A panoramic view out over the endless landscape of Southern Namibia with an open safari vehicle in the foreground.

Best of Namibia Safari with Southern Extension

Explore the main highlights of Namibia coupled with the incredible vast and endless landscapes of the south, which makes this the best of Namibia. A safari of varied contrasts and some of the most magnificent scenery in the world.
16
days
ZAR 37,275 pps
Self-drive
Luxury / Standard

Overview

This trip takes you from the Kalahari to the Namib Desert. Along the Skeleton Coast, up through Damaraland to Etosha and finally a visit to a game farm in the centre of the country with a chance to track game. You’ll also visit Fish River Canyon, Kolmanskop Ghost Town near Luderitz, Sossuvlei and Dead Pan with a whole lot in between. 16 days, 15 nights. You know you want to.

A bushman with bow in hand crouched on a Kalahari dune looking into the sun.

Highlights

  • Go see the great Fish River Canyon. Hike. Explore. Enjoy the sunset
  • Explore Kolmanskop Ghost Town. Desolate. Old. Spectacular
  • Sossusvlei, Dead Vlei and Dune 45. Explore Sesriem Canyon. Climb dunes
  • Go in search of the desert-adapted elephants in rugged Damaraland
  • Wildlife and safari extravaganza in Etosha National Park
  • Visit a well known game reserve or game park in central Namibia

Itinerary

Day 1: Windhoek ( 1 night )

You’ve arrived. Welcome to Namibia and Windhoek. The capital and the largest city in Namibia. It’s also bang in the centre of the country so a good place to start.

On the way: You’ll be met by a friendly face of NTS who will help you deal with the car rental paperwork and also give you your travel documents and welcome pack. Keep hold of it, it’s worth gold. And goes above and beyond a free biro or a simple road map.

When you're there: Now settle into your B&B. The rest of the day is your own. Wander into town, go for dinner. You’ll find there’s a German colonial vibe, several modest museums, plus, the rather lush National Botanical Gardens.

Luxury Accommodation
The Weinberg Windhoek

Standard Accommodation
The Elegant Guesthouse

Day 2: Kalahari ( 1 night )

Today you're off to the Kalahari. Windhoek to the Kalahari will take roughly 3-4 hours, it's about a 245km drive. Get ready for sand. Red sand and loads of it.

On the way: After breakfast, you’ll still have time to pop into Windhoek and do a spot of shopping before you hit the tarmac. Buy supplies and snacks for the road. Heading south - your self-drive adventure begins.

When you're there: The Kalahari desert is a big mass of sand stretching 900,000sq km across seven countries including South Africa, Botswana and, of course, Namibia. She’s the largest sand sea in the world. And not a real desert as there’s too much rain. She is, in fact, a rather handsome fossil desert. Eerie and silent. You’ll have dinner and bed & breakfast at your lodge here. Get out your bird and mammal checklist (the one in your welcome pack), the Kalahari’s a mecca for animals, birds and reptiles. But she wouldn’t be a desert without a healthy dose of scorpions. Eeek. Socks and shoes back on. You can take a game or nature drive or try the Bushman experience and learn about the first settlers here.

Luxury Accommodation
Zebra Kalahari Lodge

Standard Accommodation
Camelthorn Kalahari Lodge

Day 3: Fish River Canyon ( 1 night )

Fish River Canyon. The largest canyon in the world. No way! Grand Canyon! Grand Canyon! Alright, alright. Keep your Quiver Tree on. Fish River Canyon is the largest canyon in AFRICA. A huge 100 mile long ravine said to be created by the whiplash of a dragon’s tail. One and a half billion years later, we suspect that’s a myth.

On the way: You’ll need to get your snacks packed for day three. You’ll be driving for 7-8 hours to get from the Kalahari to Fish River Canyon. It's approximately 440km. Head south via Mariental and Keetmanshoop to the Karas region. Take a detour to the Quiver Tree Forest, 13km north west of Keetmanshoop. There are three quiver tree species, all aloes. Hundreds grow between the rocks like a beatnik fairy land. Whilst you’re here wander another 5km and check out the Giant’s Playground. A game of Jenga with huge dolerite and basalt rocks.

When you're there: Unlike it’s big American cousin you won’t have to share the Fish River Canyon with a million other tourists, it’s remote location means it’s not a vast tourist honey pot. There are several viewpoints which are great - particularly at sunset. The light here is spectacular. Its sheer size is really haunting. Breathe in the fresh air. Then head for dinner. It's been a long day on the road, but it's been well worth it.

Luxury Accommodation
Fish River Lodge

Standard Accommodation
Canyon Roadhouse

Day 4 & 5: Luderitz ( 2 nights )

After all that splendid nature, it’s time for some bling. Well, there would have been if you’d arrived in 1909 when diamonds were discovered nearby. These days it’s an incongruous colonial relic barely noticed by the 21st century.

