Namibia trip itinerary

Ultimate Namibia Itinerary: Self-Drive Road Trip (+ Map & Tips)

In Namibia, Trip itineraries by JurgaThis post may contain affiliate links, which means that we may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. More info: Disclosure.

Namibia is a beautiful country that requires some slow traveling to truly appreciate it. It’s also a place that requires quite some advance research in order to make the most of your trip.

Planning a self-drive road trip in Namibia might look overwhelming at first. Distances are big, the roads aren’t great, and the accommodations are scarce and expensive…

So you are absolutely right looking for ideas for the Namibia itinerary and suggestions on how to best plan your road trip in advance!

We also struggled with the same questions before our trip. After a lot of research, we created an amazing itinerary and spent 4 weeks road-tripping in Namibia. It was the best road trip ever!

Below, you can find our detailed day-to-day Namibia road trip itinerary that covers all the must-see places and so much more. Our trip was very easy-going, so we also included suggestions for how you can see just as much in less time. Find out!

Things to Consider When Preparing Namibia Itinerary

No matter how much time you have in Namibia, you will have to make choices when preparing your itinerary.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • There are very few highways in Namibia and most other roads are gravel. So you will – literally – need to slow down. That being said, it doesn’t mean that you need a month to see Namibia. In fact, many ‘standard’ Namibia trip itineraries are no longer than 10 or 14 days.
  • The distances between the main highlights are very big, so you cannot just visit the ‘top’ places and skip all the rest unless you opt for a fly-in safari.
  • When planning your trip, you’ll have to decide if you want to visit more places at a fast pace or travel slower and see more at fewer locations.
  • Before preparing your itinerary, consider if you also want to visit the South (Fish River Canyon) and/or the North (Caprivi Strip) of the country. Both these destinations are so far from all the rest that just driving there and back will add at least a few days to your trip.
  • Another possibility is to combine your Namibian road trip with Botswana and Victoria Falls. But only do this by car if you have a lot of time.
  • Or maybe you decide to just stick to the main highlights of Namibia and skip the less known locations… In that case, you can even see ‘the musts’ in a week.

The choice is completely yours to make depending on your interests, time, budget, and some other factors, like malaria risk, for example.

There are two main highlights that you absolutely shouldn’t miss in Namibia and that is Etosha National Park and Sossusvlei. Other highlights include Fish River Canyon, Kolmanskop, Swakopmund, and Twyfelfontein. But there are many other amazing places.

Having said all that, some of the very best, memorable experiences from our trip to Namibia had nothing to do with the most famous places… In our itinerary below, you can read all about it.

LEARN MORE: Best Places to Visit in Namibia


Our Namibia itinerary for 4 weeks

Before we continue with our Namibia road trip itinerary, you should know that this is a custom-made 4-week road trip itinerary that covers all of Namibia except the north. We prepared this Namibia itinerary for our family based on our interests and taking into account the fact that we were traveling to Namibia with three young children under 6.

Of course, we included all the landmarks and made sure to visit all the best places in Namibia! But we opted for multiple nights at several locations and for shorter driving days when we could. Also, we didn’t go to the Caprivi Strip in order to avoid malaria risk.

TIP: You could easily shorten this Namibia itinerary and still see about just as much as we did in about 3 weeks. And certainly if you are camping and are less dependant on the location of accommodations. You can find some itinerary suggestions for 2 or 3 weeks in Namibia at the bottom of this article. Read on!

Complete Namibia trip itinerary map
Click on the map for a more detailed view

Day 1: Arrival in Windhoek. Windhoek – Kalahari Desert. Eningu Clayhouse Lodge for 1 night. 110 km – 2hrs.

After picking up the rental car where we also got a short instruction video about driving on gravel, we headed to Windhoek for a short city walk and to stack on supplies of food and drinks for the next few days.

We opted to spend our first night outside of the city. We stayed at Eningu Clayhouse Lodge in the Kalahari desert and I would recommend this to everyone. Not necessarily this lodge, but staying outside of the city.

We felt that we were in Africa the moment we left the highway. We saw wild animals next to the road and we spent our first afternoon in the hot tub. We saw an amazing sunset and spent our first evening dining under the stars.

TIP: Don’t stay in Windhoek. Choose one of the many lodges outside the city. If you decide to go straight down to the south and rather stay closer to the main road to Mariental, I recommend checking Auas Safari Lodge. It’s not too far from Windhoek and has great reviews! 

Children on a family trip to Namibia in Kalahari desert at sunset
Our first evening in Namibia, less than 24 hours after we left home

Day 2: Kalahari desert. Drive to Mariental. Gondwana Kalahari Anib Lodge for 1 night. 270 km, 4-5hrs.

Long drive through the Kalahari desert today. The scenery is nice, but there are no major points of interest along the way here, so we drove straight to our next accommodation.

We arrived at our next lodge, Gondwana Kalahari Anib Lodge, just in time for a late afternoon safari ride and a sundowner. It was the first one during this trip and we loved it! We got bitten by a sundowner bug and tried to go on as many sundowners as possible during the rest of our trip.

TIP: Don’t miss Namibian sundowners, do at least one! All lodges in Namibia organize sundowner/safari rides, so make sure you get to your lodge in time for the late afternoon ride.


Day 3: Mariental – Fish River Canyon. Canyon Lodge for 2 nights. 410 km – 6hrs.

Long drive from Mariental to Fish River Canyon, but luckily the first part was on a tarmac road.

We stopped at the Quiver Tree Forest and made a short walk around the Giant’s Playground before continuing South towards the Fish River Canyon. The last couple of hours we were driving through the desolate and very uninspiring landscape, but the surroundings of our next lodge were so beautiful that we quickly forgot the long drive.

Our accommodation for two nights was a beautiful Gondwana Canyon Lodge – one of the nicest places we stayed during this trip!

A bit cheaper accommodation located in a similar spectacular setting is the nearby Gondwana Canyon Village.

