10 Day Classic Namibian Self Drive

1 night Kalahari | 2 nights Sesriem | 2 nights Swakopmund | 1 night Damaraland | 2 nights Etosha | 1 night Windhoek

Tour Highlights

  • Kalahari Experience
  • Spectacular Sossusvlei
  • Desert and Dunes Tours
  • Swakopmund Beach
  • Namibia By Road
  • Self Drive Adventure
  • Etosha National Park
  • Windhoek City
Day 1 Arrival in Mariental | Southern Kalahari | 1 night

Upon arrival at Hosea Kutako International Airport in Windhoek, Namibia, you are met by our representative and your travel documents will be handed to you. Our representative will brief you on your adventure ahead before assisting you to the Europcar Depot to collect your rental vehicle. Once you have collected your vehicle, you depart Windhoek International Airport and make your way South to your Game Ranch in the Mariental Kalahari Region where you stay for one night.

Arriving at your lodge in the late afternoon, you enjoy an afternoon and evening at leisure. Dinner is served in the evening before retiring to your room. Be sure to get a good night’s rest as your Namibian adventure begins tomorrow morning!

Driving time: Windhoek Airport to Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch: approx. 2hrs 50mins (260km)

Day 2 Mariental to Sesriem | Sossusvlei

The morning is at leisure, you may decide to enjoy a morning game drive or bushman walk before you depart the Camelthorn Lodge. Once you have enjoyed breakfast, you depart the Kalahari region and make your way West to the Sesriem Region for your visit to the unique Sand Dunes in the Sossusvlei Namib Desert. Enjoy stops en-route before arriving at your lodge located at the entrance of the Namib Naukluft Park. Arriving at your lodge, you have time to settle in before exploring the lodge region or enjoying time at leisure in your room.

The sand dunes of Sossusvlei in the Namib Desert are often referred to as the highest dunes in the world. Situated in the largest conservation area in Africa (the Namib-Naukluft National Park), Sossusvlei is possibly Namibia’s most spectacular and best-known attraction. Characterised by the large red dunes that surround it, Sossusvlei is a large, white, salt and clay pan and is a great destination all year round. The dunes in this area are some of the highest in the world, reaching almost 400 meters, and provide photographic enthusiasts with wonderful images in the beautiful morning and evening light.

Driving time: Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch to Desert Homestead Lodge: approx. 3hrs 19mins (288km).

Day 2 to 4 Sossusvlei | 2 nights

Sossusvlei literally translates to “dead-end marsh”, as it is the place where the dunes come together preventing the Tsauchab River to flow any further, some 60km east of the Atlantic Ocean. However, due to the dry conditions in the Namib Desert the River seldom flows this far and the pan remains bone-dry most years. During an exceptional rainy season the Tsauchab fills the pan, drawing visitors from all over the world to witness this spectacular site. Photographic enthusiasts are spoilt with a glassy “lake” holding reflections of the surrounding dunes. When the pan fills it can hold water for as long as a year. Despite the harsh desert conditions in the area, one can find a wide variety of plants and animals that have adapted to survive.

Day 4 Sossusvlei to Swakopmund

Once you have enjoyed a leisurely breakfast overlooking the Namib Desert, you depart the Sossusvlei Lodge and make your way North to the coastal town of Swakopmund. Enjoy a scenic drive to your Luxury hotel located on in this historical town.

Arriving at your hotel in the late afternoon, you are met and assisted to your Luxury Suite for your 2 night stay. Enjoy an afternoon and evening exploring this historical town or enjoying refreshments overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

Swakopmund has always been the jewel of Namibia's coastline, and has built a reputation as adrenaline-filled destination, sure to satisfy travellers' every whim. The Namib dunes surrounding Swakopmund are some of the highest in the world. Palm-lined streets, seaside promenades, fine accommodation, a pleasant summer climate and decent beaches. Welcome to Swakopmund!

For those interested in adventure activities Swakopmund offers sandboarding, quad biking, dune carting, parachuting, hot air ballooning, shark fishing, deep sea fishing and beach angling to name but a few. For the more sedentary there are restaurants, cafes, art galleries, the Swakopmund Museum, a snake park and aquarium.

