Discover Namibia by Self-drive

This shorter Namibian Discovery self-drive tour is ideal for the first time visitor to Namibia who may want to combine Namibia with some time in Cape Town, or perhaps a safari in Botswana!

It is primarily a touring holiday so you explore the many facets of Namibia. Highlights include the Kalahari desert, a safari in Etosha National Park, Erongo Wilderness Lodge in the central highlands and the coastal resort of Swakopmund. The trip ends with the towering dunes of Sossusvlei before you return to Windhoek.

The self-drive at a glance:

1 night Olive Grove (BB), Windhoek
2 nights Mushara Bush Camp (DBB) OR OnGuma Bushcamp (DBB), eastern Etosha National Park
2 nights Etosha Safari Lodge (DBB), Central Etosha
2 nights Erongo Wilderness Lodge (DBB), Erongo Highlands
2 nights Villa Marguerita (BB), Swakopmund
2 nights Sossusvlei Lodge (DBB), Sossusvlei
1 night Bagatelle Ranch (DBB), Kalahari Desert

Adding nights?

It would be easy to add in extra nights to this self-drive tour,  perhaps heading to Okonjima to visit the Africat Project, or you can add on our five night Southern Extension (see below) to head south to Luderitz and the Fish River Canyon.

5 night Extension to Southern Namibia

As above until Kulala Desert Lodge. Then you continue south to Luderitz (long driving day) to spend two nights. Visit Kolmanskop ghost town, Diaz point or take a boat cruise. If you prefer, you can stay inland at Aus and visit Luderitz as a day excursion.  This will reduce the long travelling day. (This will be a small extra cost as the inclusions are different.)

Next you head inland to the remarkable Fish River Canyon for a couple of nights. Finally you head back north, visiting the surreal Quivertree forest en route perhaps to spend your last night at Bagatelle Ranch in the Kalahari. If you have time, we recommend a second night here if possible.

1 night Dabis Guest Farm (DBB), en route to Sossusvlei
2 nights either Luderitz Nest Hotel in Luderitz (BB) or 2 nights Klein-Aus Vista in Aus (DBB)
2 nights Canyon Lodge (BB), Fish River Canyon
1 night Bagatelle Ranch (DBB), Kalahari Desert

Contact us for your tailor-made Namibian Safari Holiday!

See Day by Day
Day 1

1 night Windhoek

On arrival in Windhoek you collect your rental car and drive to Olive Grove for your overnight stay in the city.

Olive Grove Lodge, with its beautiful views over the city and surrounding mountains, is only minutes away from restaurants and shops. Rooms in the main house are spacious with a North African influence and earthy décor. Some have funky bathrooms incorporating organic oversize baths. Others are smaller with more classically elegant furnishings. All have spacious, furnished verandas. There’s a pool, terrace and secluded jacuzzi.


Accommodation: Olive Grove Guesthouse
Located in: Namibia - Windhoek

Day 2

2 nights Eastern side of Etosha National Park

After an early breakfast you travel north to Mushara Bush Camp adjacent to Etosha National Park.

The Etosha National Park 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.

Mushara Bush Camp is a true bush camp on the doorstep of Namibia’s magical Etosha National Park. Your days can be spent absorbing the peaceful bush surroundings or exploring Etosha National Park only 8km away, while the early evenings see a camp fire lit where you can exchange stories of the day’s wildlife sightings.

The 16 custom made tents at Mushara Bush Camp are built from a combination of canvas, wood and local limestone. With their own 8sqm; private veranda and roof-to-floor windows, these rooms are spacious and airy. Each large bathroom has an oversized window and shower looking into the surrounding bush. The brushed cement floors and lime stone walls keep the rooms cool from the afternoon sun. Four of these tents are ideally suited for families with small children as they have a sleeper couch for two children. A coffee station, safe deposit box, mosquito net, hair drier and fan are standard.


Onguma Bush Camp is a comfortable bush lodge in the Onguma private game reserve which borders Etosha National Park to the east. It makes for a well priced alternative to staying in the Etosha rest camps as it is so close to the Eastern gate of Etosha, and is ideal for family safaris.

Onguma Bush Camp offers 19 stone and thatch chalets all comfortably appointed with subtle décor and much-needed air-conditioning. The lounge and dining areas overlook a stunning waterhole. You don’t even have to leave the camp to see game – the wildlife comes to you! The 34,000ha private Onguma reserve includes savannah, bushveld, omuramba and dry pan and offers the opportunity to experience Africa in all her beauty and diversity. Age-old and well-worn migration routes, once used by elephant and buffalo, wander through Onguma’s three dry riverbeds.

Accommodation: Mushara Bush Camp
Located in: Etosha - Namibia

Accommodation: Onguma Bush Camp
Located in: Etosha - Namibia

Day 4

2 nights central Etosha

After breakfast you travel through the Etosha National Park to spend two nights at Etosha Safari Lodge, which lies on its own private concession just south of Etosha.

