Desert Excursion

Northern Namibian Highlights Self Drive

Windhoek, Namibia

We customize every trip

Prices From: $2,068 Per Person

Discover the iconic natural landmarks of Northern Namibia with this 13 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 the ideal of what Namibia has to offer.

This trip can be completely customized based on your interests, travel style, and preferred accommodation level so please let your agent know if you would like to make any alterations. Pricing will fluctuate based on seasonality and chosen accommodation level.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 - Windhoek Arrival

Arrive at the Windhoek International Airport during the day. From the airport, you will receive a transfer into town and on to Rivendell Guesthouse. Here a local representative will meet with you to discuss your itinerary and answer any last minute questions you may have. During this time your EuropCar vehicle will also be delivered. Once it has been thoroughly checked you will depart to The Elegant Farmstead.

The fusion of old and new at The Elegant Farmstead allows you to indulge in a refreshingly different experience. From the outside it has the typical old farmstead look and feel. As for the inside, the thoughtful touches and elegant interior give it a modern and stylish twist. This unique lodge is tucked away in a beautiful garden.

Just beyond stretches the vast African bush with an abundance of wildlife. Various hiking trails via the dry river beds and open plains to the Signal Mountain can be explored on your own. The hiking trails will allow you to become intimate with nature as the endless horizons make a lasting impression.

Overnight: Elegant Farmstead (Breakfast, Dinner included)

Day 2 - Windoek - Okonjima

Drive to Okonjima today and arrive in time for lunch, or for the afternoon activities which begin at 3pm in winter or 4pm in summer.  To reach the lodge, follow the signposts off the main B1 road approximately 50km south of Otjiwarongo. Follow signs to Okonjima Main Camp. En route to Okonjima there is the opportunity to stop for a visit at REST (www.restafrica.org) which is housed on a piece of land adjacent to Okonjima, just before you enter the 22,000 hectare reserve. For a donation adults and children are shown around the facilities and interpretation center, which has information on the various animals species they work with; these include Cape Griffon Vultures, The Spotted rubber Frog, Pangolin, Damara Dik-dik, Dwarf Python and Wild Dog. Definitely a bonus for anyone wanting to learn about Namibia’s wildlife and contribute in a meaningful way.

On the day of arrival you will be invited to join an afternoon activity, usually tracking leopard in the immense reserve. After dinner you will also be offered the opportunity to visit a night hide where many nocturnal animals including porcupine, honey badger and leopard are frequently sighted.

Overnight: Okonjima Main Camp (Breakfast, Dinner included)

Day 3 - Okonjima

Okonjima is home to the AfriCat Foundation, which works with farmers and the public to conserve the big cat species of Namibia. The project is there to educate the local communities on how to work with big cat species rather than capturing and removing them and includes a local school. The foundations hope is to extend their environmental education efforts to high school and even university undergraduates in the future.

One of the first steps along this route is to reinstate visits to the AfriCat clinic and education center. Other unique and inclusive activities here include lion viewing, nature walks, cheetah & leopard tracking, and bushman walks. This morning you will be taken on a drive to visit some of the 60-70 cheetah presently being rehabilitated or cared for on a more permanent basis. You will have the opportunity to view feeding, see the veterinary/research, and learn more about AfriCat’s work. This afternoon may be spent in the company of a tracker who will teach you about the ancient San (Bushman) culture. Accommodation at Main Camp is in luxurious rooms located in the main farmhouse and surrounded by lush gardens & located close to the main restaurant area.

Overnight: Okonjima Main Camp (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner included)

Day 4 - Okonjima - Etosha National Park

Enjoy driving to Onguma Game Reserve in Etosha National Park. Etosha, meaning "Great White Place", is dominated by a massive mineral pan. The pan is part of the Kalahari Basin, the floor of which was formed around 1000 million years ago. The Etosha Pan covers around 25% of the National Park. The pan was originally a lake fed by the Kunene River. However the course of the river changed thousands of years ago and the lake dried up. The pan is now a large dusty depression of salt and clay which fills only if the rains are heavy and even then it only holds water for a short time. This temporary water in the Etosha Pan attracts thousands of wading birds including impressive flocks of flamingos. The perennial springs along the edges of the Etosha Pan draw large concentrations of wildlife and birds.

Overnight: Onguma Tented Camp (Breakfast, Dinner included)

Day 5 - Etosha National Park

Onguma Game Reserve is situated on the eastern side of the Etosha Park in Namibia, bordering Fischer’s Pan. The Bush Camp is one of four lodges set inside this private reserve covering more than 20,000 hectares of protected land. Their nature reserve boasts over thirty different animal species. Predators such as lions, cheetahs and leopards are common residents of the area.

