My Namibia road trip truck

Namibia Road Trip: Two-week itinerary

Southern Africa is great road-trip territory. From South Africa’s Garden Route to trips through Lesotho’s mountains and elephant encounters in Botswana, your own two wheels give you the freedom to get where no public transportation will take you. And nowhere is that more true than Namibia. As one of the world’s least-densely populated places, this desert country offers dramatic scenery way off the beaten path. So in this post, I’ll cover everything you need to start planning your Namibia road trip!

 

You can road trip through Namibia in a rented car or on a tour with a Namibian travel company. I’m not comfortable bush driving, so I did a tour with Wild Dog Safaris, which I highly recommend. Even if you travel in your own car, you may want to use a travel company like Cardboard Box to help with planning — the logistics of booking accommodation and car rental from outside the country can be complicated.

 

Windhoek, the capital of Namibia, is roughly in the middle of the country. It’s a relaxed and fairly safe city. While it doesn’t have many attractions, it has a handful of excellent cafes, restaurants, handicraft markets, and good accommodation. It makes a great base to start, break up, and end your Namibia road trip.

 

This itinerary works for both campers and lodge-stayers. Not sure which you prefer? Read about camping in Namibia here.

 

Week One: Southern Namibia

 

Days 1-3: The road to Fish River Canyon

 

Many travelers are surprised by how much of being on safari involves sitting in the car
An all-but-deserted road in southern Namibia

 

Namibia’s deep south is covered by the Kalahari Desert. It sees few visitors. It’s really, really far away from anything else in the country. And it’s a great place to kick off your Namibia road trip.

 

The highlight of this part of Namibia is Fish River Canyon, the world’s second-largest canyon. But there are plenty of smaller attractions worth stopping at on the way to and from the canyon. Since driving distances are really long, it’s worth taking a full three days to explore this part of Namibia.

 

Day 1: The Kalahari Desert

 

A water hole in the Kalahari Desert
A water hole in the Kalahari Desert

 

Start off from Windhoek by 10 am and head south toward Rehoboth. On the way, you’ll pass a sign marking the Tropic of Capricorn — a worthy photo stop.

 

Rehoboth has a few fuel stations (great for real, not-Nescafe coffee) and a large grocery store. If you didn’t pick up supplies in Windhoek, this is the best place to do it. Otherwise there’s nothing to see here.

 

Another 100 kilometers later, turn off on the dirt road (D1268) toward Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch — the best stopping point for the night. Keep an eye out for wildlife along this road. I saw lots of ostriches, a few springbok, oryx, and elands. The road is unpaved, but it’s pretty well-maintained. Bagatelle Kalahari is clearly signposted.

 

If you left Windhoek on time, you’ll reach Bagatelle Kalahari in time to relax by the pool for a bit and enjoy afternoon tea. Then, head out on a game drive. You’ll see giraffes, wildebeest, and all sort of antelope. Take a sundowner (the African concept of having a drink while watching the sunset) atop the sand dunes before retiring to your campsite or room for the night.

 

Read more about Bagatelle Kalahari here and book it here.

 

Day 2: Bagatelle Kalahari to Fish River Canyon

 

The railroad tracks along the road. This is all you can see for hours.
On the way to Fish River Canyon 

 

Set your alarm early this morning, because it’s going to be the longest driving day of this Namibia road trip. Have a good breakfast at your campsite or at the lodge and try to get on the road by 8 am.

 

Follow the gravel roads south toward Mariental — the D1268 to the C20, back to the main B1 highway. It’s under 50 kilometers and should only take an hour. Mariental has a good, large supermarket where you should stock up for the next two days. It’s also an essential fuel stop.

 

Once you’re done shopping, head south on the B1 for another 250 kilometers. This is a good stretch of road, but you’ll start to notice that it feels more remote. It’s more like the desert landscape you imagined Namibia would be.

 

Just before you reach Keetmanshoop, you’ll see a turnoff to the left for the Quivertree Forest. This is a worthwhile diversion. Quivertrees are Namibia’s most iconic plant life. There are thousands of them here. You can stop for lunch, stretch your legs, take some photos of the trees, and ask a local to show you his mesosaurus fossils (which are actually pretty cool — contact him here).

