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A self-drive in Namibia is epic in every sense of the word, with incredible sunsets, unique cultures, camping in the wild, and majestic wildlife.
It is definitely one of the most breathtaking destinations I have been to so far and it’s a very special place to me as it was the first destination of my world trip in 2018.
In this Namibia self-drive itinerary, I will share the route that I did with a 4×4 that I rented and all the amazing highlights of this beautiful country. Besides, the amazing places to visit, you can find also extra tips, my favorite places to stay, and advice on how to get around the country.
How to get to Namibia?
The easiest way to get to Namibia from another continent is by flying into the capital, Windhoek. There are daily flights to the city from everywhere in the world, although, the tickets are not the cheapest ones.
I was lucky to find a crazy cheap one-way ticket from Keulen in Germany, which is only 2 hours from my hometown to Windhoek for only €280. So, you might have to check airports nearby your location to find a better option.
I always use Skyscanner to find the best tickets and depending on the airline, I book directly with the airline to get better service. Qatar and Etihad are by far my favorite airlines to fly with on long-haul flights.
4×4 rental in Namibia
A few months before I planned this trip, I searched online for the best 4×4 rental in Namibia and there are a few companies that offer 4×4 vehicles with a rooftop tent, I ended up booking with Drive Namibia.
This company was amazing as the owner picked me even up at the airport and invited me to her house to check the vehicle and complete all the paperwork. Besides this incredible service, the price for the rental was much cheaper than other companies.
However, you can make this road trip itinerary also with a 2WD as I saw a few people camping with a tent on different campsites in Namibia.
TIP: When you pick up your rental car, you should read the contract carefully and make sure you have a second spare tire. (I got a flat tire in the middle of nowhere, and it was a good thing I had insurance.)
Best time to visit Namibia?
July to October is the best time to visit Namibia as temperatures are just around 20°C and there is little chance of rain. It’s also the ideal time to join safaris as most waterholes are dry and there is not much vegetation, which makes it the busiest time of the year for wildlife spotting and game drives, so book your accommodations and travel plans in advance.
I went in October and November and the skies were blue, the days are bright and sunny, and the temperature was pleasant. Although thunderstorms are more common from November to April, they might occur already in late September.
Map of Namibia
I’ve made this map of Namibia with the complete itinerary to help you visualize all the highlights and places I’ve visited during this road trip.
The Best 14-day Namibia self-drive itinerary
Recommended stay: 1 night (depending on arrival time)
Camping in Windhoek: Urban Camp
The first stop on my self-drive in Namibia was the capital, Windhoek. Depending on when you arrive, I suggest you stay 1 night around the city.
I stayed at Urban Camp, which is a beautiful campsite with both regular tents and “glamping” tents. It is in the middle of Windhoek, which makes it easy to explore the city, and not too far from the campsite is Joe’s Beerhouse where you can enjoy dinner in an amazing atmosphere.
Staying in Windhoek also gives you the chance to do all your shopping before you hit the road. For example, Food Lovers Market is a great place to do your shopping.
Sossusvlei is in the middle of the Namibian desert, which is the oldest desert in the world and has the world’s tallest sand dunes. It is even possible to walk on them, which I also recommend.
Not only will you see some of the most breathtaking sunrises and sunsets, but you’ll also get to explore some unique landscapes, including the spectacular Deadvlei, Big Daddy Dune, and Dune 45. There’s no way to describe this place.
The majority of lodges and campsites in Namibia can be found in Sesriem, which is situated just outside the gates of the Namib-Naukluft National Park. It is approximately a sixty-minute drive from the park entrance to the Dunes and Deadvlei, so plan to spend at least one full day in this area.
TIP: You must stay at Sesriem Campsite if you want to visit the park before sunrise or after dusk. (the only camping option inside the National Park)
ENTRANCE FEE: The cost to enter the park is N$80 per person (about US$5.50) and N$10 (about US$0.80) per vehicle, once you paid the entrance fee, you can enter and exit the park as many as you want between sunrise and sunset.
Things to do in Sossusvlei
- Hike up the most photographed dune in the world, Dune 45 (the most beautiful sunrise and sunset, do this as early as possible as it gets really hot later in the day)
- Visit Deadvlei and the 900-year-old Acacia trees (most comfortable way to reach Deadvlei is by parking your car at the parking area and taking one of the National Park jeeps that brings you to Deadvlei + be sure to take at least 2 liters of water per person, you’ll need it)
- Walk up Big Daddy, the highest dune in the park (same as Dune 45, try to do this as early as possible as it gets really hot later in the day)
- Treat yourself to the best apple pie and cinnamon rolls at McGregor’s Bakery in the abandoned town of Solitaire (on your way to Swakopmund)
- Relax at the swimming pool of your campsite or lodge as it can be very hot at noon
- Visit the natural gorge of Sesriem Canyon and climb down into the canyon (great to do in the afternoon)
- Spoil yourself with an unforgettable sunrise hot air balloon ride and have a champagne breakfast in the dunes
Travel distance: 360km – 5h 20m
Recommended stay: 2 nights
Accommodation in Walvis Bay: Tiende Laan B&B
You can spend an extra night in the ghost town of Solitaire after visiting Sossusvlei (Sesriem), but I suggest continuing to Walvis Bay (or Swakopmund) for the best apple pie in the country or a lovely dinner at Anchors @ the Jetty Restaurant for the best seafood in town.
