All you need to know before you go to Namibia

Why travel to Namibia?

  1. If you based in South Africa, Namibia is a short two-hour flight from Johannesburg.
  2. Return flights can cost as little as R3500 per person.
  3. Namibia is an affordable destination for South Africans as the Rand to Namibian Dollar is 1 to 1.
  4. Namibia is visa free for South Africans.
  5. The Namib dunes are a must-see!
  6. Namibia is relatively untouched in some parts which provides for an amazing experience.

Let’s support tourism in Africa. Let’s show the world what we got!

6 days in Namibia

DAY 1Johannesburg to
Windhoek Gardens Boutique Hotel
DAY 2Windhoek to
Desert Camp
DAY 3SossusvleiSossusvlei Lodge
DAY 4Sossusvlei to
Atlantic Villa Boutique Guesthouse
DAY 5SwakopmundAtlantic Villa Boutique Guesthouse
DAY 6Swakopmund to
Leave Windhoek for Johannesburg

How did we get around?

We flew into Windhoek from Johannesburg with South African Airways. You can book your flights on their website at Return flights on special can cost around R3 500 per person.

We read a number of blogs before planning this trip and almost all of them recommend a SUV when travelling through Namibia. Namibia is relatively untouched in some parts and there are no tarred roads, petrol stations or shops. If you travelling to Sossusvlei, and your itinerary is similar to ours, then i would recommend it. If you just travelling to Windhoek, Swakopmund and Walvis Bay, then it is not required.

Even though a SUV was recommended, it was out of our budget and we only had enough miles to hire a motor vehicle. Lucky for us we were upgraded by Avis Car Rental. You can book car hire directly with Avis at

Tips for your roadtrip through Namibia

  • It is very hot and dry in Namibia, so your vehicle must have an aircon.
  • Stop at a grocery store before leaving the major cities, and stock up on water and padkos.
  • Try fill fuel wherever you see a petrol station, and ensure that you have sufficient fuel at all times. Petrol stations are few and far between especially when travelling to Sossusvlei.
  • Please check your route and road conditions. The route to Sossusvlei is mostly gravel road, so tyre and windscreen insurance cover is a must.
  • Do not attempt to speed on a gravel road. It’s just not worth it.
  • In these weather conditions, a hat and suncreen are always required.

Day 1 – Johannesburg to Windhoek

Windhoek is about 45kms from the airport and the roads are not well lit. If you travelling at night, stick to the speed limit as animals roam freely here.

Our home for the night was the Windhoek Gardens Boutique Hotel. It is situated in Namibia’s capital city and in close proximity to malls, and restaurants. It is suitable for overnight stays, business travellers, and tourists passing through. The decor is quirky and pretty, but the rooms are neat and tidy. They have a great breakfast spread and warm meals on order.

Accomodation – Windhoek Gardens Boutique Hotel

Day 2 – Windhoek to Sossuvlei

A few kilometres outside of Windhoek and you mostly travelling on gravel roads until you reach Sossusvlei. Now you can either self drive like we did in a rental car, or join a tour if your budget permits.

Before you leave Windhoek, stop at the grocery store and stock up on water and snacks for the 5 hour journey ahead. It is a long, and tiring drive and there are hardly any petrols stations, shops or restaurants on route.

What to see on the way:

  • The changing landscape in Namibia is incredible. It may be dry and barren but it is absolutely beautiful
  • Drive through Spreetshoogte Pass
  • Stop at the viewpoint for lunch

Day 2 – Sossusvlei

Even though we were exhausted from the drive, we only had 1.5 days here so we pushed through and tried to make the best of it.

To see the dunes and Sesriem Canyon in Sossusvlei, one has to pay park fees daily. We took an afternoon stroll through the canyon, and admired the amazing rock formations, and went all the way to the water source. It was very warm and dry, and the ground incredibly hot so you need water, a hat and closed shoes.

Before we left the park, we took a short hike up to Elim Dune. Just high enough to view the breathtaking scenery.

We booked for 2 nights at Desert Camp in the Namib Naukluft Park, just outside the entrance gates to Sossuvlei, and the dunes. From what i understand the chalets have been recently renovated. The units are modern and luxurious, and even have a kitchenette and braai area. It’s private and downright relaxing. You can order meat and condiments for a braai by 4.30pm, and it will be delivered to you. All the crockery and cutlery you need is available for rent – a deposit of R300 is required. Lunch for the next day can be ordered the night before. Breakfast and dinner is however served at their sister property, Sossusvlei Lodge. Unfortunately there was a problem with out our unit and we were moved to Sossusvlei Lodge. It was an upgrade and really nice, but we prefer a modest and private environment, and hope to go back to Desert Camp some day.

What did we do:

  • Sesriem Canyon
  • Elim Dune

Accomodation – Desert Camp & Sossusvlei Lodge, Sossusvlei

Day 3 – Sossusvlei

When you visiting the national park, get an early start. If you keen to hike up the dunes or just walk around, by 10am it is blistering. The sand gets extremely hot so you need closed shoes.

You can either hike up Dune 45 or Big Daddy, or if you fit enough do both. We took a photo or two at Dune 45, and then drove to Big Daddy. Here you can hike up the dune, and run down, or just walk to Deadvlei where you can view Big Daddy from the bottom of the dune. The latter is advisable if you travelling with children or the elderly. Carry at least 2 litres of water per person.

