- Explore Spitzkoppe's famous rock art
- Visit Namibia's Indigenous communities in Ovamboland
- Enjoy a rhino tracking experience in Palmwag Concession
- Spot wildlife on an Etosha National Park safari
- Hike up Waterberg Mountain
|Day 1||Arrive in Windhoek & Drive to Spitzkoppe for a Guided Sunset Tour||Spitzkoppe National Park|
|Day 2||Drive to Damaraland, Afternoon Game Drive in Palmwag||Damaraland|
|Day 3||Half-Day Rhino Tracking Expedition||Damaraland|
|Day 4||Drive to Kaokoveld||Kaokoveld|
|Day 5||Day Trip to Epupa Falls||Kaokoveld|
|Day 6||Drive to Ovamboland & Visit Ongula Homestead Village||Ovamboland|
|Day 7||Drive to Etosha East & Evening Game Drive||Etosha East|
|Day 8||Explore Etosha National Park||Etosha East|
|Day 9||Drive to Waterberg & Hike Waterberg Mountain||Waterberg|
|Day 10||Drive to Windhoek & Depart|
Day 1: Arrive in Windhoek & Drive to Spitzkoppe for a Guided Sunset Tour
Welcome to Namibia! You'll be greeted at Windhoek airport by a representative from the car rental company, who'll help you complete all the procedures for your self-drive adventure. Next, drive west through Namibia's limitless plains to your first destination, Spitzkoppe.
Spitzkoppe is a collection of hulking granite mountains that lie in the world's oldest desert, the Namib. Known as the Matterhorn of Africa for its shape, Spitzkoppe has become one of the country's most iconic landmarks, drawing hikers and rock climbers who come to scale its challenging peak.
Take some time to settle in before embarking on a sunset tour. You'll travel in a 4WD perfect for observing wildlife and photographing the landscape. Stop to discover ancient cave paintings at Small Bushman's Paradise, spot animals at the Zebra Pool, and admire Spitzkoppe's famous rock arch. Soak up sunset views accompanied by drinks and snacks to end the tour.
Day 2: Drive to Damaraland, Afternoon Game Drive in Palmwag
This morning, drive yourself north to Palmwag Lodge in Damaraland, a dramatic region of grasslands, gorges, and mountains. The area is particularly famed for its prehistoric rock paintings and geological formations carved by wind and sand over the centuries. Check into your lodge in the Palmwag Concession, a 1,359,000-acre (550,000 ha) protected slice of wilderness. A diverse array of wildlife is sustained here by the Uniab River, which runs through the concession.
This afternoon you'll take a game drive in the Palmwag Concession. Bump across the rocky basalt landscape, which was created over 125 million years ago by magma eruptions. Your guide will point out some of Palmwag's resident wildlife, which includes springboks, giraffes, and rare species like desert-dwelling elephants and spotted hyenas. Keep an eye out for endemic birds such as Ruppell's korhaan as you drive.
Day 3: Half-Day Rhino Tracking Expedition
Managed by the Save the Rhino Trust, Palmwag Concession has Africa's largest free-roaming population of black rhinos, which you'll encounter on today's tracking expedition. Thanks to the trust's work protecting these critically-endangered creatures from poachers and habitat loss, their numbers are slowly increasing within the concession.
Head out with a guide and expert tracker who knows each rhino by sight. You'll travel to off-the-beaten-track areas in an open game vehicle and then follow on foot to observe rhinos from a respectful distance. While the main focus is tracking rhinos, you're likely to spot many other animals during the tour, from kudus to oryx and mountain zebras.
Day 4: Drive to Kaokoveld
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Drive north this morning, crossing the Hoanib River and Joubert Pass on your way to Kaokoveld. Set in the lesser-visited wild northwest of Namibia, Kaokoveld is a land of endless savannahs, valleys, and mountains divided by the Hoanib River. You can drive for hours without seeing another soul.
On the way, stop at tiny villages to get a taste of local life, arriving at the region's capital, Opuwo. This will be your base for exploring Kaokoveld's unforgiving landscape, which is home to many of Namibia's Indigenous communities. These include the semi-nomadic Herero and Himba people, whose cultures have remained largely unchanged for centuries.
