This safari is ideal trip for people that are keen to self-drive and camp in Namibia, but with only two weeks to do so whilst wishing to cover the country from south to north!
The 14-night route takes you to most of the iconic locations of Namibia and is well suited for couples, families and small groups of friends. A sense of adventure, love of a road trip and camping is all that is required for an experience of a lifetime!
Itinerary in Brief
1 Night Windhoek Gardens Guesthouse
1 Night Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch
1 Night Klein-Aus Vista Eagle’s Nest
2 Nights Sesriem Campsite
2 Nights Desert Breeze Lodge
1 Night Spitzkoppe Campsites
1 Night Mowani Mountain Camp
1 Night Etendeka Mountain Camp
1 Night Olifantsrus Camp
1 Night Okaukuejo Camp
1 Night Onguma Tree Top Camp
1 Night Erindi Old Traders
Heading south the next morning the first stop will be the red sand dunes of the Kalahari. From here the trip takes you south-west to the small town of Aus from where the coastal town of Lüderitz, the ghost town Kolmanskop and the Namibia’s wild horses can be experienced.
Then head north through the Namib Desert destination Sossusvlei, the highest free-standing sand dunes in the world! Following the scenic drive from Sossusvlei to Swakopmund will be a certain highlight of the trip. Then take a break from camping and stay 2-nights at the magical Desert Breeze on the outskirts of Swakopmund with beautiful views over the desert landscape.
After two relaxing days on the coast it will be time to head north east towards the Brandberg and Spitzkoppe. Camp a night at the famous Spitzkoppe Campsites and explore all that the region offers, before heading to the World Heritage Site of Twyfelfontein, camping at fabulous Mowani. Heading further north into Damaraland the next stop is glorious Etendeka Mountain Camp for some R &R and a raw nature experience second to none.
The next section of the trip takes you to Etosha starting in the west, with stops at Olifantsrus and Okaukuejo, both with famous waterholes in front of camp. This will certainly be the wildlife highlight of the trip and spectacular elephant and rhino sightings are guaranteed! Then head east through Etosha covering the eastern section of the Park, exiting late afternoon and staying at close by Onguma Private Reserve for a fabulous night.
The last section of the trip takes you south towards Windhoek with a stopover at Erindi Private Nature Reserve for a comfortable last night at Old Traders Lodge. On the last morning do the short drive to Windhoek, handover the vehicle and transfer to the airport for your flight home.
We guarantee that this will frankly have been one of the best experiences of your life!
Night 1: Windhoek, Windhoek Gardens Guest House
Arrive in Windhoek where you will be met at the airport by the car rental company and transferred to their office for the handover and demonstration of the vehicle and equipment.
Check into your guesthouse for some rest & relaxation and then head out late afternoon for shopping and stocking up on supplies for the trip ahead.
Windhoek Gardens Boutique Hotel is located 5 minutes away from the centre of Windhoek, making it a perfect mix of convenience and practicality. The guesthouse boasts 28 uniquely Namibian themed rooms, every room is equipped with Wi-Fi, a well thought out desk area with plenty of space and power points, air con, a coffee station, a balcony and a mini fridge. All rooms are twin bedded and have en-suite bathrooms. Laundry services are available upon request.
Enjoy homely food with a variety of drinks from the in-house cooks and pub, or head out to Joes’ Beerhouse for a unique Namibian dinner experience……
Night 2: Kalahari, Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch
The next morning head south on the main road, destination the Kalahari and the Bagatelle Game Ranch.
Look forward to the stunning red sand dunes of the Kalahari Desert with its unique flora and fauna and be pampered by the magic of extraordinary ambiance and hospitality. True ‘nature sculptured’ Namibia at its very best!
The stay is at one of the least populated places in the world and you can visit the San Bushmen who live in the Kalahari. Listen to the call of the big cats and be enchanted by the sight of the barren nature and the typical camel thorn trees of the Kalahari. You will be surprised by the abundance of animals in this seemingly life-threatening landscape.
There are five extensively equipped campsites with private toilets and showers for your first night of camping in Namibia. You can cook your own meal or enjoy the great food on offer in the restaurant. The owners truly strive to make your stay with them an unforgettable journey into life in the Kalahari!