Newly re-built, in the last 18 months, the lodge offers 19 rooms and is ideal for families with children. The lounge and dining areas overlook a stunning waterhole that affords great opportunities to see nature at play around the clock. You don’t even have to leave the camp to see the animals - they come to you!

The concession has recently been expanded to accommodate the lodge’s rhino custodian scheme, leading to the development of a number of new activities including walking and rhino tracking. The bird life in this area is also outstanding with over 300 species having been recorded, including the largest breeding colony of white-backed vulture in Namibia.

Overnight: Onguma Tented Camp (Breakfast, Dinner included)

Day 6 - Etosha National Park - Ongula Village

This morning you will head further north, into the heart of Ovamboland, where 80% of Namibia’s population lives and home to the largest tribe in Namibia. Situated in the heart of Owamboland, a stones throw from Ondangwa and north of Etosha National Park, you are invited to experience Owambo local traditions. Built alongside a live homestead, 4 luxury Rondawels (African-style round huts) accommodates 8 guests offering exclusivity and the luxury of home while participating in local chores, delighting in local culinary dishes and drinks and learning local arts and crafts. This is your introduction to the Namibian life-style!

Overnight: Ongula Village Homestead (Breakfast included)

Day 7 - Ongula Village - Kunene River Lodge

From Oshakati you head further west today to the Kunene River Lodge, situated right in the Namibia/Angola border. 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-down cruises, canoeing, Himba village visits, hiking & fishing.

Overnight: Kunene River Lodge (Breakfast, Dinner included)

Day 8 - Kunene River Lodge

Enjoy a relaxing time at the lodge, and appreciate the lush riverine region of this mainly desert country.

Overnight: Kunene River Lodge (Breakfast, Dinner included)

Day 9 - Kunene River Lodge - Grootberg Lodge

This morning you will head west into Damaraland. Park at the top of the Grootberg pass where a representative of the lodge will radio for a 4x4 transfer to transfer you the short distance up the steep incline to the lodge itself. Perched on the lip of the Grootberg Plateau lies Grootberg Lodge with an infinite view down the Klip River Valley.  This benchmark project in mainstream tourism provides the local Khoadi Hoas community many benefits from 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 allow for unbelievable views. You will never tire of the gorgeous feather duvets, polished concrete floors, delicious rooibos and honey soaps, home-grown salads and vegetables and endless views.

Overnight: Grootberg Lodge (Breakfast, Dinner included)

Day 10 - Grootberg Lodge

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 lions occasionally making an appearance. For travelers making their way between Swakopmund and Etosha, the lodge provides the ideal midway stopover whilst allowing guests to experience the true wilderness that is Damaraland.

Overnight: Grootberg Lodge (Breakfast, Dinner included)

Day 11 - Grootberg Lodge - Camp Kipwe

Damaraland is renowned for its geology, unusual rock formations, rock paintings, and rare desert-adapted flora and fauna. Activities include elephant nature drives lasting 3-6 hours, starting in the morning. These guided trips include exploring the surrounding area in a 4x4 vehicle, in search of Namibia's remaining 600 desert dwelling elephant. The Twyfelfontein excursions will last for around 2 ½ hrs, starting in the afternoon. The drive will include visits to the Burnt Mountain, the Organ Pipes, as well as to the fascinating Bushman Engravings. There are a number of guided nature walks that will cover trails in and around Camp Kipwe and durations will depend on the guests.

Camp Kipwe is situated within the Twyfelfontein Conservancy in the Damaraland area, only 4kms from its sister lodge of Mowani Mountain Camp. Relax and unwind in the lounge – the mountain views from here are breathtaking as are the stunning sunsets. Accommodation is in 8 igloo-shaped double bungalows, emphasizing the peace and quiet of the camp. Outside each bungalow is a private veranda overlooking the surrounding plains.

Overnight: Camp Kipwe (Breakfast, Dinner included)

Day 12 - Camp Kipwe - Erongo Wilderness Lodge

Enjoy a day at the Erongo Wilderness Lodge where guided walks are included each day in the morning and the afternoon. The camp also offers many self-guided walking trails and nature drives into the 200,000 ha conservation area. Birding is one of the main attractions with 48 different species been sighted in the immediate vicinity, including Black Eagle, Rosy Faced Lovebird & Ruppell’s Parrot.

The lodge is set in the foothills of the Erongo Mountains on the edge of the enormous Erongo Crater. Erongo blends into the surrounding boulder-strewn landscape and the rooms are all linked by walkways meandering between the boulders. Dinner is served in the partially open, thatched dinning room with a central fireplace for cooler evenings, complete with magnificent views, in addition to a well-stocked bar and wine cellar. The lodge swimming pool and the secluded open air reading lounge are great places to relax and unwind.

