Backpacking Namibia

Towards the southwest of Africa, nestled between Angola, Botswana, Zambia and South Africa, lies one of the continent’s most fascinating destinations for backpackers. Home to idyllic natural landscapes characterised by vast plains, Namibia offers everything from encounters with exotic animals to peace and relaxation. Get ready to explore gorgeous natural landscapes, make friends with the fascinating locals and dive headfirst into the bustling marketplaces of Namibia’s cities!

Enjoy exploring our ideal backpacking route for Namibia.


Important Basics

Official language

English and various national languages (including Ovambo, Nama and Herero)

Capital city

Windhoek

Form of government

Presidential republic

Telephone area code

+264

Currency

Namibian dollar

Climate

ø Highest daily temperature: 25 to 32°C
ø Highest temperature at night: 7 to 19°C
Summer: October to March, Winter: June to July (temperatures remain at around 25°C)

Fun facts

The highest dune in the world is located in Namibia, as is the largest underground lake in the world.

Cities

Windhoek

Welcome to Namibia’s capital city. This is the place your journey through this fascinating African country begins. For many, Windhoek is just the first stop on their trip, but you should definitely spend a couple of days in this city. You’ll really get to know the country’s culture and get some great first impressions of Namibia. The most popular attractions include the historic Christ Church, the Ink Palace and many other museums that will tell you more about the history of Namibia. Windhoek is the ideal place to start your journey. While in Windhoek, you can get your route through Namibia organised. In case you haven’t already found a suitable car rental place, someone will surely point you in the right direction.

For the first few nights, you can stay in a hostel. When converted, the costs will amount to roughly €10 per night.

Etosha National Park

Are you ready to see a picture-perfect Namibia? Then set off on a journey up north. You’ll soon reach Etosha National Park, the by far most popular park in the country. If you’ve been dreaming of taking a safari tour, this is your chance to see some of Africa’s fascinating wildlife up close. Etosha National Park is home to 110 different species of mammals and, as such, is the ideal location for a safari trip. The landscape is typical of a steppe, though it is interspersed with small watering holes. Due to this fact, the area is the ideal habitat for many animals. Tourists who have visited Etosha National Park often gush about the fantastic safari experiences they had while there, so the park is sure to also meet your expectations!

For around €18, you can camp at an allocated campsite in the park itself. A guided safari costs around €35. You have the choice between a morning, afternoon or night-time safari.

Swakopmund

Your journey now takes you to the coast. In the seaside city of Swakopmund you can still sense the traces of Namibia’s colonial past. Because the country used to be a German colony, you can still find bakeries and a brewery. There are also many German pensions and even most of the street names are German. At the Woermannhaus, you can feel like you have been transported back in time and straight to Namibia’s colonial past.

Swakopmund is a real magnet for tourists. This fact is also underlined by the city’s numerous restaurants and cafés. Swakopmund further provides its visitors with the opportunity to try out different activities, including skydiving, paragliding and desert drives.

You can stay in a 6-bed dorm at a hostel for around €7 per night. It’s easy to reach the beach, as well as many of the city’s other attractions, on foot.

We also really recommend taking a quick detour to Walvis Bay. The trip takes only around 30 minutes, but you’ll feel like you have been transported to an entirely different place. Leave behind the hustle and bustle of Swakopmund and, with a bit of luck, you’ll even be able to spot whales and dolphins out in the bay.

Lüderitz/Kolmaskop

Lüderitz is another coastal town. It is smaller than Swakopmund, but still has several inviting cafés and restaurants for you to rest and recharge in. Lots of water sports fans come here for kiting, surfing and more. At one of the hostels, you can stay in a 6-bed dormitory for around €6 per night.

The most exciting attraction in the surrounding area is the ghost town of Kolmaskop. It used to be home to a diamond mine, but now only the empty barracks remain.

Sossusvlei

If you’ve ever received a postcard from Namibia, it probably had a picture of the dunes at Sossusvlei. This area truly lets you experience how it feels to be in the middle of a desert. During the day, the heat is often almost too much to handle and, once the sun sets, night-time temperatures will make you freeze. For around €25 per night, you can stay the night at one of the many campsites near the popular Dune 45. We recommend booking a tour that sets off early at 4 am and will take you not only deeper into the desert but also closer to the dunes. By hiking up the tallest dunes in the Sossuvlei Desert, you’ll be able to get a stunning view of Dead Valley. In case you haven’t yet had enough of all the sand, this is the place where you can try out activities such as sandboarding.

Fish River Canyon

Let’s stay in the desert for a little while longer. The Fish River Canyon is located in the far south of the country. Stretching on for over 160 km and reaching a depth of up to 55 m in certain areas, this canyon is the second largest in the world. Just step out on Hell’s Bend, one of the many viewing platforms, and enjoy the truly indescribable view. If you want to take a tour through the canyon, you will need to find an official organiser. Heading down into the canyon by yourself is dangerous and strictly forbidden. You can spend the night at one of the campsites near Ais-Ais. A night there will cost you around €20.

