When you think of a family-friendly holiday destination, Namibia might not be the first place that springs to mind. However, don’t be fooled by its seemingly remote and challenging terrain; Namibia is, in fact, a fantastic country for family adventures.
What else could complete with the shared wonder of watching a pride of lions on the hunt or tracking the elusive desert-adapted elephants? Is there anything quite as magical as staring up at the canvass of a star-studded night sky as you gather round a campfire?
Read on below to discover the best activities you can enjoy on a Namibia family safari! We’ll also offer insight into some of the best family accommodation choices and provide transport tips for navigating this incredible African country.
Namibia offers and eclectic mix of family-friendly activities that will leave your loved ones with unforgettable memories. From remarkable creature encounters to exhilarating adventures and cultural experiences, there’s something for travellers of all ages to enjoy. Amongst the most popular pastimes you simply must include in your itinerary include:
Etosha National Park – Wildlife Safari Adventures
Etosha National Park is a must-visit for families seeking a wildlife safari adventure. The park boasts a plethora of animal species, and its unique landscapes make it a haven for animal enthusiasts of all ages. Take your family on game drives, where you’ll have the opportunity to spot elephants, lions, giraffes, and rhinos as they gather around the waterholes. The thrill of observing these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat is an experience your family will cherish long after you land back home.
Sossusvlei and the Namib Desert – Dune Explorations
Climbing the towering dunes of Sossusvlei is an exhilarating activity that will capture the imagination of your little adventurers. The iconic Dune 45 is a favourite for sunrise views, and the endless sea of red sand will provide an awe-inspiring backdrop for your family photos. For older kids and teenagers, a hike up Big Daddy Dune will offer a sense of accomplishment and the chance to gaze over the surreal Deadvlei with its eerie, petrified trees.
Swakopmund – Coastal Adventures
Swakopmund, a charming coastal town, is known as the country’s activities centre and offers a wide array of incredible activities suitable for families. Try sandboarding on the dunes, take a thrilling desert quad biking tour, or embark on a dolphin-watching cruise. After a long day revelling in family fun, take time to explore the town and sample of the tasty treats on offer at Swakopmund’s impressive selection of cafes and restaurants.
If you and the family are craving even more coastal fun they we highly recommend visiting the dramatic Skeleton Coast, famed for the eerie shipwrecks that dot the shoreline and can still be viewed today.
Cheetah Conservation Fund – Learn About Big Cats
For a meaningful and educational experience, visit the Cheetah Conservation Fund near Otjiwarongo. This conservation centre allows your family to get up close and personal with cheetahs while supporting their conservation efforts. Learn about the plight of these endangered big cats and the important work being done to protect them.
Fish River Canyon – Hiking Adventure
This activity may be reserved only for the fearless amongst your family but no trip to Namibia would be complete without exploring the incredible Fish River Canyon, the second-largest canyon in the world. While hiking along the rim, your family can enjoy breathtaking vistas and engage in discussions about the natural forces that shaped this extraordinary landscape. It’s a perfect opportunity for both exercise and geological exploration in one of Africa’s most breathtaking locations.
Cultural Encounters – Local Communities and Traditions
Namibia is not only about its stunning landscapes but also its rich and diverse cultures. Take your family on a cultural journey by visiting local communities and experiencing their traditions. You can participate in traditional dances, crafts, and storytelling sessions, which will broaden your family’s understanding of the country’s heritage and foster cross-cultural appreciation.
Stargazing – Marvel at Namibia’s Night Sky
Namibia’s night sky is a celestial wonderland that will leave your family in awe. Consider dedicating an evening to stargazing, whether in the wilderness or at a designated stargazing site. Identify constellations, planets, and shooting stars, and share stories and myths from different cultures related to the stars. It’s a perfect way to end your day and bond over the beauty of the universe.
One crucial piece of advice when planning a Namibia family safari is to book in advance. This is especially true for accommodations, as family-friendly lodges and camps tend to fill up quickly, especially during the peak safari season.
Furthermore, by booking your safari well in advance, you can secure the best guides and ensure that you have the flexibility to choose the activities that are most suitable for your family. Remember that some safari operators may have age restrictions for certain activities, so planning ahead allows you to tailor your itinerary to your family’s needs and preferences.
Choosing the right accommodation for your family in Namibia is a crucial aspect of planning your safari adventure. From comfortable lodges surrounded by pristine wilderness to family-centric establishments that cater to all age groups, Namibia has it all. Here’s five our favourites to consider:
1. Onguma The Fort, Etosha National Park
Location: Nestled on the eastern boundary of Etosha National Park, Onguma The Fort offers the perfect base for exploring this wildlife-rich wonderland. The lodge’s proximity to the park’s wildlife and waterholes means you’re never far from a thrilling game drive.