Walvisbaai is a small, peaceful village well-known for its abundance of fish. You can go hiking up Dune 7, watch thousands of flamingos at the lagoon, or relax and have a meal at one of the excellent restaurants while taking in the breathtaking scenery.
TIP: Solitaire is the only place between Sesriem and Walvis Bay to get fuel
Things to do in Walvis Bay
- Climb up the massive Dune 7
- See thousands of flamingos at the lagoon with this Pelican Peninsula Tour
- Go kayaking at Pelican Point
- Watch the sunset at Walvis Bay Waterfront
- Get off the beaten path and join a scenic drive at Sandwich Harbour (the place where the giant sand dunes run straight into the ocean)
- Go on a catamaran cruise and spot dolphins, whales, seals, and turtles, …
Travel distance: 40km – 35m
Recommended Stay: 1 night
Accommodation in Swakopmund: Driftwood Guesthouse
The largest seaside town in Namibia, Swakopmund, is roughly 30 minutes away from Walvis Bay. However, it’s an excellent place to spend a few days relaxing and taking advantage of all the area has to offer.
The town itself is ideal for an afternoon stroll, with its friendly vibe, variety of excellent places to eat, and souvenir shops everywhere. Napolitana is a nice Italian restaurant with awesome pizzas and The Lighthouse restaurant is a trendy place with a nice atmosphere.
Things to do in Swakopmund
- Chill out on the beach called the Mole
- Walk the Swakopmund jetty and enjoy some sightseeing
- Explore the Mondesa township with a guided tour just outside Swakopmund
- Go quad biking in Swakopmund through some of the highest sand dunes in the world.
- If you don’t like to go quad biking, you could also opt to join a unique desert cycling experience
- Go on a scenic guided tour to spot unique desert wildlife like scorpions, lizards, snakes, and more
- Jump from a plane with a scenic flight and experience an unforgettable tandem skydive (if you’ve never done this before, this is one of the best places in the world to do it!)
- Visit Spitzkoppe on a guided tour from Swakopmund
Travel distance: 125 km – 1h 30m
Recommended stay: 1 or 2 nights
Spitzkoppe Campsite: Spitzkoppe Community Camp
Spitzkoppe is a breathtaking destination, and I’m so glad I came to this place in Namibia. Beautiful rock formations with natural arches, a majestic landscape, stunning sunsets, and amazing night skies.
I camped at Spitzkoppe Community Campsite, where I saw Bushmen paintings on rocks, built a campfire, and slept on big boulder rocks right under the Milky Way. Unforgettable! I wish I could stay longer…
Things to do in Spitzkoppe
- Join a guided tour to watch the Bushmen rock art paintings
- Sleep outside on the rocks and stargaze the whole night
- Get up early, climb the rocks and watch the sunrise
- Take hundreds of epic sunrise + sunset shots
Northwestern Namibia is known as Damaraland, and it is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. It’s big, untouched, and known for its ancient rocks and dramatic landscapes. You will feel like you are in the middle of nowhere when you drive through Damaraland. (This is also where my flat tire happened.)
Meeting the Himba tribes and learning more about their amazing culture was by far the best thing about Damaraland for me.
Next, you can’t miss seeing the Bushmen rock art at Twyfelfontein. Because of the long distances and drives, I suggest staying at two different campsites, which is what I did. (First near Twyfelfontein, then near Palmwag for the Himbas)
Things to do in Damaraland
- Visit the UNESCO Bushman Paintings in Twyfelfontein
- Enjoy the most breathtaking sunsets (no specific place, just everywhere you go is so stunning)
- Meet the Himba tribes, which are the last semi-nomadic people in all of Namibia
- Spent the night stargazing
Etosha National Park
Travel distance: 220km – 3h 30m
Recommended stay: 3 nights
Camping in Etosha National Park: Olifantsrus Campsite (Located near the Galton Gate at the west entrance of Etosha)
Camping in Etosha National Park: Okaukuejo Camp (Located at the main entrance of Etosha, the Anderson Gate )
Accommodation near Etosha: Eagle Tented Lodge (located near the Anderson Gate)
With many waterholes, salt pans, and a huge population of wildlife, Etosha National Park is one of the best places in Africa to join a safari and can’t be missed on your self-drive in Namibia.
