Animals in Namibia

There are so many wild animals in Namibia to encounter and see when going on safari or when simply exploring this huge country.

We have travelled several times to beautiful Namibia and went on various safaris where we experienced the great wildlife in Namibia. 

10 Animals in Namibia you should know about - Namibia animal facts by Kids World Travel Guide

On this page, we will show you some pictures and tell you some interesting facts about many typical Namibian animals.

Which animals in Namibia are you most likely to see?

In Namibia, you will encounter game and many wild animals. They live mainly in national parks and private games reserves, where the wildlife is protected from hunters, but you can spot many of the animals also when you just 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 (or oryxes). 

Let's start with our top ten animals in Namibia.

1. 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.

Oryx in NamibiaBeautiful Oryx antelope

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

Namibia Oryx Warning signTraffic 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. Many roads are 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. This is the traffic sign which warns to look out for oryx and other antelopes.

2. Kudus

KuduKudu

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

3. Springboks

springboks under tree in EtoshaSpringboks 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 as well as the white spot on their bottoms.

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? Read more about South Africa here.

4. Elephants

African elephant with calf (baby)Elephant with calf (baby)

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

The largest and most popular Namibian National Park is the Etosha National Park in the north of Namibia. Etosha  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 cannot see well, but they have an excellent hearing and a great sense of smell?

5. Zebras

Namibian zebrasNamibian zebras

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

6. Rhinos

two white rhinos in NamibiaWhite rhinos in Namibia

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

7. Wild Horses

Wild horse in the Namibian desertWild horse in the Namibian desert

In Namibia, you can also encounter wild horses. One herd is located near Aus, between Windhoek and Swakopmund and can be often seen grazing in the arid region. The wild horses 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.

8. Lions

Lions in EtoshaLions in Etosha National Park

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 of the towns at night - however these ferocious animals can be seen roaming nearby some campsites in the national parks! 

Namibia_wildlife_campsign_by_MichelPiccaya_ShutterstockSign photographed by Michel Piccaya

9. Cape Fur Seals

Cape Cross sealsSeals 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!

10. Antelope: Oribis and Pukus
Endangered Animals in Namibia

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

Oribi in NamibiaOribi
Namibian animals: Puku and BabyPuku and baby

Animals in Namibia: Great resources for further reading

  • Mario & Jenny Fazekas. "Wildlife spotting on Safari: Animal Identification." Kruger-2-Kalahari.com. Last accessed 28 February 2023
  • African Wildlife. "Difference between Black and White Rhino." Last accessed 28 February 2023
  • Abi Cushman & P.A. Smith. "African Elephant." Animal Facts Guide. Last accessed 28 February 2023

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

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