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NAMIBIA CLIMATE. In general the climate varies from arid in the west, through to semi-arid and sub-humid in the central and north-eastern regions. There are frequent prolonged periods of drought. Rainfall is

 

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Namibia Climate

In General:   The climate varies from arid in the west, through to semi-arid and sub-humid in the central and north-eastern regions. There are frequent prolonged periods of drought. Rainfall is largely confined to the summer months (November to March) Due to the cold and nutrient-rich Benguela-Current that flows up from Antarctic waters and is the source of Namibia's fishing industry, the country's coastline is cooler than the rest of the country, with frequent sea fog. Namibia is well known for its diversity of plants and wildlife.

 

Winter (May to September). Dry Season. Inland temperatures can range in the day from 18c to 25c and fall below zero at night. Be sure to pack some warm clothing

 

Summer (October to April). Sporadic Rainy Season November to March. Day time temperatures from 20c to 35c, but during hot spells can reach over 40c. Coastal temperatures are much cooler ranging from 15c to 25c. Pack warm and cool weather clothing.

 

Humidity: Namibia is mainly desert and generally the humidity levels are low. However, during and following summer rains it can reach 80% in those areas having experienced rains.

 

Rains: The coastal towns usually experience less that 50mm ( 2 ins ) per year. The central to northern areas 350 - 700mm ( 14 - 28 ins)

 

Temperatures: The below graphs represent the long-term averages, being the average monthly maximums and minimum temperatures recorded at the below locations.

 
Average Monthly Temperatures for Grootfontein Average Monthly Temperatures for Keetmanshoop Average Monthly Temperatures for Okaukeujo
     
Average Monthly Temperatures for Rundu Average Monthly Temperatures for Walvis Bay Average Monthly Temperatures for Windhoek

 

 

Temperature Conversion Table

Cel 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55
Fah 32 41 50 59 68 77 86 95 104 113 122 131

 

Sunshine: The below graphs indicate the monthly average number of hours of sunshine recorded in the above locations. The longest day of the southern year is 22 December when the sun is positioned over the Tropic of Capricorn. The shorter periods of sunlight shown for the summer months November thru March are the result of frequent cloud-coverage experienced during the Namibia rainy season.

 
Average Hours of Monthly Sunlight for Grootfontein Average Hours of Monthly Sunlight for Keetmanshoop Average Hours of Monthly Sunlight for Ondangwa
     
Average Hours of Monthly Sunlight for Rundu Average Hours of Monthly Sunlight for Walvis Bay  Average Hours of Monthly Sunlight for Windhoek

 

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 to visit. However, there are the below considerations.

 

  Namibia Public Holidays & School Terms          ►

  South Africa 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 20c. 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 storms.

The Coast: The weather is usually cool. About 16c in the day-time and rarely drops below 6c 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 40c. 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. in advance.

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  warning'.

 

  • Head Gear: There's a bit of an 'Urban Legend' that there is a hole in the ozone-layer right above Namibia. I don't know if this is true, but I can safely comment that the Namibian Sun is very fierce. One contributing factor is that the sun-light is reflected up from the sandy ground, so you receive a 'double dose of rays'. Plenty of visitors get quite sun-burned. The unsuspecting and careless can suffer third degree burns, so please heed our sun-burn-warning.
  • The popular 'gimme' caps with a peak are better than no head protection, but you could end up with a badly sunburned neck. We advise wearing a bush type hat with full brim. Good quality sun-glasses and a high factor sun-block (minimum 30 factor) are a must. Many people find their lips drying out, especially during the winter months inland. You'll see plenty of men, down here, applying lip balm.
  • Foot-Wear: Hiking boots with good quality lightweight hiking socks. Be very, and I repeat, very careful of going bare-footed in the sun. Your upper foot area will be exposed directly to the sun and there are plenty of visitors to Namibia who experience 2nd and even 3rd degree burns to their upper feet, especially the fishing-crowd who stand on the beach for hour after hour. The tourists go fishing in shorts and T-shirts. Many locals wear overalls, and old pair of vellies on their feet, large brimmed hats, and a high factor sun-block. These are the guys who can return to the beach the following day in comfort and avoid getting 'crisped'.
  • Upper body wear: It's nice to wear loose clothing, T-Shirts and vests are for those who already have a built in tan or have hides as tough as a croc, but please keep a close check as to how much time you spend out-doors under the sun. If you have a sensitive skin wear clothing having a decent collar and long sleeves. . A bush jacket with plenty of spare pockets is practical wear.
  • Lower body wear: Shorts are OK, but be careful if your legs are not sun toughened. Long bush style trousers are more practical.

 

 

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