 

Then, it’s back on the road. Take another brief pit stop in Keetmanshoop for fuel. If you have any other supply needs, or are having any car trouble, this is your last chance to sort it out.

 

Follow the signs to the C12 to pick up the road to Fish River Canyon. This is one of the wildest and most remote stretches of road I encountered in Namibia. Prepare to see not a single other human being for the final 150 km of your drive. The road is gravel, and it busted a spring on our trailer — so be careful and watch your speed. Watch out for wildlife too. I saw my first zebra along this road.

 

It’s pretty unlikely you’ll arrive in time to visit the canyon. So instead, stop at Canyon Roadhouse Lodge for the night. It’s one of Namibia’s quirkiest, most fun lodges/campsites. If you want to stretch your legs after too much car time, hike fifteen minutes up the cliffs behind the campsite for sunset. Book Canyon Roadhouse here.

 

Day 3: Fish River Canyon to Lüderitz

 

Just dangling my feet over the world's second largest canyon
Just dangling my feet over the world’s second largest canyon

 

Today’s the big day — time to finally see Fish River Canyon!

 

The canyon is best seen in mid-morning light, so try to get there by 9 am. You’ll need to drive about 20 kilometers down a fairly rough stretch of gravel road to reach it. It’s clearly signposted.

 

Stop at the main viewpoint and marvel at one of Africa’s most dramatic landscapes. You may have it all to yourself (besides the resident baboons — leave all food in the car!). For even better views and to really appreciate the scale of the canyon, hike along the flat 1 km path to the Hiker’s Viewpoint. Read more about visiting the canyon here.

 

Unfortunately, you can’t linger too long. You have a lot of driving ahead of you. Aim to be back on the road by 10:30 am, with a fuel stop at Canyon Roadhouse.

 

Start by driving back toward Keetmans. Once you reach the tarmac road, take a left toward Seeheim/Lüderitz (it’s clearly marked). From the turnoff, it’s 300 km on the well-maintained B4 to Lüderitz. Along the way, you’ll pass super-remote ranches and beautiful desert scenery.

 

The best pit stop is Aus, a tiny town 100 km from Lüderitz. There is a small shop with (expensive) water and ice cream — the important things in life — along with a fuel station. After you leave the town, keep a lookout for desert-adapted wild horses. These mysterious creatures can often be found at a man-made water hole on the right-hand side of the road.

 

The final 20 kilometers before Lüderitz take you through part of the Namib Desert. The temperature plummets and the wind picks up. Drive slowly — the wind shifts the sand dunes, sometimes right into the path of your car.

 

If you’re camping on your Namibia road trip, Lüderitz — a larger city — makes a great break from the bush. Consider splurging on a room at the Nest Hotel (book it here), which also has a good restaurant.

 

Days 4-6: The road to Sossusvlei

 

The next few days of this Namibia road trip are all about reaching Sossusvlei — the iconic orange sand dunes Namibia is so famous for.

 

You could approach Sossusvlei a number of different ways. My tour took me on what were among the most remote roads I’ve ever seen. It was rough and long, and the kind of thing where you wonder what would happen if you had a breakdown. If you’re self-driving and aren’t familiar with basic vehicle mechanics, consider a slightly more-beaten path.

 

Day 4: Kolmanskop, Lüderitz, and Klein Aus Vista

 

A house in Kolmanskop Ghost Town
A house in Kolmanskop Ghost Town

 

Today is one of the more active days in this Namibia road trip itinerary — and a short drive day. Enjoy it by sleeping in a bit. Have breakfast in town or at your hotel. Wander through the charming German-style streets of Lüderitz. Take a stroll by the sea.

 

Then, hop in your car for the quick, 20-km drive to Kolmanskop Ghost Town. To get there, drive back toward Aus — you can see the town from the road (it’s on the right). Take the 9:30 am guided tour and stick around to take photos afterwards. For more information on visiting Kolmanskop, including how to arrange a permit, check out this post.

