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The 11 Most Beautiful National Parks in Namibia | Unprecedented beauty

With breathtaking landscapes, beautiful deserted deserts and an abundance of wildlife, Namibia a destination that is sure to amaze and inspire any visitor. Namibia is often overlooked, especially when compared to Kenya and the adjacent South Africa† A shame, because Namibia is definitely worth a visit for its amazing National parks.

It is a land of natural beauty, with a multitude of incredible sights to see. From trekking through canyons to driving through the national parks in Namibia or stargazing in the Namib Desert. This diverse and awe-inspiring country is sure to amaze you.

The Most Beautiful National Parks in Namibia

11. Skeleton Coast National Park

Known as one of the world's most abandoned national parks, the name of Skeleton Coast National Park alone is full of mischief. Signs with skulls and crossbones on them sometimes warning you not to go any further. The unforgiving nature and desolation of the park creates a spectacular landscape and an atmosphere that you will not soon forget.

Skeleton Coast National Park is inhabited by the fur seals
Skeleton Coast National Park is inhabited by the fur seals

Rusting shipwrecks dot the coast, making for an eerie but strangely picturesque scene. Broken on the sand and partially submerged by the advancing sand dunes, these ships are the main attraction of the park. The brutal climate of the cold and dangerous Atlantic, combined with coastal fog and dangerous currents, made the Namibian coast a treacherous stretch of water to navigate.

While visitors are drawn to the park by its name and the unforgettable rusting shipwrecks, Skeleton Coast actually has a lot more to offer. The mountain ranges and huge canyons make for breathtaking trekking† Elephants, rhinoceroses and lions also live in the park. You will certainly not be bored when visiting this unique national park.

Also read: Roadtrip Namibia part 4 | Cape Cross, Twyfelfontein and Palmwag

10. Waterberg Plateau National Park

Waterberg Plateau National Park is a national park in central Namibia. The park includes the Waterberg Plateau, 68 km east of the city Otjiwarongo† The Waterberg Plateau is located about 200 meters above the plain of the Kalahari in Eastern Namibia. The plateau and about 8000 hectares was declared a nature reserve in 1972. The plateau was largely inaccessible in the past, so many endangered species in Namibia were relocated to this area to protect them from predators and poaching.

View from the Waterberg Plateau
View from the Waterberg Plateau

Turning point in history: One of the most important turning points in Namibian history has also taken place on the Waterberg. In the early 20th century, on the foothills of the Waterberg, the Herero lost their last battle to the Duitse colonial troops. The Herero were forced to withdraw from the Waterberg eastwards to British Bechuanaland (now Botswana).

Thousands of Herero were killed by the pursuing Germans and many lost their lives in the Kalahari desert from lack of food and water. It is estimated that nearly two thirds of the Herero population lost their lives during this period. The graves of German soldiers who lost their lives on the Waterberg can still be viewed near the Waterberg rest camp at the foot of the plateau.

The Waterberg Plateau Park has great ecological diversity. It has more than 200 different bird species and a number of rare species of small antelope. While the plateau on top is dry, there is a lot of surface water and permanent water sources at the base of the mountain. This results in a green and fertile landscape, where one can find wild fig trees, fire lilies and coral trees.

9. Tsau / Khaeb National Park (Sperrgebiet)

This expansive park is as nature was meant to be: wild, unspoilt and beautiful. Tsau / Khaebi Also known as Sperrgebiet, it has been remarkably cut off from the world for over a century. As its rich biodiversity and abundant ecosystems attract many visitors, each of whom marvels at it. With an abundance of plant species, Tsau/Khaeb impressively represents 25% of the total amount of Namibian flora.

The famous abandoned mining town of Kolmanskop . is located in the National Park
The famous abandoned mining town of Kolmanskop . is located in the National Park

The breathtaking landscapes, consisting of sandy plains, giant rock arches and mountain ranges, make this a beautiful park to explore. Discoveries are never far away and in this bountiful environment, Oryx, Springbok and seals abound. Seals can be found just off the coast.

Also read: Roadtrip Namibia Part 2 | Lüderitz, Kolmanskop, Tirasbergen & Sossusvlei

8. Mangetti National Park

For a small park, Mangetti has a lot to offer. Formerly dedicated to breeding rare and endangered species. Today a national park in the hopes that it would attract tourists to the area. With an amazing array of animals in the park, it's well worth getting off the beaten track.

In this biodiversity hotspot, elephants and rhinoceroses roam the savanna, congregating at waterholes alongside an abundance of other animals. Mangetti National Park is home to the extremely rare wild dog, among other things. Mangetti feels like a deserted corner of the world and basking in the wilderness feels like an adventure in itself.

7. Khaudum National Park

Tucked away in northeastern Namibia is the isolated and relatively small national park Khaudum† The remote location is rarely visited by tourists and is perfect for those seeking a quiet and peaceful trip into the wild. The pristine and untouched national park is mainly made up of dry acacia forests and savanna with a few lively rivers that dry up outside the rainy season.

Because the park is not fenced, the animals are free to follow their natural migration routes. The animals come and go between the park and neighboring Botswana. Huge herds of elephants, giraffes, lions, leopards and other big game live here… You will definitely have a great experience here spotting wildlife with the untouched nature around you. It is a beautiful remote destination with only the animals for company.

Also read: The green part of Namibia: the Caprivi Strip! Caprivi Strip

6. Dorob National Park

The endless sand of dorob National Park is sure to impress any visitor with their changing, swirling wildlife and natural beauty. The sand stretches out in front of you, forming the central part of the Namib Desert that lies along the coast of Namibia.

