Sossusvlei and the Namib Desert

Sossusvlei and the Namib Desert

The huge red sand dunes at Sossusvlei are the most iconic attraction in Namibia.

Etosha National Park

Etosha National Park

The Etosha National Park in the north of Namibia offers some of the finest wildlife viewing in Africa, and is one of the undisputed highlights of a visit to the country.

Damaraland

Damaraland

The vast desert landscape of Damaraland is one of the most beautiful regions of Namibia.

Swakopmund

Swakopmund

Surrounded on 3 sides by the Namib desert, and on the 4th by the Atlantic Ocean, Swakopmund is an interesting blend of African and German heritage, and one of the most friendly towns in Southern Africa.

The Skeleton Coast

The Skeleton Coast

The Skeleton Coast gets its name from the huge number of shipwrecks that have happened on this treacherous shoreline over the centuries.

When Is The Best Time To Visit Namibia?

Weather and Climate

Much of Namibia is part of the great dry deserts of the Namib and the Kalahari. Contrasting with these huge deserts is the sub tropical rainforest area of the far north-east around the Caprivi Strip, and the inland plateau of Central Namibia is characterised by mountains and rocky outcrops. Because of these wide geographic variations, the climatic conditions differ immensely as you travel through Namibia even though the country has a reputation as being hot and dry.

Windhoek, Etosha and the Northern Circuit

The central area around Windhoek is generally cooler than the visitor highlights of Sossusvlei and Etosha, largley due to its elevation at just over 1,600m. This is one of the few parts of the country to have a regular rainy season, although average monthly rainfall is less than 100mm even in the wettest months (January to March) when you can expect to see violent thunderstorms and heavy downpours.  Average summer temperatures are around 30°C from October to March, but coupled with the high humidity levels summer in the capital city can be almost unbearable until the storms break the heat. The winter months (May - August) are more pleasant and comfortable, with warm bright days and little chance of rain.

When it gets too hot and humid in the capital during the summer, the locals head to Swakopmund on the coast where average highs are a very pleasant 23°C, there is often coastal breeze and there is virtually no rain.  In fact there is virtually no rain all year round in Swakopmund, and with average highs of 23°C in the height of summer and 19°C in winter the weather here is very consistent.  The biggest change between summer and winter temperatures is the average daily minimum temp[erature which can get down to 6°C in winter, but only drops to 12 or 14°C in the summer. The downsides, however, are frequent morning coastal fogs.

Moving inland to Damaraland, the temperatures rise again to the average highs of 32°C in the summer months, and a still very warm 26°C in winter.  There are big differences between the average daily highs and average daily lows all year round, with temperatures typically dropping 15°C or more overnight.  This is particularly noticeable in the winter, where average lows in July are only 9°C, and after the highs of 26°C during the day most people will find this can feel a little chilly. The rainfall pattern in Damarland is similar to that in Windhoek and Etosha, although this ares gets significantly less rain than either.

The weather in the Etosha National Park is characterised by hot humid summers (October - February), and cooler, drier winters.  The heavy storms that happen frequently in the summer can turn the dry and dusty tracks of the park into difficult to navigate mud, and there is lots of muddy water to pass through as well - if you are visiting Etosha in the rainy season, you should really consider taking a 4x4!  Etosha is still a great place to visit during the rains, but it is undoubtedly true that the best time to visit is during the dry season when the roads are easier to navigate and the animals are more reliant on Etosha's famous waterholes.

Windhoek Average Max and Min Temperature

0°C32°F5°C41°F10°C50°F15°C59°F20°C68°F25°C77°F30°C86°F35°C95°F40°C104°F31168760Jan29168460Feb28148257Mar27128053Apr2577744May2257141Jun2247139Jul2667842Aug29108450Sep31138755Oct31158759Nov32168960Dec

Windhoek Average Rainfall (mm)

05010015020025074Jan89Feb83Mar32Apr6May2Jun0Jul1Aug3Sep11Oct27Nov31Dec

Swakopmund Average Max and Min Temperature

0°C32°F5°C41°F10°C50°F15°C59°F20°C68°F25°C77°F30°C86°F35°C95°F40°C104°F22127153Jan23147357Feb23127353Mar2297148Apr2287146May2297148Jun2176944Jul1966642Aug1976644Sep1986646Oct21106950Nov22117151Dec

Swakopmund Average Rainfall (mm)

0501001502002502Jan2Feb3Mar2Apr0May0Jun0Jul0Aug0Sep0Oct1Nov0Dec
 

Damaraland Average Max and Min Temperature

0°C32°F5°C41°F10°C50°F15°C59°F20°C68°F25°C77°F30°C86°F35°C95°F40°C104°F32178962Jan31178762Feb31188764Mar30168660Apr28128253May26107850Jun2697848Jul27108050Aug31128753Sep32158959Oct32168960Nov32168960Dec

Damaraland Average Rainfall (mm)

05010015020025047Jan64Feb64Mar22Apr3May0Jun0Jul1Aug1Sep5Oct14Nov12Dec
 

Etosha (Okaukuejo) Average Max and Min Temperature

0°C32°F5°C41°F10°C50°F15°C59°F20°C68°F25°C77°F30°C86°F35°C95°F40°C104°F34199366Jan32188964Feb31178762Mar30158659Apr27108050May2677844Jun2667842Jul2988446Aug33139155Sep35169560Oct35189564Nov35189564Dec

Etosha (Okaukuejo) Average Rainfall (mm)

05010015020025085Jan103Feb77Mar25Apr2May1Jun0Jul0Aug2Sep6Oct37Nov50Dec
 

The Caprivi Strip

The Caprivi Strip is the stretch of land that gives Namibia it's distinctive shape when you look at it on a map, and the climate here is unlike the rest of the country and unlike the common perception of Nambia as a dry and barren land.

