Visit the highlights of Namibia in 19 days: The Kalahari, Fish River Canyon, Luderitz, Sossusvlei, with its great sand sea, the seaside town of Swakopmund on 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; and Etosha National Park - one of Africa's great game parks.
Stay in standard or luxury accommodations or get the best of both worlds by combing standard and luxury throughout. Whats more, it's also possible to book this route as a camping safari. Contact us for camping safari options and a tailored quotation.
Day 1: Windhoek ( 1 night )
Welcome to Namibia. You're in for the best holiday ever! You've arrived and it's time to get started. Meet with your NTS representative and transfer to the car rental company offices in Windhoek to complete all rental procedures. You will then receive travel documents and travel pack full of goodies, directions and a map.
When you're there: The remainder of the day can be spent at your own leisure post long haul flight. Time for dinner: head into town. There are loads of great restaurants boasting good food and a local vibe. Ask reception to make a recommendation and a reservation for you unless you plan to dine on site, which is also possible.
The Weinberg Windhoek
The Elegant Guesthouse
Day 2: Kalahari ( 1 night )
Breakfast and an easy drive on tarred roads will take you to the red dunes of the Kalahari.
On the way: It's about a 3 to 4 hour drive so take it easy. You can pop into town for a spot of shopping before you depart Windhoek. Some snacks and drinks for the road are a must.
When you're there: Your lodges offer scenic drives, game viewing activities and nature trails. The sunsets are spectacular and a good excuse for a gin and tonic.
Sunsets are spectacular. You're off to a good start.
Zebra Kalahari Lodge
Camelthorn Kalahari Lodge
Day 3: Fish River Canyon ( 1 night )
Drive the 500km south on paved and then gravel roads to the Fish River Canyon. At 160km long, 27km wide and 550m deep it is one of world's major canyons. It's a longer days drive but a scenic one so enjoy the journey.
On the way: Brukkaros is an extinct volcanic crater on a scenic ring road; the Quivertree Forest is a short detour just before Keetmanshoop. Visit Giant's playground too, if you've been there, you'll see where it gets its name.
When you're there: Guided excursions to the Fish River Canyon; scenic flights over the canyon; hiking trails; horse trails; scenic drives; game viewing and epic sundowners!
Fish River Lodge
Day 4 & 5: Luderitz ( 2 nights )
The drive to Aus, on the south-eastern corner of the Namib-Naukluft Park, is half paved, half good gravel road. Arrive in time for a refreshing lunch and be on the lookout for the desert horses near Aus. Then continue further west to the coast and the small yet oh so interesting mining town of Luderitz.
On the way: Stop at the northern viewpoint for an excellent early-morning picture of the canyon; the drive spans the transition from the Kalahari to the Namib Desert.
When you're there: Exclusive trips into the Southern Namib-Naukluft Park to see the feral horses; hiking trails; scenic drives. Visit Luderitz on your second day: Kolmanskop ghost town; Diaz point; boat trip to Halifax Island; Bogenfels rock arch; bird watching; coastal and historical tours.
Luderitz Nest Hotel
Alte Villa Boutique Guest House
Day 6 & 7: Sossusvlei ( 2 nights )
With the Namib-Naulkluft Park on your left, and several impressive mountain ranges on your right, the drive to Sossusvlei is one of the country's most impressive desert drives. It's scenic and stunning and will be your journey for the most part of the day.
On the way: Armchair-sized sociable weavers' nests; desert-adapted wildlife include gemsbok, springbok and wild ostrich; desert landscapes; Duiwseb Castle is an interesting diversion near Maltahöhe.
When you're there: Enter Sossusvlei (at Sesriem) at sunrise and remember to take plenty of film or memory, sun cream, a hat, walking shoes and water. Explore some of the world's highest dunes in the world's oldest desert. A sheltered pan with petrified trees that are hundreds of years old; climb the dunes and look out over a sea of sand. Visit Dead Vlei, Dune 45, Elim Dune and Sesriem Canyon. Spectacular!
Desert Quiver Camp
Day 8 & 9: Swakopmund ( 2 nights )
A five-hour drive north to Swakopmund and Walvis Bay takes you through some of the most scenic passes with incredible view points. Up and down the Gaub Pass. Cross the Tropic of Capricorn and marvel at the wonder of the Kuiseb Canyon. Keep going. Keep going. Through deserted wide open landscapes and finally there on the horizon, the fog signals you've reached the Skeleton Coast.
On the way: Solitaire is a good stop (not that far from Sesriem - about 80km). Grab some snacks and a cold drink and refuel (alwyas refuel wherever and whenever you can). Look our for oryx, springbok, ostrich and the endemic Hartmann's mountain zebra as you make your way. Detour if you wish to see some of the world's oldest plants, the giant welwitschias.
When you're there: This is Namibia's activity hub. There's loads to do and see. Extend your stay to do more and include as many activities as you can. Here's a list to explore the options (there are loads of them): Swakopmund Activities. Scenic flights, kayaking, quad biking over the dunes in an ATV or visit Sandwich Harbour. Book some or book them all. They're all equally amazing.
Swakopmund Luxury Suites
Day 10: Damaraland ( 1 night )
Today you leave the cool coast and head inland to Damaraland. A rugged, harsh and for the most part, hot and dry destination. Rocky outcrops, open valley plains and ephemeral river beds. This is where you will find the desert-adapted elephants and other wildlife. There's culture too. Meet the locals.
