THE NORTH OF NAMIBIA

18 Day Self-Drive Tour, Accommodated

safari-Button

This 18-day self-drive tour was created for those who have travelled Namibia before and would now want to see the less frequented areas in the north of the country. From Windhoek, you will travel west through the Erongo Mountains to Damaraland with its breathtaking landscapes. You continue via Opuwo, the district capital of the Kunene Region, to the Epupa Falls bordering Angola. Here in the Kaokoveld you can visit a local Himba village and relax on the lush green banks of the Kunene River. You will turn south to access the long-restricted western part of the Etosha National Park, before rounding off your journey at the Okonjima Nature Reserve.

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Highlights

Day 1-18 | Namibia

  • Windhoek: National Gallery, National Museum, Christ Church
  • Erongo Mountains: nature drives, rock art, walks, bird watching
  • Brandberg: ‘White Lady’ rock art
  • Damaraland: Petrified Forest, Twyfelfontein World Heritage Site, Organ Pipes, Burnt Mountain
  • Grootberg: game drives, guided walks, rhino or desert elephant tracking
  • Epupa Falls: walk along the Kunene River, visit the falls, Himba village
  • Kunene River: boat cruise, relaxing on the riverbank, bird watching
  • Etosha National Park: game drives, Etosha Pan
  • Okonjima: AfriCat Foundation, rehabilitation centre for big cats
  • Okahandja: visit to the craft market

Facts

Self-Drive Tour: The North of Namibia
Tourcode: NA18DENONA
From: Windhoek
To: Windhoek
Min. number to guarantee tour: N/A
Max number of participants: private tour
Departure day: any day of your choice
Price: from 31,900 NAD
Single Supplement: from 9,200 NAD

Itinerary

Day 1 | Windhoek, Namibia

Distance approx. 50 km; driving time approx. 1 hour

Once you have landed safely in Namibia and gone through the passport check points, you follow the signs to the rental car counters. After you have collected your vehicle, you leave the airport and drive to The Elegant Guesthouse. Spend the rest of the day at your accommodation to rest after the long flight or visit some of Windhoek’s sights such as the National Gallery, showcasing local art, or the National Museum where you will learn interesting details about Namibia’s history. There is a variety of restaurants to choose from in Windhoek. You overnight at The Elegant Guesthouse.

Day 2 – 3 | Windhoek, Namibia – Erongo Mountains, Namibia

Distance on day 2: approx. 250 km; driving time approx. 3-4 hours

After breakfast, you will drive northwest towards the small town of Omaruru which has become a centre for arts and crafts over the years. Your overnight destination is the Otjohotozu Farm in the beautiful Erongo Mountains. Join an optional game drive in the afternoon or the next morning and enjoy the warm atmosphere of a typical Namibian farm.  You will spend two nights at Otjohotozu Guest Farm.
Breakfast | Dinner

Day 4 | Erongo Mountains, Namibia – Twyfelfontein, Namibia

Distance approx. 300 km; driving time approx. 4-5 hours

Today’s journey to Damaraland takes you past the magnificent Brandberg Mountain – the Königstein Peak (about 2,580 metres) is the highest point in Namibia and the mountain itself has over 1,000 rock art sites. Here you may want to see the famous rock painting ‘White Lady’ before you continue towards Khorixas and visit the Petrified Forest. Look out for the famous Welwitschia plants which grow to over 1,000 years. Your accommodation, the rustic Malansrus Tented Camp, is just a few kilometre’s drive from Twyfelfontein. From camp, you can easily reach the Twyfelfontein rock engravings, the Organ Pipes and the Burnt Mountain. You overnight in a fixed ensuite tent-chalet at the Malansrus Tented Camp.
Breakfast | Dinner

Day 5 – 6 | Twyfelfontein, Namibia – Grootberg, Namibia

Distance on day 5: approx. 150 km; driving time approx. 2-3 hours

After breakfast, you set off to Grootberg Lodge, travelling along the stunning Grootberg Pass. Reaching the top of the pass, you will park in the lodge’s parking space to wait for a 4×4 transfer vehicle to take you further up the steep access road. The lodge is built on a plateau with breathtaking views of the Damaraland. Book a guided walk, game drive or join a rhino or elephant tracking excursion (all optional). The lodge is situated in a private concession area with game such as kudu, oryx, elephant, lion and rhino. You will overnight for two nights in a chalet at Grootberg Lodge, the first community-owned lodge in Namibia.
Breakfast | Dinner

Day 7 | Grootberg, Namibia – Opuwo, Namibia

Distance approx. 300 km; driving time approx. 4-5 hours

En route north to Opuwo, you should visit Fort Sesfontein (meaning ‘six springs’), which was built in 1896 as a checkpoint to prevent poaching and the smuggling of arms. It was abandoned in 1914, but rebuilt decades later into a lodge with restaurant. Your next stop is the district capital of the Kunene Region. Opuwo is the gateway to the Kaokoveld and the last chance to fill up with petrol. You will overnight at the Opuwo Country Hotel located on a hill outside the town.
Breakfast | Dinner