Whilst the temperatures follow a similar pattern to Etosha, Caprivi recives a substantially more rain than any other part of Namibia,  with well over 100mm of rain falling on average in each month from December to February.

As with Etosha, the cooler, drier winter months are the best time to visit for game viewing if you are looking at spending some time on one of the houseboats on the Chobe River or at one of the regions safari lodges.

Caprivi Strip Average Max and Min Temperature

0°C32°F5°C41°F10°C50°F15°C59°F20°C68°F25°C77°F30°C86°F35°C95°F40°C104°F31198766Jan31198766Feb30178662Mar30158659Apr28108250May2567742Jun2657841Jul2988446Aug33139155Sep35179562Oct33199166Nov31198766Dec

Caprivi Strip Average Rainfall (mm)

050100150200250141Jan135Feb78Mar21Apr2May0Jun0Jul0Aug2Sep23Oct56Nov122Dec
 

Sossuvlei & The Southern Circuit

Southern Namibia is one of the driest places on the planet, as will be very obvious to any visitor driving across the regions spectacular desert landscapes.

Sossusvlei is famous for it's towering red dunes, parched dried lakes (or 'vleis' in Afrikaans)  and dramatic petrified trees. The weather here varies from hot and dry in winter, to very hot and dry in Summer.  As with all of Namibia's desert areas (and indeed deserts all over the world), the temperature can drop surprisingly overnight, and in winter especially the average lows of  6°C will feel very cold after the heat of the day where average highs are 27°C even in mid winter.

The Fish River Canyon has a similar weather pattern to Sossusvlei, although temperatures are generally a few degrees cooler.  Even so, average highs of 32°C in the height of summer will feel even warmer in the still dry air at the bottom of the canyon.

The area of the Southern Namib around the town of Aus is famous for it's desert landscapes, and it is is substantially cooler here than at Sosusvlei, with daily highs around 10°C lower than you will see at the dunes. In the coldest winter months (June - August) the average daily highs are only 14°C-16°C, and overnight lows can average 2°C, with overnight freezing a fairly common occurrence.  

Most visitors to Luderitz are really only stopping by to see the ghost mining town at Kolmanskop, however the pleasant year-round temperatures will come as a welcome relief baking heat encountered in most of the rest of the country. As with the Swakopmund . Walvis Bay area, visitors should expect to see coastal fogs during their stay, and these can be surprisingly chilly.

Sossusvlei Average Max and Min Temperature

0°C32°F5°C41°F10°C50°F15°C59°F20°C68°F25°C77°F30°C86°F35°C95°F40°C104°F34179362Jan35189564Feb35189564Mar33159159Apr30118651May2768042Jun2768042Jul2878244Aug32108950Sep33129153Oct34149357Nov34159359Dec

Sossusvlei Average Rainfall (mm)

0501001502002504Jan7Feb8Mar7Apr2May1Jun1Jul0Aug1Sep3Oct4Nov2Dec
 

Fish River Canyon Max and Min Temperature

0°C32°F5°C41°F10°C50°F15°C59°F20°C68°F25°C77°F30°C86°F35°C95°F40°C104°F32188964Jan32188964Feb31178762Mar28148257Apr25107750May2387346Jun2277144Jul2487546Aug26107850Sep28138255Oct30158659Nov32178962Dec

Fish River Canyon Average Rainfall (mm)

0501001502002504Jan7Feb13Mar6Apr3May4Jun3Jul2Aug2Sep2Oct2Nov3Dec

Southern Namib Average Max and Min Temperature

0°C32°F5°C41°F10°C50°F15°C59°F20°C68°F25°C77°F30°C86°F35°C95°F40°C104°F25137755Jan24137555Feb23127353Mar2096848Apr1756241May1535937Jun1425735Jul1636037Aug1856441Sep2186946Oct23107350Nov24127553Dec

Southern Namib Average Rainfall (mm)

05010015020025014Jan16Feb21Mar10Apr13May11Jun15Jul9Aug8Sep4Oct3Nov4Dec
 

Luderitz Average Max and Min Temperature

0°C32°F5°C41°F10°C50°F15°C59°F20°C68°F25°C77°F30°C86°F35°C95°F40°C104°F21146957Jan22147157Feb22147157Mar20136855Apr19126653May19116651Jun18106450Jul17106250Aug17116251Sep18126453Oct20136855Nov21136955Dec

Luderitz Average Rainfall (mm)

0501001502002500Jan1Feb2Mar2Apr3May3Jun1Jul2Aug1Sep0Oct1Nov1Dec