TIP: If you are looking for accommodation with views over the Fish River Canyon, take a look at Fish River Lodge. It has an amazing location!

Quivertree Forest Namibia
Quivertree Forest

Day 4: Fish River Canyon

There are many possibilities to explore the Fish River Canyon. You can also opt for some other excursions in the area. In the morning we drove to a couple of lookouts and made a walk on the rim of the canyon.

Fish River Canyon Namibia
Fish River Canyon

TIP for families traveling with children: In the afternoon we headed to a nearby Canyon Roadhouse for lunch. We chose this place because we knew our kids would love it there. They have a big collection of all kinds of old vehicles. A paradise for our boys!

Canyon Roadhouse at Fish River Canyon Namibia
Canyon Roadhouse is a paradise for boys

In the evening we opted for a sundowner walk at our lodge and enjoyed the most beautiful Namibian sunset in style.

Namibia packing list for July August September June
Sundowner walk at our lodge

Day 5: Fish River Canyon – Klein Aus Vista. Desert Horse Inn for 2 nights. 290 km – 4hrs.

A long drive again with some beautiful landscapes along the way. Our lodge, Desert Horse Inn, was not half as nice as the previous one, but there wasn’t anything better available in this area when we traveled. Now I’d recommend staying at the highly-rated Bahnhof Hotel Aus.

There are lots of hiking trails in the area and so we spent the afternoon hiking. The walk was much nicer than we had expected.

TIP: Go hiking in the area around Klein Aus Vista.


Day 6: Klein Aus Vista – Luderitz/ Kolmanskop – Klein Aus Vista. 115 km – 1,5 hrs in one direction.

The highlight of the day was our visit to Kolmanskop. It’s a ghost town that was once the home to German diamond miners seeking to make their fortune in the Namibian desert.

Nowadays, Kolmansop is a real paradise for photographers. Our kids loved it too!

TIP: Go to Kolmanskop early in the morning for better pictures and fewer people.

We also paid a short visit to Luderitz, but found it a rather uninspiring little town. We also spent some time hoping to find the wild horses of Namib in Garub. No luck for us, but this place is known for that, so check it out if passing by.

Kolmanskop Ghost Town Namibia
Kolmanskop Ghost Town

Day 7: Klein Aus Vista – Sossusvlei. Sossus Dune Lodge for 2 nights. 350 km – 5hrs.

Long ride from Aus to Sossusvlei, but it didn’t feel that long since we took the scenic route and drove through the most amazing landscape. Red sand roads, oryx antelopes, ostriches, and all kinds of other wild animals added plenty of distraction for the kids along the way.

TIP: Take route C27 and not C14+C19 – it might be slower, but it’s really worth it.

We opted to stay at the Sossus Dune Lodge as it’s the only lodge that is inside the park allowing the guests to get to the Sossusvlei before the sunrise and after the sunset. We went to Elim dune to watch the sunset. 

TIP: Sossusvlei Lodge, located just outside the park gates, is actually nicer accommodation and it’s cheaper too. The only disadvantage is that you can’t enter the park before sunrise.

Empty gravel road in Namibia
Scenic road C27

Day 8: Sossusvlei

Deadvlei, Sossusvlei, Dune 45, and the Sesriem canyon were the highlights today. Top day for the kids as well. They loved climbing the sand dunes and they loved rolling down the dunes even more…

We woke up very early and drove to Sossusvlei before sunrise. We then walked to Deadvlei in the dark and stayed there until the sunrise. It was freezing cold, but an amazing experience. We had the popular Deadvlei all to ourselves.

TIP: If you are up for it, you can climb one of the dunes for sunrise views. Dune 45 along the way to Sossusvlei is a good place for that if you can’t make it to Sossusvlei or Deadvlei before sunrise.

Deadvlei at sunrise. Sossusvlei Namibia
Deadvlei at sunrise

Day 9: Sossusvlei – Rostock Ritz Desert Lodge for 1 night. 140 km, 2 hrs.

TIP: When driving from Sossusvlei to the north, stop at Solitaire petrol station/restaurant for some of their famous apple pie.

Most people drive from Sossusvlei all the way to Swakopmund in one day. We opted to break the long drive between Sossuvlei to Swakopmund and spend a night in Rostock Ritz Desert Lodge.

The lodge itself is not very special, but there are lots of excursion possibilities in the area and they have a meerkat encounter, which was again one of the highlights for the kids.

We ended the day with another beautiful sundowner ride and some incredibly delicious food. The restaurant at this lodge was probably the best of our entire 4-weeks trip in Namibia!

Meerkat in Namibia

Day 10: Rostock Ritz Desert Lodge – Swakopmund for 3 nights. 230 km – 3,5 hrs.

After 10 days in the desert, we were so glad to be back in the living world again! We stopped in Walvis Bay for lunch. We could even choose from more than one restaurant! What a luxury.

TIP: Walvis Bay Lagoon with thousands of wild flamingos was absolutely the highlight of the day. Don’t miss it!

We stayed in Swakopmund, alternatively, you can stay in Walvis Bay. The two towns are not far from each other, but we found that Swakopmund has a much nicer atmosphere, more hotel and restaurant choices, and more activities and day trips that leave from there.

We stayed at the Atlantic Sicht Apartment in Swakopmund and absolutely loved it. It was like a home away from home. Here you can find the best deals for Swakopmund accommodation or Walvis Bay accommodation. This is the only place in Namibia where you can find a big choice of quality accommodation for any budget.

Walvis Bay Flamingos in Namibia
Walvis Bay Flamingos

Days 11 – 12: Swakopmund and the area

Swakopmund is a nice little town with many shops, restaurants, and cafés. It’s definitely the nicest town in Namibia and 3 nights is certainly not too much for a stay here. In fact, you could easily stay here longer and find plenty of things to see and do.

TIP: Have lunch or dinner at the Village Café (Sam Nujoma Avenue).

