Map of the world

  • Where to watch BIRDS and

  • other wildlife in the world
  • Photograph of Gemsbok

    Gemsbok with one of the highest sand dunes in the world behind it, at Sossusvlei - a fine image by Coke & Som Smith.

    NAMIBIA

    Photograph of White-tailed Shrike

    A striking White-tailed Shrike by Lars Petersson.


    Best Wildlife in Namibia

    Mammals
    Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, African Elephant, Giraffe, Hippopotamus, Black and White Rhinoceroses, Spotted Hyaena, Gemsbok, Burchell's and (Hartmann's) Mountain Zebras, Blue Wildebeest, African Buffalo, Chacma Baboon, Vervet Monkey, Bat-eared Fox, South African Crested Porcupine, Spring Hare, Sable, Eland, Greater Kudu, Red Lechwe, Topi (Tsessebe), (Red) Hartebeest, (Black-faced) Impala, Springbok, Steenbok, Klipspringer and Cape Fur Seal. Also a chance of Caracal, Brown Hyaena, Aardvark, Aardwolf, African Wild Dog, Meerkat, Honey Badger, Striped Polecat (Bushmanland), Roan (Khaudum NP), Smith's Rock Elephant Shrew, Humpback Whale, and Bottlenose, Dusky and Heaviside's (most likely on boat trips out of Walvis Bay) Dolphins.

    Photograph of Cheetah

    Cheetah, Etosha, Namibia, by Chris Townend.

    Birds
    Ostrich, Lesser and Greater Flamingos, African Fish Eagle, Secretary Bird, Black and Goliath Herons, Hamerkop, Kori Bustard, Blue and Wattled Cranes, Slaty Egret, the single endemic Dune Lark, over 100 of the 140-150 species endemic to the southern third of Africa including African Black Oystercatcher, Hartlaub's Gull, Ruppell's Parrot, Violet Woodhoopoe, Monteiro's Hornbill, White-tailed Shrike and (Damara) Rockrunner, as well as African Pygmy Goose, francolins, White-chinned Petrel, Cape Gannet, Great White Pelican, African Darter, Rufous-bellied Heron, vultures, Bateleur, Martial, Steppe, Tawny and Verreaux's Eagles, Pygmy Falcon, Black Crake, bustards, Spotted Thick-knee, Blacksmith and Chestnut-banded Plovers, White-headed Lapwing, Pied Avocet, Black-winged Stilt, African and Lesser Jacanas, Red-necked Phalarope (mostly Nov-Mar), Rock Pratincole, Burchell's and Temminck's Coursers, Greater Painted Snipe, Damara Tern (mostly Nov-Mar), African Skimmer, sandgrouse, Rosy-faced Lovebird, Schalow's Turaco, owls including Southern White-faced Owl and Verreaux's Eagle Owl, Red-faced Mousebird, Giant Kingfisher, bee-eaters including (Southern) Carmine (usually at nesting colonies, Sep-Oct), Madagascar, Swallow-tailed and White-fronted, Lilac-breasted and Racket-tailed Rollers, Hoopoe, hornbills, barbets, Pririt Batis, White-crested Helmetshrike, Crimson-breasted and Magpie Shrikes, African Paradise Flycatcher, larks, tits, chats, Groundscraper and Rufous-tailed Palm Thrushes, starlings, Red-billed and Yellow-billed Oxpeckers, sunbirds, canaries, Scaly-feathered Finch (Scaly Weaver), weavers and waxbills including the near-endemic Cinderella. Also a chance of Saddle-billed Stork and Bronze-winged Courser.

    Invertebrates
    Fog-drinking Beetle (Stenocara).

    Plants
    Welwitschia mirabilis, a strange desert plant, some specimens of which are believed to be over a thousand years old and others which may be almost two thousand years old.

    Other Natural Wonders of Namibia

    Namib Desert The oldest desert on Earth runs about 1600 km (1000 miles) along the coast of Namibia and is up to 160 km (100 miles) from west to east. Some of the highest sand dunes in the world, around 300 m (1000 ft) high, can be seen at Sossusvlei and near there lies picturesque Dead Vlei with its dead Camel Thorn Trees (Acacia erioloba), and Hidden Vlei.

    Best Sites for Wildlife in Namibia

    Best Times for Wildlife in Namibia

    The best time to visit for mammals is during the cooler, dry season which usually lasts from May to September, especially toward the end of this period when many of the mammals (and some birds) concentrate around remaining waters (notably in Etosha), and (Southern) Carmine Bee-eaters are usually busy at their nesting colonies in the Caprivi Strip. The wet season usually lasts from November to April and many birds start breeding and therefore become more active in November so this is the peak time to visit for birds. It is usually wettest from January to March.

