2-week Namibia Itinerary: the ultimate self-drive road trip adventure

by | Sep 12, 2021 | Africa, Itineraries, Namibia, Roadtrips | 1 comment

2-week Namibia itinerary
2-week Namibia itinerary

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Namibia has always been one of the many countries on my bucket list. I’ve been dreaming of wandering the dunes of the Namib desert and exploring Etosha National Park for a long time, and a few weeks ago, I finally got to turn this dream into reality and spend 2 weeks road-tripping around Namibia.

Extending along Southern Africa’s west coast, Namibia is a country unlike any I’ve ever visited. It’s difficult to find words that do the sheer beauty of this country justice. With its scenic gravel roads, untouched nature, and vast expanses, Namibia feels raw and wild, yet warm and welcoming.

If you’re looking for an unforgettable road trip adventure, this 2 week Namibia itinerary is just what you need!

This Namibia itinerary is ideal for first-timers. It includes many of Namibia’s most spectacular must-sees, a little German-style city break, and plenty of time for breathtaking animal encounters, from desert-dwelling elephants to the protected white rhinos.

Sossusvlei Namibia
2 week Namibia itinerary_Big Daddy Dune
Namib Desert_2 week Namibia itinerary

Note: We arrived in Windhoek at 8 AM, which left us enough time to pick up our 4×4, stock up on groceries and fuel, and drive to Sesriem. If you arrive later in the day, I would recommend spending the first night in Windhoek and making your way to Sesriem the next morning.

Day 1-2 | Sesriem

Distance: 310 km from Windhoek to Sesriem

Leave Windhoek and head towards Namib-Naukluft Park. As soon as you leave the city, the road (mostly gravel) winds through grassy flatlands, and towards the Naukluft mountains to the small village of Sesriem, the gateway to the spectacular Namib-Naukluft Park.

Tip: stay at a camp just inside Sesriem gate for extra early access to the dunes.

Sesriem gate is open between sunrise and sunset. I would absolutely recommend staying inside the gate so that you can get into the park for sunrise. There are only two campsites and two lodges in the park, so make sure you book your stay in advance.

Costs: access to the Namib-Naukluft National Park costs NAD 100 for non-residents, NAD 50 for SADC-residents, and NAD 10 per vehicle. Access is valid per 24 hours and can be bought at the reception of the NRW campsite just inside the gate.

2-week Namibia itinerary
2-week Namibia itinerary

Things to do in Sesriem

  • Start your day early and watch the sunrise from Dune 45. The view of the dunes turning a vibrant orange as the first sun rays hit is definitely worth the early start.
  • If one dune wasn’t enough, you can climb the magnificent 325 meters high Big Daddy Dune next. To get to it, follow the tar road to the Sossusvlei 2WD parking, then catch a shuttle or hit the sand road to the 4WD parking.
  • Located a short walk through the dunes from the 4WD parking, Deadvlei is famous for its 900-year-old, dried-out acacia trees. The white salt pan and black trees provide a striking contrast to the surrounding orange dunes.
  • If you want to wander off the beaten path, hike to Hiddenvlei. The smaller, more remote salt pan is located about 4 km from the 2WD parking.
  • Just 5 km from Sesriem gate, Elim Dune is a great spot to watch the sun setting over the desert, surrounding plains, and rugged Naukluft mountains

2 week Namibia itinerary_Swakopmund Lighthouse
2 week Namibia itinerary_german style architecture in Swakopmund

Day 3-4 | Swakopmund

Distance: 350 km from Sesriem to Swakopmund

Today, you’re in for a spectacular road trip! Leave Sesriem early and head north-west towards the Atlantic coast and Namibia’s largest coastal town, Swakopmund. Make sure you’ve got enough fuel in your take and be prepared for some bumpy driving – most of today’s roads are gravel roads.

Some highlights along the way include:

  • Solitaire, a small desert settlement with picturesquely arranged car wrecks, petrol station, a little shop, and a cafe/bakery, selling the arguably most famous apple pie in Namibia
  • the colorful signs marking the crossing of the Tropic of Capricorn
  • the winding, scenic drive across the 750 m high Gaub Pass

Things to do in Swakopmund

  • start your day with breakfast at Bojos Cafe – they serve the best coffee I had in Namibia
  • soak up the sun and ocean breeze at Mole Beach or Swakopmund Jetty
  • climb Dune 7 near Walvis Bay and watch the sun setting over the Atlantic Ocean
  • kayaking with seals at Pelican Point

2 week Namibia itinerary_Sandwich Harbour
2 week Namibia itinerary_lunch at Sandwich harbour
2 week Namibia itinerary_flamingoes at Walvis Bay

Sandwich Harbor 4×4 Tour

One of the must-dos when visiting Swakopmund – and honestly one of the best things to do in Namibia – is visiting Sandwich Harbour on a guided 4×4 tour. Sandwich Harbour is nestled between the majestic dunes of the Namib desert and the crashing waves of the Atlantic.

