cardboard box travel shop logo

Cardboard Box Travel Shop

Namibia


Marula Self Drive

Highlights of Southern Namibia | including some self catering

The Marula is a 9 day self-drive accommodated tour that visits the highlights of southern Namibia. Accommodation is in a combination of comfortable lodges, guest houses and self-catering establishments, taking into account the varying days of either long drives or the cross-country route which eventually leads to the Namib Desert. One particular species of Marula, Sclerocarya birrea, a member of the mango family, produces aromatic resin and some are poisonous and can cause severe skin irritations.

Accommodation in Luderitz & Sossusvlei has been chosen for self-catering purposes. This is the perfect option for those early morning starts, picnic lunches and sundowner drives without sacrificing flexibility, value for money or a good night's sleep.

Beginning in Windhoek there is a long drive on well-maintained tarred roads to Fish River Canyon,the 2nd largest of it's kind in the world. Stand at the edge on the main viewpoint and admire the stunning views. The Fish River is generally dry, but can change quickly into a raging torrent once the rains commence.

Some cross-country driving follows for the shorter journey to Luderitz, a former trading post, fishing and guano-harvesting town that exploded with the discovery of diamonds in nearby Kolmanskop in 1908. The ghost town is only a few km drive from Luderitz and was once a bustling little centre, providing shelter for workers from the harsh environment of the Namib Desert. It soon resembled a German town with large, elegant houses and a comprehensive array of amenities.

Canyon and coast make way for dunes and desert as you head to Sossusvlei, one of Namibia's most spectacular sights and the country's 2nd most popular tourist attraction. It is a clay, almost circular, hard-surfaced depression that is virtually surrounded by beautiful sharp-edged dunes. Beyond lies a formidable sea of rolling sand, stretching in unbroken immensity all the way to the coast. During exceptional rainy seasons such as in 2011, Sossusvlei will fill with water, although usually it is dry.

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. 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: Fish River Lodge Room View
  • Self Drive: Fish River Lodge
  • Self Drive: Fighting Horses
  • Self Drive: Quiver Tree Sunset
  • Self Drive: Fish River Canyon
  • Self Drive: Road To Luderitz
  • Self Drive: Gondwana Sperrgebiet Rand Park
  • Self Drive: Big Dune
  • Self Drive: Social Weaver nest
  • Self Drive: Roaring Dunes
View more pictures:
Now Loading
Day 1: Windhoek to Mariental
The 3hr drive south from Windhoek to Kalahari Anib Lodge is along the tarred B1 road, the lodge is located about 30km north-east of the town of Mariental. Activities include sunrise and sunset scenic drives through Gondwana Kalahari Park and bird watchers can view vultures and marabou storks at the carrion feeding place. Springbok, gemsbok and ostrich can be observed around the lodge. Jackal, hare and porcupine inhabit the dunes and dune valleys of the Kalahari Desert as does the Kori Bustard, the largest flying bird of them all. Huge colonies of weaver birds are resident in the lodge's grounds.
Meals: None
Accommodation: Kalahari Anib Lodge
Day 2: Mariental to Fish River Canyon
Although a fairly long drive to Fish River Canyon looms (c.430km/5hr), it is worth considering visiting the spectacular collection of quiver trees near Keetmanshoop en-route. Fish River Lodge is the only lodge situated on the rim of the canyon. There is no better location to admire the views and soak up the canyon atmosphere than from the comfort of an enormous 4m leather couch or from the comfort of your bed.
Meals: Breakfast & Dinner
Accommodation: Fish River Lodge
Day 3: Fish River Canyon
Visitors to the Fish River Lodge have the opportunity to travel into the canyon, but because of safety reasons, will have to join one of the lodge's excellent Day Canyon Drives. Their professional and knowledgeable guides will lead you to 'rough limestone, shiny quartzites, fine shales and dramatic fault lines' as they reveal the legend of the 500 million year old canyon. Kudu, oryx, klipspringer and the elusive mountain zebra can be observed as well as information on desert-adapted Fish River Canyon flora on the 2hr descent. A splash in a natural rock pool before your picnic lunch on the canyon floor, is certainly well-worth the white knuckle trip on the way down.
Meals: Breakfast & Dinner
Accommodation: Fish River Lodge
Day 4: Fish River Canyon to Luderitz
The drive to the Atlantic coastal town of Luderitz heads north west to the small settlement of Aus. The Bahnhof Hotel is a popular lunch stop. As you continue west it is worth noting that the strong wind, which blows for most of the time, can make the final 10km into Luderitz a mini-adventure all on its own. The road may be blocked by the Barchans dune field, which drifts onto the highway until road crews are able to clean them off. The hazardous driving conditions can be compounded by fog.
If you have time on your hands, there is plenty to see and do. The Lüderitz Peninsula, much of which lies outside the Sperrgebiet prohibited area, makes for an interesting half-day excursion. Sturmvogelbucht has a lovely beach and is home to a former Norwegian whaling station, now a rusty ruin. Diaz Point, 22km south of Lüderitz, has a classic lighthouse and replica of Dias Cross erected in July 1488 by Portuguese navigator Bartolomeu Dias.
Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Kairos Cottage
Day 5: Luderitz to Klein Aus Vista
Other highlights in and around Luderitz include a boat trip to Halifax Island and it's resident African jackass penguins and a trip to the ghost town at Kolmanskop. A short journey back to Klein Aus Vista follows. The Namib feral (wild) horses graze locally here and mainly in the afternoons. Klipspringer are not far away in the morning either.
Meals: None
Accommodation: Eagles Nest
Day 6: Klein Aus Vista
Klein Aus Vista is the ideal place to enjoy the tranquil and beautiful surrounds. The more energetic might like to try 1 of 2 walking trails starting and ending from Eagles Nest. There is the 12km Eagle Trail, approximately 5hr long and the 4km Mountain Trail, approximately 2½ hr long.
Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Eagles Nest
Day 7: Klein Aus Vista to Sossusvlei
Provisions for the next stage of the safari should be arranged in either Aus or Helmeringhausen as there are no other facilities en-route. The scenic drive is between 4-5hr and all on gravel roads. Your destination for the next 2 days is Desert Camp, a beautiful setting amongst surrounding camelthorn trees, and spectacular all-round desert and mountain views.
It is worth noting that guests of Desert Camp can hire a storage box for a maximum of 4 people for the duration of the stay. It has eating and cooking utensils and may be booked from reception. (A deposit is required.) Starter packs comprising of a selection of meat, vegetables, salads, bread, condiments, cheese and beverages can be ordered from before 18h00 the previous evening, for collection the following day.
Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: Desert Camp
Day 8: Sossusvlei
The early morning start in order to reach the main gate at Sesriem for sunrise will prove well worth the effort. A 1hr drive from Sesriem to Sossusvlei follows a tarred road along the dry Tsauchab river bed, stopping at Dune 45 to climb and watch the sun rise. Breakfast can be enjoyed under a camelthorn tree. South of Sossusvlei is Deadvlei, just 1.1km from the car park, surrounded on 3 sides by towering red dunes. Left of Sossusvlei is Naravlei named after the many !Nara plants (cucumber-like melons) found on and around the edge of the pan. Finish off your visit with a walk down the cool and shady Sesriem Canyon.
Meals: None
Accommodation: Desert Camp
Day 9: Sossusvlei to Windhoek
There is a 5hr drive back to Windhoek, encompassing either Remhoogte or Gamsberg Passes.
Meals: None
Includes
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
Excludes
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.
Vehicles
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

Email Us