15-day Classic Namibia Safari

Classic Namibia Safari
Classic Namibia Safari

Discover what makes Namibia one of the region's best safari and wilderness destinations. This 15-day tour goes from south to north visiting the major highlights of this vast, beautiful and empty country.

From US$3372 pp (Our pricing)
15 days
Namibia, Damaraland, Etosha National Park, Kalahari, Kaokoland, Sossusvlei, Swakopmund, Waterberg, Windhoek
14 nights accommodation; meals and drinks as indicated in the itinerary; 15 days car hire (4x4 Double Cabin); vehicle drop off/delivery fee; vehicle insurance; safari and sight-seeing activities as indicated in the itinerary

Tour Brief

In 15 days, The Classic Namibia Safari visits most of the highlights of Namibia: Sossusvlei in the Namib Desert, with its great sand sea, the charming town of Swakopmund and the Skeleton Coast ; Damaraland , with its fascinating rock formations, Bushman rock art and desert-adapted wildlife; Kaokoland , the last frontier of true wilderness and the realm of the nomadic Himba people; Etosha National Park - one of Africa's great game parks; and the Waterberg Plateau, a scenic haven for Namibia's rare and endangered species.

Detailed Itinerary

  • Day 1 and 2: Sossusvlei

    From Windhoek head south to the Namib Desert and its Great Sand Sea. Arrive in time for a sundowner at your suitably poised lodge or atop the nearby Elim Dune. The drive takes about four hours.

    On the way: The drive reveals the transition from Kalahari thornveld to the true desert of the Namib; Lilyveld, a valley 30km north of Maltahöhe, springs into bloom for about a week after good rains; Duiwiseb Castle is an interesting diversion 70km south-west of Maltahöhe.

    When you're there: Enter Sossusvlei at sunrise and remember to take plenty of film or memory, sun cream, a hat, walking shoes and water. Explore the world's highest dunes and a sheltered pan with petrified trees that are hundreds of years old; climb the dunes and look out over a sea of sand. Private reserves in the area reveal fascinating flora, fauna and ancient desert landscapes.

    Standard: The Desert Homestead and Horse Trails
    Luxury: Kulala Desert Lodge

  • Day 3 and 4: Swakopmund

    A five-hour drive north takes you through the gradual change from mountains and dunes to rolling grass-covered hills with scattered acacia trees. Swakopmund is a quaint resort town by the sea with an obvious German heritage at odds with its bleak surrounds.

    On the way: Look out for the endemic Hartmann's mountain zebra as you leave; stop at Solitaire, about 80km from Sesriem for some home-made bread and an ice cold drink; Kuiseb Canyon has some shady picnic spots; you can see springbok and pure-bred wild ostrich across the vast gravel plains of the Namib; the lunar landscape; look out for the welwitschia plant.

    When you're there: Visit the Walvis Bay Lagoon - a RAMSAR wetlands site - where thousands of flamingoes, pelicans and numerous waders feed in the nutrient-rich shallows; restaurants, shops and attractions in Swakopmund; spend an extra day making the most of the cool air and refreshing sea.

    Among the many organised activities, we recommend a scenic flight over Skeleton Coast; a comfortable and informative boat cruise of Walvis Bay where you meet dolphins, sea lions, pelicans and terns; and quad biking, which is an exciting way to experience the sand dunes.

    Standard: Sandfields Guesthouse
    Luxury: Zum Kaiser Hotel

  • Day 5 and 6: Damaraland

    Enormous granite outcrops and dolerite dykes have been carved over aeons. Grassy plains, tree-studded riverbeds and endless open skies add to the grandeur and make this area one of the most scenic regions of Namibia. The drive to Damaraland takes up to five hours because there is much to see and do along the way.

    On the way: Drive along the Skeleton Coast to Cape Cross - the largest breeding cape fur seal colony in the world. The stench of 100,000 seals can be a tad over-powering: take a handkerchief to cover your nose; lunch at Cape Cross Lodge or picnic at some suitably serene and other-worldly spot; stop at the lichen fields and a salt pan that is an excellent birding spot; visit the Twfylefontein rock paintings, the Petrified Forest and the Organ Pipes.

    When you're there: Game drives on private reserves in search of the famed desert-adapted elephant, black rhino and giraffe; among other hardy plains herds look out for Hartmann's mountain zebra; spend more time exploring the Twfylefontein rock paintings, the Petrified Forest, Vingerklip and the Organ Pipes; hike up the Brandberg Mountain, Namibia's highest point at 2,573m.

    Standard: Damara Mopane Lodge
    Luxury: Mowani Mountain Camp

  • Day 7: Kaokoland

    Follow the scenic back roads to Opuwo.

