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HomeTours to AfricaNamibiaSelf-drive to Etosha National Park & Sossusvlei
18 days

Self-drive to Etosha National Park & Sossusvlei

Enjoy the freedom of driving yourself and discover the rich wildlife of Etosha’s salt plain, Okonjima’s predators, the sunrise over the dunes of Sossusvlei and the coastal town of Swakopmund.

Self-drive to Etosha National Park & Sossusvlei Self-drive to Etosha National Park & Sossusvlei
18 days

Self-drive to Etosha National Park & Sossusvlei

Enjoy the freedom of driving yourself and discover the rich wildlife of Etosha’s salt plain, Okonjima’s predators, the sunrise over the dunes of Sossusvlei and the coastal town of Swakopmund.

Why choose this tour

  • You have your own hire car and the freedom to enjoy the days as you please
  • We offer overnight stays with both breakfast and dinner included on most days
  • You can look forward fantastic safari experiences in Etosha National Park
  • Round off the tour with a spot of self-indulgence at the lovely Onjala Lodge

Our prices always include

  • All international and domestic flights
  • All destination transfers
  • All specified excursions and activities
  • All accommodations

The tour in short

If you are looking for the freedom to experience Namibia for yourself, with planned accommodation en route, this may be the perfect trip for you. Namibia is a magnificent country to explore for yourself, as it is rightly known for its fine roads and well-maintained cars.

This trip will take you through the central and northern parts of the country. You will visit the charming coastal town of Swakopmund, which is located between the Atlantic Ocean and the vast Namib Desert. One of the highlights of the holiday is sure to be your visit to the famous Etosha National Park, which is renowned for its magnificent wildlife and its huge salt pan. In fact the salt pan is so immense that it can be seen from space. At Sossusvlei, you will have the chance to admire the red sand dunes that stand hundreds of metres tall, as well as the dried-up lake known as Deadvlei. Not far from the Tsauchab River, you will find the 30-metre-deep Sesriem Canyon that is most definitely worth a visit. If you enjoy walking, make sure to set aside some time to hike in the Fransfontein and Erongo Mountains, which are set in nature reserves that are home to a variety of wild animals. Your trip finishes with a stay in Windhoek, the capital of Namibia.

What is included in the price?
This package includes the following
  • Return flights from the UK to Windhoek
  • 15 days’ Avis car hire – Toyota Hilux 4-wheel drive or similar, including the necessary insurance policies
  • 15 nights’ accommodation in good hotels and lodges
  • 15 x breakfast (days 3–17)
  • 11 x dinner (days 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 14 and 15)
  • Emergency hotline staffed 24/7 throughout the trip
  • ATOL certificate
  • Departure guarantee – Tour requires minimum 2 participants
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Detailed Itinerary
Day 1: Departure from the UK

Departure day, where you will fly to Namibia with connecting flights along the way.

Day 2: Arrival in Windhoek

On arrival at Windhoek’s international airport, you will pass through immigration, collect your luggage and then continue through customs. It is then time to collect your hire car and drive to your hotel – a journey that takes approx. 1 hour.

In addition to being the capital of Namibia, Windhoek is the biggest city in the country, with a population of 300,000. It is located at an elevation of 1,650 masl in a delightful valley, bordered by the Eros Mountains to the north and the Auas Mountains to the south. To the west, the Khomas highlands slope down towards the Namib Desert and the Atlantic Ocean.

Windhoek is a modern city that still clearly shows the influence of the German colonial age, with European traditions blending seamlessly with African cultures.

The heart of Windhoek is centred around Independence Avenue, and is ideal for exploring on foot. The busy main avenue starts at Ausspannplatz in the south, and runs all the way to the Katutura area in the north. If you have time, we recommend that you visit the Craft Centre, where you can buy fine Namibian arts and crafts, books, photographs and local delicacies.

The day’s drive: Approx. 45 km

Day 3: Windhoek – Okonjima Nature Reserve

Today, you will be driving north, passing through Okahandja Valley en route to the Okonjima Nature Reserve. On your way, you will pass a few farms and you can take time to admire the spectacular view out over the seemingly endless savannah.

The day’s driving distance: Approx. 230 km

Day 4: Okonjima Nature Reserve

The day is yours to do with as you wish.

