The past climate evolution of southwestern Africa is poorly understood and interpretations of past hydrological changes are sometimes The past climate evolution of southwestern Africa is poorly understood and interpretations of past hydrological changes are sometimes contradictory. Here we present a record of leaf-wax δD and δ13C taken from a marine sediment core at 23°S off the coast of Namibia to reconstruct the hydrology and C3 versus C4 vegetation of southwestern Africa over the last 140 000 years (140 ka). We find lower leaf-wax δD and higher δ13C (more C4 grasses), which we interpret to indicate wetter Southern Hemisphere (SH) summer conditions and increased seasonality, during SH insolation maxima relative to minima and during the last glacial period relative to the Holocene and the last interglacial period. Nonetheless, the dominance of C4 grasses throughout the record indicates that the wet season remained brief and that this region has remained semi-arid. Our data suggest that past precipitation increases were derived from the tropics rather than from the winter westerlies. Comparison with a record from the Congo Basin indicates that hydroclimate in southwestern Africa has evolved in antiphase with that of central Africa over the last 140 ka.