January falls in the middle of summer in Namibia, which is in the Southern Hemisphere. Namibia tends to be hotter and drier in the south and wetter in the north, with a temperate climate in and around the high-altitude, inland capital, Windhoek (5,600 ft/1,700 m). January is the hottest month of the year, so you can expect highs of around 90°F (32°C) in Windhoek, with cooler nights. Desert temperatures are even hotter, with the Kalahari reaching 105°F (40°C). The coast, however, is cooler, where the Skeleton Coast and Sossusvlei average highs in the mid-70s (Fahrenheit).
Summer is also the wettest time of year in Namibia. Days can be hot and humid, with sharp showers in the late afternoons. Some parts of the country can be challenging to access due to the heavy rains. However, in most places, it doesn't rain all day, every day, and the mornings are quite clear.
Crowds & Costs
January is the low season for travel to Namibia, as is the whole of summer. Conditions aren't ideal for game-viewing safaris, keeping many potential visitors away. In addition to lower prices, however, you can also enjoy other attractions and activities, so travelers who make it to Namibia this month can benefit from fewer tourists in the most popular places (particularly around Swakopmund and Sossusvlei).
Where to Go
Many travelers will appreciate visiting Namibia's cooler regions in January. Coastal Swakopmund, west of Windhoek, is an ideal base. The attractive city is near the Walvis Bay Wetlands (around 30 minutes' drive south) and the Skeleton Coast (on Henties Bay is less than an hour's drive north). Don't miss the flamingoes at Walvis Bay (see more below) and the city's late-19th century German colonial architecture and red-and-white striped lighthouse. The German influence also extends to Swakopmund's beer scene—ideal for cooling off in the summer.
Along the northwestern coast of Namibia, the Skeleton Coast National Park is another cooler summer destination. The long stretch of remote beach is dotted with the wrecks of old ships. The southern parts of the park and coast are more accessible and can be reached on 4WD tours. You have to fly into the northern regions as there's no road access. You can also enjoy great fishing from Henties Bay and spotting fur seals at the Cape Cross Seal Reserve.
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
What to Do
Keen birdwatchers and small children will love seeing the migratory flamingoes at the Walvis Bay Wetlands near Swakopmund this month. Thousands of long-legged pink birds gather on the edge of the Namib Desert throughout summer. Just 30 minutes' drive from Swakopmund, visitors can go independently or join a guided tour. As well as flamingoes, you can see pelicans and many other birds and appreciate the unique ecosystem of this protected Ramsar wetland site.
Although you won't see much wildlife on safari in Namibia in January, you can enjoy another type of safari adventure in the dunes. Sossusvlei, south of Swakopmund and southwest of Windhoek, also experiences lower summer temperatures. The enormous red dunes, white salt plains, and petrified trees are perhaps the most recognizable of Namibia's landscapes. Climb the brilliant orange dunes at Sossusvlei, photograph the centuries-old ghost trees at Deadvlei, and get away from even the slim January crowds at the lesser-known Hiddenvlei, offering peaceful sunsets.
Events in January
New Year. Namibians celebrate New Year and Day of the Kings (January 6) with outdoor celebrations, music and dance, and fireworks.
Traveling to Namibia in January? Check out this great itinerary
Namibia Self-Drive Adventure - 10 Days. Take 10 days to experience Namibia's highlights. Starting from Windhoek, you'll drive along the path of the ancient Tsauchab River into the Namib Sand Sea, with a visit to the famed Sossusvlei Desert, Dune 45, and Deadvlei.
More Helpful Information
Namibia in December
Namibia in February
Best Time of Year to Visit Namibia
How Many Days to Spend in Namibia