This self-drive itinerary is an exploration of Namibia's southern circuit.
Beginning in Windhoek, the itinerary has you heading first to the Kalahari Desert. In contrast to the more famous swirling red dunes of the Namib, the Kalahari is actually a fossil desert. It is less arid than a true desert which means a variety of wildlife can call it home. Expect a landscape of golden grass, small red dunes and the very photographic Quiver trees. Here, desert-adapted animals such as meerkats, gemsbok, giraffe, warthog, various antelope and the black-maned Kalahari lion can be seen on morning and afternoon game drives. Perhaps the desert's most famous inhabitants are the San people (Namibian bushmen) who are the descendants of the earliest hunter gatherer peoples on the earth. We highly recommend that you partake in a unique walk with the Bushmen trackers to discover their desert survival techniques.
Your next stop is the Fish River Canyon, the world's second largest canyon which cuts through a stony semi-desert and drops some 500m deep. Every year hundreds of hikers from all over the world take on the ultimate hiking challenge, a 90km hiking trail that takes 4 to 5 days to complete. If you aren't quite up for that challenge you can still see some of the most stunning gorge scenery in southern Africa on canyon drives and day hikes. You can also eexplore nearby reserves on horseback, on foot, by air, or in an open safari vehicle. A scenic flight will provide a dramatic all-encompassing view that gives you an inkling of the canyon's scale. Attractions like the Ais-Ais Hot Springs near the southern end of the canyon and Warmbad, about two hours' drive from the canyon, are fed by natural springs and are an elixir for weary feet.
A night in Aus is next. Aus is tranquil little desert town, formerly the site of a prisoner-of-war camp. The area to the west of Aus is the reason for a stop here, it is home to a herd of feral horses living in the desert. Their origin is uncertain but at present there is around 150 to 200 individuals who have become adapted to the harsh environment. They drink at an artificial water hole at Garub Pan where a blind has been erected to enable tourists to watch the animals without disturbing them.
Onwards now to Luderitz, arguably the most unique town in Namibia. Facing the Atlantic Ocean, the town forms a barrier between the towering coastal dunes of the Namib Desert to the north and the unforgiving rocky coastline to the south. A colourful fishing harbour town, it is dotted with 20th century German art-nouveau buildings. It's most famous attraction is the renowned Kolmanskop Ghost Diamond Town but the town is also known for its delicious fresh seafood, including the much sought-after abalone. Other attraction are the marine cruises, on the lookout for penguins, dolphins, whales and Cape Fur seals.
You will now head north again with a stop at the NamibRand Nature Reserve which aims to conserve the wildlife of the south-west Namib Desert. It's an area rife with unique biodiversity. Your stay here will contribute to the reserve's low-impact ecotourism where any proceeds go straight back into conserving the area. At a sprawling 202,200 hectares, the scenery inside the reserve encompasses practically every nuance that the Namib Desert has to offer: ranging from rising mountain ranges to vast sand plains and patches of savannah. During your stay here, you can enjoy activities such as guided drives into the soaring peaks of the Nubib Mountains, thrilling hot air balloon rides, guided walks, scenic flights and incredible stargazing.
The final leg of your journey, before you head back to Windhoek, is a stop at the dunes at Sossusvlei. Located in the Namib Naukluft Park, the largest conservation area in Africa, these sand dunes are possibly Namibia's most spectacular and best-known attraction. Sossusvlei is a large, white, salt and clay pan characterised by the large red dunes that surround it. These are some of the highest in the world and provide photographic enthusiasts with wonderful images in the morning and evening light. The attractions of the area include: Sesriem Canyon, Dune 45, Hidden Vlei, Big Daddy and Deadvlei.
Head back to Windhoek now for your last night. Should you have the time spare, you may wish to explore this small city of modern skyscrapers and historic German buildings from the turn of the century. Go shopping, enjoy some sight-seeing, or simply dip into Namibian café culture and sample some interesting delicacies.
Whatever your budget, our travel experts will work with you and give expert advice to make the very most of your available time and funds. They will guide you on the best time of year to travel, select the best value destinations and secure the little ‘add-ons’ that will make your tailor-made trip that extra bit special.
We are confident that we will offer highly competitive rates direct from our supplier network but we are always happy to compare with other quotes to ensure you secure the best value.
Catch your overnight flight from Philadelphia International Airport to Windhoek International
Arrive at Windhoek Airport, collect your hire car and drive yourselves to your guesthouse in Windhoek.
Today you will take the drive to the Kalahari.
Today you will take the drive to the Fish River Canyon.
Today you will take the drive to the desert town of Aus.
Today you will take the drive to the town of Luderitz.
Today you will take the drive to the NamibRand Nature Reserve.
Today you will take the drive to Sossusvlei region.
Today you will take the drive back to Windhoek.
Return to Windhoek Airport where you will drop off your hire car and catch your flight home.