Okonjima Nature Reserve is closely linked to the AfriCat Foundation, a reserve and rehabilitation centre for big cats that have had an unfortunate encounter with the modern world. The animals are allowed to roam freely within the fenced-off reserve along with other wildlife, and every attempt is made to create conditions that allow the predators to keep on hunting their natural prey.

You can also take part in organised activities on the reserve, which include game drives and ‘bushman walks’ – fascinating nature rambles led by an authentic bushman who shares his knowledge about the everyday life of the bush people.

Of course, you are also welcome to explore the area on your own, following the 8 km network of paths. As you go, try to spot some of the 250 species of bird that live on the reserve.

Day 5: Okonjima – Etosha National Park

Your destination today is Etosha National Park via the mining town of Tsumeb.

Etosha is one of the most special national parks in Africa, and its distinguishing feature is the giant – 5,000 km² – salt pan known as Etosha Pan, which is so large that it can be seen from space. This gigantic area is actually the remains of a dried-out lake, and the white, seemingly endless salt pan is a fantastic, almost surreal sight.

Despite the extreme conditions, the area is still home to a rich wildlife population, and the park is considered to be one of the finest places in Africa for observing a variety of animals – particularly around the watering holes, which also attract plenty of migratory birds that come there to breed.

The day’s drive: Approx. 340 km

Day 6: Etosha National Park

The day is given over to a game drive in Etosha National Park – head off on your own to experience African animals such as giraffes, ostriches, gnus, zebras, elephants and lions in their natural habitat, hunting for food and water or relaxing in the shade of a leafy tree. Lions can be difficult to see, as they are well camouflaged in the grass, but the giraffes are easy to spot because they tower above the dry vegetation. You may notice that some of the elephants here are bigger than those to be found in other parts of Africa. This is because the food they eat in Etosha National Park is rich in vitamins and nutrients.

Day 7: Etosha National Park

Another day, another wonderful safari adventure in Etosha National Park. Today, you will have the chance to see a number of rare and endangered animals such as the eland (one of the largest antelopes), the Damara Dik-Dik (one of the smallest antelopes), the oryx, the black rhinoceros and the leopard.

If you visit Etosha National Park in the rainy season (November – April), conditions are perfect for admiring the magnificent population of birds that comprises more than 340 species. After a cleansing downpour, the salt pan fills with water and attracts a host of birds, including flamingos, bee-eaters and Kori bustards – which are the heaviest flying birds in the world.

Towards sunset, you should head for Andersson Gate in the southern part of the park, which is where you lodge is located.

Day 8: Etosha – the Fransfontein Mountains

The next stop on your itinerary is Gelukspoort Guest Farm, whose name translates as ‘Happiness Gate’. Set in delightful surroundings by the Fransfontein Mountains, the farm covers 5,000 hectares and provides excellent opportunities to see all kinds of wild animals. Your hosts Christa and Frank Glöditzsch will be ready and waiting to extend a warm welcome when you arrive.

The day’s drive: Approx. 160 km

Day 9: The Fransfontein Mountains

The day is yours to do with as you wish; for example, you can relax by the pool, enjoy the delightful garden and admire the numerous birds. You can also experience the mountainous surroundings for yourself, driving along the dusty trails in your car or walking the extensive network of paths. Your hosts will gladly accompany you and share their local knowledge as you go.

Late in the afternoon, many of the animals head for the watering holes to quench their thirst, so as sunset approaches it is a good idea to make your way to the ‘sundowner deck’ and enjoy the magnificent panoramic view out over the beautiful landscape and the Fransfontein Mountains as the sun sinks gently below the horizon.

Day 10: The Fransfontein Mountains – the Erongo Mountains

Today, you will be driving through Omajete and Omaruru to the Erongo Mountains, where you will be spending two nights at the delightful Erongo Wilderness Lodge.

The day’s drive: Approx. 220 km

Day 11: The Erongo Mountains

The day is yours to do with as you wish.

You can simply relax and enjoy the surroundings, spend the day by the pool with a good book, or take part in one of the activities organised by the lodge – nature rambles in the mountains, for example. If you do visit the mountains, you can see one of six places in Namibia that have rock paintings: Paula Cave, where the ancient illustrations were granted protected status as early as 1951.

