14 experiences to tick off on your Namibian Road Trip
Safari, Sand & Sundowners.
When Gary and I were planning our Namibian road trip, we were slightly unsure if we were setting our expectations too high, in what we had hoped to see in this magnificent country.
In the cheetah's gaze, Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch
Believe me; our wishes were surpassed tenfold and given the opportunity we would return again.
Your experiences will be different; however, you won’t be disappointed with the breath-taking country of Namibia.
A helpful guide
If you're considering a road trip through Namibia, then your in for a holiday of a lifetime. I always find it incredibly useful to plan our trips with the help of a guide book.
Take a look at this informative Bradt guide, it will give you great tips and advice.
Sunrise over Sossusvlei
Sossusvlei and Deadvlei in the Namib Desert truly are surreal landscapes, although you may have seen many pictures of the eerie petrified trees and the incredible red dunes, it will still leave you speechless.
Tracks up Big Mamma, Sossusvlei
Gary and I chose to visit Big Daddy & Big Mamma with a group from our lodge, we climbed the dunes and watched the sunrise gradually unfold before us, it’s an experience we will never forget.
Tracks in the pan of Deadvlei, Sossusvlei
We chose a tour organised by our accommodation at Sossus Dune Lodge, which included breakfast after sunrise.
Check out our post - 'Sossusvlei – The land that time forgot'
If you are driving to Sossusvlei under your own steam, then heed the advice of others and reduce the air pressure in your tyres – we came across a group that’d regretted it!!!
For more check out 'The Hilux Briefing'
We cannot recommend enough renting your own truck, and experience a self-drive safari at your own pace. The terrain can be slow progress at times; however, if you factor this in, then it’s the best way to see the country.
The Long road just outside Fish River Canyon
Like us, you can stay at lodges each night and enjoy a little luxury.
Then the following morning, hop back in your truck and tour the watering holes like an experienced ranger.
Why not check out 'A road trip through Namibia' & 'The Hilux Briefing'
An elephant crossing sign at Grootberg, Damaraland
1) Opt for a 4X4;, you’ll need it!
2) Request a long range fuel tank – fuel up regularly as petrol stations are few and far between.
3) If you have the option, then request a fridge, you’ll be grateful for cold water. (Make sure you carry at least 2 litres of water per person)
4) GPS will also come in handy, but it's not essential.
We used Advanced 4x4 Car Hire, and were very pleased with 'Heidi', our faithful Toyota Hilux.
Kolmanskop is a ghost town swallowed by sand, visiting here was definitely one of our highlights. The settlement was previously a diamond mining town, that has since been deserted and time and nature have taken over.
On the outskirts of town - Kolmanskop
Once you’ve entered the small town, you are free to wander and discover how the Namib Desert has moved in and reclaimed it.
It’s a bit eerie strolling amongst the abandoned homes and hospital, but equally fantastic that you’re allowed to just roam around on your own.
There's our post - 'Kolmanskop - The gallery'
Sand everywhere in Kolmanskop
This is a harsh a part of the Atlantic Ocean coastline that takes no prisoners, many ships have come to their end along here.
Another victim of the skeleton coast just outside Swakopmund
Gary and I would have loved to spend more time here, but access is restricted and to appreciate its full splendour you need to take to the skies.
The skeleton coast at Sandwich Bay
These beautiful creatures are now only found in Namibia and Mali, so when we were staying at Camp Kipwe in Kunene region of Namibia, we jumped at the chance to go on a game drive, to track them in their own remote environment.
An old bull elephant
There were only four of us in the truck so, the experience felt really personal, I’m sure it’s one we’d struggle to match again.
There's our posts - ‘Those Elusive Desert Elephants‘ & ‘Camp Kipwe‘
Desert elephants in a family group
Fish River Canyon
In the south of Namibia, and not too far from the South African border is Africa’s largest canyon ‘Fish River’. Here is where your 4X4 truck will come in handy, but it’s worth taking on the teeth chattering terrain to reach it, the views across the plateau are stunning.
Traces of water at Fish River Canyon
The Etosha National Park is a must to visit if you have come to Namibia for the wildlife. Driving yourself from one watering hole to another, you’ll be amazed at the mixture of animals that you come across. We even caught a pride of lions basking in the afternoon sunshine, how lucky were we?
A pride of resting lions in Etosha
Just be cautious when driving through the park, as you are in their environment and when confronted with a bull elephant or a rhino, there will only be one winner.
