Departs: Daily private departures based on a minimum of 2 passengers
Namibia boasts an excellent road infrastructure and whilst long driving times cannot be avoided, its about enjoying the journey rather than rushing from place to place and many routes include various sights of interest worthy of a stopover. With a choice of Classic or Superior accommodation, this 13 day self-drive itinerary offers great value for money and includes visits to some of Namibia’s most popular sites including Sossusvlei, Damaraland and Etosha National Park.
Day 1 - Windhoek
After landing at Windhoek International Airport, located 40km outside Windhoek, you will be met by a representative of Ultimate Safaris. You will be transferred to Galton House, where you will also be provided with everything you will need for your self-drive safari; from your accommodation vouchers to a map marked with your route and a full safari briefing (you vehicle will be delivered to you early tomorrow morning).
Dinner this evening is for your own account to give you the option to either dine at Galton’s excellent in-house restaurant, or out at one of the restaurants in town (the guesthouse can assist with a taxi service).
Please note: There is a foreign exchange desk at Windhoek International Airport if required on arrival. We recommend that you opt for South African Rand rather than Namibian Dollars as both are legal tender in Namibia, however Namibian Dollars are limited to use and exchanging only within Namibia.
Named after the famous explorer Sir Francis Galton, Galton House has a relaxed but efficient style which creates a very welcoming atmosphere. Impressive wildlife photography adorns the walls whilst the rest of the interior is a combination of modern minimalistic and understated chic. A mere ten minute drive from the centre of town and perched on the edge of Windhoek’s northernmost affluent suburb of Eros, guests staying here will be ensured of peace and tranquility. There is Wi-Fi throughout the property and the eight guest rooms all have wired internet connectivity and satellite television. The communal areas consist of a large lounge, indoor and outdoor dining areas, a swimming pool, an early arrival/late departure day room (including toilet, shower, changing and re-packing facility) as well as understated garden areas. There is also a delightful ‘al-fresco’ dining area by the pool where freshly prepared and very tasty meals are served (including lunch and dinner). A number of shops, restaurants and supermarkets are within easy striking distance.
Day 2 - Sossusvlei
After an early breakfast this morning your rental vehicle (Ford Ranger 4X4 Double Cab manual – or similar) will be delivered to you at the guesthouse. You will receive a full vehicle briefing – please ensure that you have your driver’s license, credit card, and passport on hand to complete the vehicle hire documents. After this you depart Windhoek in your rental vehicle and drive onwards to arrive at Hoodia Desert Lodge, where you will stay for two nights whilst you explore the remarkable sights of the Namib Desert. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure at Hoodia Desert Lodge to enjoy your scenic desert surroundings and relax by the pool. An optional extra you can select to join a guided sundowner drive with Hoodia on their property. (BD)
Hoodia Desert Lodge is surrounded by majestic mountains on the banks of the Tsauchab River. Only a 20 minute drive will bring you to the Sesriem Gate, entrance of the world famous red sand-dunes of Sossusvlei. You will meet enthusiastic people, keen to share your adventures and the friendliness and personal attention of our staff will make your stay memorable. Sharing their knowledge about the region with its secrets and the guided tours are an ideal entrance to the magical world of the desert.
Day 3 - Sossusvlei
This morning you will need to rise early for a captivating guided Sossusvlei excursion as arranged with Hoodia Desert Lodge (at own expense). You may also opt to self-drive into the park in your rental vehicle (Park fees at extra cost). You would enter the park at sunrise and capture the dunes whilst the light is soft and shadows accentuate the towering shapes and curves. This area boasts some of the highest free-standing sand dunes in the world and your guide will give you an insight on the formation of the Namib Desert and its myriad of fascinating creatures and plants that have adapted to survive these harsh environs.
Once you have explored Sossusvlei, Deadvlei and surrounding dune fields to your heart’s content you can enjoy a relaxed picnic brunch in the shade of a camel thorn tree. You then return to Hoodia Desert Lodge in the early afternoon, with the rest of the afternoon at your leisure. (BD)
Please note: If you choose to visit Sossusvlei in your rental vehicle instead, a Namib Naukluft National Park daily entrance fee of N$250 per adult and N$50 for your vehicle is applicable (subject to change). This has to be paid at the Sesriem reception upon arrival.
Day 4 - Swakopmund
NOTE: Option to include a sunrise balloon flight or scenic light aircraft flight over the Namib Naukluft National Park before you depart for Swakopmund (at own expense).