On the way: Take a final peak at that dreamy canyon before heading west through harsh but marvellous terrain. You’re coastward bound. Fish River Canyon to Luderitz will take about 5-6 hours (the drive is 385km). You’ll drive through Aus on the way - look out for wild desert horses.

When you're there: One full day is set aside for the glories of Luderitz and Kolmanskop. Notice the Art Deco buildings. Head to the beach to stretch your legs, there are many sandy bays and lagoons. Grosse Bucht is stunning and there is the Irmgard shipwreck. About 10km from Luderitz lies Kolmanskop, which was a base camp for the first diamond rush in Southern Africa. The rush was triggered by a railway worker who got lucky but then the place was, well, abandoned. Eerie, surreal, stunning. Like a shipwreck, the buildings are being digested by the desert. Kolmanskop is a ghost town. Visit the museum and take a guided walk. Choose a good spot or a fancy restaurant for lunch and dinner.

Luxury Accommodation
Luderitz Nest Hotel

Standard Accommodation
Alte Villa Boutique Guest House

Day 6 & 7: Sossusvlei ( 2 nights )

The ancient Namib. The world’s only coastal desert. In other words, the only time you’ll climb a sand dune and say, “Ooh. Fog. Why’s there fog?” COASTAL DESERT!

On the way: After breakfast you’ll be setting off to the sea of sand, back tracking through Aus and heading north via Helmeringhausen. It’s a trek. Luderitz to Sossuvlei will take approx 7-8 hours, 505km of driving. Arrive and relax, enjoy a delicious dinner and get a good nights' sleep.

When you're there: Arise early. Have breakfast and then go straight to the Sossusvlei entrance - the Sesriem Gate.

Spend the day here and what a day you have to look forward to! Sossuvlei, the Dead Vlei, Dune 45, Big Daddy and Elim Dune. That’s a whole lot of dunes and even more as far as the eye can see. Head to Sesriem Canyon, so named as the early Afrikaans explorers used six (“ses”) leather straps (“riem”) tied together to create a rope long enough to lower buckets and fetch water from the canyon below. You can go back to the lodge to eat or arrange a lunch pack to take with you on the dunes. If you do the latter, you might want to head home in the late afternoon for a rest. Then it's time for dinner beneath the stars.

Optional extras include a guided Sossusvlei trip, a nature drive or a hot air balloon safari (a top recommendation).

Luxury Accommodation
Namib Outpost

Standard Accommodation
Desert Quiver Camp

Day 8 & 9: Swakopmund ( 2 nights )

Town time. Say goodbye to the desert and head to Swakop (as the locals call it). The drive from Sossuvlei to Swakopmund will take approx 5-6 hours, a 350km drive.

On the way: After breakfast head north to Solitaire, then west. You’ll cross the Tropic of Capricorn and drive through the Gaub and Kuiseb Canyons. The Namib Gravel Plains will take you to the coast. You can go to Swakopmund via Walvis Bay but ideally do a detour and go via Ganab to the Welwitschia Plains and Moon Landscape.

When you're there: Ah, the Namibian coastline. What a wreck. They’re everywhere. Broken shells, rusting hulls. There were once whale skeletons lying stark and barren too. You’ll have a full day and there is a lot to do between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay. You could go on a dolphin cruise, dune quad biking or even sand boarding. Sea kayaking’s available too if you fancy it. The Sandwich Harbour excursion’s interesting and it gives you a big slice of the skeleton coast cake. Talking of food, you’re in a B&B here so lunches and dinners are your own. There are lots of cafes to choose from and restaurants which overlook the wide, wild sea would be particularly pleasant.

Luxury Accommodation
Strand Hotel

Standard Accommodation
Swakopmund Luxury Suites

Day 10 & 11: Damaraland ( 2 nights )

Time to head back to the bush. The drive from Swakopmund to Damaraland, 445km, will take about 7-8 hours.

On the way: First, a furry detour. Head north along the Skeleton Coast via Henties Bay to visit the Cape Cross Seal colony. Detour within a detour - stop at the Lichen Fields and the ship wreck between the holiday town Wlotskasbaken and Henties Bay.

Now, reverse or rather backtrack, to Henties Bay and head in land through the plains to Uis and continue driving north to the Twyfelfontein area.

When you're there: Elephants. Where? There. Shhh. Take your 4x4 west to the Huab River to search for the desert adapted elephants and other wildlife. They’ve gone all desert adapted: sunglasses and khaki hats. Other game to look out for include oryx, springbok and ostrich. Go with a lodge guide because they really know their stuff. And they know the elephants have neither sunglasses nor khaki hats. For a bit of culture, visit the Damara Living Museum. You’ll have dinner and bed & breakfast. Not at the Living Museum but at the lodge, which is highly enjoyable.