 

If you have time on the way back to Lüderitz, take a side trip to Diaz Point. It’s not an essential stop, but you have a good chance of spotting flamingos and it’s one of the great desert-meets-the-sea landscapes in Namibia. It’ll take you about an hour to drive there, snap some photos, and drive back.

 

Since you spend so much time sitting in the car in this Namibia road trip, take a lazy afternoon to explore Lüderitz. There is a museum if you’re interested in the history. Alternatively, just relish the urbanity, the sense of community and the pace of daily life in this fishing town. Get some of the best and cheapest seafood of your life at Diaz Cafe (which also has great coffee), or indulge in a European-style lunch at Garden Cafe. Before you head out, be sure to stock up on supplies for the next three days at one of the large supermarkets in town.

 

Then it’s back on the road for the 100 km drive to Aus. Your stop for the night is Klein Aus Vista — one of the most amazing lodge/campgrounds in the country. The main reason to come is for the huge network of hiking and mountain biking trails on the property. Try a short hour-long climb up the cliffs to watch one of Namibia’s most epic desert sunsets.

 

Day 5: Aus to Sesriem

 

The long, lonely road to Sesriem from Luderitz
The long, lonely road to Sesriem

 

Today is another long driving day down rough, remote roads. You’ll end up at the staging point to visit the Namib Desert’s dunes — Sesriem. Leave as early as possible so you’ll have some time to explore the desert when you arrive.

 

You could do this entire route on C roads (in Namibia the higher the letter in the alphabet, the bigger the road — B’s are paved, C’s are good gravel, and it goes down from there). You’d take the C13 to the C14 to the C19, for a total distance of 400 km — doable in five hours.

 

But for a more adventurous Namibia road trip, take the long way. This route allows you to drive through the Namib Nature Reserve, with strong odds of seeing wildlife. Make sure you stop in Aus for fuel. Then take the turnoff to the D707. This was the worst road I encountered in Namibia. You’ll drive for 3-4 hours without seeing another person.

 

After 200 km (allow 3.5 hours), you’ll hit the C27 in the town of Betta. This is a good spot for a lunch break and fuel stop.

 

From there, the C27 runs 150 km straight to Sesriem. Along the way, you’ll see huge herds of springbok and oryx. Zebras are everywhere. If you get lucky, you could even spot a cheetah!

 

Finally, you’ll arrive in Sesriem, your home for the next two nights. By far the best place to stay (due to its location inside the outer gate of the national park) is Sesriem Campsite. Try to get one of the ten original pitches, each with its very own acacia tree. Set up your campsite before taking a ten-minute drive out to Elim Dune. It’s a 45-minute hike to the summit to watch a stunning sunset. Just be sure to hike back down immediately afterwards — the inner gate of the park closes an hour after sunset.

 

Day 6: Namib Desert and surrounds

 

Sunrise at Dune 45 -- a Namibia road trip highlight
Sunrise at Dune 45

 

Today will be one of the highlights of your Namibia road trip. It’s time to go deep into the desert to explore the country’s famous orange sand dunes.

 

Set your alarm for 4:30 am. Get ready quickly, hop in your car, and get in line at the park’s inner gate. The gate opens at 5 am, from where it’s a 45-kilometer drive to Dune 45 — the desert’s most famous sunrise spot.

 

You’ll likely get to the (clearly signposted) base of Dune 45 just before sunrise. The dune looks daunting, but it’s actually an easier climb than Elim Dune. It only takes 20 minutes to reach the top. The climb can be a bit vertigo-inducing if you’re early and the path isn’t well-worn, but don’t worry — if you fall, you only sink into the sand.

 

It’s a helluva sunrise from on top of Dune 45. You’ll see the desert turn about eight different colors as the light changes, ending up an almost neon orange. Once the sun comes up, take the shortcut back down Dune 45 — run straight down the side. It’s totally fun and safe, I swear. You’ll just get loads of sand in your shoes.

 

Hop back in your car and drive the remaining 20 km to Dead Vlei. If you’re driving a 2WD vehicle, you’ll have to park 5 km away and walk in (or take a shuttle). But if you have a 4×4, you can drive nearly to the entrance. Those last 5 km are really rough and I wouldn’t recommend them for inexperienced bush drivers.

