When to visit:
A personal opinion: Namibia is a
good place to visit throughout the year, so if you are limited
to taking your leave at a particular time during the year, it
shouldn't present a problem. Yes, the Namibian summer
temperatures inland can get very hot, and winter night-time temperatures inland
on the high-veld can plunge below zero, but you can rest assured
that Namibia will not disappoint you whichever month you choose
However, there are the below considerations.
Holidays & School Terms
Public Holidays & School Terms
Rain, Shine and even Frost:
The above charts give a pretty good indication that there are
very few days in the year when the sun does not shine somewhere
in Namibia, so if you're wanting some 'rays' this is a good
place to be. Namibia is a large country having differing
climatic areas. There is the central high plateau with vast
rolling savannas blending eastwards into the Kalahari, being hot
in the summer, but with night-time temperatures dropping below
zero in the mid-winter months. In the northern regions there are
large areas having sandy flood plains, and others with African
bush and tropical forests where it becomes uncomfortably hot in
mid-summer and yet, quite chilly during the mid-winter's night.
To the west lays the vastness of the Namib Desert and the
coastal belt that is cooled by the Benguela Current that flows
northwards from the Antarctic. The summer climate here is
pleasant, and although becoming cooler and often overcast in the
mid-winter months, temperatures remain quite mild.
Traditionally, the Namibia-Rainy-Season should begin,
inland, during November with 'the little rainy season' but there
are years when this doesn't happen. The main rainy season should
begin in December, but has been know to delay until the
end of January. Just before the rains the land is parched a
light-brown and dusty, the grasses are virtually eaten out and
the animals are thin. Should the rains be late many will die.
Some say this is a good time for game viewing, but I disagree.
The Etosha air
is choked with a fine white light powdery dust that settles on the
land and trees and everything looks drab and worn-out. The earth,
as well as the animals give the impression of almost gasping for
a drink, and when you return to your accommodation and watch the
water from your long needed shower go down the drain, you know its
true preciousness has been wasted, for out there something is
dying for lack of it.
The wet-season arrives with heavy laden clouds being blown in
from the north, and after drenching Angola and Zambia we
Namibians pray there will be enough rains left in them for out
thirsty-land. This is the time when you can awaken in the morning to blue skies and light cloud. As the
day progresses the clouds build up, and on a good day they grow
to become thick, dark and heavy. By mid afternoon the sky is
black and the great lightning storms bring monsoon type rains
that drench the land causing vleis (shallow lakes) to form in
low laying areas and in the high-lands where normally sandy dry
rivers weave their way down from the mountains, they now
race along in dangerous flash-flood carrying everything before
them in a tumultuous rage. The air smells that special
rain-musty-smell that all Namibians love, man, animal, bird and
creature. These rains
pound down hour after hour, but often cease during the night time, and you awaken to another
day having a blue sky with fluffy white clouds. Natures cycle
starts again, and where there was desolation the African grasses
quickly push their way upwards. Life is good, and the animals
can feast and fatten-up for another season.
Meantime, down at the coast it remains dry. The rainfall
average is below 10m
The Southern Africa School and Public Holiday Periods: The Southern African Annual Holiday period begins some-time
during early to mid-December and last for 4 weeks. Most people
flock to the coast to 'take a break' from the Inland Summer Heat
(30° to 40°
plus), so if you are planning a visit during this period, you
must pre-book, well in advance, ( 6 to 9 months) your
arrangements for (a) Accommodation. (b) day excursions, guided
tours and activities. (c) seats in restaurants, especially that
Christmas Lunch. Swakopmund and Henties Bay and all of the
sea-side camping sites in between are packed full. Easter is a
close second runner to this, followed by the long (Public
Holiday) week-ends that arise throughout the year. You should
check both the Namibian and the South African school terms for
the 'break periods'
The Namibia Weather Year: Let us start, for this exercise, at the end of the
Rainy-Season, which should be March / April
March / April / May:
The sun is moving north and inland the temperatures are
becoming more tolerable. It is doesn't happen every year, but
can happen that we get a brief cold snap in April or May. The
African grasses are still high and thick. The wild life is fat.
