Updated: Aug 20
You've probably already heard about Namibia, a somewhat isolated country located south of the African continent. However, you're not too sure about what to visit there. Either you're a photographer or a regular vacationer, this guide might help to select or trim what to visit in Namibia. As landscape photographers, adventure, unique nature, empty places or intriguing wildlife are what we're most of the time looking for. Namibia has it all and is definitely the place you want to go to spend your next photography vacation.
Whether you are an adventurer or fond of luxurious places, Namibia's incredible nature and wildlife will provide you with all you need all along the way and all experiences will be rewarding.
Visiting Namibia as a photographer was a dream, and I knew that I would enjoy every bit of it.
Not only the landscapes, but the whole experience of renting a 4x4 with a rooftop tent, sleeping under a clear bright sky while observing the milky-way or driving in constantly changing decors. All this made it one of the most memorable destination I have ever been to.
In case Namibia is a destination you're interested in and want to also ensure to take amazing pictures without the struggle of planning your trip, then feel free to take a look at my 2024 Namibia Photography and Wildlife Workshop.
Here are the places I recommend visiting in Nambia if you’re in search of great photographs and experiences. Some of these places are a must-go while others are for sure less known, but will equally bring a lot of satisfaction.
1- Etosha National Park
This is one of the main highlights in Namibia and definitely one you wouldn’t like to miss. This is one of the largest parks in Africa with an area of 4’760 km2, and is home to hundreds of species including lions, elephants, giraffes, springbok, vultures, zebras, and many others.
Doing a self safari will offer you a multitude of opportunities to spot animals in the wilderness. Whether you drive through the park or just wait at one of the famous waterholes, you’ll be rewarded with great wildlife. This photography spot in Namibia should definitely not be missed
Tips: fill up with patience, drive slow and observe a lot. Animals are not always easy to spot, but once you do spot a rare one, this will be rewarding.
2 - Spitzkoppe
Called the Matterhorn of Namibia, Spitzkoppe is a rock formation made of pink granite rising up to 1’784m. The spot is mostly visited for its beautiful arch, providing photographers with an amazing subject and perspectives by day and by night. Additionally, some rock arts dating up to 2000 years BC can be observed on site.
This site has it all, whether you go there for sunrise, sunset or at night.
Tips: be at the arch by night, it’s an incredible spot for astrophotography
3 - Sossusvlei
Sossusvlei is, by far, one of the most attractive places in Namibia and does not probably need any further presentation. This place is probably one of the most incredible landscapes you’ll ever see in your life. As you enter the park and the red sand dunes start rising all around you, you will start feeling small and overwhelmed by what is happening before your eyes. Don’t worry, you will soon get used to it. As you drive all the way through the park, you will eventually reach Deadvlei, a dried lake area made of white clay with acacias dead for over 900 years. Relax Oryx walking through the park will be topping off your experience by showing you that even in this dry area, wildlife can survive.
Tips: the park opens/closes 30 minutes before/after sunrise/sunset, and finding a nice spot at any of these time will be a very rewarding experience. Arriving early at Deadvlei can be very rewarding as the sun slowly unveils itself over the area.
4 - Walvis Bay
This is a little less well known place in Namibia, however, it remains one of the most amazing experiences you could have and definitely one of the best photography spots in Namibia. From seeing seals and flamingos to going with a 4x4 in the desert to observe Sandwich Harbor where the dunes meet the ocean, the photographic opportunities will be numerous.
The great thing about this place is that only few companies are authorized to enter the Walvis Bay desert. Therefore, you’re highly likely to be alone in the middle of all these wonderful sand formations. On top of that, you might be rewarded by spotting some Oryx in the desert.
Tips: go to the desert for sunset, as the regular fog on the coast will prevent you from seeing much at sunrise time. Also, avoid going with your own car if you have no knowledge of the tide. Several people saw themselves stuck with high risk of losing their car in the ocean.
5 - Kolmanskop
Further south, close to the coastal city of Luderitz, you will be able to discover another amazing photography spot with the picturesque ghost town of Kolmanskop. The city was originally created for the only purpose of hosting the owner and workers of the diamond mine which was exploited right next to it. The city was inhabited for about 100 years and was at some point considered as the richest city in the world. But if these are impressive facts, today, people go to visit these half ruined buildings for their inside pastel colored walls being taken over by the sand. A mystic feeling emanates from this environment, especially at sunrise and sunset time, when the golden colors of the sun hit the pastel colored walls and the sand. A true delight.
Tip: get yourself a daily pass, providing you access outside of public’s hours. Especially interesting for sunset and sunrise hours.
6 - Quiver Tree Forest
Nature as we know it in Europe can be hard to find in a desert dominated country like Namibia. However, they’ve got those very specific trees called Quiver trees that only grow in south-west Africa and spread across Namibia and South Africa. Forest should be redefined here, as we are talking about a desert. Nonetheless, the quiver tree forest close to Keetmanshoop has it all, with sporadically spread trees on the irregular hard terrain composed of rocks and sand. These trees will make a perfect subject whether you want to photograph silhouettes or wide scenes at sunrise or sunset or if you wish to have an unusual, yet beautiful, foreground for night photographs.
Tips: stay at the campsite or the bungalows at the Quiver Tree Rest Camp and get yourself a night pass for the forest.
7- Moon Landscape
Located between Spitzkoppe and Walvis Bay, this is a relatively unknown spot in Namibia. The moonlandscape is really amazing at sunset or sunrise time. Once there, you will be dominating a moon like landscape barren, undulating, rocky desert which was formed by the valleys of the Swakop river. Millions of years ago, the river carved deep canyons into the granite rock, producing breathtaking geo-landscapes. There you will observe this beauty expanding over kilometers.
Tips: be there for sunrise or sunset to enjoy how the light will enhance the shapes of the desert.
8- Fish River Canyon
As you head further south, close to the border with South Africa, you will reach the Fish River Canyon. It is the largest canyon in Africa with a length of about 160kms, a width of 27kms and nearly 550m deep. It is a usual attraction for hikers in this zone, but this remains an equally beautiful attraction for photographers. Whether you wish to capture the subtle light of the sunset on a more abstract set up or the canyon on its entirety, the view will be stunning and rewarding.
Tip: at certain time of the year, the milky way is visible very early in the morning and perfectly located above the canyon. As staying in the park overnight is forbidden, waking up very early to get there on time remains possible is staying at the campsite.
That's it for the main and best photography locations in Namibia. It might feel like only a few for an entire country. Just keep in mind that Namibia is a big country, and that landscapes are just stunning all along the way. In addition, parks in the country are big, and photography opportunities are almost endless., boredom should therefore not be a concern.
If Namibia has been on your travel list, and you wish to have similar pictures to bring back home after your trip, I encourage you to visit the photography tour I am offering there in September 2024.
If you have any questions about the article, feel free to reach out to the author.
About the Author
Rémi Bergougnoux is a French travel and landscape photographer based in Zurich, Switzerland. His most influential destinations include Latin America, where he spent about a year, Namibia, Iceland, Lofoten and certainly many others.
Aside from photography, hiking, cooking, enjoying good wines and socializing are his main hobbies.