Including the sea of sand in Sossusvlei, go see the Namib Desert, the Skeleton Coast and the coastal towns of Swakopmund and Walvis Bay, the granite boulders and rugged landscape of Damaraland, prolific game viewing in Namibia's best wildlife park, Etosha with its vast white pan even visible from space and the lush riverine bush of the Caprivi. Great numbers of elephants and other wildlife in Chobe and activities in Victoria Falls.
Self-drive at your own pace on your own schedule. Take in all there is to explore and more. Drop the vehicle in Katima Mulilo or Kasane and the remainder of the journey is conducted by road transfers. Also possible as a private guided tour. This tour can be further tailored but as a starting point gives a good idea of what is possible and how it all comes together in a package over 16 days. Perfect as is or make changes. Options are limitless. Enquire now to start planning this incredible tour to some of southern Africa's finest destinations.
Day 1: Windhoek ( 1 night )
On arrival, you will be met by a NTS representative and transferred into town to complete the vehicle handover procedures. You will also meet with our meet and greet representative to give over your travel package and extras including your map. Discuss the route. Ask questions. Take notes.
When you're there: Spend what is left of the day at own leisure. Put your feet up and relax or head into town to explore. Then get ready for dinner and enjoy your first night under Namibian skies. Windhoek has many great local restaurants. The hotel reception can assist with a reservation or dine in. That's an option too, book on arrival.
The Olive Exclusive
Am Weinberg Boutique Hotel
Day 2 & 3: Sossusvlei ( 2 nights )
After breakfast get some last minute supplies then start on your six-hour drive to the Sossusvlei. Snacks and cold drinks for the road. Fill your cool box and grab some ice to keep it cold.
On the way: The road has some spectacular scenic passes (Remhoogte or Spreetshoogte) where the Namib Desert stretches to infinity at the base of an enormous escarpment; stop for a picnic lunch along the way... you will want your camera for this.
When you're there: Visit Sossusvlei, Dead Vlei, Dune 45, Elim Dune and Sesriem Canyon (inside the park entrance gates).The best time is early morning at sunrise. Go when the gates open so it's an early start but well worth it. The dunes come to life at dawn and it's cooler if you are planning to climb some of the world's highest. Be sure to visit Dead Vlei first for the best photographic opportunities as the sun comes up over the dunes and the sheltered pan of hundred-year-old petrified trees is still in shadow. Climb Big Daddy or Dune 45 and look out over a sea of sand. This is an area known for the beauty of the ancient desert landscapes.
Pack a hat, wear closed walking shoes and remember sunscreen, water and a jacket for the early morning and later afternoon which can be chilly. In the middle of the day, when the sun is at it's hottest, relax and enjoy the air-con in your room or sip on something poolside.
Desert Homestead Outpost
Desert Homestead Lodge
Day 4 & 5: Swakopmund ( 2 nights )
Spend the morning enjoying a last activity. A chance to visit the dunes once more or on an extra optional activity. Our tip: Soar above the dunes in a hot air balloon. Spectacular and highly recommended. Your scenic drive to Swakopmund on the Skeleton Coast is roughly five hours with plenty to see and do along the way.
On the way: You're heading to the Atlantic Ocean. Coming from the desert, watch as the scenery changes from dunes and distant mountains to open plains and finally the waves of the sea. Stop at Solitaire en route for an ice cold drink or a bite to eat as you make your way north, about 80km from Sesriem. Through the Gaub and Kuiseb Pass there are plenty of spots to stop for panoramic photos of the ever-changing landscape. You may even see some endemic Hartmann's mountain zebra, springbok oryx and ostrich. Take a detour to view the lunar landscape and the eon-old welwitschias. Get the permit for this detour at the Sesriem gate from the NWR office where you paid your entry fee into the park.
When you're there: Swakopmund is the activity centre of Namibia. There's loads to do and much to see. Take a scenic flight over the dunes for a different perspective. Grasp just how vast and endless the dunes are and to see shipwrecks on the Skeleton Coast, a dolphin boat cruise from Walvis Bay to explore the seas and the impressive numbers of Cape fur seals. While there visit the Walvis Bay Lagoon - a RAMSAR wetlands site - a great spot for birders to see thousands of flamingoes, pelicans and numerous waders. Go quad biking for some adventure or on a Sandwich Harbour tour for a real Skeleton Coast experience. Dunes roll right into the sea. This is the world's only coastal desert.
Swakopmund Luxury Suites
Day 6: Damaraland ( 1 night )
Heading north, make your way to the harsh and rocky landscapes of Damaraland. Expect giant granite boulders, open skies and dry riverbeds. It's hot, arid and stunningly scenic. Welcome to the home of the desert-adapted elephant. It's a longer days drive, roughly five to six hours. Stop along the way though, it's beautiful.
On the way: Take the coastal route via Henties Bay and Cape Cross, where you will find the largest breeding cape fur seal colony in the world. Then continue north along the coast before heading inland from Torra Bay via the Springbok Water Gate. This route requires an early start. Alternatively head inland just after Henties Bay and make your way via Uis, a small mining settlement towards the Twyfelfontein area. A chance to see the grandeur of The Brandberg Mountain in the distance. Visit the Twfylefontein rock paintings, the Petrified Forest and the Organ Pipes on arrival if time allows.
When you're there: Enjoy nature drives in the riverbeds and surrounds in search of the famed desert-adapted elephant and other adapted species such as black rhino. Go with a lodge guide (our recommendation) or self-drive. Ask the lodge for directions. Don't get lost. It's a full morning or afternoon activity. Spend more time exploring the highlights of the Twyfelfontein area including the Living Damara Museum.