Day 5: Day Trip to Epupa Falls
Spend today exploring the natural and cultural wonders of Kaokoveld. On the way to Epupa Falls, you'll stop at several Himba villages with a local guide to meet the residents and learn about their lives as pastoral nomads. You'll hear how the Himba people make mud-thatched houses, herd cattle, hunt, and forage from the land.
Continue to Epupa Falls – Epupa means "falling water" in the Herero language. This epic 200-foot (60 m) cascade lies on the Kunene River, which forms a natural border between Namibia and Angola, creating a lush landscape that attracts birds and animals. Watch the water crash into a series of natural rock pools where you can take a cooling dip before returning to your lodge.
Day 6: Drive to Ovamboland & Visit Ongula Homestead Village
Say goodbye to Opuwo today and drive east to Ovamboland, a slice of untouched Africa home to some of Namibia's oldest ethnic groups. In this farming region, you'll drive past vast millet fields and rain-flooded pans where locals trap fish with woven baskets. Ovamboland is dotted with small settlements where locals sell their produce, jewelry, and wooden carvings.
Spend the afternoon at Ongula Village Homestead to glimpse traditional Ovambo life. Learn how the women pound pear millet and weave baskets from makalani palms, then listen to elders explain how they cultivate the land. You may be invited to try some delicacies such as fried mopane worms or home-brewed schnapps; if you're lucky, your visit might even coincide with a wedding or village celebration.
Day 7: Drive to Etosha East & Evening Game Drive
Today begins with a short drive south to Etosha National Park, known by the Indigenous Ovambo people as "the great white place" for its 1,900 square-mile (4,920 sq km) salt pan, which is visible from space. Enter via the quieter Von Lindequist Gate in the east of the park, where you'll be staying.
Check into your lodge in this remote corner of the park. You'll enjoy views of the boundless plains studded with baobab trees, waterholes, and grazing game. Etosha is one of Namibia's top safari destinations due to its many spring-fed waterholes, which offer supreme wildlife sightings of over 114 species of mammals and 350 bird species.
After settling in, head off for an evening game drive in Etosha. You'll visit a private hide overlooking one of Etosha's largest waterholes, reserved for lodge guests only. Watch warthogs, big cats, birds, and elephants mingle around the water's edge while you enjoy a variety of snacks and drinks.
Day 8: Explore Etosha National Park
Spend the day exploring Etosha National Park; your lodge has a full range of activities, including 4WD safaris, sundowners, and stargazing sessions. Guided nature walks are also available and are a great way to get up close to the park's unusual plants and insects that have adapted to this arid environment.
Experiences come with an expert guide who'll search out endemic species like black-faced impalas and everything from antelopes to cheetahs. You'll also learn about Etosha's distinctive terrain, which features a giant salt pan and over 20 types of vegetation. In the rainy season, water floods the pan, creating lagoons that attract migratory birds like flamingoes.
Day 9: Drive to Waterberg & Hike Waterberg Mountain
Journey south to Waterberg Plateau National Park, named for the natural springs around the base of its soaring sandstone plateau (Waterberg means "water mountain" in Afrikaans). This geological site is scattered with 200-million-year-old dinosaur footprints and petrified sand dunes. Thanks to its water sources, the park also has plenty of vegetation and sustains varied wildlife, including rare species like the roan antelope, white rhino, and Cape vulture.
Head out late afternoon to hike up to the table-topped, 490-foot (150 m) peak of Waterberg Mountain. At 31 miles (50 km) long and 10 miles (16 km) wide, the sandstone mountain dominates the landscape and provides incredible views over the national park. Follow a marked hiking trail to the top, which takes up to 90 minutes, depending on how many photo stops you make.
If there's time, take an optional tour to learn about farming practices in Waterberg. A guide will introduce you to the lodge's Arab horses and Santa Gertrudis cattle, explaining how they protect these animals from leopards hunting in the area. Afterward, relax with a sundowner at a beautiful reservoir, sipping drinks while watching the sky change color as animals gather at the water's edge.
Day 10: Drive to Windhoek & Depart
Your Namibia adventure ends today. Drive back to Windhoek to drop off your rental car and catch your flight home. Safe travels!
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