Night 3: Southern Namib, Klein-Aus Vista Eagles Nest
The following morning pack up camp and head south west towards the coast and the small town of Aus, which is the ideal base to explore the coastal town of Lüderitz, the ghost town of Kolmanskop and to see the wild horses of Namibia.
Stay the night at the glorious Klein-Aus Vista Eagles Nest self-catering chalets. A mere seven-kilometre drive from the Klein Aus Desert Horse Inn, the Eagle’s Nest chalets are private self-catering retreats, each built individually, combining natural elements and boulders into their interiors in a rustic and luxurious blend. You may just want to stay here forever…
Choose whether to cook in the kitchen, on the fire, or to eat in the Desert Horse Inn restaurant, where take-away breakfast or barbecue packs are also available on request. Eagle’s Nest is an attractive base for those who appreciate boundless space, choices, a sense of the land, privacy, innovation, the out-of-the-ordinary and the spectacular!
Lüderitz is just 120 km away and the ghost town of Kolmanskop only 115 km (tar road). Klein-Aus Vista is the ideal starting point for a trip to both places. Twenty km from Aus, on the way to or back from Lüderitz, visit the Garub waterhole where the wild horses and several other animals of the desert plains can be found. The Wild Horses of the Namib have roamed this harsh habitat since 1915 and are an experience one should not miss.
Nights 4 and 5: Sossusvlei, Sesriem Campsite
You probably wouldn’t want to leave the Klein-Aus Vista but it will be time for one of the highlights of the trip, the dunes of Sossusvlei!
Sesriem Campsite is in the heart of the Namib Naukluft Reserve and it is the gateway to the highest free-standing sand dunes in the world! The campsite is the only camping available inside the park gates giving it unique access to Sossusvlei and the Namib desert as the exterior gate opens one hour after the camping site gate. This privilege ensures that campers at the Sesriem campsites are deep into the desert to watch the sunrise long before the crowds arrive.
Sesriem has been upgraded and offers a tranquil setting on the edge of the Namib. You can view the dunes and beautiful landscapes from your campsite. The campsites are far apart and offer shared ablutions. The campsites are around Camelthorn trees to provide some shelter during your stay in the camp. There is a restaurant and bar and a shop to stock up on supplies. A swimming pool at the centre of the camp allows you to cool off and relax in the midday heat and the bar serves cold drinks.
Sesriem camp is very popular and has 44 campsites each with a designated camping area under the Camelthorn trees. Sossusvlei and Deadvlei are 60 km from the campsite. We recommend rising early and drive towards Sossusvlei to view the sunrise over the Namib dunes. The colours of the Namib Desert especially early morning and late afternoon is spectacular.
At the entry to Sossusvlei is Sesriem Canyon, where centuries of erosion have incised a narrow gorge about 1 km in length. At the foot of the gorge, which plunges down to 30 to 40 metres, are pools that become replenished after good rains. Also a must do while at Sesriem.
Nights 6 and 7: Swakopmund, Desert Breeze
Today you will drive from Sossusvlei to the coastal town of Swakopmund with its palm fringed streets, cafes and fabulous restaurants.
The drive is nothing short of spectacular and takes you past Solitaire and through the Guab and Kuiseb Passes. You would probably want to stop around every corner to appreciate the next jaw dropping view! It is however a long day so just keep an eye on the watch and the distance to go…….
Check into the Desert Breeze, a lodge with a spectacular location providing peace and tranquillity with stunning views across the desert landscape on the outskirts of a bustling Swakopmund. Spend two nights here in a room taking a well-deserved break from camping.
Activities around Swakopmund include tours to the coast and the desert and vary from dune boarding, guided nature walks or quad biking, to boat cruises in search of whales and other marine life, or day trips to Sandwich Harbour. The fabulous restaurants of Swakopmund are just a short drive away for a ‘night on the town’ for travellers that have been in the desert for a while…
Night 8: Spitzkoppe, Spitzkoppe Campsites
Today you will head north east and drive to Spitzkoppe, which is one of the most beautiful areas in Namibia, consisting of imposing granite rock formations set on the plains!
Here you can walk in the area and climb up to Bushman’s Paradise, a small basin tucked between the domes of rock, where you can view the rock paintings done by Bushman of the past and gaze at the amazing view. The Spitzkoppe is known to contain at least 37 rock art sites and test excavations at one of these revealed a well-preserved archaeological sequence spanning the last 4000 years.
