Namibia road trip itineraries: 7, 14, and 21 days

Updated: 4 days ago

Are you planning a road trip around Namibia but you don't know where to go? In this blog post, you will find the ideal adventure road trip itineraries for your 7, 14, or 21 day trip around Namibia.


Namibia is located in the southwest of Africa and considered one of the driest countries in sub-Saharan Africa. However, despite its drought, it is home to a variety of wildlife and unique landscapes. From the Namib desert to rugged mountains, deep canyons, and endless savannas, it's no surprise that Namibia is becoming a hot destination on the international traveler's bucket list. For our complete guide to Namibia, click here.


However, travelers often underestimate Namibia's immense size as well as the vast distances between each highlight. If you have limited time to travel around Namibia, you will have to make some difficult choices of where to go. You can't fit it all in unless you are comfortable with spending most of your time in the car.


Views along the Skeleton Coast

We were in the same boat when we visited Namibia in January 2020. There were many destinations we wanted to fit in, which were in the extreme north or south of the country. As we only had 16 days, we decided to stay around the central part of the country. Below you will find our suggested routes for a 7, 14, or 21 day road trip across Namibia, connecting the highlights while not rushing through.



Namibia itinerary: 7 days


A: Windhoek | B: Spitzkoppe | C: Swakopmund | D: Walvis Bay | 
E: Sossusvlei | F: Windhoek

Start: Windhoek


If you are coming from abroad, you will most likely be arriving in the capital city of Windhoek, which is located in the center of Namibia. It is also the most convenient location as the majority of car rental companies are located here. Pick up your rental car and start your adventure!


If you arrive in the morning, it is possible to drive to Sossusvlei on the same day. If not, don't worry. You can decide to:

  1. Stay in Windhoek and go for a game drive in the nearby Daan Viljoen Game Reserve as this itinerary does not include any other specific game drives. You will find giraffes, wildebeest, zebras, ostriches, and baboons, among other mammals.

  2. Leave Windhoek and drive towards Sossusvlei. As this is the longest drive on your 7 day-trip, it is not a bad idea to break up the journey. We recommend taking a break near Spreetshoogte Pass, about two hours from Windhoek. It is not only a gorgeous area but also has a variety of accommodation options.


Spreetshoogte Pass

Day 1-3: Sossusvlei & Deadvlei


Distance: 365 km (226.8 mi) from Windhoek

Travel time: 5 hours

Along the way: Spreetshoogte Pass, Solitaire


Sossusvlei is Namibia's #1 highlight and cannot be missed. It is located in the Namib-Naukluft National Park and is surrounded by some of the world's highest sand dunes, reaching almost 400 meters. What makes this place truly unique is its blend of sand dune colors: from the white clay salt pans to the golden dunes that turn warm red in the evening and morning light.


Spend at least 2 full days in this area to truly take in this unique landscape. Combine the following highlights:

  • Deadvlei - located right next to Sossusvlei and famous for its dead camel thorn trees

  • Big Daddy Dune - the highest sand dune in the area offering spectacular views of the dunes (hiking to summit: approx. 2.5 hours)

  • Dune 45 - most scenic but busy sand dune, perfect for sunrise (hike to summit: 30 mins)

  • Elim Dune - a hidden gem perfect for the sunset (hiking to summit: 1 hour)

  • Sesriem Canyon - the only shaded attraction in the area

Sossusvlei

Day 4-5: Walvis Bay & Swakopmund


Distance: 315 km (195.7 mi) from Sesriem (entrance gate to Sossusvlei)

Travel time: 4 hours

Along the way: Kuiseb Canyon, Solitaire


As the drive to Walvis Bay or Swakopmund is quite long, it is best to leave Sossusvlei late on day 3 or early on day 4.


Walvis Bay and Swakopmund are two vibrant coastal towns half an hour away from each other. With easy access to lots of outdoor activities, they are also called the adventure capital of Namibia. Both the bordering Namib Desert as well as the Atlantic Ocean offer plenty of adrenaline. From quad biking deep in the desert dunes to spotting dolphins, whales, and seals on a boat tour. Find here more adventure activities in Swakopmund and Walvis Bay.


Highlights in the area of Swakopmund and Walvis bay include:

  • Dune 7 - the highest sand dune in Namibia, perfect for sandboarding!

  • Desert Moon Valley - a hidden valley full of eroded hills making incredible pictures (approx. 30 km or 18.6 mi from Swakopmund)

  • Desert Quad Biking - exploring the magnificent sand dunes in a thrilling and unique way!