The roads in the national park are pretty good, which makes it easy to drive through the park with your own vehicle and enjoy the beauty of our nature at your own pace. In Etosha National Park you can find all the animals of the big five except the African Buffalo.
As I arrived at the West Gate of the Park (Galton Gate), I decided to explore this part of the park and stay overnight at Olifantsrus Camp. This camping in Etosha National Park has only 10 spots and is my favorite campsite in Namibia as I saw black rhinos, leopards, elephants, … from the view deck. A hidden gem in Etosha!
Most visitors arrive at the main gate of Etosha National Park and stay at the amazing Okaukuejo Camping. I stayed here 1 night and this campsite in Namibia is famous for the Okaukuejo Waterhole where you can admire the beautiful wildlife wandering around while watching the most stunning sunsets.
You can easily spend a week in Etosha and although I didn’t explore the Eastern part of the park, it is also a very popular location in the park as there is a huge saltpan where many wildlife gather.
I spend also one more night in the beautiful Eagle Tented Lodge, located in the Epacha Private Game Reserve just outside the gates of Etosha National Park. It’s a wonderful lodge where I took the time to relax, go on a game drive, and enjoy the most beautiful views from the deck of my private luxury tent.
TIP: A park map is provided at the entrance gates, entrance fees are N$80 per person ($5,5) + N$10 per vehicle ($0,70)
Things to do in Etosha National Park
- Go on a morning and afternoon safari yourself
- Watch sunrise and sunset at one of the waterholes
- During the day when it’s hot, enjoy a swim and relax at the pool
- Stay inside the park at one of the campsites!! (unforgettable)
- If you don’t want to drive yourself, you can also join one of the guided game drives that the campsites/lodges are offering
Travel distance: 190 km – 2h 10min.
Recommended stay: 1 night
Accommodation in Otjiwarongo: Out of Africa Guesthouse
The last stop on my road trip was Otjiwarongo. After a morning game drive in the Eagle Tented Lodge in drove to this lovely town of Otjiwarongo, which is worth the extra day as there are some interesting places to visit.
Not only does it shorten the travel time from Etosha to Windhoek, but it also provides opportunities to learn about the important work being done by organizations like the Cheetah Conservation Fund to prevent the extinction of this beautiful but endangered cat.
The next morning, I drove from Otjjiwarongo to Windhoek, which is about 3 hours, delivered my 4×4 back at the rental company, and took the flight in the late afternoon to South Africa for another adventure.
TIP: Visit the town’s bakery for the best pastries
Additional: Kolmanskop and Fish River Canyon
If you would want to see more of this amazing country or you wish to skip certain nights elsewhere, you should consider adding Kolmanskop and/or Fish River Canyon to your road trip in Namibia.
Kolmanskop is a fascinating abandoned village about 7 hours from Windhoek and famous for the houses that are buried under the sand of the desert. Photographers come from all over the world to take pictures there.
A little further south of Kolmanskop is Fish River Canyon, which is the largest canyon in Africa. I visited the Fish River Canyon when I went camping in Namibia during a 40-day overland tour through Africa.
If you want to visit both places, I suggest that you visit Fish River Canyon first, then Kolmanskop, and then make your way up to Sossusvlei.
These 2 weeks in Namibia were the start of my world trip in 2018 and I am very glad I could experience the highlights of this fascinating country. However, there are many more amazing places to see and lots of fun things to do, so I will come back someday.
Hopefully, this Namibia self-drive itinerary will help you to plan your trip. let me know if you have any suggestions or questions in the comments.
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Plan your trip to Namibia with my favorite travel apps
To plan my adventures, I use these FREE websites and apps as they provide the best information, the best deals, and they are user-friendly.
- Skyscanner – Flight deals
- Booking.com – Hotels and accommodation
- TourRadar – Group trips
- TripAdvisor – Reviews and activities
- HostelWorld – Hostels
- GetYourGuide – Activities and excursions
- RentalCars – Car rental
- Omio – Transport
- iVisa – Travel documents
- Wise – Money transfer
- InsuredNomads – Travel Insurance
PICTURES AND EDITING
All the pictures on this page are made and owned by me. If you are interested in some pictures to use for your magazine, website, blog, or any other purpose, just send me an email and we’ll figure it out.
Do you like the edits? My Presets will be online soon so you can edit your pictures in just one click!
The camera gear I used for this trip
I never go out without my camera and many people ask me which gear I use. So to make it quite easy, I listed all the gear I used for this trip below.
Most of the time, I travel with the Sony A7III and the Sony 24-105mm/f4 as my primary lens but depending on the location, I change to another setup. However, I love the Tamron 17-28 to shoot in the big cities.