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Tailored from £3,700 per person excl. flights

10 days Namib-Naukluft, Swakopmund, Damaraland, Etosha, Central Highlands

Taking in the highlights of Namibia: this is the perfect itinerary for your first crack at a self-drive safari

This itinerary is a real favourite for those looking to explore a corner of Africa at their own pace and with the freedom of their own vehicle. Namibia is a fantastically diverse country and, fortunately, it is a very manageable destination in terms of getting around. We will give you all the advice you need alongside having a great team on the ground to make sure every detail is covered as you hit the open roads. 

This itinerary is a circular route and a whistle-stop tour of Namibia’s highlights. It starts with the vegetated Kalahari Desert and the spectacular sand-dunes of the Namib-Naukluft before heading north to the historic town of Swakopmund. Heading north from here it is into Namibia’s renowned wildlife areas; search for desert-adapted mega-fauna in Damaraland, before the wildlife spectacle that is Etosha National Park. On the way south enjoy a last chance to stretch your legs and soak up the Namibian sunshine in the Erongo Mountains before you depart. The lodges are exceptional in not only their location, atmosphere, and hospitality - but most importantly - in the pride taken to nurture the environment.

What's included:

  • Private airport transfers upon arrival
  • Shared safari activities as stated
  • Hire car
  • Detailed driving instructions
  • Meals & drinks as mentioned in full itinerary
  • Accommodation as stated
  • Local cell phone
  • Travel concierge service
  • Meet and greet with our local team

Call us on +44 117 313 3300 to start planning your holiday, we’re looking forward to hearing from you


Trip Itinerary

Day 1: Kalahari

Day 1 - Drive to the Vegetated Kalahari Desert
Day 1 - Drive to the Vegetated Kalahari Desert  Listing Image

Upon arrival in Namibia, you will be met by a Wayfairer representative and taken to pick up your hire car. A member of our local team will be on hand to hand over your final travel documents and answer any questions that you might have. Your hire car is Renault Duster AWD, or similar, on a premium package.

Then head south, to the edge of Kalahari Desert, a drive of around 2.5 hours. Upon arrival at the Kalahari Red Dunes Lodge, you will notice that the small congregation of thatched roof guesthouses are centred around a dry lake, otherwise known as a vlei. A hot spot for all walks of life, the vlei is overlooked by a swimming pool on a risen decking. The dream spot to enjoy the impressive views.

Days 2-3: Namib-Naukluft National Park

Day 2 - Drive to Sesriem
Day 2 - Drive to Sesriem  Listing Image

Wake early and enjoy a morning walk or nature drive with Kalahari Red Dunes before jumping back in your hire car and travelling west towards the Namib-Naukluft National Park. It is a drive of around 4 hours, but the time tends to pass quickly as you travel through impressive landscapes with plenty of photo opportunities.

One of only two lodges inside the renowned national park, your destination is Dead Valley Lodge. This new lodge has 20 chalets and each offers spectacular panoramic views towards the dunes. It has a fresh, earthy but modern feel and it is perfect destination for self-drive visits or guided tours around the area.

Due to it’s location inside the park you are one of very few people able to access the dunes an hour before sunrise and an hour after sunset. The magical light illuminating the dunes in the morning and it’s last rays fading in the evening is something you are not going to forget in a hurry.

Day 3 - Climb Some of World’s Highest Dunes
Day 3 - Climb Some of World’s Highest Dunes Listing Image

The best time to visit the dunes is at first light, before it gets too hot and with the contrast of the first light shining on one side, and the shadow created by the dunes on the other. Here, you are welcome to explore independently by driving yourself along the 60km tarred road to the car park. However, beware of the last 5km as this is deep sand and should only be attempted by those with experience of driving a 4x4.

Otherwise, book onto a guided trip to Sossusvlei and Deadvlei with the lodge and sit back, relax and soak up your expert guides knowledge of the area.  As well as the impressive dunes keep a look out for oryx, springboks, zebras and ostriches.

Once your memory cards are nearing capacity and sand has filled your shoes retire back to the lodge. If climbing some of the highest freestanding dunes in the world has tired you out, then relax in the air-conditioned luxury of your room or enjoy a dip in the swimming pool.

Days 4: Swakopmund

Day 4 - To the Coast!
Swakopmund German colonial town on the coast of Namibia

Set off early this morning, for one of the longer driving days of the trip, it is around 5-6 hrs to Swakopmund. A lengthy but scenic journey, you will drive through the Namib-Desert towards the coast.

Here, you will find Namibian’s often referenced, ‘only holiday spot’. Stretching from the mouth of the Swakop River out into the surrounding desert plain, this town is climatically more temperate than the interior and architecturally quirky, featuring German colonial buildings from the 19th century. Unlike the rest of Namibia, it is widely recognised by tourists. Because of this you will find far more choices in activities, eating out, and night life. Yes, night life… 

Just 10 minutes’ walk away from the beach and city centre, Villa Margherita offers modern and tasteful surroundings. Upon arrival, you will notice that the location of this guesthouse is ideal for exploring town. Set in a quiet suburb adjacent to the city centre, you’ll find yourself situated in a brilliant base for some cultural explorations.

