Large sossusvlei

Highlights of Namibia - Classic Self Drive

A 13 day self-drive exploration of Namibia enjoying the highlights of the Sossusvlei Dunes, the coastal resort town of Swakopmund, unique geological formations & rock art in Damaraland and excellent wildlife experiences in Etosha and at the Africat conservation project on a private reserve.

Tailor-made Classic 13 days

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

Flights are typically an additional $1,047 per person economy class from London

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  • Towering dunes and desert wildlife
  • Unique rock formations & rock engravings in Damaraland
  • See superb wildlife gathering around the waterholes of Etosha
  • Visit the big cat conservation project at Okonjima

Your holiday begins in Windhoek, Nambibia's capital, where you will pick up your hire care and then drive yourself to the first stop on your itinerary; The Namib Desert, one of the oldest deserts in the world. The Namib-Naukluft National Park is over 50 000 square kilometres, making this one of the largest conservation areas in Africa. This desert has four different types of environment from the famous towering sand dunes of Sossusvlei, river valleys & pans, gravel plains with isolated rocky hills, or inselbergs and mountain outcrops.

From the desert and the mountains, you then travel to the coastal town of Swakopmund, one of the few places you will come across on this trip which has ‘tourist’ facilities and is considered by locals as a holiday resort. There is a good selection of restaurants offering all from Bavarian fare to excellent seafood, shops, museum, library and Living Desert Snake Park. The area is becoming increasingly known for more adventure style activities from sea kayaking which is a lovely gentle way to experience the marine life, sand-boarding, quad biking, sky diving, fishing, kitesurfing and windsurfing. There are some passionate guides in the area willing to share the unique wildlife and geology, for example the Sandwich Harbour tour giving a marine and desert insight and the Welwitschia Plant Drive in the into the arid landscape.

From the coast, you then head towards Damaraland, which has a variety of interesting geological formations and is famous for desert adapted elephant and rhino. From the Spitzkoppe in the south, this is essentially a vast naturally forming rock art gallery. Here you can see the White Lady painting which is 40cm tall, volcanic remains of the Messum and Doros craters, the balancing Vingerklip pinnacle rock formation, the Twyfelfontein rock art which unusually has both painting and engraving examples, petrified forest on sandstone bed, Burnt Mountain and the unique angular dolerite columns of the Organ Pipes formations.

After the geological phenomena of Damaraland, you then drive to Etosha National Park. This is an excellent place to self-drive as the large number of waterholes attracts large numbers of animals which can easily be seen from your vehicle during the dry season. You will see a lovely range of plains animals from elephant, giraffe, eland, blue wildebeest, kudu, gemsbok, springbok, impala, steenbok and zebra. Great predators such as lion, leopard and cheetah.

After viewing wildlife from your vehicle, you then have a chance to get more up close and personal with game when visiting the AfriCat Foundation. This charity was set up to preserve cheetah, leopard and other carnivore threatened by the farming communities. If you stay two nights, there is an opportunity to track cheetah on foot and excellent wild dog and hyena sightings from the game drive vehicle.

A 2x4 vehicle is included for your comfort in this itinerary, given the distance, it is best to pre book and plan. On arrival you will be given a full self-drive briefing with maps and instructions. Namibia road conditions are excellent with long straight, generally empty roads. This is purely a sample itinerary and can be extending into the southern regions or even doing a full loop around to do parts of Botswana and take in the Victoria Falls.


