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.
Best for: newborn wildlife, coastal adventures
January is mid-summer. Highs average 86-95°F (though it can top 100°F 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.
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.
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 85°F 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 eerie 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.
Best for: photography, comfortable temperatures, Windhoek Karneval
The rains stop in April, the humidity subsides and temperatures drop to a more comfortable 80°F. 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!
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.
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.
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.
Best for: safaris, stargazing, exploring the dunes and the Damaraland region
August is the coolest month, with average temperatures of 70-77°F during the day and 43-48°F 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.
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.
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.
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.
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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