Wildlife travel: What animals can I see in Namibia?

Head to this not so deep-and-dark corner of southern Africa for giant owls, peculiar plants and rhinos that like to party. 

Wildlife travel: What animals can I see in Namibia?

Illustration by Dawn Cooper


1. Black rhino, Etosha National Park 

Black rhino © Education Images / Getty

Black rhinos interacting in what Attenborough called “secret parties” in the 2013 BBC series Africa was filmed at a waterhole close to the Etosha Pan. Visit between May and October for the best chance of sightings.


2. Cheetah, Okonjima Nature Reserve

A bull caribou in Denali National Park © Gallo Images / Heinrich van den Berg / Getty

On-foot radio-tracking of cheetahs is one of the stand-out activities at Okonjima, the world’s spiritual home of cheetah conservation.


3. Pel's fishing owl, Mahango Game Reserve

Pel's fishing owl © Wolfgang Kaehler / Getty

Standing 2ft high and with a 5ft wingspan, Pel’s fishing owl is one of the most sought-after of Namibia’s 700 or so bird species. Pub-quiz fact one: it can catch baby crocodiles.


4. Welwitschia plant, Welwitschia Plains

Welwitschia plant © Arterra / Getty

Only growing in the Namib Desert’s coastal region, this odd-looking plant is found in its greatest numbers some 70km inland from Swakopmund. Pub-quiz fact two: it belongs to the same plant group as conifers. 


5. Hartmann’s mountain zebra, Fish River Canyon

Hartmann's mountain zebra © Roger de la Harpe / Getty

This canyon has been compared to Arizona’s Grand. Wildlife is scarce in this challenging environment, but you're likely to spot small herds of these zebras.


6. Cape fur seal, Cape Cross Seal Reserve

Cape fur seal © Paranyu Pithayarungsarit / Getty 

At the height of the breeding season in November and December, some 210,000 seals crowd the beach here, attracting killer whales from the sea and black-backed jackals and brown hyenas from land.


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