The best places to visit in Namibia for Stargazing
With its striking desert landscapes and vast national parks, Namibia ranks as one of the best destinations on the entire planet for stargazing.
Low levels of light pollution, coupled with dry, cloudless skies, create the perfect conditions for viewing magical constellations and galaxies, including the Southern Cross, Orion’s Belt and Omega Centauri.
In fact, the conditions in Namibia are so perfect for stargazing that it has become a hub for astronomy and astrophysics research. The Max Planck High Energy Stereoscopic System experiment, which aims to uncover the source of mysterious particles in the universe, is located in Gamsberg, a destination chosen because it boasts some of the clearest skies in the world.
If you’re planning a self-drive or private guided Namibian safari holiday, and stargazing is high on the agenda, you’ll be pleased to know that Namibia is home to a stunning array of lodges and destinations that offer everything you need for the perfect stargazing experience.
From camps with rooftop viewing areas, to purpose- built observatories, here’s the Secret Namibia guide to the best places to visit in Namibia for stargazing.
With mesmerising open plains, historic valleys and incredible rock formations, Damaraland is quite rightly heralded as one of the most beautiful areas in all of Namibia. Each year thousands of tourists flock to the area to explore nearby attractions including Twyfelfontein, Spitzkoppe and the enchanting Petrified forest.
Nestled in the Huab River Valley you’ll find Damaraland Camp, which has everything you need for the ultimate stargazing experience. The camp boasts ten spacious thatched rooms that have been cleverly elevated in a bid to maximise views across the dramatic surroundings.
When night falls head out on to your own private deck where you can gaze up and marvel at some dazzling Southern Hemisphere constellations. You can even tap into the knowledge of the camp guides, who will show you how to take some incredible snaps of the star-studded sky.
Little Kulala Camp
Located in the vast Namib desert, one of the oldest deserts on the planet, you’ll find Little Kuala camp- a true haven for stargazers.
Each of the camp’s luxurious 11 suites feature a rooftop deck that’s perfect for kicking back and marvelling at a variety of constellations and meteorites. Visitors have even reported being able to spot the international space station, as well as Venus and Mars!
As well as offering guests the chance to stargaze on a rooftop deck, the camp provides roll-out star beds so you can snooze beneath the crystal skies. Uniquely, the camp even provides stargazing tablets featuring apps that help you learn more about the constellations.
The best time to visit Little Kuala for stargazing is in the dry season, May-September. Away from stargazing guests are also encouraged to check out the magnificent Sossuvlei dunes, which are located nearby.
For our next entry we head to Namibia’s sparsely populated far north region.
Serra Cafema, which is snuggled on the banks of the Kunene River, is one of the most remote camps in all Southern Africa.
The camp serves as the perfect place for guests to unwind and disconnect from the hustle and bustle of daily life, and visitors can enjoy many incredible activities nearby including taking a boat trip down the Kunene river, engaging with the local Himba tribe, and heading out on a game drive where springbok and oryxes viewing opportunities are plentiful.
After a day of exploration, retreat to one of the camp’s eight wood-crafted chalets and you’ll be able to kick back on the elevated decks and brace yourself for a magical star gazing experience. The skies above Serra Cafema are crystal clear and camp guides are on hand to show you how to take some incredible pictures of the night sky with an Olympus camera.
Throughout the week, camp staff even host astronomy evenings where they user laser pens to point out famous constellations and planets.
Situated in Gamsberg, Namibia’s third largest mountain, lies Guestfarm Hakos, which in recent years has grown to become a pilgrimage spot for budding astronomers and astrophysicists.
Constructed in 1998, the guest farm boasts two observatories, the Vehrenberg observatory and the new observatory, both of which contain telescopes and equipment that grant visitors the opportunity to gaze deep into the universe.
For amateur stargazers, the Sky Watcher telescope offers incredible views of the Milky Way, as well as other far-out galaxies and nebulas.
More experienced astronomers can even bring their own equipment and mounting facilities can be found dotted around the site.
After marvelling at the stars, guests can retreat to one of 14 rooms, or 3 campsites, that are kitted out with a range of basic amenities to make your stay comfortable.
Away from stargazing, Hakos is the perfect stopover spot if you’re planning to visit Walvis Bay, or the capital Windhoek, which is a two-hour drive away.