    Recommended Books etc. for Namibia

    Travellers' Wildlife Guides: Southern Africa by B Branch et al. Interlink Books, 2013.

    Bradt Travel Guide: Southern African Wildlife by M Unwin. Bradt, 2011 (Second Edition).

    Watching Wildlife: Southern Africa by M D Firestone et al. Lonely Planet, 2009 (Second Edition).

    Stuarts' Field Guide to Mammals of Southern Africa by C and M Stuart. Random House Struik, 2015 (Revised Edition).

    The Kingdon Field Guide to African Mammals by J Kingdon. Bloomsbury, 2015 (Second Revised Edition).

    The Kingdon Pocket Guide to African Mammals by J Kingdon. Bloomsbury, 2016 (Second Edition).

    SASOL Birds of Southern Africa by I Sinclair et al. C Struik, 2011 (Fourth Edition).

    Birds of Africa south of the Sahara by I Sinclair and P Ryan. C Struik, 2011 (Second Edition).

    Newman's Birds by Colour by K Newman. C Struik, 2011 (Third Edition).

    Newman's Birds of Southern Africa by K and V Newman. C Struik, 2010 (Tenth Edition).

    Roberts Bird Guide edited by H Chittenden. Africa Geographic, 2007.

    Birds of Botswana by P Hancock and I Weiersbye. PUP, 2015.

    Southern African Birdfinder by C Cohen and C Spottiswoode. New Holland Publishers, 2005.


    Apps etc.

    eGuide to Mammals of Southern Africa

    The Kingdon Guide to African Mammals.

    Audubon African Wildlife.

    SASOL eBirds of Southern Africa.

    Newman's Birds of Southern Africa.

    Roberts Multimedia Birds of Southern Africa.

    Where to watch birds in Africa by N Wheatley. Helm, 1995.

    Don’t know which country/countries to visit in Africa? Then it may be worth considering taking a look at this book, written by this website’s author. It is many years old of course but it still provides a starting point, an overview and a guiding light to the best birds and the best places to look for them on the continent, and could save hours of searching for similar information on the internet. However, it is important to check more up-to-date sources for sites which have been opened up, sites and species which have been discovered, lodges that have been built etc. since the book was published.

    Trip Reports for Namibia

    Many trip reports, some for Namibia, are posted on the websites listed here. On some of these websites some reports are independent and some are posted by tour companies who organize tours to Namibia. These tour companies and others also post their own reports on their websites, which are listed under 'Some Organized Tours to Namibia' below.

    Local Guides and Tours in Namibia

    The costs of organized tours partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ. If you are travelling independently, employing such local guides will greatly increase your chances of seeing the wildlife you wish to see.

    Accommodation in Namibia


    Some Organized Tours to Namibia

    There are many tour companies who organize tours to see mammals, birds, other wildlife and other natural wonders. The cost of these tours vary considerably according to such variables as the airlines used, the number of days the tours last, the number of sites visited, the number of people in the group (an important consideration if you wish to see such wildlife as rainforest mammals and birds), the number of tour leaders, the standard of accommodation and transport, and the percentage profit the company hopes to make. Generally, where the number of days tours last and the number of sites visited are similar, the cheapest tours are those that use the cheapest airlines, accommodation and local transport, that have the largest groups with the least number of leaders, and that make the least amount of profit. The most expensive tours tend to be those which are exceptionally long, use the most expensive accommodation (ridiculously lavish in some cases, even for single nights) and which make the most profit. Some tour costs partly reflect the quality of the tour leaders. Some leaders are certainly better than others and many companies claim their leaders are the best but even the best rely at least to some extent on the exceptional skills of the local guides they employ.

    While tour companies organize tours with set itineraries many also organize custom tours for individuals and private groups who instead of taking a tour with a set itinerary want to follow their own itinerary to suit their own personal tastes, whether it be mammals, birds, other wildlife, other natural wonders or even man-made attractions, or a mixture of them all. Many organized tours with set itineraries are also fast-paced and target as many species as possible, whether they are mammals, birds or other wildlife or everything, which usually leaves little time to enjoy the best sites and individual species, but on a custom tour those taking part can specify the pace and the sites and species they wish to concentrate on. Custom tours also suit people who like to travel with people they already know, rather than with a group of strangers, and people with partners with different interests. Individuals and small groups will almost certainly have to pay more than the price of an organized tour with a set itinerary but a large group of friends may be able to travel for less than the price quoted for a set tour.

    Tour companies who run organized tours or can arrange custom tours to Namibia include the following.