Solo Travel in Namibia
If you have ever wanted to see Namibia and travel to this African country, below is our Namibia travel guide on how to travel solo in Namibia including what to do in Namibia, where to go in Namibia, types of accommodation, tours to Namibia and how to get around. Find out how to get from the airports and what to do in each place.
All companies included have been recommended by solo female travellers and come with our Solo Female Friendly endorsement. Just choose the relevant section or read the full article for your Namibia solo travel.
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- About Namibia
- Accommodation in Namibia
- Tours in Namibia
- Getting Around Namibia
- From The Airport
- How Long Do You Need?
- Travelling Onwards
- Map of Namibia
- Plan a Trip To Namibia
Solo Travel in Namibia
Is Namibia safe to visit? Yes, Namibia is a safe country for solos. That's why we've given it 3 out of 5 stars. People are relatively friendly and although some of the cities have an ‘out of town’ feel they are perfectly safe. The only dangers here are from wild animals and scorpions or running out of water in the desert.
If you decide to self drive through the country make sure you stock up on gas, food and water and have emergency contacts in case you break down as distances are vast. Overland tours travel through Namibia and combine the country with others in Africa. Namibia allows you the privacy of remote lodges so if you solo travel in Namibia and want to meet others, choose hostels where you’ll find other travellers on their way to and from Victoria Falls.
There’s something so special about Namibia in southern Africa; its diverse tribes, its stunning desert and Namibia scenery, skeleton coast and its quirky German towns. You can travel for miles and not see a single soul. Conservation is the key here, whether community-based or environmental and traditional homesteads are run by indigenous tribes to help sustain their way of life that they have been living for centuries.
As a former Germany colony, there is a large German influence in the country which can be seen in the cities in Namibia. The capital Windhoek (meaning ‘windy corner’ in Afrikaans) is no exception, surrounded by mountains it’s a bustling city with colonial buildings and a German feel. Things to do in windhoek include browsing at Namibia Crafts Centre where you can pick up pottery and traditional material and leatherwork, or at the Old Breweries Craft Market.
The Skeleton Coast
Leaving the city behind and heading North is where the real Namibia begins. The Skeleton Coast is a haunting coastline and ship graveyard that has claimed many shipwrecks and is where the Namib Desert meets the Atlantic Ocean.
But there is life here at the Skeleton Coast Park where you can see game such as black rhino, elephants and cheetahs or visit the cape fur seals at Cape Cross Seal Colony Reserve if you prefer tamer animals.
If you're wondering what to see in Namibia in terms of wildlife, the National Parks here are much less crowded than in South Africa and the wildlife is just as good. The northwest is home to the free-roaming black rhino which thrives in Namibia and the Otjitotongwe Cheetah Park gives you the opportunity to get up close and personal and learn about the cheetahs (you can even stroke these big cats). To see brown hyenas and leopard, Okonjima Nature Reserve, located in the Omboroko Mountains is one of the best places to see these carnivores.
Things To Do in Northern Namibia
If you are looking for a Nambia safari, Etosha National Park has four of the Big Five and you can also see: impalas, jackals, ostrich, warthogs and springboks, unique to southwest Africa. The park closes when the sun sets and being here at dusk is the best time to see the animals.
Head further north and you’ll reach the Caprivi Strip, a piece of land that juts out from the northeast of the country and borders Botswana. This area is full of lush vegetation, national parks and local villages and is great for birdwatching (at Mahango National Park). The North is home to the Himba people, a semi-nomadic pastoral tribe who live within the Kaokoveld region and are admired for their unique beauty.
Visit the Himba homestead near Purros for a unique insight into their way of life and watch them grind the red ochre that covers their hair and skin with a reddish tinge. The Himbas aren’t the only tribe within Namibia; the Nama people who are highly skilled artisans once lived near the Orange River and are now dispersed throughout the country.
