When to Visit
With a staggering 300 average days of sunshine each year, Namibia is a year-round destination. The seasons in Namibia are the reverse to those in the Northern Hemisphere and there are primarily two seasons; summer (November-April) and winter (May-October). The best time to visit Namibia will depend on whether you are most interested in seeing wildlife, birds or walking.
During the winter months, the average daytime temperature ranges from 7°C in the morning to 28°C early in the afternoon. Nights are cool with the temperature occasionally dropping to 0°C. It is advisable to pack warm winter clothing for early morning game drives. Winter is the ideal time for walkers to visit as the temperatures are at their coolest and the chance of rain minimised.
It is also the best time of year for wildlife viewing, especially in Etosha. Animals are easier to spot as they congregate around waterholes. At the end of the dry season, impressive numbers of giraffes, elephants and zebras can be seen at waterholes.
Early booking is essential for travel during the peak winter season, particularly from July through to October, as this is the most popular time to travel.
During the summertime, daytime temperatures in the interior of the country range from approximately 15°C to 35°C, whilst along the coast the temperature varies from 12°C to 22°C. January and February are the hottest months, when daytime temperatures in the heart of the Namib Desert can exceed 40ºC but the nights are usually cool. This time of year is too hot to do any strenuous walking and most long trails in the national parks will be closed.
This is also Namibia’s rainy season with most of the showers occurring between January and March. It is best to avoid the Zambezi Region in January and February as it is Namibia’s wettest region. It is also recommended to avoid travelling to more remote areas such as Bushmanland and Kaokoland during this time as some roads in these regions become totally impassable. In terms of the rest of the country, flooding rivers sometimes block roads in January, February and occasionally March but these usually subside within a few hours. A 4WD is essential during these times. The rains are mostly short showers in the afternoon and the benefit of the rain is that Namibia becomes green and lush.
During and after the rains wildlife spotting can be more challenging as lush vegetation hides the animals, and they scatter further afield as they no longer need to stay close to waterholes. However, many animals give birth during this time and predators take advantage of the inexperienced young animals so if you visit at this time, you may see more predator/prey interaction.
The rainy season is however the ideal time for birding. Many resident species breed at this time of year, and these are complemented by the arrival of migratory species from the north. Occasionally, in years with good rainfall, the natural pans in Etosha fill with huge numbers of flamingos, an amazing spectacle to behold.
Shoulder season (November & April-May)
The shoulder seasons are a good time to visit Namibia. The temperatures are moderate and there is little to no rainfall. There are fewer tourists than in the peak season but the wildlife opportunities are still good. Prices can be more affordable outside the peak winter months.