Mountains on the horizon in Spitzkoppe Nature Reserve, Nambia.

Nambia itinerary: a two-week road trip

Namibia is a vast country packed with wildlife, fascinating cultural experiences and some of the most dramatic scenery in Africa. It's a place that appeals to adventurers, nature lovers, and those who find peace in its vast, untouched wildernesses.

Namibia’s size means that you’ll be covering long distances, unlike on a 2-week Kenya and Tanzania adventure where destinations are much closer together. This just makes the holiday even more epic, adding an extra element of adventure to your trip.

Two weeks in Namibia gives you enough time to see the main highlights as well as discover a few lesser-visited places in the country’s remote southern regions. While the driving distances are long, having a couple of weeks to play with gives you breathing room to fully appreciate the parks, deserts and coastlines you’ll be visiting.

Dead trees in front of a huge red sand dune in Sossusvlei, Namib desert, Namibia

A note on transport

While long-distance buses are available between Namibia’s major towns, by far the easiest way to travel is by car. Self-driving is a convenient and flexible option which means you can tailor your itinerary to suit your interests.

Depending on your where you’re going, a 4X4 is advisable, especially for the gravel tracks in the more remote regions. Main roads are generally well maintained, but petrol stations can be few and far between so remember to refuel at every opportunity.

For the below itinerary, renting a 4WD would be best.

A cheetah in Naankuse Nature Reserve, Namibia

Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary, Windhoek (1 night)

Your Namibia adventure begins with a visit to one of the country’s top wildlife conservation centres, which is just outside Windhoek. Spending a day at Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary is an easy way to learn about Namibia’s ecosystems, through the wildlife and landscape projects.

There are several activities for you to get involved with at the sanctuary, including horse riding safaris, game drives and even walks with some of the resident animals such as cheetahs and caracals. There are also opportunities to volunteer at the sanctuary.


  • Stay at The Weinberg Windhoek with beautifully-designed rooms and a choice of on-site restaurants.

  • Book a cheetah experience at the Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary.

A lioness walking through the bush in Okonjima, Namibia

Okonjima Nature Reserve (1 night)

After breakfast, you’ll head north for a couple of hours to reach the famous Okonjima Nature Reserve. Okonjima is home to the AfriCat Foundation, which makes it one of the easiest places in Africa to see big cats.

Take your pick from the wide range of safari activities available in the reserve. Visit the Carnivore Care Centre for close encounters with cheetahs, enjoy a nature drive to spot leopards, or venture out on a bush walk with a local guide.


A giraffe next to a tree in Etosha National Park, Namibia.

Etosha National Park (3 nights)

Continue north to one of Africa’s largest game reserves – Etosha National Park. The journey takes around 2.5 hours, so you’ll be on safari by lunchtime. The park is set up for self-drive safaris, but you can book a traditional game drive with a wildlife guide if you prefer.

Landscapes here are a mix of savannah and desert which means there are lots of different species to discover. Elephants, black rhinos and lions roam the plains while pink flamingos jostle for space in the salt pans.

Today is all about safari, with an extensive network of trails to explore. The name “Etosha” translates as “Great White Place”, referring to the enormous salt pan which is so big it can be seen from space.

Wildlife congregates around the waterholes at the edges of the arid Etosha pan, so just drive to one and wait for the animals to come to you. Waterholes near some of the camps are floodlit in the evenings making nocturnal wildlife viewing even easier. Head to Okaukuejo for elephants and rhinos or Halali for leopards.


Rock formation at Twyfelfontein, Namibia, a World Heritage site

Damaraland (1 night)

You’ll head west today towards Twyfelfontein, passing through the rugged wilderness of Damaraland with deep valleys and towering plateaus all around.

The remote Twyfelfontein region is a UNESCO World Heritage site, famous for its San Bushman rock art – there are around 2,500 carvings here. Want to see some of the petroglyphs? The Twyfelfontein Visitor Centre offers several self-guided walking routes.

Damaraland is also known for its desert-adapted wildlife. Gemsbok, oryx and springbok are often seen here, but the real highlight of your day will be going on a safari drive to see the desert elephants in their natural environment.


A wharf stretching into the sea at Swakopmund, Namibia

Swakopmund (1 night)

Today you’ll be driving along the Skeleton Coast, which is home to some of Namibia’s most dramatic and desolate scenery.

Stretching between the Angolan border and Swakopmund, the Skeleton Coast is an eerie journey of crashing waves, immense sand dunes and fog-enshrouded shipwrecks. On a windy day, you can hear the dunes roaring as the sand particles resonate together.

You’ll enter the park through the Springbokwasser Gate, which opens at 7 AM. Park fees are payable here. Highlights on this epic road trip include a wrecked oil rig, the South West Seal shipwreck and the Zeila shipwreck.

Don’t miss the Cape Cross Seal Reserve, where you’ll be greeted by the raucous calls of thousands of fur seals. There’s a car park and a walkway that takes you to see the colony.