The Kalahari Desert
The eastern region is the cultural heartland of the San people and the rural desert town of Tsumkwe is surrounded by San (bushmen) villages where you can buy their handmade crafts. Go further East into the Kalahari Desert and you can trek with the bushmen of the Kalahari, whose way of life is being threatened.
The Kalahari is Namibia’s second desert and is more of a fossil desert with acacia trees and tall grass due to the rain that falls here. Read more about the Kalahari Bushmen.
If you want to experience the best of Namibia cuisine, there are plenty of opportunity to try new dishes in the country. Namibians are mainly meat eaters and you’ll often find ostrich, crocodile, kudo and even zebra on the menu. When you’re ready for dessert, visit the tiny town of Solitaire for its famous apple pie before getting back on the road and driving through a moon-like landscape to Swakopmund via the Tropic of Capricorn.
Things To Do in Swakopmund
Swakopmund is the adventure capital of Namibia and you can do any kind of extreme sport here from skydiving, paragliding, quad biking and sand boarding down the dunes, one of the unusual things to do in Namibia to get your heart pumping.
Swakopmund is the country’s biggest coastal town and is a mecca for the locals on their Namibia vacations. Its colonial influence is on every street corner and although it doesn’t feel much like a holiday destination it has great galleries, souvenir shops, cafes and German bakeries, plus a fantastic Kristal gallery, home of the world’s largest quartz cluster and the rare Nambian Citrine.
Mining is big in Namibia with pink quartz and semi-precious stones and it has the world’s largest open-pit uranium mine so it’s a great place to buy any crystals to take home. Local sellers from townships are often found near the beach selling their handcrafts and carved statues. There’s only one nightclub here but it’s so western, you’ll think you’re back home!
A township tour in Mondesa is a great way of meeting the locals and it’s not as scary as you may think. There are 12 different ethnic groups here and you can visit the Heroro tribe whose tribal landmark are victorian dresses and cow-horn hats.
Originally descendants from East Africa they settled as cattle ranchers and now live in modern houses in the townships. The tour gives plenty of opportunity to meet the locals and you can visit the town’s Herbalist and even the Chief before getting taken to one of the 200 bars to try the local cuisine of fried caterpillars and bean curd (it’s all part of the experience!)
In the north-central part of the country is Damaraland, a semi-desert wilderness and home to black rhino. It’s a great place to hike and has Namibia’s highest mountain, Brandberg (2573m) which dominates the area and many serious mountaineers come here to climb. The area also contains rock art from 6000 years ago.
You can track desert elephants here (not alone obviously) or just marvel at ancient lava on the escarpment but don’t leave the North without an overnight stay in Spitzkopp,one of Namibia secret places. This area looks like something out of the Flintstones with ancient bushmen paintings within the bedrock.
Southern Namibia is a land of wide open spaces, solitude and the oldest desert in the world; the Namib Desert, a place for wilderness safaris and spotting meerkats, and one of the best places to visit in Namibia. Sossusvlei lies in the southern part of the desert in Namib Naukluft National Park, the fourth largest national park in the world. The gateway to this spectacular area is through Sesriem on a 4×4 drive, which should definitely be on your solo bucket list as it's one of the best things to do in Namibia.
This stunning salt pan in the midst of red sand dunes is barren except for a few camel thorn trees and is a breathtaking sight that won’t be seen anywhere else. Cruising through the sand to get there just adds to this amazing experience that makes it the biggest attraction in the country.
Sesriem Canyon is also a Namibia must see as the canyon carved through sedimentary rock is over two million years old. The canyon was named after the amount of reigns it took to steer the ox wagons by the settlers here in the Seventeenth Century.
From here you can travel to another of the county’s natural wonders: Fish River Canyon, the second largest canyon in the world (after the Grand Canyon), and a must do in Namibia. It’s 90km to the end of the canyon and you can hike this well-known Namibia place (it will take you five days and you need a permit) or just go to the lookout point to see an amazing view of this impressive wonder.