In the afternoon, take time to enjoy a relaxing ‘sundowner’ while the sun sets enchantingly over the Erongo and Brandberg Mountains.

Day 12: The Erongo Mountains – Swakopmund

The time has now come to head for the coast – more specifically the city of Swakopmund – passing through Karibib and Usakos en route.

With a population of 42,000, Swakopmund is the largest coastal city in Namibia and a popular holiday destination. The German colonial history of the city is clearly reflected in the attractive architecture.

Your hotel is located in the heart of the city, close to the beach and ‘Jetty 1905’, the famous fish and seafood restaurant.

The day’s driving distance: Approx. 240 km

Day 13: Swakopmund

The day is yours to do with as you wish. All kinds of excursions are available for an additional fee. For example, you can visit the museum, the Crystal Gallery or the Aquarium. Or perhaps you would prefer to enjoy a scenic flight over the desert, or to spend some time sandboarding in the dunes. You can also go on a dolphin safari in Walvis Bay and watch two distinct species of dolphin frolicking in the water. As an added bonus, you may even see some cape fur seals, which sometimes hop up onto the stern of the catamaran.

Day 14: Swakopmund – Tsauchab River

Before continuing on your way to the Tsauchab River, take the time to swing by the famous ‘lunar landscape’ just outside Swakopmund, where you can also see the remarkable Welwitschia mirabilis – the national flower of Namibia.

Make your way through the remarkable landscape of Kuiseb Canyon and then continue into Namib Naukluft Park, which covers an area of 50,000 km2 (i.e. bigger than Switzerland or the Netherlands). Namib Naukluft Park is part of the Namib Desert, which is an estimated 50 million years old – making it the oldest desert in the world. This is the perfect place to admire enchanting countryside and animals that have adapted to life in the desert – as well as the famous red sand dunes at Sossusvlei, which are the tallest in the world, reaching heights of hundreds of metres

You arrive at your lodge, which is about 30 km from Sesriem.

The day’s driving distance: Approx. 370 km

Day 15: Sossusvlei – Sesriem Canyon

Make an early start to the day and drive to Sossusvlei, where you can watch the desert colours change as the sun gradually rises.

If you like, you can climb to the top of one of the tallest sand dunes in the world and admire the truly extraordinary view out over Sossusvlei and the dried-up lake Deadvlei, where withered, almost sculptural trees stretch their bare branches towards the deep blue sky. From the car park, the plain can only be reached in an authentic off-roader.

The next stop on the itinerary is Sesriem Canyon, which is 30 metres deep and 3 km long, its route carved out over millions of years by the action of the Tsauchab River.

The rest of the afternoon is yours to do with as you wish; for example, you can take part in some of the activities at the lodge or simply relax by the pool.

The day’s driving distance: Approx. 160 km

Day 16: Sossusvlei – Windhoek

You can start the day with a once-in-lifetime experience: a fantastic balloon flight over Sossusvlei.

Today, you will be driving north-east through the historical town of Rehoboth to Windhoek, where you will spend one last night in the country.

Rehoboth is home to a Baster community numbering around 35,000 people. The descendants of Dutch settlers and native Africans, the Basters settled in Rehoboth in 1871 and developed their own rule of law before Namibia came under German control in 1884. If you have time, try to visit the town museum that is open weekdays from 09.00–12.00 and then from 14.00–16.00, and on Saturdays from 09.00 until 12 noon.

West of Rehoboth stands the mighty Oanob Dam, which was completed in 1990 – the year of Namibia’s independence. The reservoir contained by the Oanob Dam has a capacity of 34,505,000 m³ and supplies the whole town of Rehoboth with water. It is the Oanob River that has been dammed to form the reservoir. Both the dam and the reservoir are named after the river.

You should reach Windhoek in the afternoon.

The day’s driving distance: Approx. 380 km

Day 17: Start of the trip home

It is now time to drive back to Windhoek Airport, return your hire car and start your trip back to the UK, which will include connecting flights along the way.

Day 18: Arrival back in the UK

Land back home in the UK after a magnificent holiday, packed with wonderful experiences.

We recommend that you book in good time to ensure there is space for you on the tour.

Please contact us for child rates.
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