Namibia is an incredible country along the southwest coast of Africa. Often overlooked when one considers a trip through Africa, Namibia is on the rise, and is fast becoming a hot tourist destination for those traveling through southern Africa. Giant sand dunes in the Namib Desert, world-class game parks and wildlife reserves, the established adventure town of Swakopmund, and a tourism industry that caters to those traveling on a budget- Namibia has more than enough to warrant a stop along the Backpacker’s Trail in southern Africa.

Getting There

Many overland expeditions originating in South Africa will travel north through Namibia before heading east through Botswana and Zambia. You can fly into Namibia through the capital city of Windhoek, and then find ground transportation to places throughout the rest of the country.

Things to do in Namibia

  • Fish River Canyon- Africa’s version of The Grand Canyon in the US, the Fish River Canyon is HUGE, with plenty of hiking option on offer.

Fish River Canyon

  • Sesriem and Sossusvlei- located in the Namib Desert, this small town is the main access point to Namib-Naukluft Ntional Park and the nearby dunes of Sossusvlei. A tour through the dunes with a local guide, a surreal walk through Dead Vlei, and an early morning climb up a giant sand dune to catch the sunrise- Namibia at its best, and well worth the visit.

Dead Vlei- Sossusvlei

  • Hang out in Swakopmund- Swakop is an adventure center in southern Africa, with countless options to get your adrenaline fix. Sky diving, quad biking, sand boarding, dune sledding, sun, surf, and sand- plenty to keep you busy for days on end.
  • Pet a cheetah- the Otjitotongwe Cheetah Farm is a non-profit park that strives to protect the cheetah in southern Africa. It is home to numerous cheetahs, some raised in captivity, others rescued from the wild, and provides unique possibilities for viewing and even petting these amazing animals.

Catching up with a cheetah

  • Visit Etosha National Park- dominated by the unique Etosha Salt Pan, this park is a perfect place to view some amazing wildlife while traveling through Namibia. Lions, rhinos, massive herds of zebra and elephant- this park has it all. The campgrounds are  located within the park, and are well-equipped and very visitor-friendly.

Etosha National park

Insider Tips

  • The well-lit watering holes around the campgrounds in Etosha are SUPERB- excellent for viewing animals during the nighttime hours, when there’s always something going on just beyond the reach of the the lights.
  • There’s a huge seal colony just north of Swakopmund, with well-maintained walkways that run right through the heart of the colony. Great for getting up-close-and-personal with the seals, even if the smell is less than appealing...
  • The campgrounds in Etosha are some of the best you’ll find in any park throughout all of Africa- swimming pools, lounge chairs, HOT SHOWERS- comparatively speaking, it feels like you’re at a resort...
  • Don’t let the Cheetah Boys con you into a game of pool at the Cheetah Farm- they’re known for running a bit of a hustle, and before you know it, you’ll be buying drinks and licking parts of a warthog you’d never expect to be licking... Better to be safe than sorry!
  • Dress in layers for your hike up the dunes at Sossusvlei- it will be COLD in the morning, but once you start the climb, your heart will get pumping, and you’ll be shedding layers before you know it...
  • Sample some local fare- Southern Africa is the only place you can still eat some of the local wildlife. Take advantage by trying something new- kudu, springbok, zebra are all delicious...

Sunset in Etosha...