Acacia Self Drive
Budget Friendly Self Drive to Etosha, Swakopmund & Sossusvlei - Namibia
For those with a fairly short time in Namibia, this 8 day self drive trip takes in some of the country's major highlights. This itinerary is aimed towards the budget conscious traveller and accommodation establishments and excursions have been chosen accordingly. If you are looking for additional luxury, the self drive section of this site has many other alternatives aimed at more exclusive trips. African species of Acacia (of which there are many) always have thorns. The flowers lack petals and the fruit is always a pod. There have been 25 species of Acacia recorded in Namibia.
The tour starts with a reasonably long drive to Etosha National Park. It is well worth it as you are visiting one of the world's most exciting game viewing destinations, beginning as soon as you enter the gates. Elephant and rhino seem to favour Okaukuejo, birding is superb around Namutoni and the only hills in the park are at Halali.
Your safari now heads to the coast to Swakopmund - Namibia's most loved and visited beach resort. There are many examples of German colonial architecture here, all standing in amazement at the antics and adventures of sand-boarders, quad-bikers and boat cruises.
Next you can test your driving skills along gravel roads which will eventually lead you to the dunes of Sossusvlei in the Namib Desert. You are rewarded with a tarred stretch inside the Namib Naukluft Park and then the choice to continue driving on sand or taking a hike. They are often referred to as the highest dunes in the world. Climb them to find out if this is true. The view from the top is stunning. Desert wildlife includes sand loving gemsbok and ostrich.
Although it is possible to book this itinerary 'as is', as with all our self drive trips this is entirely customisable. We can add or delete days, change the accommodation used and generally design the tour to suit your individual requirements. Visitors who might prefer a break from driving themselves can arrange a guided safari.
- Day 1: Windhoek - Etosha Park
- We recommend leaving Windhoek early this morning as you have a 435km drive to complete before reaching the park. Your route takes you due north of Windhoek via the towns of Okahandja, Otjiwarongo and finally Outjo (a popular lunch stop - before the final drive into the park). You will enter Etosha at the Andersson Gate from where it is only a short drive to Okaukuejo. The chances are that immediately on entering the national park you will start to see interesting wildlife - so covering even the shortest distance can be a rewarding and time consuming business. Do remember that you have to be inside the Okaukuejo gates before sunset - otherwise you face the prospect of a fine, or even having to sleep in your car with the animals as your companions.
Accommodation: Room at Okaukuejo
- Day 2 & 3: Etosha Park
- It is really worth waking early and heading out on your game drive as soon as the gates open at sunrise. Animals are most active in the cool of the day (early morning & late afternoon) and in order to maximise your chances of good viewings it is worth imitating their behaviour. The roads in Etosha are unsealed gravel roads but are in reasonable condition - and the general tourist behaviour is to drive between various waterholes searching for animals.
As the day gets hotter head for shade, and lunch, at one of the parks three camps, Okaukuejo, Namutoni or Halali. When things start to cool down again head out for another game drive. With two full days in the park you should have sightings of most of the parks inhabitants (although be warned the cats are notoriously hard to find - and of course what you see is determined by luck and more importantly your ability to spot wildlife)
- Night 2: Room at Okaukuejo (this gives you 2 nights in the same room meaning you do not have to pack up and move)
- Night 3: Room at Halali
- Day 4: Etosha Park - Swakopmund
- Pack up and head out of the park via the Andersson Gate, this drive offers you the opportunity to see more game, but don't stop and watch for too long as you have a long 560km drive ahead of you today. We suggest driving via Otjiwarongo to the town of Omaruru, which in recent years has become something of an artists retreat, there are several places here to stop and enjoy lunch before continuing via Karibib and Usakos and then across the Namib Desert to Swakopmund.
- On arrival in Swakopmund check into your accommodation before heading out for a drink, dinner and a night on the town.
Accommodation: Alternative Space
- Day 5: Swakopmund
- There are a host of adventure activities to participate in while in Swakopmund. These range from sandboarding through quad biking to sky-diving. No activities are included in this package but they can be pre-arranged when you book this itinerary or left for you to arrange on arrival is Swakopmund
Being a German inspired town good food and beer is never hard to find, so we are sure you will find something productive to do!