The fascinating drive today takes you northwest through awesome and ever changing desert landscapes of the Namib Naukluft National Park, including the impressive Gaub and Kuiseb canyons. You will meet the coast at the port town of Walvis Bay, where you have the option to visit the lagoon to see the interesting mix of pelicans, flamingos and other sea-birds, before continuing north to Swakopmund where you can enjoy the pleasant seaside location and cooler coastal air. (B)
This afternoon you have the option to explore the shops, waterfront and craft market as appeals, before heading out for dinner at one of the popular restaurants in town. Dinner this evening is for your own account as there are a number of excellent restaurants to choose from.
We recommend that you avoid a stay in Swakopmund over a weekend, as most shops close by Saturday afternoon and only a select few open on a Sunday. However, restaurants will be open and tours will be on offer in the morning over weekends.
Strand Hotel Swakopmund is the perfect venue for travellers wanting to explore Swakopmund. With its extensive, unique and creatively entertaining restaurants, bars, deli, lobby-lounge, sea facing terraces and beach kiosk all set on the Mole, a historic and iconic site surrounded by Ocean on three sides. The Strand Hotel Swakopmund is a social epicentre and destination in itself for all visitors to and residents of Swakopmund.
Day 5 - Swakopmund
Today is at your leisure to spend exploring Swakopmund, Walvis Bay and surrounding areas. You may like to climb the coastal dunes at Langstrand or Dune 7, explore Swakopmund’s shops, cafe’s, museums and waterfront, or partake in any of the adventure activities on offer such as quad-biking and sand-boarding, boat cruises, kayaking, and scenic flights (at own expense). (B)
You may wish to join a morning dolphin and seal catamaran cruise on the Walvis Bay harbour and lagoon this morning, where you will see seals, pelicans, and flamingos amongst other marine life, and hopefully you will also see Heaviside and Bottlenose dolphins. Oysters and South African bubbly are served on board, along with other beverages and snacks (at own expense).
Another option would be to explore the desert area by taking part in the fascinating and informative “Living Desert Tour”. This Desert Tour concentrates on exploring the local dune belt between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund, taking special care not to damage the gravel plains and cause any unnecessary damage to the dune eco-system. Also highly recommended is a half or full day excursion into Sandwich Harbour, the most important wetlands and feeding area on the west coast of Southern Africa for many migratory birds (at own expense).
Day 6 - Damaraland
Today you continue your self-drive journey, passing Namibia’s highest mountain, the Brandberg which peaks at 2,573 m above sea level, and take time to view game and absorb the vastness of the scenery along the way. Damaraland is typified by displays of colour, magnificent table topped mountains, rock formations and bizarre-looking vegetation. The present day landscape has been formed by the erosion of wind, water and geological forces which have formed rolling hills, dunes, gravel plains and ancient river terraces. It is the variety and loneliness of the area as well as the scenic splendour which will reward and astound you, giving one an authentic understanding of the word ‘wilderness’. (BD)
Onduli Ridge, named after the resident giraffe of the area, is built at the base of two south facing granite outcrops which are connected by a ridge. This location allows for magnificent views of Namibia’s highest mountain, the Brandberg, to the south and the dispersed cathedral-like granite inselbergs to the north. The six suites are hidden amongst the granite boulders that nestle the camp and the more temperate climate of central Damaraland allows for naturally ventilated suites, partial open-air bathrooms and largely open communal areas. The camp is designed to maximise the views of this most extraordinary landscape and every space becomes a viewpoint whether from the bed, the desk or the bathroom. Louvered shutters can be opened completely, blurring the lines between the indoors and nature, or closed for complete privacy if required. A king size bed cooled by its own ‘climate conditioner’ (Evening Breeze) is also the perfect place for afternoon siestas and the bed can be rolled out onto your private deck for a night under a billion stars as required. The camp exudes character and meticulous attention to detail meeting all requirements, from large rooms to libraries, rain showers and plenty of places to laze.
Day 7 - Damaraland
After an early breakfast you have the option to go on an exciting 4X4 guided excursion as offered by Mowani Mountain Camp (at own expense). The excursion takes you along the ephemeral Aba Huab and Huab River valleys to explore this remarkable region and to search for game, including the elusive desert adapted elephants if they are in the area. (BD)
This afternoon you can head out to explore the area in your hired vehicle, visiting the rock art at Twyfelfontein and the interesting geological formations of Burnt Mountain and the Organ Pipes. You even have the opportunity to visit the fascinating Damara Living Museum (at own expense) to learn more about this ancient people.
Day 8 - Etosha National Park
Today you continue on your self-drive safari and drive to southern Etosha to Ongava Lodge. (BD)
Ongava Lodge is set on a hilltop in the Ongava game reserve. The Game Reserve borders on the southern edge of Etosha National Park. Ongava Lodge has a commanding view over the bush and of an active waterhole where the animals come down to quench their thirst. Ongava Lodge consists of 13 chalets with one additional family room. These have all been built out of brick, rock and thatch. The en-suite bathrooms have a flush toilet, shower and double basins. All the rooms are air-conditioned to keep cool in the summer. The rooms have glass doors which lead out onto a private covered veranda overlooking the Ongava bush. From the main area, there are great views over the waterhole. This is a fantastic area where guests can enjoy an evening meal in the main dining area or outside under the stars. The waterhole is a perfect location for tripod Photography. It is not uncommon to view some elephants or rhinos while dining. Ongava Lodge adds value to your visit. You can combine your experience with a private game reserve with a visit to the Etosha national park.