    On the way: The road winds through rocky outcrops and grassy plains typical of Damaraland; the drive is short enough to visit the interesting rock formations and San rock art if you missed them on the way in. Pass the western edge of Etosha looking out for wildlife on both sides of the road; Dorsland Trek Monument; the Joubert Mountains; stop for a picnic with some wild and daunting countryside for a backdrop.

    Accommodation: Opuwo Country Hotel

  • Day 8 and 9: Kaokoland - Epupa Falls

    The drive from Opuwo to Epupa Falls is about five hours on the direct route; if you've got a 4WD vehicle the back roads traverse the truly wild country and the drive will take most of the day.

    When you're there: Meet Himba villagers and discover their fascinating ways; scenic drives through Kaokoland; hikes; birdwatching and game viewing; excursions to the Kunene River with Himba villages along the way

    Standard: Omarunga Camp
    Luxury: Epupa Falls Lodge

  • Day 10: Etosha National Park (West)

    Head south back toward Damaraland then west into Etosha National Park - the western sector has only recently been opened to the public and this vast area of grassy plains is quite unique to the rest of the park.

    On the way: Looking out for wildlife on both sides of the road.

    When you're there: Enjoy game drives twice daily in the exclusive western sector of Etosha National Park; birdwatching; scenic and photographic drives.

    Accommodation: Dolomite Camp

  • Day 11: Etosha National Park (South)

    After breakfast head south towards your next lodge. Look out for Etosha's wildlife, though the animals are far more wary of vehicles in the western regions; self-drive safaris can stop at Pie Alberts Koppies and Outjo for a comfort break.

    When you're there: Etosha has an estimated 250 lions, 300 rhinos, 2,500 giraffes, 6,000 zebras, 20,000 springbok and 2,000 elephants. This on top of a large number of lesser and common plains herds, and abundant birds makes game viewing in Etosha something special. The surrounding lodges all have private reserves with equally impressive wildlife numbers and they offer private game viewing activities into the park.

    Standard: Etosha Village
    Luxury: Ongava Lodge

  • Day 12 and 13: Etosha National Park (East)

    Game drive eastwards to your next lodge.

    On the way: You can stop as often as you like for as long as you like. There are many waterholes en route as you travel through the park to your lodge on the eastern side of Etosha Park.

    When you're there: Your lodge will offer guided games drives in the park as well as guided game walks in the private reserve.

    Standard: Mushara Bush Camp
    Luxury: Mushara Outpost

  • Day 14: Waterberg

    The drive to the Waterberg area will take about four hours.

    On the way: Visit the world's largest meteorite; have picnic lunch at Lake Otjikoto or Lake Guinas.

    When you're there: The Waterberg Plateau Park has several excellent hiking trails, the wildlife and birdlife and scenery make for a good hike; private game farms in the area offer game viewing and some have active conservation programmes like AfriCat and the Cheetah Conservation Fund.

    Standard: Frans Indongo Lodge
    Luxury: Okonjima Luxury Bush Camp

  • Day 15: Windhoek

    The drive to Windhoek Airport for your return flight is short and comfortable on paved roads. The journey should take about three hours, so you've got time for an early wildlife activity and a leisurely breakfast.

    On the way: Stop at Okahandja to collect any carvings you set aside

  • Self Drive Distance Chart and Travelling Times

Recent Reviews of This Tour

“We were surprised by the lack of tourists in many areas”

Scenery was more stunning that expected - and we had high expectations to start. Felt very welcome everywhere as tourists. Excellent service in all lodges except Twyfelfontein (mediocre). We were surprised by the lack of tourists in many areas we stayed (Cape Cross, Halali, Etosha Aoba). We really enjoyed the Sandwich Harbour / Walvis Bay tour from PhotoVenture (Herman), and I got my sandboarding trip in the following morning too. SO exhausting... We had Cape Cross lodge all to ourselves, which was nice, but weird, although the beach and lodge is beautiful. Skeleton Coast drive was gorgeous, although the road was quite bumpy around Torra Bay (I think we averaged 30km/h for a good 2 hours), but the trip inland was worth the sacrifice! (Turns out we were the only car in the park all day according to the rangers).

We cannot thank Danie and the NTS team enough for the excellent service and personal touches. You made everything very easy and recommendations were spot on.

Chris Gloyn, Canada Classic Namibia Safari

“It was a fantastic trip”

It was a fantastic trip and our guide, Charles Rhyn, was excellent – very knowledgeable on all subjects and “unstinting” in his care of us, sorting out minor problems etc.

L Spink, UK Classic Namibia Safari

“The dunes were astonishing – certainly not to be missed.”

