top of page
Namibia Road Trip: Ultimate 2-Week Itinerary


Globe Icon

Namibia Road Trip: Ultimate 2-Week Itinerary

Namibia is a country like no other. Imagine sunrises over red desert sand, oryx walking in the wind, and hot air balloons suspended over the oldest desert in the world. It’s one of the most unique countries you’ll ever visit and one of the least densely populated in the world, making for long drives blasting music and a whole lot of wonders to see . . . .

Days 1 to 3 - Namibia's desert ghost town and wild horses

Estimated travel time from Windhoek: 8 hours

Many travelers to Namibia never make it to Kolmanskop, Namibia's abandoned diamond-mining town. But Kolmanskop is worth the trip. It's eerie beauty has haunted photographers for decades, and Kolmanskop isn't the only secret hidden in the desert sands. Outside of Kolmanskop in nearby Aus, you'll also find Namibia's wild horses, racing through the desert wind. Spend your first day driving from Windhoek to Ludertiz, your second day exploring Kolmanskop, and the start of your third day driving to Sesriem.


Namibia Road Trip: Ultimate 2-Week Itinerary

Namibia Road Trip: Ultimate 2-Week Itinerary

1. Kolmanskop, a town frozen in time

Kolmanskop is a “ghost town” in the Namib Desert. Its residents once had the highest incomes in the world, thanks to the rich supply of diamonds found on the desert sands. In the roaring 20s, Kolmanskop had electricity in homes even before Germany did, a heated swimming pool in the desert, and rumor has it, an ostrich to pull their Christmas sleigh.

After diamonds were discovered farther south, Kolmanskop's residents slowly began moving away. By 1954, Kolmanskop became completely abandoned. Now, dunes roll in through open doors and shattered windows, creating a spooky feeling and one of the most unique towns you'll ever see.

Tickets Icon


N$130 for standard entry 8am - 1pm; N$330 for a sunrise to sunset photo pass

Tickets can be bought between 8am - 1pm at the Kolmanskop entrance gate or from the tour center in Luderitz. Photo passes must be purchased the day before. 

Namibia Road Trip: Ultimate 2-Week Itinerary

Camera Icon


To really experience Kolmanskop's eerie beauty, buy the N$330 photo pass and visit for sunrise. When I visited for sunup, I found myself completely alone.

Or was I? 😉 👻

Namibia Road Trip: Ultimate 2-Week Itinerary

2. Wild horses of the Namib

As you're leaving Kolmanskop on your way to Sossusvlei, Kolmanskop isn't the only secret hidden in the sand. Look out for Namibia's untamed, wild horses, racing in the desert wind. There's a water hole and hide you can stop at for the best chance of finding them. Witnessing the beauty of these truly wild horses emerging from the desert wind is an experience close to magic.

Namibia Road Trip: Ultimate 2-Week Itinerary

3. Helmeringhausen's apple cake, the real best in Namibia

You probably had no idea there's a war going on in Namibia over who has the best apple pie. Did you? Neither did we! But McGregor's Bakery in Solitaire has long been known for "the best apple pie in Namibia." In my opinion, the apple cake at Helmeringhausen Hotel & Restaraunt is 10x better than the more famous one. On your way from Kolmanskop to Sesriem, make sure to stop here and grab a slice.

Namibia Road Trip: Ultimate 2-Week Itinerary

Days 3 to 6 - Camping in the desert

Once you arrive from Kolmanskop, spend your first night in Sossusvlei setting up camp and taking in the beauty of the desert. Under the desert stars, try spotting oryx, jackal, and even the elusive Cape fox. Spend at least two full days here getting to know the magic of the Namib Desert, and on your last day, drive from Sesriem to Swakopmund.

Estimated travel time from Kolmanskop: 6 hours  •  Estimated travel time from Windhoek: 4 hours

Hotel Icon


Camp in Sesriem inside Namib-Naukluft National Park, so you'll have longer access to Sossusvlei than visitors staying outside the park. That extra hour before sunrise and after sunset really makes a difference.

Hotel Icon

Tip: Not into camping?

