Namibia classic self drive tour

Description of Namibia classic self drive tour

Explore the world-famous sand dunes in the Namib Desert, visit seal colonies on the Skeleton Coast, search for desert-dwelling elephants in Damarland and get up close and personal with big cats at the AfriCat Foundation at Okonjima.

You'll start your Namibian self-drive adventure in the capital city of Windhoek, then you'll drive to Sossusvlei in the Namib Desert where you can explore the world-famous towering sand dunes and breathtaking landscape. Next, you'll discover the colonial town of Swakopmund located on the Atlantic Coast at the edge of the Namib Desert, before driving up the Skeleton Coast to the mountainous region of Damaraland, famous for its spectacular scenery and desert-adapted wildlife.

For safari adventures, you'll visit Etosha National Park in northern Namibia where you'll enjoy incredible wildlife safaris, and then you'll drive to the Okonjima Nature Reserve in central Namibia to visit the Africat Foundation - an education and research facility dedicated to the rescue, relocation and rehabilitation of Namibia's big cats, particularly cheetah and leopard.

This Namibia itinerary takes in the highlights of the country as part of a self-drive adventure, so you can explore the nation's otherworldly landscapes at your own pace.

Day-by-day experiences

Day 1:Arrival in Windhoek - Upon arrival in Namibia, you will be met by your driver and transferred to your accommodation in the centre of Windhoek. Your rental vehicle will be delivered to your hotel with a satnav and mobile phone, plus you will also be provided with an information pack, which will include driving directions, accommodation details and contact phone numbers. You can spend the rest of the day exploring Namibia痴 capital city.
Day 2:Drive to Sossusvlei - After breakfast, you値l leave Windhoek and drive to Sossusvlei, located in the southern part of the Namib Desert in Namib-Naukluft National Park, in the southwest of the country. Known for its orange sand dunes and white salt pans, Sossusvlei is Namibia痴 most spectacular and best-known attraction. You値l stay in Sossusvlei for the next two nights, so you have time to explore the iconic towering sand dunes, as well as other incredible geographical formations of the region, such as Sesriem Canyon.
Day 3:Explore Sossusvlei - Today, you have a full day to discover the towering sand dunes and incredible landscapes of Sossusvlei. There are a number of attractions in the Sossusvlei area to explore, including Sesriem Canyon, Dune 45, Big Daddy and Deadvlei. We recommend that you wake up early to climb the iconic sand dunes at sunrise, or if you prefer you can soar above this breathtaking landscape in a hot air balloon. Other activities you can enjoy today include a nature drive to spot the desert-adapted wildlife, a dune walk or an eco-sensitive guided quad bike excursion, sand boarding and horse riding. In the evening you can enjoy a gin and tonic on a sundowner tour, or after dark you can join a stargazing excursion with a knowledgeable guide.
Day 4:Drive to Swakopmund - This morning you値l leave the Namib Desert and drive north through beautiful canyons and striking scenery as you head towards to the lovely town of Swakopmund on the Skeleton Coast. Walvis Bay is a stunning spot just outside Swakopmund and we highly recommend stopping off on your way into town. Sheltered by the Pelican Point sand spit, Walvis Bay痴 tidal lagoon is home to abundant birdlife, including flamingos and pelicans. Swakopmund itself is a former colonial town famous for its German architecture and culture - many residents speak German and there's even an Oktoberfest beer festival. It is an ideal place to spend a couple of days between visiting the dunes of Sossusvlei and exploring the attractions of northern Namibia.
Day 5:Explore Swakopmund - Today you値l have a full day to explore Swakopmund and the surrounding area. You can search for Cape Fur seals and dolphins off Pelican Point on a boat cruise or a guided kayaking trip, take a scenic flight over the desert, join a bird watching excursion or a living desert tour, or you may wish to visit the Swakopmund Lighthouse, the Swakopmund Museum and Sandwich Harbour. Just outside Swakopmund several sand dunes have been set aside for adventure activities, including sand boarding, quad biking, camel riding and off-road driving.
Day 6:Drive to Damaraland - This morning you will resume your Namibian road trip and head further north up the Skeleton Coast to Damaraland. En route, we recommend that you stop at Henties Bay to see the Cape Cross seal colony and you may wish to visit the shipwreck of MS Winston at Durissa Bay. On arrival, you値l settle into your accommodation and you can spend the afternoon relaxing at your lodge, or if you wish you can take a walk in the surrounding area, stopping at viewpoints to marvel at the beautiful Damaraland landscape. There are also options for you to take a nature drive in search of Namibia's desert-dwelling elephant, or you may wish to join the Twyfelfontein, Burnt Mountain and Organ Pipes excursion to see the rock engravings at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Twyfelfontein.
Day 7:Drive to Etosha National Park - After breakfast, you値l get back in your vehicle and drive east towards Etosha National Park. Etosha offers fantastic wildlife viewing opportunities, particularly around the waterholes. You can expect to see elephant, giraffe, lion, leopard, zebra, springbok and gemsbok and it痴 also one of the best places in Southern Africa to see the endangered cheetah, black rhino and rare antelope species such as black-faced impala, Damara dik dik and roan antelope. We offer a choice of superb lodges, both in the park and on its borders.
Day 8:On Safari in Etosha National Park - Today, you値l have a full day to explore Etosha National Park. Despite being one of Africa's largest national parks, Etosha is easy to drive around yourself, as all roads lead back to the main road. This means you can take your time visiting the many different waterholes such as Halali, Okondeka and Okaukuejo, where large concentrations of wildlife congregate. Almost a quarter of Etosha consists of salt pans, including the Etosha Pan, which is undoubtedly the park痴 most distinctive and dramatic feature. The Etosha Pan is the only known mass breeding ground for flamingos in Namibia and at times there can be up to a million flamingos here.
Day 9:Drive to Okonjima Nature Reserve - This morning you値l leave Etosha and head south to the Okonjima Nature Reserve which is home of the famous Africat Foundation - an education and research facility dedicated to the rehabilitation of Namibia's big cats, particularly cheetah and leopard. During your time here you値l have an opportunity to observe and learn about Africat痴 conservation work. Depending on your interests, you can also go mountain biking or hike up the mountains to watch the sunrise, join a bird-watching excursion to spot some of the 250+ species of birdlife in the area, enjoy a nocturnal game drive, or you can experience a day in the life of a San Bushman on a bushman trail.
Day 10:Depart from Windhoek - Following breakfast at your hotel, you値l drive back to Windhoek which should take approximately three hours. On arrival you値l have time to get some lunch and drop off your hire car, before heading to the airport to catch your international flight home.