There are many excursion possibilities in and around Swakopmund, so you will have no difficulties to find something that interests you. Here you can find some of the most popular tours from Swakopmund.

The most popular tours are dolphin and whale watching from Walvis Bay, Moon Landscape and Welwitschia Drive, and 4×4 tour to Sandwich Harbour (or this amazing kayaking and Sandwich Harbour combo tour). There are many more possibilities too, but the above are worth your time the most.


TIP (just for our readers – don’t tell anyone): Even though Spitzkoppe is not included in most Namibia trip itineraries, it’s one of our absolute favorite places in Namibia. It’s only 1,5 hrs drive from Swakopmund and you can make a nice half day-day trip to the area.

Take water, picnic lunch, and walking shoes with you and explore this beautiful area. If you are camping, Spitzkoppe has the most amazing campsites you could imagine. Don’t miss it!

You can drive there or take a tour to Spitzkoppe if you want a more relaxing day or don’t have a 4×4.

Spitzkoppe natural arch Namibia
Even though Spitzkoppe is not included in most Namibia trip itineraries, it’s absolutely worth a visit!

Day 13: Swakopmund – Twyfelfontein via Cape Cross. 411 km – 6+hrs. Twyfelfontein Country Lodge for 1 night.

TIP: Leave Swakopmund early in the morning if you want to go to Cape Cross first. It’s a long drive to Twyfelfontein and Cape Cross is a bit out of the way. But it’s absolutely worth it!

Cape Cross is home to a huge seal colony (tens of thousands of seals live here) and you can get amazingly close to them. An experience like no other!

If you have time left, you can visit Petrified Forest on the road to Twyfelfntein or drive to the Burnt Mountain for sunset.

We stayed at Twyfelfontein Country Lodge – one of the very few lodging options in this area. Alternatively, check Malansrus or Madisa Camp – both very unique tented accommodations, but Malansrus is a bit closer to Twyfelfontein.

Cape Cross Seal Colony Namibia
Cape Cross Seals

Day 14: Twyfelfontein – Palmwag. Palmwag Lodge for 2 nights. 115 km – 1h45.

Twyfelfontein UNESCO Heritage Site is absolutely worth the visit. You will be assigned a guide who will take you to the cavemen paintings and will tell you all you want to know about the ancient rock art.

TIP: Go to Twyfelfontein early in the morning before it gets busy. The most recommended walk is the Lion Man Route. Take water with you.

If you are interested in the local culture, pay a short visit to the Damara Living Museum. It’s not an authentic experience as it’s not a real village you are visiting, but one with paid actors, but it’s still interesting to see how people used to live in the area.

We stayed 2 nights at Palmwag Lodge. A really nice alternative in this area is Grootberg Lodge, or otherwise a more simple accommodation – Etendeka Mountain Camp

Twyfelfontein bushmen paintings Lion Man Route
Twyfelfontein Bushmen Rock Engravings – Lion Man Route

Day 15: Palmwag

Free day in the Palmwag area. There are several excursion and safari ride possibilities at the lodge.

We opted for the safari and Himba village tour and had the most amazing day. The Himba village we visited was not comparable to the Damara ‘living museum’ we saw the other day. We met a real Himba family, saw the way they really live, and interaction with the people was real.

Our kids went to play with their children, they were chasing the goats and the chicken and seemed to be having the time of their lives. Safari in the Palmwag area was also one of the best ones of our whole trip.

TIP: Visit a local Himba village.

LEARN MORE: Visiting Namibia’s Indigenous Tribes

Meeting Himbas in Namibia
Visiting Himba family in Northern Namibia

Days 16 – 19: Etosha National Park

Etosha National Park is one of the best places to see in Namibia. So make sure to plan at least 2-3 days here. Here’s how our time in Etosha looked like:

Day 16 – Palmwag – Etosha. Dolomite Camp for 1 night. 230 km – 3.5hrs
Day 17 – Dolomite Camp – Okaukuejo. 180 km – 4hrs. Okaukuejo Rest Camp for 2 nights.
Day 18 – Etosha.
Day 19 – Etosha: Okaukuejo – Mushara. 153 km – 2h15

There are plenty of possibilities to see wild animals in Etosha. The best times are early in the morning or late in the afternoon, and the best places are around the waterholes. The very best place to see lots of animals without much effort is the Okaukuejo waterhole.

READ ALSO: Safari Tips & Safari with Kids

We stayed at three hotels in Etosha NP: Dolomite Camp and Okaukuejo Rest Camp – government-run properties inside Etosha, and a beautiful Mushara Lodge outside the park. 

Etosha is absolutely the highlight of any Namibian trip, but I cannot say the same about the Dolomite Camp. It’s a beautiful but completely mismanaged place.

Okaukuejo Rest Camp offers simple accommodation, but it has an amazing location that makes up for the simple rooms. 

Mushara Lodge was absolutely incredible and we wished we had stayed longer there. 

LEARN MORE: Best Places to Stay in Etosha National Park

TIP: If you are looking for the best location for Etosha, stay at Okaukuejo Rest Camp or at one of the beautiful hotels just outside the park gates at Okaukuejo. If you want to stay at the eastern side of Etosha as well, I cannot recommend Mushara Lodge highly enough.

Zeebras in Etosha National Park
Zeebra Panic at Okaukuejo waterhole

Day 20: Mushara – Otjiwarongo area. 300 km – 4hrs. Frans Indongo Lodge for 2 nights.

The only place that was somewhat worth a visit on this day was Lake Otjikoto. It’s more of a place to stretch your legs a bit than anything else.

We stayed at the Frans Indongo Lodge for 2 nights. The area around Frans Indongo was not very spectacular, but it was well located for a day trip to see cheetahs next day.

There are several walking trails next to the lodge, but if I were to go to Namibia again, I would only stay here for one night (or find an alternative hotel).


