The best time to visit Namibia depends on what you want to see and do. The dry season (May-September) is considered the best time to explore the Nabim Desert and go on safari as the temperatures are comfortable, vegetation is thin and wildlife congregates around waterholes. The shoulder months (April and October) may be a better option for a safari without peak season crowds; however, Namibia's national parks and reserves never feel too crowded. While it can be trickier to spot game in the wet season (November-March), you might be lucky to see cute newborns as it coincides with the birthing season.

January

Best for: newborn wildlife, coastal adventures

January is mid-summer. Highs average 30-35°C (though it can top 40°C in the Namib Desert) and afternoon thunderstorms are common in central and northern Namibia. Wildlife watching can be more challenging due to thick vegetation, but you may have the opportunity to see adorable babies. January is a busy month with locals travelling domestically for the school holidays, particularly along the coast which offers a reprieve from the heat.

February

A travellers taking photos of birdlife at Lamberts Bay in Namibia

Best for: flamingoes, lush landscapes, newborn animals

Despite being one of the hottest, stickiest months, Namibia's national parks and reserves are super lush (and photogenic!) in February thanks to the rains. While it can be hard to see game, it's a great time for birdwatching at the saltpans and coastal wetlands which are awash with pink flamingoes, pelicans and plovers.

March

Best for: coastal adventures, Enjando Street Festival, Independence Day celebrations

The rains ease towards the end of March, but it can still be quite hot with average temperatures of 29°C in Windhoek. Wildlife may be dispersed in the plains and bushland instead of hanging out around waterholes, but there are enough clearings to allow for sightings.

March is a good time to explore the eery Skeleton Coast and see the huge swells and the shipwrecks these stormy seas have caused. Or, go to Windhoek to experience Namibian culture at the Enjando Street Festival or Independence Day celebrations.

April

Best for: photography, comfortable temperatures, Windhoek Karneval

The rains stop in April, the humidity subsides and temperatures drop to a more comfortable 27°C. It's a stunning time to take photos in Etosha NP as everything is lush and green thanks to the recent rains. It's also easier to spot animals as they retreat to permanent waterholes. The Windhoek Karneval also takes place in early April — this cultural festival combines German and Namibian traditions with music, parades, performances, and of course, delicious food!

May

Best for: dry weather, safaris, sunsets

May marks the beginning of the dry season and much-welcomed cooler temperatures. The animals in Etosha NP continue to make their way toward permanent water sources as the ground dries out, making them easier to see. The clear skies make for great sunsets in Damaraland in the Kunene Region; this part of Namibia is the ancestral homeland of the Damara people.

June

A travellers kayaking in Fish River Canyon in Namibia

Best for: safaris, desert adventures, relaxing by the coast

With the dry season in full swing and a low chance of rainfall, June is one of the best months to see wildlife. The cooler temperatures also make it an ideal time to explore Fish River Canyon or climb to the top of Dune 45 in the Namib Desert. Nights and early mornings can be chilly (especially in the desert where it can drop to below freezing), so warm layers are essential. The weather is balmy along the coast and there's a happening vibe in the beachside town of Swakopmund.

July

Best for: safaris, birdwatching in Fish River Canyon

The safari season peaks in July. The dry conditions are fantastic for catching a glimpse of Hartmann's mountain zebra, black-faced impala, roan antelope and the tiny Damara dik-dik. The comfortable temps are ideal for venturing into Fish River Canyon and capturing the beauty of this massive gorge on camera — keep watch for plovers, wagtails, hammerkops and herons while you're there.

August

Best for: safaris, stargazing, exploring the dunes and the Damaraland region

August is the coolest month, with average temperatures of 21-25°C during the day and 6-9°C at night (and even colder in the desert). The weather is perfect for experiencing the best of Namibia — whether it's canoeing down the Orange River beneath the Richtersveld Mountains, exploring Damaraland's ancient rock paintings and petrified forests, or looking for black rhinos in Etosha's grasslands. The clear skies are also excellent for stargazing. August is one of the busiest months, so booking ahead is advisable.

September

Two travellers smiling in the back of a safari vehicle in Namibia

Best for: safaris, exploring Sesriem

September is the last cool month before the temperatures climb, but there's little to no rain and game is easy to see. The dry ground can make the roads a little dusty, so remember to wrap a scarf around your face. The temperatures are still comfortable for exploring the sweeping sand dunes of the Sossusvlei or the picturesque Deadvlei Salt Pans.

October

Best for: safaris, whale watching

Temperatures rise in October. There may be an odd shower, but the skies are mostly clear. Wildlife viewing is excellent in Etosha NP thanks to the sparse vegetation. You could also head to Walvis Bay to see southern right, humpback and minke whales on their annual Atlantic migration.

November

Best for: safaris, smaller crowds, whale watching

November is the beginning of the "little rainy season", which is welcomed after a long dry period. Daytime temperatures continue to climb and the weather can be unpredictable, ranging from clear to overcast skies and the occasional thunderstorm. The ground is still parched, so it's easy to spot large game around waterholes.

December

Best for: newborn wildlife, smaller crowds

The monsoon arrives in December. The skies are usually clear in the morning, with heavy, albeit brief, showers or thunderstorms in the afternoon. The birthing season begins when vegetation starts thriving again (i.e. when there's plenty of food), so there's a chance you'll see newborns in Etosha.

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