Flamingos in the lagoon in Sandwich Harbour, Namibia

Sandwich Harbour (1 night)

Book a guided day tour to Sandwich Harbour and see where Namibia’s giant sand dunes plunge into the Atlantic Ocean. You can visit Sandwich Harbour on a self-driving adventure, but you’ll have to be extremely confident driving a 4X4 over sand dunes and you’ll need to take a local guide.

As you head south, you’ll pass Walvis Bay, which is known for its colonies of fur seals. Stop for a kayaking excursion if you have time. The dunes of the Namib get bigger as you continue your journey to Sandwich Harbour.

Keep your eyes peeled for flamingos, pelicans and waders in the lagoon, and if you’re lucky, you might even spot a jackal out on the beach in search of dinner.


Dead trees in the sunrise in Deadvlei, Namibia

Sossusvlei (2 nights)

Today you’ll drive through desert landscapes and historic towns along the northeastern edge of the Namib-Naukluft National Park.

Refuel in the small settlement of Solitaire where there’s a petrol station and a handful of local eateries. Don’t leave without a slice of the famous apple pie from McGregor’s Desert Bakery.

Arrive at your lodge in the afternoon in time for a relaxing dip in the pool before dinner. Enjoy sundowners on the deck as you watch the sun setting over the Namib Desert.

Get up early for a guided tour to see the red Namib dunes. As you bounce through the sand, watch as the sun slowly brings the desert to life. This is the ultimate time for photographs with the dunes defined by shadow and light – it’s cooler in the morning too.

If you’re feeling energetic you can climb up the colossal Big Daddy dune and be rewarded with far-reaching views from the top. Enjoy a picnic lunch in Deadvlei where the petrified camel thorn trees make for iconic photos. On the way back to the lodge, stop at Sesriem Canyon for a short hike.


  • Stay at Desert Hills Lodge for luxury accommodation in the desert.

  • Visit the settlement of Solitaire.

  • Book a day trip to Big Daddy Dune and Deadvlei.

Sand fills the houses of the deserted town of Kolmanskop in Namibia.

Aus (2 nights)

Today you’ll be driving south to the remote desert town of Aus. Your route hugs the eastern edge of the Namib-Naukluft National Park, with red sand dunes and rocky escarpments on the horizon. Oryx and ostrich are often spotted here, so keep your camera handy.

Aus is famous for its wild horses which have roamed free for over a century. Your best chance of seeing them is at the Garub waterhole – it’s just 12 miles west of Aus.

Day trip: Kolmanskop and Luderitz

The next day, head out to the coast on a day trip to a couple of southern Namibia’s most photogenic destinations. First up is the old diamond mining town of Luderitz, with its colourful German architecture and sand-covered streets.

Climb up to the hilltop church of Felsenkirche for views across Robert Harbour and visit the Luderitz Museum to learn about the settlement’s industrial past.

Return inland to the ghost town of Kolmanskop where the windswept buildings are slowly being engulfed by the Namib Desert. Abandoned after the diamond rush, Kolmanskop has been deserted since the 1950s. Its eerie, sand-filled houses are a dream for photographers.


Stay at Bahnhof Hotel Aus with comfortable rooms and an on-site restaurant.

Visit the Garub waterhole to see wild horses.

Book a boat trip from Luderitz to Halifax Island to see the penguins.

The walls of the Fish River Canyon turning red at sunset

Fish River Canyon (1 night)

Today you’ll visit the “Grand Canyon of Africa”, which thanks to its remote location is one of the wildest places to explore in Namibia. Arrive in time for a picnic lunch overlooking the world’s second largest canyon.

Spend the afternoon hiking some of the Fish River Canyon trails, which run along the rim as well as down into the ravine. Some routes are quite challenging so sturdy footwear is a must.

Sunset drives along the plateau can be arranged through your accommodation, with stops at viewpoints for sundowners along the way.


  • Stay at Fish River Lodge with wonderful views over the canyon.

  • Book a sunset drive in Fish River Canyon.

An aerial view of the Christuskirche in the middle of a roundabout in Windhoek, Namibia

Windhoek (1 night)

It’s finally time to head back north to Windhoek. It’ll be a long day on the road but there will be plenty of opportunities for stops on the journey. Hardap makes a convenient halfway point where you can enjoy lunch and stretch your legs at the Hardap Dam.

Spend the night in Windhoek and spend the next day exploring the Namibian capital. It’s home to several historical attractions like the Christuskirche, a German Lutheran Church built in the early 1900s (you’ll find it in the middle of a roundabout).

The Independence Memorial Museum is worth a visit too and gives an insight into the country’s past under German and South African rule. Pop into the lush Parliament Gardens for a stroll or haggle for souvenirs at one of the city’s many markets.


Share this article

Ella McKendrick

Author - Ella McKendrick

Ella McKendrick is a travel writer with a love for all things Africa. She first visited the continent when she was 17 years old and has since been back numerous times, her passion for safaris and culture never letting her stay away for long.

Last Updated 13 March 2024

Dead trees in the sunrise in Deadvlei, Namibia


Spectacular natural landscapes, diverse wildlife, and some of the world's oldest rock art.