Day 21: Cheetah Conservation Fund and Crocodile Farm

Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) is a place you shouldn’t miss when planning Namibia road trip. It’s a serious honest project helping the animals and you have several possibilities to see cheetahs from close by. Count half a day for the visit.

TIP: If you are traveling without kids, try to get there for the Cheetah Run early in the morning. With children, we could go on a jeep ride and saw plenty of cheetahs from the safety of the car.

We also visited the Crocodile Ranch in Otjiwarongo. You can see lots of crocodiles and even pet one so the kids liked it, but it’s not something you absolutely have to do. A good stop for half an hour for families passing by, but not more.

Cheetah Conservation Fund Namibia
Cheetahs at CCF

Days 22 – 23: Erindi Private Game Reserve. Old Traders Lodge for 2 nights.

These two days were among the most memorable of the entire trip of 4 weeks in Namibia! Erindi is an amazing all-in safari lodge that truly has it all.

Day 22: Otjiwarongo – Erindi Private Game Reserve. 270 km – 4 hrs. We drove to Erindi as early as we could so that we could join some of the activities on the first day already.

Day 23: Erindi. If there is one lodge I would love to go back to in Namibia, it’s Erindi Old Traders Lodge!

It was also the most expensive lodge on our Namibia itinerary, but absolutely worth it. We had an all-in package with two safari rides per day and all the meals included. There are many other activities that you can do in Erindi. Visiting the local San tribe was one of them and also various safari rides, etc.

What we loved the most about or stay in Erindi was the restaurant terrace at the Old Traders Lodge. It overlooks a waterhole where we spent many relaxing hours eating cake, sipping cold drinks, and watching wild animal come and go.

TIP: If Erindi is above your budget, you can also just visit here for a day. The restaurant with the terrace overlooking a waterhole is accessible to everyone and they also offer safari rides and other activities to visitors who aren’t staying at the lodge. If you decide to do that, you could opt to stay at the nearby Ovita Wildlife Restcamp or at Moringa Safaris Kub Mus.

Erindi is a bit out of the way when driving from Etosha to Windhoek, but you’ll absolutely love it.

Elephant chasing hippos at Erindi waterhole
There is always action at Erindi waterhole – elephant chasing hippos

Day 24: Erindi – Windhoek. 220 km – 3hrs. Na’ankuse Lodge for 1 night.

Depending on your flight schedule, you could drive straight to the airport and skip Windhoek altogether on the last day.

We opted to stay at Erindi a bit longer and drove to the Na’ankuse Lodge close to the airport towards the evening. The lodge proudly displays pictures of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie who visited here back when they were a couple.

This lodge also has all kinds of activities including wildlife watching and they also have cheetahs. But we only arrived here in the evening, too late for any rides. So we only had dinner at the lodge and I cannot comment on the activities, however, customer reviews are excellent.

Day 25: Windhoek and departure

Since we had plenty of time before our flight, we headed back to the center of Windhoek. It was a bit livelier than on the first day of our trip and we enjoyed walking around the Post Street Mall. It’s a pedestrian mall lined with shops, restaurants, office buildings, and craft sellers and is probably the liveliest place in town.

We had a quiet late lunch at the famous Joe’s Beer House and headed to the airport for the flight home.


As you can see, our Namibia trip itinerary was a mix of seeing a lot and a more relaxing vacation. As I said, you could easily visit all the same places in Namibia in less time. 

What could you skip or shorten? See our suggestions for a shorter Namibia itinerary below!

Namibia Trip Itinerary Suggestions for 2 or 3 weeks

Following our 4-week itinerary above, here’s how you could adjust it to make it shorter:

  • If Kolmanskop is not of much interest to you, you could skip day 6 of the itinerary.
  • You could visit Sossusvlei in the morning and leave the area that same afternoon. If you don’t mind driving a lot (and I mean a lot), you could go straight to Swakopmund and skip days 9 and 10. In any case, you can easily skip one day here.
  • If you have limited time, you could stay just 2 nights in Swakopmund instead of 3, skip Palmwag altogether (it’s a bit out of the way if you don’t go to the Dolomite Camp), and spend less time in Etosha.
  • You could also stay just one night in the Otjiwarongo area, see cheetahs in the morning and drive straight to Windhoek.
  • If you opt to stay at Erindi or one of the many other private reserves in the area, you can stay there till the last day of your trip and go straight to the airport from there.

I know that planning the Namibia itinerary can be overwhelming and this is a lot of information to digest, so feel free to ask questions. You can leave a reply below.

TIP: When planning your trip, make sure to also take a look at our essential travel tips for Namibia via the link below. That article has all the information about driving in Namibia, what kind of a car you need, and other tips for touring Namibia on a self drive trip. Check it out!

READ ALSO: Namibia Travel Tips

Planning a trip to Namibia? Get the most out of your trip with these tips:

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Namibia road trip itinerary
Namibia self drive tour and road trip itinerary
Complete Namibia trip itinerary. See the best of Namibia with this practical day-to-day guide to the most beautiful places in Namibia. Save for later!


  1. SUPER helpful info!
    We are planning a roadtrip to Namibia ourselves and were not 100% sure yet what to include.
    Your site was very helpful in this!
    Kind regards,

    1. Author

      Glad to hear that you found it useful, Lisa! Good luck with the planning. No matter where you choose to go, I’m sure you’ll have a wonderful time in Namibia!

  2. Hi Jurga,
    I’ve just found your amazing site. Thank you so much for sharing your experience.
    We are small group of 4 friends and in autumn next year we are going to visit Namibia or South Africa+Victoria waterfalls. What is your top of these 2 destinations?