On arrival at Windhoek Airport, you will be met and assisted with your car rental and given a self-drive briefing. In the afternoon, there are some interesting things to see around the city which has a strong German influence or you might want to simply relax before the start of your journey.
Meals Included: None
Accommodation: Rivendell Guest House
Transport: Collection of your car rental, self-drive into Windhoek. +/-50 minutes

Depart after breakfast for the Namib Desert, this journey will take the best part of the day. You should arrive at your accommodation late afternoon. A guided nature drive would be a perfect way to end the day and enjoy the sunset.
Meals Included: Breakfast included.
Accommodation: Desert Homestead Lodge
Transport: Drive from Windhoek to Namib Desert. +/- 5 hour

Early rise to be at the entrance to the national park for sunrise on the dunes and spend the day exploring the surrounding area. A guided walk or nature drive will be the best way to experience desert adapted wildlife.
Meals Included: Desert Homestead Lodge
Accommodation: Lodge accommodation

Depart north-west to the Atlantic seaside town of Swakopmund, cross the Tropic of Capricorn, the Gaud and Kuiseb pass and down the dry river bed over the canyon which opens into desert landscape. The desolated “Namib gravel plains” brings you to the coastal town of Swakopmund.
Meals Included: Breakfast included
Accommodation: Cornerstone
Transport: Travel from Namib Desert to Swakopmund. +/- 5 hours

Today you will have the day to enjoy some of the many activities on offer in Swakopmund. There is something for everyone, from adrenalin fuelled sandboarding, quad biking, sky diving, kite surfing to kayaking around the marine life. Boat trips to see the seal colony or guided tours into the desert to see the ancient Welwitschia plants
Meals Included: Cornerstone
Accommodation: Guest house accommodation

Head north with a stop at Cape Cross to see the Cape Fur seal colony. Then travel east, inland towards the desert, visiting the small town of Uis, an isolated mining town which is the best place to buy rough semi-precious stones which Namibia is known for, such as Amethyst and Tourmaline.
Pass the ancient Bushman spiritual site of Brandberg Mountains, Namibia’s highest peak at 2573 metres. Stop and explore Burnt Mountain which is a hill at the foot of a twelve kilometre long volcanic ridge and the nearby gorge which houses the Organ Pipes which are five metre high tall, angular dolomite columns.
Meals Included: Breakfast included
Accommodation: Twyfelfontein Country Lodge
Transport: Travel from Swakopmund to Damaraland. +/- 5 hours

Early start to the ancient Bushman rock engravings at Twyfelfontein with local guide. This afternoon the lodge offers an optional guided drive to track elusive desert adapted rhino and elephant.
Meals Included: Breakfast included
Accommodation: Twyfelfontein Country Lodge

Travel north to the Etosha National Park, staying on the western side of the park.
After your evening meal around the fire head to the floodlit waterhole which is a great draw card for black rhino, elephant, lion and a number of plains game. Due to the arid nature of this park, wildlife tend to congregate at these watering holes, particularly in winter when drinking water is at a premium (June – October)
Meals Included: Breakfast included
Accommodation: Okaukuejo Rest Camp
Transport: Travel from Damaraland to Etosha National Park. +/- 5 hours

Full day game driving (self-drive) with packed lunch, returning in the evening to the lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast included
Accommodation: Okaukuejo Rest Camp

The Etosha National Park is over 110 kilometres wide and it is worth staying on both sides. Journey across the park to the eastern side, stopping at various waterholes en route and enjoying a leisurely lunch. Days ends before sunset at a lodge on the eastern side of the park.
Meals Included: Mushara Bush Camp
Accommodation: Lodge accommodation

Final early morning drive in Etosha before travelling south to Okonjima. In the afternoon enjoy a fascinated guided experience with the Africat Foundation, a charity dedicated to the long term conservation of carnivores.
Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner
Accommodation: Okonjima Plains Camp
Transport: Travel from Etosha National Park to Okonjima. +/- 3 ½ hours

Morning and afternoon guided activity at AfriCat project.
Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner
Accommodation: Okonjima Plains Camp

After breakfast take a leisurely drive to Windhoek, return hire car and check in for your onward journey.
Meals Included: Breakfast
Transport: Travel from Okonjima to Windhoek. +/- 3 hours


Guide price is based on recommended accommodations. Alternative accommodations and upgrades are available. Please get in touch or click on 'alternatives' below for alternatives and upgrade options.

