Animals in Namibia

There are so many wild animals in Namibia to encounter and see when going on safari or simply exploring the huge country. We have travelled several times to this beautiful country in Southern Africa and also went on some safaris where we experienced the great wildlife in Namibia. On this page, we will show you some pictures and tell you some interesting facts about the Namibian animals.

Which animals in Namibia are you most likely to see?

You will encounter game and many wild animals, mainly in national parks and private games reserves, where the animals are protected from hunters, but you can spot many of them also when you drive in the countryside. Among the many animals which you can see in Namibia are lions, elephants, giraffes, hippopotamus, cheetas, black and white rhinos, wildebeest, hyenas, vultures, black backed jackals, ostriches, zebras, seals, dikdiks (a tiny antelope species), baboons, springboks, wild dogs, kudus and oryx. 


The most likely wild animals to see when visiting Namibia are the many kinds of antelopes or bucks. Among the most prominent is the oryx.

Beautiful Oryx antelope

In the image above, you can see an oryx with ist long spike horns. The oryx is the national animal of Namibia. You can see these beautiful antelopes everywhere in the country, even roaming the parks and greens in small towns. 

Traffic sign warning of oryx crossing the road.

In many parts of the country, animals in Namibia roam freely also outside the big game reserves, therefore people have to be extra careful when they drive on the roads which are many gravel roads or sand pistes. We have seen many interesting traffic signs like this one which stands near the town of Oranjemund in Southern Namibia. Here is the sign which warns to look out for oryx and other antelopes.



Kudus are big antelope with beautiful horn spirals. These antelopes live in the savannah regions and eat leaves and fresh shoots. Kudus are very shy, when they feel threatened they will rather flee, than fight.


Springboks in Namibia

The springboks are numerous as well and can be encountered on any drives in the countryside. This antelope species is not tall, but easy to distinguish by their white belly and medium brown coat. These animals got their name from their way of jumping and running which looks really funny. They can leap up to 2m/6ft in hight! Did you know the springbok is also the national animal of South Africa?


Elephant with calf (baby)

African elephants are mainly confined to national parks and will not be encountered outside game parks exept in the Damaraland, the desert of north-western Namibia. Did you know that African elephants are much larger than the Asian elephants? You can easily distinguish African and Asian elephants also by the size of their ears. African elephants  have much bigger ears as well, their shape looks almost as displaying the shape of the African continent!

The largest and most popular Namibian National Park is the Etosha National Park in the North of Namibia and it is home to the majority of the Namibian elephant herds. Other elephant herds live in the desert in the northern parts of Namibia. Did you know that elephants can not see well, but have an excellent hearing and great sense of smell?


Namibian zebras

Zebras are easy to spot in the bushland, due to their bold black and white striped coat. They are single-hoofed, are close relatives to horses and live in large herds. Did you know that the skin of zebras is dark and that the stripes of the zebras are like fingerprints? All zebras can be distinguished by their individual stripe pattern and so can be easily identified by scientists!


White rhinos in Namibia

The rhinoceros are an endangered species as they sadly still are still hunted for their beautiful horn. Did you know that there are white and black rhinos? Take note, however, that they are not much different in their coat colour, but they are different in size and head/mouth shape and in behaviour. In general, white rhinos are considered as less dangerous, even friendly. And you can distinguish them according mouth shape, the white rhino with the broad mouth seems to be smiling while the black rhino has a pointed mouth and the horn thus looks even more threatening. 

Wild Horses

Wild horse in the Namibian desert

In Namibia, you can also encounter wild horses. The herd is located near Aus, between Windhoek and Swakopmund and can be often seen grazing in the arid region. They are such an amazing sight! The horses are most likely to stem from a herd which was brought into Namibia in the early 20th century, after the first world war, when the first railway line was constructed in the region. Read more here.


Lions in Etosha National Park

Yes, naturally as you would expect in Africa, you can encounter the majestic lions in Namibia too. In the northern Namib desert, there are several lion conservation projects. No, there are no lions roaming the streets at night - at least not in most regions, however these ferocious animals can be seen roaming nearby some campsites! 


Have a look at the map where desert lions can be found. Click here. (Tip: You can also view amazing animal and lion photos on that site, when you go to the News tab and click any month.)

Cape Fur Seals

Seals at Cape Cross

The Skeleton Coast of Namibia is home to a large seal colony. Visitors to Cape Cross can view the Cape fur seals from a walkway on the beach. However, be prepared, this is a smelly adventure! It is interesting to note, that the Cape fur seals are the only seal species in the world which has external ears, this you can also spot on the image above!

Endangered Animals in Namibia: Oribis and Pukus


Many endangered animal species can found in Namibia such as the African Wild Dog, the Black and White Rhino, the Oribi and the much smaller Puku.

Puku and baby

Animals in Namibia: Great resources for further reading

Photo credits on animals in Namibia page: Own images and Shutterstock images.

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