By midday we left the park, as there are no bathrooms or restaurants close to the dunes. You may want to carry some lunch and have a picnic under the trees at Big Daddy. If you not in a SUV, you will need to leave your motor vehicle at the car park, and take a shuttle to Big Daddy and Deadvlei. From what i understand, there is a fee for this.

When we reached Sossusvlei Lodge we couldn’t wait to take a swim. We had a small lunch in anticipation of the buffet later that night. The buffet is absolutely worth it, and the setting is lovely. It includes a variety of game meat, grilled seafood, stirfy, and loads of salad and dessert.

Accomodation – Sossusvlei Lodge, Sossusvlei

What did we do

  • Photo opportunity at Dune 45
  • Hiked up Big Daddy
  • Walked through Deadvlei
  • Took an afternoon swim at Sossuvlei Lodge
  • Indulged in the buffet at Sossusvlei Lodge

Day 4 – Sossuvlei to Walvis Bay

We left Sossusvlei Lodge just after breakfast, and headed for Walvis Bay some 5 hours away. On route we stopped at Solitaire to refuel, adjust the tyre pressure again, and to indulge in their famous apple pie (with cream), of course! This is the last stop for miles so stock up on whatever you may need.

The route to Walvis Bay is absolutely breathtaking. There are some amazing passes, and whilst it is dry and barren for most of the journey, it is really beautiful. Don’t miss the chance to take a photo at the Tropic of Capricorn sign enroute. Wikipedia says it’s the most southerly position at which the sun can be directly overhead.

What did we do:

  • Stop at Solitaire for their famous apple pie
  • Lovely photo op at Solitaire against the backdrop of the old cars
  • Take note of the beautiful pass and scenery
  • Don’t miss the chance to take a pic at the Tropic of Capricorn
  • Carry loads of water and some padkos

Day 4 – Walvis Bay

We were famished by the time we reached Walvis Bay so we headed straight for lunch. The calamari at Dockside Seafood and Grill is some of the best we’ve ever had, and the views are spectacular. You can find them at Walvis Bay Waterfront.

After lunch we took a stroll around the waterfront, and managed to chat to a few tour co’s about the trip to Sandwich Harbour, which we secured for the next day.

Next up – Dune7. Dune 7 is the highest dune in Namibia. Whilst you can take the easy route and walk on the footpath, it’s more fun to take your shoes off, pack your water and snacks, put on a hat, and walk straight up – like the climbers in this pic. It looks deceivingly easy. Take a break if you have to, but don’t give up.

If you keen on quadbiking, you should really try it in Walvis Bay. Just before sunset we headed out on our quads, and took on the dunes. A definite highlight was sandboarding down these amazing dunes, and having it all to ourselves. Dune 7 Adventures were great.

We tried looking for suitable accomodation in Walvis Bay but didn’t seem to find anything that we liked. Instead, we booked at the Atlantic Villa Boutique Hotel in Swakopmund, which is 30 minutes away from Walvis Bay. We went with a standard room which was pretty, comfortable and clean. Perfect for a short stay for when you sightseeing the whole day.

What did we do:

  • Enjoyed a long lunch at the Waterfront
  • Booked our tour for Sandwich Harbour
  • Quadbiking and sandboarding with Dune 7 Adventures
  • Conquer Dune 7

Accomodation: Atlantic Villa Boutique Hotel

Day 5 – Sandwich Harbour and Swakopmund

It was an early start as we headed back to Walvis Bay, for our tour to Sandwich Harbour with Sandwich Adventure Tours. The meeting point is at their office at the waterfront, and the morning tour leaves around 8.30 – 9am. On route, stop for fresh oysters, see the Flamingos in Walvis Bay, drive through the salt pans, and end the tour in Sandwich Harbour – where the desert meets the ocean.

What do you need to know about the tour to Sandwich Harbour:

  • If you in a 4 x 4 and a confident driver, you can obtain a permit and drive along the coast until you reach Sandwich Harbour
  • A few kilometres from the waterfront and you can see the flamingos. No need to go on a tour nor do you need a 4 x 4 here.
  • The tour includes a snack platter, and drinks.
  • It was the only tour we did in Walvis Bay, and it is priced for overseas tourists. However it is one of those bucket list items.

What did we get up to in Swakopmund:

  • Took a stroll to the end of the pier.
  • Checked out the waterfront and the lighthouse.
  • Drove around the town a bit.
  • Decided to take a drive to the Moon Landscape. The Moon Landscape is a part of the desert, that is dry, barren and rocky and resembles the moon landing. Off the main highway, there is a short gravel road to reach the viewsites. You need a permit to enter the area, however there isn’t a checkpoint or anything. The famous Welwitschia plant can be seen here.

Accomodation: Atlantic Villa Boutique Hotel

Day 6 – Swakopmund to Windhoek

The journey from Swakopmund to Windhoek lasts about 3.5 hours. There isn’t much to see along the way. Upon arriving in Windhoek, we had a quick lunch at Joe’s Beerhouse because no trip to Namibia would be complete without it. It’s quirky, fun and something of an institution in Windhoek, attracting tourists from all over the world.

Our flight to Johannesburg was scheduled for just after lunch, so there wasn’t much time for anything else. This goes down as one of my favourite holidays of all time! Loved roadtripping through Namibia! Just wish we had more time to see it all. 🙂

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