Namibia road trip itineraries: 7, 14, and 21 days
Updated: Aug 31, 2022
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.
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.
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.
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Namibia itinerary: 7 days
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:
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.
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.
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
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!
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
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!
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)
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!
Namibia itinerary: 14 days
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!
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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!
Rhino drives and walks