In case this is the last stop on your route, it is now time to return to Windhoek. If you don’t feel like heading home quite yet, do be aware that South Africa is just over the border. Why not head over and just start your next adventure?


Windhoek

Windhoek

Welcome to Namibia’s capital city. This is the place your journey through this fascinating African country begins. For many, Windhoek is just the first stop on their trip, but you should definitely spend a couple of days in this city. You’ll really get to know the country’s culture and get some great first impressions of Namibia. The most popular attractions include the historic Christ Church, the Ink Palace and many other museums that will tell you more about the history of Namibia. Windhoek is the ideal place to start your journey. While in Windhoek, you can get your route through Namibia organised. In case you haven’t already found a suitable car rental place, someone will surely point you in the right direction.

For the first few nights, you can stay in a hostel. When converted, the costs will amount to roughly €10 per night.

Etosha National Park

Etosha National Park

Are you ready to see a picture-perfect Namibia? Then set off on a journey up north. You’ll soon reach Etosha National Park, the by far most popular park in the country. If you’ve been dreaming of taking a safari tour, this is your chance to see some of Africa’s fascinating wildlife up close. Etosha National Park is home to 110 different species of mammals and, as such, is the ideal location for a safari trip. The landscape is typical of a steppe, though it is interspersed with small watering holes. Due to this fact, the area is the ideal habitat for many animals. Tourists who have visited Etosha National Park often gush about the fantastic safari experiences they had while there, so the park is sure to also meet your expectations!

For around €18, you can camp at an allocated campsite in the park itself. A guided safari costs around €35. You have the choice between a morning, afternoon or night-time safari.

Swakopmund

Swakopmund

Your journey now takes you to the coast. In the seaside city of Swakopmund you can still sense the traces of Namibia’s colonial past. Because the country used to be a German colony, you can still find bakeries and a brewery. There are also many German pensions and even most of the street names are German. At the Woermannhaus, you can feel like you have been transported back in time and straight to Namibia’s colonial past.

Swakopmund is a real magnet for tourists. This fact is also underlined by the city’s numerous restaurants and cafés. Swakopmund further provides its visitors with the opportunity to try out different activities, including skydiving, paragliding and desert drives.

You can stay in a 6-bed dorm at a hostel for around €7 per night. It’s easy to reach the beach, as well as many of the city’s other attractions, on foot.

We also really recommend taking a quick detour to Walvis Bay. The trip takes only around 30 minutes, but you’ll feel like you have been transported to an entirely different place. Leave behind the hustle and bustle of Swakopmund and, with a bit of luck, you’ll even be able to spot whales and dolphins out in the bay.

Lüderitz/Kolmaskop

Lüderitz/Kolmaskop

Lüderitz is another coastal town. It is smaller than Swakopmund, but still has several inviting cafés and restaurants for you to rest and recharge in. Lots of water sports fans come here for kiting, surfing and more. At one of the hostels, you can stay in a 6-bed dormitory for around €6 per night.

The most exciting attraction in the surrounding area is the ghost town of Kolmaskop. It used to be home to a diamond mine, but now only the empty barracks remain.

Sossusvlei

Sossusvlei

If you’ve ever received a postcard from Namibia, it probably had a picture of the dunes at Sossusvlei. This area truly lets you experience how it feels to be in the middle of a desert. During the day, the heat is often almost too much to handle and, once the sun sets, night-time temperatures will make you freeze. For around €25 per night, you can stay the night at one of the many campsites near the popular Dune 45. We recommend booking a tour that sets off early at 4 am and will take you not only deeper into the desert but also closer to the dunes. By hiking up the tallest dunes in the Sossuvlei Desert, you’ll be able to get a stunning view of Dead Valley. In case you haven’t yet had enough of all the sand, this is the place where you can try out activities such as sandboarding.

Fish River Canyon

Fish River Canyon

Let’s stay in the desert for a little while longer. The Fish River Canyon is located in the far south of the country. Stretching on for over 160 km and reaching a depth of up to 55 m in certain areas, this canyon is the second largest in the world. Just step out on Hell’s Bend, one of the many viewing platforms, and enjoy the truly indescribable view. If you want to take a tour through the canyon, you will need to find an official organiser. Heading down into the canyon by yourself is dangerous and strictly forbidden. You can spend the night at one of the campsites near Ais-Ais. A night there will cost you around €20.

In case this is the last stop on your route, it is now time to return to Windhoek. If you don’t feel like heading home quite yet, do be aware that South Africa is just over the border. Why not head over and just start your next adventure?

Namibia Route Map

Itinerary and Stops.

