Namibia itinerary with kids

10 reasons to visit Namibia with kids

Since our overlanding travels through Africa earlier this year, many people have asked me – which African country is the best for first timers? Whilst Morocco would be an obvious choice as it’s only a 4 hour flight from the UK and is relatively straight forward getting around using public transport or hiring a car, it’s not really the answer people are looking for. When people think of Africa, they’re imagining epic open landscapes and spotting the Big Five on a classic African safari. My answer is therefore Namibia.

Read: Our Namibia itinerary with kids

Namibia itinerary with kids

There are many tours that can show you the sites of Namibia. However, we strongly recommend going it alone. Hire a 4×4 with roof tents from Bush Lore or Britz, grab your Tracks 4 Africa Namibia map (this is the overlanding ‘Bible’), and hit the road. This allows for flexibility of time and makes travelling Namibia with kids much more relaxing. A trip to Africa should be an adventure after all! You may like to read Our Namibia itinerary with kids.

Namibia itinerary with kids

Here are ten reasons why you should visit Namibia with kids:

1. Affordable safaris and incredible wildlife

The national park entry fees of Tanzania, Zambia and Kenya (as well as other African countries) are extortionate in comparison. When you’re travelling with kids, especially young ones, you don’t want the added pressure of activities costing the earth and stressing over getting bang for your buck. Entry to Etosha National Park is N$80 per adult per 24 hours (that’s £4.30 at the time of writing!) and children under 15 are FREE.

Etosha National Park, in the North of Namibia, was perhaps our favourite safari experience in Africa. The vast open plains and abundance of wildlife make for very easy wildlife watching, and often all you need to do is park up by a watering hole and watch the wildlife come to you. During our three-day self-drive safari we saw lions, rhinos and plenty of zebra, giraffe and elephants.

Read: ETOSHA National Park, Namibia: THE BEST safari in Africa for young kids

There are also stinky seals to meet at Cape Cross! Tens of thousands of seals congregate on this headland to socialise, jostle over space and feed on the plentiful fish. There is a walkway that takes you right up close to them. Our boys found the seals, with their comical walk and arguing, to be absolutely hilarious. Plus there are hundreds of flamingos to watch on the salt pans just outside Walvis Bay.

Namibia itinerary with kids

2. Sand dunes

What kid doesn’t love running down (or even better, rolling down) a sand dune? Head to Sossusvlei for those fine crimson dunes backed by striking colbalt skies, or pull over on the road through Damaraland or to Walvis Bay, for the perfect (sand)pit stop.

overlanding Africa with kids

Running down Dune 45 in the Sossusvlei area of the Namib Desert.

3. Playgrounds

Although we love our kids to experience the natural world as their playground, now and again, the conventional playground with swings and slides is what everyone needs. You will come across good quality playground in most large towns in Namibia. The boys particularly enjoyed this colourful playground right opposite a pub 😉

Namibia with kids

Playground in Swakopmund

4. Good quality campsites

Namibia has some of the best campsite we have ever stayed in, in the world. Seriously. We even stayed in some where there was an en-suite bathroom and private kitchen area! Admittedly, you pay a little bit more for them in comparison to other campsites in Africa. But generally, they are around USD25-30 per family  per night (under 4’s free) and totally worth it.

Namibia itinerary with kids

Camp ground at Alte Brücke, Swakopmund

We did come across some rather basic campsites, but the incredible location more than made up for the lack of running water (such as the campground at Cape Cross in the photo below).

Namibia itinerary with kids

Campground right on the beach at Cape Cross

Try and book campsites in advance, particularly if travelling through the high season (May to September). However, we travelled through Namibia in June and never booked any campsites; although we did snag the last spot on more than one occasion.

5. Good roads

Namibia was the first country we drove through on our overland African adventures where we could finally put our foot down. Many of the main roads are perfectly paved with tarmac. There are still sand roads, and quite a few salt roads (particularly through Etosha and the Skeleton Coast), but these are generally well maintained.

Namibia with kids

Driving the open roads of Damaraland

There were however long stretches of corrugated roads in places (a ripple effect on dirt roads), which our top heavy old Land Rover really struggled with and we had to take it painfully slow.

6. Fussy eaters catered for

In most towns across Namibia, you will find westernised supermarkets selling quality fruit and vegetables, steaks and German sausages, the most scrumptious freshly baked breads, and all the usual food you find back home. There are large supermarket chains (Shoprite, Pick n Pay) and your little ones certainly won’t go hungry, however fussy they are.

7. Good medical care

This is always a worry for parents as kids are always falling over things, scraping their knee, and sometimes much worse. Namibia is a developed nation, and as such, you will find high quality doctors and hospitals. However, Namibia is also a large and sparsely populated country. We did end up visiting areas that were more than a days drive from a hospital. Always ensure that you have some basic first aid knowledge and access to a good medical kit.

8. Lower malaria risk

Malaria risk is only present in the North of the Namibia, and much of the country is low risk. Refer to the NHS Fit For Travel page for up to date advice.

You may notice that Etosha is just in the ‘high risk’ section. However, it is believed that the winter months in Etosha are malaria-free. This is because mosquito need water to breed and Etosha is totally bone dry during these months. Although, as always, consult a qualified travel practitioner (not necessarily your GP).

9. One of the safest African countries

Safety is often people’s primary concern when visiting Africa. Too frequently the problems of some countries are projected onto the entire continent. However, every in country Africa is different from it’s neighbour and Namibia has been politically stable since gaining independence from South Africa in 1990.