 

The valley of dead trees known as Dead Vlei is on the opposite side of Big Daddy — this section of the desert’s largest sand dune. You can hike up to the top if you want to torture yourself, but by this point it’ll probably be pretty hot. Alternatively, walk partway up for a great aerial view of Dead Vlei, then run down the side of the dune into the valley. Take some time to photograph it before walking back to your car.

 

The desert heats up badly by around 11 am. So once you’ve ticked off Sossusvlei’s sights, drive back to your campsite. Spend the afternoon relaxing by the pool, cooking a campfire lunch, or lounging in the shade. It’s the only chance you’ll get to just do nothing on this Namibia road trip.

 

When the sun starts to set, head back out a few kilometers from the campsite to Sesriem Canyon. You can take a quick walk through the canyon and watch another great Namibian sunset.

 

For more on climbing Dune 45 and exploring the desert, read this post.

 

Day 7: Back to Windhoek to break up the Namibia road trip

 

The best part of Day 7 of this Namibia road trip is the apple pie in Solitaire
The best part of Day 7 of this Namibian road trip is the apple pie in Solitaire

 

This is just a travel day. You can sleep in a bit, but it’s another 300-km drive back to Windhoek, the staging point for the second half of your Namibia road trip.

 

Start with the C19 heading north. Stop off in Solitaire for the famous apple pie in the middle of the desert (they also have real coffee!). This is also the best place to refuel.

 

Then, turn onto the D1275 heading east. This is another pretty remote stretch of road. You’ll start to notice the scenery get greener, and you’ll gain some elevation. It’s completely different from the landscape of the desert you’ve likely grown accustomed to.

 

The D roads intersect the main road back in Rehoboth. Turn left (north) to reach Windhoek. Find yourself a nice guesthouse to wash off the dust from the bush, sleep in a comfy bed, and have a meal that wasn’t cooked on a braai.

 

Week Two: Northern Namibia

 

Day 1: Okonjima

 

Where to see cheetahs: Okonjima, Namibia
Cheetah at Okonjima

 

If the southern leg of your Namibia road trip was all about landscapes, the north is all about wildlife. And there’s no better place to kick it off than a stop at Okonjima.

 

The first day of your northern Namibia itinerary is a short drive day. Head north on the B1. The best fuel/grocery stop is Okahandja — which is also home to two large wood-carving markets. Then, continue north until you see the signs for Okonjima. It’s only 200 km total.

 

Okonjima is home to the incredible Africat Foundation. The foundation’s mission is big cat conservation through education. It aims to teach humans to coexist peacefully with Namibia’s resident cheetah, leopard, and lion populations. At the same time, it rehabilitates big cats.

 

The area is one of the best places in Africa to see cheetahs, with almost-guaranteed sightings. Sign up for an afternoon game drive for close encounters with these adorable cats, plus a leopard and a whole host of herbivores. You’ll also get a tour of the facility and learn about Africat’s education programs.

 

After your game drive, spend the night in the surrounding bush. There’s an on-site campground — one of the best in Namibia — and several remote lodge options.

 

Days 2-3: Etosha National Park

 

Etosha National Park is the highlight of the northern leg of this Namibia road trip. It’s one of Africa’s best game-viewing parks, especially in dry season. You’re almost guaranteed to see elephants, rhinos, and lions, along with pretty much every smaller animal in Namibia — sometimes all in the same place at the same time.

 

Since I was in Namibia at the end of wet season, it made more sense to break up my time in Etosha at a couple different campsites. If you’re visiting in dry season, you may want to focus your visit around a single campsite with a good water hole (i.e. Okaukuejo) to see wildlife without the driving time.

 

Day 2: Namutoni

 

Safaris are expensive, but you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who regrets shelling out for one
An elephant not far from Namutoni Camp

 

Start your exploration of Etosha on the northeast end of the park. If you’re there in wet season, this area offers the best chance of seeing elephants, who migrate away from the salt pan during the rains.

 

From Okonjima, head north on the B1. You’ll drive through the mountains and past several large mineral mines before reaching Otavi — the best fuel/supply stop. The campgrounds in Etosha all have petrol stations and small shops, but you’re better off picking up essentials here, where costs are lower and variety is greater.