We booked a half-day trip with Sandwich Dune Tours and Safari – 10/10, would recommend!

The tour includes a stop to see flamingos at Walvis Bay, lunch with oysters and bubbles on the beach and Sandwich harbor, and a bumpy ride across the dune, and epic views of the sand dunes running straight into the ocean.

Costs: the half-day tour to Sandwich Harbour costs NAD 1.800 per person, including lunch, drinks, and pick up from selected hotels in Walvis Bay and Swakopmund.

2 week Namibia itinerary_Spitzkoppen Namibia
Namibia itinerary_morning coffee with a view at Spitzkoppe

DAy 5 | Spitzkoppe

Distance: 150 km from Swakopmund to Spitzkoppe

Located about 120 km northeast of Swakopmund, Spitzkoppe is one of the most photographed mountains in Namibia. It consists of two mountains, the large Spitzkoppe, due to its shape dubbed “Namibia’s Matterhorn”, and the small Spitzkoppe.

Part of Spitzkoppe is only accessible with a guide. You can book guided tours with a ranger at the reception at the main entrance. One of the places you can visit without a guide is the famous Rock Arch, located a short drive from the main entrance.

Costs: Admission to Spitzkoppen Mountain Reserve costs NAD 80 for foreign nationals, NAD 50 for SADC-nationals, and NAD 80 per car.

Where to stay near Spitzkoppe

  • Spitzkoppe Tented Camp and Campsites are located about 500 meters outside of Spitzkoppe Mountain Reserve, with epic views of both Spitzkoppe mountains. You can choose between an en-suite bush camp or a campsite with a private hot water shower, toilet, and bbq area.
  • Spitzkoppe Campsites are located inside Spitzkoppe Mountain Reserve. The campsites are basic and spread out over a big distance. Dry toilets are available at the campsites, but hot showers are only near reception.
  • for a bit more luxury, stay at Spitzkoppen Lodge. The lodge consists of 15 spacious chalets, scattered at the foot of Spitzkoppe, a dining and bar area, and a pool deck with 360° views.
Damaraland_2 week Namibia itinerary

Day 6-7 | Northern Damaraland

Distance: 325 km from Spitzkoppe to Twyfelfontein

Damaraland, one of Namibia’s least densely populated areas, is dominated by rugged landscapes with flat-topped mountains and vast plains. The region is home to a variety of desert-adapted wildlife, including elephants, lions, and rhinos.

The best way to explore Damaraland’s fascinating nature and wildlife is on a guided game drive.

Twyfelfontain Country Lodge offers 3-hour morning drives into the dry Aba-Huab River valley, looking for elephants and other wildlife. We booked a tour with them and came up close with a whole herd of elephants, including a 1-year-old calf. I can’t recommend this enough!

Northern Damaraland_2 weeks in Namibia
Elephant in Damaraland_Namibia

Where to stay in Northern Damaraland

Heartfelt recommendation: Twyfelfontain Tented Camp. The camp has 8 tented chalets and 5 campsites. It’s rather basic and the toilet facilities are shared, but Paulina and Elisa, the two girls who run the camp, were two of the nicest people we met during our whole two weeks in Namibia.

Tywfelfontain Country Lodge consists of 56 rooms, a big open lounge, and a swimming pool, nestled on a mountain slope. The lodge is a great base to explore the surrounding area, either independently or on one of the many guided tours offered (not exclusively) for guests.

Palmwag Campsite is located in the Palmwag Concession, famous for its plentiful wildlife, including desert-adapted elephants and rhinos. The camp has a swimming pool, and activities like game drives can be booked at the nearby Palmwag Lodge.

Skeleton Coast_2 week Namibia itinerary
Skeleton Coast_Ugab Gate

Day 8 | Skeleton Coast

Leave Damaraland and head towards Torra Bay and the Skeleton Coast. The Skeleton Coast is a 500 km long coastal stretch on Namibia’s west coast, extending between Swakopmund and the Angolan border.

