self drive safari in namibia

Self-drive safari in Namibia Visit Etosha National Park and the Namib Desert before stopping off at the seaside town of Swakopmund
14 days, 13 nights | From NAD 49 893 | Okonjima, Etosha National Park, Damaraland, Swakopmund, Namib Desert, Sossusvlei

Your journey at a glance

This extraordinary self-drive adventure takes you through the natural highlights of Namibia, from its rich wildlife areas to its charming coastal towns and the wonders of the Namib Desert. Begin your adventure with intimate encounters with big cats at Okonjima and move on to the stark beauty of the salt pans and the rich wildlife of famous Etosha National Park.

Venture into the rugged and rocky landscape of Damaraland, where fascinating desert species exist next to relics of ancient San Bushmen. Immerse yourself in the adventure activities and colonial charm of the seaside town of Swakopmund before heading off to explore an immense sea of sand in the depths of the Namib Desert at Sossusvlei.

Highlights of the itinerary

  • Local hospitality
  • Remote wilderness
  • An abundance of space, utter silence and clear skies
  • Photographers’ and nature lovers’ paradise
  • The charming seaside town of Swakopmund – also referred to as Namibia’s adventure capital
  • The gigantic copper-coloured sand dunes of Sossusvlei
  • Soaring effortlessly over the desert and its dunes on a hot air balloon safari

Specially created for

  • Adventure travellers
  • Africa addicts
  • Nature lovers
  • Stargazers
  • Avid photographers

 

What to expect …

Collect rental car Day 1

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Upon your arrival at Hosea Kutako (Windhoek) International Airport you will be met by an &Beyond representative who will get you on the road with your rental car and provide you with a quick briefing of your itinerary.

Overnight in Windhoek Day 1

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Kick-start your adventure with an approximate hours’ drive to the exceptional Olive Exclusive Boutique Hotel, where you will spend one night.

Drive to Okonjima Reserve Day 2

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Wake up to a delicious breakfast before you hop into your car for a three-hour drive to the Okonjima Reserve.

Spend 2 nights in the Okonjima Reserve Day 2- 4

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Okonjima Reserve is situated just west of the renowned Waterberg Plateau Park, amidst the vast plains scattered with the remnants of ancient sandstone outcrops that skirt the Omboroko Mountains. A Herero name meaning “place of the baboons” this spectacular area is home to the world-famous AFRICAT Foundation, which supports the conservation of the world’s largest free-ranging population of cheetah and Namibia’s large wildcat population. Created as a refuge for rehabilitated predators, the reserve is a haven for cheetah, leopard, spotted hyena and African wild dog, as well as several species of antelope.

Spend two nights in the Okonjima Reserve, staying at your choice of value or luxury itinerary options. Please refer to the terms and conditions for details of what each option includes.

Interpretive tours of the AFRICAT foundation Day 3

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Among the carnivores being researched and rehabilitated at AFRICAT are cheetah, leopard, lion, caracal, wild dog and hyena. Visitors to the area can embark on interpretive tours of the foundation as well as enjoying breathtaking nature drives.

Adventures include tracking cheetah and leopard on foot, bird watching and the opportunity to embark on the Bushmen Trail, during which guests can experience a day in the life of a San Bushman.

Night drives set off after dinner, providing a glimpse into the nocturnal life of the predators, as well as magnificent viewing of the star-studded skies. Keen hikers can set off into the majestic solitude of the desert on a selection of nature trails, while bird watchers will be sure to spot and photograph a number of colourful species.

Drive to the Eastern outskirts of Etosha National Park Day 4

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Tuck into a wholesome breakfast and head off on a three to four-hour self-drive adventure to Onguma Tented Camp the on the outskirts of Etosha National Park.