    1. Author

      Hi Kamelia, glad that you found useful info on our trip for your trip to South Africa and Namibia. I’m not really sure what you mean with ‘what is your top of these 2 destinations’?
      If you mean top places to see, then please check these guides: best places to visit in South Africa and best places to visit in Namibia. So much depends on how much time you have and how you travel – fly or drive between places.
      If you mean which of the two – Namibia or South Africa – is nicer to visit, then that’s an even tougher question. These two countries could not be more different! South Africa is green, has big cities, better roads, better infrastructure, and is much cheaper and easier to visit on your own. Whereas Namibia has desert landscapes, huge empty spaces with almost nobody around, just a few bigger towns, and quite limited infrastructure. You need a 4×4 for driving in most areas in Namibia and accommodations are scarce. If you camp, you can make it quite cheap, but if you stay in lodges, it will cost you much more than in South Africa. For the weather, our autumn (Sept-Nov) or their autumn (March-May) is a good time for both. However, for Namibia September-October would be better, whereas for South Africa, it doesn’t matter that much.
      Hope this helps a bit.

  3. Really enjoyed our trip last year around Namibia. We got inspired by your itinerary 🙂

    1. Author

      Glad to hear that, Zachary. Namibia is such a unique place!
      Happy travels.

  4. We’ll cross Namibia from southafrica (cape town) to Zambia, with a trail motorbike. We want to choose a nice roads. We don’t have any problem to drive in gravel roads. Any advice?

    1. Author

      Hi Albert, I have indicated the roads that we chose to drive in the map/picture. We chose those roads for various reasons and if there was anything particular, I mentioned it in the article. I’m afraid I cannot help you further than that. Just make sure you have some spare tires with you! 🙂
      Enjoy your trip!

  5. Hello!

    Wow, it looks like you had a wonderful time!

    We were looking to take our children on a trip to Africa, we really dont know where though.

    We are planning to go just for 8-10 days. We have a 3, 5 and a 7 year-old, so somewhat limited in what we can do. We are looking for a relaxing trip with staying in the pool for the kids and having some day outings.

    We would want to limit the time spent in the car.

    Do you think that Namibia would be a good idea?

    Thank you!

    1. Author

      Hi John, if you want to limit the time in the car, then Namibia is probably not the best option – driving distances are huge and you can’t drive fast.
      On the other hand, if you just visit Etosha NP and maybe one or two other places nearby, you can definitely do it. It’s really about your choices – trying to ‘see it all’ vs. just relaxing and enjoying fewer places and having a real vacation. We’re more for trying to see it all :), but I know that a quieter trip can be just as enjoyable, definitely with kids.
      It’s hard for me to advise the exact itinerary, but you could potentially split your vacation between Etosha NP (and potentially some smaller game reserves nearby) and maybe Swakopmund area. The drive between the two can be done on tar roads (via Windhoek) – use Google Maps to figure out the best way to do it.

  6. Hi Jurga,
    Great blog and very detailed! Namibia looks so amazing and not very touristy yet and as you said 2 weeks may be enough to see this amazing country. I’ve only visited Morocco in Africa but also travelled all off Australia and the scenery seems similar to north WA and NT but obviously without all the wildlife. But done my fair share of gravel driving.
    Anyway I saw you went in July and it was cold at night? Would you recommend going later in the year, Sept/Oct then? I know it’s hard to give an overall accurate budget, but did you have a rough amount you spent over the 4 weeks with the kids? I just want to know roughly for 2 people how much to save up for and if it’s doable this year. Obviously like you said, highest cost is the car rental and staying at lodges as opposed to camping. I would love to camp for a few days in between but also the lodges sound amazing too.
    I read also that insurance is a must for the car as you get a lot of flat tyres etc – did you have to keep deflating and inflating along the way to prevent this, or was it advised?
    Many thanks for any help – where is your next trip too?

    1. Author

      Hi Chris, it’s really impossible for me to give you a budget – traveling with 3 kids is so different than traveling as a couple. We often had two rooms at the lodges, sometimes a big family room, sometimes the kids were free and sometimes we paid as if we were with 5 adults…
      The best estimate I can give is based on this: I just checked for a car rental (4×4 for 2 weeks in July) and prices are around 1200-1500EUR – you can find some good car rental deals here and also buy full insurance via this website upfront, which is much cheaper than the one they sell over the counter.
      Then I’d say make a rough estimate of +-250EUR/day for a nice lodge. That’s some 3500EUR for the lodges + 1500 EUR for a car for two weeks. This is a very rough estimate, however, and I’m sure you can make it cheaper or more expensive depending on where you choose to stay. In our itinerary, you can find the links to the hotels where we stayed. If you check availability and prices for your travel dates, you’ll quickly get a much better idea of how much it would be in total.
      As for travel dates, I think anywhere from May to November is the best time to travel to Namibia. July-October are the most popular months. It will indeed be warmer in autumn and also the swimming pools be more usable that time of the year, so if you are flexible, it can be a good time to go.
      Tires – we didn’t inflate/deflate them much. They were already adjusted for the roads there and we just left them be. Even when we drove to Sossusvlei in the sand we left them as they were and luckily didn’t get stuck. Once we asked at the petrol station to check is the pressure was ok, but that’s it. We were lucky and didn’t have a flat tire once, but we did have two spares with us just in case (you have to ask for it when you pick up the car and it does cost extra, but it sure gives you some peace of mind).
      Hope this helps. Enjoy the trip – Namibia is amazing and we also hope to return one day. As for us, we have too many trips planned to even mention. You can follow us along on social media (see the links in the footer) or subscribe to our newsletter – some amazing destinations planned this summer including Greenland (for the first time), Iceland (again), and more. Cheers, Jurga

  7. Hello Jurga,

    Thank you so much for such a very informative blog. I will be travelling with my children 3 and 5 in August for 20 days in Namibia. We have rented a 4×4 Camper pick up. We will be mixing camping, farmhouses and airbnb during our trip. No lodges because it’s sadly out of budget. I recognize many of the places you list, which I have planned for our itinerary, so this is reassuring :-). We plan to go to Mariental on the first night to get as close as possible to Fish River Canyon. How long was the drive to Mariental from Windhoek?