One of the driest places on earth, Skeleton Coast is a no-mans-land with endless sandy plains, salt pans, and occasional rocky outcrops. While you won’t see many impressive shipwrecks on the stretch between Torra Bay and Hentiesbaai, there are some other interesting stops along the way:

  • One of the most famous wrecks is the abandoned, half-collapsed oil rig in the desert.
  • You’ll come past a signpost for the South West Seal Shipwreck. The small vessel ran aground in 1976, but nowadays, only very few bits and pieces of it remain on the beach.
  • At Cape Cross, you can visit the (very smelly) Cape Cross Seal Colony, one of the largest in the world. Access is NAD 150 for non-residents, NAD 100 for SADC-residents, and NAD 50 per vehicle.
  • If you want to see a more intact shipwreck, visit the Zeila just 14 km south of Hentiesbaai.
Elephants at Etosha National Park Namibia

Day 9-11 | Etosha National Park

Distance: 400 km from Henties Bay to Galton Gate

Spending a few days at Etosha National Park is a must when visiting Namibia. One of southern Africa’s most accessible national parks, it covers an area of over 22.000 km2, extending around the Etosha Pan, an oval-shaped salt pan.

Etosha National Park boasts an incredible variety of wildlife, game sightings are almost guaranteed.

Etosha National Park is accessible through 4 gates. Coming from Henties Bay, enter through Galton Gate on the southwestern end of the park, and make your way to the east over the next few days. There are 6 NWR camps inside the national park and various other places outside the gates.

Infinity Pool at Etosha National Park

Etosha Highlights

  • close-up wildlife encounters: Etosha is home to 4 of the big 5, a healthy black rhino population, and a total of 114 species of mammals.
  • epic game sightings at Etosha’s waterholes: the national park boasts a great number of natural and man-made waterholes, which offer some of the best opportunities for wildlife sightings.
  • coffee with a view: Enjoy your morning coffee at King Nehale’s hideout, a comfortable hide overlooking a private waterhole.
  • nighttime sightings at the floodlit Okaukuejo waterhole: the waterhole at Okaukuejo camp is lit up at night. Grab a blanket and a drink, settle down on one of the many benches around the waterhole, and watch the nightly wildlife activities unfold in front of you.

Waterberg Plateau_2 week Namibia itinerary
Rhino at Waterberg_2 week Namibia itinerary

Day 12-13 | Waterberg

Distance: 310 km from Namutoni Gate to Waterberg

Time to leave Etosha and start heading down south again. Break up your drive back to Windhoek with a 2-night stop at Waterberg Wilderness Nature Reserve. Waterberg is a 50 km long and 16 km wide table mountain, rising up to 200 meters over the plains of the Kalahari.

Still somewhat of a hidden gem, Waterberg is often overlooked by travelers. And those who visit, often wish they’d have more time!

The latter is what happened to us too. Don’t make the same mistake and spend two nights at Waterberg Wilderness Nature Reserve. Once a cattle farm, it is now a beautiful, private reserve with a great variety of wildlife, superb landscapes, and amazing hospitality.

2 week Namibia itinerary_Rhino
2 week Namibia itinerary_Rhino
Come face to face with white rhinos at Waterberg Wilderness!

Waterberg Wilderness is home to a variety of wildlife, including 7 white rhinos. You’re not allowed to self-drive in the reserve, but you can join a guided tour, to come up close to these fascinating animals.

  • explore the wilderness by foot on the 3-4 hour guided Rhino Tracking. You might spot giraffes, Kudu, Oryx, and hopefully, even come eye to eye with a white rhino.
  • or join the 2-3 hour Rhino Drive, which almost always provides sightings of a white rhino. You’ll be able to get out of the safari vehicle, follow your guide into the bush, and watch the rhinos close up.

Voigtland Guesthouse_2 week Namibia itinerary

Day 14 | Windhoek

Distance: 290 km from Waterberg to Windhoek

Time to head back to Windhoek. We decided to drop off our car the afternoon before our flight, and spend our last night at Voigtland Guesthouse. This charming guesthouse is ideally located between Windhoek and Hosea Kutako airport, making it a great last stop on your Namibia itinerary.

If you have some time to spare in Windhoek and want to pick up some souvenirs, head to the Windhoek Craft Centre. It offers women-owned or community-driven craft businesses a platform to display their products like jewelry, art, or wood carvings.

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Epic 2-week Namibia itinerary
2-week Namibia itinerary

1 Comment

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Welcome to my world!

Hi, I’m Sara, a twenty-something Swiss on a mission to become a full-time travel writer and digital nomad.