Etosha Safari Lodge is conveniently situated only 9 km south of the Andersson Gate into Etosha National Park in Namibia. Guests rave about the view: the lodge is set on a hillock with magnificent views across tree-covered hills towards Etosha National Park. The 65 en-suite bungalows are dotted around the hillside to take advantage of the views. All are comfortably furnished with twin beds, air-conditioning, tea/coffee facilities, mosquito nets, en suite shower rooms and a small veranda. There are some family rooms which can take 4 people.

At Etosha Safari Lodge you can relax at one of three swimming pools, enjoy the restaurant serving all meals or take a drink at the convivial bar. There’s also a wooden deck for sundowners high above the Mopane bushveld.

Etosha Safari Lodge offers a wonderful wildlife experience which you can enjoy either using your rental car or taking advantage of the morning and full day game drives offered by Etosha Safari Lodge. Elephants taking a bath with their young, a herd of zebras filing past on their way to the watering hole, herds of springbok in the savannah, a pair of lions lazing under a bush – are all on view in Etosha with more than 110 species of mammals and more than 230 bird species.

Accommodation: Etosha Safari Lodge
Located in: Etosha - Namibia

Day 6

2 nights Central Highlands, DBB

Your next stop is an appealing wilderness retreat, Erongo Wilderness Lodge.

Erongo lies in the Erongo Mountains two hours north of Windhoek where the desert, mountain and bushveld eco-systems meet. This is one of Namibia’s most rewarding wilderness environments and the lodge is perfectly sited. Luxurious tented chalets under thatch are built on stilts and set among the granite boulders. Guided walks, nature drives, rock art sites, bird-watching and guaranteed relaxation are all on offer.

Accommodation: Erongo Wilderness Lodge
Located in: Central Highlands - Namibia

Day 8

2 nights Swakopmund, B&B

A relatively easy driving day today, mostly on tar, to the coastal town of Swakopmund for 2 nights.

The appeal of Swakopmund lies in strolling about admiring the High German architecture, perhaps stopping at one of the several good seafood restaurants or coffee houses. 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 over the desert dunes.

Villa Margherita is a colonial villa in the heart of Swakopmund in Namibia, within walking distance of all the attractions of the town, which is a welcome relief after all the Namibian driving. It offers a fusion of Italian charm and Namibian colonial history with only 8 double rooms. It prides itself on offering seclusion and personal service. All the rooms have flat screen TV, safe, hairdryer and complimentary wireless internet connection as well as a sitting area. The honeymoon suite, with its own private entrance and garden offers the ideal retreat.

Day 10

2 nights Namib Desert near Sossusvlei, DBB

Today you head across the gravel plains into the Namib Desert to Kulala Desert Lodge.

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 colours. Marvel at the gemsbok and other animals that manage to survive in these dry conditions. The energetic can climb one of the dunes for a panorama of the endless dune landscape and the changing play of light. (5 hours, 340km)

With glorious purple mountains in the distance, and a passing parade of springbok, oryx, and Cape fox, Sossusvlei Lodge has a unique setting. Shaded by camelthorn trees, it lies right at the entrance to the Namib Naukluft Park, which is a big plus in this area where you want to try to get into the park as soon after sunrise as possible to get the best of the shadows on the dunes. Enjoy early morning excursions to the famous pan of Sossusvlei, the scorched trees of the Dead Vlei and the gorge of Sesriem Canyon.

It is a testament to the ingenuity of a truly eco-friendly design as it crouches almost unnoticed in a vast ocean of sand. It is not a small lodge, yet the 45 individual adobe and canvas chalets are carefully laid out to perfectly blend in with the magnificent natural environment. Each offers air-conditioning, private patio, en-suite bathroom with shower, and a spacious bedroom under canvas.

Dinners in the desert are unforgettable. You enjoy delicious Namibian cuisine and good wines at the open-air dining terrace with the desert before you, stretching away to meet a starlit sky. Other facilities include a sparkling swimming pool, beer garden, curio shop and bar. The Sossusvlei Lodge adventure centre offers a variety of adventures including 4×4 excursions to the dunes, quad biking, sundowner trips, hot air ballooning and scenic flights.

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

Day 12

Overnight in the Kalahari Desert, DBB

Set off early northwards to Bagatelle Ranch in the Kalahari Desert where you stay overnight. Here you can experience the unique Kalahari with its magical sunsets, stunning landscape and dramatic colours. Although classified as desert, the Kalahari has abundant tree and grass species which results in plentiful wildlife. Optional afternoon game drives are on offer from the ranch. (4 hours, 310km)

Accommodation: Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch
Located in: Namibia - Southern Namibia

Day 13

Return to Windhoek for onward flight

This morning you return to Windhoek (approx 2½ to 3 hours drive) where you have some time at leisure before you need to drive to Windhoek Airport. You return your rental car at the airport prior to your onward flight.

View Interactive Itinerary
See Route on Map
Meals and accommodation as shown in text, Europcar Group S car rental (SUV) with unlimited kilometres and super cover insurance. Upgrades to larger vehicles easily arranged.
International & domestic flights, visas, items of a personal nature, meals not specified.
Best time to go:
All year round but especially May to October
Health requirements:
Anti-malarial precautions essential
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