Seasons in the sun
Issue 2 (May 2008) It’s odds on that the sun will shine on you whenever you visit Namibia as the country has an average 300 sunny days a year.  And one of the things that make Namibia such a great destination is that there are advantages to visiting in each of the seasons – as the map reveals.


Namibia’s ‘summer’ runs from November to April and includes the wet season. The rain transforms Namibia into a country very different from most peoples’ image. The dunes come alive with grass and flowers, the pans fill with water and the bird life abounds.

From May, temperatures start to drop and you might even find yourself reaching for your thermals if you are stargazing in the desert. This is a great time to go trekking in Namibia. From a five day arduous hike down Fish River Canyon through to the gentle Tok Tokkie trail in the Namib Rand, the country has a walk to suit you.

By August the pans have dried up and water is starting to become scarce, forcing wildlife to congregate around the few remaining waterholes. If you haven’t been on safari before, or if you have demanding children with you, this is the time to visit the game parks as you are assured good wildlife sightings.


In September the capital hosts the /Ae//Gams Festival – a huge street party which attracts dancers, musicians and many people in traditional costume. In December and January, when temperatures soar, you may find many of the shops, bars and restaurants closed here as people head for the coast.


If you’re visiting Namibia during hot December, head for Swakopmund on the coast where the cold Benguela ocean current will cool you down and leave you eager to try the town’s vast array of adventure sports – from sand boarding to camel safaris, and windsurfing to quad biking – it all happens here.


Skeleton Coast
This desolate coast with cooling impenetrable fogs, fascinating wildlife and haunting shipwrecks is truly a year-round destination with almost constant moderate temperatures. If you fancy trying your hand at angling, a national obsession, the best time is between November and March.


Waterberg Plateau
This mountain park with its 200m sheer cliffs is at its most beautiful in August and September when the clouds build-up in the afternoon giving spectacular shots for photographers. The plateau is a breeding area for endangered animals including rhino, sable and roan antelope and dik-dik.


During the wet season (generally January and February, although in 2008 the rains arrived much later) you may see the vlei flooded, which provides some fantastic opportunities for photography. In March or April, a few weeks after the rain, you could be lucky enough to see the desert in bloom.


If you want to see large numbers of game, then visit between July and October when it’s dry and the animals all congregate around the main waterholes. Other times however will be quieter and cheaper – try early in the year when you’ll get some beautiful reflections in water in the pan and many of the animals have young with them. Take care on the roads when it’s wet as they are often full of animals looking for a dry route through the park.


Between January and October the Okavango River, on Caprivi’s western edge, is high enough for you to take a boat or Mokoro trip and glimpse life over the border in Angola. Within the small area of the Caprivi Strip 450 species of bird have been recorded, making it one of southern Africa’s top birding spots.


In the rainy season the Nyae Nyae pans in the southeast flood and attract flocks of pelicans and flamingos, providing another reason to visit this area with its welcoming people. 


On the weekend closest to August 26 the Red Flag Herero people gather to honour their chiefs killed in the conflicts with the Germans and Khoikhoi. Similar colourful remembrance days are held by the White Flag Herero in Omaruru on the weekend closest to October 10, and the Green Flag Herero on the weekend closest to June 11 at Okahandja.


Fish River Canyon
Visit in March and April to see Fish River actually flowing. If you want to make the mammoth trek through the canyon, then try June and July when the air is clear and cool, making the going that little bit easier. The route is closed to walkers from mid September until the beginning of May because of the heat and risk of flash flooding.



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