    1. Author

      Hi Aude, as you can see from our itinerary, we never drove from Windhoek to Mariental, because we stayed at Eningu Clayhouse Lodge the first night and drove to Mariental from there. If you just go straight, via B1 road, it’s quite an easy drive that shouldn’t take you longer than 3 hours. B1 is a tar road – a bit boring but extremely efficient to get where you need to be, not comparable to most other roads in Namibia.
      For the road between Mariental and Fish River Canyon, please check our itinerary.
      Enjoy your trip!

  8. Hello Jurga.

    I’m planning my trip to Namibia this September and found your writing very helpful!
    Thanks for sharing.

    Do you think 8 days is enough to cover Ethosa, Sossusvlei, and Fish River Canyon?
    What is your recommendation for 8 days itinerary?

    Many thanks for your help.

    1. Author

      Hi Christy, I honestly think that you should skip Fish River Canyon if you only have 8 days – it’s like a day to get there, a day at the canyon, then a day to get back – not worth it with so little time.
      Just concentrate on Etosha, Sossusvlei, and I think you’d best stop in Swakopmund for a few nights in between.
      Hope this helps.

      1. Oh I see.. Thanks for reply.

        How long do I need at least to cover these 3 places (Etosha, Sossusvlei, Fish River Canyon) then?

        So excited to visit Namibia.

        Have a good day.

        1. Author

          Hi Christy, it really depends on how you travel. If that’s all you want to visit then probably you can manage in 10 days (= lots of driving with few stops). If you want to visit some other places along the way, then I think two weeks is really a minimum for all of this. As you can see in our itinerary, we did 4 weeks over this trip, but then we also visited so many other amazing places in Namibia, not just ‘the musts’.
          Our itinerary is quite detailed, so if you pick the places you want to see, you can get a good idea how long it will take you. Use Google Maps to estimate driving times, but remember that you also need some extra time for photo stops, bathroom stops, food, etc.

  9. We are so inspired to visit Namibia after reading your blog! We are planning to possibly visit there in 2020 with our two children from California. Did you book all of your accommodations yourself or did you use a travel agent that you would recommend? Thank you for your wonderful blog!

    1. Author

      Hi Lauren, for this trip we used a travel agent here in Belgium, but this was some 4-5 years ago. You can book the whole trip on your own, especially now that booking online is much more available than it was when we travelled.
      The only place where it was tough to get accommodations even a year in advance was Okaukuejo in Etosha NP as travel agents pre-reserve those accommodations, so not always easy to do it yourself. But if you don’t really care to stay inside the park, you can easily book another accommodation nearby on your own as well.
      Hope this helps.

  10. Hi Jurga,
    thank you very much for your website, it is totally great!
    I would like to ask you about the Fish River Canyon because I have read that you need to have a reservation for visiting this canyon and it is only possible in 3 people. Are there any sightseeing road around the canyon and needn’t go inside? In which lodge did you stay?

    Thank you very much!

    1. Author

      Hi Hana, since we travelled in Namibia with young kids, we didn’t do any hiking at the canyon. We just drove to the main viewpoint and then several other viewpoints were accessible by car or on foot from there. So you can easily see the canyon. I’m not sure about hiking permits, I also heard that it’s quite strict indeed. You’d have to do more research if you are planning to hike down into the canyon.
      As for the hotel, we stayed at Gondwana Canyon Lodge , one of the best price/quality options in the area. If you stay there, I really recommend to join the sundowner walk that they offer at the lodge (it was free when we visited) – the views are amazing! Another great option nearby is Fish River Lodge. It’s a bit more expensive, but has amazing views over the canyon.
      If you are looking for lower budget accommodations (not much choice there in any case, so not really budget either), check Gondwana Canyon Village or Gondwana Canyon Roadhouse.

  11. Hi Jurga,
    I have enjoyed so much reading about your experiences and advice on traveling through Namibia. As a result, we have put together an itinerary quite similar to your for our family of 6 (four kids ages 6,8,8,&11). My question for you is about self-drive vs hiring a driver. I understand many of the roads are gravel, but are they gravel with lots of potholes or just gravel? Also, in the more remote areas, did you feel like it would have been a big problem if you had car trouble and needed help? And, how well signed are the roads? In other words, do you think it is better to hit a driver, or do you think the route is very manageable on our own?
    Many thanks for your thoughts and advice!

    1. Author

      Hi Jennifer, if I didn’t think the route was manageable on our own, I would have never done it with three kids younger than 5 ;). It is definitely manageable, but you have to be prepared. Most roads are gravel, condition of the roads varies a lot by region and depends a lot on the season (we travelled in dry season, so it was ok). The roads are generally well indicated, but we did have a good recent map and a GPS that surprisingly even found all the lodges but one. Usually, the main gravel roads are ok to drive at least 50-60km/h, sometimes even 80km/h, but you really shouldn’t go any faster than that.
      Now, did I feel comfortable that we would get help if the car broke down? No, not at all. We asked for 2 spare tires from the car rental, just in case. But for the rest you are pretty much on your own. Unless you have a satellite phone, you won’t have much network coverage in rural areas, so there is no way to call for help. Luckily, we never had any issues, but we did see other cars with flat tyres. Normally, people would stop to help others, but sometimes you are on the road where you just don’t meet many other people. So you really have to be well prepared. Make sure you have a first-aid kit, enough food and water to last at least a few days, etc. You can find more tips here: Namibia FAQ and What to pack for Namibia. When you rent a car, you have to ask everything that isn’t clear from the start, make sure you know where everything is and how it all works.
      The real question in your case is actually if you can find a car that will fit your family of 6. Most 4WD cars we saw on the roads (and for rent) were for 4-5 people max. So in your case it’s possible that it’s practically not feasible to hire a decent 4WD for your family. In that case hiring a driver with a big 4WD vehicle is maybe the best choice anyway.
      Also, you really should book accommodations well in advance. You won’t find any rooms for 6 in most parts of Namibia, so you’ll need 2 rooms in most places.
      Hope this helps a bit. Planning Namibia trip can be really tricky when you are travelling with kids, but it’s so worth it. You’ll love it!