Accommodation: Alternative Space
- Day 6: Swakopmund - Sossusvlei
- Leave Swakopmund towards the harbour town of Walvis Bay, the lagoon here attracts a lot of marine & birdlife and is well worth a visit to view the pink flamingoes. You may decide to take a catamaran cruise on the lagoon (not included in package price). Today you have a drive of around 300km's which will take you around 4-5 hours. Your route will take you across the gravel plains of the Namib Desert and through the Kuiseb & Gaub passes.
Aim to arrive at your accommodation in the late afternoon, Desert Camp is a self catering establishment and no meals are included in this package but if you do not want to have the hassle of carrying and preparing your own food meals can be enjoyed at the nearby Sossusvlei Lodge
Accommodation: Sossusvlei Desert Camp
- Day 7: Sossusvlei
- Wake up early and leave your lodge, heading for the Sesriem entrance gate to the Namib Naukluft Park. This gate only opens at sunrise, so there is no point arriving earlier, but driving the 60km from Sesriem through the dunes towards Sossusvlei while the sun rises is a real pleasure. The first major dune you will encounter goes by the imaginative name of Dune 45 - many people choose to stop and climb this dune but we suggest you continue onwards towards Sossusvlei. Park at the the 2x4 car park (unless you have a 4x4 vehicle this is as far as you can drive), Sossusvlei is a further 4km from here but you are already amongst fairly large dunes. The walk along the dry river bed into Sossusvlei is lovely but for the very unfit or terminally lazy there are 4x4 shuttles from the car park to Sossusvlei.
Deadvlei, so named because it is a large pan with sculptural dead trees, is close by and definitely worth a visit. When you have had enough sand - head back to your vehicle (there really is no shame in taking the shuttle back - the sand is likely to be hot, and the walk less pleasant than the one in the cool of the morning)
On your way back to the lodge stop at the Sesriem Canyon - follow the signs from the Sesriem Campsite.
Accommodation: Sossusvlei Desert Camp
- Day 8: Sossusvlei - Windhoek
- If you are looking to completely blow your budget you could consider joining a balloon flight over Sossusvlei this morning. Otherwise after breakfast, pack up and head back to Windhoek.
- All your meals and activities as specified.
A welcome pack including maps and vouchers for the places that you'll be visiting.
See the individual lodges for precise inclusions & exclusions
A 24 hour emergency assistance phone number
- Vehicle & Fuel
Park entrance fees (these need to be paid on arrival).
Tips and gratuities (which are optional).
Any meals or activities not specified.
See the individual lodges for detailed inclusions & exclusions.
- Although we have excluded the cost of renting a vehicle from the quoted rate we are happy to advise you on the best possible vehicle and arrange a rental for you. For an idea of what is available have a look at our car hire in Namibia section
3 Days - A short visit to the sand dunes at Sossusvlei
3 Days - Get away to Swakopmund on the coast - includes sandboarding on the Namib Dunes as well as a dolphin cruise
4 Days - A game viewing trip to the famous Etosha National Park
8 Days - Combines a visit to Etosha National Park, with some time at Swakopmund and then the dunes at Sossusvlei
9 Days - Southern Namibia: Fish River, Luderitz, Sossusvlei with some self catering accommodation.
10 Days - The classic northern and central Namibia trip. Includes Waterberg Plateau, Etosha National Park, rock art in Damaraland, Cape Cross & Swakopmund and ends with two night near the dunes at Sossusvlei.
10 Days - A combination of Namibia & Botswana. Highlights include game viewing in the Etosha Park & a trip in a traditional dug out canoe in the Okavango Delta Panhandle.
14 Days - Two weeks worth of travel allow you to visit everything that is included in the Camelthorn Self Drive and add the vast expanses of southern Namibia. Additional stops include Luderitz, the Fish River Canyon and a night in the Kalahari Desert
20 Days - This includes Waterberg, Etosha, a visit to the densely populated Owamboland region on the Angolan border, Kaokoland and the nomadic Himba People, rock art and desert elephants in Damaraland, Swakopmund, Sossusvlei, Luderitz, the Fish River and Kalahari.
20 Days - A circular route that includes Sossusvlei, the highlights of Northern Namibia, the Zambezi region and Chobe, Vic Falls and the Okavango Delta in Botswana