Last Updated on by Rodrigo @ OutofYourComfortZone
I just came back from a 2-week adventure-filled self-drive trip to Namibia. This country, with its stark beauty, quickly became my no. 1 in the whole widewhole, wide world.
In the next lines, I’ll guide you through an unforgettable journey. My carefully crafted itinerary highlights the splendors of this truly wild corner of Africa. Buckle up for the ride of a lifetime – you are about to embark on an exhilarating adventure in Namibia, where every day is a surprise and every moment a cherished memory. Welcome to Namibia – the home of experiences you are yet to dream of.
Day 1: Windhoek
My journey began in the heart of Namibia – the capital city of Windhoek. Nestled among rolling hills, Windhoek is a splendid blend of the old and the new, a unique harmony of German colonial architecture hugging sleek, modern designs.
As you walk down the quiet streets, eyes wide with curiosity, you find surprises around every corner – quaint boutiques, welcoming cafes, and the friendly smiles of locals. For me, Windhoek was a sweet introduction to the adventure that awaited me in the further wilderness of Namibia.
I recommend taking a day to stroll the main streets slowly, visit the Independence Memorial Museum, eat amazing ice creams at Cramer’s Ice Cream, and pick up your supplies in Metro Hyper before you start your self-drive trip. Stock for at least tree days. And, remember to book a table in Joe’s Beerhouse to try some game meat – I just loved the Oryx steak.
Days 2-3: Sossusvlei and Namib-Naukluft National Park
Dawn of the second day, I was off to Sossusvlei, with a short stop in Conny’s Coffe for a break – his lunch and coffee swept me from my feet! This journey was like stepping onto another planet, where immense red dunes rise to meet the blue sky. The magic continued as I wandered around the starkly beautiful Deadvlei, its ancient, skeletal trees standing as silent sentinels against the test of time.
It seems frozen in time. These trees are over 900 years old and stand as a testament to the harsh desert environment and the relentless passage of time. Against the backdrop of the blue sky and the white clay pan, they create a perfect photo opportunity.
Plan your visit here during sunrise or sunset. The shifting light paints the landscape in fiery reds and golden hues! Take a lot of water and sunscreen, as the temperature during the day can be unbearable. If you’re thinking about sunset – remember to check the opening times of the national park, as you have to leave it before the gate closes.
Days 4-5: Swakopmund
As my journey turned to Swakopmund on the fourth day, the desert gave way to the coast. Here the sands of the Namib Desert meet the crashing waves of the Atlantic. It’s the only desert by the sea in the whole world! Swakopmund is a charming town, with German colonial architecture and palm-lined streets.
Here you can slow down for a bit, eat some amazing seafood, sip coffee at a street-side café, and discover hidden treasures in local artisan shops. On the fifth day, if you’re up for it, a whirlwind of adrenaline-pumping activities awaits.
I loved hopping on a quad bike and riding through the dunes of the Namib Desert. You can feel the rush here as you zoom across the sandy terrain, conquer challenging slopes, and embrace the excitement of quad-riding in this fantastic landscape. And the adventure doesn’t end there!
This activity can be joined with another hour of sandboarding – sliding down the towering dunes on a board. The exhilaration as you glide through the golden sands with the wind in your hair is one to remember!
Day 6: Spitzkoppe
Day six welcomed me with the beauty of Spitzkoppe. As dawn unfolded, the first sunbeams unveiled the silhouette of these enchanting granite peaks, their rugged facades painted in shades of orange and pink. You can’t help but feel a tingle of awe!
I spent my day adventuring across these rocky giants. I visited Rock Pool, Rock Arch, and Bushmen’s Paradise – where the ancient San people murals are located. Remember that hikes here can be challenging, but it’s entirely worth it. Just remember to bring a good pair of hiking shoes. Also, don’t forget your water bottle – trust me, the African sun can be pretty intense. The real gem of Spitzkoppe, though, is its stargazing opportunities. The nights are remarkably clear.
