In 16 days, The Classic Namibia Safari visits most of the highlights of Namibia: Sossusvlei in the Namib Desert, the charming town of Swakopmund and the Skeleton Coast; Damaraland, with its fascinating geology 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 greatest game parks; and the pristine bush of central Namibia on a game farm or reserve near Waterberg.
Day 1: Windhoek ( 1 night )
You've arrived in the Land of the Brave. Welcome to Namibia. On arrival you will be met by the car rental company representative and transferred to their offices in Windhoek to complete all rental procedures. Once done, we'll arrange for you to meet with our meet and greet representative to hand over your travel documents and travel package including your map.
When you're there: Spend the remainder of the day relaxing once you've checked in. Head into town for dinner at one of Windhoek's restaurants. Try Joe's Beerhouse for local cuisine and an authentic Namibian atmosphere, it's just down the road.
The Weinberg Windhoek
The Elegant Guesthouse
Day 2 & 3: Sossusvlei ( 2 nights )
From Windhoek head south to the Namib Desert to explore the giant sand dunes. Head off early enough to enjoy the ever-changing landscapes and the journey as you make your way from the capital. Arrive in time for a sundowner and enjoy dinner under the dark night sky. The drive takes about five to six hours with stops along the way.
On the way: The drive reveals the transition from the ochre sands and thorn trees of the Kalahari to the world's oldest desert, the Namib. Drive south to Rehoboth and then west via the Remhoogte or Spreetshoogte Pass for incredible views before making your way to Solitaire for refreshments and on to the Sossusvlei area. Alternatively drive south from Rehoboth via Mariental and then west via the small town of Maltahöhe and the Tsaris Pass to Sossusvlei. The latter allows for an optional detour to view Duwisib Castle.
When you're there: Enter Sossusvlei as the gate opens at sunrise and remember to pack the camera, sunscreen, a hat, walking shoes and water. There's loads to see and it gets hot out there. Explore some of the world's highest dunes and the dry clay pans of Sossusvlei and Dead Vlei with eon old petrified trees. Take a climb. Enjoy the views and the endless rolling sand dunes as far as the eye can see. Go it alone or join the Sossusvlei excursion with a lodge guide.
Desert Quiver Camp
Day 4 & 5: Swakopmund ( 2 nights )
A five-hour drive north takes you from dunes and mountains to open plains on to the foggy coast of Swakopmund, a picturesque resort town on the coast of the cold Atlantic Ocean with sand dunes as it's backdrop.
On the way: Keep your eyes peeled for endemic Hartmann's mountain zebra and ostrich as you leave; stop at Solitaire, about 80km from Sesriem for some home-made bakes and an ice cold drink; Kuiseb Canyon has some picnic spots and view points not to miss; look out for springbok across the vast gravel plains of the Namib; the lunar landscape; and the ancient welwitschia of years gone by.
When you're there: There are plenty of shops and attractions in Swakopmund. Curios and good food on every corner. Enjoy the beach. There are loads of activities on offer, this is Namibia's activity centre. Visit the Walvis Bay Lagoon - a RAMSAR wetlands site - where you can see flamingoes, pelicans and numerous waders.
Visit our Swakopmund Activities page for a list of the best recommended things to do and what not to miss.
Swakopmund Luxury Suites
Day 6: Damaraland ( 1 night )
Leaving the coast, make your way north exploring some of the coastline before you head inland to explore the rugged landscapes of Damaraland. An area know for its large granite boulders and rocky outcrops, vast open grassy plains and dry ephemeral riverbeds. This is one of the most scenic areas in the country, which makes the drive part of the journey. Leave early as it is a long day on the road with lots to see making the drive to Damaraland a full day, especially if you take the coastal route via Torra Bay.
On the way: Drive along the Skeleton Coast to Cape Cross via Henties Bay. Here you can see the largest breeding cape fur seal colony in the world. The sheer numbers and their stench is overwhelming. Enjoy lunch at Cape Cross Lodge or picnic along the way; stop at the lichen fields and a salt pan that is an excellent birding spot; take in Brandberg Mountain (if time allows); explore the Twyfelfontein rock paintings, Burnt Mountain and the Organ Pipes. If you're taking the coastal route, stop en-route to view some old shipwrecks.
When you're there: Game drives in the dry Huab riverbed in search of the elusive desert-adapted elephant, black rhino and giraffe; among other hardy plains game. Spend more time exploring the Twyfelfontein highlights and visit the Damara Living Museum for a hint of culture.
Our tip: Book an activity with the lodge to search for the elephants. They know the area well, when last the elephants were spotted and where.
