Namibia is a very big and pleasant country to travel in self-drive, given the good condition of the roads, even dirt roads, and the excellent assortment of accommodation for all budgets, provided you have a tent with you, the daily cost of a trip to this country is around $50 per day per person in budget-wise.
The costs incurred during my travel in this country have very surprised me, I thought it would have been more expensive and instead it has successfully positioned itself as one of the cheapest African countries in which to travel, especially when compared to the high costs of Ethiopia and Tanzania.
I have already mentioned my rather hybrid travel itinerary, which lasted a month and a half when I alternated car, public transport, and hitchhiking, but this country offers different travel routes, and it is of these I will write in this post.
If you want to know more about how to plan the perfect trip in Namibia read: Guide to Namibia, how to plan the perfect trip
Namibia can be divided into 3 main areas: South Namibia, Central Namibia and Northern Namibia.
Areas completely different between them, both as regards to the scenarios as that regarding the population and the culture.
Three different routes that offer three distinct separate trips, proof of the fact that this country has several versions of itself to offer which, in any case, fascinate travelers, more or less experienced.
These itineraries can be done in self-drive.
I remember that it is impossible to travel in Namibia touching all these stages, and the south in general, by public transport.
For more information on ways to travel in Namibia, read Backpacking in Namibia, how to travel in the country.
If you want to join an Overland tour check all these options out, all itineraries are offered by great tour operator at competitive prices.
The Overland is, in fact, the perfect solution for solo travellers that do not want to miss anything of this beautiful Contry.
Itinerary 1 – classical Namibia
An itinerary for those who have a few days but that covers the best of Namibia.
Arrive in Windhoek to pick up the car, buy provisions in the supermarket and leave the next day to reach the desert of Sesriem where to stay 2 nights.
Drive to Swakopmund, about 6 hours, the Munich of the desert and resort on the coast, and introduction to the Skeleton Coast. Here you will stay two days to visit Walvis Bay, the Pelican Bay and Skeleton coast.
Entry into Damaraland. The routes of entry are two, one internal, mountainous and of huge spaces, or the one that follows the coast via Cape Cross.
The internal one offers some beautiful scenery and is also faster than that of the coast.
One day stop Stop here to visit Twyfelfontein where admire the paintings on the rock dated 6000 years ago.
Entrance to the Etosha National Park where to stay 3 nights to do two days of game drive, the east one day and the west the other day. Start the road of return to Windhoek passing through the central part of Namibia where to visit the Cheeta conservation Fund and Crocodile.
Return to Windhoek and departure.
Itinerary 2 – Namibia + Botswana + Victoria Falls
With this itinerary not only do we discover Namibia but we go beyond bordering with Botswana and Zambia.
The days available must be at least 22/23, the distances are huge and, unless you do not decide to buy a group overland travel package, if you drive yourself it will be particularly tiring.
The departure obviously from Windhoek where you only need one day to collect the car, get the sim card at the shopping mall, and spend the first night.
The next day we start by leaving in the direction of the Kalahari red desert, where we will sleep the first night.
Kalahari means the great thirst in the Tswana language, not difficult to understand why.
It hardly ever rains here. The reserves that can be visited are the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, the Khutse Game Reserve and the Kgalagadiuesto Transfrontier Park.
We will go on to the Fish River Canyon, the largest canyon in Africa and the second most visited destination of the continent.
For those who want to go trekking, these activities require a guide and are suspended during the summer because of the too high temperatures.
We continue the journey in the direction of Luderitz, the name comes from Adolf Lüderitz, a tobacco merchant who bought the area in 1883 in the hope of finding precious metals, an activity that failed, and that today we visit as a ghost town.
Stop at Aus-Aus and arrival at the Sesriem desert to stay at least 2 nights. The drive starts again, passing through the nice Solitaire, to get to Swakopmund and the Skeleton Coast.
Entrance in Damaraland via Cape Cross and arrival at Etosha National Park via Twyfelfontein.
After 3 nights in Etosha the time has come to start to get near to the border, the next destination is Rundu, on the border with Angola. The transit will be long and tiring the day after to reach Livingstone, Zambia, to visit the impressive Victoria Falls.
Two days later we enter Botswana to visit the Chobe National Park, literally invaded by elephants. Then follows the next stage, Maun, in the heart of the Okavango Delta. Here I recommend you to stay at least two days in Okavango, with ride in mokoro and camping in the Delta, surrounded by hundreds of hippos.
Departure to return in Namibia, last Namibian stop in Ghanzi before crossing the border and return to Windhoek.
Route 3 – Central Namibia and Kaokoland and North West
This is not a much-beaten route. Those who have three weeks, in general, prefer to include Botswana and the Victoria Falls, and yet this route takes you into the world of the Himba and the Herero, and will allow us to do so without running and fleeing, savoring at the best the genuineness of the tribes.
This itinerary follows the first 14 days with the difference that instead of returning immediately through the central highlands of the country, we continue to reach the incredible Opuwo. A small town where three different tribes live: Herero, identified by the clothes of the women still dressed in colonial outfits and inspired by the fashion of the time, Himba, that we all know, and Dhemba, a tribal variant recognizable because they do not have ocher in their hair and they are adorned with beads and colored ornaments.
To find out more about the tribes of Namibia and camping in the villages, read – Journey among the Namibian tribes
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Whoever arrives up here definitely does so because they want to discover and understand a little more about the tribe, and not let this experience be hurried and, unfortunately, as often happens when you visit the tribes in this mode, disappointing.
Once in Opuwo, and after making a trip to the supermarket while lining up surrounded by women with ocher-pasted hair and bare breasts, or imposing Herero women, who for some reason have always seemed particularly huge to me, start to organize your camping days with the tribes.
Before returning to Opuwo drive until the border with Angola to Epupa Falls.
ETHICS & TOURISM
I remember that the meeting with the tribes is a delicate moment, I strongly advise you not to approach them independently but instead recommend to bring with you a guide who not only speak the language and can translate but will be your bridge of access, and of acceptance, between you and the members of the village.
For this detour it is mandatory to have a 4×4 because the roads north of Opuwo are not easily viable with a normal 2×4.
After spending five days in the region, including 2 nights in Opuwo and 3 camping, begins the return trip through the Namibian highlands, where to visit the Cheeta conservation Fund and Crocodile and Crocodile.
Return to Windhoek on the day before departure.