Tourism in Namibia

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the plains zebra, an example of Namibian wildlife
the Wolwedans Dunes Lodge, an example of lodges in the Namib (25°05′47″S 15°58′09″E / 25.0965°S 15.9693°E / -25.0965; 15.9693

Tourism in Namibia is a major industry, contributing N$7.2 billion ( equal to US$ 390 million ) to the country's gross domestic product. Annually, over one million travelers visit Namibia, with roughly one in three coming from South Africa, then Germany and finally the United Kingdom, Italy and France. The country is among the prime destinations in Africa and is known for ecotourism which features Namibia's extensive wildlife.[1]

In December 2010, Lonely Planet named Namibia 5th best tourist destination in the world in terms of value.[2]


The first rough estimate took place in 1989, when it was predicted that 100,000 non-domestic tourists stayed in the country. This figure has risen over time to 1,176,000 visitors in 2014.[citation needed]


In 1996, around 600 jobs were related directly to the country's tourism sector.[dubious ] In 2008 it was estimated that 77,000 jobs directly or indirectly depend on Namibia's tourism, amounting to 18.2% of all formal jobs in Namibia.[3] Tourism in Namibia also has had a positive impact on resource conservation and rural development. Some 50 communal conservancies have been established across the country, covering 11.8 million hectares of land and resulting in enhanced land management[1] while providing tens of thousands of rural Namibians with much-needed income.[citation needed]

Rankings and evaluation[edit]

Lonely Planet ranked Namibia fifth on a world-wide chart of value-for-money destinations in 2010.[4] In 2020, Namibia ranked 13th out of 30 of the world’s top 30 emerging travel destinations for 2020 by During this awards. [5] The Etosha National Park, Fish River Canyon, Sossusvlei and the Namib-Naukluft National Park have been selected as Namibia’s top attractions.[5]

Tourist destinations[edit]


Windhoek skyline

Windhoek, the capital and biggest city, is the main entrance point for people flying into the country, usually at Windhoek Hosea Kutako International Airport. Important tourist sites in Windhoek include: the Tintenpalast, (which is the seat of both the National Council and the National Assembly), Windhoek Country Club Resort (opened in 1995 as host to the Miss Universe 1995 and is one of the premier hotels and golf tournaments in the country), Zoo Park and other places. Windhoek also has the first five star hotel in the country known as Hilton Windhoek (opened in 2011 marking Hilton's 50th hotel in the Middle East and Africa.)[1][6]

Walvis Bay[edit]

Dunes near Walvis Bay

Walvis Bay, as the second biggest town in Namibia and the main port of the country. The town is served by the Walvis Bay International Airport. Geographically, the town is uniquely situated. It is the meeting place of extreme landscapes – on the one side the Namib desert, the oldest desert in the world, and on the other side a massive lagoon and harbour flowing from the Atlantic Ocean. Both of these landscapes lend themselves towards some of the most unusual sightseeing opportunities in Namibia.

The lagoon and harbour is home to various species and large numbers of sea mammals and bird life. The Namib desert on the other side is called "The Living Desert", because of the large number of living species found there.

Walvis Bay is a tourist hotspot that offers a number of activities. Water-related activities include shore angling, boat angling, shark angling, sightseeing and photographic boat cruises, sea kayaking, wind- and kite surfing. Every year Walvis Bay hosts one of the international legs of speed kite and windsurfing competitions.

Land activities include Sandwich Harbour sightseeing tours, desert sightseeing tours, 4X4 dune driving tours into the majestic dunes south of the Kuiseb river, dune hang gliding, dune boarding and dune skiing, guided educational, historic and anthropologic quad biking tours into the Kuiseb Delta, visits to the Topnaar people, descendants of the Khoin-Khoin, and living desert tours.


Swakopmund (2017)
22°40′51″S 014°31′17″E / 22.68083°S 14.52139°E / -22.68083; 14.52139

Swakopmund is a beach resort and an example of German colonial architecture. It was founded in 1892 as the main harbour for German South-West Africa. Attractions include spectacular sand dunes near Langstrand south of the Swakop River. The city is known for extreme sports. Nearby is a farm that offers camel rides to tourists and the Martin Luther steam locomotive, dating from 1896 and abandoned in the desert. The city is also known for its surf culture being located close to the famous Skeleton Coast

The Desert Express, a TransNamib tourist train, runs between Windhoek and Swakopmund.

The Swakopmund Skydiving Club has operated from the Swakopmund Airport since 1974.