Le Mirage is a stunning castle in the desert one hour from Sesriem but right next to Namib Sky, so it’s the perfect place to stay if you’re hot air ballooning at sunrise. Le Mirage even has a lit watering hole, so you can watch oryx visiting at night, and an outdoor suite on top of a tower, so you can sleep beneath the desert sky.

Namibia Road Trip: Ultimate 2-Week Itinerary

4. Sunrise in Sossusvlei at Dune 40 or Dune 45

Dune 45, the most photographed dune in the world, is the most popular for sunrise, but we prefer visiting Dune 40, which is 5km closer to the Sesriem gate than Dune 45 and far less crowded.

When we climbed Dune 40 at sunrise, we found ourselves alone at the top, listening to the wind ripple through the sand and watching hot air balloons rising in the distance.

Lightbulb Icon

Fun Fact:

Dune 45 got its name from being 45km from Sesriem.

Guess how far Dune 40 is.

Namibia Road Trip: Ultimate 2-Week Itinerary

5. Climbing "Big Daddy" dune

"Big Daddy” is 325m and the tallest dune in Sossusvlei. It’s a challenge to climb, as your feet sink into the soft sand, but running down one of the oldest and tallest dunes in the world is so rewarding! Bring plenty of water and start either early in the morning or before dusk when its cooler.

Map Icon

Getting to Sossusvlei from Sesriem

Sossusvlei is 60km from the Sesriem campsite, and can only be accessed when the park gates open. The last 4kms to Sossuvlei is an unpaved sand road. If you’re not comfortable driving on sand or don’t have a 4x4, you can take the shuttle for 150 NAD roundtrip. The shuttle will take you to Sossusvlei's Deadvlei, “Big Daddy,” and “Big Mama" dunes. If you get your car stuck in the sand, it’s NAD 1,000 for recovery assistance! 🤞

Namibia Road Trip: Ultimate 2-Week Itinerary

Namibia Road Trip: Ultimate 2-Week Itinerary

6. Dusk in Deadvlei

Our favorite time to visit Deadvlei is just before dusk when almost every tourist has returned home. In the overwhelming quiet of the pan, the 1,000-year-old trees cast long shadows beneath the bright blue sky. As the sun begins to set, an overwhelming stillness fills the pan. It’s a quiet that's beautiful beyond words.


Just remember to start heading back at least 1 hour before the Sesriem gate closes to have enough time for the 1km hike and drive. Keep in mind if you’re visiting at the end of day, the shuttles aren’t operational, so you’ll have to drive yourself.

Socially Responsible Travel Icon

Responsible Travel:

Do not touch or climb on the trees in Deadvlei.

Namibia Road Trip: Ultimate 2-Week Itinerary

Namibia Road Trip: Ultimate 2-Week Itinerary

7. Sunrise hot air balloon over the desert

Namibia Road Trip: Ultimate 2-Week Itinerary

There's nothing like floating peacefully above the world's oldest desert, searching for oryx, fairy circles, and your own shadow in the sand. If you're afraid of heights, this is still a perfect adventure for you. Hot air balloons travel with the wind, so there is no feeling of wind resistance or turbulence. Save for the exciting landing, it'll be easier than your flight to get here. It's easy to see why so many people fall in love with hot air ballooning.

Day 6 - Desert hidden gems

Namibia is full of hidden magic. Spend your sixth day in Namibia packing up camp, and setting out for Swakopmund to explore the wonders of the desert along the way from a pink fridge to a famous apple pie.

