THE NORTH OF NAMIBIA
17 Night / 18 Day Self-Drive Safari, Accommodated
This 18-day tour was created for those who have already travelled to Namibia and would now like to see the less-travelled areas in the north of the country. This self-drive tour begins and ends in Windhoek. You will travel west through the Erongo Mountains to Damaraland with its breathtaking landscapes. You travel via Opuwo, the district capital of the Kunene Region, to the Epupa Falls bordering Angola. Here in the Kaokoland 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 visiting one of the most successful carnivore rehabilitation programs at Okonjima’s AfriCat Foundation.
Day 1-4 | Namibia
- Windhoek: National Gallery, National Museum, Botanic Garden of Windhoek
- Erongo Mountains: Nature drives, rock art, walks, bird watching
- Brandberg: Bushmen paintings
- Damaraland: Petrified Forest, Twyfelfontein World Heritage Site, Organ Pipes, Burnt Mountain
Day 5-12 | Namibia
- 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
Day 13-18 | Namibia
- Kamanjab: Game drives
- Etosha National Park: Game drives, Etosha Pan
- Grootfontein: Hoba Meteorite, Lake Otjikoto
- Okonjima: Leopards and cheetahs
Self-Drive Safari: The North of Namibia
Min. number to guarantee tour: N/A
Max number of participants: private safari
Departure day: any day of your choice
Single Supplement: from
Day 1 | Windhoek, Namibia
Distance approx. 50 km; driving time approx. 1 h
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 you vehicle, you leave the airport and drive to Casa Piccolo situated in the suburb of ‘Klein Windhoek’. Take a dip in the swimming pool, take a nap or stock up on snacks for the road at a nearby mall. You can visit the Botanic Gardens, the national Museum and Gallery or choose a restaurant for supper tonight. Overnight at the friendly Casa Piccolo.
Day 2-3 | Windhoek, Namibia – Erongo Mountains, Namibia
Distance day 2: approx. 250 km; driving time approx. 3-4 h
After a super breakfast, you will drive north-west towards Omaruru in the Erongo Region. You overnight destination is the luxury Erongo Wilderness Lodge where you will sleep in tented chalets set amongst the enormous boulders of the mountain. Activities abound: go rock hopping or climb atop a boulder for a view over the setting sun. Sit on the deck with your bird book and spot the many endemic species or join a guided drive to see rock art (optional). Dinner tonight will be in the lodge’s restaurant with views over the rocks and waterhole. You will spend two nights at Erongo Wilderness Lodge.
Breakfast | Dinner
Day 4 | Erongo Mountains, Namibia – Twyfelfontein, Namibia
Distance approx. 300 km; driving time approx. 4-5 h
Today’s journey to Damaraland takes you past the magnificent Brandberg Mountain – the Königstein Peak (about 2,580 m) 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”, a 1-hour walk into the mountain. Continue to Khorixas where you can see the Petrified Forest. Look out for the famous Welwitschia plants which grow to over 1000 years.
You will overnight at the luxurious Camp Kipwe with its dome-shape chalets almost set inside the mountain. Twyfelfontein, the Organ Pipes and the Burnt Mountain are not far from the lodge. Watch the sun’s last rays over the boulder-strewn landscape below from the lodge’s thatched veranda before sitting down for a scrumptious supper.
Breakfast | Dinner
Day 5-6 | Twyfelfontein, Namibia – Grootberg Pass, Namibia
Distance day 5 approx. 150 km; driving time approx. 2-3 h
After breakfast, you set off to Grootberg Lodge, travelling through 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 Pass, Namibia – Opuwo, Namibia
Distance approx. 300 km; driving time approx. 4-5h
On 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 Kaokoveld and the last chance to fill up with petrol. You will overnight at the Opuwo Country Lodge located on a hill outside the town.