Most people have a trouble-free visit to Namibia. The most likely problem they encounter is puncturing a tyre on corrugated roads. There have been reports of street crime towards tourists in Windhoek, but this can be avoided by being sensible. Do consult the UK Governement Travel Advice before travelling to Namibia.

10. Good climate

With an arid climate and more the 300 days of sunshine each year, you don’t have to worry about the rains too much in Namibia. There will often be a backdrop of big blue open skies to those epic otherworldly landscapes. Visitors are also in for some seriously jaw-dropping sunsets and sunrises.

Namibia itinerary with kids

Sunset over Damaraland

However, along the Skeleton Coast, don’t be surprised with the think fog rolling in from the Atlantic; it has caught out many fishing vessels in the past, which you’ll spot rotting away, abandoned on the windswept beaches. Do also bear in mind that the nights can get bitterly cold in winter. Pack a cold-weather sleeping bag, as well as hats and gloves for those early mornings getting the tents down.

 

Have you visited Namibia with kids? Would love to hear about your experience in the comments below.

Namibia with kids

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Where would we be without our trusted Lonely Planet? The Namibia and Botswana guide was invaluable to our research.

You may also like to read:
Ultimate family packing list for overlanding Africa
Things to do in South Africa with kids
Tips for a safari with kids under the age of 5

 

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47 Comments

  1. Great photos. Namibia is high on my list.

  2. Older kids will also love some of the activities on offer like quad biking and sand boarding.

  3. Michael

    Many parents with kids who thought Africa was out of the question for a holiday will be really grateful for your concise blog. Your description and in depth advice for parents and also couples without children should be considered a “must have” pocket guide for travels in Africa. Well done.

    • TraveLynn Family

      Thank you so much for your kind words 🙂 Africa is certainly more accessible for family travel that people think.

  4. Helen

    Oo it’s good to know that the safaris are more on the affordable end of the scale in Namibia – it’s a holiday I dream of doing one day 🙂

  5. Anne Fraser

    I love your stunning photos. Namibia looks lie a wonderful place to visit with or without kids.

    • TraveLynn Family

      Thanks Anne! We actually have visited Namibia with kids and pre-kids. Both trips very different. But it’s very doable with a young family.

  6. Oh wow this looks incredible! I always thought it would be too expensive to go but sounds like it could be a great family friendly break!

    • TraveLynn Family

      car hire is going to be your biggest cost, and there are long distances. But its definitely the best destination for first time families.

  7. What a wonderful experience. I’ve never visited before!

  8. I’d definitely like to experience Africa more and Namibia has been on my list for a while. You’ve definitely convinced me that it is somewhere I have to visit.

    • TraveLynn Family

      It’s so different to anywhere else in Africa. It really is a special place.

  9. Beautiful place, lovely pics. I went here in my youth and would love to go back xx

    • TraveLynn Family

      We’ve visited pre-kids and with-kids, and would still love to return 🙂

  10. Wow, Namibia sounds amazing, we’ve only been to South Africa so this will definitely be next on my list!

  11. Oh my goodness. Namibia has been on my list ever since the Top Gear lot drove through it. I love the idea of the roof tent and going it alone. I want to go right now!

    • TraveLynn Family

      I need to watch that Top Gear episode! That would have been an EPIC drive.

  12. I love this post! Africa has been on my mind and this sounds like a great option!

  13. Wow I can’t believe how cheap the safaris are! Such a bargain. My kids love playgrounds too and 300 days of sunshine is the dream!

    • TraveLynn Family

      Such a bargain! Safaris are so much more affordable in Namibia. And I love those cobalt Namibian skies.

  14. Such an amazing post it brings back so many ,memories of our epic trip there quite a few years ago now. Still one of my favourite trips ever.

    • TraveLynn Family

      Thanks Karen! Namibia has to have one of the most incredible landscapes on this planet.

  15. pigeonpairandme

    It was only last night that I was watching footage from the Namib Desert with my son, on Blue Planet. I was telling him that I went when I was 22. This is inspiring me to get off my behind and plan a trip with the kids, while Etosha is still free for them! Great post. x

    • TraveLynn Family

      Oh I need to check that out on Blue Planet. It really is such a unique and diverse landscape. Hope you make it back there soon!

  16. What an excellent recommendation. Your guides to adventurous travel are brilliant!

  17. I have never thought of visiting Namibia before. Looks like a lovely country.

  18. ChelseaMamma

    It has never been on my lost to visit but it looks stunning, love the pic of your little one running down the sand dune

    • TraveLynn Family

      They absolutely loved the sand dunes. Hours of free entertainment right there.

  19. AMAZING!! It looks so incredible, I can’t wait to go!!

  20. I’ve never been but it looks fascinating. Hope we get to visit one day.

  21. Amazing thoughts here – and you’ve sold it to me from the word go! On the wishlilst!

  22. bavariansojourn

    You really have the best adventures! The part about the stinky seals made me laugh, I remember seeing some in Hermanus in South Africa, I couldn’t believe how smelly they were! 😀

    • TraveLynn Family

      I think they are honestly the most stinkiest creatures I’ve come across!

  23. Oh Jenny it looks amazing!! I love that it safe and I know my kids would love the playgrounds- the one at Swakopmund looks stunning 😍

  24. You have really given me a lot to think about. Namibia sounds like an amazing place to visit with kids. The sand dunes and the seals would make my kids super happy

  25. Truthully? I’d be nervous of visiting Africa. My best friend has been a few times and it sounds amazing and this post of yours makes it sound so easy with kids! Gorgeous photos too.

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