Rock paintings made by the ancient San
Rock paintings made by the ancient San

While the dunes make for great exploration, the park has much more to offer. The ancient San rock paintings and abundant fishing spots are just some of the attractions that entice tourists to visit the park. With over 270 different bird species, the park also attracts bird watchers from all over the world.

Also read: Roadtrip Namibia part 4 | Cape Cross, Twyfelfontein and Palmwag

5. Bwabwata National Park

Quite unique for a national park! bwabwata has more than 5000 inhabitants living within its borders. As such, the needs of the people in managing, protecting and preserving nature are also taken into account.

With sand dunes, forests and floodplains, there are a number of ecosystems in the park with a wide variety of animals. Located on a migration route between Angola and Botswana, the national park has a varying number of animals that migrate through it, depending on the time of year.

Buffalo in the Bwabwata National Park
Buffalo in the Bwabwata National Park

Elephants, buffalo and zebras inhabit the grasslands. The crocodiles and hippos that congregate around the rivers and floodplains are also a joy to watch. This is their natural habitat which has been virtually untouched for centuries.

4. Nkasa Rupara National Park

Visitors to Nkasa Rupara National Park should be well prepared. The lack of facilities combined with the desolate and difficult terrain makes it difficult to get there and survive. For those who do venture here, the national park is well worth the effort. Here you will be amply rewarded in terms of all the amazing sights there is to see.

Hippos in the Kwando River | Nkasa Rupara National Park
Hippos in the Kwando River | Nkasa Rupara National Park

The largest wetland area in the country, Nkasa Rupara, really comes alive during the rainy season. During this period, the Kwando River stretches and overflows its banks. During this period, lush vegetation abounds and a large number of animals flock to the area.

The national park consists of arid canals that suddenly come to life with the rain. The region is located in the middle of a series of lagoons and small islands. These wetlands certainly make for an unforgettable journey of discovery. In addition to the large game, large flocks of birds also fly by. You can see all this as large numbers of buffalo and hippos move through the water.

3. Mudumu National Park

Mudumu National Park is one of the five national parks in the area. The main attraction of Mudumu National Park is the pristine environment that blooms when it rains. Located on the floodplain of the Kwando River, it is drier than Nkasa Rupara and therefore easier to reach.

Large family of Elephants on the Kwando River | Mudumu National Park
Large family of Elephants on the Kwando River | Mudumu National Park

With an abundance of wildlife and home to some large predators such as lions and leopards, the park makes for wonderful wildlife exploring. Large herds of elephants roam the park. With over 430 bird species living in the area, there is always something new to see. In recent years, giraffes and antelopes have been reintroduced to the park, only adding to the wealth of animals on display.

2. Namib-Naukluft National Park

Originally created by the Germans to act as a buffer against advancing British interests, it Namib-Naukluft National Park has grown over the years to become the largest protected area in the country.

Protected within its borders are some stunning must-see sights when visiting Namibia. With ancient archaeological sites dating back more than 200.000 years, a wealth of wildlife and enchanting otherworldly landscapes; this national park certainly has something that will appeal to everyone.

The sand dunes in Sossusvlei | Namib-Naukluft National Park
The sand dunes in Sossusvlei | Namib-Naukluft National Park

Perhaps the most famous landmark in all of Namibia are the towering sand dunes at Sossusvlei. Under the perfectly blue sky, beautiful red sand dunes provide a stunning backdrop to the withered and burnt black trees emerging from the white sand. This visual spectacle is also known as Deadvlei. The mosaic of contrasting colors is indefinably remarkable and a must-see in the country.

Sesriem Canyon full of water after good rainy season | Namib-Naukluft National Park
Sesriem Canyon full of water after good rainy season | Namib-Naukluft National Park

The beautiful canyon at Sesriem is also fantastic to explore. As with Skeleton Coast National Park, there are a number of shipwrecks along the coast, testifying to the brutal and unforgiving power of the ocean just offshore. A bit of a reflection of the ocean in terms of its bleak environment, the arid and arid desert is now home to some abandoned towns that are interesting to explore as their former inhabitants are long gone.

Also read: Roadtrip Namibia Part 2 | Lüderitz, Kolmanskop, Tirasbergen & Sossusvlei

1. Etosha National Park

Etosha National Park is the country's most popular tourist attraction. It is widely regarded as Namibia's best national park. With an impressive array of wildlife in the park, lucky visitors can catch a glimpse of the rare and endangered black rhinoceros and the more common white rhinoceros.

Black Rhinos in Etosha National Park
Black Rhinos in Etosha National Park

At night animals migrate to the Okaukuejo Well and this makes for an enchanting and unforgettable experience. Elephants and lions emerge in the lit area around the pond to drink water. Etosha, meaning 'Great White Place' in the local language, used to be part of a huge lake that has long since dried up. Now the Etosha Pan has a dusty white color due to its salty nature. Herds of elephants and impalas kick up the swirling dust as the lions meander through the savannah. Etosha will remain in your memories of Namibia forever.

Sleeping Lion in Etosha National Park
Sleeping Lion in Etosha National Park

More Namibia

As you have read, Namibia is home to some beautiful national parks. Besides these beautiful pieces of wilderness, there is much more to experience in this beautiful country. So take a look at our Namibia page where you can read all our Namibia blogs. See you there!

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