Where desert and ocean meet
Hereafter you will find an outstanding itinerary through Namibia including the mirage-like Dead Vlei, the outdoor-lovers city of Swakopmund and the stunning wildlife in Etosha National Park. You can perfectly combine this route with Botswana and Zimbabwe, if you have some more vacation days.
Apr. 2017: Hello, Bonjour and Hi from a two weeks travel route through the breathtaking scenery and landscape of Namibia. Here, you can find ideas for an individual itinerary and what you would like to discover in this beautiful country. Prepare yourself for the gorgeous vastness of red sand dunes in Sossusvlei, adventurous tours on the Okavango with a Mokoro and close encounters with wildlife in the Etosha National Park. This route is perfectly supplemented by a detour through Botswana and Zimbabwe, if you have about three weeks of free time. Interested in it? Then read on for more Information about Botswana and Zimbabwe.
- Length – 12 days / 11 nights
- Total km – ca. 2.615km
- Vehicle – 4WD indispensable with a tent and fully equipped with camping utensils
- Road conditions – tared, gravel, sandy and potholed
- Accommodation – Hotel, camping
- Highlights – Sossusvlei, Etosha, Ngepi Camp
If you have 12 days of vacation and you are looking for an adventurous experience combining unbelievably beautiful sceneries, outdoor experiences as well as close encounters with incredible wildlife you should definitely opt for Namibia. This itinerary can be easily combined with a route through Botswana and Zimbabwe, if you have some few days more. Keep in mind to not drive during darkness, as it bears many risks due to crossing wildlife, bad road conditions and other hazardous possibilities.
WDH Airport – Windhoek drive about 50km; 40min
Day 1: Most of the European flights come in early at WDH International Airport in Windhoek. This gives you a full first day in Windhoek that you will start with getting to know your camper, including tent, fridge and spare wheels, before driving into town to stock on provisions for the next days to come. You will need plenty of water, food and don’t forget about the tasty Biltong. Windhoek is quite save, however watch out for some credit card tricks (e.g. someone wants you to buy a parking ticket at an ATM) and pick pocketing. The rest of your day, you can either go for a sightseeing tour to explore the famous Christ Church, wander through the National Museum of Namibia or take the time to go for a short hike on a close by Mountain, where you have a splendid view on Windhoek and the sun setting behind the hills.
Windhoek – Sesriem drive about 330km; 4hr 30min
Day 2: This morning you can head southwards, passing from tar to gravel towards Sesriem. First glimpse of amazing landscapes will astound you. As you get closer, the scenery turns more and more red and desert-like. You can pass the Sossusvlei gate and drive into the valley, to see Springboks and Oryx or hike Dune 45. The Sesriem Restcamp is the perfect stay for the first night in your rooftop-tent. 4WD is recommended to get to your campground.
Sesriem – Namib Desert drive about 135km; 2hr
Day 3: Get up early and you will be amazed by the most gorgeous sunrise from the top of Dune 45. Afterwards drive through the valley on tared road until you are only 5km away from Dead Vlei, where you need your 4WD to reach the parking lot in front of the white valley with its bizarre, dead trees. If you hike Big Daddy, the biggest Dune in the area, you will be rewarded with a fabulous view across Dead Vlei and the never-ending dunes. The goal for this evening is to reach Rostock Ritz Desert Lodge, situated in a greener area with fantastic mountain views. If you are lucky, you can see some ostriches, zebras and Oryx along your route. All Bungalows have stunning views on the green plains below you, offering you a marvelous view towards the mountains at the horizon. The sunset hiking trail is perfect for a short hike, when the sun goes down.
Namib Desert – Swakopmund drive about 360km; 5hr
Day 4 – 5: Get up early again to enjoy a peaceful hike along the sunrise trail. You could spot some Kudus climbing their way up on the hills, if you are lucky enough. Rest at the Lion’s King point to savor the magical view across the wide grassland that lays beneath you before following the route back to the Bungalows. The rest of the day, you will be mostly in the car, driving on gravel pads through the Gaub and Kuiseb pass and through terrific moon landscape until you reach Walvis Bay. The Anchors is a nice place to stop and grab lunch. 30km are left before you reach Swakopmund, where the guesthouse “Hotel Pension d’Avignon” is great for a three nights stay. This city offers plenty of outdoor activities, such as sandboarding, horse-riding or camel riding, a really cool desert tour with the little five or some aqua activities.
