Tailored from £6,650 per couple excl. flights
13 days Namib-Naukluft, Swakopmund, Damaraland, Etosha, Central Highlands
13 days Namib-Naukluft, Swakopmund, Damaraland, Etosha, Central Highlands
Namibia is home to some of the most incredible landscapes in the world. From ethereal, moonscapes to stark orange dunes, the country is simply extraordinary. The best way to take it all in is with a self driving tour, offering the unrivaled feeling of freedom to discover the country at your own pace.
You’ll begin your adventure in Windhoek, picking up the keys to your rental vehicle before setting out for the Namib Desert the following day. The Namib-Naukluft is one of the most iconic regions in Namibia. Spend a couple of nights marveling at the blazing orange sand dunes, before moving up the Skeleton Coast to Swakopmund, known as the adventure capital of the country. You can spot seals and shipwrecks before heading into Damaraland, where you’ll have the opportunity to search for rare desert-adapted wildlife.
Keep venturing north to Etosha National Park, one of the best wildlife reserves in Africa. You’ll end your trip in the remote Central Highlands at Okonjima, home to the exceptional AfriCat Foundation.
You’ll be staying in world-class luxury accommodation, ranging from private chalets overlooking the magnificent dunes, to lavish lodges with views over game-rich watering holes. With every request and preference catered to, this Namibia Self Drive Adventure takes you around the wonders of Namibia in style.
Upon arrival in Namibia, you will be greeted by a Wayfairer travel representative and taken into the capital city to your guesthouse.
Take the opportunity to unwind after, potentially, a very long journey, you will stay in one of Windhoek’s first ever boutique hotels. Your stay in a Junior Suite at the Olive Exclusive will come well equipped with a free-standing bath, candles, eco-friendly body products, fluffy towels and a mattress to welcome your body to rest.
This afternoon is when you hire car will be delivered, a Ford Ranger 4x4 or similar on a premium package. A member of our team on the ground will go through all the details of your itinerary and answer any specific questions that you might have.
Following breakfast this morning, you will drive away from civilisation, toward the desert that dominates this country. Making your way south to Sesriem, this journey will take five to six hours. With plenty of photo opportunities en-route, you will find that time moves particularly quickly on the road.
Your lodge for the next two nights is Kulala Desert Lodge. This is situated within a private Kulala Wilderness Reserve and along with it’s sister lodge, Little Kulala, has a private gate to the Namib-Naukluft National Park. This enables guided trips from the lodge to start slightly ahead of the other lodges and self-drive visitors coming from outside of the park.
Upon arrival you are free to relax, letting the views of the sweeping plains tap into your soul and perhaps spot a roaming oryx or springbok, totally at home in this harsh environment.
Book onto a guided trip with Kulala Desert Lodge to make the most of their private entrance into the national park. You are still only allowed into the park at sunrise but you have a head start on most of the other visitors to the dunes, enabling you to make the most of the gorgeous, golden morning light and hopefully the chance for photos without too many other people in.
For those feeling particularly spritely this morning, climbing ‘Big Daddy’ is certainly going to get your heart beating and your quads burning. For everyone else climbing the ‘shoulder’ of ‘Big Daddy’ gives you some breath-taking views and running down the sand dunes is great fun. After your fill of the sand dunes, pans and skeletal camelthorn trees your guide will set out some snacks and hot drinks under the shade of a tree before you head back to the lodge. Enjoy a guided walk, a nature drive or just relax at the lodge this afternoon.
One of the longer car journeys today as you head north across the Namib Desert, make sure to stop for a picture at the Tropic of Capricorn sign and if you are looking for a destination to break up the journey and for a spot of lunch then Rostock Ritz Lodge, who’s turn off is near to the sign, is a great option.
Continue towards the coast, you will first reach Walvis Bay and it’s lagoon home to thousands of wading birds.
You will find Swakopmund is a place to relax, soaked in both sun and history. Your comfortable guesthouse, Villa Margherita, is set a short distance from the centre of town, it provides a homely, relaxing oasis but it is still just a short distance from the centre of town and the refreshing coastline.
Today, following a wholesome breakfast, make your way to the Walvis Bay waterfront for a morning of touring the coast by catamaran. Aboard the Royal Sailing Catamaran you will enjoy an adventure packed tour to Pelican Point and Walvis Bay. With a chance of seeing the ‘Marine Big 5’ including dolphins, whales, turtles, seals and mola mola fish, you will be astounded by how much the Atlantic Coast has to offer and see.
On board the catamaran enjoy delicious snacks and beverages, including fresh oysters and sparkling wine, before heading back to Walvis Bay and to your vehicle. You have the afternoon to explore Swakopmund and it’s many cafes, restaurants and markets.
Following your in-town explorations, get back into your vehicle and travel through to Damaraland. It will take around 4-5 hours to arrive here, but boy is it worth it.
Your destination is Camp Kipwe, which is one of the most sought after properties in this popular area of Damaraland. Set in the dramatic landscapes of Damaraland, this will be your accommodation for the next couple of nights. Built around and among the granite boulder characteristic of the region the setting is that of vast and unspoilt wilderness and fantastical geological formations.
