Namibia is a country in Southern Africa with ruggedly beautiful scenery, towering sand dunes, lonely desert roads, dusty and forgotten towns and a population so sparse that you could be driving for hours before setting sight on another human! The country is ideal for anyone looking for an unforgettable road trip.
So this Easter break, K and I, along with two other friends decided to embark on one such road trip and to add to the zing, we decided to make it a camping trip! Having lived in South Africa for a while now, we have become pros at road trips. But camping – now that was a different ball-game altogether. And no other place could have been better for our initiation into camping than Namibia! It was like the country has been designed for road tripping and camping!
Our itinerary was ambitious – just 9 days in which we wanted to cram as much of the country as possible. Yes that meant that we would not have more than a day in most places. It also meant that we would spend a lot of time in the car – but then, we were prepared for that. After all, we were even sleeping ‘on’ it!! Online forums discouraged us from what they called was a ‘driving’ trip. One even went on to say that even truck drivers did not drive as much as we were planning to! However, we went along with our original itinerary. And now in hindsight, I am so glad that we did. The trip was a tad hectic but amazing. We journeyed at our own pace. We stopped when we wanted. We ate when we felt like and we slept when we were sleepy!
When planning a trip to Namibia, travel times are important as they can be a little unpredictable. Since most road are gravel, the journey time would depend on your car type, your own comfortable driving speed and flat tyres or other incidents, if any. Google maps should only be used as a broad reference.
Before sharing the details of our trip, I think it is essential to share the itinerary. So here goes:
Day 1 – flew from Johannesburg and stayed overnight in Windhoek
– 2 hour flight, Air Namibia: arrived in Windhoek at 8:30pm
Day 2 – picked up the rental 4×4 car
– drove towards Fish River Canyon but overnight at Mariental: 261kms, 3 hrs
(we stayed at a wonderful campsite at the Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch)
Day 3 – Continued onwards to Fish River Canyon: 406kms, 5hrs
– stayed overnight near the canyon at the Canyon Roadhouse camping site
Day 4 – Drove from Fish River Canyon to Luderitz: 384kms, 4.5hrs
– stayed overnight at the gorgeous Zum Anker holiday home
Day 5 – Luderitz to Sesriem (Sossusvlei) : 500kms, 8 hrs
– The gravel road on this drive was particularly challenging, which is why the drive took this long. This was also the only route on which we had a flat tire.
– Stay overnight. We chose the NWR Sesriem Campsite.
Day 6 – After all the explorations and photo ops, instead of staying at this camp, we decided to spend the night in the NamibRand Nature Reserve: 113kms 2 hrs
– Our choice was the Namib Rand family Hideout campsite
Day 7 – NamibRand to Swakopmund : 458 kms 6/6.5 hrs hrs
– stayed 2 nights at the Desert Villa Guest House, which offered the perfect break from camping
Day 9 – Swakopmund to Etosha: 548kms, 7hrs
– camped 2 nights at the Okaukuejo Rest Camp.
Day 11 : Etosha to Windhoek Airport: 477kms, 5 hrs
– Air Namibia flight arrived at JHB at 7:30pm
(further details to follow in coming posts)