Camping at Spitzkoppe is world famous! A mountain oasis in the Namib desert, with unique oversized boulders and secret caves, allows the visitor to camp in complete peace and tranquillity. With the majestic Namibian “Matterhorn” as backdrop, and with the next camping site kilometres away, each visitor “owns” the mountain during his time here.
The camp has revamped the restaurant area and added a new ‘lapa’ area all with a ‘shebeen’ themed décor. They are serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is also the best spot for the perfect SUNDOWNER with comfortable seats and hammocks!
Sunsets are spectacular, but only when night falls you are reminded what that over used word ‘awesome’ truly means. Living in a city and have forgotten the unearthly potential that stars embody. At Spitzkoppe, they stretch from horizon to horizon, shimmering in the dry air, unfettered by light pollution or air pollution.
Night 9: Twyfelfontein, Mowani Campsite
Today you head further north into Damaraland towards the World Heritage site of Twyfelfontein and a stay at the campsite of Mowani Mountain Camp, one of our favourite lodges in Namibia!
Between the Ugab and Huab Rivers in southern Damaraland and in the midst of dusty and stunning landscapes lies the sanctuary called Mowani Mountain Camp. Surrounded by massive ochre boulders and fascinating geological formations, the camp perfectly blends in with its wild surroundings.
The lodge owns a nearby campsite hidden amongst the giant boulders of Damaraland, where you’ll find the seven private campsites. Away from the main lodge, as you’d want, secluded, private and serene. Immersed in nature and by the surrounds that make this area what it is (rugged, arid and bare) the campsites are what you’d expect in the middle of nowhere. A spot to park the car and pitch the tent, a basin and wash up area, a cooking area (over fire), a shaded seating area and an open-air bathroom. Enjoy the ground beneath your feet, surrounded by nature. Add the endless view out over the Damaraland landscape and the quiet of being far from much else and you have found yourself a suitable place to call ‘home’ for the night.
Activities in the area are self-guided nature walks and nature drives in search for the desert adapted elephants and other wildlife. Visit the sights of Twyfelfontein: Burnt Mountain, Organ Pipes and rock engravings. For a hint of culture, visit the Damara Living Museum just down the road. A cultural look into the lives of the local people of the area and how they lived in days gone by.
Night 10: Damaraland, Etendeka Mountain Camp
After the nights of camping some luxury awaits, with an overnight stay at the fabulous Etendeka Mountain Camp!
So, head further north towards Palmwag turning east towards the Grootberg just past Palmwag. The basalt formations and mountains created by ancient lava flows that surround Etendeka Mountain Camp provide dramatic views and an almost surreal landscape that you will probably never get tired of.
Ten discreet Meru tents are cleverly embedded in the nature around the main building of the solar-powered camp. The focus here is on environmentally friendly accommodations that respect nature and allow guests to access the pristine environment.
Etendeka Mountain Camp is all about experiencing nature, so it offers various leisure activities to explore the surrounding nature and animal kingdom. Your days here are spent exploring the area on foot and in open game drive vehicles with the exceptionally knowledgeable guides. Safaris are not fast paced, but rather a privileged introduction to an environment that holds many of Namibia’s unique natural attractions.
Night 11: Etosha West, Olifantsrus Camp
Leaving the remote north-west of Namibia behind, today you will head mostly east towards the western gate to the Etosha National Park. Enter the Park at the Galton Gate and drive through the Park towards the east covering the less visited western section of the Park. There are a number of fantastic waterholes along the way where you are likely to see large numbers of animals come to drink, including elephant and rhino.
Continue east until you reach Olifantsrus Camp, with what some describe as the “greatest wildlife observation hide in southern Africa!”
Olifantsrus is Etosha’s newest camp and the first accommodation option in the park to offer a camping only experience. Situated in the wilder, more remote and previously less-utilized western section of the park, Olifantsrus is approximately 60kms from Galton Gate, 130kms from Okaukuejo and 50kms from Dolomite Camp.
Rare and shy species such as black rhino and black-faced impala are well-established in this quieter part of the park. Significantly, there are numerous waterholes around Olifantsrus Camp, which means its excellent for game viewing.
Aside from a rawer bush experience, Olifantsrus offers unrivalled access to a magnificent state of the art double story hide overlooking a manmade waterhole that has become particularly popular with elephants, hence the camp’s name (which translates as ‘Elephant’s Rest’).