Take the afternoon as you please, mooching around the city centre or have a drink overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

Day 5: Damaraland

Day 5 – Head Back Inland, to the Wilderness of Damaraland
Day 5 – Head Back Inland, to the Wilderness of Damaraland  Listing Image

Following some in-town explorations, you will shortly return to the wilderness. This drive will take 4-5 hours as you head into central Damaraland.

When you arrive, you will notice that Camp Kipwe is almost completely camouflaged in the natural surroundings. Nestled within the rocks overlooking the Aba Huab Valley, this accommodation offers local guides with a passion for sharing their intimate knowledge and respect for the land that they have helped to sustain and therefore see it flourish.

Here you will have the opportunity to experience what it really means to stay true to ‘umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu’, Camp Kipwe’s main mantra. Whilst doing so, you will kick back in glorious rondavel rooms that offer views of the setting sun over a sleepy desert. A sublime experience.

Day 6 – Search for Desert Adapted Elephants
Day 6 – Search for Desert Adapted Elephants  Listing Image

Included today are a morning and an afternoon activity, it is a day of explorations and game drives. Rising early, after breakfast head out in a safari vehicle for 4 to 6 hours to explore the surrounding area in search for desert adapted animals, such as the iconic desert elephants.

Spend your morning observing these gentle giants roaming the spectacular landscape. With plenty of snacks and light refreshments along the way, you will have a guided insight into the surrounding wildlife and return back to camp for an afternoon to chill.

At around 3-4pm you will have the opportunity to have a tour of Twyfelfontein, the Burnt Mountain and the Organ Pipes nearby. This guided excursion of the UNESCO World Heritage Site will give you a chance to see the ancient rock engravings from previous civilisations and remarkable natural rock formations.

Days 7-8: Etosha National Park

Day 7 – On the Road to Etosha
Day 7 – On the Road to Etosha Listing Image

The destination today is Namibia’s premier wildlife destination of Etosha National Park. Stay for two nights on the private Ongava Game Reserve, which is adjacent to the national park and perfect for activities inside the private reserve as well as into the national park. 

Anderssons at Ongava is one of four lodges on the reserve, sheltered within mopane scrub. It is a resurrected former farmstead, and also home to the Ongava Research Centre and a thriving waterhole with an accompanying hide- perfect for photography.

The eco-sensitive nature of the lodging provides an authentic, safe and down-to-earth experience for travellers to the Etosha region. All rooms feature a private viewing deck, outdoor showers and lots of space to settle into nature.

This prolific 30,000-hectare private game reserve in northern Namibia is now a haven to large concentrations of diverse wildlife. This evening is yours to appreciate your surroundings, have a cooling dip in the pool, or just listen to the gentle ebb and flow of bird-calls as the sun sinks beneath the horizon.

Day 8 - The Chance to Approach Rhino on Foot

The best time for game drives is in the cool of the early morning, or that mirrored by the evening.

At Anderssons, the owners of the lodge pride themselves in having an intimate knowledge of the land and it’s landscape, introducing you to the numerous different mammal species that can be found on the reserve.

A particularly special experience is a walking tour of the bush, during a game drive on the reserve if you encounter white rhino and the guide is sufficiently happy with the conditions then you may be allowed to approach on foot- an exhilarating experience. Other than this, lions, elephants, giraffe and several stunning species of antelope are at home on the reserve.

After a day filled with encounters, observations and amazements, you will retreat to your luxurious safari tent.

Day 9: The Central Highlands

Day 9 – Tranquility and Walking in the Erongo Mountains
Day 9 – Tranquility and Walking in the Erongo Mountains Listing Image

This morning you will set-off southward toward Ai Aiba Lodge, situated in the region known as The Central Highlands. On a roughly 3hr journey you will notice the landscape become increasingly dramatic; framed by mountain massifs and granite dome formations known as kopjes, the location is impressive to say the least.

The magnificent geological features of the environment are prominent, and the area is well-known for Bushman rock art and rare birdlife.

Enjoy the views from the impressive dining area, overlooking views of the Erongo Mountains and keep an eye out for daily visitors to available water at the lodge, most notably rosy-cheeked lovebirds which are a highlight of the region. There are a number of unguided and guided walking trials, however you are free to relax as you please.

This lodge is a proud founder of the Erongo Mountain Nature Conservancy, a community effort with 30 other private landowners whereby they are committed to conserve, protect and preserve over 200,000ha of land. This includes historic cultural heritage of the rock painting and engravings.

Day 10: Fly home

Day 10 - Head Back to Windhoek for your International Flights

From Ai Aiba Lodge it is a drive of around 3.5 hours to the international airport, so it is comfortable to drive from here to check-in for your international flights. We recommend arriving at least 3 hours prior to check-in to give you plenty of time to return your hire car and to check-in.


Talk to the team

Find out more and tailor your perfect trip with the help of
our specialist team on +44 117 313 3300

Why Wayfairer

Namibia is a country that is performing phenomenally well in terms of responsible tourism. The country is very aware of the importance of preserving areas of natural beauty, the wildlife that inhabits these areas and the fascinating local people that have existed on the land for centuries. 

Conservation and responsible travel are at the heart of our itineraries. Within this itinerary you will have the chance to track rhino responsibly and safely on foot, learn about endangered populations of desert elephants and visit the research and conservation headquarters at Ongava. 

Why Wayfairer Classic Namibia Holiday

Call us on +44 117 313 3300 to start planning your holiday, we’re looking forward to hearing from you