Traveling in Namibia with kids

What does responsible travel recommend?

Namibia is Africa 'lite' - a classic desert and safari destination with virtually no malaria, safe drinking water, excellent roads, plenty of self drive options, widely spoken English and low crime rates. However, while an epic road trip across an otherworldly landscape may sound like a dream for most, full day drives past endless piles of sand are less appealing when traveling in Namibia with kids, and parents may face a riot in the back of the car. Add to that the blazing heat, icy nights and skin-crackingly dry air, and you can see why it's not top of everyone's list of family vacations. Adventurous teens are likely to enjoy their time here, but parents of younger children need to carefully consider their route to minimise long journeys, pick activities that kids will be able to participate in and be sure to book child friendly accommodation.

Namibia family activities


Namibia's Living Culture Museums are one of the best interactive educational experiences for children - as well as adults. They will meet villagers from different ethnic groups, learn how to hunt, track wildlife and create crafts, and really get to experience life in a very different culture.
Sand boarding is a great way for older children and teenagers to have an active day in the desert, although be aware that climbing up the dunes - not boarding back down them - is the tough part. Littler kids can join in by surfing the dunes on the instructor's back.
A safari is a wonderful experience for children of any age, and Etosha during the dry season is particularly perfect for this as the concentration of wildlife means you won't need to spend the whole day driving in search of creatures. Etosha also has several family-friendly lodges, with fenced-off areas for kids, shallow swimming pools and children's playrooms - perfect for anyone traveling with kids in Namibia.

Travel advice for families in Namiba

responsible travel asks the experts

Stephan Brückner is the owner of Wolwedans Camps and Lodge in the NamibRand Nature Reserve, and a father to three young children. Here's his tip for planning the perfect itinerary when traveling in Namibia with kids:
"If I were to come to Namibia with small kids, I would pick three destinations and just stay there, because the longer you stay at a place, the more the kids will enjoy it. You don't have to do the whole country, especially if you are driving; in Namibia, getting from A to B always entails a full day in the car. Go to the NamibRand Nature Reserve, Swakopmund and Etosha, then skip Sossusvlei unless the children are older. This also gives you time to relax a bit, which a vacation should be about. Ironically, people on vacation are always super rushed."

Kathy is the owner of Andean Trails. She has family in Namibia and has travelled there many times with her young children. Here are her tips for traveling in Namibia with kids:

"The best thing to do if you bring your children to Namibia is hire a 4x4 and camp; the campsites are well set up for families, there is plenty of space between the pitches and there are always other kids to play with.
It is possible to plan your journey so that you can take a break every couple of hours; there are cafes and hotels, and picnic benches by the roadside under trees. Just make sure you have plenty of water and supplies!
In terms of destinations, Etosha has plenty of upmarket lodges with kids' programs, they have plenty of freedom. Swakopmund has dune boarding, beaches, play parks and a pool, and Waterberg is brilliant for kid-length walks and scrambling on rocks.
There are some things for parents to keep an eye out for, including wildlife - one time, desert elephants walked right across our camp! Children should always wear shoes and make sure you look inside them before they put them on, as there are snakes and scorpions in the desert. When scrambling, they must be careful where they put their hands. Also, most swimming pools are unguarded, so keep an eye on your children if they are splashing about, especially youngsters. But in general, Namibia is a brilliant place for traveling with kids as there's so much to see and they always have somewhere to play."
Photo credits: [Intro: The Living Culture Foundation Namibia] [Living Culture Museum: The Living Culture Foundation Namibia] [Etosha: Frank Vassen]
Written by Vicki Brown
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