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Classic Namibia self-drive safari

13 days from $2,895pp

What is tailor made? 100% custom | Exceptional experiences | Hand-picked guides | Lodging with character | Designed to your schedule, budget & interests

    Places visited:

  • Windhoek
  • Sossusvlei
  • Swakopmund
  • Damaraland
  • Etosha National Park
  • Central Highlands
  • Watch an incredible sunrise and sunset over Sossusvlei’s orange dunes.

  • Kayak amongst hundreds of seals at the Pelican Point seal colony near Swakopmund.

  • Head out with a guide to track desert-adapted elephant in Damaraland.

  • Admire Twyfelfontein’s rock art, carved by hunter-gatherers thousands of years ago.

  • Enjoy a safari in Etosha National Park, watching lion, zebra and elephant drinking at waterholes.

Victoria Falls helicopter ride

What our specialists say...

Take in Namibia’s main highlights on this circular self-drive trip around the country. You’ll enjoy experiences such as climbing Sossusvlei’s burnt-orange dunes to watch the sun rise and set over the sea of sand, kayaking with a colony of seals on Pelican Point’s sheltered waters, just outside the coastal town of Swakopmund, and driving north into arid Damaraland, where desert-adapted elephants roam and ancient rock art can be admired at Twyfelfontein. You then enjoy a few days of safari in Etosha National Park, where rhino, giraffe, elephant, zebra and lion can be seen gathering around the park’s waterholes for a drink.

We recommend this trip for:

  • Windhoek
  • Sossusvlei
  • Swakopmund
  • Damaraland
  • Etosha National Park
  • Central Highlands

Itinerary idea in detail

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Day 1 Windhoek

Windhoek

On arrival in Windhoek, you're met by your private driver and driven to your hotel. Here, Audley representatives answer any questions you have and talk you through your information pack, which includes a mobile phone, cool box and driving directions. Your fully insured car is delivered to your accommodation, and the rest of the day is yours to relax or explore Namibia's capital. Depending on your time of arrival, you could browse the city's shops and markets, visit the State Museum to learn about Namibia's history, or head out for something to eat - we can book you a table at one of our recommended restaurants before your arrival should you wish.

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Day 2 Sossusvlei

Windhoek , Sossusvlei

You make the six hour drive to the Sesriem area today, passing through the spectacular Naukluft Mountains and stopping to take photographs of the red dunes as they appear on the horizon. On arrival, you can simply relax at your hotel while enjoying views of the surrounding dunes, or walk to the top of one of the dunes to watch the sunset, which casts warm light and shifting shadows over the sand.

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Day 3 Sossusvlei

Sossusvlei

Spend today making the most of your location within the Namib Desert's largest dunes - Big Daddy is the highest at 325 m (1,066 ft). It's worth rising early to see the sunrise transform the landscape. Activities may vary depending on where you're staying, but could include guided nature drives and walks to see some of the area's wildlife, early morning balloon flights, quad biking, evening horse rides up the dunes to watch the sunset and star gazing. We recommend visiting nearby Deadvlei, where the dark figures of dead acacia trees rise hauntingly from the contrasting orange sand and white salt pan.

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Day 4 Swakopmund

Sossusvlei , Swakopmund

Drive for around six hours to Swakopmund today, a picturesque colonial town on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. After settling into your accommodation, you can enjoy a leisurely afternoon exploring this small colonial town with its aquarium, museum, shops and galleries. Alternatively, join a Living Desert tour, where a guide takes you out to nearby dunes to show you some of the small creatures that manage to survive in the sand, such as shovel-nosed lizards and cartwheeling spiders.

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Day 5 Swakopmund

Swakopmund

Today we suggest joining a half-day kayak trip to Pelican Point, a sand bar near Walvis Bay, where you share the sheltered lagoon with playful Cape fur seal colonies. If you're lucky, you may also spot some dolphins. On your way to Walvis Bay (you're driven for half an hour from Swakopmund to Walvis Bay), you may pass flamingos and pelicans feeding on the surrounding wetlands. The rest of the day is free to further explore the town and its surrounding area - sand boarding and quad biking are offered in the nearby dunes, or you could simply relax on the beach.