Day 8 – 9 | Opuwo, Namibia – Epupa Falls, Namibia

Distance on day 8: approx. 200 km; driving time approx. 3-4 hours

A short drive today – up to the Kunune River. The greenery and palms along the river will feel like an oasis compared to the desert landscapes of the last few days. The Omarunga Epupa Falls Camp is on the banks of the river, beneath shady makalani palm trees and a short walk from the Epupa Falls. The lodge can arrange visits to a nearby Himba village, sundowner tours, hiking trails and rafting tours (depending on the season). The riverside location is a paradise for birders. Alternatively, you can just relax by the pool and enjoy a cool drink on the deck overlooking the river. You will stay two nights at Omarunga Epupa Falls Camp.
Breakfast | Dinner

Day 10 – 11 | Epupa Falls, Namibia – Kunene River, Namibia

Distance on day 10: approx. 100 km; driving time approx. 2-3 hours

Today’s journey takes you to the Kunene River Lodge, further east along the Kunene River. The afternoon is at leisure. Join a boat cruise, go fishing (both optional) on the Kunene River or just bird watch on the deck by the river.
The next day you have the chance to visit the Ruacana Falls. During the rainy months and depending on the state of the hydroelectric power station, you can see the falls. Please ask at the lodge about the water level of the Ruacana Falls and the condition of the road along the Kunene River to Ruacana. You will overnight for two nights in the deluxe chalets at the Kunene River Lodge and have dinner at their restaurant.
Breakfast | Dinner

Day 12 | Kunene River, Namibia – Hobatere Concession Area, Namibia

Distance approx. 300 km; driving time approx. 4-5 hours

After a leisurely breakfast, you leave the river behind and drive south to the Hobatere Concession Area on the western border of the Etosha National Park. The first highlight of your stay at Hobatere certainly will be the drive through the almost 9,000-hectare private concession area while making your way to the lodge. Join an optional game drive in the afternoon and look out for game such as oryx, eland, warthog, mongoose, giraffe, elephant and with a bit of luck, the rare aardwolf. On their night game drives, you might see the ‘Shy Five’ – antbear, aardwolf, porcupine, African wildcat and bat-eared fox. You spend the night in a rondavel at Hobatere Lodge.
Breakfast | Dinner

Day 13 | Hobatere Concession Area – Etosha National Park

Distance approx. 200 km; driving time approx. 4-5 hours (excl. game drives)

After an early start, you drive to the famous Etosha National Park and enter through the Galton Gate in the west. The western region of the park has long been off limits to self-drivers and rare animals such as black and white rhino and the black-faced impala have thrived here. You will make your way to centrally located Okaukuejo Resort and stop at waterholes along the way. Have your bird book ready as well; there are 340 bird species in Etosha. Mammals include large herds of elephants, giraffe, eland, oryx, lion and cheetah.
In the late afternoon, you arrive at Okaukuejo Resort where you will spend the night in a standard room. If you want to experience the nocturnal wildlife, you can opt to join a night game drive (optional) or go to the floodlit waterhole in the camp and enjoy the ‘wild cinema’.

Breakfast

The large resorts in the Etosha National Park are owned by the government. They are maintained and looked after by state employees who are sometimes not as enthusiastic about their work as we wish they were. Accommodation ranges from basic chalets to standard self-catering units. There are, however, more luxurious lodges outside the park from where you will do day trips into the park. Should you be interested in this option, please let us know and we will gladly amend our offer accordingly.

Day 14-15 | Etosha National Park, Namibia

Driving time depends on choice of route

When the gates open at sunrise you can be on the road to spot animals, when they are more active than during the midday hours. Cruise slowly along the vast and seemingly endless salt pan, to reach the Von Lindequist Gate before sunset. Stop at Namutoni for lunch or explore the waterholes north of Namutoni. Mushara Bush Camp is a great base to explore the eastern part of the national park.
At sunset you leave the park to drive to the nearby Mushara Bush Camp where you will spend two nights in a tented chalet.
Breakfast | Dinner

Day 16 | Etosha Area, Namibia – Okonjima Nature Reserve, Namibia

Distance approx. 350 km; driving time approx. 5-6 hours

After an early breakfast, you depart for your journey south via Tsumeb and past the Waterberg Plateau. Your destination Okonjima Plains Camp is beautifully located at the foot of the Omboroko Mountains. Okonjima is so much more than just an accommodation, it is also the headquarters of the AfriCat Foundation. This conservation project cares for big cats which are being rehabilitated and released back into the wild. You will find leopards and cheetahs on the farm, but lions, caracals, and African wild dogs are also cared for. You can find out more about the work done at the rehabilitation centre as well as participate in different optional activities. In the afternoon and the next morning you can book guided game drives in the nature reserve. You overnight in a standard room at the Okonjima Plains Camp.
Breakfast | Dinner