 

After a total of 350 km, you’ll reach the gate of Etosha National Park. From here, it’s all gravel roads and slow speed limits. Follow the main road and the signs to Namutoni Camp (which also has a lodge) — and keep your eyes peeled for wildlife right along the main road!

 

You’ll likely finish this leg of the Namibia road trip by early afternoon. There’s no sense in immediately heading out for a game drive — wildlife doesn’t come out in the heat of the day. Try your luck at the campsite’s water hole (I saw zebras), go for a swim, or check out the fort.

 

Head out for a late-afternoon game drive in your own vehicle. There are a handful of water holes very close to the Namutoni Campground. For elephants, I had the best luck driving north toward Andoni Gate. Be patient and stick it out until just before sunset — in the last ten minutes of my game drive, I saw elephants, hyenas, a rhino, and lions. This post covers my experience in-depth.

 

Make sure you get back to Namutoni before sunset. The gates close, and they will lock you in the bush at night.

 

You can spend the evening hanging out at your campfire or see if anything turns up at the water hole. The campground also has a few resident jackals. Keep your ears open for lions roaring or zebras barking.

 

Day 3: Okaukuejo

 

When you go on an African safari in rainy season, it's harder to find wildlife
Okaukuejo’s water hole is legendary. I sat there for hours. Saw some epic cloud formations, but not one single animal.

 

Today is the longest game drive of your Namibia road trip. Get an early start to maximize your chance of seeing wildlife before it gets too hot. Plus, with a lot of ground to cover and slow speed limits, it’ll take you most of the day to reach the next campsite.

 

Spend the day driving southwest along the entire Etosha salt pan. There are plenty of water holes to stop at along the way — in dry season, these should be full of wildlife. (I had no such luck). There are also a couple places where it’s safe to get out of your vehicle and walk onto the salt pan — great for stretching your legs.

 

Halali Camp is the midpoint of this drive and a logical lunch stop. There’s a good water hole a few hundred meters away (you can walk), and a store with ice cream.

 

You’ll eventually arrive at Okaukuejo — a mere 135 km away from Namutoni, but do not underestimate how long it takes to drive. It took my group more than 6 hours and we didn’t even see much wildlife!

 

The selling point at Okaukuejo is a spectacular floodlit water hole. After you set up camp or settle into your lodge, grab a couple beers and snag a seat at the edge. In dry season, you might see lions, rhinos and elephants drinking side by side. Unfortunately, in rainy season, all I saw were some pretty cloud formations.

 

Days 4-5: Damaraland

 

Where once there was a road, now there is a river. Damaraland is a more challenging part of Namibia.
Where once there was a road, now there is a river. Damaraland is a more challenging part of Namibia.

 

The next stop on your Namibia road trip is Damaraland. This remote region in northwest Namibia is known for being one of the “last wildernesses in Africa.” The landscapes are truly epic — even coming from southern Namibia, you’ll be amazed. The people are fascinating: you’ll meet Himba people with their ancient ways of life and Damara people who speak a click language.

 

Travel in Damaraland isn’t always easy. My planned itinerary was thrown off when a huge rainstorm caused the region’s rivers to swell up and overtake the roads. But it’s well worth the challenges. Just make sure you ask locals for travel advice and heed warnings about impassable roads. This is also one part of Namibia where it’s very important to plan your supply stops — it’s not necessarily possible to restock every day.

 

The two main attractions of Damaraland are the mountains and the rock art galleries. There are a few different itinerary options in this region. If traveling in rainy season, I’d recommend making a primary plan and a backup plan in case roads flood. Since you may need to be more flexible on this stretch of your Namibia road trip, I won’t outline day-to-day plans — I’ll just give you an idea of a few options.

 

Explore Damaraland’s Mountains

 

Namibia's highest mountain range, the Brandberg, turned fiery red at sunrise
Namibia’s highest mountain range, the Brandberg, turned fiery red at sunrise

 

There are three famous sections of mountains in Damaraland: Grootberg, Brandberg, and Spitzkoppe. All three have campsites nearby. Hoada near Grootberg is the most highly recommended and the fastest to reach from Etosha National Park.

