The two of us, René and Judith, have travelled to Africa with our son Sten (15 months old at the time) to go on a beautiful trip from Windhoek in Namibia to Cape town in South-Africa. A visit to Namibia with kids, is it really a good idea?
Namibia with kids was surprisingly good fun and I’d love to share some tips with you.
6 Highlights for Namibia with kids
1# Apple strudel in the desert
On the way from Windhoek to Sesriem you will find yourself on a gravel road for quite a while… But it’s totally worth it! On the way you’ll pass through Solitaire, a peaceful little village with a gas station (luckily) and, since recently, a motel. What you’re really there for though is the Apple strudel and a delicious cup of coffee to go along with it at the Solitaire Bakery! Now doesn’t that sound good?
2# Spotting animals in Naukluft National Park
Shortly after the pit stop in Solitaire you arrive at Naukluft National Park where you’ll see some beautiful surroundings and of course… animals! We’ve seen monkeys, gemsbok, ostrich, wildebeests and to top it all off… giraffes! And to think this is actually the highway to Sesriem.
3# Desert and dunes
We stayed at the Elegant Desert Lodge. A slightly less-known but ever so likeable place with beautiful rooms, a great view, a pool for the kids and delicious food. Very affordable and yet we shared the place with only one other couple.
From this place it’s only a 40 minute drive to the gates of the park. Sossusvlei is a clay-valley in the middle of the Namib Desert where the highlight is Deadvlei. Deadvlei is a place where you will see white clay stand in contrast with red dunes and where dead trees complete the beautiful scenery. Absolutely breathtaking and a must see this is! Although it does take half an hour from the carpark through the dunes by foot which may be rather troublesome to do with a baby carrier.
On the way back we made a stop at Dune45, one of the largest sand dunes in the world. This is great fun to climb with the kids (we came across multiple families) although again, this may be less fun to do with a carrier because of the heat.
4# NamibRand Nature Reserve
On our way to our next destination, Helmeringhausen, we drove through NamibRand Nature Reserve. The park started off rather dry and dull with nothing but rocks and stones (although this made for a rather impressive moon landscape) but got more green and inhabited with animals as we drove on. This made us happy!
Because you hardly run into any other people on the road you can stop whenever you like to take a nice picture of one of the many ostriches, gemsbok or zebra’s you’ll come across. After this it goes on with nothing much but a deserted Namibia for quite a while. Rather nice but stopping at a place for a bathroom or a cup of coffee is not an option unfortunately.
Luckily we booked a room ahead at the Helmeringhausen Hotel & Guest Farm. The place has a nice restaurant with terrace and playground in front, very spacious rooms, a pool and even a tennis court! Perfect to relax in after a day of traveling Namibia with kids.
5#Tubetrees and the Giant’s Playground
From Helmeringhausen it’s about a three hour drive to Keetmanshoop where we stayed at the Alte Kalkoefen Lodge. The name gives it away (if you know Dutch): an old lime kiln that’s been rebuilt into a lodge. A beautiful cottage with an outdoor shower, a veranda with a view of the watering hole for the animals. Just a beautiful spot that’s well kept after with delicious food and a pool in an old silo. From here we took a trip to the Quiver Tree Forest. This is not a forest with actual trees but with really large Aloe Vera plants that can reach up to 8 meters high. Nowhere in the world will you find as many of them together!
What’s also fun is the Giants Playground, about 5km further. Be sure to go there if you’re travelling Namibia with kids. It’s a giant blocks-set of rocks that makes you wonder how on earth they got there without any human intervention, a truly remarkable sight. Unfortunately our little guy was a bit too young to really be playing here. You can stay at the lodge here and cool down in one of the pools if you like.
6# Fish River Canyon
After the Grand Canyon the Fish River Canyon is the largest gorge in the world! There are lots of lookout points and when you enter you get a small map with the route you can drive. You will have to do this by car because of the large distances and the heat.
You can go on hikes if you like (from 1 to 5 days) but I discourage this if you’re traveling with kids… Also, don’t forget to bring cash because the park is rather secluded and a credit card machine may not always work. This may be rather troublesome if you need to pay the park entrance fee and the restaurant because the nearest ATM is 30 kilometers away in Roadhouse.
We had enough of the heat after a while and quickly drove on to Canyon Village, a fine location at just a half hour drive where we could enjoy the peace and quiet and take a dip in the nice pool to cool off a bit. A real treat when you’re travelling through Namibia with kids.
Our adventure in Namibia ended here for us. Onwards to the South-African border for some more amazing discoveries!
We chose the border crossing at Kakamas for a visit to the Augrabies Falls National Park, instead of near Springbok like most tourists do. If you are any near the place it’s definitely worth a visit. You’ll find nice cottages with a pool and a restaurant in the park here too.
So in conclusion: the distances in Namibia are fairly large but the amazing landscape (and certainly the wildlife) is what you get in return and did you know Namibia is one of the safest countries of Africa? This all makes for an amazing experience which is certainly worth it. Namibia is incomparable to any other country in the world. SO JUST DO IT!
Did Judith get you interested in travelling Namibia with kids?
This article “Traveling through Namibia with kids.. Surely that can’t be done? Sure it can!” is written by Judith. She is a 32 year old travel loving mum, who travels the world with her husband and son Sten. “When we were together for only 2 months we booked a ticket to the Philippines for a backpack holiday and try to travel as often as we can since then. We have visited lots of countries together, now we are travelling with Sten. Next year we will leave for a 6 months world trip, can’t wait!