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When is the best time to visit Namibia?

When is the best time to visit Namibia?

When is the best time to visit Namibia?

When is the best time to visit Namibia depends a lot on what you want to see and what regions you want to travel. There are many places in Namibia that are better to visit during the certain season but some attractions are great any time of the year e.g. Sossusvlei, the Himba Village, Kolmandkop Ghost Town, Quiver Tree Forest. 

Traveling in Namibia is an incredible experience. The country has many amazing places to visit and fantastic things to do. You’ll always be able to find great things to do regardless of the time of the year.

Alya and an old rusted car somewhere in Namibia during the summer
Alya at Canyon Road House in the south of Namibia which is hardly influenced by the rainy season. This area can be visited any time

What are the seasons like in Namibia?

Unlike in most parts of the US, Canada, or Europe, there are only two seasons in Namibia; the dry season (winter) and the rainy season (summer). The rainy and hot summer is between November and March, the dry winter is from April to October. The border months March/April and October/November can be more or less rainy depending on the year. 

The rainy season in Namibia is not the same as in South-East Asia it does rain but not as much and the rainfalls are not as heavy. In fact, the rainy season has very little impact on the south of the county it’s always hot and dry in the desert. So if you decide to visit Namibia during summer you still will be able to enjoy the country. Like everywhere else in the world the weather and season are getting more and more unpredictable. One year there might be barely any rain and the next year the rainfalls will be extremely heavy. For example when we went to Namibia the first time they didn’t have much rain in the previous 2 years but that year it rained more than normal.

Epupa Falls with a lot of water in the summer
Epupa Falls are full of water. The end of summer is the best time to visit it.

Average temperatures in Namibia throughout the year

Namibia is a vast country though the desert occupies a large part of it the regions have different weather. In the south of the country, yearly rainfalls are insignificant. Summer and winter temperatures are slightly different. The north of Namibia (Etosha, Caprivi, Epupa Falls, etc.) is strongly affected by the rainfalls and increased temperatures in summer. Overall it’s always hot/warm in Namibia with the exclusion of nights and early mornings in the desert when temperatures drop to 10°C.

Region Average summer temperatures Average winter temperatures
Fish River Canyon High – 33°C-36°C/Low – 18°C-20°C High – 23°C-28°C/Low – 10°C-14°C
Sossusvlei High – 33°C-35°C/Low – 13°C-15°C High – 27°C-30°C/Low – 11°C-13°C
Swakopmund High – 22°C-24°C/Low – 18°C-20°C High – 21°C-22°C/Low – 15°C-17°C
Windhoek High – 30°C-32°C/Low – 16°C-17°C High – 23°C-27°C/Low – 8°C-12°C
Etosha National Park High – 27°C-30°C/Low – 17°C-20°C High – 22°C-27°C/Low – 7°C-13°C
Caprivi Strip High – 30°C-34°C/Low – 22°C-25°C High – 27°C-31°C/Low – 14°C-20°C
Monthly temperatures in different parts of Namibia

Visiting Namibia in summer

The Namibian summer or the wet season is between November and March. It doesn’t make a big difference in the weather in the south of the country e.g. Sossusvlei or Fish River Canyon. It does get even hotter but overall these areas don’t see much rain. Summer rains make a big difference in northern parts of the country e.g. Etosha National Park, Caprivi Strip, Epupa Falls. In these areas, it rains a lot in the summer and daily temperatures average 35°C.

November is the beginning is summer and the rainy season which means it’s still a good month for visiting Etosha National Park, one of the highlights of Namibia.

December, January, February are good months if you want to escape winter in the Northern Hemisphere. Celebrating Christmas in the heart of the Namib Desert surrounded by giant dunes is a special experience. December might be a bit busy around Christmas time but overall the summer months are not very touristy. We started our first Namibia road trip in February and it was all fine except for the disappointment in Etosha National Park.

March and April, the end of the rainy season are the worst months for safari drives in Etosha National Park. We spent a couple of days in the park in March. It rained so much that the entire dried pan in the middle of the park turned into one massive lake. We didn’t see any predators just a lot of antelopes, zebras, and birds. The roads inside the park were terrible; deep puddles and very muddy. It took us a couple of washes to clean the car. 

Etosha National Park with a lot of puddles and waterholes after the seasonal rains
Etosha in February during the rainy season. The park was covered in flowers and waterholes. Not the best time for safari but great for bird watching

Since summer is the low season for traveling to Namibia (with the exception of the Christmas holidays) accommodation and car rental prices are lower than during the dry season. The popular tourist attractions are less busy which means you don’t have to book everything months in advance.

Best summer activities

  • Watching seals and their cubs at Cape Cross Seal Reserve (January to March), one of our favorite things to do in Swakopmund.
  • Watching flamingos in Walvis Bay (November to March).
  • Visiting Epupa Falls (February, March)
  • Watching birds in Etosha National Park
  • Birdwatching in Caprivi
  • Kitesurfing in Luderitz
Baby seals at Cape Cross in Namibia in February
Seal cubs at Cape Cross Reserve, January to March is the best time to visit it if you want to see the babies

There are some great Namibia tour options that will take you to the main attractions and allow you to relax and enjoy your trip:

Visiting Namibia in winter

Winter or the dry season in Namibia is between May and October. Overall winter is the best time to visit Namibia regardless of the areas you want to visit or things you want to do. The temperatures even in the desert are lower, with no rain, and clear skies. If you’re planning to camp in winter make sure to bring warm sleeping bags and clothing for wearing at night time. It gets quite chilly after the sunset in the desert. We hiked the Fish River Canyon in May and despite the scorching heat during the day at night time, it got quite chilly.

The dry winter months are the peak season for traveling Namibia. It’s recommended to book accommodation in popular destinations in advance.

May is the first month of the dry season. It’s a good time to visit Sossusvlei, Fish River Canyon, Swakopmund. Though if it rained a lot during the summer there might be still a lot of water in Etosha National Park which is not good for watching animals.

June and July are great months for visiting Namibia. The day temperatures in the desert drop to below 30°C. You can spend more time exploring the desert or do one of the hikes in Namibia e.g. Fish River Canyon, Olive Trail, Erongo Walking Trail.

The end of the winter (August, September) is definitely a great time for safari drives in the Etosha National Park. After the dry season, there is not much water in the park only a few waterholes. All animals come to these waterholes for drinking. You don’t even have to drive around the park just spend a couple of hours parked at a waterhole watching different African mammals coming there to drink. 

October the last winter month it might start raining a bit but overall it’s a great month for traveling Namibia. It’s warmer than during the winter but there is still no or very little rain. After several dry months, there are only a few waterholes in Etosha National Park it’s easy to spot animals.

Alya and Campbell during their winter Fish River Canyon hike in Namibia
Stingy Nomads on the bottom of the Fish River Canyon during the hike. Winter is the only time it’s allowed to hike in the canyon

Best winter activities

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