It was interesting to see so many different areas and drive through the dramatic mountains in Damaraland. It is a hard life for some of the farmers. It was also good to see the animals in the lovely setting of the game area at Palmwag Lodge and be there without any other vehicles. Etosha was amazing – all we could have hoped for, especially the waterhole at Okaukuejo . The food there was variable and at one lunch time very little choice. Jackals scavenged round the bins by the swimming pool area while we were eating and the debris was not cleared. Lovely rooms and pool.

Loved the restaurant at Twyfelfontein and the entertaining guide for the engravings. Such an interesting drive down the river bed to find the desert elephants with new born baby.

The dunes were astonishing – certainly not to be missed.

The vehicle was comfortable but no a/c. The windows were unsatisfactory as there was no way to adjust the air flow – open or shut. It would have been good to have sliding windows to have clear view while seated for cameras. Good view when roof was open but it rattled very badly when driving along.

Charly was amazing! A great bird expert, enthusiastic, energetic, kind, thoughtful, responsible driver and really good company. He was upset that we did not find a leopard! He was especially kind to me as the oldest member. After I had my bag looted at Johannesburg he helped me put in a claim. He obtained the form, photocopied documents and faxed them all off in the timescale demanded. Through hearing his personal story we learned a great deal about life in Namibia.

Rosemary Stewart, UK Classic Namibia Safari

“We had an amazing time and enjoyed the landscapes, the animals and the excellent lodge selections very much!”

Dear Alison,

I am writing to provide you with our feedback from and with a big THANK you for organizing our self drive safari trip in Namibia so excellently.

We had an amazing time and enjoyed the landscapes, the animals and the excellent lodge selections very much! Documentation and organization were outstanding and we can only recommend ATS/ NTS to any other traveller. Most of the lodges were really nice placed in special locations, food very tasty and staff more than welcoming and friendly!

We were also very happy with the car (a 4x4 is a must), .... had some bad luck with a total of 5 flat tires. But at the time we had 3 flat tires within 4 hours, all 4 tires have been exchanged during our stay in Etendeka Mountain Camp without any doing from our side but 2 phonecalls and some sms's. Very good client service indeed!

The only thing we would probably suggest to skip is Opuwo (if you are not heading further up to the falls). It is a lot of driving in the two days and we were not that excited about the town. We were also not able to visit the Himbas due to our tire problems and no vehicle available from the lodge.

But overall a big compliment and a thank you!

Kind regards, Edith

Edith Wolfram, Switzerland Classic Namibia Safari

“We had a sensational time. Truly unforgettable.”

Wilmari, I wanted to thank you again for an amazing organisation of our Namibian trip.... We had a sensational time. Truly unforgettable. The kids were incredible and enjoyed every minute of it. You did such a good job and I want to thank you again for your professionalism and for taking my call on a Sunday!!!!!

[Edit: a big THANK YOU to the beautiful Pelka family for sharing their holiday pictures with us. What an incredible holiday they had.]

Sophie Pelka, Switzerland Classic Namibia Safari

“Again, thanks for your flexibility, support and all the best to all of you”

Thanks for your kind message and for organizing such a wonderful honey moon. It was all perfectly organized, and sorry for not replying earlier.

The only place where we were a bit disappointed is the last night back in Windhoek, I forgot the name of the place... It was run down, not such friendly people, the room was disappointing versus all the other accommodations! Other than that, it was 100%

Olive Grove is really such a perfect place: staff, room, food, service, etc!!!! We loved !

Since over a month we are back to reality and work, but the HM was unforgettable. What a great country you have. The highlight was Etosha where we saw lions, cheetahs and leopard! Amazing.

Again, thanks for your flexibility, support and all the best to all of you.

Benoit and Evelyn Jacquot , France Classic Namibia Safari

“Namibia is a very beautiful country”

We'd like to say thank you for all. Everything worked out great and we were very pleased. Namibia is a very beautiful country and has much to offer.

Jens Reinlander, Germany

“I knew we were in excellent hands”

I loved to see so much of this beautiful country. I thought the itinerary was a wonderful introduction to Namibia. Ideally I would have preferred staying in more places longer than one night but I don’t see how that can be avoided while still seeing so much.

Vincent Brehany made this trip. From the moment we met him I knew we were in excellent hands. His knowledge and demeanour are simply outstanding – he was the ideal guide and I can’t imagine doing this trip without him. He is wonderful and I’m so grateful to know him.

Emily Joyce, UK Classic Namibia Safari

“Superb guide”

Superb guide with great breadth and depth knowledge that couldn’t be beaten.

Gavin Blackwell, UK Classic Namibia Safari

“I was really impressed”

I was really impressed with the way Vincent guided us in a relaxed and organised structure and he seems to be an endless source of information. Also Paulus and Jeremiah were lovely! Vincent’s cooking was very good, sometimes better than the lodges.

John Mills, UK Classic Namibia Safari
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