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Southern Namibia Highlights - Self Drive

Well off the beaten track, this 10-day self-drive itinerary showcases Southern Namibia’s varied landscape.

Highlights include exploring the Kalahari Desert's grassy plains, hiking in the awe-inspiring Fish River Canyon, and clambering up Sossusvlei’s monumental sand dunes.

Travellers who come prepared for some long drives will be rewarded with fabulous, contrasting scenery and exhilarating adventure. For a more extensive visit, this trip ties in well with our 7-day Northern Namibia itinerary.

Tailor-made Classic 11 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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  • 10-day self-drive itinerary, well off the beaten path and best suited to seasoned travellers
  • Explore the remote and contrasting Namib and Kalahari Desert landscapes, the jaw-dropping Fish River Canyon, and the gigantic Sossusvlei Sand dunes
  • Discover a great diversity of wildlife from meerkats and porcupines, to adopted cheetahs, wildebeest, zebra, and the famed wild horses of the Namib
  • Stay in well priced guesthouses and characterful ranches in remote desert settings, with fabulous views and unbeatable star gazing under brilliant night skies


On arrival at Windhoek Airport you will be welcomed and driven to Galton House guesthouse in Windhoek's quiet Eros suburb, within easy reach of the capital's many shops and restaurants. The transfer takes around 45 minutes, with stops along the way to stock up on supplies. Your fully air-conditioned 4x4 vehicle will be delivered directly to the guesthouse.
Accommodation: Galton House
The self-drive tour commences today with a 3 ½ hour drive to the Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch situated on the edge of the Kalahari Desert. The wide open grasslands surrounding the property are home to an abundance of wildlife including meerkat, porcupine, bat-eared fox, oryx, ostrich, wildebeest and zebra. Guided nature drives, walks, and horse-riding excursions with local bushmen are on offer, informing guests about the ecology and ancient culture of this unique area. There's also the chance to visit the ranch's orphan cheetahs, adopted in collaboration with the Cheetah Conservation Fund. Back at base, relax in a hammock beside the pool, and enjoy a cool drink close to the waterhole with binoculars at the ready to observe visiting animals. After dark, enjoy a spot of star-gazing with the camp's resident astronomer. 
Accommodation: Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch 
Drive time: approximately 3 ½ hours, excluding stops 
Today, there's a short 2 hour drive to Fish River Lodge. Set in a grove of ancient quiver trees on the lip of the majestic 550 metre-deep Fish River Canyon, the lodge has a contemporary, minimalist feel and superb views of the gaping wilderness below.   Black eagles soar on the canyon's thermals, and rare mountain zebra, elusive klipspringer, oryx, and kudu roam the remote valleys. Although tricky to spot, otter, fish eagle, and other water-loving species inhabit the Fish River's permanent pools. Guests can enjoy long walks along the canyon's rim, or more relaxed sundowner trails. Depending on the time of year, guides may offer more challenging hikes into the canyon's depths, or a picnic lunch and a swim beside a permanent waterhole. For those who prefer to kick back and relax, breath-taking views can be enjoyed from the lodge's decking from dawn until dark when the super-clear night sky is lit up by the stars. For warmer nights, beds can be made up on a private outdoor sleeping platform on request.  
Accommodation: Fish River Lodge 
Drive time: approximately 2 hours, excluding stops 
Today there's an optional 8 to 10 hour guided hike which descends the sheer face of the upper canyon wall, traverses the rock-strewn wilderness, and passes through a stunning gorge. This is a superb up-close opportunity to explore this breath-taking natural phenomenon, rivalled in size perhaps only by the USA's Grand Canyon. Do bring sturdy hiking boots and a small backpack for this challenging excursion, and note that this particular hike is only offered between April and September when temperatures are not too high. Back at base, enjoy a swim in the pool with its fabulous views, an in-room massage, and a hearty home-cooked meal. 
Accommodation: Fish River Lodge 
Drive time: n/a 
Today begins with the 4 ½ hour drive to Desert Horse Inn, one of four properties at Klein Aus, a private farm occupying a stunning spot on a boulder-strewn hillside at the edge of the Namib Desert. The Inn is a sizeable 30-room property with a lovely pool and spectacular views across the sweeping desert plains, and is a superb departure point for a variety of activities. Walking trails and mountain bike excursions are offered, along with guided nature drives into the desert in search of the Namib's famed wild horses, and the abandoned diamond town of Kolmanskop. If time allows, guests can drive independently to Luderitz for a day's boat cruise, or take a trip out to Diaz Point with its fabulous birdlife. 
Accommodation: Desert Horse Inn, Klein Aus Vista  
Drive time: approximately 4 ½ hours, excluding stops 
Enjoy a full day's relaxation in and around the lodge, enjoying the scenery and perhaps taking part in one or two of the optional activities on offer.   
Accommodation: Desert Horse Inn, Klein Aus Vista 
Drive time: n/a
Today's drive to Sesriem takes around 5 ½ hours, with the option of a slightly longer route along a minor gravel road, widely regarded as the most scenic in Namibia. The unpretentious Desert Homestead Lodge provides comfortable farmhouse-style accommodation just 30 kilometres from the entrance to the Namib Naukluft National Park at Sesriem, and boasts fabulous views over the plains to the dunes and mountains beyond. The lodge specialises in horse-back safaris, and also offers nature drives and guided hikes into the Namib Naukluft Mountains.  
Accommodation: Desert Homestead Lodge 
Drive time: approximately 5 ½ hours, excluding stops 
Make an early start and arrive at the Sesriem entrance to the vast and remote Namib-Naukluft National Park at dawn. This beautiful park comprises a mix of landscapes from expansive gravel plains, to orange sand dunes, inselburgs, and mountain plains. Travel 70 km through the park to reach the 'great dune sea' of Sossusvlei, gigantic dunes which cascade down to the Atlantic Ocean shore. Explore Dead Vlei, whose cracked white earth is dotted with a surreal series of 500-year old petrified trees. If time allows, the Sesriem Canyon is another enchanting destination and, at certain times of year, can be a great place for a refreshing swim. Note that the desert can be extremely hot in the middle of the day, so do remember plenty of water, a hat, high factor sunblock and sturdy, enclosed walking shoes.  Return to the lodge for a rest and afternoon tea, followed by a guided 2 hour sundowner horse ride. Ride back to the lodge under the clear night skies in time for dinner. 
Accommodation: Desert Homestead Lodge 
Drive time: n/a