Here will be your base for sightings of desert-adapted animals, a vast array of flora and fauna, and exquisite archaeological sites. Take the afternoon to sink into your surroundings.
Watch the sun radiate the rocky surroundings, listen to the echoing call and response of the birds as you rise this morning. Today you have a lot to see and experience and your best chance of tracking down the desert-adapted wildlife of the region is by heading out a nature drive, which can booked directly with the lodge.
During this nature drive, you will be shown the wilderness by one of Camp Kipwe expert guides. With ample opportunities to see the animal life that governs this area, a highlight will be sightings of desert-adapted elephants.
In the afternoon, you might want to head out on the Twyfelfontein, Burnt Mountain and Organ Pipes excursion. Lasting around 2 hours, on this tour you will be guided around the famous UNESCO World Heritage Site of Twyfelfontein to explore the ancient rock engravings left by civilisations of the past; you will also see the Burnt Mountain and the unusual Organ Pipe formation.
However, if lounging by the pool and relaxing on your private decking tickles your fancy, then there is nothing stopping you from sitting back and enjoying the spectacular views. Enjoy a delicious, included, dinner.
Retreating inland toward Etosha’s southern border, you will drive for around 5 hours towards the private nature reserve of Ongava. This is home to Anderssons at Ongava, your destination for the next two nights. Immersed in African mopane bush, here you will find your luxury suite is designed in a fashion to echo the wild, untamed nature of Etosha
After an orientation of the camp and settling in to your suite you might like to check out the Ongava Research Centre which is on site or perhaps the sunken hide which overlooks the camp’s productive waterhole. A sunsets approaches share a drink and the toast the day gone by, keep a look out for lion, eland, waterbuck, kudu and other remarkable animals which call the reserve home.
Dinner will be enjoyed in the communal dining area where the pool affords an intimate view of the waterhole. This evening, sit back and allow nature to do it’s thing.
Because of Ongava’s proximity to Etosha, today you will be able to enjoy game drives around the national park or the private reserve. For those looking for something a little more active set off on a guided bush walk with one of the experienced and armed guides. Ongava holds one of the largest rhino custodianships for the Namibian government in the country and is one of the few private game reserves in southern Africa where guests can see both black and white rhino. A truly unique and inspiring experience. All meals and activities are included during your stay here.
Today, take your time as you drive east across Etosha National Park towards the Von Lindequist Gate on the eastern side. Take some snacks or a packed lunch with you and stop off at the numerous waterholes on the way. Your accommodation will be the Mushara Outpost, which just outside of the eastern gate to the park. This lodge is situated on an ancient, dry riverbed known as an omuramba.
Here, you will be greeted by a homely atmosphere in the renovated farmhouse that will be your base for the next 24 hours. From the Mushara Outpost you will have the opportunity to go on game drives into Etosha with the lodge or explore independently.
After breakfast this morning, you will hop back into your vehicle and start heading south. After roughly a 4-hour drive, you will arrive at your welcome next stop: Okonjima Plains Camp.
This is a family-run lodge at the foot of the sandstone Omboroko Mountains, in the Central Highlands of Namibia. Amidst the Acacia thornveld, upon arrival in this lush haven, you will find yourself surrounded by a seemingly infinite 200 square km of undulating plains, mountainous outcrops and riverine thickets. This is home to a number of predator species of which the reserve is famous for.
A two day stay at Okonjima offers the best chance to see wild leopard in Namibia, including those collared for research purposes. After your arrival here, you will have the afternoon free to relax and book onto a sunset game drive, should you wish. When you return in the evening, a delicious dinner will be waiting, and - of course - a sundowner.
Today will be dedicated to seeing the wild cats - namely leopards - that are the dominate predators in this area. Activities take place in the early sunlight hours, or from mid-afternoon and these can be booked directly with the lodge.
The leopard tracking activity will involve searching the vast private nature reserve for some of these radio collared predators with your experienced guide and their telemetry device. However, the focus is not just on this and you will also see plentiful other wildlife in the reserve.
Alternatively, a guided bush adventure through the acacia thickets is on offer. The goal here is to track the brown and spotted hyena or rhino on foot.
In between morning and afternoon activities, in what is normally ‘siesta’ time, you have the opportunity to get involved with Okonjima’s conservation initiative: the AfriCat Foundation. On the Carnivore Care and Information Centre guided trail, you can learn about the hugely important work that they do and meet some of their ‘species ambassadors’. Knowledgeable guides will answer questions, explain the work they do with animals across Namibia and even get a good souvenir photograph.
Once again, in the afternoon you will have complementary afternoon tea before your choice of an additional activity.
After breakfast, you’ll begin the three and half hour drive back to Windhoek. We recommend that you arrive around 3 hours before your flight departure, on arrival, you can get some lunch, drop off your hire car and head to international departures for your return flight home.
After two extraordinary weeks spent exploring Namibia’s unparalleled natural wonders, wildlife and conservation projects, you’ll be leaving with a string of stories and special memories to share back home.
If you’re ready for even more wild self drive adventure, we recommend heading to South Africa, where you can drive some of the greatest scenic roads in the world, and spot the Big Five at some of the best wildlife reserves in Africa.