Our rating


Price guide

Price rating 3

- Excellent friendly service
- Convenient location
- Great value

Our rating


Price guide

Price rating 4

- Stunning panoramic views
- Affordable yet stylish lodging
- Guided horse riding safaris

Cornerstone Guesthouse

Swakopmund & Walvis Bay

Our rating


Price guide

Price rating 2

- Simple but stylish rooms
- Friendly and efficient service
- Located between beach and town

Our rating


Price guide

Price rating 3

- Close to famous Twyfelfontein rock carvings
- Beautiful, rugged location
- Namibia Country Lodges portfolio

Our rating


Price guide

Price rating 3

- Beautiful national park location
- Vibrant waterhole in camp
- Large property, affordable prices

Our rating


Price guide

Price rating 3

- Private reserve close to eastern side of Etosha
- Only 16 tents
- Family friendly
- Guided activities available

Our rating


Price guide

Price rating 4

- Vibrant wildlife
- Famous cheetah conservation
- Spacious rooms with views


Getting there

Namibia has excellent regular connections via Johannesburg (and less frequently via Cape Town). Air Namibia also operates via Frankfurt. Flights from London to Windhoek via Johannesburg start from £780 -£1280 per person

Extensions to Botswana and the Victoria Falls are possible with regular connections.

Flight prices on this route are always cheaper booked in advance, particularly when flying during school holiday periods.

Please let us know your preferred departure airport and we would be pleased to quote for a flight inclusive ATOL protected package.

Price includes

Guide price is based on peak travel (August) and inclusive of accommodation, mentioned activities and car hire.

Suggested vehicle is a Ford Ranger Double Cab 4x4 or similar for the duration with unlimited mileage and comprehensive insurance.

When is best?

The months from June to September are winter in Southern Africa but temperatures during the day reach very comfortable early 20 degrees Celsius, just pretty chilly at night but you can keep comfortable with various layers. This is the time of the least / no rainfall making the vegetation less dense and the game easy to spot. You could use a standard sedan vehicle for this journey but a 2x4 makes the trip more comfortable.

Autumn, April-May tends to be a lovely time with all the young being born and the vegetation still green. Spring, late September into early November can have variable weather depending on the previous rainfall but offers excellent game viewing

The summer months November to March tend to be the highest rainfall which is generally when a 4x4 vehicle is suggested; it tends to be hot and humid with afternoon thunderstorms.

Is it for me?

Namibia is a vast country with many fascinating and varied experience. It is a very arid environment for the most part. Journey times do tend to be longer but it is very rewarding and uncrowded.

This makes for an excellent couple and family adventure. There will be some restriction on children under the age of 7 years for guided safari / nature activities.


For the latest travel advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth office check

What customers are saying after travelling with Tourdust

Average Rating

based on 494 reviews


  • Everything was fab, I especially loved Tuningi such a special place and my son got to see his favourite animal the cheetah (after a bit of time hunting about on foot!). Mauritius is lovely we saw quite a bit of the island in the end.

    MissingLaura L reviewing South Africa Safari and Mauritius on 12 December 2018

  • We had a wonderful trip to Morocco. What a fascinating country. Thank you so much for all of your help making things smooth and less stressful!

    Here are a few things we wanted to pass on:

    Dar Housnia was absolutely delightful. It was like an entire wing of a house to ourselves with perfect Moroccan decor. The private area where we ate was so cute, the riad staff so accommodating. I loved waking in the cozy space with our family and hearing both call to prayer as well as roosters. Just perfect.

    I was a little unclear how to ask what time we were being picked up etc, but your office promptly replied to my emails - even on weekends- when we had these questions about transport times. Once, we met our guide in Imlil these details we not problematic as our guide “Abraham” totally took care of us. Abraham was awesome. You should definitely request him again in the future. He was young (29)and energetic. He had a ton of hiking experience in Imlil as he was from there. He also seemed to know everything else about morocco, the desert, the culture, etc, etc. He was approachable, kind, patient, great with our kids and answered SO MANY of our questions.

