Insight / Namibia

Road Tripping

In Namibia

The lowdown

  • Why Go:

    Namibia is a good-value destination for the adventurous. It has incredible landscapes, jaw-dropping natural wonders and the oldest desert in the world; paired with wildlife-viewing and crowd-free landscapes.

  • When To Go:

    With very little rainfall and a pleasant climate year-round, Namibia can be enjoyed in any month; June to October are the drier months which are better for wildlife spotting when animals are drawn to the watering hole.

  • Add-on:

    To fly to Namibia, connect via a South African hub and onwards to Windhoek. This makes the perfect opportunity for time in Cape Town, enjoying its sophisticated ambience and nearby wine regions.

Love a driving holiday? Push the boundaries with a road trip in Namibia, where endless sands, huge skies, extraordinary natural phenomena and wildlife sightings punctuate days behind the wheel. With freedom to explore at your own pace, read our Namibia highlights which can all be joined together to form one long, exploratory road trip.

    Sossusvlei Sand Dunes

    Watching the vast dunes gradually turn from grey to tangerine orange at dawn atop ‘Big Daddy’, Sossusvlei’s tallest dune, is one of Africa’s most arresting sights, found in the scenic Namib-Naukluft National Park, the world’s oldest living desert at 80 million years. Contrasting deep blue skies and orange dunes, the white salt and clay pan is dotted with the stark silhouette of ancient trees. In your drive through this arid landscape look out for desert wildlife, including oryx, springbok, ostrich and a variety of reptiles.

    Damaraland

    Welcome to one of Namibia’s most starkly beautiful regions, the semi-desert wilderness of Damaraland. A vast unending landscape, Damaraland is characterised by open plains, ancient valleys and spectacular rock formations. At your own pace, explore the dusty Huab River valley to search for the elusive desert adapted elephant and examine in awe rock paintings daubed by Stone Age hunter-gatherers in the Twyfelfontein Valley. At the end of a long day at the wheel, gaze in wonder at the star-studded sky in one of the most unpolluted areas on Earth.

    Swakopmund

    Wedged between the Atlantic Ocean and the Namib Desert, German colonial town Swakopmund is a seaside resort built in 1892. A mix of museums, craft markets and old-style apothecary shops make it an interesting stop before you enter the wilderness of Namibia. Today it is the gateway to the Skeleton Coast, a wild and misty stretch of shore that is littered with shipwrecks. Drive to Walvis Bay, just south of Swakopmund, where you can enjoy boat trips that take you out into the ocean to spot Cape fur seals, dolphins, pelicans, flamingos, and perhaps even seasonal killer whales

    Etosha National Park

    Although not considered a classic ‘Big Five’ destination, Etosha National Park in the northeast of Namibia is one of Africa’s best game reserves for self-driving as you can stop whenever the moment takes you. Perhaps when elephants, endemic, black-faced impalas or the tiny Damara dik-diks – Etosha’s smallest antelope – comes into view! The park is known for its dazzlingly white salt pan which shimmers in the heat. During dry season, abundant game congregate around the various waterholes – including lion, black and white rhino and giraffe plus a huge number of bird species.

    Fish River Canyon

    Fish River Canyon, also known as Africa’s ‘Grand Canyon’ is located in the south of Namibia. The largest in Africa, this yawning chasm stretches for miles and is the result of erosion that began 650 million years ago; today it offers superb views, great hiking as well as animal sightings including kudu, oryx and the elusive Hartmann’s mountain zebra. There are a variety of walks that cut through the sandstone cliffs and rocky riverbends, stopping at hot springs and epic viewpoints as well as examining the layers of geological interest, including quartzites, fine shales and dramatic fault lines.

Road Trip Residences

Found in the desert wilderness, near soaring dunes or by wildlife-rich salt pans, these properties are just a taste of what you can experience in Namibia. With long days on the road, a little bit of luxury goes a long way.

ONDULI RIDGE, DAMARALAND

With views of Namibia’s highest mountain, the Brandberg, Onduli Ridge is nestled between large boulders allowing the wood and steel structures to blend into the rugged landscapes of the Doro Nawas conservancy in central Damaraland. Domed suites are hidden in rocky crevices with louvered shutters, and beds that become starbeds for the ultimate African experience – sleeping al fresco. By day, explore the semi-arid desert, sparse savannah and rugged hills, spotting desert adapted elephant and rhino. Do not miss the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Twyfelfontein, to see where our ancestors daubed rocks with their art over 6,000 years ago.

ONGAVA LODGE, ETOSHA NATIONAL PARK

A destination resort and one of the country’s best safari stays, Ongava Lodge is tethered to a rocky ridge next to Etosha National Park, and blends into the ancient rock formations with muted sophistication. Overlooking the endless beauty of the African bush, the lodge’s main deck perches near to a busy watering hole frequented by rhino, antelope and sometimes bigger game. Thatched chalets are camouflaged into the scrub, offering a tranquil refuge from the drama of a day in Etosha National Park.

HOODIA DESERT LODGE, NAMIB DESERT

A polished and secluded hideaway, Hoodia Desert Lodge is perfectly placed to experience the solitude of the Namib Desert. Distant mountains frame Hoodia, which sits alongside the banks of the Tsauchab River. Just 11 suites mean that a stay here feels intimate and personalised. In the evenings, guests gather by the fire to enjoy the huge night sky Namibia is famous for. During the day, the vibrant orange sand dunes of the Sossusvlei await for awe-inspiring adventures. Climb, sandboard, or simply sit and observe their majesty.