Guests can get up-close to the animals because the hide overlooks the waterhole. The hide offers a safe game viewing opportunity in a second story hut with glass windows, perfect for cold or windy weather. Getting to the hide is easy as there’s a wooden walkway that takes you to your campsite.
In short, Olifantsrus has everything a dedicated camper is looking for, you will love it here!
Night 12: Etosha Central, Okaukuejo Camp
The next morning continue to drive east through the park covering the 130 km to Okaukuejo Camp.
This a fantastic drive through Etosha and some of the most famous waterholes are along your way. Take your time and make a full day trip of this, stopping frequently at the waterholes. If you are lucky you might just get that once in a lifetime photo with 8 or more species of large mammals in one photo!
Famous for its floodlit waterhole Okaukuejo Rest Camp is also the administrative centre of Etosha. Most visitors travel though this camp with its characteristic stone tower and Etosha Ecological Institute is also situated within the camp.
Accommodation is provided to suit every need, in premier bush chalets overlooking the waterhole, bush chalets and double rooms, or family chalets. Other facilities include a restaurant, bar, shop, swimming pool, kiosk and camping facilities.
After sunset floodlights illuminate the waterhole. This is the best time and place to see the endangered black rhino. This archaic mammal can often be seen drinking alongside lion and elephant. The number and interaction of the animals is the major drawcard of Okaukuejo Camp. Many visitors spend long hours at night watching the spectacle in anticipation of what will happen next, just one of the best experiences in Africa! It is not uncommon to have eight or more rhino at the waterhole at the same time, not to mention large herds of elephant.
The camp can be busy at times, but it is located inside the Park in a great location and the floodlit waterhole is a once in a lifetime experience not to be missed!
Night 13: Etosha East, Onguma Private Reserve
Today you will continue to drive east through Etosha along the myriad of small roads, waterholes and the Pan itself.
You have a good chance to see the famous ‘white elephants’ of Etosha along the way. Do a stopover at Halali Camp and continue east making sure to exit the Park before the gate closes at sunset.
Then do the short drive to Onguma Private Reserve bordering the Park, for an overnight stay at this oasis. At Onguma you have a number of accommodation options from two different campsites to choose from or treat yourself and stay at the fabulous Onguma Etosha Aoba or Onguma Tree Top. Camping or lodge stay, either way this is a great spot to just take it easy and relax after the long days of driving.
If you are going to treat yourself, we recommend Onguma Tree Camp, which is for everyone who would like to truly experience the bush in all its raw splendour. A place where giraffe, zebra, lion, and many other species of antelope come to quench their thirst. The camp is built on wooden stilts amongst the treetops with full views over one of the most beautiful watering holes on Onguma Game Reserve. The Camp consists of 4 thatched rooms with canvas walls, a deck overlooking the waterhole, a lounge, dining room and interactive kitchen.
Onguma Reserve is inhabited by a diversity of around thirty different mammal species such as kudu, giraffe, eland, oryx, zebra, as well as predators such as lion, cheetah and leopard. The latest addition to the already abundant wildlife at Onguma Game Reserve is a family of black rhinos!
Night 14: Erindi Private Nature Reserve, Old Traders Lodge
The next morning head south towards Windhoek and spend the last night of the tour at Old Traders Lodge on Erindi, the perfect stopover close to Windhoek.
The Erindi Private Game Reserve, a 70 000-hectare protected nature reserve with a remarkable biodiversity. In the midst of the reserve is Erindi Old Traders Lodges a place to calm down and come to terms with the fact that the trip has come to an end……
The lodge provides a variety of room types and the rooms, as well as the colonial-style restaurant on the viewing platform, overlook a bustling waterhole. The elegant main building serves as a dining room, where you will be surprised with the culinary diversity morning, noon and evening. For an exciting and at the same time relaxing leisure time, you can enjoy the viewing platform and the spacious swimming pool, as well as other activities such as various game drives by day and night.
On the last morning do the short drive to Windhoek, drop the vehicle at the car hire company and transfer to the Airport for your connecting flight home.
If this trip is not one of best experiences ever, we will be very surprised! Don’t take our word for it, just come and DO IT!
Ready for some serious adventure? Talk to us!
Contact SAFARI FRANK to get started on your safari of a lifetime!