Desert Excursion

Namibia Eco Camping Self Drive Tour

Windhoek, Namibia

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Eco-friendly, independent, and breathtaking. Discover the iconic natural landmarks of Namibia with this 15 day self-drive itinerary. We will provide you with all of the resources necessary to have a true leisurely adventure while exploring this wonderful country. With high class eco friendly accommodations and access to some of the best wildlife viewing in Africa, this trip embodies what Namibia has to offer.

This trip has been completely customized to you. Please see the list of inclusions to see what has been included in the final price.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 - Windhoek Arrival

Land at Windhoek International Airport today where you will be met by a transfer driver holding a sign in the arrivals hall who will escort you to the city center. Our in country representative will meet you here to hand over your vouchers, road map and itinerary and to answer any last minute questions you may have.

Rivendell Guest House is located in a quiet suburb close to the city center and has just ten guest rooms. Relax around the swimming pool or lounge area, and maybe take the afternoon to explore the shops and restaurants of the city. Facilities include satellite TV lounge, swimming pool, self-catering kitchen, small bar, internet and guest phone and safe parking.

This afternoon you will be collected by one of the local companies for your half day city and township tour. You will have the opportunity to learn something of the history of Windhoek and Katutura Township, you will also visit the vibrant marketplace and have a chance to taste some of the Namibian delicacies before having a look around a local woman’s craft co-operative. Your hire vehicle and camping equipment will be delivered this afternoon.

Overnight: Rivendell Guest House

Day 2 - Windhoek - Etosha

Make your way north via Otjiwarongo, entering Etosha via the Anderson Gate and on to Okaukuejo. During 2007 the three Etosha rest camps saw extensive renovations and major improvements to their facilities. All of the old rooms now sport beautiful new interiors and many have been completely re-built to cater for the changing demands of international tourism. Spend the evening relaxing with a drink at one of the seats overlooking the floodlit waterhole. Watch the theater unfold as predators and prey alike take their place in the shadows for the chance to get a refreshing drink.

Etosha in general offers excellent game viewing opportunities by either day while simply driving or by night from floodlit waterholes. The Park is dominated by the vast Etosha salt pan, and many water holes exist, joined by a network of well maintained gravel roads to enable visitors the best chances of seeing the many inhabitants of Namibia’s premier wildlife reserve. Species present in the Park include lion, leopard, cheetah, elephant, rhino, giraffe & zebra in addition to many antelope and bird species. You will need to pay park entry fees of approximately N$80 per person per day and N$10 per vehicle. These unfortunately cannot be paid in advance. Okaukuejo & Halali rest camps can be visited for lunch, a swim or simply a quick break, each camp having a restaurant, small shop & petrol station. Care should be taken to be back in the rest camp before sunset when the Park gates close.

Overnight: Okaukeujo Rest Camp (Breakfast included)

Day 3 - Okaukeujo - Halali

Spend today making your way slowly across the park to the central rest camp of Halali. Halali, the newest camp in the Etosha National Park, is strategically situated halfway between Namutoni and Okaukuejo and is surrounded by some of the most popular waterholes in the park. The camp's name, of German origin, is derived from the bugle call made to announce the end of a hunt. Of interest is the Tsumasa Trail in the southern section of the camp which winds its way through shady mopane trees up a small dolomite hill from where visitors have a clear view of the Moringa waterhole.

Overnight: Halali Rest Camp (Breakfast included)

Day 4 - Etosha - Oshakati

Exit the Park from the northern, Andoni, gate today and drive further northwards to Oshakati. Bahay Susan is a quaint and charming guesthouse situated in the town of Oshakati, offering comfortable, clean and friendly accommodation in a central part of the town. The guesthouse is close to amenities such as restaurants and shops, as well as attractions in the area. All rooms include a fan, air-conditioning, fridge, double beds and a sitting area. Activities available in the area include swimming, hiking, walking, river rafting, game viewing, bird watching, Cuca shop tours, day trips and cultural tours.

This area is rich in local history and culture and you may wish to visit the Nakambale Museum or Okangororosa school near Ondangwa on your way to Oshakati. The Museum is based around an old Finnish mission station and includes a wide variety of exhibits, photos and texts which are explained in a guided tour. There is also the opportunity to visit an Ndonga homestead nearby.

Overnight: Bahay Susan Accommodation (Breakfast included)

Day 5 - Oshakati - Ruacana

Make your way further north to the Namibian border and the beautiful Ruacana Falls area. This lodge is located overlooking the beautiful Kunene River with stunning views across white water rapids and meandering stretches of water. Located 50km west of Ruacana Falls and 100km east of Epupa Falls, the lodge offers luxury bungalows with en-suite facilities, rustic chalets, campsites, restaurant, bar, pool and much more. Optional activities include white water rafting and river boarding, bird watching, sun-downer cruises, canoeing, Himba village visits, hiking & fishing.

