Cape to Namibia Self-drive

This magnificent three week Cape to Namibia self drive holiday takes you from Cape Town, South Africa, to Windhoek, taking in the Cape Winelands, the Cedarberg, Namaqualand, the Fish River Canyon, the Namib Desert, Swakopmund, Damaraland and Etosha National Park.  The self drive offers a mix of comfortable to premier accommodation.

Cape to Namibia Self-drive at a glance:

3 nights Welgelegen Lodge (BB), Cape Town
2 nights Yellow Aloe or The Longhouse (BB), Clanwilliam, Cederberg
1 night Daisy Lodge (BB), Namaqualand
2 nights Canyon Lodge (BB), Fish River Canyon
1 night Dabis Guest Farm (DBB), en route to Sossusvlei
2 nights Desert Homestead (DBB), near Sossusvlei
2 nights Cornerstone Guesthouse or Villa Margherita (BB), Swakopmund
1 night Camp Kipwe (DBB), Twyfelfontein
2 nights Grootberg Lodge (DBB), Damaraland
2 nights Okaukuejo Camp – Waterhole Chalet (BB) or Etosha Safari Lodge, Etosha National Park
1 night Okonjima Plains Lodge (DBB)

See Day by Day
Day 1

3 nights Cape Town, Welgelegen Guesthouse B&B

On arrival in Cape Town you collect your rental car (Hyundai Tuscan / Toyota Rav SUV 2×4 or similar) and drive to Welgelegen Guest House for a three-night stay. Welgelegen is a stylish boutique guest house set in two pretty Victorian buildings, in a quiet cul-de-sac in the Gardens area – adjacent to trendy Kloof Street with its inviting bistros, restaurants and shops. Bedrooms all have telephone, air-conditioning, TV, bar-fridges and tea & coffee tray and are decorated in an understated contemporary style. There is a courtyard garden with a plunge pool, ideal for alfresco breakfasts.

Cape Town is one of the most beautifully situated cities in the world. Cradled by Table Mountain, it has immense charm and historical interest whilst its unique cultural blend; part African, part European, part Asian, makes for a cosmopolitan dining experience. Take the cable car or walk up Table Mountain, visit the vibrant Malay quarter or meander through the wonderful Kirstenbosch Gardens. Browse through the vibrant Greenmarket Square, head out to Robben Island or simply relax on the beach. When you want to range further, the Cape Peninsula offers one of the finest coastal drives in Africa, it takes you to the Cape of Good Hope. Here you might see whales breeching just off the bay or quirky penguins on Boulder’s Beach.


Accommodation: Welgelegen Guest House
Located in: Cape Town - Cape Town City Bowl - South Africa

Day 4

2 nights Cedarberg region, Yellow Aloe Guesthouse, B&B

Today you travel north to the Cedarberg region, a dramatic landscape of craggy canyons, rivers, dams and waterfalls. En route you may like to travel via the picturesque village of Tulbagh with its well restored Cape Dutch houses and excellent wine estates.

Yellow Aloe Guest Lodge is a warm and friendly guest house, coffee shop and nursery in picturesque Clanwilliam. Yellow Aloe lies right in the heart of Clanwilliam, opposite the museum and a short walk from everything. It has twelve light and airy rooms – three in the main building with its old floors, four rooms in a second building next door with its own private swimming pool and five in the Longhouse, dating back to 1810. In the main public areas, you will find wifi access, flat screen TV and cappuccino machine. (2½ hours, 225km)


Accommodation: Yellow Aloe Guest House
Located in: Cederberg & West Coast - Clanwilliam - South Africa

Day 6

1 night Namaqualand, Daisy Country Lodge, B&B

Today you drive further North to Springbok in the Namaqualand region. The Namaqualand encompasses the narrow Sandveld coastal strip between the Atlantic Ocean and the Great Karoo to the east. Namaqualand is known for its spring flowers, rare succulents, unique indigenous plants, rich history, hospitality, unreal rock formations and the Richtersveld.