The architecture and general feeling of Swakopmund is laid back. This town has the ambiance associated with a small German village, and the town seems to be stuck in time.

Driving time: Desert Homestead Lodge to Swakopmund Guest House: approx. 4hrs 34mins (356km).

Day 4 to 6 Swakopmund | 2 nights

Swakopmund (German for "Mouth of the Swakop") is a city on the coast of northwestern Namibia, approximately 280 km west of Windhoek. Swakopmund is the capital of the Erongo administrative district and is located in the Namib Desert. Swakopmund is a beach resort and an example of German colonial architecture.

At once Namibia's adventure capital and a surreal colonial remnant, part destination in its own right and part launch pad for an exploration of the Skeleton Coast and Namib Desert, this is a city with as much personality as it has sea frontage. Like Lüderitz on the south coast, with its half-timbered German architecture, seaside promenades and pervasive Gemütlichkeit (a distinctively German appreciation of comfort and hospitality), Swakopmund, especially out of season, can feel like a holiday town along Germany’s North Sea and Baltic coasts transplanted onto African soil. But the city is also thoroughly African and its multidimensional appeal means that most people end up staying longer than they planned.

Day 6 Swakopmund to Twyfelfontein | Damaraland | 1 night

This morning you depart the cool breeze of Swakopmund for Damaraland after breakfast. You make your way to the dryer and hotter area of Namibia, also known for the Rock Art paintings in Namibia. Upon arrival in Twyfelfontein, you check in at your lodge for your 1 night stay. Twyfelfontein is a site of ancient rock engravings in the Kunene Region of north-western Namibia. Speak to reception to see what adventures you can go on during your overnight stay.

Driving time: Swakopmund Guest House to Twyfelfontein Adventure Camp: approx. 4hrs 23mins (334km).

Day 7 Damaraland to Etosha National Park

This morning you depart Damaraland for Etosha National park for your 2 night stay. You check in at your lodge and settle in for the night. You may decide to explore the park for a bit before dinner.

The Etosha National Park is Namibia's premiere game viewing experience, situated in the northwest of Namibia and is an area well known for its wildlife. Vegetation ranges from dense bush to open plains attracting a diversity of wildlife. In the heart of the Park is The Etosha Pan - a shallow depression that covers an area of 5000sq kilometres. Dry and shimmering for most of the year, the pans fill up with water after good rains to a depth which is seldom deeper than 1m. In the dry season wildlife is attracted to perennial springs and waterholes that makes for excellent game viewing. Within the park are three large public rest camps catering for the more budget orientated traveller. There are several smaller establishments on the outskirts of the park on private land offering a more intimate and comprehensive experience. All of these establishments offer excellent value for money.

Driving time: Twyfelfontein Adventure Camp to Etosha Safari Lodge: approx. 4hrs 29mins (318km).

Day 7 to 9 Etosha National Park | 2 nights

The Etosha National Park in northern Namibia is one of Africa’s great game reserves and offers unique game-viewing. Etosha, which means “the great white place”, or “place of dry water”, owes its unique landscape to the Etosha mineral pan, a vast shallow depression of approximately 5000 square kilometres. The pan was originally a lake fed by the Kunene River but the lake dried up when the river changed course thousands of years ago. The pan now is a large dusty depression of salt and dusty clay and fills only if the rains are heavy and even then only holds water for a short time. A series of perennial springs and waterholes along the southern edge of the pan attract game into the area.

The dry season (May – November) is particularly rewarding for game viewing as the rain water has dried up and the game is forced to rely on the life supporting waterholes. Long lines of zebra, wildebeest, kudu, Oryx and springbok plod along ancient paths from distant grazing areas to the waterholes. Herds of elephant drinking huge amounts of water and then wallow in the water so that all the other the thirsty animals have to wait patiently till they have finished. Predators such as lion and leopard wait at the waterholes knowing the antelope have to drink. The pan itself contains water only after very good rains and sometimes for only a few days each year, but is enough to stimulate the growth of a blue-green algae which lures thousands of flamingos.

