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Desert and Dune Self Drive itinerary hero

Desert and Dune Self Drive

Inspirational self drive holiday to Namibia

For the more independent and adventurous traveler, this self-drive Namibian exploration will take you to the famous red dunes of Sossusvlei and the quaint seaside town of Swakopmund. Further north you will see the desert-adapted wildlife and stone-age cave paintings of Damaraland and the Big 5 of Etosha. Begin at Kwessi Dunes Lodge at the famed Sossusvlei sand dunes. Quintessentially Namibia, these dunes are the most visually stunning part of the ancient Namib Desert, explorable from the air with hot air balloon rides and quad bikes and on foot. Without leaving the Namib desert, your next stop is Swakopmund, a little seaside oasis in the desert offering countless pursuits, including adventure activities such as sandboarding, parachuting, hot air ballooning, quad biking and deep sea fishing to name a few. With the feel of a small German village (Namibia was a German colony) you can also relax in one of the many restaurants, cafes, art galleries or museums.

Next Damaraland Camp in Damaraland, a rugged, untamed region of contrasting landscapes. The area is home to giraffe, ostrich, unique desert elephant, springbok and rare and critically endangered black rhino. Highlights of the area include The Brandberg, Namibia's highest mountain and home to the famous 'White Lady' Bushman painting; the Petrified Forest, which is millions of years old and Twyfelfontein, a rocky outcrop of thousands of Bushmen engravings. Finally, at Etosha Mountain Lodge go out in search of big cats and watch for signs of elephant on the horizon; watch all the action at the waterhole in front of camp; hop on a night drive with your specialist guides; and, of course, track endangered rhino, the icons of the area.

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Day by Day summary

  • Starts - Catch your overnight flight from JFK to Windhoek International
  • 1 night - Galton House, Windhoek & Surrounds, Namibia
  • 2 nights - Kwessi Dunes, Sossusvlei & the Namib Desert, Namibia
  • 2 nights - Villa Margherita, Swakopmund & Walvis Bay, Namibia
  • 3 nights - Damaraland Camp, Damaraland, Namibia
  • 3 nights - Etosha Mountain Lodge, Etosha & Surrounds, Namibia
  • Ends - Transfer to Windhoek International for your international flight home

At a glance

  • Country Icon Namibia
  • Nights Icon 11 Nights
  • City Icon City
  • Safari Icon Safari
  • Scenic Icon Scenic

Tailormade itineraries

Every Mahlatini trip is custom created to your exact travel wishes – no readymade tours or set departures. Get in touch with our experts to start creating your bespoke itinerary.

Guide Price

Low Season from {: 6700|toCurrency :} per person
High Season from {: 9300|toCurrency :} per person

Includes flights from JFK
Damaraland camp mountain view 1280
Etosha mountain lodge outdoor dining with a view of the landscape 2400
Kwessi dunes exterior of camp 2400


  • At-your-own pace self-drive adventure
  • Endless spaces and many moments for quiet contemplation
  • Far from tourist crowds and any other humans for that matter
  • Hot Air Balloon over some of the highest sand dunes in the world
  • Spot the Big 5 and track black rhino at a private game reserve
Itinerary Details


Catch your overnight flight from JFK to Windhoek International

Galton house pool and sun lounger area 1280
Galton house restaurant interior with fire 1280
Galton house dessert at the restaurant 1280
Galton house pool and sun lounger area 1280 Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Day 1

Your adventure begins at Windhoek Airport where your hire vehicle will be ready and waiting for you. From here drive yourselves to your guesthouse in Windhoek.

  • 1 night

Galton House
Bed & Breakfast | Standard Room

Galton house ultimate galton room 1280
Kwessi dunes bar and serving station 1280
Kwessi dunes swimming pool 1280
Kwessi dunes main lounge area 1280
Kwessi dunes bar and serving station 1280 Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Day 2 - 4

Head off early and drive through rolling desert plains and craggy mountains to Kwessi Dune Lodge, deep in the NamibRand Nature Reserve.

  • 2 nights

Kwessi Dunes
All Inclusive | Standard Room

Kwessi dunes lodge bedroom interior 1280
Villa margherita main dining area 1280
Villa margherita patio lounge 1280
Villa margherita massage and wellness room 1280
Villa margherita main dining area 1280 Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Day 4 - 6

Another scenic drive today will take you to the pretty coastal town of Swakopmund, situated against the landscape of the Namib Desert.

