Namibia has become more and more popular over the last few years – and we definitely understand why. A road trip through this amazing country will uncover mighty sand dunes, ancient bushmen engravings, huge herds of wildlife, as well as some breathtaking views. Namibia is really diverse when it comes to sights around the country. Of course, the desert takes up a big part but with its wide-open spaces, you will find endless horizons – All ready to be explored. And there is no better way to see and explore all of this, than by driving along the gravel roads in your own car.
Below you will find the perfect 2-week Namibia road trip itinerary, in which you will come by all of the main attractions in the incredible country.
Day 1: Windhoek
You start your perfect road trip in Namibia in Windhoek. This is the capital of the country and where you are most likely to arrive by plane. We would recommend you stay 1 night in Windhoek rather than rushing out of the city. That way you are able to do some grocery shopping and get to know your car before the adventure starts.
Day 2 – Windhoek to Okonjima Nature Reserve
For your second day in Namibia, you must drive to Okonjima Nature Reserve. This trip is about 220 kilometers and should take you about 3 to 4 hours. Depending on your speed and number of breaks. We recommend you drive from Windhoek as early as possible, making it possible for you to enjoy the afternoon in the nature reserve.
Okonjima Nature Reserve is home to the Africat Foundation. They research, rescue, and rehabilitate the big cats of Namibia. One of the biggest highlights of Okonjima Nature Reserve is its leopard trekking. This safari drive takes place in both the afternoon and early morning. By arriving early in Okonjima, you are able to join one of these incredible leopard safaris.
Day 3 – Okonjima Nature Reserve
If you follow this itinerary, you will spend your third day in Okonjima Nature Reserve. This will allow going on safari drives in both the morning and afternoon. And who would say no to that?
The reserve is fenced off to protect especially the leopards, from wandering out and getting shot by farmers, as well as to protect the endangered rhinos inside the park. Even though the area is fenced you probably won’t notice as the reserve is huge. This 200-square-kilometer nature reserve is home to some incredible wildlife.
For the day we would recommend you join both a morning and afternoon game drive. We spent our morning on the endangered species drive, where we were lucky to find 2 rhinos. In the afternoon we went on another leopard tracking. We were lucky with all 3 of our game drives, as we saw the animals very up close. Okonjima is definitely worth a visit if you want to visit leopards in their rightful habitat.
Day 4 – Okonjima Nature Reserve to Etosha National Park (Okaukuejo Camp)
From Okonjima Nature Reserve you have 250 kilometers before you arrive at the Anderson Gate to Etosha National Park. This drive should take you about 4 to 5 hours, again depending on your number of breaks and speed. We recommend you arrive as early as possible in Etosha, as this national park is huge. We also recommend you spend your night at Okaukuejo Camp. We found this to be a perfect place to stay, as it made it possible for us to explore the east side of Etosha on our first day.
Etosha National Park is one of the most popular places to visit in Namibia. And the great thing about this place is that you are able to go on self-drive safaris. To make it even better Etosha National Park offers some of the greatest safari experiences in the world. Never have we seen so many animals gathered in one place.
Day 5 – Etosha National Park (Okaukuejo Camp to Olifantsrus Camp)
Today you are going to spend a lot of hours inside the car, but it will all be worth it – trust us! As the park is huge it makes sense to divide your time between 2 camps. For your fifth day, we recommend you spend the night at Olifantsrus Camp on the west side of Etosha National Park, where many of the water holes are found. Therefore, this day is actually your drive from one camp to another. But don’t you worry, this will probably be the most rewarding drive of your time in Etosha National Park.
The park is one of the greatest safari parks in the world. During the wet season, you will find huge numbers of wildlife strolling the plains. Whereas, if you arrange your visit in the dry season the animals flock to the water holes thereby creating some of the most incredible wildlife viewing opportunities imaginable. This will leave you absolutely breathless.
Day 6: Etosha National Park to Twyfelfontein
Another long day in the car lies ahead. Your sixth day in Namibia should start with a little bit of safari. Make for Galton Gate out of Etosha but remember to take a few detours and stop at the waterholes on your way. From the gate, you should drive south towards the area around Twyfelfontein. This trip is about 230 kilometers on gravel roads and should take about 4 hours.
We stayed at Madisa Camp, which we found to be perfectly placed for our adventures in the area. Spend the afternoon exploring the area before ending the day with a gorgeous sunset.
Day 7: Twyfelfontein to Spitzkoppe
Rise and shine – you will need an early start for this eventful day in Namibia. The first stop of the day is Twyfelfontein. This UNESCO World Heritage Site of bushmen rock engravings is well worth a visit when in Namibia. But remember to go early to avoid crowds and midday heat. From here you should drive about 5 hours towards Spitzkoppe. This area consists of a group of huge rock formations rising from an otherwise flat landscape. This is a magnificent place to explore in the afternoon while you wait for a stunning sunset.
Bonus tip: Watch the sunset from Rock Arch – the views are incredible.
