They call it "Africa for beginners" because Namibia is very easy to go around and discover the country on your own. And so we did. This video is perfect to watch if you are considering to go to Namibia, as it covers the classic itinerary in the country.
Given the Xmas holiday period we booked car plus some accommodation from Europe. Despite we travelled at the beginning of the raining period (January), the weather was great (almost always sunny and warm). We did a classic itinerary given we had only 10 days to spend. With a couple of more days, we recommend to reach Opuwo to see the Himba people. With further 3/4 days, you can add the Namibian Kahalari and the south.
Arrival in Windhoek. Pick up of the car, first walk in the city. Dinner at Joe Beerhouse
From Windhoek to Sesriem. Ca 5 hours of beautiful driving getting the first experience with Namibian gravel roads. Most road in Namibia are gravel but are relatively large and well maintained. Afternoon in Sesriem spent visiting the canyon and climbing the Elim dune.
Wake up at 5.30am to enter the park as it opens (6.10am). Drive the 45km to get to the Dune 45 and first breathtaking climb of the dune. Then straight to Deadvlei and Sussusvlei until around 1pm. As it is summer (up to 45C), we spent the central hours of the day sleeping near the sleeping pool of the lodge. Then short tour and beer to watch the sunset from the savannah
Another early wake up and we are on the way to Swakopmund. First stop is at Solitaire, to taste the apple pie which is recommended in every guidebook. Then stop at the Tropic of Capricorn. The first part of the drive is beautiful with savanna landscape. After you cross the Kuiseb pass you enter a total new landscape as you are entering the Skeleton Coast. A couple of hours of drive in the desolation, and we reach first Walvis Bay, and then Swakopmund where we spend the afternoon exploring the German soul of this city.
The day was spend in an excursion. In the morning we went by boat in the Walvis bay, watching seals, birds, shipwrecks ... In the afternoon, we took the 4x4 excursion to Sandwitch Harbour, a secluded bay very difficult to reach unless you are an experienced off-road driver with the right car. The place is amazing and the top moment was the lunch on the beach, eating oysters, in a beautiful and unspoiled oasis completely untouched by civilisation
Another day on the road (6 hours with stops). From Swakop, we headed north along the Skeleton Coast stopping at the Leila shipwreck and Cape Cross, a colony of thousands of fur seals. From there we drove to the Damaraland which we reached in the early afternoon, on time for a visit to the Twyfelfontein archaeological site (rock engravings and paintings dated between 2,000 and 6,000 years ago). A stop to the Herero women along the roads is a good spot to get some nice souvenirs.
On the move again, direction Etosha. But before we spent an hour at the petrified forest and getting some fuel and lunch in Khorixas. From there, the road to Etosha is paved again. We arrived in Etosha at the Okaukejo Lodge. A couple of hour to rest and we are in the bush again with the car spotting the first animals (giraffe, zebra, impala)
Whole day spent in the car, slowly wandering around the Etosha park. Despite the raining season (the animals are spread in the bush and the vegetation is more dense) we spotted all the key animals with the exception of the felines (esp. the lion was missing).
Return to Windhoek. A nice long way, with a couple of nice and clean villages to stop by to refuel and buy some food and souvenirs. Evening passed enjoying a beer in the great outdoor garden at Joe Beerhouse.
Visit of Windhoek. A small city, not much to see but good for spending a few hours walking around. Flight in late afternoon.