Some say that animal viewing in the Etosha is not so good during
these times, but my experience and on-going with many
tourists is that they, along with me saw plenty of game.
The Coast: Good weather.
Holidays: Check on the Easter and Public Holiday
dates. Namibia has 4 Public Holidays in May.
Tourism: Quite busy
June / July / August:
You'll probably find the winter months in Namibia a bit
unusual when compared to European or North America. Inland, on
the high-veld, night-time temperatures can plummet below zero.
You'll wake up in the early morning to meet a bright blue and
cloudless sky, but you'll need to wear warm clothing, by 10h00
you'll have 'peeled-off' the first layer as temperatures rise
into the lower 20°c. The days are pleasant
and the air is very dry. It can get quite warm, you can even get
quite sun-burned, so beware. As the sun lowers in the late
afternoon you will have to start donning warmer clothing. If you
are camping inland on nights like these, you will need to wear
something to keep your head warm while sleeping at night. The
land is now dry and the August winds can whip up afternoon dust
The Coast: The weather is usually
cool. About 16°c in the day-time and rarely drops below 6°c at
night. There are misty days, but this is not as bad as most
tourist books imply. I live in Swakopmund and have seen, what I
think is 'global warming' over the past thirty-odd years. There are days when it is overcast, but you've only
got to go about 2 kilometers inland and the sun is virtually guaranteed to
be shining. Should it be very cold inland with the Southern
African weather system experiencing a high pressure area over
the Cape and a low pressure area off the Namibia coast, the air
currents move in an anti-clockwise direction across the
sub-continent. Inland the east wind blows icy-cold across the
high-veld. As it falls off the escarpment it heats up over the
Namib and rushes to the coast often bringing with it
sand-storms. Coastal temperatures rise up to 40°c. The wind
calms by lunch time and the afternoons are hot with mirage
effects. The dust in the atmosphere brings spectacular sunsets.
The evenings are warm and it's good drinking weather.
Holidays: This is the period that
the Northern Hemisphere take their mid-summer vacation and
Namibia becomes quite busy with tourists from Europe and a
growing number from Canada and the USA. Book accommodation etc.
Tourism: Tourism from the Northern-Hemisphere is busy.
September / October / November:
It is quite rare, but inland can
experience a brief cold snap during this month. Otherwise
September is a pleasant month. The sun is moving south and
Etosha and the north can get quite hot during this period.
Tourism from overseas is still quite busy. October is the month
when it starts to warm up. November is when the Namibia summer
begins to get hot again. The land is dry and dusty.
The Coast: The weather can remain
cool until about mid October. November usually sees warmer days.
Holidays: Tourism from the
Northern-Hemisphere continues to bring many tourists to Namibia
until mid-November from which time it tends to ease off awaiting
the Christmas Holiday rush.
December: Inland it is hot, and I
mean hot. The Namibians hope and pray for good rains one. The Southern African
holiday season begins early to mid-December and there is a
National-Exodus to the coastal towns. Hoards of South Africans
make their way up to Namibia, to 'get away from it all' -
especially the fishing crowd. Within a few short days the
coastal town are full to the brim. Reservations for
accommodation must be made well in advance ( 6 to 9 months).
Your chances of driving into any of the coastal towns during
this period and finding un-booked accommodation is about as rare
as finding a hen with teeth. You should also pre-book tables in
restaurants. Bookings at hotels and restaurants for
Christmas-Day Lunch should be done at least one month in
advance, and must be prepaid in full at time of booking.
Health Warning: If you are intending visiting the northern
regions you should consider taking some form of protection in
the event of rains bringing mosquitoes and malaria. Wear long
bush trousers and wear insect repellant. See the health section
for more info on this matter.
January / February: January is when everybody is getting over the Christmas
holidays and tourism, in general, is now quiet. If the rains
haven't arrived the inland temperatures can be uncomfortably
hot. The weather at the coast is warm, so it is still a good
time to visit as accommodation is easier to obtain.
What to Wear:
OK. We can only generalize on this advice, and it depends on
the type of touring that you intend. However, Namibia is for the
out-door type and the sun down here can be a bit 'savage'; so
here goes with the clothing issue without wanting it to appear
like being too much of 'an industrial type safety