Estimated travel time from Sesriem to Swakopmund: 4 hours 30 minutes

Hidden Gems
Namibia Road Trip: Ultimate 2-Week Itinerary

Namibia Road Trip: Ultimate 2-Week Itinerary

8. Pink fridge in the middle of the desert

There's a pink fridge in the middle of the desert? Yes. Yes, there is. When I realized I missed this hidden gem on my first trip to Namibia, I knew I had to go back. (We saw a bit more on our second trip than just this pink fridge. Don't worry.) It runs on solar power and is a welcome treat for guests on their way to the Desert Grace luxury lodge. If you ask nicely, hopefully they'll let you see it. Once you start driving towards the Desert Grace, the pink fridge appears on the horizon like an oasis. Inside, there's homemade iced tea and water. How cool is that? 😍

Namibia Road Trip: Ultimate 2-Week Itinerary

Namibia Road Trip: Ultimate 2-Week Itinerary

9. Solitaire, retro cars and that apple pie

Much like the diamonds of Kolmanskop, Solitaire is another hidden gem in the desert. A pitstop in Solitaire is a Namibian road trip right of passage. Famous for its burnt-out retro cars and apple pie at McGregor's, Solitaire is a real-life oasis in the desert, too.

Hotel Icon


Got a puncture? That's a Namibian right of passage, too. There's a mechanic in Solitaire who can repair your tyres for the long road ahead.

Days 6 to 8 - Swakopmund, where the desert meets the sea, and the Skeleton Coast

Once you arrive in Swakopmund, spend the night settling in and getting ready for an adventurous couple of days in this adventurous mystery town on Namibia's coast.

Namibia Road Trip: Ultimate 2-Week Itinerary

10. Sandwich Harbour, where the desert meets the sea

Sandwich Harbour is one of the most unique destinations in Namibia, a country that's full of surreal desert beauty. Spend your seventh day in Namibia on a tour or a guided self-drive of the Pink Lakes, Pelican Point, and Sandwich Harbour. Driving in Sandwich Harbour is only possible at low tide, so check the tide schedule yourself before booking a tour (many of the tour companies won’t let you know the tide schedule and will visit the viewpoint instead).


We do not recommend driving in Sandwich Harbour without a guide. Even for experienced drivers, it’s a 50km drive from the tarred road to Sandwich Harbour on unmarked, sand roads. We hired a guide (Frans) from Nawa Nawa Tours for 2,600 NAD for a 5-hour tour of the Pink Lakes, Pelican Point, and Sandwich Harbour.

Passport Icon


If you don't want to drive yourself here, there are lots of tours available.

When booking, make sure the tour includes driving in Sandwich Harbour, not just reaching the viewpoint.

Namibia Road Trip: Ultimate 2-Week Itinerary

Namibia Road Trip: Ultimate 2-Week Itinerary

11. The Skeleton Coast

The Skeleton Coast is a 500km stretch of coastline with over a thousand shipwrecks, making it the largest ship graveyard in the world. The Portugese called it “The Gates of Hell.” Zeila Shipwreck, the first visible wreck north of Swakopmund, ran aground in 2008; it was being pulled to India to be sold for scraps. Now it sits 55km up the coast from Swakopmund, being bashed by the waves running in and out of its hull. It’s beautifully eerie.

Passport Icon


If you have more time, drive further up the Skeleton Coast

and stay at the famous Shipwreck Lodge.

Days 8 to 10 - Spitzkoppe and the Himba people

Namibia is a land of contrasting beauty, where the shifting sands of the Namib Desert meet the rocky formations of the Damaraland. Within this rugged terrain, stands the famous Spitzkoppe Arch. On the outskirts of remote Namibia lives a traditional community with a unique way of life—the Himba people.

Estimated travel time from Swakopmund to Spitzkoppe: 3 hours

Namibia Road Trip: Ultimate 2-Week Itinerary

* Photo by Colin Watts

12. Himba Village

Most Himba people live in northwestern Namibia, but this family, the king, his brother, and the prince, migrated to Spitzkoppe after Namibia’s drought impacted the Himba’s livelihood, their cattle, looking for new ways to support themselves. This is a real glimpse into the life on an incredible people.

Once you reach the tour office, it’s NAD 260 pp for a tour of the Himba village, led by a member of the Himba tribe. (In our experience, this tour price is more than other cultural village tours, but we hope most of the money supports the Himba people themselves.)


Socially Responsible Travel:

Remember to respect people's rights to privacy, even while on a tour, by asking explicit permission in a common language before taking anyone's photo. If you're unsure, don't take it!