Day 7-8: Epupa Falls
The Kunene River forms the Epupa Falls, plunging over a series of rocky steps, creating a stunning spectacle. The spray from the falls creates a refreshing mist, relieving the heat and adding to the overall charm of the place. The rustling palms create a dreamlike atmosphere, while the vibrant birdlife adds a splash of color and liveliness. Sleeping in a rooftop tent by the river, hearing the white noise of waterfalls? Best nights in my life.
Another must-visit is the local Himba villages nearby. The locals are friendly, and their unique culture is fascinating. As I entered the village, I was warmly greeted by the Himba people, who welcomed me into their community. Together with our guide (also a Himba), we offered our gifts to the village – just a lot of food.
They shared their customs, traditions, and daily routines with us. We were observing the Himba women’s elaborate beauty rituals. They used red ochre to adorn their skin and hair, creating intricate patterns and designs.
Day 9: Otjitotongwe Cheetah Park
This was such a surreal experience! Witnessing these majestic cats up close in their (kind-of) natural habitat was an altogether different experience. Their golden eyes held a captivating allure, while the soft purring and the occasional roars echoed the stories of the wild. The highlight? Feeding time! Observing these creatures gracefully claim their meal was a sight to behold.
If you venture here, always respect the cheetahs’ space. They may look calm but remember they are still wild animals. And if you’re lucky enough to visit during feeding time (at 4 pm), maintain a safe distance.
Days 10-12: Self-drive safari in Etosha National Park
One of my most memorable adventures was a self-drive safari in Etosha National Park. Armed with a map and binoculars, we independently explored this incredible wildlife sanctuary. From behind the wheel of my vehicle, I was the captain of my own safari – a thrilling notion! The best part? That feeling of unpredictable anticipation – every turn of the road was a new opportunity for an unforgettable wildlife encounter.
It was an immersive experience as I watched herds of zebras grazing peacefully, graceful giraffes wandering across the plains, and various antelope species leaping gracefully through the grasslands. I even had the privilege of seeing some lions (from afar), a cheetah (from very close), and seven white rhinos!
Rhinos came to a waterhole that was just outside our campsite. This is why I recommend Halali campsite – it has a floodlit waterhole with raised seating for game sightings.
Always start your drive early. Mornings are prime time for wildlife sightings, plus you’ll beat the afternoon heat. Carry plenty of water and some snacks, too, the park is vast, and there are limited facilities. Off-road driving is a no-go – stick to the designated tracks and viewing points. Enjoy the ride!
Day 13: Hoba Meteorite and Waterberg Plateau
The last part of the journey was of cosmic proportions, as I found myself at the Hoba Meteorite, a colossal reminder of our universe’s mystique. I could hardly believe it: here I was, touching a piece of space, a fragment from the cosmos! For those who do not know that – Hoba Meteorite is the largest meteorite in the world! Later this day, I reached the Waterberg Plateau.
Rising majestically above the savannah, it helds a breathtaking panorama of the surrounding landscape. The silence was profound, save for the occasional call of a distant bird or the rustle of the wind through the grass.
Embrace the adventure!
This is Namibia – raw, wild, and utterly captivating.
So, gather your spirit of adventure, your thirst for knowledge, and a heart ready to embrace the extraordinary, and embark on a journey that will forever imprint your soul, just as it imprinted mine. With its awe-inspiring scenery, diverse wildlife, and vibrant cultural mosaic, Namibia is a gem awaiting your exploration. So, rent your 4×4, take your passport photo, sort out your visa, and brace yourself to uncover the magic that lies in this remarkable slice of Africa.
Aleksandra Staromiejska is a travel, food, and wellness passionate who has visited 50+ countries on four continents. She is a Travel Leader for the adventurous travel company Solisci Adventure Club and the Digital PR Specialist at PhotoAiD, Passport Photo Online, and ePassportPhoto. After spending a couple of months in Thailand and climbing Mt Kilimanjaro, she is getting ready for another adventure – spending three months in Argentina.
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