      1. Hi Jurga, thank you for this insight on self-drive vs driver – very helpful!

        One more question, if you don’t mind: We will travel in July 2019, and I am working with Cedarberg to reserve all our accommodations. Unfortunately, in Etosha Okaukuejo Camp is already provisionally booked for the whole month of July. Cedarberg has provisionally booked us at Gondwana Etosha Safari Lodge, but I am curious about the alternatives you have suggested. What are your thoughts about the pros and cons of staying in Ongava or Okutala Etosha Lodge instead? Are there any other in-park lodges you would recommend?

        Many thanks, once again 🙂

        1. Author

          Hi Jennifer, I think that Gondwana Etosha Safari Lodge (I guess it’s this one?) is a very good option price/quality/location wise. It’s very close to Etosha gates, the only disadvantage is that you can’t see sunset or sunrise inside the park, but the location of this lodge looks beautiful enough to enjoy a beautiful sunset there (probably without any animals, but still nice).
          Staying at a nice lodge with good facilities is a very different experience than staying at Okaukuejo, which has a really basic accommodation. I think you’ll love that lodge, so really nothing to worry about.

          1. Hi Jurga, infinite thanks for your thoughts, advice, and inspiration!

  12. Hi Jurga
    Thanks again for your wonderful blog. It has been brilliant for me.
    I’m going in Jan/Feb 2019 (wet season unfortunately but that can’t be helped).
    I’m a 60+ solo female traveller & will be driving a SUV.
    I’ve been really struggling with my research & have read my Lonely Planet guidebook from cover to cover. I’ve been using the TripAdvisor Travel Forum also.
    I must say that your blog has been the most helpful research tool that I have found.
    Thank you so much!

    1. Author

      Thank you so much for this feedback, Christine. We are trying to provide as much helpful information to our readers as we can, but it’s not always easy, especially in places like Namibia.
      Please also see my answer to your comment on the other post, in regards to the choice of the car.
      Have a wonderful time in Namibia!

  13. Such an inspirational blog post, Jurga! You convinced me right away and I’m already planning our next family holiday 😉

    1. Author

      Glad to hear that, Miranda. You’ll love Namibia!

  14. Thanks for your answer!!
    Do you think doing that trip with a 2 year old boy is too hard/risky for him?

    If i Want to add etosha, how Many day do I need to plan?!

    1. Author

      I don’t think it’s ‘risky’ as such. It’s more for yourselves – how much can you handle and how long can the kids stay in the car. The same with animal watching – a 7 year old will probably be ok with sitting at the waterhole for an hour, while a 2-year old might have enough in just a few minutes…
      As for how many days you’d need to visit Etosha in combination with Swakomund and Sossusvlei – it all depends on how much time you want to spend in each place and how much you want to drive in one go. I think at least 10 days if you don’t want to rush too much and spend days and days in a row doing nothing but driving…

  15. Hi Jurga.

    Thanks a lot for your detailed description of your travel. Amazing and really helpful.
    i have a question.
    I will spend 3 weeks this summer.
    I will travel with my family. My wife + 2 girls of 7 and 5, and a boy of 2.

    We will spend 2weeks in South Africa (mainly 1weekKruger and 1 week Cape Town+ Hermanus for the whales etc). I have 1 week left and I was thinking on Namibia. (Swakupmund and Sossusvlei?? what do you think? what do you recommend? I have anything planned yet so I can change all my trip. My wife and I have been to South Africa years ago.
    thanks a million

    1. Author

      Hi Daniele, Swakopmund and Sossusvlei might be nice with kids, not too much driving that way and in Swakopmund you can book many activities and do nice day trips in the area (Spitzkoppe and also Cape Cross seal colony are my favourites). But if you want to see animals, then Etosha is definitely the place to be. Mostly the same animals as in Kruger, but in much bigger quantities. So it really depends on your interests I suppose. For landscapes – Sossusvlei is amazing.

  16. Thanks! I just came across your blog, and although we’ve already booked everything for our 16 days over Easter, it looks like a remarkably similar itinerary (minus that we are not headed south at all — something I am a bit relieved on after reading your blog, actually).

    We also booked a night at the Dolomite lodge, but after looking at youtube videos of people driving through Western Etosha, and the uniformly bad reviews of the place.. eh. Oh well. At least we’re young and have no children and can carry our luggage without waiting for the golf cart to never arrive. I’m surprised you had to wait to check out — what’s there to do if you prepaid? Can’t you just leave the keys and leave?

    1. Author

      You can’t see the whole of Namibia in 16 days, so yes, it’s probably wise no to go South in that time frame. That being said, there are some amazing places there that we loved.
      As for Dolomite Lodge, you’ll be fine, it’s a beautiful lodge, just try to take things as they come and not to get upset too much about lack of professionalism or customer love. And you do have to check out because you will probably have dinner there and will have to pay for that. Maybe also order a lunch to take you for the next day (it’s always a good idea, in all Namibian lodges, because you never know when you’ll find the next place to eat). At least you travel well-informed, so maybe you can take some precautions like checking out the evening before or first thing in the morning before breakfast…

  17. Hi
    Loved reading your itinerary. We are thinking about going to Namibia in April (Easter hols) and would have a week. The other week we will be visiting family in South Africa. We would hire a 4×4 and stay in lodges. But what would be the taster version of you trip. The ‘must must dos’. Any info would be appreciated! I have always wanted to go, but even more so after reading The Sheltering Desert by H.Martin.

    1. Author

      Hi Jasmin, if you only have a week in Namibia, I suggest to visit Sossusvlei and Etosha NP as the main highlights. Maybe stop in Swakopmund for a day or two in between, but even then it’s going to be a lot of driving. It is definitely possible though.

