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Namibia Self-Drive Itinerary Comments

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Hi all,

So I've been working with an agent to put together a 2 week self-drive trip through Namibia next May, staying mostly at camp sites instead of lodges. I picked May because it's off-season so hopefully less busy and it's cheaper. I know the game viewing will not be as good, but we've already been to Tanzania and Zambia, so less focused on animals as opposed to just soaking in the scenery.

I guess my main concern with the itinerary is that it seems like an awful lot of stops; most for just one night. That seems a bit rushed to me; I usually like to spend at least two nights in an area just to get the feel of it. But looking at a lot of tour operators websites, this seems to be a pretty typical route to follow. Just wondering if anyone else has done a similar trip and what your thoughts are on it. The agent I've been working with says this is one of their best selling trips and gets good feedback from their customers, and when I look at it plotted out on a map, it does make a nice circular route with no more than a 4 hour drive between any two stops.

1. The Olive Grove http://www.olivegrove-namibia.com/
2. Okonjima Omboroko Campsite - http://okonjima.com/index.php
3. Okonjima Omboroko Campsite - http://okonjima.com/index.php
4. Onguma Campsite, Etosha http://www.onguma.com/about-us/onguma-campsite.htm
5. Okaukuejo Rest Camp, Etosha http://www.etoshanationalpark.org/accommodation/okaukuejo
6. Hoada Campsite, Damaraland http://grootberg.com/hoada-campsite/
7. Mowani Campsite, Damaraland http://www.mowani.com/index.php
8. Spitzkoppe Campsite, Southern Damaraland http://www.spitzkoppe.com/index.php/site/page?view=accommodation
9. Desert Breeze, Swakopmund http://www.desertbreezeswakopmund.com/index.php
10. Sesriem Campsite, Sossusvlei http://www.nwr.com.na/sesriem_campsite.html
11. NamibRand Family Hideout Campsite http://www.hideout.iway.na/
12. NamibRand Family Hideout Campsite http://www.hideout.iway.na/
13. Buellsport Guest Farm, South of Rehoboth http://www.buellsport.com/
14. Eningu, The Clayhouse Lodge http://www.eningulodge.com/


I like all the camp locations except for possibly Okaukuejo Rest Camp in Etosha which I was told was unavoidable as it's the only camp in that area. Opinions? Good? Bad?

Are there any "not to be missed" activities or sites? Or things to avoid? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks for your help!

  • Report Abuse

    The itinerary looks OK, but as you say a lot of one night stops. Maybe you could have 2 nights at Okaukuejo in a chalet rather than camping which will give you access to the waterhole for 2 evenings - typical sightings are elephant, lion, jackal, rhino and giraffe whilst during the day large herds of plains grazers come in - zebra, oryx, impala.

    The campsite at Okaukuejo is busy (I've visited twice in August and once in October) and I remember a patch of bare earth far too close to the toilet block form my first trip in October 2005.

    You could also combine those two nights in Damaraland, Grootberg Lodge is reasonably priced. The Spitzkoppe site is very bare, members of the local community drop by to invite visitors to an evening cultural show. Well, that was in 2008.


    Happy planning,



    Pol

  • Report Abuse

    If there is one thing that my DH and I have learned from our numerous self-drives through SA, Namibia, Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia, it is that rushing around takes all of the pleasure out of them for us. When you are self-driving and camping, moving every day is exhausting. The focus becomes getting from A to B, instead of enjoying what lies between and at each destination. The more self-drives we complete, the longer our stays at each destination become - on average, three nights, so that we have two full days at each stop.

    I like your itinerary from the perspective of what you are visiting - we enjoyed Etosha, Okonjima, Damaraland, Swakopmund and the coast, the dunes at Sesriem and the Namib Desert. The problem is that you are spending most of your time getting to each and so little time enjoying them.

    If your priority is scenery, then you will want more time in Sesriem to enjoy the spectacular scenery around the dunes. I would also wish more time in Etosha, but you mention that, having been on safari previously, your focus is not on animals. That being said, the scenery in Etosha is lovely as well.

    If it were me, I would wish to lengthen the itinerary and spend at least another night at the highlights (for me, Sesriem and Etosha) or, if that isn't possible, I would try to eliminate a couple of destinations (if my priority was scenery, the first to go for me would be the two nights at Okonjima) and put those nights at what you anticipate will be the highlights for you. You might also consider eliminating Damaraland and Swakopmund - albeit, both lovely destinations.

    If you click on my name, you will find links to trip reports and photos from some of our self-drives, including a 2008 trip through SA and Namibia (with photos from the dunes and coast). If you look at the itineraries, you will see how slowly we move, especially in the more recent self-drives to Kenya and Tanzania. The more self-drives we do, the slower we get! CR

    PS. Four hours between Swakopmund and Seriem? That would be tight! From Walvis Bay to Sesriem took us from 10:00am to 4:30pm, with stops for tea by the road, a quick picnic lunch and dozens of photos. The scenery is spectacular. You might be able to do it in four hours, but why would you want to? Add the time needed to break camp at one end and set up camp at the other, and you do not have many hours left to relax and enjoy your surroundings.

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    Thanks for your feedback Pol and Robin. I think I will try to narrow down the destinations and try to spend more time at each location, that's normally how I like to travel anyway. Guess I just need to figure out my priorities. I would love to stay longer, but that's not feasible; I just can't be away from work that long.

    Pol - the agent does have us at the chalets in Okaukuejo, he said if we just spend our time at the water hole we won't mind it too much, also another reason for us going in May to beat the crowds. Was the cultural show worth it? Or was it a contrived means to make money?

    Robin - great trip report, such a good time-waster for me while at work, ha! Do you have that posted on another board with more photos? I want to say I came across it somewhere previously when I was just starting out researching this trip. I'm actually booking this through Safaridrive because of that trip report. This will be my first self-drive, so that's why we chose Namibia, as it seems like a good "first time" experience self-driving. Would love to build up to going back to Tanzania, so I'm bookmarking your report for that trip as well.

    Thanks again! I will go back to the travel agent with your suggestions and see if we can whittle down the number of stops on this trip.

  • Report Abuse

    My trip reports are on the Safari Drive website. Perhaps you saw them there? Is this a SD itinerary?

    You will love self-drive - and Namibia is a great place to start. We are heading back to Tanzania and Kenya this summer - we love it there. CR

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