There's our posts - 'Western Etosha & Dolomite Camp, Namibia' , 'Then there were lions, Namibia' & 'Then there was a rhino, Namibia'
A big bull elephant in Etosha
Start creating your own adventure, and discover the amazing scenery & African wildlife of Namibia for yourself.
We chose British Airways, and it was all done with a few clicks, a brief stopover in Johannesburg, and our luggage was there for our arrival in Windhoek.
It was really good to see that the German colonial influence was still prominent in Swakopmund, not just with the colourful buildings but also with their cuisine.
t’s a bustling town and has an interesting, lively craft market, where you can bargain for your Namibian souvenirs.
The colonial past on display in Swakopmund
Swakopmund sits on the Atlantic Ocean and is a great place to base yourself to discover the Skeleton Coast and the Namib Desert tours.
There's our post - 'Swakopmund and its hostile coastline'
The old jetty at Swakopmund
Visiting the Himba people, being shown around their village and learning their traditions, is an experience Gary and I will never forget.
A tribal dance of the Himba people in Damaraland
Very much off the beaten track, and in the North-west region of Namibia, these communities can only be visited as an organised tour; however, if you get the opportunity, you must jump at it.
Gifts for sale from the Himba people
The Himba are Nomadic and have since moved on from the village we visited, but you can find the latest from the Namibia Tourism website on how to organise a visit to these lovely people.
Why not check out our post - 'The Himba People'
Game drive day & night
Namibia is a fantastic place to embark on your own self-drive safari, but equally it’s also great fun to enjoy the experience of an organised game drive. The rangers are extremely knowledgeable and will take you to areas of the park that are not always accessible to your average visitor.
A young springbok spotted on the Morning Game Drive
We did a couple during the day. However, the night game drives are really interesting, tracking the nocturnal wildlife with a searchlight and hearing the soundtrack of the African nightlife come to life.
For more check out 'A Morning Game Drive, Kalahari Desert'
Ostrich guarding its nest
As part of our 3-week adventure we stayed at the Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch. This was like a dream come true, planning the trip from our home in the UK dreaming of the endless red sands of the Kalahari felt like a world away.
A roaming ostrich
From here we saw some fantastic wildlife, not quite your lions or rhinos but equally enjoyable.
For more check out 'Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch, Namibia'
Wildlife from our lodge in Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch
Eternal Night Sky
This probably goes without saying, however, the night sky in this part of the world is incredible. Without pollution, nor the intense light of larger cities you can see a vast magnitude of stars, and even galaxies & nebula with the naked eye.
The night sky from our safari lodge
Tour of the dunes
The Land Rover & the view, Living Desert Adventures
While we were based in Swakopmund, we joined a couple of tours to discover more of the unreachable scenery and learn about the wildlife that manages to survive in this terrain.
We chose the ‘Little 5’ Living Desert tour, which was run by a fantastic guide who was extremely informative and had a passion for respecting his surroundings.
A Sand-diving lizard or Shovel Snouted lizard
Also the Sandwich Harbour tour, which is for a full day, crossing the undulating dunes and visiting a lost lagoon.
Ernst goes for a drive
Sundowners at Camp Kipwe
Is there any better way to finish your day, than enjoying your favourite tipple under the African skies and watching the sunset across the desert?
There's our post on 'Camp Kipwe, Twyfelfontein, Namibia'
Sundowners at the Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch
Mine’s a G&T, please
Visited Namibia? what were your highlights? let us know as we love chatting about our adventures.
Inspired to visit Namibia?
Tempted to plan your self-drive safari and tick some these great experiences off your list?
Make it happen, you won't be disappointed.
(Why not Pin It for Later?)
We would love to visit Namibia, and knowing that you successfully drove yourself is a big inspiration! We’re often a bit cautious about self drives, but this post has me thinking we might not need to be so quick to rule them out in the future. Your pictures are incredible! What an amazing journey! – Stephanie
Thanks Stephanie, it was a fantastic trip full of great memories.Gary did most of the driving, although I did get a chance on the longer routes. A lot of the driving was on gravel which takes a bit longer, but you just factor this in, so its not a problem & it felt very safe.If you get a chance to go you should jump at it, it is an amazing country. We stayed in lodges and B&B’s, however, often people use a similar truck to the one we had and pitch a tent on top of it.Happy TravelsJanis & Gary