Day 17 | Okonjima Nature Reserve – Windhoek area

Distance approx. 210 km; driving time approx. 3 hours

After on optional morning activity, you leave Okonjima, starting your journey back to Windhoek. Stop at a big craft market in Okahandja to look for hand-carved souvenirs.
During the course of the afternoon, you will arrive at the Immanuel Wilderness Lodge. Look forward to a beautiful end of your trip and a delicious dinner.
Breakfast | Dinner

Day 18 | Windhoek area – Windhoek

Distance approx. 70 km; driving time approx. 1-2 hours

Enjoy a relaxed breakfast before you return to Windhoek, the starting point of your tour. Head to the airport to return your rental car or spend another night in the city (optional).
Breakfast

Includes

  • Self-drive tour according to the itinerary
  • 17 nights’ accommodation in guesthouses, chalets, bungalows and lodges (depending on availability, accommodation of a similar standard will be booked)
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary

Excludes

  • Flights (international and domestic)
  • Rental car (please contact us for a quote)
  • Fuel
  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary
  • Beverages (alcoholic and soft drinks)
  • Possible toll and crossing border fees
  • National park fees
  • Optional activities
  • Visa, tips, personal expenses, travel insurance

Frequently Asked Questions

In general Namibia is not more dangerous than other countries in the world. Most crimes and acts of violence take place in the townships of bigger cities. Public areas around shopping centres, restaurants, banks etc. as well as the countryside are very safe. Nevertheless you should stick to a couple of rules to avoid risky or dangerous situations. This includes staying away from dodgy areas, walking in the dark, carrying a lot of cash or expensive cameras on you, wearing flashy jewellery and leaving bags or valuables in the car. Try not to drive after sunset as wild animals often roam free..

Although Namibia generally has a good infrastructure, the roads are not always in the best condition. Most of the roads are good gravel roads and only the highways and a couple of the main roads are tarred. Therefore please always drive with caution.

Fuel stations can be found alongside all major routes and highways as well as in cities/villages.

There are more than enough different and well-stocked shops available and many fuel stations also have a little convenience shop.

Left. In Southern Africa vehicles are right-hand drives hence driving is done on the left-hand side of the roads.

Each person who wants to drive a rental vehicle in Namibia must have a valid national driver’s license which needs to be carried along at all times and must be produced when requested (vehicle hand-over, police control).

If your national driver’s license is not in English and does not include a photograph of you, you will additionally need an international driving license. Please take note that the international driving license is only valid in conjunction with your national driver’s license.

Furthermore, you must be in possession of a credit card when picking up the rental vehicle. The main renter must be the credit card holder.

Most roads within the national parks are tarred or good gravel and all are accessible to rental cars. Please however take note that you have to stick to the rules of the national parks at all time. These include: remaining in your vehicle unless you are in a designated area, sticking to the speed limit and not littering.

In the Etosha National Park, guided game drives in open safari vehicles are available and accompanied by a professional ranger.

Along with your travel documents you will receive detailed directions and contact details for all the pre-booked accommodation.

Some rental car companies provide road maps but as not all of them do, it is advisable to bring a good map with a map scale of at least 1:1,5 million.

Meals are included as indicated in the itinerary.

Breakfast usually consists of a full English breakfast and cereals, toast, cheese, jam, fruits, juices, tea, coffee.

Since most of the days are spent on the road or in the national parks, no lunches have been included.

At places where you can cater for yourself or you have a variety of restaurants to choose from dinner has been excluded. On days when it’s recommendable to dine at your accommodation dinner has been included. In these cases dinner usually consists of a set menu with local meat, vegetables and rice or potato dishes. Alternatively, buffet dinner is served.

You can either exchange your own currency for Namibian Dollar at one of the exchange bureaus at the airport or in town or you can draw cash at the current exchange rate at a local ATM with your credit card or Maestro card (PIN required).

Credit cards are also widely accepted in bigger shops and shopping malls but some smaller shops and all fuel stations do not accept credit cards, so always have some cash on hand.

As Malaria is a concern in some areas of Namibia, we recommend that some precautionary measures are taken. Please speak to your doctor or travel clinic about the different prophylaxes and their effects and side effects. In general, prevention is better than cure and the best prevention is to avoid bites. Apply mosquito repellent and wear long trousers, socks, closed shoes and long-sleeved tops when being outdoors in the morning and evening hours.

Furthermore, it is recommended that you have your regular vaccinations updated – tetanus, diphtheria, hepatitis A and B and polio.

Namibian custom officials require proof of yellow fever vaccination if you are arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever.

The North of Namibia map