Overnight: Kunene River Lodge (Breakfast included)

Day 6 - Ruacana

Take this free day at your leisure. Enjoy a relaxing time at the lodge, and appreciate the lush riverine region of this mainly desert country.

Overnight: Kunene River Lodge (Breakfast included)

Day 7 - Ruacana - Opuwo

Make your way southwards to the heartland of the Himba people, Opuwo. Stay overnight at the Mopane Lodge located overlooking a scenic dry riverbed on the outskirts of town. The camp is built on the high, steep banks of a dry river, one of the tributaries of the Hoarusib River. Accommodation is provided in permanent tents which are nestled in the shade of large Mopane trees.

The camp consists of fifteen luxury tents, each with a beautiful sleeper wood double bed, innovative space for hanging clothes, en-suite bathroom and a veranda with chairs, the ideal spot from which to watch the sunset. Please note that there is no electricity at Mopane Camp. Dinner is served in the open air boma where there is also a cosy campfire and a fully stocked bar. The camp is situated in a beautiful, peaceful and quiet area where there are a large variety of birds in and around the camp. Permanent residents of the camp are small spotted genets which are shy but curious visitors to the boma and tents. During day time guests will see Tree Squirrels in the area of the boma and at night you may go to sleep with the sound of a variety of owls hooting and the calling of jackals.

The ancient Himba people still live a very traditional existence in this area, the camp is located on their communal ground and a daily community fee is payable by each guest. This contribution goes towards local projects including water and education provisions. Visits to the Himba home villages are offered from the camp and can offer a unique insight into their way of life. In addition, there are short unguided walks that can be taken to explore the interesting rock formations and river bed nearby.

Overnight: Mopane Lodge (Breakfast, Dinner included)

Day 8 - Opuwo - Damaraland

Drive southwards today and perhaps stop at the Community project of Ongongo Springs, a great place for a picnic lunch and a quick swim.

Perched on the lip of the Grootberg Plateau, with an infinite view down the Klip River Valley, lies the newly developed Grootberg Lodge. This benchmark project in mainstream tourism draws the local #Khoadi// Hoas community into the many benefits of the tourism industry. The community owns the lodge which was built using EU funding, and the management and staff training has been subcontracted out to a private lodge management company while the community becomes self-sustainable. The lodge consists of 11 thatched en suite chalets, with hardwood verandas that project one into the impossible view. Gorgeous feather duvets, polished concrete floors, delicious rooibos and honey soaps, home-grown salads and vegetables and endless, endless views.

Overnight: Grootberg Lodge (Breakfast, Dinner included)

Day 9 - Damaraland

Enjoy this free day at Grootberg Lodge at your leisure. The 12,000 hectare exclusive use area that the lodge encompasses boasts a myriad of Damaraland flora and fauna, with Desert elephant, Black rhino and even lion occasionally ghosting an appearance.

Overnight: Grootberg Lodge (Breakfast, Dinner included)

Day 10 - Grootberg Lodge - Madisa Campsite

Make your way south again towards the famous rock etchings and paintings of Twyfelfontein. Madisa Campsite is situated on a very popular route between unusual rock formations with newly discovered Bushman paintings and has access to an ancient elephant route that often gets visited by these big footed friends. Ideal for the traveler who wishes to stay in luxury without compromising the experience of exclusive camping on the bed of the Gauntegab River. Each spacious campsite has an exquisite view of the river bed and rock formations and offer individual shower facilities situated on stilts hidden in tree tops, offering that unique outdoor feeling with river sand under foot for dust free camping and easy tent setup. The barbeque facilities also double up as a heater for hot running water at each open air shower. Wood and braai packs, camping equipment and crockery are also offered for an additional fee.

Maybe make an excursion to the Twyfelfontein rock etchings and paintings today, a local guide will escort you around the ancient hillsides which are open for guests between 08:00 and 17:00. This area is covered in numerous fascinating examples of San rock art and is well worth a visit where a local guide will explain the area to you.

The ‘Burnt Mountain’, an interesting area of volcanic rock, is also worth visiting. This area is an amazing sight as the sun shines over these rocks, giving the impression of flames moving over the mountain. Another intriguing site is the ‘Valley of the organ pipes’ situated across the road from the Burnt Mountain. This strange formation was formed when basalt slabs were gouged out by a river thousands of years ago. Camping only – payment must be made direct as the community campsites do not accept advance bookings.

Overnight: Madisa Campsite (Breakfast included)

Day 11 - Damaraland - Swakopmund

Drive onwards to the coast this morning. The scenery changes from the mountains of Damaraland to endless, gravel plains towards the coast. If time allows, you may like to make a detour to Cape Cross fur seal colony where as many as 100,000 individuals may be seen during breeding season.