Family-Friendly Amenities: Onguma The Fort provides spacious family units, perfect for those travelling with kids. The lodge features a large swimming pool where your family can unwind and cool off in the heat of the Namibian sun. The on-site restaurant serves a variety of meals to suit all tastes and preferences, ensuring your family dines in comfort.
Unique Selling Points: The lodge’s architecture is designed to resemble a fort, creating a unique atmosphere that transports your family to a bygone era. The view from Onguma The Fort overlooks the Etosha plains, offering stunning vistas as you relax with your family.
2. Sossusvlei Lodge, Namib Desert
Location: Situated at the entrance of the Namib-Naukluft National Park, Sossusvlei Lodge places your family in the heart of the mesmerizing Namib Desert. This convenient location allows easy access to the famous Sossusvlei dunes and their enchanting landscapes.
Family-Friendly Amenities: Sossusvlei Lodge offers family units with ensuite bathrooms, providing the privacy and comfort your family needs. The lodge’s pool provides a refreshing escape from the desert heat, and the spacious restaurant allows for enjoyable dining experiences.
Unique Selling Points: With its unrivalled access to Sossusvlei, the lodge enables your family to enjoy the dunes at various times of day, including the sought-after sunrise. The panoramic views of the desert add a touch of magic to your stay.
3. Strand Hotel, Swakopmund
Location: Set along the picturesque Swakopmund beachfront, the Strand Hotel provides a stunning backdrop for your coastal adventures. It’s conveniently located near Swakopmund’s attractions, making it an ideal choice for families.
Family-Friendly Amenities: The hotel offers comfortable family rooms with all the necessary amenities. With easy access to the beach and the hotel’s outdoor swimming pool, your family can make the most of Swakopmund’s coastal charm. The on-site restaurant ensures that your family can savour delicious meals.
Unique Selling Points: The Strand Hotel’s beachfront location allows your family to enjoy the serene beauty of the Atlantic Ocean while being within walking distance of the town’s vibrant atmosphere. Its modern facilities and exceptional service create a memorable stay.
4. Desert Homestead Lodge, Namib Desert
Location: Desert Homestead Lodge is set against the backdrop of the striking Namib Desert landscape. It’s the perfect base for exploring the dunes and experiencing the desert’s beauty up close.
Family-Friendly Amenities: The lodge provides family rooms that cater to the needs of larger groups. The outdoor swimming pool offers a cool respite during hot desert days, and the restaurant serves a range of dishes to satisfy your family’s taste buds.
Unique Selling Points: Desert Homestead Lodge’s peaceful location immerses your family in the desert’s tranquillity. It’s a place where you can unwind and take in the unique desert views while being close to the wonders of the Namib-Naukluft National Park.
5. Dolomite Camp, Etosha National Park
Location: Dolomite Camp is nestled in the quieter western part of Etosha National Park, providing your family with a more exclusive safari experience. It’s well-situated for exploring this iconic wildlife destination.
Family-Friendly Amenities: The camp offers family chalets, each equipped with its own private plunge pool, allowing your family to cool off and relax in between game drives. The restaurant serves a variety of delicious meals, ensuring everyone’s tastes are catered to.
Unique Selling Points: Dolomite Camp’s location in the less-visited western region of Etosha offers a unique and tranquil safari experience. The private plunge pools in each chalet make your family’s stay even more special, allowing you to unwind in style after exciting wildlife encounters.
When planning this special family break another decision to consider is to whether to opt for a fly-in safari or a self-drive adventure. Each option has its distinct own advantages and decision needs to align with your family’s preferences and the time you have available for your journey.
Fly-in safaris are ideal for families seeking to make the most of their time on safari. These safari packages typically involve air transfers between different destinations and are often considered a luxury option.
Namibia’s vast distances and rugged terrain can make overland travel long, but fly-in safaris significantly reduce travel time, allowing your family to focus more on things like enjoying wildlife encounters and relaxation.
Many of Namibia’s top lodges and camps are located in remote areas. Flying eliminates the need for navigating rough roads and long distances, ensuring that you and your family can easily access the most captivating destinations.
Finally, flying between destinations is not only convenient but also comfortable. Your family can enjoy the scenic views from the air while being in the hands of experienced pilots who prioritise your safety.
For families who prefer flexibility and wish to immerse themselves fully in the Namibian landscape, self-drive safaris offer a unique and rewarding experience.
With a self-drive safari, your family has the power to set the pace and explore at your own leisure. You can choose your route, spend more time at locations of interest, and take spontaneous detours along the way.
Self-drive safaris can often save you a little bit of money, as they eliminate the costs associated with internal flights and air transfers. This can be advantageous for families traveling on a tighter budget.
Lastly driving through Namibia’s breathtaking landscapes allows your family to experience the country up close. You can stop to appreciate the unique scenery, interact with locals, and uncover hidden gems that might not be part of a standard fly-in itinerary.