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Black Thorn Self Drive

Budget Friendly Self Drive to Sossusvlei - Namibia

This 3 day self-drive trip departs from Windhoek with 2 nights at Namib Desert Lodge, approximately 60km from the Sesriem gate - complementing the magnificence of a red sand sea, Namib Desert Lodge lies at the foot of ancient fossilised dunes. The accommodation used is in the budget range - elsewhere on these pages you will find mid- and up-market alternatives to this itinerary This itinerary is named after the blackthorn acacia a deciduous shrub or a single-stemmed tree from 2 to 8m high, V-shaped, with a rounded crown and widespread throughout Namibia.

Photography is best in the early morning or before the sun sets at Sossusvlei; the colours are magnificent and constantly changing at these times. Afterwards virtually everybody then drives to walk down the Sesriem Canyon. The Tsauchab River that stops flowing because of the enormous dunes at Sossusvlei, runs through this canyon.

While it is possible to book this itinerary 'as is', all our self drive safaris are customisable. We can add or delete days, change the accommodation used and generally design the tour to suit your individual requirements. If you do not like the idea of driving yourself the itinerary could easily be used as the basis for a guided safari.

Self Drive Namibia

  • Self Drive: Ballooning
  • Self Drive: Dunes
  • Self Drive: Geometry
  • Self Drive: Sesriem Canyon
  • Self Drive: Ostriches
  • Self Drive: Reflected Dune
  • Self Drive: Dead Vlei8
  • Self Drive: Springbuck
  • Self Drive: Tree Dune
  • Self Drive: Water In Dunes
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Day 1: Windhoek - Sossusvlei
Remember you have a drive of around 300km's which will take you around 5 hours (although the majority of travel will be on unsealed gravel roads) to follow. There are several routes to take - however our favourite is via the Spreetshoogte Pass - which offers stunning views from the top of the escarpment over the desert plains below. The pass is so steep that it is only possible to traverse it from top to bottom - so you will need to use one of the other routes on your return journey. Aim to arrive at your accommodation in the late afternoon.
Meals: None
Accommodation: Namib Desert Lodge
Day 2: Sossusvlei
Wake up early and depart for the Sesriem entrance gate to the Namib Naukluft Park. It only opens at sunrise, but the 60km drive from Sesriem through the dunes towards Sossusvlei while the sun rises is a real pleasure. The first major dune you will encounter is Dune 45 - many people choose to stop and climb it, 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.
Also in the area and worth a visit is Deadvlei, so named because it is a large pan with sculptural dead trees. 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.
Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Namib Desert Lodge
Day 3: Sossusvlei - Windhoek
If you are looking for an unusual lunch stop on your return journey you could do no better than to stop at the Neuras Wine & Wildlife Estate. A spot of wine tasting will enhance your midday meal. Otherwise after breakfast, pack up and head back to Windhoek. Although not as breathtakingly spectacular as the drive over the Spreetshoogte (there are not many views that are!) the route over the Remhoogte Pass is very scenic.
Meals: Breakfast
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
Black Thorn Self Drive

3 Days - A short visit to the sand dunes at Sossusvlei

Welwitschia Self Drive

3 Days - Get away to Swakopmund on the coast - includes sandboarding on the Namib Dunes as well as a dolphin cruise

Moringa Self Drive

4 Days - A game viewing trip to the famous Etosha National Park

Acacia Self Drive

8 Days - Combines a visit to Etosha National Park, with some time at Swakopmund and then the dunes at Sossusvlei

Marula Self Dive

9 Days - Southern Namibia: Fish River, Luderitz, Sossusvlei with some self catering accommodation.

Camelthorn Self Drive

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.

Jackalberry Self Drive

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.

Quiver tree Self Drive

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

Makalani Self Drive

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.

Baobab Self Drive

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

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