 

The others are further south, and if you want to game drive out of Etosha, you’ll probably need to stop for a night somewhere along the way. I stopped at Oppi Koppi Campground in Kamanjab after getting stuck with flooded roads. It ended up being a pleasant place to go for a hike through the forest, and a comfortable enough pit stop for the night.

 

Generally the attraction of Damaraland’s mountains is scenery rather than hiking. You may be able to do short walks, but for longer treks, you should definitely take a guide. Trails aren’t well-marked and some can be surprisingly steep.

 

See a rock art gallery

 

The White Lady of Brandberg
The White Lady of Brandberg

 

Damaraland has an enormous wealth of ancient rock art. The two best places to see it are Twyfelfontein and Brandberg. There are nearby campgrounds and lodges at both.

 

I went to Brandberg, which is home to the famous White Lady painting. It was named a “white lady” by a Frenchman who “discovered” it. However, locals had long known that the painting depicted a man in the midst of a hunting ritual.

 

Visiting the rock art requires a guide — sadly, these sites have been exposed to damage from irresponsible visitors over the years. The guides are all from the local communities. You’ll follow them on a short trek (about an hour) to the gallery, see the paintings, and trek back out. It’s most enjoyable in the late afternoon, just before sunset.

 

The Brandberg White Lady Lodge and Campsite is a good option to stay near the rock art. It has a swimming pool and a local population of desert-adapted wild elephants. Just be aware that these elephants are known for being more aggressive than their savanna counterparts — keep your distance. The campground has a remote, far-flung vibe and you may be its only guests. Bring all supplies from elsewhere (you can stock up in nearby Uis). Be sure to wake up in time to see the sunrise turn Namibia’s highest mountain a flaming red color.

 

Days 6-7: Skeleton Coast and Swakopmund

 

You could spend weeks driving around Damaraland and going even further north into Himba country. But on a two-week Namibia road trip, you won’t have time to explore beyond the main attractions.

 

So after a couple days exploring Namibia’s wildest corners, it’s time to head for the coast — and back to civilization.

 

Day 6: Skeleton Coast National Park

 

Kissing seals at Cape Cross
Kissing seals at Cape Cross

 

The road through the coast runs through Dorob National Park. Not much wildlife lives out here (besides ostriches), but you will see untouched desert landscapes for miles at a time.

 

From Brandberg, it’s about 200 km to the coast. Twyfelfontein is further (allow most of the day for this drive) and Spitzkoppe is closer. The road is gravel and not in great shape, so you won’t be able to go more than 60 km/hour.

 

As you approach the coastal road, you’ll notice a steep drop in temperature. Then, all of a sudden, just when you think you’re in the most barren place known to man, you’ll see the ocean.

 

Take a right on the coastal road to head north another 45 km. You’re now in Skeleton Coast National Park. The landscape is grim, lonely, mysterious for miles on end. There is nothing out here. It’s otherworldly.

 

You can’t explore much of the Skeleton Coast independently without special permits, but you can go as far as the Cape Cross Seal Reserve. It’s a very entertaining — if cold, windy and smelly — diversion. Watch baby seals fling themselves into the water while their parents bark at them from shore. There are thousands of them and they’re ridiculously adorable.

 

After you see the seals, go back the way you came down the coastal road and continue 130 km to Swakopmund — Namibia’s weirdest resort town. In high season it’s full of German tourists and Namibian weekenders. It may be tacky and obnoxious, but it has a fantastic cafe culture, lots of adrenaline activities on offer in the surrounding desert, and is a good place to find a real bed for a night.

 

If you left Damaraland early enough, you may be able to squeeze in a desert tour this afternoon. Quad biking and “sandboarding” (like snowboarding, but on dunes) are the most popular.

 

I can’t recommend a hotel in Swakopmund — I stayed at a boring business hotel. But I’d definitely suggest grabbing dinner at Kuki’s Pub. The prices are reasonable and the seafood — especially the calamari — is to die for.

 

Day 7: Swakopmund/Back to Windhoek

 

Your Namibia road trip is coming to an end. But since the drive isn’t too long today, you can spend the morning in Swakop.