Spend 2 nights on the eastern outskirts of Etosha National Park Day 4 - 6

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Etosha is one of Africa’s great wildlife parks and Namibia’s prime wildlife conservation area. Spanning a vast 22 300 km², it consists mostly of grassy plains around a huge saltpan, which becomes a beautiful lake after heavy rains and attracts large flocks of pink candy-floss-coloured flamingos. Etosha hosts a vast array of animals, including the Big Five, as well as giraffes and rare and unusual species like the black-faced impala, Hartmann’s Mountain zebra or the smallest antelope in the world, the Damara dik-dik. Large herds of elephant can also be seen, while predators range from lion to black-backed jackal. The wildlife in Etosha congregates around the watering holes, making for exciting and productive game viewing.

Apart from its wildlife, Etosha is also known for its immense salt pans, which covers 4 731 km² at the heart of the park. Formed by a massive lake that gradually evaporated, this vast stretch of shimmering salt forms a picturesque contrast to the rich range of wildlife found in the park.

Spend two nights on the eastern outskirts of Etosha National Park, staying at your choice of value or luxury itinerary options. Please refer to the terms and conditions for details of what each option includes.

Drive along silvery-white plains in search of their four-legged residents Day 5

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Explore the immense open plains of Etosha on morning and afternoon game drives or delve deep into the private game reserves found on its eastern edge. Depending on where you choose to stay, you may also be able to track desert rhino on foot or to take part in rhino research initiatives.

Drive to the Central outskirts of Etosha National Park Day 6

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Today you’ll drive through the breathtaking wilderness of Etosha to Ongava Game Reserve, situated on the outskirts of Etosha. The travelling time will depend on how long you spend viewing the exceptional wildlife you may encounter on your route.

Overnight in the Central outskirts of Etosha National Park Day 6

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Spend the night in Ongava, set on the central outskirts of Etosha National Park, staying at your choice of value or luxury itinerary options. Please refer to the terms and conditions for details of what each option includes.

Set off on game drives that explore the Okaukuejo area of Etosha, keeping an eye out for lion, elephant, gemsbok, springbok, red hartebeest and both white and black rhino. Enjoy the freedom of night drives and bush walks in Ongava, where you can track wildlife on foot in the company of experienced guides. Or choose to spend the afternoon at a tranquil hide overlooking a waterhole and wait to see what wildlife sightings the day will bring.

Drive to Damaraland Day 7

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After a delectable breakfast hop back into your car for the approximately five-hour journey to Damaraland.

Spend 2 nights in Damaraland Day 7 - 9

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The breathtaking mountain region of Damaraland is situated on the eastern side of the Skeleton Coast National Park and southwest of Etosha National Park. An assortment of desert-adapted wildlife such as elephant, rhino, zebra and lion live in this near-barren landscape. A not-to-be-missed attraction is the picturesque Brandberg, Namibia’s highest mountain, which is home to thousands of ancient rock paintings, most notably The White Lady. Nearby the rocky outcrops of Twyfelfontein feature exceptional Bushmen engravings, which are considered to be some of the best preserved etchings on the continent. Visitors to Damaraland can view one of its more unusual habitats – the Petrified Forest, which dates back millions of years and offers a haunting landscape of gigantic fossilised trees, some up to 30 metres (100ft) in length.

Spend two nights in Damaraland, staying at your choice of value or luxury itinerary options. Please refer to the terms and conditions for details of what each option includes.

View the adapted wildlife that roam the plains of Damaraland Day 8

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Set off into the dunes in search of the elusive desert elephant or choose to explore the area surrounding the camp on foot, getting an intimate glimpse into the vegetation, insects and birds of this rugged area. Ask your guide to take you to see an ancient welwitschia plant, which may live up to hundreds of years. You can also choose to visit Twyfelfontein, where you can marvel at age-old rock engravings, visit the petrified forest or discover the twisted rock formations known as the organ pipes. Or simply relax and enjoy the absolutely tranquillity and sense of peace of this serene destination from the comfort of the sparkling swimming pool.

Drive to Swakopmund Day 9

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Today you will drive approximately five to six hours to Namibia’s charming seaside town of Swakopmund.