  • Dolphin and Whale Watching Tours

  • Flamingos in the Lagoon of Walvis Bay - only from September to May

  • Pink Lake in Walvis Bay - A lagoon used for large-scale salt production


Pink Lake

Day 6-7: Spitzkoppe


Distance: direct route via B2 is 152 km (94 mi) from Swakopmund

Travel time: 1 hour 45 mins

Along the way: desert landscapes


As the drive from Swakopmund to Spitzkoppe is not very long or scenic, it is also possible to take an alternative route via Henties Bay. Henties Bay is just another small coastal town, but it is near the stinky seals at the Cape Cross Seal Reserve (about 60 km / 37.2 mi north) as well as various shipwrecks (tip: See shipwreck "the Zeila"!) along the coast. This alternative route up to the seal colony and back via Henties Bay and the D1918 takes approximately 3 hours 45 mins (300 km / 186 mi).


Spitzkoppe is located in the scenic but dry Damaraland region. It is an impressive rock formation of 1,728 meters (5669 ft) that towers above the surrounding desert landscape. Hence it is perfect for hiking, rock climbing, and watching the sunset. On top of that, you can also find rock paintings that tell an interesting history. Watch this video to learn more about Spitzkoppe!


Highlights:

  • Bushmen's Paradise guided walk - a guide will explain the history of the Bushmen as well as bring you to the rock paintings

  • Rock arch - Perfect to watch the sunset from

  • Rockpools - currently dry due to the drought, still a nicely shaped rock to hike on (possible to hike to the top)




END: Windhoek


Distance: 277 km (172 mi) from Spitzkoppe

Travel time: 3 hours

Along the way: Usakos


Your trip ends in Windhoek as here you will need to drop off your rental car and (possibly) fly out. Other highlights that were not included in this Namibia itinerary for 7 days are for your next trip!


Damaraland is home to the desert elephants!


Namibia itinerary: 14 days


A: Windhoek | B: Waterberg Plateau | C: Etosha NP (Namutoni) | 
D: Etosha NP (Okaukuejo) | E: Twyfelfontein | F: Spitzkoppe | 
G: Swakopmund | H: Walvis Bay | I: Sossusvlei | J: Windhoek

Start: Windhoek


The start of this 14-day Namibia itinerary is no different than the 7-day one. As Windhoek is the hub of international travel, you are most likely going to arrive here. Having carefully pre-arranged your car rental, it is time to start your 14-day road trip!



Day 1-2: Waterberg Plateau National Park


Distance: 304 km (188.9 mi) from Windhoek

Travel time: 3 hours 10 mins

Along the way: Okonjima Nature Reserve


"Only" a 3-hour drive from Windhoek, we recommend driving to Waterberg Plateau on your first day (yes, even if you arrive at Windhoek in the afternoon). The first part of the drive, which is the majority of the way, will be on a tarred road. Considering that most of the Namibian roads are made of gravel, this is a true luxury!


Waterberg Plateau National Park is named after its prominent table mountain. It is a truly natural destination with magnificent landscapes and plenty of animals, such as rhinos, buffalos, giraffes, roan antelopes, baboons, Damara dik-diks, and a variety of reptiles!


Highlights include:

  • Rhino drives and walks

  • Hiking the Waterberg Wilderness Plateau Trail - A short, guided hike to the summit of the Waterberg Plateau. Being 150m above the plains, the views of the Kalahari savannah are rewarding. During these 2 hours of walking, you will learn about the various plants, animals, and Herero people living in the area.


Waterberg Plateau at sunrise


Day 3-5: Etosha National Park


Distance: 322 km (200 mi) from Waterberg Plateau to the Namutoni Gate

Travel time: 4 hours

Along the way: Tsumeb


Etosha National Park is the must-see game reserve in Namibia. It is home to the largest salt pan in Africa as well as an abundance of wildlife. Here you can find over 100 large and small mammal species including giraffes, elephants, zebras, rhinos, lions, cheetahs, leopards, and hyenas, among others.


With a surface of 22,270 km², Etosha National Park is immense. It is therefore recommended to stay at least a few days. Coming from Waterberg Plateau, it is best to enter the park via the Namutoni Gate early on day 3. Go for a game drive up to Stinkwater and spot elephants near Okevi. On day 4, drive from Namutoni to Okaukuejo via Halali, while spotting a lot of other animals (rhinos are often spotted here!). On your last game drive, on day 5, make your way up to Dolomite. Find here a detailed Etosha National Park Map.


A giraffe crossing the road in Etosha National Park


Day 6-7: Twyfelfontein


Distance: 344 km (213.7 mi) from the Okaukejo Camp in Etosha National Park

Travel time: 3 hours 50 mins

Along the way: Fingerklippe


Drive through the spectacular Damaraland region, home to the Damara people and unique landscapes that are formed by rocky mountains and arid valleys. Break up the drive and visit Fingerklippe, which is situated halfway to Twyfelfontein. Also, make several photo stops along the way to breathe in this spectacular landscape and culture.


Twyfelfontein is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in the middle of nowhere. It is a truly unique place with several highlights:

  • Namibia's finest rock engravings - an interesting guided tour

  • Damara Living Museum - learn about the Damara's culture and traditions

  • Home to free-roaming desert elephants and lions - ask around where you can spot them!