Overnight: Erongo Wilderness Lodge (Breakfast, Dinner included)

Day 13 - Erongo - Windhoek Departure

After an unforgettable trip you will make your way back to Windhoek & Rivendell. Here you will be able to freshen up or have a chance to look around the town before making your way back to the International Airport, to drop off your car and meet your onward flight home.

Accommodation Information

Elegant Farmstead

This farmstead is situated north of Windhoek, just before the garden town of Okahandja. It is 26km along the gravel road towards the Von Bach Dam, and offers privacy, seclusion and is the ideal stopover for a first or final stay in Namibia. Delicous meals are served in the Lapa or thatched dining room. Wildlife enthusiasts need not venture too far to observe the wide variety of game. An elevated viewing deck affords great views of the floodlit waterhole, which doubles up as an outside dining area.

Okonjima Main Camp

West of the Waterberg Plateau Park, vast plains are occasionally broken by remnants of ancient Sandstone outcrops, which once covered large areas of northern Namibia. Nestled among the "Omboroko Mountains" lies Okonjima – a Herero name meaning “Place of the baboons”. This is much more than just a lodge. Okonjima is also home to the AfriCat Foundation.

The Okonjima Main Camp was the original Hanssen-family farmhouse, reconstructed as a lodge in 1993. Accommodation at Main Camp is in luxurious rooms located in the main farmhouse and surrounded by lush gardens & located close to the main restaurant area.

Onguma Tented Camp

The recently established Onguma Tented Camp consists of seven luxury permanent tents, each overlooking the beautiful waterhole. The main complex also overlooks the waterhole and includes reception area, lounge, wine cellar, bar & dining area. The bird life in this area is outstanding with over 300 species having been recorded. The farm is also home to the largest breeding colony of white-backed vulture in Namibia. Optional activities include early morning and late afternoon game drives within the Onguma Concession as well as inside Etosha National Park, and also night drives on the concession area.

Ongula Village Homestead

Ongula Village Homestead Lodge situated in the heart of Owambo, north of world famous Etosha National Park and offers you the perfect add-on to your classic Namibia journey. Built alongside a live homestead, 4 luxury Rondawels (African-style round huts) accommodates 8 guests offering exclusivity and the luxury of home. Ongula Homestead offers day tours to the Museum, craft markets and tribal houses. Guests can also attend some of the seasonal events such as Marula Festival or traditional weddings.

At the lodge you can participate in the preparation of local traditional drinks and meals, discover the art of basket weaving and pottery making, and explore the beauty of the region. The lodge serves as an excellent introduction to the Owambo world and life-style.

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.

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.

Camp Kipwe

Designed to creatively embrace the granite boulders, the camp embodies its Swahili meaning as it blesses the mind, body and soul of every traveler that makes the journey. Taking advantage of the nearby Aba Huab River and all consuming expansive landscape, Kipwe offers a refreshing perspective on traditional safari life.

Accommodation is in 8 igloo-shaped double bungalows, allowing a maximum of 16 guests at a time, emphasizing the peace and quiet of the camp. Outside each bungalow is an en-suite bathroom with a shower, as well as a private veranda, overlooking the surrounding plains. They all have an in-room safe.

Here is where your uncluttered sense of self emerges redefined, as you enjoy the simplistic elegance of the camp and appreciate the attention to detail in everything you touch. At Kipwe, your blessings find you again.

Erongo Wilderness Lodge

The lodge is set in the foothills of the Erongo Mountains on the edge of the enormous Erongo Crater. A small, 10-room owner managed lodge, Erongo blends into the surrounding boulder-strewn landscape. The rooms are all linked by walkways meandering between the boulders, overlooked by the main lodge building perched above. Dinner is served in the partially open, thatched dining room with a central fireplace for cooler evenings, complete with magnificent views, well stocked bar and good wine cellar. The lodge swimming pool offers a wonderful position to relax, and the secluded open air reading lounge is also a great place to while away an afternoon.

Location

Region: Africa - Eastern and Southern

Address:
Windhoek
Namibia

Amenities/Activities

Breakfast Breakfast

Day Tours Day Tours

Ecologically Responsible Ecologically Responsible

Hiking Trekking Hiking Trekking

Wildlife Wildlife

Family Friendly Family Friendly

General Information

Price Includes

  • Accommodation, meals & activities as per itinerary
  • Zero excess vehicle hire (4x4 Toyota Hilux or similar)
  • Personal detailed itinerary and information package with marked road map
  • Complimentary mobile phone hire & cool box
  • 24 hour cell phone support number
  • Tourism levy
  • VAT

Price Excludes

  • Any additional meals or drinks not mentioned above
  • Optional excursions and activities
  • Porterage and gratuities
  • International flights and airport taxes to and from Windhoek
  • Travel insurance
  • Relevant visas if applicable
  • All expenses of a personal nature