You can't miss the Quiver Tree Forest off your Namibia travel itinerary. Located in Keetmanshoop, it is one of the Namibia tourist attractions and has approximately 250 quiver trees, which the San people used to use to make their quivers for their arrows. The forest is now a National Monument.
Other Namibia Destinations
Namibia has two rivers; the Orange River which borders South Africa (you can actually swim across to the next country but be careful of the currents) and the Zambezi River which unites Namibia with Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia and Victoria Falls.
One of the Namibia attractions that you may want to see is Kolmanskop, a ghost town in the Namibia Desert. This former mining town with abandoned houses filled with sand makes it one of the Nambia points of interest for those wanting to visit “the forbidden zone.”
Other Namibia places to see on your solo trip are: Sandwich Harbour, a place where the ocean meets the dunes. It is only accessible by a jeep, and situated 42 kms south of Walvis Bay. The small settlement of Dorabis for arts and crafts, Hardap Dam Resort for water sports, the waterways and floodplains of Impalila Island, Naukfaut Massif for exploring valleys, canyons and cliffs and the ‘fairy circles’ in NamibRand Nature Reserve. You can also take part in a walking safari at Otjumue.
Visit Namibia for sculptured landscapes, enchanting deserts and fascinating tribes. With iconic red dunes and a canyon that is nearly as big as the Grand Canyon, who wouldn't want to come traveling to Namibia!
Travel Tips Namibia
Visit Okakandja at the end of August for the colourful Herero procession of the Red Flag.
Walking solo in Damaraland is not permitted so book a guide at the Daureb Mountain Guide Centre.
Accommodation in Namibia
Namibia has a choice of accommodation ranging from hotels, chalets and budget B&Bs. For the budget solos you’ll find hostels in Swakopmund, and guest houses and self-catering in Windhoek.
For nature solos stay on a campsite in a tented lodge in the forest, a game ranch in the Kalahari, or a river lodge on Fish River Canyon. There's definitely a variety of stays in Namibia.
There is also Airbnb which can sometimes be cheaper than staying in a hotel. You can rent a room or an apartment from a local who can give you Namibia travel tips for things to do in the area. Save $20 off your first stay with this Airbnb link.
Tours in Namibia
If you feel more comfortable in a group for either part of your trip or the whole duration, G Adventures is a responsible tour company which mainly caters towards budget travellers. Most tours Namibia have an average of 10 people and there is no upper age limit. Once you book your trip you pay extra for any excursions you want to do when you’re there.
Adventures include a 10 day Wonders of Namibia trip seeing the highlights of Namibia, and include Namibia within longer African itineraries such as a 14 day Cape & Dunes Overland tour through Namibia and South Africa. I have personally used G Adventures and recommend them as a solo female friendly company.
Intrepid Travel is similar to G Adventures with an average of 12 people on each tour. Over 50% of people using their trips are solo travellers. They tend to use hotels instead of hostels for Namibia travel and have a more comfortable style of accommodation hence their trips to Namibia can appear more costly than G Adventures.
Intrepid Travel Namibia tours start from a Namibia 3 day tour dunes adventure to a 64 day Africa Encompassed trip travelling all the way from Cape Town to Nairobi. Read our Intrepid Travel Reviews
Both tour companies offer Namibia tours where you share a room with another female or you can pay extra for your own room.
Other Namibia Tour Companies
Self Drives With Sense Africa – If you like the idea of traveling Namibia on your own self-drive Namibian road trip, Sense Africa is a tour operator that can help you to plan your very own tour of Namibia. Or choose from one of their Namibia package tours such as Namibia tours safari and a Namibia luxury safari.
Join an Art Safari in Namibia – Perfect for the arty GatG who wants to get creative and meet like-minded others on their African trip.