 

This is a great time to pick up some souvenirs. If you’re not shopping, stop by the Swakopmund Museum for its interesting display on Namibian ethnography. Stroll along the Mole (which would be a beach if the water weren’t frigid). Grab a coffee at Bojo’s Cafe or a (vegetarian!) meal at Wild Rocket.

 

After lunch, it’s time to hit the road for the last time. It’s a straight shot on paved roads — the B2 to the B1 — and takes about 3.5 hours. Make sure you arrive before nightfall.

 

For a clean, central place to crash, try Chameleon Guesthouse. It has dorms and private rooms at various levels of luxury.

 

Namibia road trip practicalities

 

Sometimes you won't see a store bigger than this for two days. Plan your supply stops in advance.
Sometimes you won’t see a store bigger than this for two days. Plan your supply stops in advance.

 

Road tripping Namibia doesn’t have to be logistically complex. The most important thing is to make sure you arrange accommodation at popular destinations in advance — even if you’re camping. This is most relevant at Sesriem and the camps in Etosha National Park. You can book all government-run accommodation here.

 

Many national parks and attractions require permits to visit. These are seldom complicated to arrange, and can often be purchased upon entry to the park. Still, most independent tourists make arrangements through an agency like Cardboard Box.

 

The most important decision you make is whether to self-drive or join a tour. Obviously a self-drive trip allows a lot more flexibility, but involves more risk — you’re responsible for the vehicle. If you join a tour, you don’t have to worry about exhausting, long, hot drive days on gravel roads. For me — a non-driver at home — it was a no-brainer to go the tour route. If you choose to self-drive, make sure you talk to the rental company about what gear you’ll need. Don’t skimp on a cheap car if you want to go into 4×4-only territory, and bring tools to fix minor breakdowns on the road. A GPS (as in, a real one, not the one on your phone) and good maps are essential.

 

You can rent and buy most camping gear in Windhoek, and it’s totally acceptable quality. Aside from your clothing and personal belongings, you don’t need to bring much from home. A 300mm zoom lens is worthwhile if you want to photograph wildlife. Stay tuned for a more complete safari packing list.

 

Namibian supermarkets sell everything you’ll need to stay well-fed on your Namibia road trip. Veggies and fruit are expensive and there isn’t a ton of variety — it’s mostly imported from South Africa. Meat is the staple food of Namibia and it’s quite cheap. Car snacks and tasty junk food abound, and every town has at least one shop selling Magnum bars for your ice cream fix.

 

Northern Namibia is a malarial zone, so pick up anti-malarials either before you leave home or in Windhoek. The benefits of taking them outweigh the risks for most travelers. Talk to your doctor if you have any doubts.

 

Windhoek, Lüderitz and Swakopmund have reliable internet access, and the cellular data network is remarkably reliable in Namibia. Still, it’s best to have offline ways of storing essential trip information — accommodation bookings, directions, maps, etc.

 

Finally — relax and have fun! A road trip through Namibia is by far the best way to see this remarkable country. You’ll see unforgettable landscapes and meet friendly people everywhere. It still feels pretty off-the-beaten-path, but it’s changing fast. So get here now before too many tourists discover how amazing it is!

 

Have you been on a Namibia road trip or road tripped anywhere else? Any tips to add? Leave a comment!

 

Like this post? Pin it!

 

Have you ever wanted to road trip Africa? Namibia is a great place to start!

 

Read more about Namibia here.

 

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you decide to purchase through these links, I receive a percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you, which helps me keep this site up and running.

Leave a Reply

42 Comments on "Namibia Road Trip: Two-week itinerary"

Leave a Reply

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
My Travel Tricks
Guest

Wow what an amazing trip!!! You really did everything! I went to Namibia too but we didn’t have enough time and unfortunately had to skip the Skeleton Coast, Etosha and Kalahari desert. Reading your blog makes me so sad we didn’t get to go there but happy as well to know I still have to much to see! Great read!!

Gabby
Guest

I love your table of contents and how detailed your post is! Seeing that cheetah in Okonjima is absolutely insane!

Tamar
Guest

I find Namibia such a fascinating country! So many different types of landscapes!