Swakopmund – Otjiwarongo drive about 370km; 3hr 30min
Day 6: Don’t forget to stock up your reserves for the next coming days before heading north for about 4,5 hours. Tared road will bring you past Spitzkoppe and Erongo mountains to your overnight stay “C’est si bon”, where you can spend the night in a Bungalow. From now on, you are in Malaria-endangered areas.
Otjiwarongo – Etosha drive about 250km; 3hr
Day 7 – 9: Today you will enter Etosha through the Anderson Gate, which is in the South-West of the park. Allow yourself three nights to get a good overview of the park with great wildlife encounters. Your encounters vary depending on the season you visit the park, after a rainy summer you might not find many animals close to the waterholes. However, try the following waterholes from western to eastern part in the park: Okondeka, Ombika, Okaukujeo, Salvadora, Sueda, Rietfontein until you reach Halali for your next camping nights. Etosha has a huge variety of wildlife, so you could encounter, among others, rhinos, elephants, lions, all kinds of antelopes and wildebeests, giraffes, zebras, hyenas, oryx, springboks, ostriches and plenty of beautiful birds. Watch out for potholes on the gravel road, as they can be quite huge and cause easily a puncture that you don’t want to have close to a lions’ residence. The most beautiful sundowner place is probably at the Halali waterhole.
From this point, you can either drive south towards Windhoek or continue this great journey along the Caprivi Strip (then go on and read the next few stops below) and cross into the wildlife-rich Botswana and wonderful wild Zimbabwe. Otherwise, bybe bye, salut and baai ∞
Etosha – Rundu drive about 500km; 6hr
Day 10: After a last Game Drive in Etosha, head westwards towards the Lindequist Gate and drive through Tsumeb and Grootfontein. After a couple of hours, you will reach Rundu and leave the tared road behind you for the last kilometers to drive on gravel and sand pads, 4WD is definitely useful. “N’Kwazi Lodge” is a beautiful stay for the night, a bit outside the town directly situated at the Okavango river. You can take a gorgeous Bungalow with a view on the river or a camping place for this night. Enjoy the sunset behind the border of Angola on the other riverside.
Rundu – Popa Falls drive about 220km; 2hr 30min
Day 11: On your way to Popa Falls stock up on provisions before you check-in in Ngepi Camp, it’s another beautiful camp directly at the Okavango river, where you can either camp or take a marvelous tree house located just above the river with the hippos underneath. The camp offers many activities such as an adventurous Mokoro tour on the large river that will show you the beautiful wildlife in the water as well as along the riverbanks. You could possibly see hippos, crocs and even ellies that come for a drink to the river.
Popa Falls –Chobe River Camp drive about 400km; 4hr 15min
Day 12: Drive further east towards the border of Botswana and you will find the gorgeous Chobe River Camp located at the riverbanks of the Chobe river. Camping is possible or you rent a tented chalet with a magnificent view on the river and the Chobe National Park on the other side. Check weather conditions for this camp as during a longer period of rain it might be closed down or non-reachable. The camp offers boat cruises during the afternoon with a fantastic sundowner, where you will see plenty of animals such as hippos, giraffes, ellies, crocs, buffalos, eagles, many antelopes, waterbucks and maybe even lions. From here you can take your journey to Botswana and Zimbabwe. See you in a few days after you enjoyed both countries. Bye, bye, salut and baai ∞
Ghanzi – Harnas Farm drive about 410km; 4hr 30min but plan a bit more due to a border crossing
Day 20: Off for another border crossing into Namibia, where you will drive mostly on tared road until you will enter a gravel road close to Gobabis. After reaching the entrance of the Harnas Farm, red sand will await you as well as ostriches, antelopes and other wildlife. Enjoy a lion’s roar sundowner tour before you indulge in memories at your own fireplace by your camping site. Watch out for the cheeky baboons.
Harnas – Windhoek drive about 330km; 3hr 45min
Day 21 – 22: During the morning hours, you can join the morning tour, where the staff is feeding all animals in their enclosures. Today you will head back to Windhoek, Immanuel Lodge is a great place outside the city with a beautiful porch overlooking a waterhole for wildlife and a pool. Enjoy your last day before you fly back home. Bybe bye, salut and baai ∞
If you have any Questions, contact me or check out my advices for Namibia on Instagram.