Overland Tours with Africa Travel Co. – If you plan on travelling to Namibia on an overland truck and camping at every opportunity, Africa Travel Co. offers Namibia overland tours that you can combine with neighbouring countries. They are ideal if you are considering backpacking in Namibia and want to do it with others. They also include Namibia safari packages in their tours.
Get Your Guide – Get Your Guide helps you to find top-rated activities and one day tours in worldwide destinations including Namibia. Choose from a catamaran tour to Walvis Bay, a 4×4 desert excursion, a private cycling township tour, a two day Sossusvlei guided tour, or one of the Namibia tours from Windhoek. There are several Namibia short tours to choose from whether you're looking for a full day Namibia tour or just a few hours and it’s really simple to use. Just check the reviews, price and availability then book online. * Check all tours and prices here
Getting Around Namibia
When you are travelling in Namibia, distances are long and you'll be driving on dusty roads. There is a train from the capital to Swaopmund. TransNamib have air-conditioned buses and trains on their Starline service to destinations all over Namibia and a luxury tourist train. Minibus taxis are perfectly safe and are often shared with other passengers or prebook an ‘on-demand' taxi to hire the car for just you.
If you want to take a Namibia road trip, you’ll need to hire a 4×4 due to the gravel roads. Be prepared for long drives on a dusty Namibia road, animals crossing your path and being alone in a remote area. You may prefer to join one of the 4×4 trips to Namibia instead.
* Check prices and availability for car rental for Namibia
From The Airport
* Hoppa operates a cheap airport shuttle that will take you to the city centre or your hotel.
Windhoek Namibia – Shuttles and taxis run from the airport to the city in 30 minutes.
Swakopmund – A shuttle van will take you the 3 miles and costs £9.
Walvis Bay – A shuttle van runs to Swakopmund for £15 or take a taxi into the city or harbour for £10 for the 15 minute journey.
How Long Do You Need?
When you are travelling Namibia, you only need one week to see Windhoek, Swakopmund, Sossusvlei. Two weeks to include the Namib Desert and Sesriem.
Travelling Onwards (check visas before you travel)
To South Africa – There any many borders: Velloorsdrif, Oranjemund, Noordoewer, Klein Menasse, Hohlweh, Ariamsvlei. Intercape have a bus service from Windhoek to Cape Town for approx £55 (it takes about 24 hours) or travel from Vioolsdrif to Springbok.
To Botswana – Buses leave from Windhoek to Maun in Botswana and take all day. There are also buses from the Caprivi Strip. Other crossings are: Mohembo or Ngoma or via Buitepos (make sure you have enough fuel for this crossing).
To Zambia – Intercape run a luxury coach service from Windhoek to Livingstone.
To Angola – From Oshikango to Namacunda (open from 8am to 6pm) and Ruacana to Calueque (only open in the evenings from 6pm to 10pm).
Where can I go from here?
South Africa – 2 hrs
Swaziland – 2.5 hrs
Mozambique – 3 hrs
- Can I drink the water? Yes.
- Is tipping expected? If you’re happy with service 10% is acceptable for restaurants, taxis and tour guides.
- Fixed price or barter? Fixed Price except at markets.
- Any ATMs? Yes in the main cities.
- Which side of the road do they drive? Left.
- Good for vegetarians? They do love their meat but it’s okay for veggies.
- Any seven wonders of the world? No.
Plan a Trip To Namibia
If you are ready to solo travel Namibia, here are some useful links to help you plan your travel to Namibia, including airlines which fly there, vaccinations required and events and festivals.
Budget – £35 a day (based on traveling in Namibia on a budget and staying in hostels and budget accommodation Namibia)
Capital – Windhoek
Population – 2.2 million
Language spoken – English, Afrikaans, German
Did you know? The Namibia Sand spider is the world's most venomous spider.
Mind Body & Soul
Weather in Namibia – Below is an annual weather chart from January to December, to help you to plan the best time to travel to Namibia.
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