On the way: Drive along the Skeleton Coast to Cape Cross to see the largest breeding cape fur seal colony in the world. The back track to Henties Bay before heading inland and leaving the waves behind you in the dust. You could also take the route along the coast if you wish. Stop at a few shipwrecks along the way and then head inland via the Springbok Water gate. Depending on your time of arrival, settle in or visit some of the highlights of the Twyfelfontein area this afternoon already.
Our top tip: Go in the early morning or late afternoon when it's cooler. It gets hot in these parts. Really hot in the middle of the day.
When you're there: Nature drives to search for the desert-adapted elephants are done in the mornings. Go alone or better yet, join a guided tour with a lodge guide. They know the area and where to find them (best done when staying 2 nights in the area). Spend more time exploring the local sights; the Twyfelfontein rock paintings, Burnt Mountain and Organ Pipes. Meet the local Damara people at the open-air living museum.
Mowani Mountain Camp
Twyfelfontein Adventure Camp
Day 11: Kaokoland ( 1 night )
This morning there is time for a short/early morning activity and then it's further north and on to Kaokoland and the dusty town of Opuwo.
When you're there: This is an overnight stop en route to Epupa Falls, spend the time relaxing by the pool or taking an excursion to visit a Himba village.
Luxury & Standard Accommodation
Opuwo Country Hotel
Day 12 & 13: Kaokoland ( 2 nights )
You will travel to the northern border of Namibia today to your lodge at Epupa Falls. Watch as the dry desert turns to a lush riverine land along the Kunene River.
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
On the way: There's not all that much to do along the way. Note the changing landscape. On arrival settle in and enjoy the afternoon exploring the falls. A sundowner is a given.
When you're there: Meet the local Himba people as you explore the villages. This is best done guided (enquire at the lodge). Discover their fascinating ways. Go on a scenic drive, explore the wonder of Epupa Falls and hike along the river banks. This is an amazing spot for bird watching. Take out your bird book and a pair of binos.
Omarunga Epupa-Falls Camp
Epupa Camp & Campsite
Day 14: Etosha National Park - West ( 1 night )
Today you will travel south again (backtracking the same road that took you there) and make your way to the western edge of Etosha National Park.
On the way: Not the most interesting of drives. It's really a day meant to get you to your next destination. Welcome to Etosha National Park. You're in for an incredible safari and amazing sightings.
When you're there: Surrounding private reserves offer an equally good chance of spotting some wildlife that you'd also see inside the park. Etosha is home to prolific wildlife in some incredible numbers; 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.
Day 15: Etosha National Park - South ( 1 night )
A full day sees you exploring the park as you make your way from the western entrance gate to the southern entrance gate. Stop off at waterholes along the way. Take your time. Enjoy the bush. Watch the animals come and go.
When you're there: You lodge will offer guided game drives into Etosha Park or on the private reserve if you haven't had your fill of game viewing for the day. Who ever has enough game viewing? Especially not when it's this good!
Day 16 & 17: Etosha National Park - East ( 2 nights )
Another days drives takes you across the park from the southern Anderson Gate to the Von Lindequist Gate on the eastern side of Etosha Park. Bliss. This is game viewing at its best. By now you've seen a large part of the park and there's still more to explore.
On the way: Look our for animals along the road or stop at the waterholes to spend some time taking photographs. The drive today is your game drive activity. Take it easy. Enjoy the wildlife and abundance of birds.
When you're there: Your lodge will offer guided game drives in open safari vehicles in Etosha Park as well as guided walks and tracking activities if on a private reserve bordering the park. Enquire too about a bush dinner to change things up a bit.
Onguma Bush Camp
Day 18: Waterberg ( 1 night )
Leaving Etosha you're heading to the private Okonjima Reserve and The AfriCat Foundation or to the oldest game reserve in Namibia. A wildlife and wilderness experience different to the last few days in Etosha. This is a rehabilitation facility.
On the way: A last drive in Etosha, if you still haven't quite had your fix or you're still interested to see what you might not yet have seen. That's the wonder of the wild. You just never know. The depart via Tsumeb, Otavi and Otjiwarongo to the Omboroko Mountains where you will find the reserve. If you wish you can detour to see the Ghaub Cave and Hoba Meteorite. Plan to be at Okonjima or Otjiwa in the early afternoon to enjoy tea time and an afternoon activity.
When you're there: In the area the Waterberg Plateau Park has several excellent hiking trails, the wildlife and birdlife and scenery make for a good hike. At Okonjima and Otjiwa there are loads of activities to take part in. Make the most of the time you have here since it's only a one night stop.
*2 Scheduled camp activities are included in your stay at Okonjima. Discuss the activity schedule and possibilities with the lodge on arrival.
Okonjima Luxury Bush Camp
Otjiwa Safari Lodge
Day 19: Windhoek ( Departure / End of Tour )
The drive to Windhoek is short and comfortable on paved roads. The journey should take about three to four hours, so you've got time for an early wildlife activity and a leisurely breakfast.
On the way: Traditional craft markets at Okahandja. This is the largest local wood carvers market.
Keep in mind the time of your departure flight. You will need to be at the airport two hours prior to departure and the transfer from Windhoek is roughly one hour. Drop the vehicle on return (leave enough time for this too) and then transfer to the airport as your tour comes to an end.