Tag
Route/Station
Transport
Unterkunft
1. Home - Windhoek
Home - Windhoek
Flight
325
Night (spot at campsite)
2. Windhoek
Windhoek
-
Night (spot at a campsite)
10
3. Windhoek – Etosha
Windhoek – Etosha
Car
night (spot at a campsite)
18
4. Etosha
Etosha
-
night (spot at a campsite)
18
5. Etosha
Etosha
-
night (spot at a campsite)
18
6. Etosha
Etosha
-
night (spot at a campsite)
18
7. Etosha – Swakopmund
Etosha – Swakopmund
Car
night (6-bed dorm)
7
8. Swakopmund
Swakopmund
-
night (6-bed dorm)
7
9. Swakopmund – Lüderitz
Swakopmund – Lüderitz
Car
night (6-bed dorm)
6
10. Lüderitz – Sossuvlei
Lüderitz – Sossuvlei
Car
night (spot at a campsite)
25
11. Sossuvlei
Sossuvlei
-
night (spot at a campsite)
25
12. Sossuvlei – Fish River Canyon
Sossuvlei – Fish River Canyon
Car
night (spot at a campsite)
20
13. Fishriver Canyon
Fishriver Canyon
-
night (spot at a campsite)
20
14. Windhoek - Home
Windhoek - Home
Flight
325

Total price.

Flights 650,00
Car 650,00
Tours 35,00
Accommodation 212,00
Total1547,00

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Dos and Donts, Food & Drinks, Costs.

Breakfast

Mealie pap: In Namibia, bread and mealie pap are both common breakfast items. Mealie pap is a maize-based porridge that is usually seasoned with salt and served as a savoury dish. Depending on what you’re in the mood for, you can usually also have meat or bread on the side.

Soups

Bajra soup: This is a type of stew made with goat meat and Namibian bajra.

Main courses

Boerewors: Sausage fans are going to absolutely love this meal! Boerewors is a long sausage that is flavoured with traditional spices and then grilled.

Oshiwambo chicken: This dish consists of rice and chicken feet. It’s one of the most important dishes in Namibia, so don’t miss out and give it a try.

Droewors: This isn’t exactly a classic dish, but it is definitely worth a mention. Droewors is best described as a meat cake. The dish is made up of smoked minced meat as well as other snacks and is served like a cake. At festivals and celebrations, it is often shared between all members of a group.

Meat skewers: These are an absolute favourite in Namibia. You can give these a try at one of the many street food markets.

Oysters: Near the coast, oysters are a proper speciality. You’ll usually find them served with rice or potatoes

Drinks and snacks

Springbokkie: This is a traditional Namibian liqueur. It’s made from peppermint and the locals consume it almost on a day-to-day basis.

Rock Shandy:  Enjoy cocktails? If so, you really should give the Rock Shandy a try. This cocktail is basically Namibia’s national drink.

Namibia

The exchange rate for 10 Namibian dollars is around 0.51 euros (as of June 2020). See prices for certain products and the cost of living below:

Cost of living

Food

Free time

Personal hygiene

Dos

Road trip: Get behind the wheel and explore Namibia at your own pace. There is absolutely no reason to be anxious about driving on the roads in Africa. Just rent a car, pick up your friends and get going!

Sunscreen: Take heed, people tend to underestimate just how powerful the African sun truly is. To be on the safe side and protect your skin from the very moment of your arrival, make sure to take some sun protection with you from home.

Get to know the locals: Try not to be too shy when visiting Namibia. The friendly locals are a true highlight on any trip to the country, so spend a bit of time in the villages and get to know the culture even better.

Head out into the wilderness: Namibia’s incredible nature is an absolute must-see. It doesn’t matter whether you want to go hiking or instead choose to spend hours just driving across the steppe. The choice is up to you, but do always aim to make as many new experiences as you possibly can!

Don'ts

Leave valuables unattended: This is something you really should take care not to do during your trip to Namibia. To be on the safe side, it is best to always carry your valuables close to your body.

Stare too much: Particularly when visiting the more rural areas of Namibia, you’ll likely be faced with examples of extreme poverty. Try not to stare, be respectful and do not treat the people around you like they are different.

Fall for scams: More and more backpackers are finding themselves the victims of scams. This also frequently happens in Namibia, so be very careful and always keep an eye out for all kinds of scams

Visa, Visa, Passport & Vaccinations

Passport

Yes

Temporary passport

Yes

National ID

Yes

Temporary national ID

Yes

Child’s pass

Yes

Visa

No

Vaccine

No

Additional Remarks.

We recommend researching the travel document, visa and entry requirements for your home country before your departure. If you travel to Namibia, consult a health care provider before you leave to discuss vaccination requirements.

The team at Backpacker Trail wishes you lots of fun and an unforgettable trip!

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