Day 8: Spitzkoppe to Swakopmund
To get the most out of your limited time in Spitzkoppe we recommend you wake up early and watch the sunset before heading on. After a week in Namibia, you are going to the coast, to Swakopmund. The drive from Spitzkoppe to Swakopmund is actually not that long or scenic. As an alternative, you drive via Henties Bay to Cape Cross Seal Reserve. This reserve is home to around 200.000 stinky seals – an incredible sight. From here you are able to drive along the coast down to Swakopmund. On your way, you should keep an eye out for the Zeila Shipwreck – which can be found on Google Maps. This route should take you about 4 hours, thereby leaving time for you to explore the small beach town of Swakopmund. Its German architecture makes this charming colonial town perfect for an afternoon stroll.
Day 9: Swakopmund to Walvis Bay
For the first time on this itinerary, you won’t have to get up early and drive as soon as the sun is up. Instead, we would recommend you spend some time in Swakopmund before heading towards Walvis Bay. On your way, you should swing by Dune 7 – the highest sand dune in the Namib Desert. If you dare, you are able to climb to the top of this big dune. It is well worth the climb as you are rewarded with an amazing view from the top.
Day 10: Walvis Bay
Walvis Bay is not a charming town like Swakopmund but instead very industrial. Even so, a lot of tourists visit this town and there is a very special reason for that. This day is dedicated to a Sandwich Harbour tour. On this tour, you are able to experience the famous Sandwich Harbour up close by driving in the sand dunes of the Namib Desert. The view of the ocean and desert meeting is just stunning. If you are lucky, you might even pass some seals, springboks, or jackals. With breathtaking scenery, huge amounts of flamingos, and fun in the dunes, this is a perfect way to spend your day in Walvis Bay.
Day 11: Walvis Bay to Sossusvlei
After a few days on the coast of Namibia, you are going inland again to the desert. From Walvis Bay, it should take you about 6 hours down to Sossusvlei. But you cannot drive this stunning route without taking the obligatory photo in front of the Tropic of Capricorn sign. Another place you simply cannot miss during your drive is the teeny settlement of Solitaire. Here you will find rusty car wrecks, a gas station, as well as a bakery. Solitaire has become famous for the apple pie at McGregor’s Bakery, and you must try a piece when visiting this abandoned little town.
When you arrive in the area around Sossusvlei, we would recommend you stay as close to the gate as possible. We stayed at Sossus Oasis Campsite which was literally right beside the gate.
Day 12: Sossusvlei
Sossusvlei is actually a clay pan surrounded by tall sand dunes inside Namib-Naukluft National Park, however, the park is often referred to as Sossusvlei. For your 12th day, you should try to enter the park when it opens at sunrise. You will thank us later when you aren’t climbing sand dunes in the midday heat.
The sand dunes of Sossusvlei have become one of the most iconic sites in Namibia. Big Daddy the biggest of them is your first stop of the day. Climbing this huge sand dune is like entering another world. When you reach the top, you will be rewarded with some magnificent views overlooking the valley. From the top, you are able to run down to Deadvlei – a clay pan with 900-year-old dead trees.
After this, your legs and glutes will probably thank you for a more relaxed afternoon and evening, so that you are ready for even more adventures tomorrow.
Day 13: Sossusvlei
Your second day in Sossusvlei starts with a hike through the desert to the less visited Hiddenvlei. This vlei is hidden in between the sand dunes of the Namib desert. This 2-hour hike in the sand is a perfect way to enjoy some solitude in beautiful surroundings.
We hope your legs and glutes have recovered from yesterday because they have to get to work again. This time climbing the famous Dune 45. But do not worry, this dune is not as big or difficult to climb as Big Daddy. From the top of Dune 45, you will be rewarded with a stunning view of the national park. At the foot of the sand dune, you will find tables and benches in the shadow – perfect for a picnic at lunchtime.
The last stop of the day is Sesriem Canyon – a canyon shaped over millions of years. This is one of the very few places in these areas that actually holds water year-round. Walking inside the shadowed canyon and exploring the rock formations is a perfect way to escape the afternoon heat.
Day 14: Sossusvlei to Windhoek
Most of your last day in Namibia is going to be spent in the car. The drive back to Windhoek is very scenic. One of the highlights was definitely the Spreetshoogte pass, which offers some spectacular views overlooking the Namib Desert. From there the rest of the trip is mostly empty gravel roads till you end your Namibian road trip in Windhoek.
Suggestions for a Namibia travel itinerary
Namibia is quite a huge country and there are so many things to do and see that it is impossible to visit every place in just 2 weeks. Therefore, we have gathered a few suggestions if you want to extend your 2-week Namibia itinerary or maybe change some things.
In the southern part of Namibia, you will find Lüderitz – a small coastal town. This great little town offers lots of activities for you to do, such as kitesurfing, admiring Art Nouveau architecture, and wildlife observation. Even though it is not one of the top tourist destinations in the country it is still a very interesting place to visit if you have the time.
Just 12 kilometers outside Lüderitz you will find the famous ghost town, Kolmanskop. Back in time, Kolmanskop was a wealthy town built around diamond mines, but for decades it has been abandoned. Nowadays it is an open-air museum with only a couple of houses and streets left to remind us about the past.
Fish River Canyon
The second largest canyon in the world can be found in Namibia. The Fish River has carved out the massive Fish River Canyon in the southern part of Namibia. The canyon has also become famous amongst hikers, as there is a 4-day hiking trail. This incredible trail is open from May to mid-September and is high on most hiker’s bucket lists. If you aren’t an experienced hiker, you are still able to get some incredible views of the canyon at Hobas (the entrance to the main lookout point).