Windhoek, the capital of Namibia, is the perfect starting point for this exciting 10-day self-drive tour around the country. Experience the unspoiled beauty of this magnificent country, from the blazing red dunes of the Kalahari to the granite mountain backdrops. Along the route, you’ll come across charming colonial beach communities. See the picturesque colonial seaside towns that dot the route as well.
Tour Highlights of the Namibia Self-Drive tour
Windhoek is Namibia’s capital and home to an international airport as well as several restaurants, stores, entertainment venues, and accommodations. The city is clean, safe, and well-organized, with a colonial past evident in the many German cafés and shops, as well as the common usage of German. Windhoek features a remarkable blend of antique and modern architecture, including the Alte Feste (Old Fort), the 1896 Christuskirche (Christ Church), and the more contemporary Supreme Court.
Intu Afrika Kalahari Game Reserve
The 10,000-hectare Intu Afrika Kalahari Game Reserve, located just 250 kilometers from Namibia’s capital, offers a panorama of incomparable natural magnificence. Deep red and clay-colored dunes extend out into the distance, interspersed with meadows, bushes, and trees. The park is home to an assortment of animals, including black wildebeest, springbok, oryx, giraffe, and a sizable meerkat population. Visitors can learn about the traditional way of living by following a!Kung guide around the desert and learning survival tactics. Make sure to check out the village’s exquisite handmade items. Adrenaline junkies will enjoy hiking, 4×4 trips, and quad-biking.
The Succulent Karoo is emblematic of this region. Its peculiar climatic qualities distinguish it from all other deserts on the planet. Rainfall is consistent and predictable, falling largely in the winter, and extended droughts are uncommon. The botanical variety of the Succulent Karoo is unequaled by any other arid region on the planet, and it is the world’s only completely arid plant hotspot. This ecoregion is home to over 5,000 higher plant species, roughly 40% of which are endemic and 18% of which are threatened. It boasts the world’s richest succulent flora, including almost one-third of the world’s 10,000 succulent species. Another distinguishing aspect is the variety of small succulents (435 species) and geophytes (630 species). The ecoregion is also a hotspot for reptiles and many invertebrate taxa, particularly monkey beetles (Rutelinae: Hoplinii). To the north, the Namib Desert ecoregion is distinguished by extremely low and erratic summer rainfall (less than 50 mm per year) and relatively scant plant cover dominated by ephemerals. The Nama Karoo ecoregion lies to the east, a low open shrubland with fluctuating grass cover and highly variable rain that falls primarily in the late summer months.
The Sossusvlei area is fed by a river called the Tsauchab River – the dunes actually prevent the entire pathway of this river. The Tsauchab River only flows right through Sossusvlei every 5 to 10 years, making it a rare sight to see.The Sossusvlei dunes are about 60 km from the Sesriem gate which is about an hours drive. The distinctive red sand dunes of the Namib Desert can be found around Sossusvlei. The beautiful blue skies clash with with the massive red sand dunes, making this one of Africa’s natural wonders and a photographer’s paradise. Aside from the sights at Sossusvlei (Dune 45, Hiddenvlei, Big Daddy, and Deadvlei), other places of interest in the area include Sesriem Canyon and Namib-Naukluft National Park, where the Namib’s highlands meet its plains.
Set along the spectacular Namibian coastline, the seaside town of Swakopmund is known for its wide open avenues, colonial architecture, and is surrounded by otherworldly desert terrain. Founded in 1892 as the main harbour for German South West Africa, Swakopmund is often described as being more German than Germany. Now a seaside resort town, Swakopmund is the capital of the Skeleton Coast tourism area and has plenty to keep visitors happy. The quirky mix of German and Namibian influences, adventure options, laidback atmosphere and cool sea breeze make it very popular Namibian destination. Visitors can look forward to a number of exciting activities including: quad biking, horse riding, paragliding, fishing, sightseeing and fascinating desert tours.