The best time to visit Namibia also happens to be the peak season. The peak tourist season in Namibia is in is between the months of June to September. These months coincides with the dry season.
During the dry season in Namibia, there is virtually no rain and no cloud, so expect to be a witness of stunning night skies. It’s also easier to spot wildlife during these months as vegetation is sparse. The animals are forced to congregate at established waterholes.
Days are sunny but average maximum daytime temperatures are more tolerable ranging between 20 to 30 degrees. This often depends on where you are.
The temperatures will then plummet at night at the height of the season which is between June–Aug. They can drop to between 5 and 10 degrees, even dropping below zero in the desert and more mountainous areas.
The negative side of visiting in the Namibian summer is that this is peak season. The lodge prices are on the high and there quite a number of visitors. The major tourist destinations of Etosha, Swakopmund and Sossusvlei get really crowded.
Best Time to Visit Namibia by Month
December to March
- This is the low season in Namibia
- Most of the parks are quiet and are not crowded. The lodge prices also tend to be quite favorable
- During this period there is Hot weather which may come with some humid days and rain
- The season normally has clear mornings with isolated afternoon thunderstorms, especially in central and eastern areas
- The greatest game viewing months are January and February even though it can be raining
- Elephants may tend to wander off but it’s birthing season for the plains game. You should look out for young zebra, springbok, oryx and so on
- Predators are very active and some great sightings ensue
- It’s also the best time for birding with many migrant species present
April to May
- Generally the best weather in Namibia with temperatures more moderate and little to no rainfall
- The country is probably at its greenest
- With the higher moisture levels, it’s a good time to visit the drier desert areas
- Towards the end of May, animals once again seek out constant water sources and game viewing is great
June to August
- This is the dry season and happens to be the peak season. The parks will be at their busiest and game viewing is at its best
- Nights can be chilly, even falling below freezing in some of the desert regions
- Days are bright and clear with mild temperatures
- As Namibia is such a vast country overcrowding is rare except for tourist hotspots like Etosha National Park and Sossusvlei dunes
- It is best to book at least a year in advance to ensure availability
September and October
- It’s starting to get warm again with the nights being balmier and game viewing is usually excellent
- Daytime temperatures will be on the high and animals can be seen throughout the day visiting the available water holes
- The desert areas are best visited before 11:00 or after 16:00 to avoid the heat of the day
- Some of the migrant birds return, awaiting the first rains
- Still peak tourism season – book a year in advance to ensure availability
- Anything can happen in November it is open to both rains and sun and often does!
- It may be hot and dry with daytime temperatures averaging in the mid-30 °C
- Sometimes, first rains of the season may fall, heralding an almost instant bursting into life of the desert-like surrounds
- The rainy season can extend up to March/April.
Best Time to Visit Namibia by Climate
Although climate change is making weather patterns less predictable, the rains usually start in earnest in late November or early December. It transforms the landscape into a pale green carpet. This is when there is sufficient rain falls and it tails off in March or April.
Rain is highly localized, and generally occurs in the late afternoon as intense thundery showers, so is unlikely to spoil your Namibia trip. During the season, the countryside is more scenic at this time. You have animals are breeding and the birdlife is at its best, with many migrants present.
On the other hand wildlife-spotting is much more difficult as the vegetation is denser. This is because the food more readily available. With this animal movements are less predictable since they are not restricted to waterholes. After heavy rain, the gravel roads within most of the parks can become impassable.
Generally, Namibia is hotter and drier in the south, and wetter in the far north and across the Zambezi Region. Indeed, the far northeast and the Zambezi Region possess a subtropical climate, receiving on average close to 500mm of rain between December and February.
In the months of September and October, before the main rains arrive, the humidity and temperatures build and it can be very uncomfortable. In contrast, much of the country receives very little precipitation, even in the rainy season.
The nearer the coast you get, the less rainfall there is with less than 15mm recorded annually in some places. You will however get a thick morning fog hangs in the air for much of the year on the coast itself. This can make it feel unpleasantly cold.
Best Times to See Wildlife in Namibia
If you’re wondering when to go to Namibia in terms of wildlife, the dry winter months (July and August) are ideal. You will be looking forward to great game viewing in Etosha National Park and Ongava Game Reserve. This is because the vegetation is sparse and water sources dry out.
Therefore, the local wildlife gathers around the permanent water holes, making animals easier to locate, observe and photograph.
March can also be a good time to visit Namibia’s Etosha National Park. Following the birthing season in January and February, you will be able to see young animals taking their first steps in the wild.
On the other hand, the lush vegetation seen in March to May can make game viewing more challenging.
Festivals and Holidays in Namibia
Windhoek Karneval (often abbreviated to WIKA) is the biggest cultural event in the country. This cultural celebration takes place in April.
You’ll notice the heavy German influence of this festival, which includes music, performance, a masked ball and huge parade.
Africa Day is held in May each year and is a time for local communities to come together and promote peace and diversity. Considering Namibia’s difficult history with colonialism, race and apartheid, this is a particularly significant and poignant celebration.
Oktoberfest, taking place in October, is another celebration leftover by the former German influence in Namibia. People come to the capital city of Windhoek for beer, fun and games.