    The hike was lovely - after rain the day prior in Marrakech - there was snow in the mountains. It was gorgeous. We may have been up for a longer hike up Mt Taboukel if I had known this was a realistic option for families ( I thought from reading that it was too technical for us). Yet not sure we had enough days for all these things always since getting in the desert was a priority.

    The mountain house, Dar adar, was just as described… very basic. The wifi was broken (which was a nice break when you have pre-teens addicted to phones, plus my husband called no wifi an amenity to not be available by email for his work!)). There was no heat and the fireplace helped a tad - but was so very cold in the rooms. My husband loved the rustic space, I may have gone up one step in niceness of mountain accommodation if I had to do it over again. Yet, meeting the other families in this Dar Adar (including another Tourdust family from England) made this house very memorable.

    We were then joined by our driver for the next several days, Jamal. What a fun guy and a perfect driver. He could joke with my kids, he had a fun smile, and he had worked with Abraham before so they were a great team. The drive to desert was long as I knew it would be. It was nice to have the stop on way there near Ait Ben Haddu. The drive back from desert was long. It was more near 10 hours of driving (plus 1 hour at lunch = 11 hours) but I wouldn’t have made any different choices.

    The luxury desert camp was far and away the highlight of our trip. The tents were adorable, I was sufficiently warm even at night inside the tent. We loved the camel riding, the ATV vehicles at a nearby camp, sunsets on the dunes, music around the camp fire, meals with others at the camp and more.

    The last night was at Riad Jona. This was so very very lovely. The food was amazing - such a good idea to eat here after our long drive back to Marrakech. They had a small dining pool plus a hot tub which was delightful. It was almost more of a boutique hotel as it had several rooms.

    MissingGwyneth R reviewing Luxury Family Desert Holiday on 11 December 2018

  • The trip was amazing everything was better than we could have imagined.
    There was a moment climbing the mount Kenya where my wife accused me of tricking her into doing this (half kidding) as some of the nights got pretty cold, but we were dressed well and the sunrise at the peak was astonishing.
    Safari was spectacular, Ben who was our main guide and driver was awesome! We saw everything excepts rhinos which were more of a hope than a reality. We also were able to watch a rock python eat a Thompson gazel live. It was one of the most interesting and unsettling things I have ever seen.
    Just overall, so many moments that make you think wow or I can't believe I am here. Thank you for your help in getting everything set up. I don't believe I could have booked the trip without your help and guidance. It was an amazing way to start our marriage and truly the trip of a lifetime!

    MissingWilliam K reviewing 11 Day Mount Kenya Trek and Masai Mara Safari Combined on 29 October 2018

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Speak to a specialist

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Call 855 686 7694 9am and 6pm GMT Monday to Friday

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Alternative Itineraries

Our itineraries are carefully designed by our experienced travel designers based on years of experience and customer feedback. For a custom itinerary tailored to you, please enquire giving as much detail as possible on your brief.

Condensed 7-day self drive adventure focusing on Northern Namibia (Etosha NP, Damaraland, & Central Highlands) with superb wildlife viewing and good value, characterful accommodation.

Tailor-made Classic 8 days

Adults from $1,701 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average per person price for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

Flights are typically an additional $1,047 per person economy class from London

Families from $1,356 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average price per person for ground arrangements for a family of four (two adults + two children under 12).

Flights are typically an additional $1,047 per person economy class from London

11-day luxury flying safari featuring the highlights of Namibia and the incredible remote Skeleton Coast.

Tailor-made Luxury 12 days

Adults from $9,609 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average per person price for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

Flights are typically an additional $1,047 per person economy class from London

12 Day Highlights of Namibia with a private driver-guide. Features, Sossusvlei, Twyfelfontein, Swakopmund, Etosha NP, Onguma and Okonjima private reserves.

Tailor-made Classic 2 weeks

Adults from $7,168 pp plus flights

'From Price' is the average per person price for ground arrangements for two people sharing.

Flights are typically an additional $1,047 per person economy class from London


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