Kirstin Street
Guest

Great self drive itinerary! Namibia was my favourite by far of all 10 African countries I visited, and I would go back in a heartbeat! I loved Swakopmund though, and would probably recommend more than a day, there’s actually so much to see and do – and fantastic food!

Daniela Fries
Guest

It sounds adventurous but also quite exhausting being on the road almost every day. I’d only do the northern trip – because of the animals, of course.

Mr Mike
Guest

I had no idea there were so many wonderful national parks in Namibia! A road trip sounds like the perfect way to explore them all. It would be so amazing to see a cheetah like that in Okonjima or the elephants in Namutoni! Thank you for sharing, I’ve definitely added a lot more than the desert views to my bucket list for Namibia!

SherianneKay
Guest

This looks like it was an amazing trip! I agree, it would be vital for me to use a travel company to pull this off!

Eva
Guest

What an amazing adventure! I don’t have the budget for something like this at the moment, but when I am a bit more stable it’s definitely a kind of trip I would love to do. Thanks for this detailed itinerary and for the link to the travel agency!

Karina // The World Notebook
Guest
Karina // The World Notebook

Wow this is a fantastic guide! I love how in-depth it is! Your trip sounded and looked fantastic! I would love to see ancient drawings like “The White Lady” – it’s so sad how people can be irresponsible and wreak havoc on relics from the past, but I’m glad the locals stepped up and found a solution! Anyway, again, great guide! 🙂

Carol
Guest
I gotta say, I got a bit intimidated when I saw a table of contents! This is so comprehensive, I don’t even know where to start to comment. I don’t want to come across as not having read the post and leaving a generic comment ;P But anyway,, please allow me to pick one….I love, love, love the sand dunes! They are so fiery! Most people know the Philippines, where I grew up, are all about island life – beach, coconut trees, and so on. But we have sand dunes as well, where we did some sand boarding and that… Read more »
Aleah | Solitary Wanderer
Guest
Aleah | Solitary Wanderer

What a very comprehensive post! I’d been planning on going to Tanzania this year, I might include Namibia as well. I’ve never gone on a safari, so this looks very tempting to me. And the dunes! So beautiful!

balanceandblessings1
Guest

You really kept a detailed account of everything you did! Thank you for sharing! Sounds like a long but lovely journey.

tanamerarumbai
Guest

Wow! I’m jealous. It’s easy to say you really had a memorable trip. The animals, the Orange dune, the Fish River Canyon to name a view… I wish to visit one day.

loisaltermark
Guest

Okay, this looks amazing! My son volunteered at an animal sanctuary in Namibia a few years ago, and now I want to go there and follow your itinerary. Thanks for planning it all out!

Annika
Guest

What an amazing road trip. From the canyon to the orange sand dunes to the wildlife. This road trip is packed full of awesome sights to see. Very thorough and informative. Thanks for putting this all together.

Cory
Guest

Oh that sand dune looks so stunning. I so wonder how it would be like to visit Namibia. It just feels like it’s an alien world full of wonder and beautiful colours. And that canyon looks so beautiful. You sure had an adventure, one I wish I could have too

Laagan Kaayo
Guest

GOSH!!! Sunrise at Dune 45 is sooooooo nice!!!!! this trip of yours look incredible! and Namibia is really part of my bucket list. thanks for fueling my excitement!

Vanessa
Guest

I love that you got up so early for the sunrise at Dune45. We had the same approach when we were in Death Valley National Park (California). It was rough hauling ourselves out of bed so early and hiking to the designated photo spot but so worth it in the end (and at least you had apple pie later on down the road as compensation!)

forever roaming the world
Guest

Ok so after reading this I became very jealous haha – I want to do it 😀 A road trip through Namibia would be awesome and Fish River Canyon! looks incredible, I could spend days there and not get bored haha. Bookmarked this post and added a destination onto my list. Thank you 😀

Drew Seaman
Guest

Wow, what a detailed itinerary. I’ve heard amazing things about Namibia. I had a friend visit a few years ago after he was inspired by the film Mad Mad Fury Road, which was filmed there. He said the landscape was simply amazing!

wpDiscuz