Mowani Mountain Camp
Twyfelfontein Adventure Camp
Day 7 & 8: Damaraland - remote areas ( 2 nights )
This morning can still be spent exploring the area of Damaraland before you make your way further north through gradual changing landscapes into more remote areas of the Kunene Region. Here you'll find the Palmwag Concession an area of open plains and mountain ranges.
On the way: It's not a long days drive today, but most lodges in the area require a transfer with set pick up times. Drop your car and meet your guide. The lodge is not that far, but the road is up and down so the drive is longer. It's an afternoon scenic drive. A great way to take in the beautiful scenery and be on the lookout for wildlife.
While you're there: A full day is set aside to enjoy activities with the lodge and to explore the area. Take a hike or enjoy a walking trail. Explore by game drive, scenic drive and be sure to include a sundowner. This area is harsh and remote which makes it ever more about the amazing landscapes.
*Your stay is booked on a fully inclusive basis at Desert Rhino Camp to include your scheduled camp activities
Desert Rhino Camp
Day 9: Kaokoland ( 1 night )
Breakfast and transfer back to your vehicle this mornign. Follow the scenic back roads to Opuwo in Kaokoland.
On the way: The road winds through rocky outcrops and open plains typical of Damaraland as you head further north into the rugged areas of Kaokoland. Your drive takes you via the Uniab Canyon to Warmquelle. Stop off in Sesfontein, a chance to refuel and then make your way via Joubert Pass; stop for a picnic with some wild and daunting countryside for a backdrop.
When you're there: Meet Himba villagers and discover their fascinating ways; scenic drives through Kaokoland; hikes; birdwatching and game viewing.
Our tip: Book a Himba Village tour with the lodge guides. They know the locals, they understand their culture and many of them speak their language. Go early morning when the village is a hive of activity.
Luxury & Standard Accommodation
Opuwo Country Hotel
Day 10: Etosha National Park - West ( 1 night )
Head south back toward Damaraland then west into Etosha National Park - the western sector is more quiet with less traffic and comprises mostly of vast areas of grassy plains, making it quite unique to the rest of the park.
On the way: Lookout for wildlife. Whether staying inside Etosha or on the private Hobatere Reserve, this is where your game viewing extravaganza begins.
When you're there: Enjoy an afternoon or evening game drive; birdwatching; scenic and photographic drives.
Day 11 & 12: Etosha National Park - South ( 2 nights )
After breakfast, make your way through the park from the west to the south. It's a full days game drive taking your time to enjoy the wildlife and to stop off at numerous waterholes along the way. Though the animals are far more wary of vehicles in the western regions; self-drive safaris can stop at Pie Alberts Koppies for a comfort break.
When you're there: Etosha is known for excellent game viewing with good reason. A chance to spy some wildlife in numbers and those numbers are impressive with an estimated 20,000 springbok, 6,000 zebras, 2,500 giraffes, 2,000 elephants, 300 rhinos and 250 lions. The best part - that's not even all the game you could see and there's an abundance of birds which makes game viewing in Etosha something spectacular. There are also many private reserves bordering on and surrounding the park with equally great wildlife experiences and they offer drives into Etosha as well.
Day 13 & 14: Etosha National Park - East ( 2 nights )
When in Etosha, enjoy the wildlife and game viewing. Today has another line-up of great sightings in store as you make your way eastwards to your next lodge on this side of the park.
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 and drives on the private reserve.
Onguma Bush Camp
Day 15: Waterberg ( 1 night )
Leave Etosha and make your way to the Waterberg area. The drive will take about four hours.
On the way: Head off on a last early morning game drive in Etosha, if time allows. Visit the world's largest meteorite; have a picnic lunch at Lake Otjikoto or Lake Guinas.
When you're there: This area is known for great hiking and walking trails in nature. There's also wildlife and incredible birdlife. Arriving in the afternoon, you can spend the remainder of the day enjoying The Waterberg Plateau Park and surrounds; private game farms in the area offer game viewing and some have active conservation programmes like AfriCat on the private Okonjima Reserve.
*2 scheduled camp activities are included at Okonjima. Discuss you activity schedule with the lodge on arrival.
Okonjima Luxury Bush Camp
Otjiwa Safari Lodge
Day 16: Windhoek ( Departure / End of Tour )
Today you head home and it's time to drive back to Windhoek and on to the Windhoek International Airport. It's an easy drive on tarred roads, but plan accordingly giving you ample time to drop the rental vehicle and be at the airport at least 2 hours before your departure flight time. If you have a late departure flight (recommended), you can have a leisurely breakfast and still enjoy a morning wildlife activity on the reserve.
On the way: Stop in Okahandja to view Namibia's largest local wood carvers market.