  • 2 nights

Villa Margherita
Bed & Breakfast | Standard Room

Villa margherita king bedroom 1280
Damaraland camp mountain view 1280
Damaraland camp elephant herd on game drive 1280
Damaraland camp camp pool views 1280
Damaraland camp mountain view 1280 Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Day 6 - 9

Journey today to the Huab River Valley in Damaraland, a harsh land full of geological wonders and fascinating desert-adapted wildlife.

  • 3 nights

Damaraland Camp
Full Board | Tented Room

Damaraland camp interior guest suite 1280
Etosha mountain lodge swimming pool and sun deck 1280
Etosha mountain lodge firepit and evening lounge 1280
Etosha mountain lodge aerial view of the lodge 1280
Etosha mountain lodge swimming pool and sun deck 1280 Combined Shape Created with Sketch.

Day 9 - 12

Head today to the exclusive Etosha Heights Private Reserve on the southwest border of Etosha National Park, you will be sure to spot wildlife on the way to the lodge.

  • 3 nights

Etosha Mountain Lodge
All Inclusive | Classic Room

Etosha mountain lodge bedroom at sunrise 1280

Day 12

Bid goodbye to beautiful Namibia today as you drive back to Windhoek Airport. Here drop off your hire car and connect with your international flight home.

Make it yours

Tailormake this itinerary to your exact wishes

We've got you covered

Our trips are unashamedly high-end but always deliver excellent value for money. Our guide price covers the majority of trip costs upfront, on a per person basis, including international flights and all transfers.

Included icon


  • Accommodation as specified
  • Meals as specified
  • Car hire, group R car (Rav 4 or similar) including full cover, unlimited km and taxes
  • Carbon-offsetting with One Tree Planted
  • Conservation donation to Save the Rhino
  • Community projects with Uthando
Not included icon


  • Gratuities
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Additional activities not offered as scheduled by the accommodation
  • Visas and visa fees where relevant
  • Petrol
  • Beverages with the exception of all inclusive hotels
Indulge your passions


This sample trip offers countless adventures and activities to ensure lifetime memories are made. From unforgettable thrills to indulgent relaxation, choose those that appeal most and we will curate your perfect itinerary.

  • Big 5 Safari Icon Big 5 Safari
  • 4 WD Safari Icon 4WD Safari
  • Birdwatching Icon Birdwatching
  • Boat Trip Icon Boat Trip
  • Guided Walking Safari Icon Guided Walking Safari
  • Night Drive Icon Night Drive
  • Rhino Tracking Icon Rhino Tracking
  • Helicopter Flights Icon Helicopter Flights
  • Quad Biking Icon Quad Biking
  • Cultural Experience Icon Cultural Experience
  • Canoeing Kayaking Icon Canoeing/Kayaking
  • Fishing Icon Fishing
  • Hiking Icon Hiking
  • Horseriding Icon Horse Riding
  • Desert Tours Icon Desert Tours
  • Kids Bushcraft Icon Kids Bushcraft
  • Food Experience Icon Food Experiences
  • Photographic Safari Icon Photographic Safari
  • City Sights Icon City Sights
  • Star Gazing Star Beds Icon Star Gazing/Star Bed
  • Natural Wonders Icon Natural Wonders
  • Wellness Spa Icon Wellness/Spa
  • Cycling Icon Cycle Tour
  • Guided Walking Safari Icon Guided Walk
  • Cultural Experience Icon Cultural Excursion
Enriching encounters


Whether you want to tick the Big Five off your bucket list or seek out specific safari species, our expert guides reveal the typical wildlife sightings to expect on this sample trip.

  • White Rhino
    White Rhino
  • Springbok
  • Spotted Hyena
    Spotted Hyena
  • Southern Giraffe
    Southern Giraffe
  • Rock Hyrax
    Rock Hyrax
  • Ostrich
  • Oryx
  • Meerkat
  • Lion
  • Leopard
  • Kori Bustard
    Kori Bustard
  • Flamingo
  • Elephant
  • Cheetah
  • Cape Fur Seal
    Cape Fur Seal
  • Brown Hyena
    Brown Hyena
  • Bottlenose Dolphin
    Bottlenose Dolphin
  • Black Rhino
    Black Rhino
  • Southern right whale
    Southern Right Whale
Sample Itineraries


From majestic wildlife to out of this world natural wonders, cultural melting pots and enchanting beaches, every bespoke Mahlatini journey is thrilling. Unsure where to visit? Whether it’s a bucket-list adventure, a milestone celebration or simply a much-needed escape, experience the joy with this inspiring selection of favorites.

  • Bespoke itineraries
  • Flights and transfers included
  • Best rates guaranteed

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