Day 9 Etosha National Park to Windhoek

Namibia is a spectacular country… truly a land of contrasts and wide open spaces, a sensory awakening. Allow yourself to be moved. River Crossing Lodge offers a serene marriage of blissful, undisturbed nature and comfortable modern amenities. The lodge is located on a pristine 6500 hectare reserve which is home to 19 different species of game, while being only a 5 minute drive from the heart of Windhoek.

River Crossing Lodge offers a serene marriage of blissful, undisturbed nature and comfortable modern amenities. The lodge is located on a pristine 6500 hectare reserve which is home to 19 different species of game, while being only a 5 minute drive from the heart of Windhoek.

Driving time: Etosha Safari Lodge to River Crossing Lodge: approx. 4hrs 11mins (417km).

Day 10 Departure

Today is spent at leisure. you may decide to explore the historical town or enjoy time at leisure before you depart your Guest House and make your way to Hosea Kutako International Airport.

On arrival at Hosea Kutako International Airport, you make your way to the Rental Car Depot and return your rental vehicle before you continue to the Regional Departures Terminal for your direct flight to Johannesburg or Cape Town for your flight connections home (assuming you will be flying home out of South Africa).

Driving time: River Crossing Lodge to Windhoek Airport: approx. 30mins.

Mariental | Southern Kalahari | Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch

Located on the edge of the southern Kalahari in the mixed tree and shrub savannah, the lodge is crisscrossed by huge red sand dunes. The ranch attaches great importance to the preservation of nature and its living beings, so you can experience numerous species of animals and plants up close with us. Watch antelopes, springboks, zebras, ostriches, meerkats or cheetahs up close. Or let the authentic Bushmen introduce you to their ancient traditions.

An entrance hall leads to the reception, lounge, dining room, bar/cellar and office. There is also a well-stocked, small library with a broad selection of mainly Africa books and matters relating to African flora and fauna. Their video library contains over 100 videos on African wildlife.

They offer our guests not only luxurious accommodation in typical African architecture, but also exceptional hospitality and ambiance. The cuisine is internationally revered so let your mind wander and pamper yourself during your stay.

The main dining area at Bagatelle Kalahari Game Lodge is a huge, enclosed porch area. Their chef is on standby to provide breakfast, lunch or dinner and coffee, tea, snacks and drinks are available from their honesty bar. Their wine cellar, stock a range of well-known South African wines, for your enjoyment. They also have an extensive range of brandy’s, whiskeys, cognacs and liqueurs.

There is a swimming pool and recreation area, complete with a pool table and hammock. Guests can wine and dine 'al fresco' in the open-air-thatched lapa. Wi-Fi access is available in the communal areas. Rejuvenate and refresh with a treatment or massage from the Spa. Bagatelle Kalahari Lodge has its own viewing platform that overlooks a natural waterhole. From here guests can watch the lodge's own cheetah at play.

There is a wide selection of activities run by the game ranch all to the backdrop of beautiful landscape. Bagatelle are custodian of a number of captive cheetahs. Feeding time is both very popular and a highlight. Morning scenic drives, afternoon sundowner trips, an early walk with the San, birdwatching, stargazing and night drives can be arranged. Nature loves can explore the region on a leisurely horseback safari.

Sesriem | Sossusvlei | Desert Homestead Lodge

The wide grassy valley in which the lodge is situated is sheltered by the Nubib, Tsaris and Naukluft Mountains with a view reaching the distant dunes of the Namib Desert in the west. In this exquisite position, the lodge offers stylish accommodation in thatched chalets which were designed with the fragile beauty of this remarkable environment in mind. Desert Homestead Lodge will ensure an unrivalled respite from the desert extremes. Tranquil surroundings, al fresco dining, delectably fresh farm cuisine, refreshing dips in the pool, stunning sunsets and sunrises are the basic pleasures at the lodge. And meandering across endless plains or discovering ancient water courses on a beautifully groomed steed is a magical and alternative way to appreciate the surroundings. The final remnants of each day see nature at her most profound. Rugged landscapes bathed in hues of pastel ... a truly humbling experience.

Swakopmund | Swakopmund Guest House

Situated in Swakopmund town centre and only a 5-minute walk from the beach and main shopping area, is the Swakopmund Guesthouse. Previously used as a holiday home it has been completely revamped, in a very elegant and modern style. This particular bed and breakfast establishment caters for the more upmarket traveller. Most of their guests stay here because of high comfort levels, personalized service and the short distance to the beach! It an ideal place for families as well.