Luxury Accommodation
Mowani Mountain Camp

Standard Accommodation
Twyfelfontein Adventure Camp

Day 12: Etosha National Park - South ( 1 night )

Time to get serious about safari. None of this bush wandering, hope to get lucky shenanigans. Get in the car and drive for 325km to Etosha. You’ll be sipping a drink watching animals do the same in no time. Well, in 4-5 hours.

On the way: After breakfast, head east towards Khorixas. Detour for sure via the Petrified Forest. Done? Ok, back to Khorixas and head further east along the tar road up Outjo and then north to your lodge. It’s really close to the southern entrance of Etosha, the Anderson Gate.

When you're there: If there’s time go into Etosha for an afternoon drive and - depending on how many times you stop to ooh and aah - you should arrive at your lodge in time for lunch. It’s an optional extra but it’s there if you want it. Now, when you go inside the park your first stop will be Okaukuejo. Pay your entry fee, top up your supplies and get one of their maps showing all the various waterholes. Loads of mammals, loads of birds. Literally, hundreds and hundreds of species.

Enjoy your dinners at the lodge.

Luxury Accommodation
Ongava Lodge

Standard Accommodation
Etosha Village

Day 13 & 14: Etosha National Park - East ( 2 nights )

Although you'll be spending most of the day in the car again, the good news is that it's at your own pace as you head from one side of the park to the other.

On the way: Go slow. You’ll be crawling east as you stop at the many waterholes. Be on the look out for animals. They're everywhere and you might just be lucky to spot some of big game and of course the plains game in herds between.

When you're there: You can do a full day or separate morning and afternoon drives. On your own with a packed lunch or, as an optional extra, you could go with the lodge’s open safari vehicle and guide.

Our tip: Head into the park early morning when the gates open at sunrise and in the late afternoon before the gates close at sunset. During the heat of the day the animals are more lethargic. This is Africa. It gets hot. You'll be happy to escape the heat too. The swimming pool looks inviting.

Enjoy your dinners at the lodge served under the Namibia sky.

Luxury Accommodation
Mushara Outpost

Standard Accommodation
Onguma Bush Camp

Day 15: Waterberg ( 1 night )

It’s time to head in the direction of Waterberg. Straight to the centre of the country, if you will.

On the way: Time to leave Etosha and drive roughly 315km for 4-5 hours. Head south via Otavi and Otjiwarongo to Okonjima - the home of The Africat Foundation or to Otjiwa - Namibia's oldest game farm.

When you're there: Namibia takes conservation seriously. More than 40% of the country is under conservation management. Aim to arrive by lunch time at the latest to enjoy some rather marvellous tea, coffee and cakes. Then it’s time for an afternoon excursion. How charming. Dinner is included so don’t scoff too many cakes.

*At Okonjima, you’ll have 2 activities included. Discuss this with the lodge on arrival to plan which activities you can do and the timings of such.

At Otjiwa we recommend you head out into the bush on a game drive, game walk or even go game tracking (optional extras). A highlight.

Luxury Accommodation
Okonjima Luxury Bush Camp

Standard Accommodation
Otjiwa Safari Lodge

Day 16: Windhoek ( Departure / End of Tour )

And so, the end is near, it’s time to face the final activity... because you’ll soon be Windhoek bound.

On the way: It’s a 3-4 hour drive to Windhoek, 225km. Get up early, have a quick snack and then go for a morning activity and then it’s back to the lodge for breakfast.

When you're there: Head to Windhoek where you’ll drop off your car and be transferred to the airport. Bear in mind it’s about an hour’s drive away and you do need to check in 2 hours before your flight.

Accommodation

Includes/Excludes

Includes
  • Accommodation
  • Meals (details on request)
  • Vehicle hire
  • Meet and Greet
  • Airport transfers
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • Comprehensive travel diary with detailed itinerary, map, route descriptions, booking vouchers, contact numbers and useful information

Excludes
  • International flights
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Visas and visa applications
  • Optional extra activities
  • Fuel
  • Park entry fees
  • Staff gratuities

Pricing

Number of Guests 2 4   Single Sup
Luxury        
Low season ZAR 87,345 ZAR 77,390   ZAR 26,215
High season ZAR 97,625 ZAR 86,590   ZAR 29,465
Standard        
Low season ZAR 44,910 ZAR 37,275   ZAR 11,095
High season ZAR 47,925 ZAR 39,450   ZAR 11,630
  • Our price is quoted in ZAR (South African Rands). This has a fixed exchange rate to the Namibian Dollar at 1:1

Tour Map

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