Daisy Country Lodge has magnificent views overlooking the hills and valleys and is truly an oasis in this semi-desert area. The rooms are spacious with en-suite bathrooms, patio, air-conditioning, satellite TV, minibar, hairdryer and tea/coffee making facilities. There is a swimming pool to cool off in the heat of summer as well as a restaurant. (3½ hours, 335km)


Accommodation: Daisy Country Lodge
Located in: Namaqualand - Northern Cape - South Africa

Day 7

2 nights Fish River National Park, Canyon Lodge B&B

Travel north to Namibia and enjoy a 2 night stay at Canyon Lodge. (4 hours, 330km)

Canyon Lodge stands proud amongst great granite boulders, 20km from the awe-inspiring Fish River Canyon. It offers sunrise walks, morning hikes to the nearby Quiver trees and rock formations, horse riding and a delightful sundowner drive. Thatched en suite chalets have unique natural rock walls. An old farmhouse is the lodge restaurant with a terrific view of the canyon landscape.

Visit the spectacular Fish River Canyon, over 300 million years old, in the early morning when it is truly an awe-inspiring site. The second largest river-formed canyon in the world but with a minute fraction of the tourist hordes which descend on the Grand Canyon.


Accommodation: Canyon Lodge
Located in: Namibia - Southern Namibia

Day 9

1 night Helmeringhausen, DBB

Drive to Dabis Guest Farm in the Schwarzrand mountains. This is a modest but friendly place at which to break your journey and offers a stay on a real Namibian farm. (4 hours, 330km)


Day 10

2 nights near Sossusvlei, Namib Desert, Desert Homestead, DBB

Today you head to the Namib Desert to Desert Homestead. You’ll find it hard to find a more idyllic setting than the Desert Homestead with views of the distant Nubib mountains. It makes an excellent base for exploring Sossusvlei however it’s also known in particular for its horse-riding with morning and sunset horse safaris.

Sossusvlei rivals a visit to Etosha as the highlight of a Namibian holiday. You rise with the sun to see one of the most awesome sights in Namibia – the towering dunes of Sossusvlei, some of the largest in the world, rising more than 1000 feet above the desert. Many of our visitors lose their hearts to Namibia after seeing Sossusvlei. This is paradise for the photographer, as the shadows create a magnificent contrast of colors. Marvel at the gemsbok and other animals that manage to survive in these dry conditions.

Desert Homestead is eco-tourism at its best, a luxurious tented camp which is in sympathy with the fragile eco-system of the desert. Enjoy sun-downers on your private veranda, as you watch the sun set over the mountains. (4 hours, 290km)


Accommodation: Desert Homestead
Located in: Namibia - Sossusvlei & Namib Desert

Day 12

2 nights Swakopmund, Cornerstone Guesthouse B&B

Continue across the gravel plains of the Namib to the coastal town of Swakopmund. (350km, 5 hours drive). Reaching the sea again after the boulder-strewn landscape is quite a joy to the senses. Swakopmund has a distinctive continental atmosphere and many picturesque reminders of the German colonial era, deliciously incongruous in the midst of the Namib Desert! There’s plenty to do and see such as the Seal Colony at Cape Cross, the flamingos at Walvis Bay or the Welwitschia “forest”. Visit the surreal landscape of the “Moon Mountains”, an area of deep chasms and interesting geological features, or perhaps try some sand-boarding or quad-biking into the desert.

Cornerstone Guesthouse is a small, private and peaceful Guest Lodge situated in the heart of Swakopmund on a corner near the marine museum and the old brewery. It offers the charm and intimacy of a family-run guest house combined with the modern amenities of a luxury hotel. Cornerstone Guesthouse consists of five double or twin rooms. Each has a private entrance and patio and are spacious with tile and wood floors, beach house vibe  and en suite bathrooms with large solar-assisted showers and modern fittings.


Accommodation: Cornerstone Guesthouse
Located in: Namibia - Swakopmund

Day 14

Overnight near Twyffelfontein rock engravings, Camp Kipwe, DBB

Journey up the coast, perhaps taking a detour to visit Africa’s largest seal colony at Cape Cross, seeing a little of the infamous Skeleton Coast en route. Imagine the horror of early explorers whose shipwrecks lie strewn along the shore, doomed by treacherous fogs and currents. Then cut inland past Brandberg and up to the Twyffelfontein area with Burnt Mountain, Twyffelfontein Rock Engravings and the Organ Pipes to visit. Stay overnight at Camp Kipwe.

