Are you planning to travel to Namibia and wondering what is the best time to visit this stunning country? Or are you looking for the best time to visit Etosha National Park for wildlife viewing or the best time to hike the Fish River Canyon? We’ve got you covered with this month by month overview of when to visit Namibia.
The weather in Namibia is something to take into account when planning your trip around Namibia. Do also read through these Namibia travel tips before going. Since Namibia is a very large country, climate varies in the different areas. Where the southern part is mainly desert landscape with a dry climtate and large temperature differences during day and night in Winter, the Caprivi strip is more humid and green and the coastal regions are colder due to the Benguela currents coming from the Atlantic ocean.In order to know what is for anyone the best time to visit Namibia, keep reading to familiarise yourself with all the pros and cons of what to expect when visiting Namibia.
When is the best time to visit Namibia
Namibia in July and August
- With clear blue skies to mark the day time (that is on a non-windy day) July and August are the driest months in Namibia when there is little to no rainfall.
- These are also the coldest months in Namibia, especially at night when temperatures can drop to as low as -5°C in the South of the country. Be sure you have warm enough gear, especially if you’re camping. Check out this African safari packing list for more info.
- During the day the temperatures can reach a pleasant +20°C so it’s nice to sit in the sun.
- Since the temperatures in the day are nice, you can visit any tourist attraction without overheating.
- Wildlife viewing, especially in Etosha National Park, is at its peak during the dry season with wildlife gathering around the various waterholes in search of water. Very often you can see a great variation of wildlife at the waterholes of hundreds of animals. Also prides of lions often take their daytime siesta’s in close proximity to the waterholes.
- Wildlife photography is at its best since you can just find a waterhole and animals will come for a refreshing drink all day long.
- July and especially August is peak season in Namibia with lots of locals (during school holidays) as well as overseas tourists. Accommodations will very fast book out, so booking early in advance is highly recommended. This is mainly for the top tourist attractions, like Sossusvlei and Etosha National Park, and the accommodations in and around those areas.
- Due to the dry air and often heavy wind, the dust is everywhere. On top of that, Namibian sand is really fine and does manage to even get into a perfectly sealed car. Also, be careful on the roads, when visibility is difficult due to the sand. Always drive with headlights on.
- Along the Namibian coast, in places like Luderitz, Swakopmund and Walvisbay, a cool breeze comes from the Atlantic ocean bringing cold air. Therefore mornings along the coast are often foggy, wet and chilly. But usually the fog will clear up mid morning.
Namibia in September and October
- Visiting Namibia in September and October is really great. The temperatures are slowly increasing and nights are getting more pleasant. It’s a great time to sit outside around a campfire and enjoying the stars without freezing.
- Since the temperatures during the day are rising when visiting Namibia in October, the mid day hours between 11h00 and 15h00 should preferably be avoided when it comes to any strenuous activity.
- This time of year it’s still really dry in Namibia so water is hard to find, making wildlife viewing great in and around the permanent waterholes in Namibia.
- It is also still peak season in Namibia and again accommodations should be booked way in advance to secure a room or campsite in the more popular places.
- Photography in Namibia is great during September and October, but more during the early hours of the morning and late hours of the afternoon when the sun shows a beautiful hue of orange and the typical African sunset can be seen over the desert.
Lion surveying the waterhole in Etosha National Park during dry season
Namibia in November
- Visiting Namibia in the month of November is good if you want to avoid the crowds. November is normally a month that not too many people around the world travel so it’s easier to get accommodation in the more popular places without having to book months in advance.
- November is a great month for bird lovers with the migrant birds returning to Namibia. The Caprivi strip is known for its bird watching possibilities.
- November is also a month of extremes. The temperatures are increasing, so be prepared for some hot weather. The rainy season will have either started or is getting ready to start with rain clouds building up, making the ambient air hot and humid. Unfortunately, the rain clouds often disappear, with the expected cooling rains making it feel very hot. Also the nights are getting really hot. Most accommodations will have a fan or aircon, but be prepared for some heat when camping.
- Photography is at its best with desert landscapes and heavy dark rain clouds that start forming giving the desert an even more dramatic look.
Namibia in December and January
- In December the summer time kicks in and temperatures will rise even more. Be prepared for some very hot moments during these months. Avoid visiting the tourist attractions between 11h00 and 16h00, especially places like Sossusvlei and the Fish River Canyon. Temperatures in the Namib desert can rise to over 40°C (104°F) in the shade, if you can find any.
- Mid December up to mid January (school holidays in Namibia and South Africa) it can be crowded in Namibia, but the rest of the month it’s fine.
- The coastal regions are really pleasant during summer time, with great beach weather. It’s great to cool down after spending some time in the hot desert. Unfortunately the water of the Atlantic ocean is a bit cold to swim in, unless you feel like going into thermic shock.
- The summer rains are starting, providing a cooling effect for the hot days. Rain is still not always guaranteed and will be more or less depending on the year. It never really rains continuously, but will be more like heavy thunderstorms.
- Photography is still great with dramatic rain clouds dominating the sky.
- Wildlife photography is also still great because due to the heat, the animals are still gathering around the waterholes. That is, if it has not rained too much and the surrounding areas are still dry.
- December and January are also great months to see new born babies from the open plain animals. They give birth after the first rains have started.
Rain clouds forming during rainy season
Namibia in February and March
- February is generally the month with the highest rainfall in Namibia. The temperatures are hot and humid which might make travelling in Namibia a bit uncomfortable. During the month of March the rains will reduce.
- During these months, the Namibian landscape is more green and lush compared to the dry and arid months. The rains will also have washed away the dust and the beautiful colours and hues of the desert will become visible. Also due to the humidity the light is less harsh during the days, making it great for landscape photography.
- February and March are months when less people visit Namibia and places like Etosha and Sossusvlei will not be crowded at all.
- The newborn animals are now 2 months old and very playful. Wildlife is more vivid because there is more food around and predators will stay close to the plain animals.
- Wildlife photography is not that good because animals will be more difficult to find. Water is plenty and animals do not have to gather around the permanent waterholes anymore. They will be more spread out in Etosha National Park and the private parks and the thicker vegetation makes it harder to see them. Elephants will be difficult to see, even in Etosha because they migrate to the more remote feeding grounds since they don’t have to stay close to the permanent waterholes during the rains. Here and there a lone African elephant bull too old to migrate can still be spotted.
During the rainy season puddles of water can be found all over Etosha National Park
Namibia in April, May and June
- The rainy season is coming to an end in April and the months of May and June are dry again. The temperatures are very pleasant during the day and the nights are getting cooler. During the month of June, nights are cold again since Winter is starting.
- During May and June, Namibia is probably at its best. The desert still looks green and colourful, the rains have reduced the dust, the temperature is pleasant, it’s dry and sunny and the wildlife is slowly gathering again around the waterholes looking for hydration.
- The tourist season has not started yet, so no crowds, it’s easier to find accommodation and the weather is pleasant enough to visit all the tourist attractions at any time of the day. It’s also a great time to hike the Fish River Canyon.
- May and June are great months for all types of photography, wildlife sightings are good, stargazing is great with clear skies, the colours of the desert are clear and bright because there is much less dust around.