This paper assesses the wide range of impacts that tourism has on the livelihoods of rural residents in parts of Namibia. It aims to serve two purposes. First it illustrates that a focus on livelihoods offers a useful perspective on tourism for enhancing local benefits. It contrasts with conventional tourism perspectives which tend to focus exclusively on either economic, commercial or environmental impacts. It also contrasts with narrow assessment of local benefits focusing only on job creation and cash income. Taking a livelihoods perspective helps identify the wide range of impacts – direct and indirect, positive and negative – that matter to local people.