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 National Park and the Okonjima Nature 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 $1,030 per person economy class from London

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…We were really happy with the service we got from Tourdust which can be best described as friendly, efficient and expert.....

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Itinerary

Overview

  • Towering dunes and desert wildlife
  • Unique rock formations & rock engravings in Damaraland
  • See superb wildlife gathering around the waterholes of Etosha
  • Visit the AfriCat Carnivore Care Centre 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.

Day-by-day

DAY 1: ARRIVE AND RELAX IN WINDHOEK
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

DAY 2: NAMIB DESERT
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

DAY 3: NAMIB DESERT
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

DAY 4: SWAKOPMUND
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

DAY 5: SWAKOPMUND
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

DAY 6: DAMARALAND
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

DAY 7: DAMARALAND
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

DAY 8: ETOSHA
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

DAY 9: ETOSHA NATIONAL PARK
Full day game driving (self-drive) with packed lunch, returning in the evening to the lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast included
Accommodation: Okaukuejo Rest Camp

DAY 10: ETOSHA NATIONAL PARK
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

DAY 11: OTJIWARONGO
Final early morning drive in Etosha before travelling south to Okonjima. In the afternoon enjoy an informative guided trail at the AfriCat Carnivore Care Centre, 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

DAY 12: OTJIWARONGO
Morning and afternoon activities in the Okonjima reserve.
Meals Included: Breakfast & Dinner
Accommodation: Okonjima Plains Camp

DAY 13: DEPART
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

Accommodation


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

7/10

Price guide

Price rating 3

- Excellent friendly service
- Convenient location
- Great value

Our rating

8/10

Price guide

Price rating 4

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

Cornerstone Guesthouse

Swakopmund & Walvis Bay

Our rating

8/10

Price guide

Price rating 2

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

Our rating

7/10

Price guide

Price rating 3

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

Our rating

8/10

Price guide

Price rating 3

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

Our rating

7/10

Price guide

Price rating 3

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

Our rating

8/10

Price guide

Price rating 4

- Intense wildlife viewing
- Nature trails on foot and in vehicles
- AfriCat carnivore care centre
- Leopard sustainability programme

Details

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.

Safety

For the latest travel advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth office check www.gov.uk/travelaware

What customers are saying after travelling with Tourdust

Average Rating

based on 494 reviews

(5.00/5)

  • Wow, we had a brilliant time!! Not sure where to start…

    Transport was great, very reassuring to have all that taken care of and all drivers were polite and helpful. Good to know in advance to have some dirham ready for tips.

    Treking: Our guide Hassan, muleteer Centim and chef were great. We’d never been guided before and were a little worried about how it would all work out but Hassan went at a pace that worked for us, always made sure we knew where we were going and happy to answer questions but also to give us some space. Food was such a treat! Beautiful locations and we were thoroughly looked after.

    Accommodation. Mountain lodge were brilliant. Very cold at night in Imlil so glad to have layers. Staff helpful, food plentiful and delicious. Ouirgane Eco Lodge was a real treat after the mountains. And the riad. Oh my goodness. We loved it! Breakfast on our own terrace, a pool to cool off in. So much space and so beautifully decorated. We couldn’t believe it was ours for the period of time and a great respite from the hustle and bustle of the souks.

    The balance of the trek and city was great for us, kids saw all kinds of things in both places that really opened their eyes. Weather was very kind to us so it was an extra treat to have the sunshine.

    It definitely felt like a real adventure and something that we’ll always remember as a family.

    We had plenty of info from Tourdust and plenty of prompt replies as my queries popped up.

    MissingKate A reviewing Marrakech & Mountains Family Trek on 26 April 2019

  • The whole holiday start to finish was just fabulous, the accommodation was perfect and to a certain extent stunning at the Dar Hosnia in Marrakech.

    The transport, guides and staff at both locations were wonderful with a special mention to the Douar Samra team in Imlill. They were more than a bit special.

    The food at both locations was excellent and the ambience and fun we enjoyed in Douar Samra was beyond all expectations.

    We made many new friends whom I am sure we will keep in touch with way beyond this holiday.

    You put together a perfect package it was much more than just a great holiday it was a richly rewarding experience.

    Just finally to say a big thank you to you for organising one of the best trips we have had.

    Missingstuart w reviewing Boutique Marrakech & Atlas Mountains on 15 April 2019

  • 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

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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 $1,673 pp plus flights

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

Flights are typically an additional $1,030 per person economy class from London

Families from $1,334 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 $1,030 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 $9,454 pp plus flights

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

Flights are typically an additional $1,030 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 $7,053 pp plus flights

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

Flights are typically an additional $1,030 per person economy class from London

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