounding verdant vegetation and towering cliffs, which are set against a glistening desert backdrop.
Explorers to Epupa Falls may indulge in a range of activities from hiking to swimming in the river’s crystalline pools. For a cultural experience, you can also immerse yourself in the indigenous lifestyle of the Himba people, who have inhabited the area since the 16th century.
13. Namib-Naukluft National Park
Situated in the heart of Namibia, the Namib-Naukluft National Park offers an unparalleled glimpse into the country’s unbridled beauty.
It is a tapestry of contrasting landscapes, with towering red sand dunes, rugged mountain ranges and windswept desert plains combining to exude a mystical allure.
Visitors can explore the park’s diverse ecosystem on foot, by 4×4, or on horseback, and be guided through the hidden valleys, ancient rock formations, and forests.
With an abundance of wildlife including cheetahs, leopards and hyenas, the National Park offers a safari experience that leaves a lasting impression on the hearts of all who visit.
14. Nkasa Rupara National Park
Set in the northeast corner of Namibia, Nkasa Rupara National Park exudes a sense of ethereal beauty with its pristine waterways, marshes, and woodlands which play host to a diverse range of flora and fauna.
The park’s hidden treasures can be explored on foot, by boat, or on game drives, and it’s almost certain you’ll catch a glimpse of many rare and exotic species amidst the kaleidoscopic landscapes.
Come nighttime, the awe-inspiring sunsets and star-filled skies provide the perfect canvas for a moment of relaxation and introspection, inviting you to rekindle a connection to the natural world.
15. Sandwich Bay
Sandwich Bay is a true haven of natural splendour and boundless adventure. Set within the vast expanse of the Namib Desert, this tranquil enclave is adorned with shimmering sand dunes and backdropped by the Atlantic azure.
Bird enthusiasts and lovers of nature come here to revel in the rare opportunity to witness flamboyant flamingos and pelicans in their element.
Whether you opt for a leisurely stroll along the shoreline, hop on a whale or dolphin-watching tour, or ride 4x4s over the dunes, at Sandwich Bay you are never short of options to bathe in the wild beauty of the surrounding land and seascape.
Scott Balaam – writer and photographer
Scott started his travelling life back in 1999, when he headed off on a solo jaunt to South Africa, Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia with just a backpack, a camera and a spirit for adventure. After that, the travel bug bit hard and now he is always seeking to head off somewhere new. Over the years he has lived in Italy, Qatar, Australia, Ireland, UK and the USA but his spiritual home will always be Rome as this is the city which most satisfies his unrelenting thirst for culture, good food and great football. In his spare time Scott loves nothing better than to be behind the camera and also runs his own blog and Instagram page. He also counts Melbourne, the rest of Italy, Amsterdam, USA, Athens, Cape Town and Tel Aviv among his favourite places. Find Scott on Linkedin, Instagram, or Twitter.