Namibia is one of the largest, most beautiful and diverse countries to explore.
Planning a road trip around Namibia can be time-consuming and overwhelming… So, we’ve prepared the ultimate 3-week itinerary to make things simpler for you!
In our opinion, Namibia is one of the most beautiful countries in the world and should be explored and enjoyed to the full. An extensive Road Trip around Namibia takes a lot of time to plan.
With that said, we all lead busy lives and don’t have a ton of time to plan detailed, 3-week long holidays. So we decided to document the details of our recent adventure in this magical country and share it with you!
Feel free to add or cut parts out to suit the length of your stay. However, we would highly recommend spending a good 3-weeks exploring this incredible country. There is SO much to do and see.
Mapping it out.
With so many amazing spots to see, we recommend plotting down your must-see destinations onto a map to visualise the scope of the trip.
We decided to do an anticlockwise tour of the country, beginning with animal adventures and ending with a more relaxed time in the desert.
At every location that we visited, there were options available for both camping and hosted luxury chalets. So no need to feel like you have to camp at every stop, however its a more affordable option!
In total, our Road Trip duration was just under 3-weeks and we drove over 4000km.
Road Trip Map of Namibia Destinations.
Best Time of the Year to Visit
We had been planning this trip for a year and had laid out 2 viable options. We could visit in August (peak travel season) or at the end of December (risk of rainy season).
The benefits of visiting in August would be close to perfect weather conditions. But on the negative side, it is peak visitor season, busy roads, and everything costs almost double!
At the end of December – beginning of January, there is a risk of mosquitos and being hit by the rainy season. But the benefits are fewer tourists, and everything is more affordable.
In the end, we decided to visit from 25 December 2018 until the 14 January 2019. We were able to save on costs and spend a little more on experiences.
The San Tribe.
Car and Equipment Rental
Besides the flights and accommodation, renting a sturdy vehicle from a reputable supplier is the third greatest expense of the trip. We had the best service and experience with ASCO Car Hire.
A friendly ASCO assistant will pick you up from Hosea Kutako International Airport and take you through to Windhoek via a free shuttle service offer to clients.
On arrival at their offices, an experienced vehicle handler will spend 30-45min explaining the full 4×4 experience, camping and car features to you. The handler will demonstrate and ask you to practice and repeat specific manoeuvres until you feel 100% confident to begin your journey.
Please check out our full review on ASCO Car Hire for more information.
ASCO Car Hire 4×4 in the Namibian Bush.
Destination 1: Erindi Game Reserve
Duration: 6-nights (Camping)
Driving time: 2.5 hours from Windhoek
The first, and one of our favourite, destinations of the Namibia trip has to be Erindi Game Reserve. This spot used to be an old hunting farm, which they have repurposed as an Ecotourism destination.
During our 6-night stay, we camped out at Erindi’s Camp Elephant Luxury Campsites. These extremely affordable campsites were the nicest, cleanest and best equipped of our entire trip.
The reason for a 6-night stay at Erindi is the impressive experiences on offer. If you are a wildlife fanatic or photo and video enthusiast then Erindi is a spot that cannot be missed!
We enjoyed several private game drives, a san village visit, 2 private photographic drives and a drone drive.
Erindi boasted a terrific staff of experienced Game Rangers with experience in hosting photographers and videographers. So if you are looking to take some incredible animal pictures during your Namibian adventure, Erindi is a must.
For a more detailed account of our time at Erindi Game Reserve, read our review here.
Young Cheetah Family, Erindi Game Reserve.
Destination 2: Okonjima Nature Reserve
Duration: 2-nights (1 Camping, 1 Luxury Chalet)
Driving time: 2 hours from Erindi Game Reserve
During our stay at Erindi, the elusive leopards were the one animal left on our must-see list for the trip. And luckily for us, Okonjima is home of the AfriCat Foundation. An initiative that ensures the survival of Namibia’s carnivores in their natural habitat.
On our first evening at Okonjima, we camped out. But on our second night, we decided to splurge and checked into one of their luxurious Plains Camp for the second night. If you are looking for a spot to unwind, enjoy the most delicious food and relax then this is the place for you!
We opted in for 3 catered daily meals during our 2-night stay, after almost a week of preparing camp appropriate meals the previous week.
If you want a guaranteed leopard sighting, then add Okonjima to your list of destinations.
Resting Male Leopard, Okonjima Nature Reserve.
Destination 3: Onguma Nature Reserve, Etosha
Duration: 2-nights (Camping)
Driving time: 3,5 hours from Okonjima Nature Reserve
After a single night of luxury, we were refreshed for another round of camping at Onguma Nature Reserve. This spot is located 100m outside the East entrance of Etosha National Park.
We highly recommend bypassing the Hoba Meteorite near Grootfontein on route to Onguma from Okonjima. This is the largest known meteorite on earth and an incredible sight to behold.
While at Onguma, we camped out at Tamboti Luxury Campsite. They have a terrific little cafe where you can enjoy meals and a good filter coffee. They also have a tiny store for replenishing on basic items.
Most mornings and evenings, we journeyed out into the Park in our 4×4. Etosha is massive in size, so we hardly made it past exploring the Eastern section each trip. We did take one Game Drive with an Onguma Ranger on New Years morning, and we were not disappointed…
During this 5-hour drive, we tracked a single cheetah and also came across the largest herd of elephants that we have ever encountered. On approaching the Salt Pan, we noticed what appeared to be a small herd of 5 elephants. Luckily for us, we had nowhere urgent to be as we watched over 150 elephant pass by in the late morning heat. This was an experience that we will never forget!