Namibia Road Trip: Ultimate 2-Week Itinerary

* Photo by Andrew Svk

13. Spitzkoppe Arch

The famous Spitzkoppe rock arch is just 4km from the Himba Village. Once you reach the park gates, the rock arch is just a short drive to the left after the gate. The best way to see it is underneath a starry sky, surrounded by the silence of the desert and the whispering wind of Damaraland. Spend at least one day exploring Spitzkoppe and the nearby rock art sites.


Socially Responsible Travel:

Remember to drive 30km within the park and help preserve the rock paintings for future generations. The dust from cars driving over 30km damages the rock paintings!

Days 10 to 13 - Safari in Etosha National Park

Etosha is a national park like no other, steeped in legend and populated with four of Africa's iconic "Big 5". "Etosha" means "Great White Place" in Ovambo and with its sprawling pans under a vast blue sky, it's easy to see why.The heartbeat of Etosha is its incredible wildlife, best seen in the dry season of June to October when herds gather around watering holes. Spend at least two ful days here, chasing Etosha's wildlife across wide salt pans.

Estimated travel time from Spitzkoppe to Etosha: 5 hours

Namibia Road Trip: Ultimate 2-Week Itinerary

Namibia Road Trip: Ultimate 2-Week Itinerary

12. Safari in Etosha National Park

The best way to visit Etosha National Park is to stay inside the park itself, either camping or in one of the park's accomodations. During the dry season of June to October, wildlife is easy to find. Simply start from Okaukuejo, a great place to stay within the park right next to a watering hole, and drive to Etosha's many watering holes to spot wildlife in abundance—zebra, springbok, jackals, and if you're lucky, leopards, lions, black rhinos, and Etosha's famous "ghost elephants".


Scam Alert:

Between Windhoek and Etosha National Park, petrol attendants might puncture your tyres, knowing they are the only service station nearby and you'll have to return to pay for tyre repair.

Day 14 - Back to Windhoek

After your desert safari, it's time to visit Namibia's capital, Windhoek. Before you leave, make sure to visit Katura for the best braai in Namibia, and spend a day seeing what life is like for everyday people in Namibia. If you have even more time to explore Namibia, drive through the wondrous Caprivi Strip to Chobe National Park for a luxury river safari.

Estimated travel time from Etosha to Windhoek: 4 hours


Safety and Travel Advice in Namibia

Like South Africa, Namibia is a very beautiful place with a very complicated past that affects Namibia’s present, but because Namibia is so remote, there is little crime outside of the main cities. You'll often find yourself driving for hours without seeing another caror even a house.

Crime and safety in Namibia:

Don’t leave your phone or valuables unattended, especially while at a restaurant or at the beach. Keep your phone, wallet, and purse at the front of your body or in your front pockets. Don’t walk around alone at night.

When you're driving in a populated area like Windhoek, keep your windows up and doors locked, especially at stoplights and intersections. Don’t keep your purse or phone near the windows of your car. Keep your valuables (even shoes) in the trunk of your car while parked.

There is a scam operating at petrol stations between Windhoek and Etosha National Park. Petrol attendants might puncture your tires, knowing they are the only service station nearby and you'll have to return to pay for tire repair.

Driving safety in Namibia:

The first thing you'll notice about Namibia is the long stretches of gravel and dirt roads. It's essential to lower the air pressure in your tires to avoid a puncture and have a more comfortable journey. Don't leave for your road trip without a tire gauge and at least one spare tire.


We also recommend filling up whenever you get the chance and bringing a jerry can. The distances between petrol stations can be hours long.

Avoid driving at night, as there are no streetlights outside of cities and there is plenty of wild game. (We barely missed an aardvark outside of Etosha National Park—the only wild one we've seen).

When driving on sand, lower the tire pressure, switch to low gear, keep the car at an even speed, and don't stop in thick sand. We drop the tire pressure in our Toyota Fortuner down to 1.8 bar. (That way we can still drive on the tar road to the filling station).

Blog Comments

Want more help planning your trip? Plan a chat with me now for personalized travel advice.

Write a comment

Share Your ThoughtsBe the first to write a comment.
bottom of page