We know choosing how to explore Namibia can be hard, so we hope this helps make it a little easier!
Deciding how, when and where to explore in Africa can be tricky and planning a safari in Namibia is no exception. With so many great options we understand that you might feel spoilt for choice and the mere idea of planning a Namibian holiday can be overwhelming.
Should you join a group tour or a private safari option? Is it safe to self-drive? Can I afford to fly between destinations? What is it like camping vs booking a lodge? There are so many options but here is a way to simplify it so you can stop worrying about how and where and when and you can just start getting excited!
Namibia’s dry season is during our winter months and is typically from May to October. As the rains stop, the temperatures start to cool, and by July we are well and truly enjoying winter. However this doesn’t mean anything like a European winter, instead, it means the nights are chilly, perfect for snuggling and the days can reach up to 25 degrees Celsius, the perfect temperature for safariing. With a lack of rains, this means that wildlife is drawn into the waterholes and game viewing is at its absolute best! However, as this coincides with European summer holidays, our dry season/winter is officially our busy season, when prices are highest and services are booked solid. If you want to travel during the dry season, be sure to book well in advance!
Local tip: Dress like an onion, peel off layers as the day warms up, and pop them back on as the sunsets.
You might have already written off the wet season as a terrible time to travel but you would most definitely be wrong in doing so. During an average wet season (November to April) Namibia, a predominately desert country, receives such sparse rain that you would be lucky to get wet. However, during a great rainy season, like 2020/2021, Namibia comes to life, with the growth of lush green grass and a carpet of vibrantly coloured flowers covering the desert floor. The new growth also makes for an abundance of food for our wildlife who become fat and happy, and produce babies to their heart’s content. While game viewing can be tricky as predators lurk in the long grass (don’t worry, you’ll be in your car), it makes any sighting that much more special. Want to know more about our rainy season check out our previous blog post – The MAGIC of the rainy season!
Local tip: If it rains in the desert then celebrate it. It doesn’t happen often and while it might not be quite what you had in mind it sure is magic!
Scheduled Group Safaris
For those travelling alone, or on a budget, a scheduled group safari in Namibia is the best way to go. As the name suggests, these tours run to a schedule, normally with fixed dates or weekly departures for you to choose from. You can choose if you prefer a camping safari, or an accommodated tour, or a combination of both. These trips have fixed routes, so find the itinerary that ticks the most boxes for you, choose your departure date and away you go. Travelling alone? Be sure to enquire what the options are for single travellers, some tours include a mandatory single supplement while some give you the option to be ‘willing to share’ so you can be matched with another traveller of the same sex.
Planning to come to Namibia for an extended stay? Consider spending some time volunteering, there is a range of options from wildlife conservation to social welfare projects. At Chameleon Safaris we offer combined safari and voluntourism in Namibia so you get the best of both worlds.
Local tip: If travelling alone, be sure to check what the minimum number of people is for a confirmed departure. We offer GUARANTEED departures but know this isn’t the case with everyone.
Self Drive Adventure
Namibia is an ideal destination to self-drive with next to no traffic. Not sure about planning this, then let a local operator take the lead and assist you to plan, book and be your local support while on the road. More often than not, local operators/agencies can match or beat the price you would pay when booking accommodation and vehicle hire directly so you get all the benefits without any extra expense. Let them tailor-make your itinerary to your pace, your interests and your budget and then pick their brain about all the secret local hangouts, best restaurants, must-do activities. Arrive in Namibia then hit the road with your map (yes MAP, GPS not required) and enjoy the adventure of a lifetime.
Things to note: In Namibia we drive on the left (that’s right), over 90% of our roads are gravel (so prepare to take it easy and enjoy the drive), and flat tires are pretty common so be prepared to change the odd flat.
Local tip: Leave early allowing plenty of time to stop along the way for photos and whatever else. Driving after dusk (and in the dark) is very dangerous in Namibia as the wildlife tends to get more active, and they aren’t great at waiting for traffic to pass.
Private Guided Safaris
Want more flexibility than a scheduled tour offers without the hassle of driving yourself? Travelling with a group of friends or family, or as a couple and looking for more privacy? A private guided safari is an excellent option and while you can enjoy the freedom to set your route together with your tour consultant, once you are here you can then kick back and relax while your guide/driver shows you around and shares their stories of Namibia. Private guided safaris can be done as camping, accommodated, or even fly in so there is no limit to the level of comfort you can experience.
Local tip: Ask your guide loads of questions. You aren’t just paying for the pleasure of their company, but also access to their wealth of local knowledge.
For those that love connecting with nature (in every way) then camping in Namibia is, in the words of Tina Turner, SIMPLY THE BEST! Spend your nights around a campfire, where you (or your guide) cooks up a feast, while under the milky way! Most Namibian campsites offer ablution facilities with HOT water and flushing toilets, and the few that don’t offer the best landscapes in the world so you won’t even notice what’s missing!
Local tip: Get yourself a headtorch. EVERYTHING is easier in the dark when you have 2 free hands!
For those that just aren’t campers, or would just prefer a bed and en-suite bathroom, Namibia offers a vast range of accommodation types from rustic chalets, to comfortable and well located mid-range lodges, to luxury camps set on private reserves. There is something for everyone and every budget!
Local tip: If you make use of the safe in your room for your valuables then be sure to check it before you depart.
Got questions about any of this? Contact Chameleon Safaris and we would be happy to help point you in the right direction of the perfect tour for you!