It offers eight standard rooms, eight luxury rooms and one family suite for guests wanting to indulge in a comfortable stay-over close to the ocean.

There is a breakfast room where the scrumptious buffet is served, a lounge area, Internet connection, secure parking, town and airport shuttle service, and is wheelchair-friendly. Children are welcome here and a high chair, cot and child-care are available on request.

There are many activities that one could enjoy when staying at Swakopmund Guesthouse such as sandboarding, fatbikes, quad biking, parasailing, horse riding, fishing, aquarium, sea kayaking and camel rides.

Twyfelfontein | Damaraland | Twyfelfontein Adventure Camp

Nestled in rolling boulders of a granite outcrop, Twyfelfontein Adventure Camp is conveniently situated a ten minute drive from Twyfelfontein Rock Engravings, within walking distance of the Damara Living Museum and within the Huab River Valley. A visit in the neighbouring Damara Living Museum can be done in own arrangement, it offers a fascinating look into the people, heritage, pulse and soul of Damaraland.

The camp consists of 12 furnished en-suite tents with two beds (twin room), an open bathroom with shower (hot and cold water), basin and toilet and a shaded terrace with armchairs. Tents are accessible by 3-4 steps and are not barrier free. 3 extra igloo tents are available, can be booked for tour guides if no normal tent is available or for children (to be built up next to their parents tent, sharing ablutions with parents) A baby cot is available and can be put in the parents tent.

The 'Main tent', an open Lapa, gives space for restaurant area, a bar and pool deck. The restaurant can be closed with shutters in wintertime. The activities are bookable combined with a 2 night stay (lunch packs and mineral water are included in the 4 hour nature drive. Nature drive commences after breakfast).

Activities include a scenic nature drive in the ephemeral Huab River and surrounding valley including a picnic lunch. It is an excursion exposing visitors to unique geological formations and the possibility of sighting the elusive desert adapted elephants and rhinos. Two open game drive vehicles are permanently available with guides. That means 2 x 10 guests can do the activity. If bigger groups are booked in, the lodge can arrange a guide and a third vehicle on request.

Etosha National Park | Gondwana Etosha Safari Lodge

Join us at this stylish lodge overlooking a vast expanse of mopane woodland. Space is an attractive element at Etosha Safari Lodge with its lavish view, spacious deck- and dining-area and airy rooms with private verandas. It's the place to open doors to the mystery and magic of Etosha, 'Place of Legends'.

This is where stories were woven into the Hai//om mythology of the origin of Etosha's chalky pan, how Elephant saved the world with his generosity of spirit and the many tales about the animals below and the stars above that are part of the cycle of life in Etosha. Explore the national park with our knowledgeable guides who are familiar with the waterholes and the animals that frequent them. Take this opportunity to be introduced to African wildlife from the comfortable seat of a game vehicle. Early morning or late afternoon visits, in accordance with the Andersson Gate times, provide the best game viewing.

And, after Etosha enchantment return to the lodge to relax, dive into the cool waters of the pools or indulge in quality food and wine - and peace. The lodge, only ten kilometres from the Park's central entrance and a world away from the hustle and bustle of Okaukuejo, offers top grade Etosha accommodation with easy access to the Park. Days of animal wonder are balanced with comfort and care, creating an exceptional Etosha experience. Dine under a dome of stars on the outside veranda, sit next to a blazing fire or watch the red orb of the sun sink gracefully into the landscape from the sunset deck. The day couldn't be better. As the stars begin their celestial show, soft beds and animal dreams begin to call - and the anticipation of a good tomorrow. Etosha, the heart of the country, is beckoning with the immense beauty of the natural world.

The rooms are located on a hillock, overlooking magnificent views. Rooms are open plan with two beds, en suite bathrooms (showers), a small veranda, air-conditioners and tea/coffee facilities.

Windhoek | River Crossing Lodge

Namibia is a spectacular country… truly a land of contrasts and wide open spaces, a sensory awakening. Allow yourself to be moved. River Crossing Lodge offers a serene marriage of blissful, undisturbed nature and comfortable modern amenities. The lodge is located on a pristine 6500 hectare reserve which is home to 19 different species of game, while being only a 5 minute drive from the heart of Windhoek.

