BEST OF NAMIBIA SELF DRIVE SAFARI
This 13 day self-drive safari showcases the very best of Namibia. It offers the perfect combination of Namibia’s greatest attractions, breath-taking landscapes, and diverse African wildlife.
The route incorporates two ancient deserts, the Kalahari and the Namib, the awe-inspiring Fish River Canyon, the charming coastal town of Swakopmund nestled between the sea and desert, and in the heart of the country, Etosha National Park one of Africa’s most renowned wildlife sanctuaries.
The Best of Namibia Self Drive Safari is the perfect trip for first-time visitors, allowing a thorough exploration of Namibia’s highlights.
Day 1 Kalahari Desert (Kalahari Anib Lodge)
The first day takes you southwards out of the Windhoek hills, and east into the red sands of the Kalahari and to the stylish Kalahari Anib Lodge. For those who want to try a more adventurous route for the last stretch, a gravel alternative to the tar road will lead you through the countryside along small rolling sand-dunes.
Day 2 – 3 Fish River Canyon (Canyon Roadhouse)
Namibia’s Fish River Canyon – the second largest canyon in the world – is calling! The road takes you through the Gondwana Canyon Park, a 130 000-hectare private nature reserve, and your home for the best two nights is the red-roofed Canyon Roadhouse, with its wonderful collection of classic automobiles.
After breakfast in the quirky Roadhouse restaurant, the day is yours to explore the area at a leisurely pace. A short drive from the Roadhouse leads to Hobas, which gives you access to the canyon viewpoints. Or stretch legs by walking to Hikers’ Point along the edge of the canyon,aqq or drive along the rim roads to gain different perspectives of this awe-inspiring natural masterpiece.
Day 4 – 5 Kolmanskop (Klein Aus Vista)
On day four make your way to Kolmanskop. Choose between the more adventurous route to the south that follows the Orange River, or follow the route northwards via Naute Dam. The flat-topped mountains provide company along the way as you follow the road over small bridges that cross several temporary rivers. A good place to stop for lunch is Alte Kalköfen lodge, a short detour off the main road, and a chance to visit the small lithoparium – a lithops nursery and the only place in Namibia authorised to propagate these ‘flowering stones’.
The warm family-owned Klein Aus Vista Lodge is a few kilometres after Aus, and your home for the next two nights. The lodge, which celebrates the spirit of the wild horses, is the perfect base from which to explore the area, and reconnect with your own sense of freedom.
On day five make your way westwards to the coastal town Lüderitz, nestled in the gnarled rocks of the desert. Time your trip to venture out on a catamaran to view Lüderitz’s bays, or to join a short tour of the deserted old diamond town of Kolmanskop on the outskirts of the town. The day is for exploring this unusual desert town in your own time.
On your way back, pay a visit to the century-old population of Namib wild horses at the Garub viewpoint, where you can watch the horses gallop in to drink at the waterhole before you return to Klein Aus Vista for a delicious dinner.
Day 6 – 7 Sossusvlei (Namib Desert Lodge)
Today’s journey is on gravel, and takes you north to exquisite desert scenery. You will drive through the Namib Rand Nature Reserve – slow down and keep your eyes open for wildlife along this section of unfenced road. Sixty kilometres north of Sesriem, at the foot of a ridge of 20-million-year-old fossilised sand dunes, Namib Desert Lodge appears.
Day seven is spent exploring the famous dune area around Sossusvlei and Dead Vlei. Take a walk to Dead Vlei, the ancient and picturesque pan studded with dead acacia trees and surrounded by towering sand dunes. Sossusvlei, slightly further on, is best appreciated from a height. Be sure to take a short stroll up the surrounding sand dunes, or if you feel more energetic, climb to the top of the Big Mama dune to view the spectacular view from up high.
Day 8 – 9 Swakopmund (The Delight hotel)
Be prepared to be delighted in Swakopmund! But first, there’s an interesting journey through the desert northwards to the coast. The road north takes you through the fascinating landscape of the Gaub and Kuiseb canyons. It crosses over small bridges where the rivers rush down in flood after heavy rainfall. Gravel plains lead to Walvis Bay (its lagoon decorated with flamingos at certain times of the year), ending with an intriguing drive between desert dunes and sparkling sea to Swakopmund. Here, you’ll be welcomed by the friendly staff at The Delight Hotel, a breath of fresh air in the desert.
On day nine enjoy The Delight’s delicious breakfast spread, complete with oysters and champagne, before exploring Swakopmund, an old German town with ample coffee, curio shops and book shops – and a large museum – to keep you entertained for hours.
It’s also the adventure hub of Namibia and offers a choice of excursions, from scenic flights, paragliding and dune-boarding to the more serene dolphin trips and living desert tours. At the end of the day savour the sunset over the sea from the end of the wooden jetty that extends out into the crashing waves.
Day 10 Damaraland (Damara Mopane Lodge)
After the delicious breakfast spread at The Delight, follow the salt road along the coast northwards towards Henties Bay, before heading inland to Damaraland. Your overnight stop, Damara Mopane Lodge, is 30km east of Khorixas.
Set amongst the mopane trees, the chalets are built in a semi-circular labyrinth design with a turquoise pool at their centre. Each chalet has its own veranda and small garden planted with a selection of fresh vegetables. Scarecrows peek out between the sunflowers and spinach, adding extra charm to this unexpected oasis in the middle of the sandy plains.
At the end of the day, don’t miss the walk up the koppie for sundowners and a sensational view of the lodge and surrounding mopane savannah before returning to the comfort of the lodge and the enticing aromas of dinner.
Day 11 -12 Etosha National Park (Etosha Safari Camp)
Enjoy breakfast amidst the mopane trees before the gentle drive northwards towards Etosha National Park. Early birds have the option of visiting the Twyfelfontein engravings in the morning and travelling to Etosha Safari Camp in the afternoon. Relax by the pool or visit the national park to spend time at the large Okaukuejo waterhole or the nearby waterholes before returning to the lodge before sunset.
A highlight of a stay at Etosha Safari Camp is the colourful and lively Shebeen restaurant, modelled on Namibia’s informal bars or taverns of old, where people gathered to meet, have a drink and listen to music. Enjoy the mouth-watering dinner served inside around fireplace in the cooler months, or in the courtyard under the stars, where the resident band ‘The Etosha Boys’ strum their guitars and sing local melodies.
On day 12 explore the wonders of the Etosha National Park, a thriving wildlife sanctuary, where masses of animals congregate around waterholes. As the best game-viewing times of the day are in the morning and afternoon, head out early, returning to relax around the lodge’s pool for a midday siesta before setting out again. Make your way back to the lodge for cocktails and dinner, and to once again tap your toes to an African beat, before your return journey to the capital the following day.
Day 13 Windhoek
Day 13 sees you make your way back to Windhoek to end your safari.
Climb the world’s highest dunes at Sossusvlei
4×4 self-drive safari – freedom to travel at your own pace
Kalahari Desert – beautiful rolling red sand dunes
Fish River Canyon – second largest canyon in the world
Kolmaskop – desert-adapted wild horses
Namib Desert – huge sand dunes, Sesriem Canyon & Deadvlei
Swakopmund – Namibia’s adventure capital
Damaraland – look out for desert-adapted elephants
Etosha – exciting game drives
Accommodation as specified (all on a bed and breakfast basis)
Detailed en-route map guide
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