15 day Namibia Highlights - Family Self-Drive

Namibia

An extended version of our 10 day Wild Family Adventure Tour, allowing families to drive themselves, at their own pace, through the stunning Namibian landscape. This itinerary includes a huge range of activities, from wildlife interaction to hiking in canyons and exploring Namibia's vast sand dunes.  

We can adapt this itinerary to suit your interests, budget and the ages of your children.

Read our article 'Travelling with your family in Namibia' to find out more about why we think it's such a great choice for a family holiday.

Make an enquiry

Quick Facts

Type of travel: Self-drive
Suitable for: Families with children over the age of 5 years (younger children can be accommodated, please enquire for more details). Drivers must be aged over 25 years and hold a full licence.
Duration: 15 days (14 nights)
Accommodation: Camping and lodges
Start dates: Flexible, year round
Pick up from: Flexible, usually Windhoek Airport
Meals: 3 meals a day unless otherwise stated
How much: POA depending on accommodation, age of children, group size and vehicle required - see our sample itinerary for some ideas!

Overview

This self-drive tour of Namibia is designed to give families a once-in-a-lifetime African adventure, encompassing the very best of what Namibia has to offer. You will visit world-class wildlife sanctuaries, explore the world's highest sand dunes and set foot into the world's oldest desert.

The price is virtually all inclusive of meals and accommodation, in lodges suitable for families with children of all ages. Car hire is also included. Everything can be tailored to fit with your budget and expectations, so if you want to change accommodation, upgrade your vehicle, or mix in some camping, please do just ask!

Tour overview:

Day Destination Accommodation Meals
1 N/a'nkuse Lodge Lodge D
2 N/a'nkuse Lodge Lodge B,l,d
3 Okonjima - the Afri-cat Foundation Lodge B,L,D
4 Okonjima - the Afri-cat Foundation Lodge B,L,D
5 Okakeujo Restcamp Chalet B
6 Namutoni Restcamp Chalet B
7 Okakeujo Restcamp Chalet B
8 Twyfelfontein Lodge B,D
9 Twyfelfontein Lodge B,D
10 Swakopmund B&B B
11 Swakopmund B&B B
12 Sossusvlei Lodge or similar Lodge B,D
13 Sossusvlei Lodge or similar Lodge B,L,D
14 Windhoek B&B B
15 Depart for home   B

B = Breakfast; L = Lunch; D = Dinner; FB = Full Board (breakfast, lunch and dinner)

We have included a number of activities in the price of your project - please see the Itinerary tab for full details.

Itinerary

Day 1 - arrive and transfer to N/a'an ku se

The lodge at N/a'an ku se is a unique experience, where guests will see the important conservation work the Foundation is carrying out in Namibia, meet some of their resident carnivores and learn about the ancient San Bushmen - one of the oldest cultures in the world. The Foundation is home to several cheetahs and other carnivores that cannot be released back into the wild.

Your two night stay at N/a'an ku se includes the following activities:

  • Carnivore Feeding Tour: during the drive, visit the resident baboons, cheetah, leopard and wild dog. Watch them being fed and learn their individual stories.
  • Ancient Skills Academy: learn about the San culture, about the signs and tracks of the bush, learn fire making with traditional San fire sticks, make bows and arrows, make jewelry and crafts and watch their singing and dancing!
  • Sunset and Night Drive: the perfect way to end a day - enjoy a bush drive before stopping at a hidden view point where you will have drinks and watch the sun set. Watch out of nocturnal animals as you drive once the sun has gone down.
  • Your choice of either San Stories Under the Stars or a Guided Nature Walk.

Day 3 - N/a'an ku se to Okonjima (280 km, around 3.5 hours)

Transfer from N/a'an ku se to Windhoek, where you will collect your hire car. Once the administration is done and you are armed with your map, head north out of the city, towards Okonjima Nature Reserve, home to The AfriCat Foundation. 

Okonjima is world-renowned for having the largest free-roaming cheetah population in the world. The private reserve spans 22,000 hectares and is used to rehabilitate the carnivores under the care of the foundation. The reserve is also home to leopards, African wild dogs, hyenas and caracals.

AfriCat and Okonjima have dedicated their efforts into rescuing, rehabilitating and releasing large carnivores, with more than 1,080 released since 1993. 