River Crossing Lodge offers a serene marriage of blissful, undisturbed nature and comfortable modern amenities. The lodge is located on a pristine 6500 hectare reserve which is home to 19 different species of game, while being only a 5 minute drive from the heart of Windhoek.

Rooms are equipped with Satelite TV, Mini Fridge with complementary Mineral water, small balcony with view, coffee station, air conditioning and a shower.

Game Drives: Take an engaging morning or afternoon game drive through the reserve. The views are superb, the flora varied and the game abundant. Nineteen different species roam the reserve, including Oryx, Kudu, giraffe and wildebeest... Leopard and cheetah are also seen from time to time. The drives last 2 - 3 hours and include some drinks and snacks.

Guided & Self-Guided Walks: The reserve can also be explored on foot in the company of one of our guides or on your own. Walks with an experienced and knowledgeable guide will last up to 2 hours

Horse-riding: Ride through the reserve on horseback. Experienced and novice horse-riders alike can enjoy a gentle ride through nature with the help of a guide. This activity is offered on the premises by an independent team.

Suggested Mariental | Southern Kalahari | Sundowner Nature Drive

The idea of founding the Gondwana Cañon Park was born in 1996 when a small group of dedicated Namibians decided to try to preserve a small area bordering the eastern side of the Fish River Canyon National Park in Namibia's south.

For decades, this land has been used for sheep farming which in the end proved unsustainable in this semi-desert area that receives less than 100-mm rainfall annually. What started out as a small idealistic concept has grown today into a full-scale park of approximately 100.000 ha. Even in this short period of time a substantial recovery of the flora and fauna has taken place.

A lot of effort has been put in removing all the existing fences and establishing waterholes for game. Regular game counts prove that we already have a healthy, albeit small population of kudu, oryx, springbok, ostrich, mountain zebra and a variety of smaller antelopes. Even leopards are sighted regularly again.
The 3 hour drive is the perfect opportunity for you to acquaint yourself with the geology, flora and fauna of the Gondwana Canyon Park. This tour does not include the Fish River Canyon. It starts at Canyon Lodge or Canyon Village. Approx. 3 hour

Suggested Sesriem | Sossusvlei | Day Excursion

An early start from the Lodge to enter the Namib-Naukluft Park at sunrise, while the temperature is still mild and when the dune contrasts are at their best. You will travel in one of our all-terrain URI Game viewer vehicles, custom-built in Namibia for the Lodge, with your own specially trained guide who will share all his knowledge of the area, the animals, the plant life and much more with you. Regular stops are made on the 60 kilometre drive down to the Vlei to gain information or take in the vistas.

At Dune 45, the more energetic have the opportunity to climb to the upper ridge of the world's most photographed dune. Further along, a gradual 2, 6 kilometre round-trip walk up to Dead Vlei is a must for the healthy visitors. Spend time in Sossusvlei before returning to the Lodge approximately 5 hours later in time for luncheon. Refreshments are provided on the trip.

Suggested Swakopmund | Marine Cruise & Sandwich Harbour Tour

The Marine Dune Day gives you the ultimate combination of a leisure cruise on the Atlantic Ocean and a 4x4 ride in the breath-taking Sandwich Harbour Area of the Namib Naukluft Park. The day starts with a Marine Cruise in the morning at about 08h30 09h00 (check-in at 08h00 at the Walvis Bay Waterfront). You may get a chance to see flying pelicans, seals, dolphins and – during season – even whales, sunfish and turtles! Around 12h15, your skipper will drop you off at the Walvis Bay Waterfront where your Sandwich Harbour 4x4 guide will meet you for the excursion to Sandwich Harbour in one of our four-wheel drive vehicles. Enjoy a half a day exploring the dunes and surrounding areas. We return to the Walvis Bay Waterfront at around 16h15.

