Introduction to Namibia – Self-drive – Classic

A superb introduction to this absolutely stunning country. I took this route myself in May 2019 and was blown away by the scenery, friendly people and ease of getting around. Namibia is the perfect self-drive destination in my opinion and every day is a new adventure!

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Day 1

Upon arrival at Hosea Kutako International Airport, our representative will meet you at arrivals and transfer you to your accommodation for the night.

Windhoek Gardens Boutique Hotel is located 5 minutes away from the centre of Windhoek, making it a perfect mix of convenience and practicality.

You can explore Windhoek in the afternoon and evening, enjoying a meal at one of the city’s many excellent restaurants – or simply relax at the hotel.

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Day 2

Driving Distance: 267.44km                      Approximate Travel Time: 3:00 hours

You travel north, and can stop at small towns along the way including Okahandja, where you can visit Namibia’s largest wood carving market.  The market is operated on a local co-operative basis and is one of the best places to shop for truly Namibian souvenirs.  Continuing north, passing through farmland, aim to arrive at Okonjima during the middle afternoon, giving you time to relax for a while before heading out on to the property to take part in the afternoon’s optional activity.

Okonjima is the home of the Africat Foundation, a specialist conservation concern that centres its operations on the African Big Cats, particularly cheetah.  This afternoon you will be taken on a tour during which you will be able to meet, close-up-and-personal, some of the cheetah that are going through the Africat rehabilitation programme. 

Most of the animals currently living at Okonjima have been rescued from various desperate situations, being orphaned or caught in a trap, and the aim of the rehabilitation process is to attempt to re-introduce them into the wild.

After the educational tour you return to camp for dinner.

 

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Day 3

Driving Distance: 355.56km                     Approximate Travel Time: 4:05 hours

An early start and continuing north you pass through some small towns, where you can stop for a break if you wish.

Continuing on to East Etosha and Onguma Game Reserve, aim to arrive in time for lunch, giving you time to relax before heading into the Reserve during the cool of the late afternoon for our first game drive.

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Day 4

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Day 5

Distance: Game drive                     Approximate Travel Time: All Day – Gates open at sunrise and close at sunset

A full day’s game driving.  Leave early to enjoy the cool morning air as you game drive your way through Etosha to Halali camp, situated in the middle of the park.  Along the way you can visit several waterholes and will have splendid views of the massive Etosha Pan.  The game viewing is usually excellent and you will have the chance to tick off a few new species that are not normally seen on the eastern side of the park. 

Sstop at Halali for a rest and a leisurely lunch.  There is time to visit the Halali waterhole and to make use of the swimming pool and bar facilities before continuing on your way and game driving down to Okaukuejo, Etosha’s main rest camp and resort. Originally the site of a German fort built in 1901, Okaukuejo now houses the Etosha Ecological Institute, founded in 1974; the round watchtower is a remnant of the fort.

After your evening meal there are still more chances to see Etosha’s big game at a floodlit waterhole, situated on the boundary of the resort and easily reachable within a few minutes on foot.

The waterhole has been described as one of the “best game viewing opportunities in Southern Africa” and the ideal venue to witness peculiar animal politics. Black rhino, Africa’s tallest elephants, lion and numerous species of antelope are regular visitors during the cool, dry season.

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Day 6

Driving Distance: 304.80km                     Approximate Travel Time: 4:50 hours

Today you head into one of the most beautiful desert regions in Namibia, Damaraland.  You can visit the ancient Bushman rock engravings at Twyfelfontein before arriving at the spectacular Country Lodge.

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Day 7

Driving Distance: 331.93km                     Approximate Travel Time: 4:30 hours

From here you head deeper into the desert and pass Namibia’s highest mountain, The Brandberg, (2573 m) and more beautiful Damaraland scenery.  We recommend a stop in the small town of Uis, an old mining town, and one of the best places to buy semi-precious stones, for which Namibia is famous.  Here, rough Amethyst, Tourmaline etc can be found at bargain prices.

From here you turn directly west and cross the gravel plains on your way to the Atlantic Ocean and the Skeleton Coast.  Meeting the ocean at HentiesBay, you can first head north along the coast to visit the seal colony at CapeCross.  At certain times of the year as many as 100,000 CapeFur seals congregate.

The next destination is Swakopmund, following the Skeleton Coast into Namibia’s premier seaside town.  You should aim to arrive in the late afternoon giving you time to explore the town on foot before sunset.

Tonight you can take the chance to sample one of the excellent restaurants.  The seafood in Swakopmund is superb. 

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Day 8

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Day 9

Driving Distance: 357.46km                     Approximate Travel Time: 4:40 hours

Your first stop is at Walvis Bay, situated about 40 km south of Swakopmund.  South of the town there is a large marine lagoon which is home to a vast array of marine bird-life, in particular flamingos.

You can make a short visit to the lagoon to see the birds and a short visit to Walvis Bay if you need anything for the long drive. Then it’s time to head out into the desert.  The second part of your journey today takes you across more of the seemingly endless Namib gravel plains.  Then the landscape suddenly changes and you are into the mountain desert.

You traverse both the Kuiseb and Gaub passes, driving both times to the river beds at the bottom of the canyons and then climbing the long steep road to the top and the spectacular panoramas the mountains give you.  Again the scenery changes as you make your way down to the dune fields. You cross some open grass savannah and farmlands before the terrain begins to give way to the immense red sand dune desert of the Namib and from here it is only a short distance to your next stop, Desert Homestead Lodge.

Aim to arrive during the late afternoon and watch the colours glow and change on the distant mountains to the east.

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Day 10

A pre-dawn start is essential this morning as you want to catch the soft light of the sunrise on the desert. After passing through Sesriem, the gateway to the dunes and driving into the heart of the dune field, you reach Sossusvlei itself by driving the last 5 km through the dunes (4WD only – alternatively you can walk or take the regular bus transport). In the cool of the morning, with soft sunlight just beginning to play over the dunes creating a sharp light and shadow contrast across the whole desert, the area is like nothing else.  Ancient mineral pans, stunted camel thorn trees and the chance of seeing a gemsbok or maybe an ostrich make the photo opportunities perfect.

Climbing the Big Daddy dune is a must, but is a tough climb. The views en route and from the top make it worthwhile, though!

You can also visit Dune 45, and as the day wears on return to the lodge for lunch to escape the heat of the afternoon.  As the day cools off in the late afternoon you can take a short excursion to the Sesriem Canyon.

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Day 11

Driving Distance: 307.28km                     Approximate Travel Time: 4:00 hours

After breakfast you begin our journey over the mountains and along scenic roads, back to Windhoek.  Stop at Solitaire to stretch your legs then proceed back to Windhoek via the Khomas Hochland Mountain range back to civilization.

Return your hire car and we transfer you back to your accommodation. Spend your last afternoon and evening in Namibia in the capital and overnight at your hotel in Windhoek.

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Day 12

Today you will be transferred to the airport for your flight home. Sad to leave, but with plans to return!