Namibia Road Trip


Namibia’s wildlife and wide open desert landscape begs for a road trip adventure.


This 18-day road trip starts and ends in Windhoek. Highlights include Fish River Canyon, Africa’s largest canyon, Sossusvlei’s iconic sand dunes, taking a 4×4 tour on the sand dunes to Sandwich Harbor, the rock art and scenery of Damaraland, the isolation of the Skeleton Coast and of course a self-guided safari in Etosha National Park.

Short on Time?

If you are short on time I would cut Fish River Canyon and the Skeleton Coast. Fish River Canyon is not more dramatic than the canyons of the US Southwest and a visit to the Cape Cross Seal Reserve north of Henteisbaai will give you a good idea what the Skeleton Coast has to offer.

Other Useful Blogs for Planning an Itinerary

In addition to the Lonely Planet Guide Book I used these two blog posts to create our itinerary.
Full Suitcase
Anywhere We Roam

Windhoek – 1 Night

Review of Guesthouse Voigtland
This guesthouse outside of Windhoek, with friendly giraffes on the property, will get you started on your Namibian adventure.

Mariental – 1 Night

Review of Kalahari Anib Lodge
If you don’t have 7 hours to drive all the way to Fish River Canyon this lodge is a pleasant stop about 2.5 hours from Windhoek.

Quiver Tree Forest Restcamp
Definitely worth a stop for plant lovers or anyone who just likes odd looking trees – actually not a tree at all but a giant aloe.

Fish River Canyon – 2 Nights

Fish River Canyon
One of the iconic highlights of Namibia, Fish River Canyon, Africa’s largest, is an imposing sight.

Review of Gondwana Canyon Lodge
Located 30 minutes from the rim of Fish River Canyon, in the middle of the relatively flat desert, Gondwana Canyon Lodge’s stone guest cottages are nestled in an outcropping of boulders.

Lüderitz – 2 Nights

Ghost Town and Flamingos, Lüderitz
The ghost town of Kolmanskop is a fun place to photograph the sand taking back the town.

Review of Bahnhof Hotel, Aus
The town of Aus, about an hour from Lüderitz, is a convenient stop.

Sossusvlei – 2 Nights

Sossusvlei at Sunrise
The giant sand dunes and flat white salt pans of Sossusvlei are iconic Namibia.

Review of Sossus Dune Lodge
If you want the extra hour before sunrise and after sunset to get to and from the Sossusvlei dunes, Sossus Dune Lodge is the only game in town other than camping.

Swakopmund – 2 Nights

Pelican Point Kayaking and 4×4 Dune Drive
This all day excursion combines a morning float on the calm protected side of Pelican Bay with zipping through rolling sand dunes to Sandwich Harbour in the afternoon.

Sleeping and Dining in Swakopmund
Swakopmund is a pleasant seaside town with plenty of accommodations, restaurants and shops to keep you busy for a day or two.

Spitzkoppe – 1 Night

Camp vs Lodge
Spitzkoppe, a grouping of crazy granite rock formations rising out of the desert with the most distinctive formation being a conical point, is a great stop for the night. The question is, “Do you camp or stay in the lodge?”

Skeleton Coast – 2 Nights

(Slept 1 night in Henteisbaai and 1 night in Terrace Bay)

Skeleton Coast
Some visitors are enchanted with the desolate and often fogged-in landscape, others will find it flat and of not much interest. There is, however, a great seal colony, crashing waves and a few other points of interest.

Damaraland – 1 Night

(We visited Brandberg Mountain on the way to Henteisbaai and Twyfelfontein after leaving Terrace Bay. See the Planning Your Drive section in the Rock Art in Damaraland post for more specific information.)

Rock Art in Damaraland
Damaraland, a mountainous region that lies inland from the Skeleton Coast, boasts some of the most scenic landscapes we saw on our 3 week road trip. It is also home to some of the most important rock art in Namibia.

Etosha – 3 Nights

Etosha National Park is all about the waterholes. Zebra, oryx, elephants, giraffe, rhinoceros, lions, ostrich, impala, jackals, etc. all congregate in various combinations at natural and manmade water sources around the seemingly endless Etosha Pan. As such, it’s an ideal environment for those wanting a self-drive safari experience.

We spent 3 days in the park starting on the western side at Galton Gate and driving east to Von Lindquist Gate, sleeping one night each at Dolomite Resort, Okaukuejo Resort and Mushara Outpost just outside the park.

Dolomite Resort
One of the NWR properties inside the park, it boasts a stellar setting with the resort and guest chalets set on a ridge commanding 360° views of the plains. The post also includes wildlife viewing around the resort.

Okaukuejo Resort
Although this is a large, busy camp, they have have bungalows just in front of an active waterhole. The post also covers wildlife viewing on the drive from Dolomite to Okaukuejo Resort.

Mushara Outpost
Located an easy 15 minutes outside of the Von Lindequist Gate (east side gate of Etosha National Park), Mushara is a lovely place to spend a last night at the park and was one of our favorite accommodations in Namibia. The post also includes wildlife sightings on the drive from Okaukuejo to Mushara Outpost.

Windhoek – 1 Night

One last night in Namibia before your flight home.