Climate & Weather
As most of Namibia is covered by desert it is unsurprising that the climate is exactly what you would expect from a desert country. Daytime temperatures are hot (extremely hot in summer) and nights are cold, some areas frequently go below freezing in winter.
Rainfall is sparse; with the northeastern areas of Namibia getting the most rain (this area is tropical) and rainfall decreasing as you travel south and westwards.
The Namib desert runs along the coast and rain in this area is rare. The rainy season in central Namibia starts in January and runs until the middle of April, further north the rains begin earlier and as you travel south the season becomes shorter.
Its fairly safe to say that if you travel in the winter months you will hardly see a cloud, except for the deep south where occasional (once every couple of years) winter rains do occur.
Coastal Namibia is different; it only ever gets really hot in winter (when the east wind blows), almost never rains, and is frequently blanketed by fog.
Here's what you can expect while on tour in Namibia, on a month by month basis:
- Hot and humid with a good chance of rain, meaning that on most trips it is advisable to have a 4x4. This is not a favourite month amongst travellers as the game may have dispersed due to larger amounts of surface water. Christmas crowd still around so Swakopmund accommodation can be difficult to book at beginning of the month.
- A hot and humid month which traditionally has the highest rainfall. The plus side is that there are very few tourists and low season rates are in operation. Game may have dispersed due to larger amounts of surface water and also becomes more difficult to spot due to the increase in vegetation.
- March is hot and humid with a good chance of rain. Depending on the timing of Easter this can be a popular month for tourists. Game will still be dispersed due to larger amounts of surface water. In terms of landscapes, this is when Namibia looks the greenest and can be very pretty. For most trips it is advisable to have a 4x4. Generally low season rates.
- Day temperatures are starting to cool off, evenings are cooler but still pleasant. The Namibian landscape is looking at its best. If Easter rush can be avoided then this is one of our favourite months. However, game viewing still can be less impressive than drier months. Enter daylight saving so days seem shorter than before (sunset at c. 17.30)
- The onset of winter - warm but shorter days and cold nights. Rain is very unusual. As the country begins to dry out the game viewing becomes better. The veld becomes very pretty particularly after seasons with good rainfall with plains of golden grass. Low season rates still apply as there are not that many tourists. One of the best months for most tourists.
- Warm days and cold nights and almost no chance of rain. Everything starts getting much drier and so good game viewing is assured. The beginning of the month is generally still fairly quiet getting busier towards the end of the month as South African school holidays begin. If game viewing (in Etosha Park) is the main emphasis but you don't like crowds or hot weather, this is a good month to travel.
- Warm days and very cold nights. No rain. As it is several months since the last rain everywhere is very dry and so the parks offer good game viewing as the wildlife is forced to visit waterholes to drink This is high tourist season and rates are often adjusted accordingly. Early in the month it isn't too busy but 2nd half is busy with bookings becoming hard to come by.
- Warm days and cold nights with no rain. Very dry so good game viewing is on offer but the country looks stark. August is frequently windy, and the dry dusty conditions and wind are not a pleasant combination (although they do make for some awesome sunsets)! This is peak tourist season and the country is swarming with tourists. If you are intending to travel during this period book your hotels in Namibia early. Unless, like the majority of people, you are forced to travel during August it is probably best avoided.
- The first weeks see a brief period that might be termed spring but normally by the end of the month summer is in full swing with hot days and pleasant night time temps. Rain very unlikely but it can be windy. The good game viewing persist until the start of the rains (normally at the end of October or November in northern Namibia). This is still high season with lots of tourists around but by the end of the month things start to quieten down slightly. Change clocks back to Namibian summer time so longer days.
- Hot days with a small chance of rain, in Windhoek this is often called suicide month, as residents get depressed by large build up of thunder clouds only to be let down as they blow over without delivering any rain. Still good game viewing. High season and still quite a few tourists.
- Very hot days with a small chance of rain. The quality of game viewing depends on the start of the rains. Most establishments change their rates at the beginning of November for the "new year". Fewer tourists around the country than during the preceding four months.
- Very hot days with some chance of rain. During the first half of the month there are few tourists, during the second half bookings become more difficult as locals and tourists flock to the coastal towns of Swakopmund, Walvis Bay & Luderitz