For more about Etosha National Park, check out our Destinations post here.
150+ Elephant Herd at the Salt Pan, Etosha National Park.
Destination 4: Etosha Village, Etosha
Duration: 3-nights (Luxury Villa)
Driving time: 6-hour slow drive through Etosha National Park
After almost 2 weeks of exclusively camping in Namibia, we were ready for the comfort of a soft bed. So we thoroughly enjoyed our 3-nights at Etosha Village in one of their luxury units.
Not only was the accommodation excellent, but the food was also incredible! They offer a full buffet spread for both breakfast and dinner, with many options for vegetarians.
This spot is conveniently located 2 km outside the West entrance of Etosha National Park. So it’s very easy to pop into the Park for a short drive at any time.
From this spot, we enjoyed entire days exploring the west side of the park. We were extremely lucky to experience our first lion cub sighting, at dusk, moments before the park gates were due to close.
During this time of the year, it’s extremely hot, so be sure to take snacks and extra water!
Lioness and Cub at Dusk, Etosha National Park.
Destination 5: Madisa Camp, Damaraland
Duration: 1-nights (Camping)
Driving time: 7-hour drive from Etosha Village
This was the first time during the entire trip that we ended up on gravel/dirt roads for hours at a time. The landscape also began to change drastically. But after weeks of bush and rain, the alternative scenery was welcome.
We stopped off in the city of Outjo to restock our fridge with groceries on our way out into Damaraland.
On arrival at Madisa Camp, we were surprised at how “hipster chic” yet rural the facility and accommodation was. We checked into one of the 9 campsites set to the backdrop of the endless sands of Damaraland.
This was a short stop off for us, but we recommend visiting Twyfelfontein on your way into and Fingerklippe on your way out of Damaraland. Both of these are amazing historical and natural wonders of Namibia.
Spitzkoppe Nature Reserve, Damaraland.
Destination 6: Namib Guesthouse, Swakopmund
Duration: 3-nights (Guesthouse)
Driving time: 4.5-hour drive from Madisa Camp
One spot that we truly wish we had made a single night to stay at was Spitzkoppe. On route to Swakopmund, we did bypass the iconic spot and spent a few hours exploring.
Again, surroundings transformed and we continued our journey across Namibia. The rolling sand mountains and dust roads of Damaraland gave way to more gravel and rocky mountain faces. As long as some of these drives were between destinations, we never became bored. We were constantly in awe of the landscape.
Once we rejoined the tarred highway, we knew that we were not far from Swakopmund. We checked in at Namib Guesthouse fairly late after spending the afternoon at Spitzkoppe and headed directly out for dinner. Every night, we ate at The Tug restaurant, which boasts the most incredible sea view and delicious seafood menu!
During the days, we road tripped to Walvis Bay to see the rose-tinted salt pans and flamingoes. But if you are up for an adventure, there is plenty to explore in the sand dunes.
One activity we were too late to book was a tour with Mola Mola. These guys have the best reputation for offering the best day tours in this area of Namibia.
The Gorgeous Pink Salt Pans of Walvis Bay.
Destination 7: Quiver Camp, Namib Desert
Duration: 4-nights (Luxury Camp)
Driving time: 5-hour drive from Swakopmund
After weeks of camping, hours and thousands of kilometres of driving, we were ready for some luxury in the desert. Our plan for these 3 nights was to soak up the sun, enjoy as much of the desert as we could, and celebrate Robyn’s birthday!
We checked into Desert Quiver Camp and immediately headed for the pool. This spot is incredibly calming and quiet, after the hustle of visiting a small town and busy game reserves.
As a couple, we found this to be one of the most romantic destinations. At night, the views are just breath-taking, and during the day you might encounter an Oryx walking by to get to some water.
The Camp accommodation has got excellent self-catering facilities, but we recommend spoiling yourself with dinner at Sossusvlei Lodge.
For a full breakdown of our Namibia desert stay, read Namib Desert: 5 Unmissable Activities.
Deadvlei, Namib Desert.
Duration: 1-nights (Luxury Hotel)
Driving time: 4-hour drive from Sossusvlei
On your way out of the Desert, be sure to stop by Solitaire. This tiny town as a curious little abandoned petrol pump and retro cars on display. There is also a cute little cafe where you can refresh and grab some homemade eats before headed back to Windhoek.
We rounded up our Namibia trip with a final night in Windhoek, which was a choice made out of convenience. Most departures entail the 4×4 rental drop-off and vehicle check, with a 40-minute shuttle to the airport.
Make sure that you leave yourself sufficient time to do these things so that you can end your adventure on a high note.
Abandoned Petrol Pump, Solitaire.
Do you have any questions or enquiries about tips for Road Trips or travel? Write to us in the comments sections below or email us on [email protected] and we will be happy to answer!
Download a reliable travel mapping app to support you during the trip.
We recommend TomTom Map Services, as it’s a quick, affordable and easy solution that is downloadable via mobile devices. That way, if you run out of data or lose mobile services, you always have access to your map.
Get inspired to plan your next Road Trip by viewing our Landscapes Gallery.