During your two-night stay at Okonjima, the following activities are included:

  • Cheetah tracking on foot: begin your morning early, tracking cheetahs on foot with your guide.
  • Leopard tracking by vehicle: what better way to end the day than a game drive in search of the elusive leopards, followed by a sundowner. Leopards are often seen at Okonjima, which is part of what makes it such a special experience.
  • Guided Bushman Trail: join your experienced guide as you walk in the footsteps of the Bushmen. This easy and interactive 2.5km trail is much-loved by younger guests, where guides share centuries-old myths and legends of the Khoi-San people.
  • Tour of the AfriCat Carnivore Care Centre, where you can meet some of the resident animals waiting to complete their rehabilitation.

Day 5 - transfer to Okakeujo Resort, Etosha National Park (250km, 3 hours)

After entering Etosha through the main Anderson Gate, you will game drive your way through to Okaukuejo, Etosha’s main rest camp, where you will check into your bush lodge. Originally the site of a German fort built in 1901, Okaukuejo now houses the Etosha Ecological Institute, founded in 1974.

After your evening meal there are chances to see Etosha’s big game at Okakuejo's famous floodlit waterhole, easily reachable within a minute or two on foot.  The waterhole has been described as one of the “best game viewing opportunities in Southern Africa” and is the ideal venue to witness peculiar animal politics. Black rhino, Africa’s tallest elephants, lion, and numerous species of antelope are regular visitors.

Day 6 - Okaukuejo – East Etosha, Namutoni region 

A full day’s worth of game driving awaits so you will want to leave early to enjoy the cool morning air, making your way to Halali camp, situated in the middle of the park. Along the way you will visit several waterholes and have magnificent views of the massive Etosha Pan, a shallow depression that is dry for the greater part of the year, but fed by moisture from perennial springs on the fringes. The pan covers about 25% of the park.  Game viewing is excellent in this part of Etosha throughout the year.

Stop at Halali camp for a rest and a leisurely lunch, pay a visit to the waterhole and make use of the swimming pool, before continuing to the eastern side of the park, and your next stop at Fort Namutoni.

Day 7 - Namutoni - Okakeujo

Spend the morning around Namutoni’s numerous waterholes, enjoying the concentrations of water birds and huge colonies of flamingos. Take a slow drive back through the park, breaking for a rest (and probably an ice cream!) at Halali, on your way through to Okakeujo. 

Take a drive north and west of Okakeujo camp and explore the quieter western side of the park, up to the Okahakana pan where you can enjoy a different view of the vast Etosha pan.

Spend late afternoon with a gin and tonic around the waterhole at Okakeujo, savouring the sites and sounds of the bush.

Day 8 - Okakeujo to Twyfelfontein, Damaraland (340km, 4 hours)

Leave Etosha early, and head south out of the park, turning off the main Windhoek road towards Khorixas (pronounced Korry-kas). Pass through stunning Koakoland and Damaraland scenery - a moonscape of fallen rocks and boulders, and beautiful red mountains. 

You should arrive at Twyfelfontein in the early afternoon. Lunch can be taken at the lodge and is for your own account.

During your time in Damaraland, explore the Damaraland Living Museum, view the world-famous organ-pipes and visit the ancient 6,000 year old rock paintings - Namibia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. From the lodge you can also enjoy magnificent African sunsets and even a possible siting of the rare desert-adapted elephant.

Day 10 - Twyfelfontein - Swakopmund (330km, 5 hours)

From Twyfelfontein head into the desert and pass Namibia’s highest mountain, the Brandburg (2,573m), and more beautiful Damaraland scenery. Pause for a rest in the small (in fact, tiny) town of Uis, one of the best places to see and buy Namibia’s famous semi-precious stones.

Turn west and cross the gravel plains on your way to the Atlantic Ocean and the southern part of the Skeleton Coast. You will meet the ocean at Henties Bay and go south to the holiday town of Swakopmund. Wrap up warm as you approach the Atlantic coast - it can be brisk by the sea even in the height of summer!

There are a number of excellent restaurants, bars and cafe’s in Swakopmund and plenty of exciting activities to enjoy. You will be booked into a B&B, and activities and meals in Swakopmund are for your own account, to give you the flexibility to keep to you own time and do what interests you and your family.