Mowani Mountain Camp
Day 7: Etosha National Park - South ( 1 night )
You will be about half way between the Skeleton Coast and Etosha National Park , the drive is a scenic few hours through more of Damaraland's harsh beauty and will take roughly three to four hours.
On the way: Take the morning to explore the last highlights of Damaraland you still wish to see or breakfast at leisure, then heading east you will make your way via Khorixas to Outjo and then north to the southern entrance of Etosha National Park. Stop off to visit the Petrifed Forest, really a few petrified tree trunks. Not so much a forest but fascinating to see as they are 280 million years old. They were there when the dinosaurs were. Impressive. Detour for a picture of the Ugab Terrace or Vingerklip (Finger Rock). The landscapes are what makes these parts so phenomenal.
When you're there: Go on game drives. There's loads to see - 114 mammal species: an estimated 250 lions, 300 rhinos, 2,500 giraffes, 6,000 zebras, 20,000 springbok and 2,000 elephants. That';s not even all. There are large numbers of lesser and common plains game and don't forget the birds. There are more than 340 species to spot. Etosha National Park offers prolific wildlife viewing. Self-drive game drives in the park or opt for a guided game drive in an open safari vehicle with lodge guide.
Day 8 & 9: Etosha National Park - East ( 2 nights )
The best part of staying on more than one side of the park, means a full days game drive from the one side to the other, in this case from south to east. Stop at numerous waterholes along the way or head directly to your lodge to join a guided game drive for the afternoon.
When you're there: Your lodge will offer guided game drives into Etosha National Park in an open safari vehicle with a lodge guide. Self-drive if you prefer to go at your own pace. Sit and watch. Wait as the African bush comes to life.
If you're staying on a private reserve outside the park gates, book and arrange your activities to include game viewing on the reserve itself, such as a bush walk or sundowner drive.
Our tip: Book a game drive with the lodge on your full day in Etosha - day 9.
Mushara Bush Camp
Day 10 & 11: Caprivi - West ( 2 nights )
A long drive to the Caprivi requires an early start. The roads are all paved and there are some interesting stops along the way. Stop for lunch near or in Rundu.
On the way: Visit the Otjikoto and Guinas lakes or the Hoba Meteorite, if geology is your thing. It's the largest in the world. The drive today is a longer one, but a pleasant one. Be on the lookout for kids and livestock as you head through the rural towns.
When you're there: It's a completely different vibe in the Caprivi, especially having already been in the desert. You'll be wondering if you are indeed still in the same country. Yes you are. These are the sub-tropical wetlands of Namibia. With that, it's time to enjoy birding and to go on a boat cruise. Go at sunset. You can also self-drive to the nearby Mahango or Buffalo Game Parks or visit Popa Falls, more a series of rapids than sheets of falling water. You'll get to experience that in Victoria Falls.
Divava Okavango Lodge & Spa
Shametu River Lodge
Day 12: Caprivi - East ( 1 night )
Depart after breakfast and head east along the Caprivi strip, entering East Caprivi at the Kwando River Bridge. Enjoy a last game drive in the Divundu area or visit Popa Falls early morning enroute.
On the way: Your drive today takes you through the Bwabwata National Park. This is a game drive in itself so take your time and enjoy the bush.
When you're there: Enjoy the afternoon at your own leisure. Relax at the lodge or join on a boat cruise on the Kwando River (optional extra).
Nambwa Tented Lodge
Day 13 & 14: Chobe National Park ( 2 nights )
Head to Katima Mulilo where you will drop your vehicle or continue on to Kasane and your lodge in Chobe, dropping the vehicle there. If dropping the vehicle in Namibia (Katima), you will be transferred from Katima to the Ngoma Bridge where you enter Botswana and on to Chobe National Park.
On the way: Enjoy the scenery of the bush as it changes. Clear customs and immigration at Ngoma and drive through the game park to your safari lodge in the Kasane area. Chobe is known for its large herds of elephant. You won't have gotten far, before you've already spotted them in numbers.
When you're there: Chobe is one of Africa's great parks with good reason. It's not just about the elephants. The lion prides are big too and the herds of buffalo. Activities include water safaris on the Chobe River, game drives in the park, sunset cruises, walking safaris and birdwatching. Have your camera with you at all times.
*Your scheduled camp activities are included here with a lodge guide
Chobe Game Lodge
Chobe Safari Lodge
Day 15: Victoria Falls (Zim) ( 1 night )
The road transfer to Victoria Falls will take about an hour. The customs and immigration formalities get done at the border. Your driver will assist with this which makes for part of your days activities.
On the way: The Kazangula Road often yields excellent wildlife and bird sightings; head through customs and immigration at Kazangula and Victoria Falls. Welcome to your third country on this holiday!
When you're there: First things first. Go see the falls. Take a raincoat (especially in high water season), but even when the water levels are lower, the mist in the rain forest is enough to get you wet. Take pictures at the viewpoints.
Our tip: Go see the falls in the early morning or late afternoon. This gives better lighting for pictures and there'll be less people so that you can snap away without people in the frame of your shots.
There are plenty of activities to do here. Loads in fact. Take a flip over the falls in a helicopter. For those who seek adventure, go white water rafting (seasonal) or bungee jumping. A sundowner boat cruise is a must or dine at The Boma restaurant for a cultural experience and local cuisines. Book another night to have more time to explore. You can even head across the bridge to see the falls from Zambia. If it's the right time of year, dive in and enjoy Devils Pool.
Victoria Falls Hotel
Batonka Guest Lodge
Day 16: Victoria Falls (Zim) ( Departure / End of Tour )
Today your holiday comes to an end and you fly out from Victoria Falls Airport.
If your flight leaves midday, as most do, there's time to do an activity you still want to include and it's also a good time to visit the falls at sunrise.
Well it has indeed been an adventure. Go home. Share your memories. Start planning your return.