Breakfast | Dinner
Day 8-9 | Opuwo, Namibia – Epupa Falls, Namibia
Distance day 8: approx. 200 km; driving time approx. 3-4 h
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. Omarunga Lodge is on the banks of the river and a short walk from the Epupa Falls. The lodge can arrange visits to the nearby Himba village, sundowner tours, hiking trails and rafting tours (depending on the season). The riverside location is paradise for birders. Alternatively, you can just relax by the pool and enjoy a cool drink on the deck overlooking the river and makalani palms. You will stay two nights at Omarunga Lodge.
Breakfast | Dinner
Day 10-11 | Epupa Falls, Namibia – Kunene River, Namibia
Distance day 10: approx. 200 km; driving time approx. 3-4 h
Today’s journey takes you via Epembe 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 lodge can arrange a visit to a Himba village if you have not yet had a chance. 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 – Kamanjab, Namibia
Distance approx. 400 km; driving time approx. 5-6 h
After a leisurely breakfast, you leave the river and drive southwards via Opuwo in the direction of Kamanjab to the Rustig Toko Lodge. The chalets on a 6,000 ha farm have views over the gardens and savannah below. Join a game drive on the farm (optional) to see game such as oryx, eland, warthog, mongoose, giraffes 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.
Breakfast | Dinner
Day 13-14 | Kamanjab, Namibia – Etosha National Park, Namibia
Distance day 13: approx. 350 km; driving time approx. 4-5 h (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. Tonight you will stay at the exclusive Dolomite Camp. The camp is unfenced and wild animals roam between the luxury tents. The next day you will drive east through the park to Okaukuejo Camp. During the dry season, the best place to see a variety of animals is around the waterholes. 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. If you want to experience the nocturnal wildlife, you can opt to join a night game drive (not included in the price) or go to the floodlit waterholes in the rest camp and enjoy the ‘wild cinema’.
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 15 | Etosha National Park, Namibia – Mushara Bush Camp, 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. Today you will slowly cruise to the east of the park to reach the Von Lindequist Gate before sunset. Stop at Namutoni camp for lunch or explore the waterholes north of the camp – the Fischer’s Pan might especially appeal to birders. At sunset you leave the park to drive 10 km to Mushara Bush Camp where you will spend the night in a tented chalet.
Breakfast | Dinner
Day 16-17 | Mushara Bush Camp, Namibia – Okonjima, Namibia
Distance day 16: approx. 400 km; driving time approx. 5-6 h
After a leisurely breakfast, you depart for your journey to Okonjima. You will pass Lake Otjikoto, a deep lake with bright blue water where German troops dumped their weapons during WW1. On the way to Grootfontein, you can stop at the huge Hoba Meteorite, which has astounded many scientists in the past. Your destination for today is Okonjima a 22,000 ha nature reserve and headquarters of the AfriCat Foundation, a rehabilitation program for predators such as leopards and cheetahs. The lodge also offers carnivore tracking, Bushmen walks, hikes and game drives (optional). From Okonjima you can easily drive to the Waterberg for a day trip. You will overnight two nights at the Okonjima Plains Camp.
Breakfast | Dinner
Day 18 | Okonjima, Namibia – Windhoek, Namibia
Distance approx. 350 km; driving time approx. 4-5 h
Today you return to Windhoek, the starting point of your tour. En route you can stop at Okahandja to buy some beautiful handcrafted souvenirs and bargain for some jewellery at the busy market. In Windhoek, you will head to the airport to return your rental car or spend another night in the city (optional).
- Self-drive tour according to the itinerary
- 17 nights’ accommodation in guesthouses, chalets, bungalows or lodges as indicated in the itinerary (or similar)
- Meals as indicated in the itinerary
- Flights (international and domestic)
- Rental car (please contact us for a quote)
- Meals not indicated in the itinerary
- Beverages (alcohol and soft drinks)
- Possible toll- and crossing border fees
- National park fees
- Optional activities
- Visa, tips, personal expenses, travel insurance
Kunene River Lodge
Rustig Toko Lodge
Mushara Bush Camp
Okonjima Plains Camp
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.