Swakopmund itself is a fascinating and intriguing resort town, complete with German half wooden architecture, monuments, historic buildings, well maintained gardens and palm lined avenues, coffee bars and great seafood restaurants. The weather is unpredictable, though temperatures rarely drop below 15C and rainfall is practically zero, the town is subjected to 9 months of morning fogs each year. These damp and grey conditions often result in cool temperatures persisting the whole day, but this mist band, stretching up to 30km inland, gives water and life to the deserts plants and animals giving rise to 80 types of lichen and ancient Welwitschia plants. The many ingenious adaptations to water collection, like the Tok-Tokki beetle which condenses vapor on its raised back, make for fascinating walks and drives in the ‘Moon Landscape’ or ‘Welwitschia Drive’, located close to the town.

Overnight: Cornerstone Guesthouse

Day 12 - Swakopmund

Enjoy this day in Swakopmund at your leisure. There are many adventure activities such as sand boarding, tandem parachuting, fishing and ATV biking which can be arranged prior to arrival. We can also recommend some excellent day trips including the marine sanctuary of Sandwich Harbor, a unique environment comprising towering dunes, a freshwater lagoon and the wild Atlantic Ocean. Alternatively, a half day boat cruise from Walvis Bay may offer the opportunity to see dolphins, fur seals and many species of marine birds. Please ask us for advice on restaurants, the more popular ones should be booked in advance and we are happy to do this for you.

Overnight: Cornerstone Guesthouse (Breakfast included)

Day 13 - Swakopmund - Erongo

Make your way to Erongo today, and enjoy the next two days at Ai Aiba. Ai Aiba - The Rock Painting Lodge, is situated approximately 45km from the town of Omaruru. It is set among a massif of granite rock boulders, and the view overlooking the Erongo Mountain Nature Conservancy, is simply stunning. This is the place to come and explore an area rich in historic rock paintings. Ai Aiba is a Khoekhoegowab word meaning 'the person who walks in front to show the way'.

The rock art was first recorded by Abbé Breuil, a French archaeologist, anthropologist, ethnologist and geologist, noted for his worldwide studies of cave art, especially in Southern Africa. The main building houses the restaurant and Bushman Bar, and TV room, with a collection of reference books, mainly of the local flora and fauna of the area. Guests can relax by the palm-fringed swimming pool and gardens.

Overnight: Ai Aiba (Breakfast included)

Day 14 - Erongo - Windhoek Departure

Make your way back to Windhoek today in time to deliver your hire car and connect with your return flight.

Accommodation Information

Rivendell Guest House

Located in Namibia’s capital city Windhoek, Rivendell caters to guests who enjoy homely, comfortable accommodation at a reasonable price. They are, for many, “the last homely house before the wilds”!

Their emphasis is on friendly hospitality and helpfulness, whether it be reserving a table at the best restaurant in town, organizing a day trip, finding a rental car, booking a safari or planning a full self-drive itinerary. Families are welcome and a cot with bedding can be provided on request.

Okaukeujo Rest Camp

Okaukeujo Rest Camp, Premier Waterhole Chalet, Etosha National Park During 2007 the three Etosha rest camps saw extensive renovations and major improvements to their facilities. All of the old rooms now sport beautiful new interiors and many have been completely re-built to cater for the changing demands of international tourism. Spend the evening relaxing with a drink at one of the seats overlooking the floodlit waterhole. Watch the theater unfold as predators and prey alike take their place in the shadows for the chance to get a refreshing drink.

The Premier Waterhole Chalets have two storys with a double bedroom at the top and a twin at the bottom. Both have en-suite bathrooms and the double bedroom has a balcony for superb wildlife viewing throughout the day and into the night. Each of the Premier Waterhole Chalets has a prime view over the waterhole itself.

Halali Rest Camp

Strategically located halfway between Okaukuejo and Namutoni, Halali is situated at the base of a dolomite hill, among shady Mopane trees. A flood-lit waterhole which is viewed from an elevated vantage point provides exceptional wildlife viewing throughout the day and into the night.

Accommodation is provided in family chalets, two and four bed bush chalets and double rooms - all converted with large sliding doors to the outside, to allow visitors to experience and benefit from the peace and tranquility of the natural surroundings. Other facilities include a restaurant, bar, shop, swimming pool, kiosk and camping facilities.

Bahay Susan Accommodation

Bahay Susan Guesthouse is a quaint and charming guesthouse situated in the town of Oshakati in Namibia, offering comfortable, clean and friendly accommodation in a central part of the town. The guesthouse is close to amenities such as restaurants and shops, as well as attractions in the area and surrounds.

Kunene River Lodge

Kunene River Lodge is situated on the northern border of Namibia on the banks of the River Kunene, which forms the boundary with Angola. It is 50kms west of the Ruacana Falls and 100km east of the Epupa Falls in the region known as Kaokoland. The terrain is rugged, but there are tarred roads as far as Ruacana. Local roads are generally good, gravel surfaces, although the riverside road is subject to occasional flooding during the wet season.