Suggested Swakopmund | Visit the Cape Cross Seal Colony

Just north of Henties Bay is a massive Cape Fur Seal colony which has established itself at Cape Cross. Diego Cao, a Portuguese seafarer, was the first European explorer to get ashore in 1486. He arranged for a cross to be erected to honour the King of Portugal. The passage of time here saw many ships wrecked on the Skeleton Coast in Namibia and the rise and fall of a thriving seal and guano industry.

Today, a newer version of the cross has been set in a terraced area and you can see up to 300 000 fur seals at Cape Cross, Skeleton Coast, Namibia, year round. This is a noisy and smelly adventure but to observe so many in one place is a big attraction. Bull seals are at their fighting best toward the end of October and seal pups are usually born at the end of November or early December. The Seal Colony is open for viewing every day.

Included in price Damaraland | Twyfelfontein Tour

UNESCO World Heritage Site and unique rock engravings. Twyfelfontein, which means as much as „doubtful fountain“ or „Fountain of Doubt“ is the name of a valley in the Damara highland about 70 km west of Khorixas. The valley was inhabited by the Damara, who call the valley Uri-Ais (jumping fountain) in their language. In 1947 white farmers settled in the valley, but the fountain was unreliable and only had little water. The farms were abandoned by the white settlers due to the Odendaal plan in 1964, where the local population of Namibia was relocated in "Homelands".

Twyfelfontein is famous because of its many rock paintings and rock engravings (Petroglyphs) of the San (Bushmen) of which 2500 were counted. Specifications about the age of the engravings fluctuate and a period of 1000 – 10000 years is stated. Remarkable is that the engravings were made without the use of metal tools. It is presumed that quartz tools were used instead as many quartz chips were found here.

The motives of the rock engravings are on the one hand hunting scenes, in which the hunters are pictured with bow and arrow. On the other hand many animal engravings (antelopes, zebras, giraffes, lions, etc.) are depicted. Remarkable is also the engraving of a seal, as the ocean is about 100 km away.

The valley was declared a national monument in 1952 to stop the common stealing of rock engravings. The paintings/ engravings can only be visited with a local guide. UNESCO declared Twyfelfontein as World Heritage Site in 2007.

Included in price Etosha National Park | Full Day Etosha Game Drive

The Etosha National Park is a nature conservation area in northern Namibia and is one of the most significant game reserves in Africa. In Namibia it is by far the best known and most important national park. Today the Park covers an area of nearly 22.912 km² and is completely fenced for the protection of the animals.
Within the eastern part of the park an approximately 5.000 km² large salt pan can be found, which was formed about 2 million years ago when the Kunene Delta dried up and its riverbed shifted.

The Etosha Park was already declared a nature conservation area under German administration in 1907 by the governor of German Southwest Africa, Friedrich von Lindequist. The protection area at that time was four times bigger than today. Reason for the creation of the conservation area was the near depletion of the once abundant wildlife through poaching and big game hunting.
The protection area was decreased as from 1928 and in 1958 and 1967 further reductions took place until at the beginning of the seventies the Park received its present borders and was completely fenced in 1973.

The name Etosha is derived from the Oshiwambo and means “big, white place”. More than 100 mammal species and 340 different species of birds are found in the park. Due to the fencing of the Etosha National Park the animals living in the park were depending on the water and food resources found within the fence. Thus the water supply is granted by water holes, some of natural origin some artificial.

In the western part of the park, 5 natural and 27 artificial water holes are found, whereas 29 natural and 12 artificial water holes are found in the eastern part of the park. These form the livelihood for the animals in the Etosha and also serve tourists for game viewing. On the map which each visitor receives when entering the park, the waterholes as well as the network of roads are marked.

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This is just a sample itinerary. We can use it as a starting point and then tailor-make your personal itinerary according to your likes, interests and budget.

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Meet the Team

Gail Davis
Gail Davis
Tour Consultant

Heidi Bedford
Heidi Bedford
Tour Consultant

Kerry Ririe
Kerry Ririe
Tour Consultant

Kerryn Ross
Kerryn Ross
Tour Consultant

Anya Visser
Anya Visser
Tour Consultant

Tammy Harding
Tammy Harding
Tour Consultant

Susan Pattison-Wait
Susan Pattison-Wait
Managing Director & Tour Consultant

Melanie Macphail
Melanie Macphail
Tour Consultant

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