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Day 6 Damaraland

Swakopmund , Damaraland

Your drive north to Damaraland takes between four and six hours depending on where you're staying and how many stops you make en route. Along the way, you pass mountains, open plains and dry river beds frequented by desert-adapted elephant. If you're taking the coastal route, you could make a stop at the Cape Cross seal colony and visit the shipwreck of MS Winston at Durissa Bay. The alternative inland route is quicker and gives you views of the impressive Brandberg Mountain. On arrival, settle into your accommodation and relax in the wilderness scenery, perhaps taking a walk to explore the red rock landscape.

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Day 7 Damaraland

Damaraland

You have all day to explore Damaraland. Activities can vary depending on where you're staying, but you could join a guided nature drive in search of desert-adapted elephant, go hiking through the arid landscape or take a day trip to see the ancient rock art at Twyfelfontein. Over 2,500 engravings and paintings make up the collection, many of which were created up to 6,000 years ago by hunter-gatherers in the area.

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Day 8 Etosha National Park

Damaraland , Etosha National Park

Driving east to Etosha National Park today takes around five hours, depending on where you're staying and how many stops you make en route. You'll pass through barren but dramatic landscape of reddish-grey rock, and may wish to stop for refreshments at the small city of Outjo south of Etosha. Once you pass into the park you can look out for some of the key wildlife species, including elephant, giraffe, lion, springbok, and wildebeest. Settle into your camp - this evening you can gather around the camp fire for a drink and gaze up at the uninterrupted night sky.

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Day 9 Etosha National Park

Etosha National Park

Spend the day on safari. Despite being one of Africa's largest national parks, Etosha is easy to drive around yourself as all roads lead back to the main road. This means you can take your time visiting the many different waterholes, where animals gather to quench their thirst. Vegetation elsewhere provides habitat for giraffe, zebra and oryx. Staff at your camp can recommend the best places to go to see the wildlife that most interests you.

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Day 10 Etosha National Park

Etosha National Park

Today you have another full day of game viewing as you travel east across the park to your next camp. You can take your time on this journey, stopping frequently to stretch your legs, tuck into a picnic and spying more wildlife at various waterholes en route. Almost a quarter of the park consists of salt pans, with the largest being the Etosha Pan - an important breeding ground for flamingos. You can get some fantastic photographs around this vast salt pan, and if there has been rain recently it may have created waterholes attracting other wildlife.

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Day 11 Etosha National Park

Etosha National Park

Enjoy more game viewing around the eastern section of Etosha National Park. The Twee Palms and Aroe waterholes here tend to be particularly popular with the park's wildlife. Self-driving means you can spend as much time as you like at each spot and focus on animals that interest you. You can use your final day on safari to try to find any animals you have not yet ticked off your list.

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Day 12 Central Highlands

Etosha National Park , Central Highlands

This morning you drive around three and a half hours south to the Central Highlands. Once you've arrived and settled into your accommodation, spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing, or perhaps make a visit to the AfriCat Foundation at Okonjima Nature Reserve, which conserves and rehabilitates cheetah, leopard and wild dog. You can learn about the foundation's work in the education area or head out with a guide to track some of the reserve's cheetah.

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Day 13 Return home

Central Highlands

Drive from the Central Highlands back to Windhoek and onto the airport; a journey of around four hours. Drop off your car at the airport before catching your onward flight.

Victoria Falls helicopter ride
Audley Travel specialist Jack

Contact a specialist

The specialist who designs your trip to Namibia will have explored the country many times and, in some cases, lived there. Their first-hand knowledge gives us the belief that no other travel company can match our expertise in helping you plan your trip. Your dedicated specialist will take the time to understand your preferences and build them into an itinerary to match, working to your budget. He or she will keep perfecting it until you’re completely happy and ready to book.

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When to go

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Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Place Daily Max Temperature Monthly Rainfall
Windhoek
 
 
 
Sossusvlei & Sesriem
 
 
 
Swakopmund and Pelican Point
 
 
 
Damaraland
 
 
 
Etosha National Park
 
 
 
The Central Highlands
 
 
 

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