Onwards today to Swakopmund, a vibrant coastal resort town approximately 5 ½ hours drive from Sesriem via a series of gravel roads and steep mountain passes. Stay overnight at Cornerstone Guesthouse, a peaceful, family-run B&B located between the beach and the town centre. With German architecture harking back to its colonial days, this intriguing town boasts historic buildings, well-maintained gardens, palm tree avenues, coffee bars, and some great restaurants. Temperatures rarely drop below 15C and rainfall is practically zero, although note that the town is subjected to 9 months of morning fog each year. The town is a great base for adrenalin sports such as quad biking and sand boarding in the huge neighbouring dunes, along with kayaking and boat cruises in nearby Sandwich Harbour and Walvis Bay. 
Accommodation: Cornerstone Guesthouse 
Drive time: approximately 5 ½ hours, excluding stops 
Make the short drive to Walvis Bay by 8.30am and check in for a morning's cruise at the Catamaran Charters café. Depart from the Walvis Bay Yacht Club at around 9.00am and cruise out into the beautiful bay towards Pelican Point Lighthouse, from where large numbers of playful seals can be seen at the Cape Fur Seal Colony. See the local oyster platforms and learn about the industry, and enjoy the area's enormous bird diversity, including flamingos, pelicans and cormorants. Depending on the time of year, and of course on luck, you may also see dolphins, and occasionally the bizarre mola-mola (sunfish), leatherback turtle, Humpback, Southern Right or Orca whale. Return to the yacht club at around 12.30pm. The rest of the day is to spend at leisure in Walvis Bay or Swakopmund. 
Accommodation: Cornerstone Guesthouse 
Drive time: n/a 
Today's final drive takes you back to Windhoek airport. It's best to arrive at least 2 hours before flight departure in order to allow enough time to fill up at the airport’s petrol station, drop the hired vehicle back, and check in.
Accommodation: n/a
Drive time: approximately 3 ½ hours, excluding stops


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

- Only 8 rooms
- Hands on management
- Swimming pool and day room available
- Easy reach of restaurants and shops

Our rating


Price guide

Price rating 3

- Stunning dunes location
- Great variety of activities
- Adopted cheetahs in camp
- Horse riding excursions

Our rating


Price guide

Price rating 3

- Located on lip of Fish River Canyon
- Spectacular views
- Modern minimalist styling
- Private Reserve

Our rating


Price guide

Price rating 3

- Located in Klein-Aus Vista
- Horse riding and biking
- Rooms with views

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


Getting there

Namibia has excellent connections via South Africa with regular flights from Johannesburg and some options from Cape Town. Air Namibia also operates via Frankfurt. Flight 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 UK school holidays.

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 includes accommodation (B&B in Windhoek and Swakupmond and Dinner and Breakfast included elsewhere), Canyon full day hike in Fish River Canyon, Sundowner Horse Ride at Desert Homestead, Catamaran Cruise in Swakopmundpark, fees, Ford Ranger Double Cab 4x4 or similar, MediVac insurance, cell phone, cool box and first aid kit

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?

This in depth itinerary exploring Southern Namibia is suited to second time visitors to Namibia and those specifically wanting to visit Fish River Canyon. When combined with our Northern Namibia itinerary, it is also suitable if you are looking for an extensive 3-4 week long journey in Namibia. Namibia is vast and the driving distances on this itinerary are considerable.


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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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.

Classic Namibia self-drive trip featuring the highlights of Namibia including Sossusvlei Dunes, Damaraland and Etosha National Park

Tailor-made Classic 13 days

Adults from $2,694 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 $2,516 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

A circular, self-drive roof-top camping adventure of Namibia enjoying the Sossusvlei dunes, searching for desert adapted elephant and spectacular big game in the Etosha National Park.

Tailor-made Adventure 10 - 14 days

Adults from $2,276 pp plus flights

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

Flights are typically an additional $1,178 per person economy class from London

Families from $1,518 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 $1,178 per person economy class from London

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


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