Fishing in Namibia

Namibian coastal waters are considered some of the world's richest in terms of fish. Catches range from anchovy, pilchard to mackerel. Limited offshore fishing rights have caused problems in the past, prompting the authorities to declare a 200 nautical mile exclusive economic zone to make local fisheries competitive. Each year, the waters off the port of Luderitz yields varying numbers of crayfish while oysters are cultivated and marketed around Swampmund and Walvis Bay.

Coastal Fishing

Fishing from the beach is made enjoyable by the rich birdlife, peaceful desert environment, relatively uncrowded beaches and a cool, bracing climate. The angling season is from November to March when species such as west coast steenbras, kob (kabeljou), gabeljoen, blacktail (dassie), geelbeck and white stumpnose can be caught, while large predator sharks can be caught practically year round. The largest copper sharks are caught from November to May, but they are mostly measured for research purposes, tagged and returned to the sea.

Several tour operators offer half day or day trips along the coast with an experienced guide, as well as trips of several days. Check with the company to see if they supply equipment and bait. West Coast Angling and Tours hire boats, tackle and guides. The fishing from the boats is even better than from the beach because you can get a good experience while moving along the offshore kelp beds.

Recommended Coastal Angling Spots

The most popular spots are found along the 200km stretch of coast between the Swakop and Ugab river mouths. Many of the best spots are named according to their distance from Swakopmund such as Mile 8,14,30,72,98 and 108 whilst another popular one is Jakkalsputz. Near Henties Bay is Bennie se Rooi Lorrie and Galjoenfontein. Near Walvis Bay, there is an angling area called Paaltjies which consists of 4 spots and is favoured by locals.

Restrictions on Coastal Angling

Conservation measures place certain restrictions on coastal anglers, like limiting daily catches to 30 fish in total of any one or more of kob, steenbras, blacktail, or galjoen, provided that on any one day no more than 8 galjoen are caught and retained. The maximum number of rock lobster that any one person may catch per day is 7 and no more than 21 lobsters may be transported at any one time.

Permits are not required for coastal angling or the catching of rock lobster.

Coastal angling is allowed in the following areas : From the Orange river to Pomona Island, from Grosse Bucht to the northern limits of Luderitz, from Sandwich Harbour to Pelican Point, from Walvis Bay to the Ugab river mouth, and at Terrace Bay and Torra Bay on the Skeleton Coast.

Freshwater Fishing

While it is widely known that Namibia's coastal angling potential is one of the best in the world, freshwater angling is also a popular sport, despite there not being any perennial rivers in the country other than on the northern and southern borders.

However there are several man-made lakes (or dams as they are referred to locally) which are well-stocked with fresh-water species, and in the riverine habitats of the far north-east conditions are close to perfect for keen fly-fishermen, especially for the challenging tiger fish and bream.

Fishing in Hardap Dam

Located roughly 2 hours drive south of Windhoek, just outside Mariental, Hardap Dam is Namibia's largest dam and the most popular venue for freshwater fishing competitions. Species found in the dam include small-mouth yellow-fish, Mozambique tilapia, common carp, mud mullet, Orange river labeo and sharptooth catfish. Fishing permits can be bought at the dam, but bring your own rod and tackle.

The resort offers watersports such as yachting, power boating, water-skiing, windsurfing and canoeing and is the focal point for the Mariental Triathlon in the first week of November.

The Hardap Freshwater Fish Institute, where research is done on freshwater fish is situated below the Hardap Dam wall. Bookings for the resort are through National Parks, Windhoek office

Fishing in Von Bach Dam

Located between Windhoek and Okahandja is popular with freshwater anglers as it has been stocked with large-mouth bass, blue kurper, small-mouth yellow-fish, carp and barbel. Other popular dams include Naute Dam, Namibia's second largest man-made lake, Goreangab Dam on the outskirts of Windhoek, and Friedenau Dam in the Khomas Hochland.


The far eastern tip of Caprivi, at the confluence of the Chobe and Zambezi rivers is regarded as a fly-fisherman's paradise. This is the best spot to catch the challenging tiger fish and the largest specimens are caught in the rapids from mokoros. Tiger fish come alive when on the rod, they are aggressive with razor sharp teeth, and diving, fighting and tail walking on the surface, offer the angler weight for the battle of his life. Anglers will need 8-weight or 9-weight fly rods, backing, wire traces and an assortment of hand-tied flies. Fish of up to 9 kg have been caught here but most are returned for conservation considerations.

Fishing Lodges

Fishing excursions are arranged by Impalila Island Lodge, situated at the confluence of the Chobe and Zambezi rivers. The Lodge supplies mokoros used in the rapids for tiger fishing and guide fishermen to the best spots.
Contact: Impalila Island Lodge, E mail :

Kalizo Lodge on the Zambezi river is a popular destination with freshwater anglers. There is a total of 81 different species of fish in these waters, including barbel, bream, African pike and tiger fish. Kalizo's guides practice a catch and release policy and accompany guests to the best fishing locations.
Contact: Kalizo Lodge, E mail :

Namushasha Lodge on the Kwando river offers early morning excursions to catch tiger fish and bream and supply tackle. The best season on the Kwando is from September to May.
Contact: Namushasha Lodge, E mail :

Last Updated on Tuesday 8th December 2009