We recommend:

  • Dolphin cruise from Walvis Bay
  • Quad biking into the dunes
  • A living desert tour (very popular with younger visitors!)
  • Sand-boarding
  • (Budget permitting) - a light aircraft ride up the Skeleton Coast to view the shipwrecks

Day 12 - Swakopmund to Sossusvlei (350km, 5 hours)

Leave Swakop early and head south-east, crossing the desolate 'Namib gravel plains', before reaching the mountain desert. Traverse the spectacular Kuiseb and Gaub passes, driving to the river beds at the bottom and then back up the long steep road to the top! The scenery then changes as you head down to the dune fields. Cross open savannah and farmland and notice as it begins to give way to the immense red sand dune desert of the Namib.

Take a break at the tiny town of Solitaire, before heading to your lodge. Your goal is to reach 'home' during early afternoon, ready to take a dip in the pool and watch the colours of the sunset over the dunes.

Day 13 - Sossusvlei

Get up early and be at the gate to the park as it opens at 0600. Dawn is perhaps the best time to be in the park to watch the colours change as the sun rises. Spend the morning in and around Sosssuvlei, climbing Dune 45 and Big Daddy, and hiking to Dead Vlei, before the heat of the day catches up. 

After lunch take a drive to Sesriem Canyon or just spend the afternoon relaxing around the pool and taking in the scenery.

Day 14 - Sossusvlei to Windhoek (350km, 5 hours)

Journey over the mountains and along scenic roads back to Windhoek, via the Khomas Hochland Mountain range. 

Day 15 - return hire car and depart for home. 

Family Self-Drive Overview - accommodated

1-2 N/a'ankuse Foundation FB
3-4 Africat Foundation, Okonjima Plains Camp FB
5 Etosha – Okakeujo Restcamp B
6 Etosha – Namutoni Restcamp B
7 Etosha – Okakeujo Restcamp B
8-9 Twyfelfontein Country Lodge (or similar) DB
10 Swakopmund B
12 Sossusvlei FB
14 Windhoek B
15 Depart for airport and home B

B = Breakfast; L = Lunch; D = Dinner; FB = Full Board (breakfast, lunch and dinner)

Rates & Dates

2019 pricing:

This is a sample itinerary, with costings based on:

  • Group size: 2 adults and 2 children aged from 5-11 years (most places charge adult rates for children aged 12 years+).
  • Car hire: 2014-2015 Toyota Hilux 4x4 double cab (manual transmission). Other vehicles are available including SUVs and 4x4s up to 2018 models.
  • Dates of travel: low / of-peak season (usually before 1st July 2019).
  • Accommodation: mid-range lodges / B&Bs.

Cost per adult: US$2,460
Cost per child: US$1,400

Prices include:

  • Meals as indicated in the Overview tab
  • Accommodation as stated
  • Airport collection and transfer to collect hire car
  • Hire car (as stated above) plus standard vehicle insurance

What's excluded:

  • Transfers or flights to Windhoek
  • Visa fees
  • Personal medical and travel insurance, which must cover the entire duration of your tour and should include cover for repatriation, air evacuation and any activities you may undertake or plan to undertake
  • Any pre or post tour accommodation in Windhoek
  • Fuel
  • Park entrance fees where applicable
  • Airport transfers after your tour ends
  • Souvenirs, snacks and fizzy / alcoholic drinks 
  • Optional excursions, meals or activities

Family travel in Namibia

Namibia is one of the most visually diverse countries in Africa. From never-ending red sand dunes to deep mysterious canyons, spectacular sunsets and dry desert landscapes, the country has something to intrigue and excite every visitor. View immense herds of elephant in Etosha National Park, sand-board down the dunes in Swakopmund or visit ancient rock paintings - there’s plenty to entertain you, and your family! 

For more information about Namibia (it's history, currency and culture etc), please click here.

Why is a safari trip to Namibia so special?

In addition to Namibia being home to the largest population of cheetah in the world, the country has strong populations of other endangered and vulnerable species including black and white rhino, elephants, lions, African wild dog and leopard. Etosha's floodlit waterholes mean you can continue to game view long after the sun has set, giving a unique insight into the nocturnal goings-on of the bush. Which you can enjoy with a cup of tea or a gin and tonic at hand!

Read our article 'Why a trip to Namibia is so special'.

Sossusvlei Dunes are home to the highest sand dunes in the world, and are Namibia’s most outstanding scenic attraction. Part of the Namib Desert, these dunes have developed over millions of years, the wind continuously shifting the sand further and further inland, reshaping patterns in distinctive warm tints. Climbing to the top of one of these dunes provides breathtaking views of the whole area, including Deadvlei, a large ghostly expanse of dried white clay punctuated by skeletons of ancient camelthorn trees, carbon dated between 500-600 years old.