Spend 2 nights in Swakopmund Day 9 - 11

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This charming little coastal retreat on Namibia’s western coast retains a strong German flavour, from its cobbled streets and picturesque buildings down to its typical German restaurants and pubs. This town is traditionally a holiday spot for locals and foreigners alike, with many opportunities for adventure sports and some good old-fashioned fun. Swakopmund is an ideal place to relax after a few days in the desert; wash off the sand and sample some of the finely-brewed local beer and renowned fare, including fish, lobster and the utterly delicious Swakopmund oysters.

Spend two nights in Swakopmund, staying at your choice of value or luxury itinerary options. Please refer to the terms and conditions for details of what each option includes.

Choose from a breathtaking range of outdoor adventures Day 10

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Choose from a breathtaking range of outdoor adventures, including a visit to nearby Walvis Bay. The route runs between the soaring dunes and the waves of the Atlantic Ocean. In Walvis Bay you will set off on a boat cruise that promises up-close sightings of a number of wetland bird species, as well as dolphins, whales and the seals at Pelican Point. Watch as the dolphins and seals shimmer and jump in the wake of the boat before returning to Swakopmund and touring its quaint city streets.

For an even closer encounter with the seals, visit the Cape Cross Seal Colony north of Swakopmund and marvel at the antics of one of southern Africa’s largest numbers of seals. Or, if you choose, take to the waters off Swakopmund on a deep sea fishing adventure.

If you prefer the desert to the ocean, set off into the dunes between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay. Be captivated by dramatic vistas and get to know about the abundant geckos, rolling spiders, scorpions, lizards, snakes and chameleons that have made this desolate landscape their home. Alternatively, drive deep into the Namib on a quad bike, enjoying the pristine beauty of the soaring dunes or glide down their curved slopes on a sand boarding adventure. Fly down the sheer sides on a traditional Swakopmund sand board or try some fancy footwork on a snowboard adapted for the dunes. If you prefer a little less adrenalin on your desert adventure, set off on a horseback trail through the dry bed of the Swakop River into the rugged rocky gorges and plains of an area known as the Moon Landscape.

For a unique sense of perspective, admire the desert landscapes from above with tandem skydiving.

In Swakopmund itself you can visit the vibrant township and meet the family of the area’s late traditional chief or get to know about the local Herero culture and traditions. Set off on foot to meet a local doctor and find out about the herbal medicines used by the Nama people. Visit a local kindergarten and spend the evening enjoying the lively vibe of an informal shebeen.

Drive to the Sossusvlei area Day 11

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Leaving behind the many sights of Swakopmund, drive approximately five to six hours to the Sossusvlei area, passing through some of Namibia’s most dramatic landscapes en route.

Spend 3 nights in Sossusvlei Day 11 -14

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One of the highlights of any trip to Namibia is a visit to Sossusvlei in the heart of the enormous, almost 50 000km² Namib-Naukluft Park. Easily accessible to visitors, Sossusvlei is a clay pan, only rarely filled by water, but a place of awe-inspiring beauty. Visitors to the region will be left spellbound by the magnificent ochre-coloured sand dunes, which rise over 300m into the sky – the highest sand dunes in the world.

Spend three nights in Sossusvlei area, staying at your choice of value or luxury itinerary options. Please refer to the terms and conditions for details of what each option includes.

Enjoy a range of desert adventures Day 12

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Adventures include scenic drives with an opportunity to encounter a variety of desert-adapted animals such as gemsbok, zebra, springbok, bat-eared fox, aardwolf, caracal and jackal. Guided hikes visit ancient Bushman paints, while a variety of hiking trails are available and quad bike adventures in the dunes set the pulse racing. Photograph the fascinating petrified dunes and explore the massive boulders of Bushman’s Koppies, haphazardly strewn one on top of the other. Explore the night sky under the guidance of a professional astronomer or try your hand at some photographing the stars.

Hot air balloon rides, helicopter flips and scenic flights over the majestic desert landscapes, as well as horse riding adventure, are available nearby.

Drive to Hosea Kutako (Windhoek) International Airport Day 14

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Today we wave a fond farewell as you embark on the last leg of your extraordinary adventure. A drive of five to six hours will take you back to Hosea Kutako (Windhoek) International Airport, where you will drop off your hired vehicle and board your plane for your onward flight.