Sunset in Twyfelfontein

WEEK 2 / Day 8-14


The second week in Namibia follows the same route as the 7-day itinerary in part 1 of this article, but in the opposite direction. This means that Sossusvlei will be the last stop before heading back to Windhoek, so it keeps the best for last!


A short overview of the destinations (see more information in the 7-day itinerary above):



Day 8-9: Spitzkoppe


Distance: 235 km (146 mi) from Twyfelfontein

Travel time: 1 hour 45 mins

Along the way: Brandberg (the tallest mountain in Namibia!)



Day 10-11 Swakopmund & Walvis Bay


Distance: 300 km (186 mi) from Spitzkoppe via Henties Bay on the D1918 (including a stop at the Cape Cross Seal Reserve to the north)

Travel time: 3 hours 45 mins

Along the way: Henties Bay and Cape Cross Seal Reserve



Day 12-14: Sossusvlei


Distance: 315 km (195.7 mi) from Walvis Bay to the Sesriem entrance gate

Travel time: 4 hours

Along the way: Kuiseb Canyon, Solitaire



END: Windhoek


Distance: 365 km (226.8 mi) from Sossusvlei

Travel time: 5 hours

Along the way: Spreetshoogte Pass, Solitaire


Dune 45



Namibia itinerary: 21 days


If you are lucky enough to be visiting Namibia for 3 weeks, there are a few highlights that you can add to your itinerary! Building on the 14-day itinerary above, we suggest exploring the extreme south of Namibia.


Alternatively, you could opt to explore northern Namibia, and in particular Koakoveld. This area is home to some of the most diverse wildlife, wildest landscapes, and most remote areas. Unfortunately, it is also incredibly hard to reach and plan. As such, this route is only for the true adventurous soul who is especially interested in learning about Namibia's culture and wildlife! As we have little knowledge about this area, we excluded this from the 21 days itinerary.



WEEK 1-2 / Day 1-14: Windhoek to Sossusvlei


Follow the same route as the 14 days itinerary. SEE ABOVE FOR DETAILS.


Overview:

Day 1-2: Waterberg Plateau

Day 3-5: Etosha National Park

Day 6-7: Twyfelfontein

Day 8-9: Spitzkoppe

Day 10-11: Swakopmund & Walvis Bay

Day 12-14: Sossusvlei



Day 15-21: South of Namibia


A: Sossusvlei | B: Lüderitz | C: Fish River Canyon | 
D: Mariental | E: Windhoek

Day 15-16: Lüderitz


Distance: 465 km (289 mi)

Travel time: 6 hours

Along the way: Drive through the NamibRand Nature Reserve, ghost town of Kolmanskop


Start early because day 15 promises to be a very long and exhausting day of driving. Take the scenic C27 that passes through the NamibRand Nature Reserve where you can spot animals like oryx and ostriches.


Lüderitz is a colorful coastal town that is known for its German colonial buildings. However, the real draw is the nature and wildlife that can be found here, such as flamingos and African penguin colonies!


Highlights of the area include:

  • Tour to the African penguin colony

  • Sperrgebiet National Park - one of Namibia's newest National Parks filled with unique landscapes and sweeping vistas.

  • Kolmanskop - the picturesque ghost town nearby


The ghost town of Kolmanskop

Day 17-19: Fish River Canyon


Distance: 430 km (300.7 mi)

Travel time: 4 hours 45 mins

Along the way: spot wild horses in Garub


With a 160 km (99.4 mi) ravine that is up to 27 km (16.7 mi) wide and up to 550 meters (1804 ft) deep, the Fish River Canyon is the second-largest canyon in the world after the Grand Canyon in the USA. The Canyon belongs to the Ais-Ais Richterveld Transfrontier Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site characterized by unique rock formations, many succulents, exotic trees, and a shimmering sky.


Highlights include:

  • Hell's Bend viewpoint - world-class viewpoint near the Hobas Restcamp

  • Adventure activities: hiking, horseback riding, or biking along the rim of the canyon


Fish River Canyon

Day 20: Mariental


Distance: 408 km (253.5 mi)

Travel time: 6 hours 40 mins

Along the way: Quiver Tree Forest


As it is a long way back to Windhoek, you will need to use day 20 to drive towards the capital city. Make a stop in the Quiver Tree Forest near Keetmanshoop. You can find over 250 beautiful trees here, which were traditionally used by bushmen to make quivers. Do a short hike in the forest, before continuing the drive to the small city of Mariental.


the beautiful quiver tree

END / Day 21: Windhoek


Distance: 268 km (166.5 mi)

Travel time: 2 hours 35 mins

Along the way: Rehoboth for a quick break



Learn more about Namibia




Looking for a more personalized itinerary?


WE CAN HELP YOU! We will work with you to build your ideal itinerary, based on your personal preferences.



27 views
  • White Instagram Icon
  • White Facebook Icon