Camp Kipwe is nestled in the boulders, facing a superb mountain landscape. The camp has a natural organic feel to it. The eight rooms are round in shape, with large outside decks to admire the view. The central area of Camp Kipwe comprises the reception area, dining room, lounge and bar all with amazing views toward the Aba Huab riverbed. A small swimming pool built into the rocks and a viewpoint with 360 degrees of beauty, are two attractive outdoor features. Activities (at additional cost) include nature drives with the possibility of seeing the desert-adapted elephants in the dry season as well as Twyfelfontein excursions to the rock engravings and guided walks in front of the camp with Kipwe’s experienced guides. (3½ hours, 290km)


Accommodation: Camp Kipwe
Located in: Damaraland - Namibia

Day 15

2 nights Damaraland, Grootberg Lodge, DBB

Head further north into Damaraland, to Grootberg Lodge for your two night stay. Damaraland is one of our favourite areas of Namibia – its innate beauty intensified by the solitude and the sense of freedom it engenders. This rugged mountain wilderness to the west of Etosha offers great photographic opportunities with its imposing granite domes and dramatic flat-topped mountains. Here you may be lucky enough to encounter some of the desert-dwelling elephant, the rare black rhino and other game which migrates across Damaraland according to the rains.

Grootberg Lodge was the first mid-market lodge in Namibia that is 100% owned by the conservancy. It enjoys a spectacular hillside setting and offers a win-win product. The visitor enjoys the great setting, good food, well-trained guides with a number of optional excursions such as nature drives, guided walks, desert elephant tracking, horse riding and even joining the Save the Rhino Trust on their rhino tracking research.


Day 17

2 nights near Etosha National Park, Okaukuejo Restcamp, DBB

Today you head to Etosha National Park to spend two nights at Okaukuejo Restcamp. Etosha is one of the finest game parks in Southern Africa. It encloses a vast saltpan that becomes an immense, shallow lake in rainy periods, attracting great numbers of flamingos and other water birds. The open plains are home to tens of thousands of animals with large herds of springbok, gemsbok, zebra, wildebeest, elephant and, of course, the predators – particularly cheetah and lion. The diminutive Damara dik-dik is one of the rarer but delightful sightings.

Okaukuejo Camp is the main headquarters of the Etosha Ecological Institute, where research and nature conservation management for Etosha is conducted. The special attraction of Okaukuejo is its the floodlit permanent water hole where animals may be viewed without the limitations imposed by a vehicle. Elephant enthusiasts can have their fill as herds of up to forty come to drink. Other regulars are gemsbok and jackals, while lion and black rhino often visit in the dry season. Okaukuejo offers simple air-conditioned chalets and there is a restaurant, shop and swimming pool. Accommodation is in their Waterhole Chalets.


Accommodation: Etosha Safari Lodge
Located in: Etosha - Namibia

Day 19

1 night Central Highlands at Okonjima, Okonjima Plains Camp, DBB

Drive south and into the Omboroko Mountains to stay overnight at Okonjima Plains Camp, (formerly called Main Lodge) This comfortable lodge in the Omboroko Mountains is home to the Afri-Cat non-profit project to preserve and rehabilitate large cats.

The camp has comfortable garden chalets nestled around a central garden as well as 10 View chalets overlooking the reserve. Okonjima Plains Camp has an indoor dining area and sitting room, a pool and a large tea garden for relaxing during the heat of the day.

However the emphasis at Okonjima is not really on the accommodation but on their famous Africat rescue project. Visitors learn a great deal about leopard and cheetah, and can view them at close range in their natural habitat – perhaps track leopards in the rehabilitation area, radio-track cheetah on foot or visit the cheetah project. After dinner you can visit the hide to spot night creatures like caracal, porcupine or honey-badgers. The fascinating Bushman walking trail is also highly recommended. (2½ to 3 hours, 205km)


Accommodation: Okonjima Plains Camp
Located in: Central Highlands - Namibia

Day 20

Return rental car to Windhoek

Today you drive to the Windhoek airport to drop off your rental car in time for your onward flight. (3 hours, 260km)


View Interactive Itinerary
See Route on Map
Includes:
Meals and accommodation as shown in text, Group O car rental with unlimited kilometres and supercover insurance. Upgrades to larger vehicles easily arranged.
Excludes:
International & domestic flights, visas, items of a personal nature, meals not specified. Note the cross border fee plus one way drop off fee is NOT included and needs to be settled directly when collecting the car. See notes below for current prices.
Best time to go:
All year round, but especially April to October
Health requirements:
Anti-malarial precautions essential north of Windhoek
Notes:
NOTE: the cross border fee of R1200 plus one way drop off fee of R5000 is NOT included and needs to be settled directly when collecting the car. (However you can console yourselves with the thought that these costs are partly offset by the much cheaper car rental prices in South Africa versus Namibia...)
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