Day 9 - Etosha National Park
Today you enter the Etosha National Park and explore and stop over at the various waterholes in the hope of experiencing some exciting wildlife sightings. You can have lunch (for own account) at any of the rest camps inside the park. After your arrival at Onguma the rest of the day is spent at your leisure (very often this is welcomed since you have spent most of the day in the vehicle game driving in the park). (BD)
* Etosha National Park gates open at sunrise and close at sunset (including the camp gates). The camps have a small shop for basic supplies, a fuel station, and a post office.
* The speed limit whilst driving in Etosha is 60km per hour.
* Do not get out of your vehicle whilst in Etosha unless you are safely within a designated area.
* The daily entrance fee for Etosha National Park (payable at Dolomite, Okaukuejo, Halali or Namutoni reception by cash or credit card) is N$250 per person and N$50 for the vehicle (subject to change). You will fill in a registration form upon entry into Etosha, please keep this form as well as your park fees payment receipt to present at the gate upon departure.
Onguma Tented Camp is a beguiling mixture of sophistication and relaxation, of elegance and the earth. It is this intriguing combination and attention to detail that makes Onguma Tented Camp, the ultimate in safari chic. In the local Herero language, Onguma means, “the place you don’t want to leave.” With a stunning main building and seven tents providing private, exclusive accommodation, Onguma Tented Camp, certainly lives up to its name. Like the bush where soft air blows against sharp thorns, Onguma Tented Camp is a study in contrasts. Textures such as stone, suede, linen and steel create a setting that is sleek and modern but also inherently of the earth. Inspired by a photograph of an Oryx on Etosha’s Fisher’s Pan, the interior echoes the colours of its natural surrounds. Grey, charcoal, black, white, and creams, together with a touch of muted or unexpectedly bright green, adds sophistication and earthiness to the atmosphere.
Day 10 - Etosha
Today is available for you to have time to relax in lovely comfortable surroundings while still giving time to be spent game viewing in the National Park as much as appeals in your own rental vehicle, within park regulations. Onguma also offers a choice of additional activities, including a sundowner drive on the Onguma Reserve. (BD)
Day 11 - Okonjima
After breakfast and freshening up you will depart for and make your way to Okonjima located at the base of the Omboroko Mountains near Waterberg. You will arrive at Okonjima Bush Camp in time for lunch. Here you can enjoy the welcoming atmosphere, superb accommodation and fantastic activities; starting with a guided afternoon excursion. (BLD)
The delightful accommodation at Okonjima Bush Camp consists of thatched African style chalets, well-spaced out for privacy in the tranquil bush surroundings, plus a central main Lapa area in the form of a camel thorn pod where meals are taken and activities commence. Each exclusive en-suite chalet is completely private and the green canvas ‘walls’ can be rolled up to give you an 180 degree view so you can lie in bed and watch life in the bush going on around you whilst you relax in total comfort.
Day 12 - Okonjima – Africat Foundation
A full day of wonderful activities as offered by Okonjima. You will rise early and have tea/coffee and a snack before departing on the morning guided activity. Return to camp for a hearty brunch with time to relax and enjoy your peaceful bush surroundings until the afternoon guided activity commences. (BLD)
AfriCat Foundation: Okonjima is home to the AfriCat Foundation, a wildlife sanctuary founded in 1991 that is dedicated to creating conservation awareness, preserving habitat, promoting environmental educational research and supporting animal welfare. Okonjima has an education and research centre and you will have the opportunity to learn about the AfriCat Foundation which is perfectly situated to conduct ecological research focusing on a variety of rare and endangered species. There are interesting guided walking trails on offer, and bird watching is also a popular activity as over 300 bird species have been identified here.
Day 13 - End of Namibia Self Drive Tour
You will rise early this morning for another memorable guided activity before you return to Bush Camp for a sumptuous breakfast. After freshening up you will depart for Windhoek in the late morning, via the town of Okahandja, to arrive back in Windhoek in the mid afternoon. Upon your arrival in Windhoek you return your rental vehicle, in time for your ongoing international flight back home. (B)
Dates and Pricing
Prices shown are per person based on twin share. Seasonal supplements and minimum night requirement may apply. Solo traveller and extra night prices available on request. Luggage restrictions may apply. International flights not included.