Although not Namibia's main attraction, there is certainly plenty of wildlife to be seen. Etosha National Park is home to plenty of big African game, including lions, elephant, giraffe and big herds of grazers. However, as Namibia's premier and really only wildlife destination, the park is very popular and can get congested. Slightly oddly, in our view, it has active waterholes which are floodlit at night in order to facilitate viewing from neighbouring lodges.
In the heart of Kaokoland and Damaraland can be found Namibia's specially desert-adapted elephants. Their feet are larger than those of the standard African elephant for ease of walking on the soft desert sand, their trunks are longer to allow them to dig down into the sand in search of water, and, in stark contrast to other elephants, they can survive drinking water only every 3-4 days. Damaraland's desert-adapted black rhino can also survive drinking only every few days. For marine wildlife viewing, whale watching is available from Swakopmund.
Namibia Itinerary Suggestions
We would recommend starting off in Sossusvlei for the iconic red dunes, some of which stand over 1000 feet tall. Then head up the dramatic Skeleton Coast to Damaraland for its haunting scenery and specially-adapted desert elephants and desert rhino, ending up at Serra Cafema. This is not an itinerary for the faint-hearted as it is incredibly remote and takes a bit of planning to get there, but the rewards are absolutely worth it.
Etosha is also a popular Namibia safari destination, particularly for those who haven’t been on safari before and are keen to see the big five; as it has excellent concentrations of game, but it does get a lot of visitors. If the big five are your priority, there are better safari destinations than Namibia.
A Namibia safari combines very well with few days’ city break in Cape Town. Beach extensions are a little less convenient; we would recommend Mozambique as the best option.