Travel Team

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Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Namibia classic self drive tour

Environment

On this itinerary you値l spend two days at the Okonjima Plains Camp located within the Okonjima Nature Reserve, home of the famous Africat Foundation - an education and research facility dedicated to the rescue, relocation and rehabilitation of Namibia's big cats, particularly cheetah and leopard. Okonjima own several farms up in the mountains, split into large enclosures where cheetah and leopard roam. It is a fantastic programme and it offers an incredible opportunity to get close to big cats and learn about them. Activities from Okonjima include drives to track the leopard and view the cheetah and to learn more about Africat's work.

Two accommodation options on this holiday are Camp Kipwe in Damaraland and its sister property Mowani Mountain Camp just 4km away. Sustainable eco-tourism is of the utmost importance at Camp Kipwe and Mowani. Their conservation projects include, supporting the Desert Lion Project including paying the salary of one of the two game rangers (even though it is outside their conservancy), planting a variety of local indigenous plants which are harvested and replanted around the lodge and water hole, expanding the waterhole at Camp Kipwe to provide a local elephant herd with enough water when they visit, supplying neighbouring farms with vegetable off cuts for their pigs, assisting local farms by fixing waterholes damaged by elephants, purchasing vegetables from a community based vegetable garden and helping to empower the locals to manage the project successfully. All refuse from the lodge is recycled and sent to Windhoek. Plus a concession fee to the Uibasen/Twyfelfontein Conservancy is also included in the cost of your stay.

Community

One of the accommodation options on this Namibia holiday is Villa Margherita in Swakopmund. Villa Margherita proudly supports the Mondesa Youth Opportunities Trust (MYO) which is a non-profit organisation that operates entirely on donations. Located in the heart of the main Swakopmund Township, Mondesa, MYO is an intensive after-school education program, beginning at Grade 4 and continuing through the end of Grade 8. If our clients choose to stay at Villa Margherita we encourage them to make a donation to MYO, although of course this is at their discretion.

During your time in Namibia we encourage you to support the local economy by buying authentic handmade products such as cotton fabrics, wood carvings, pottery and silver jewellery at markets, villages and small-scale souvenir shops rather than hotel tourist shops or on organised shopping trips. When you buy products at markets, villages and small-scale souvenir shops you are helping to support a fragile economy and supporting local artisans helps keep traditional crafts alive. We recommend that you visit the Cosdef Arts & Crafts Centre in Swakopmund which supports local artisans and unemployed people by providing a shopfront for their work. The quality of the products is high and by purchasing items here you are supporting sustainability in local communities.

We encourage you to support the Pack for a Purpose initiative and use a small amount of space in your luggage to pack supplies for local community projects in Namibia. You can leave your donations with our partner hotels and lodges who will pass them on to the school, medical centre or animal welfare project.

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