  18. This is a fabulously informative and useful article. It will really help us plan our family trip to Namibia in July 2018. I do have a question though, my husband is keen to travel in a motorhome (and wants to book it now!) but I’m concerned that this will greatly restrict the campsites where we can stay. Do you happen to know if motorhomes are permitted at a lot of campsites? Did you see many on your trip. I have searched the internet, but it’s very hard to find out, and I wonder if I have to contact each campsite individually?
    Many thanks for your help.

    1. Author

      Hello and thanks for your feedback. I honestly don’t know anything about the campsites in Namibia, so I am afraid I can’t help you with this.
      If I remember well, we saw just one camper in Namibia in 4 weeks (it had a flat tyre too). If you want to camp, it’s better to rent a 4WD tented vehicle rather than a big camper. We saw hundreds of those – it’s the most popular vehicle for those who like to camp in Namibia. Before our trip, we did some research and people who travelled by camper said that driving took them forever as they couldn’t drive fast on the gravel roads (think of speeds of max 40km/h). Namibia is really not the best place for big campers, unless you stick to the main tar roads (there are very few). So we decided not to rent one, and since tented vehicle was too small for our family of 5, we just rented a regular 4WD (you can check the prices here or here) and decided to stay at the lodges. Staying at the lodges in Africa is a great experience, most of our best memories from Namibia are from the sundowners we did theres, or the beautiful views at dinner, views over the waterholes, etc. I know people who camped and it’s also nice, but a very different experience. If you can afford, try to book at least a couple of nights at a really nice lodge somewhere – it will make your trip so much more memorable.

  19. Hi Jurga

    I’m so pleased I came across your website. Myself and 3 friends will be travelling to Namibia in December (I know it’s rainy season but the only time I can take leave) and we’re so excited, We’ll be there for 16 days, so will not do all of the stops you did, but we will be seeing a lot of them. Thanks so much for all your tips, they’re so helpful. I’ve bookmarked this, as I’m sure I’ll return to read it a few times before December 🙂

    1. Author

      Thank you so much for your feedback, Jenny. Glad you found this itinerary useful. You can see a lot of Namibia in 16 days. We were traveling with three young kids, so chose for slower pace and more stops, but if you concentrate on the main highlights of Namibia, I think you can cover them all in the time you have.
      Make sure to also check our other posts for more practical tips (e.g. Things I wish I knew before traveling to Namibia) and don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions. Happy to help 😉

  20. Thankyou so much for this!! Very helpful indeed. Our trip isn’t until 2018 but you have made our planning so much easier!!
    We were intending to go mid June for 3 weeks (to celebrate my 40th with husband and three kids),is the wildlife and weather ok at this time (apart from cold nights as you said) or would you recommend September more?

    1. Author

      Hi Tracy, glad you found this itinerary useful for planning your trip.
      I think June is perfect for Namibia. September might be a bit better weather-wise (somewhat warmer nights), but it will probably be busier/ more expensive too. We visited in July and day temperatures were very comfortable (22-27°C), but the nights were very cold in the South.
      As for wildlife, I don’t think there is much difference between June and September.
      Hope this helps. Don’t hesitate to let me know if you have more questions.

  21. This was SO helpful! Thank you!

    1. Author

      Glad to hear that, Lisa. Have a great time in Namibia!

  22. Hi!

    Will be in Namibia june 17-29.
    Two 26 yo girls driving. Anywhere unsafe? We’re thinking about staying in those car roof tent for some nights and in lodges the rest.

    We want to see as much as we can and dont mind long drives. Your recommendations would be much appreciated.

    1. Author

      Hi Lilly, we never felt unsafe anywhere in Namibia, but we didn’t camp either. I met a woman traveling on her own and she said she felt perfectly safe there. I’d stay away from cities and parking lots close to towns, just in case. And try to camp in a camping area instead just anywhere.
      We met many people in a 4WD with a tent on the roof, so this kind of traveling is very common in Namibia.
      You’ll have to do a lot of driving and will have several days in a car, so try to plan your trip in such a way that you spend 2-3 nights in one place once in a while, otherwise you’ll get exhausted.
      Also, make sure you have 2 spare tyres and know how to change them if need be.
      Hope this helps.

  23. Good read and your photos are fantastic. We spent 3 months in South Africa last year and when I saw this post I was curious – we’d like to go back and spent some time in Namibia, Botswana and Zambia. I’d be curious how much things cost but I’m a bit afraid to find out…

    Frank (bbqboy)

    1. Author

      Hi Frank, it’s really difficult to say how much ‘things cost’ since it depends so much on your travel style. In Namibia (and I think in Botswana/Zambia too) you can rent a 4WD with a tent on the roof and camp along the way. It’s of course much more cost efficient than staying in the luxury lodges. Entrance fees are very low everywhere, and food/fuel is not extremely expensive either. The biggest cost will be renting a tented vehicle, and that you can quickly look up online. Good luck!

  24. Wow that is a serious itinerary! You really utilised all your time, I like the idea of your kids just flinging themselves down a sand dune!

    My boyfriend got to visit Namibia with his mum and brother as a child and he always talks about how amazing it is so I can’t wait to show him this post.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂 Really loving your blog if you haven’t noticed!

    1. Author

      Glad to hear you enjoy reading my blog, Bryony! Hope it inspires you to discover some amazing new places. Namibia is definitely one of a kind. We loved traveling around there!

  25. Very interesting! Your pictures are amazing! I will be in Namibia in September for 2 weeks and I am really looking forward to it. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Author

      Thank you for your comment, Cecile! September is a great season to visit Namibia, probably even better than July when we went – at least you won’t freeze at night :). And you might even be able to enjoy some of the amazing swimming pools they have in the lodges!
      Glad you found the post useful. Have a wonderful time in Namibia!

  26. Wow, you already posted your itinerary 🙂 Thank you very much, I will start reading this evening ;):)

    1. Author

      You are welcome, Elisa! Hope you find it helpful!

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