Etosha National Park is Namibia’s first conservation area, designated in 1907. Undoubtedly one of the greatest wildlife spectacles on earth and one of Africa’s best game reserves, Etosha is home to huge herds of elephant, black-maned lions, cheetah and the world’s largest population of the rare black rhino. Etosha owes its unique landscape to the Etosha Pan, a vast shallow depression of approximately 1,930 square miles which forms the heart of the park. This white, chalky expanse colours the park, and with the waterholes, creates the characteristic atmosphere of the Etosha of today.

For the greater part of the year (the dry season) Etosha’s animals and birds are dependent on about 30 springs and waterholes. These provide incredible game viewing and photographic opportunities.

To the west of Khorixas in North-West Namibia is Twyfelfontein, a massive open-air art gallery with paintings carved into red rock by ancient Bushmen overlooking an expansive valley below. The engravings, some estimated to be 6,000 years old, record the wildlife seen in area - giraffe, rhino, elephants, ostrich and even a lion. The area has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2008.

The Fish River Canyon is Africa’s deepest gorge and second largest in the world - with a 500m vertical drop. The canyon is a spectacular natural phenomenon; a harsh dusty plain dotted with distinctive Quiver trees.

Swakopmund is Namibia’s playground - a holiday haven away from the dusty heat of the interior. While there is plenty to do within the city, the real action takes place in the desert surrounding the town. Quad-biking, sand-boarding, sand-skiing, parasailing and other adrenaline actives are available from any of the adventure operators in the area. Visit Walvis Bay and join a dolphin cruise or explore the lagoon on a kayak.

Travelling with your family in Namibia

Namibia is a very safe country, extremely easy to get around, with an excellent road network and good infrastructure. There is no malaria in tourist destinations, and no Yellow Fever in the country at all. Accommodation is generally excellent and campsites usually have electricity, flush toilets and hot running water. Most people speak good English, but there are lots of opportunities to engage with different cultures around the country. And, of course, the natural environment is spectactular throughout - even when you are just driving down the highways!

We believe that it is one of the best destinations for families in Africa!

Some other ideas for Namibian adventures - where not specified, tours can be tailored for families:

FAQs

Is this tour only for families?

Absolutely not! This is a great highlights tour of Namibia, which everyone will enjoy, whether you have kids or not. We have simply included places that we know kids love!

How old can my kids be?

Most activities are suitable for children of all ages, but we suggest the minimum age is 4-5 years because some of the distances to travel are quite long. Inclusive activities are available for children over five years.

Do we need a visa?

The majority of tourists do not need to apply for a holiday visa in advance, for stays of up to 90 days. Currently (Oct 2018), this includes nationals of the UK, USA, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and most EU countries. Please check here for up to date information.

What vaccinations do we need?

The vast majority of tourist destinations in Namibia are low-risk malaria regions. This includes Damaraland / Kaokoland, Swakopmund, Windhoek, The Fish River Canyon, the Kalahari and Sossusvlei. Only if you are venturing to the northern and north-eastern part of the country, to the Caprivi, Okavango and Kunene regions, will you need to consider malaria prophylactics. Etosha is considered a higher risk region, but still relatively low risk overall. We recommend you visit your GP or local travel clinic for up to date advice.

There is no yellow fever in Namibia. 

Our recommendations are for you to ensure your tetanus vaccination is current, along with standard childhood inoculations for your country. However, you must seek advice from your local medical professional.

What will the weather be like?

During the Namibian summer (November - January) temperatures average 30°c and often go to over 40°c. You should bring light cotton clothing, a wide-brimmed hat or cap, polarised sunglasses, a 2 litre water bottle, plenty of high factor sunscreen (and after-sun!), strong mosquito spray and closed shoes. A light waterproof jacket is also essential for sudden downpours! Average lows are around 17-20°c.

Summer is an amazing time of year where you can watch thunderstorms approach from miles away and witness incredible electric storms and light shows!

During winter (April - August) daytime temperatures average 25-27°c with no rainfall at all. Temperatures during the night and in the mornings and evenings regularly go below 0°c and we advise you to bring lots of layers including fleeces and a warm hat for nighttime camping, with a wide-brimmed hat or cap and loose light clothing for daytime.

Please get in touch if you have any further questions! You will receive a full pre-departure pack and packing list prior to your departure.

Project Gallery - 15 day Namibia Highlights - Family Self-Drive

Send an enquiry

 

Stay Informed

Sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest news.