Northern Namibia Self-Drive Camping Adventure
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What to Expect on This Safari
This popular itinerary can be customised to match your budget and travel dates by adding/removing a few days or selecting different lodges
Touch Down in Namibia's Capital
This southwest African desert wonderland is home to a diverse spectrum of wildlife including one of the largest cheetah populations on earth. Windhoek and Swakopmund are also well known Namibian destinations for their German colonial architecture. Its wide open spaces make it the ideal location for a 4x4 self-drive safari.
On arrival at Windhoek airport, you’ll be met and assisted with the collection of your vehicle. This itinerary includes a 4x4 Ford Ranger, which is fully equipped for camping and can comfortably sleep up to four people. After you are finished dealing with the formalities, you'll drive to the Olive Grove guest house in a quiet suburban area known as Klein Windhoek which is conveniently close to Windhoek’s city centre. The night's accomdation includes breakfast.
*If your flight is scheduled to land early in the morning, you can skip the night in Windhoek and continue straight to Okonjima.
The Big Cats of AfriCat
An excellent breakfast sets you up for your drive to Okonjima (around three hours on good roads). This reserve is home to the AfriCat Foundation, Namibia’s famous carnivore rehabilitation project. You’ll have a chance to see some cheetah and other rescued predators while visiting the Carnivore Care Centre. This centre gives a fun and interactive look at the inspiring conservation work being done by AfriCat. Spend the night at Omboroko Campsite on a self-catering basis
Today is yours to explore Okonjima Reserve. Scenic hiking trails wind through the bushveld and surrounding mountains or you can join the guided Bushman walk to learn about the survival skills of the San people. The most popular activities are AfriCat’s game drives and guided walks which come at an extra cost. If you choose to go on these look forward to thrilling sights, scenes and sounds of the rehabilitated cheetah, leopard, hyaena and wild dog released back into the reserve as your skilled guides help you find their whereabouts. Spend the night at Omboroko Campsite on a self-catering basis.
Etosha's Famous Waterholes
After Leaving Okonjima you will drive north for about four hours to the Etosha National Park. This will be the location of your campsite for the next two nights, the area is also well known for its floodlit waterhole. You could easily spend hours at the waterhole watching the steady stream of wildlife: herds of elephant, zebra, springbok, and (if you’re lucky) even the occasional rhino or lion. Fantastic for photography! Spend the night at Okaukuejo Campsite on a self-catering basis.
Game Drive in Etosha
Etosha is Namibia’s best known reserve – and for good reason too! Abundant wildlife gathers around the waterholes, and the flat landscape. Its moon-like salt pan makes for clear, easy sightings. Both morning and afternoon game drives are on offer, your guide will know the best routes and is always open to share a wealth of information about the park’s animals and birds.
Spend the night at Okaukuejo Campsite on a self-catering basis.
Discover Etosha's Remote Camp
In the morning you drive to Olifantsrus, this campsite is situated in the wilder and more remote western section of the park. The drive itself should take about two hours, but could take a lot longer as you’re bound to have plenty of exciting sightings along the way. At the camp there’s an excellent hide which is built up on stilts and overlooks a waterhole that has become particularly popular for elephant sightings. Spend the night at Olifantsrus Camp on a self-catering basis.
From Etosha you'll journey north right up to Namibia’s border with Angola (the drive takes around four hours). For the next two days you’ll be staying in a wonderfully peaceful campsite, with huge shady trees and views out over the Kunene River.
In the afternoon, once you've had time to rest, take a drive to the Ruacana Falls. Although first check to see that the falls are flowing; they’re at their most impressive between February and May. You'll stay overnight at Kunene River Lodge Campsite on a self-catering basis.
It’s tempting to spend the day relaxing around the pool although if you do have the energy, there’s plenty to do, from canoeing, hiking, fishing or take a visit to a Himba family and be sure not to miss the sundowner river cruise. If you’re a keen birder, you’ll no doubt know Kunene River Lodge because of the Cinderella Waxbill. This stretch of river is a true birders’ paradise and the lodge owner, Peter, will go out of his way to help you spot these breathtaking birdlife. You'll stay overnight at Kunene River Lodge Campsite on a self-catering basis.
Today you'll travel to Epupa Falls, a drive that should take around five hours. The Epupa Falls Campsite is lovely and spacious, with beautiful river views and sites right on the water’s edge. You’ll stay here for the next two nights on a self-catering basis.
Guided walk to the Falls
Of all the activities on offer (and there are plenty), the one we’d most recommend is the guided walk to Epupa Falls. This is an extraordinary destination: the falls themselves are small but impressive, and around them you’ll see fat-trunked baobab trees and clusters of palm trees. On the way to the falls you’re likely to pass Himba people washing their clothes or bathing in the river. Afterwards, your guide will take you to the best viewpoints further downstream, so you’re sure to come away way with some great photos! Spend the night at Epupa Falls Campsite on a self-catering basis.
Drive to Palmwag
Today you will be driving around six hours, so it’s best to get an early start. To break up your journey there are plenty of stops along the way.
At Opuwo there’s a processing facility that extracts essential oils from Mopane seeds, which is used by Himba women as a traditional perfume. Closer to Sesfontein you can visit the Baobab Valley, Ongongo Waterfall, and the six springs which gave Sesfonetin its name. You'll spend the night at Palmwag Lodge and Campsite on a self-catering basis.
Twyfelfontein & the Petrified Forest
Namibia is a country filled with unusual beauty, and the drive to Spitzkoppe (around five hours) is filled with just such places. Be sure to stop at the Petrified Forest close to Khorixas, which is estimated to be millions of years old and have trees wich have literally turned to stone. Other sites worth seeing include the rock formations known as the "Organ Pipes", Twyfelfontein (a world heritage site), and the White Lady Rock Painting. Spend the night at Spitzkoppe Campsite on a self-catering basis.
The Beauty of Spitzkoppe
Spitzkoppe is a magical place of renowned beauty. Keen photographers will be in their element, be sure to get up early and watch the rocks change colour with the sunrise this is surely an experience not to be missed! If you enjoy hiking there are three routes that you can try; not to mention the option of also being able to go on a donkey cart ride and its also a great destination for bird watching. In the evening find a comfortable granite boulder to watch the sunset and the sky become lit up with stars. You'll spend the night at Spitzkoppe Campsite on a self-catering basis.
Markets & Hot Springs
It’s a three-hour drive back to Namibia’s capital Windhoek. Be sure to stop off at the crystal market, where you can negotiate with the ladies over the crystals which have been dug up nearby. Gross Barmen is the place to stop if you enjoy hot springs, and there is also a large African market where you can stock up on last minute curios. You’ll spend your final night in Namibia back at the Olive Grove guesthouse (breakfast included). The food here is delicious so be sure to stay in for dinner.
Drive to Hosea Kutako International Airport in Windhoek, where you’ll return your vehicle and catch your flight back home.
* Most of these properties have chalet or lodge accommodation as well. If you'd rather stay in a chalet or lodge instead of camping, speak to one of our consultants and they’ll convert it into an accommodated tour.
* The vehicle we have used is a 4x4. No special driving permit is needed and it will be a great experience. We can also change the vehicle to a camper, or a sedan, if you prefer.
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