National Parks[edit]

Entrance to Etosha National Park in March 2007

Namibia has many prominent National Parks, the oldest, most visited and best known is Etosha National Park. Other national parks in Namibia are:

*In November 2012, the Namibian government approved the renaming of the Sperrgebiet National Park to Tsau ǁKhaeb (Sperrgebiet) National Park. Tsau ǁKhaeb derives from the local Nama language and means "deep sandy soils".[7]


Koakoveld (also known as 'Kaokoland'), remains one of the country's most pristine regions.[8] Puros Lodge and Okahirongo Elephant Lodge offer accommodation in an area regularly visited by desert elephants.[9]

Extreme Sports[edit]

Namibia's harsh climate and arid conditions make the country a top spot for different extreme sport events like desert runs and ultra-triathlons.

One such event, the 2009 250 km RacingThePlanet: Namibia ultramarathon through the Fish River Canyon, across the Namib Desert, and along the Skeleton Coast to Lüderitz had 213 runners from 38 countries start the 7-day, 6-stage race and 167 finish.

The Namibia Tourism Board[edit]

The Namibia Tourism Board (NTB) was established by an Act of Parliament: the Namibia Tourism Board Act, 2000 (Act 21 of 2000). Its primary objectives are to regulate the tourism industry and to market Namibia as a tourist destination. As a statutory body, the NTB is the only legal national tourism organization or authority in Namibia mandated by Government to regulate the industry.[10][11] The following sectors of business within or relating to the Namibian tourism industry are sectors that are regulated by the Namibia Tourism Board:[12]

  • Accommodation Establishments
  • Activity Operators
  • Air charter operators
  • Booking agents
  • Conference centre operators
  • Foreign tour operators
  • Shuttle and transport service operators
  • Tour facilitators
  • Tour and safari operators
  • Trophy hunting operators
  • Vehicle rental operators

Trade Associations[edit]

There are a number of trade associations that represent the tourism sector in Namibia, they include the following:[13]

  1. Namibia Travel & Tourism Forum
  2. Federation of Namibia Tourism Associations (the umbrella body for all tourism associations in Namibia)[13]
  3. Hospitality Association of Namibia
  4. Association of Namibian Travel Agents
  5. Car Rental Association of Namibia
  6. Tour and Safari Association of Namibia


Most visitors arriving to Namibia were from the following countries of nationality:[14]

Country 2016 2015 2014 2013
 Angola 420,763 492,866 519,191 477,828
 South Africa 355,391 381,854 329,850 317,563
 Zambia 240,117 168,899 167,407 167,044
 Germany 124,152 93,939 91,900 84,121
 Zimbabwe 87,181 78,205 67,809 62,778
 Botswana 54,960 50,908 40,311 36,556
 United Kingdom 32,712 27,365 29,016 25,351
 United States 28,659 26,339 25,291 21,884
 France 23,794 20,598 20,549 16,837
 Netherlands 20,596 14,539 12,015 10,782
Total 1,574,148 1,519,618 1,477,593 1,372,602

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Hartman, Adam (30 September 2009). "Tourism in good shape - Minister". The Namibian.
  2. ^ Namibia gets top tourist accolade Archived 2010-12-25 at the Wayback Machine The Namibian, 22 December 2010
  3. ^ "A Framework/Model to Benchmark Tourism GDP in South Africa". Pan African Research & Investment Services. March 2010. p. 34.
  4. ^ Kisting, Denver (22 December 2010). "Namibia gets top tourist accolade". The Namibian. Archived from the original on 2010-12-25.
  5. ^ a b "'Namibia is the future of adventure tourism'- Namibia ranks among 2020's top travel destinations | Namibia Economist". Retrieved 2023-05-16.
  6. ^ Hilton worldwide
  7. ^ "Sperrgebiet renamed to Tsau //Khaeb - Travel News Namibia". Archived from the original on 2012-12-21.
  8. ^
  9. ^ "My Namibia ™".
  10. ^ "Namibia Tourism Board | Namibia Information". Archived from the original on 2014-04-01. Retrieved 2015-12-07.
  11. ^ "Namibia Tourism Board". Retrieved 2015-12-07.
  12. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-12-27. Retrieved 2017-08-26.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  13. ^ a b "FENATA | Federation of Namibian Tourism Association in Namibia". Retrieved 2016-03-08.
  14. ^ Tourist Statistical Report 2016
  • Weaver, David, and Katharine Elliot. "Spatial Patterns and Problems in Contemporary Namibian Tourism." The Geographical Journal 162.2(1996): 205-217.

External links[edit]