Namibian Eco-Safari: Deserts to Eden in 17 Days

From$5,377/per person
16 nights

Experiences

Self-drive
Historical Sites
Adventure
Friends-trip
Safari

Highlights

Begin your trip in rugged Damaraland and boulder-strewn Spitzkoppe before advancing towards desert-adapted rhino terrain in Palmwag. Seek out even more wondrous, charismatic creatures in Namibia's two wildlife refuges, the moonscape of Etosha and the wetland wonderland of the Zambezi.

Best time to travel

January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December
Best
Good
Acceptable

Trip route

Windhoek Airport

Trip overview

Arrival: Windhoek Airport

Windhoek AirportSpitzkoppe (Damaraland South)
322km | 3h 30min
1

1Spitzkoppe (Damaraland South)

2 nights

Rising out of a seemingly flat landscape with a peak of 1.728 metres, the Spitzkoppe is a cluster of granite mountains in the Erongo Region, just a couple of minutes drive from the main road to Swakopmund. The “Matterhorn of Africa” is fun to climb for novices and experienced rock-climbers alike. There are several birds, including the endemic Herero Chat.

Hotel
Spitzkoppen Lodge

Enjoy stunning sunsets over the Brandberg Mountain

Spitzkoppe (Damaraland South)Palmwag (Damaraland North)
1
362km | 7h
2

Journey north through a desolate landscape where hardly any sign of civilization is seen. You'll pass by the Brandberg, Namibia's tallest mountain and the home of ancient rock art. Fill up in the mining town of Uis, cross the (usually dry) Ugab River and continue north as the horizon becomes ever more hilly. Just north of Bergsig, you'll find palm-dotted Palmwag.

2Palmwag (Damaraland North)

2 nights

Palmwag in northern Damaraland is a place of awe-inspiring desert scenery, dense wildlife populations and superb remote lodges. If you could only visit one part of the country, it would have to be the one.

Hotel
Camp Kipwe

Earthy bungalows layered with clay, rock and wood snuggled between majestic boulders

Palmwag (Damaraland North)Etosha National Park Central (South)
2
364km | 7h 39min
3

From Palmwag in the heart of Damaraland, take the tar road to Kamanjab, a little town close to the western border of Etosha National Park. Fill up with fuel and goodies before your next leg. From there, it’s onto the gravel road, through a hilly landscape that smooths out as you reach the hinterland, heading north to Etosha’ Andersson Gate.

3Etosha National Park Central (South)

2 nights

Central Etosha National Park sets the scene for Namibia’s foremost wildlife showcase. Here, a series of waterholes guarantee spectacular game viewing, flanked by mystical, open grasslands along the edges of the inhospitable Etosha Pan.

Hotel
Etosha Safari Lodge

Breathtaking sunset views and elegant decor close to Etosha National Park

Etosha National Park Central (South)Etosha National Park East
3
187km | 4h 12min
4

The drive from the Anderson Gate in Etosha South to the Von Lindequist Gate is slow and meandering and warrants you taking your time. About halfway, stop at the Etosha Pan lookout point, where you have a fantastic view over the pan and surroundings.

4Etosha National Park East

3 nights

Eastern Etosha National Park is one of the quieter areas of the park, where visitors are few and game viewing is excellent! Expect typical Etosha landscapes of stark, white pans interspersed with patches of grassland.

Hotel
Onguma The Fort

Exclusive scenery and stylish suites complimented with modern functionality

Etosha National Park EastRundu
4
448km | 6h 2min
5

It’s about a 4 hour drive from the Von Lindequist gate near Namutoni in Etosha East to Rundu up near the border with Angola. The quickest way is to drive through Tsumeb and then Grootfontein, both large towns where you can fill up on the essentials.

5Rundu

1 night

Home of the famous Kavango woodcarvers, Rundu sits on the banks of the Okavango River in the north of Namibia. Though not the most exciting of towns, it is the most northerly town on the B8, which then goes on to head east into the Zambezi. Rundu is a good stopover spot to fill up on groceries and fuel.

Hotel
Hakusembe River Lodge

An enchanted destination found along the Okavango River

RunduMudumu National Park
5
498km | 7h 2min
6

This nearly 5 hour trek eastwards deep into the Zambezi Strip will see you passing a handful of game reserves and conservancies. Stop at Divundu for a break before tackling the last stretch towards Mudumu.

6Mudumu National Park

3 nights

East of Bwabwata, Mudumu National Park is a 737 km2 park bordered on its western side by the Kwando River. Its mopane woodlands and dense savannahs are a haven for various animal species and a few exceptional bird species.

Hotel
Namushasha River Villa

A floating oasis moored on a private channel on the Kwando River

Mudumu National ParkRundu
6
447km | 6h 11min
7

Head north on the C49 from the Ngenda Park Gate towards the settlement of Kongola, from where you'll head west through the stem of the Zambezi. Appreciate the mix of communal and parkland before crossing the Okavango River near Divundu. Fill up with fuel before continuing with your last stretch on the B8 until you reach Rundu.

7Rundu

1 night

Home of the famous Kavango woodcarvers, Rundu sits on the banks of the Okavango River in the north of Namibia. Though not the most exciting of towns, it is the most northerly town on the B8, which then goes on to head east into the Zambezi. Rundu is a good stopover spot to fill up on groceries and fuel.

Hotel
Hakusembe River Lodge

An enchanted destination found along the Okavango River

RunduEtosha National Park East
7
411km | 5h 20min
8

The shortest way to Etosha from Rundu is to stay on the B8 to Grootfontein before heading northwest through Tsumeb and on to the Von Lindequist Gate. It’s a 4-hour drive, but make it pass easily by making stops along the way (perhaps even picking up an exquisitely carved wooden souvenir from a local expert!).

8Etosha National Park East

2 nights

Eastern Etosha National Park is one of the quieter areas of the park, where visitors are few and game viewing is excellent! Expect typical Etosha landscapes of stark, white pans interspersed with patches of grassland.

Hotel
Villa Mushara

Etosha National Park EastWindhoek Airport
8
610km | 8h 35min

It’s a big drive from Etosha East to Hosea Kutako International Airport - about 5.5 hours, to be exact! So leave early and stay on the main roads. From the Von Lindequist Gate, head southeast to Tsumeb then climb onto the B1 towards Otijwarongo. The B1 will take you all the way to Windhoek, passing through Okahandja (stop for a dip in a hot pool at Gross Barmen!) From Windhoek, head east on the B6 - with all its twists and turns - to the airport.

Departure: Windhoek Airport