The best way to get around in Namibia is by 4×4 camping van. Roads in Namibia are safe, and there are plenty of amazing campsites all around the country. While the luxurious safari lodges are relatively expensive, camping offers an affordable alternative with a much more immersive nature experience.
16 day self-drive camping tour through Namibia
We have 16 days in Namibia, starting and ending our tour in Windhoek. Here’s our optimal route for 2.5 weeks in Namibia:
Day 1+2: Windhoek – Kalahari
We landed in Windhoek early in the morning. After collecting our 4×4 camping SUV, we drove to the Kalahari desert, where we arrived just in time for the famous Kalahari sunset. Click below to read the full post:
Day 3+4: Kalahari – Keetmaanshoop – Fish river Canyon
The drive from the Kalahari desert to the Fish River Canyon was one of the longest drives in our journey. After a short lunch at Keetmaanshoop at lunch time, we arrived at Fish River Canyon in the evening. We stayed on night in Hobas Camp, and then another in Ai-Ais.
Day 5 – Lüderitz
We left Fish River Canyon in the morning to head to the former German colonial city of Lüderitz. Frankly, it still feels a little bit odd to us to find so many German words and location names in the middle of Africa. Sadly, the German colonial history leaves little to be proud of, as we could witness on-site in Lüderitz. On the way to Lüderitz, we watched the wild horses near Aus.
Day 6, Part 1: Kolmanskop
Before we continued to the endless grass plains of the Tiras Mountains, we stopped over in the lost town of Kolmanskop.
Day 6, Part 2: Tiras Mountains
Most people drive straight from Lüderitz to the Namib desert in Sossusvlei. Following the recommendation of a friend and seasoned Namibia traveler, we decided to split the 7 hour drive in two parts and stay overnight in the Tiras Mountains.
Day 7: Sossusvlei
We visited Sossusvlei and Dead Vlei at lunchtime. Pro: No other tourists around. Con: Sooooo hot!. We stayed in Tsauchab River Camp, which we can really recommend.
Day 8 + 9: Swakopmund – Cape Cross
From Sossusvlei we head to Swakopmund, or, as Lonely Planet puts it, “a coastal oasis with as much personality as it has sea frontage”. We stayed for a night, had a German-Namibian dinner in a German pub, and visited the seal reserve at Cape Cross the next morning. On the way to Cape Cross, we found the shipwreck of an Angolan trawler that stranded in 2008.
Day 9: Spitzkoppe
Spitzkoppe Campsite was our favorite campsite throughout the entire trip. We did some mountain climbing and made friends with three klipspringer antelopes.
Day 10: Brandberg / Twyfelfontein
It’s just a “short” 235 km drive from Spitzkoppe to Brandberg – the home of the desert elephant. We actually saw an elephant herd while having breakfast! A bit further down the road, we visited Twyfelfontein. Twyfelfontein is home to prehistoric cave paintings that have been declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 2009.
Day 11-13: Etosha
We spent one day in a Lodge outside of Etosha, and two full days at Etosha to see lions, giraffes, zebras and rhinos in action. Check out our guide to more than 35 waterholes in Etosha!
Day 14-15: Waterberg Plateau
We spent two days at the Waterberg Plateau.
Day 16: Windhoek
We had one day to explore Windhoek before our plane leaves in the evening.
What do you think of our route? Share your thoughts and experiences with us in the comments. We’ll update this post if our plans change and after we’re back in Hamburg!
Photo credit: Flickr User Eric Bauer (Link)