In addition to its idyllic setting, facilities and in-house activities, the lodge also serves as an ideal gateway for those setting out to explore the rugged and beautiful Kaokoland region of north-west Namibia. It has a restaurant, bar, pool and a shop and a laundry service. A popular gathering point, and focal point of the lodge is the large wooden deck built over the river which serves as the main seating area for the restaurant and bar.

Mopane Lodge

The camp is built on the high, steep banks of a dry river, one of the tributaries of the Hoarusib River. Accommodation is provided in permanent tents which are nestled in the shade of large Mopane trees. The camp consists of fifteen luxury tents, each with a beautiful sleeper wood double bed, innovative space for hanging clothes, en-suite bathroom and a veranda with chairs, the ideal spot from which to watch the sunset. Please note that there is no electricity at Mopane Camp. Dinner is served in the open air boma where there is also a cosy campfire and a fully stocked bar. The camp is situated in a beautiful, peaceful and quiet area where there are a large variety of birds in and around the camp.

Grootberg Lodge

Grootberg Lodge is a landmark in Namibia for the tourism industry as it is the first middle-market establishment in the country that is 100% owned by the conservancy. The European Union funded the project through the Ministry of Environment and Tourism's Development Programme with a donation of N$4.5 million to develop the 12-room Lodge.

At the same time, the private sector has been called in to supply the training and management skills until the community becomes self-sustainable. The purpose of the Grootberg Lodge is not only to offer a professional service, great surroundings, extremely good food, well-trained guides and exceptionally good local management but, at the same time, to benefit the local community thanks to the revenues generated by the Lodge.

Madisa Campsite

Madisa Campsite is situated on a very popular route between unusual rock formations with newly discovered Bushman paintings and has privy to an ancient elephant route that often gets visited by these big footed friends. Ideal for the traveler who wishes to stay in luxury without compromising the experience of exclusive camping on the bed of the Gauntegab River.

Each spacious campsite has an exquisite view of the river bed and rock formations and offer individual ablution facilities situated on stilts hidden in tree tops, offering that unique outdoor feeling with river sand under foot for dust free camping and easy tent setup.

Cornerstone Guesthouse

Cornerstone Guesthouse is a small, private and peaceful bed and breakfast an easy walk to the sea and the town center of Swakopmund on Namibia's fascinating Skeleton Coast. Occupying a quiet corner of Swakopmund's old town near the marine museum and the old brewery, Cornerstone Guesthouse offers the charm and intimacy of a family-run B&B combined with the modern amenities of a luxury hotel.

Ai Aiba

Set afoot massive granite rock boulders, overlooking the magically beautiful Erongo mountain range, is Ai Aiba - The Rock Painting Lodge. The overwhelming panoramic view from the restaurant and bar is amazing. The crystal clear pool invites you to refresh and relax. Your view sways leisurely over the endless landscape. Here you can enjoy the tranquility and purity of Africa.

Ai Aiba is an active member of the Erongo Mountain Nature Conservancy, an association of farmers dedicated to the protection and preservation of the unique fauna and flora, as well as the magnificent granite landscape of the Erongo.

Location

Region: Africa - Eastern and Southern

Address:
Windhoek
Namibia

Amenities/Activities

Breakfast Breakfast

Ecologically Responsible Ecologically Responsible

Hiking Trekking Hiking Trekking

Archeology Indigenous Archeology Indigenous

Family Friendly Family Friendly

General Information

Price Includes

  • Accommodation, meals & activities as per the itinerary
  • Entrance fees for all inclusive activities
  • Rental vehicle (4x4 AC Diahatsu Terios)
  • One way drop off fee
  • Personal detailed itinerary and information package with marked road map
  • Emergency Medical Accident and Serious Illness Evacuation and Hospitalisation insurance cover whilst in Namibia
  • 24 hour mobile phone emergency support number

Price Excludes

  • Fuel for rental vehicle
  • Fuel deposit and second driver charge + any additional extras such as a baby seat
  • Entrance fees to all National Parks/ sightseeing attractions except for inclusive activities
  • Tips + Gratuities
  • International flights and airport taxes
  • Travel insurance for cancellation, curtailment and medical emergencies/ treatment
  • Visas if applicable – all visas are the full responsibility of the client
  • All other expenses of a personal nature
  • Car hire excludes a refundable deposit of Rand/N$1500, additional driver fee of Rand/N$230 per driver, young driver surcharge of Rand/N$180 per day per driver (age 1820 with a full licence for at least 2 years), Rand/N$270 per rental for a baby seat, Rand/N$220 traffic fine handling fee, Rand/N$550 claim handling fee.