Northern Namibia Itinerary

Northern Namibia

16-Day/15-Night Accommodation
Self-drive or guided Safari

16 Day/15 Night Accommodated Self-drive, Camping or Guided Safari through the northern parts of Namibia

from/to Windhoek covering the natural highlights and ethnic cultures in north-central, north-western and coastal Namibia as well as Sossusvlei in the southern Namib Desert.

Our Northern Namibia Tour is suitable for first-time visitors to Namibia with a bit of prior experience of travelling in Africa. It will however be particularly appealing to repeat visitors of Namibia who feel like venturing off the beaten track.
Waterberg Plateau, Etosha National Park, Owambo culture, Ruacana and Epupa Falls, the Ochre people of Kaokoland, Sesfontein, ... does this sound intriguing?
This safari will reveal in detail how much beauty is hidden behind these words. You can't bring along too many memory cards or film rolls for your camera, and be sure to have plenty of camera batteries at hand, as recharging may not be possible everywhere.
Travelling north from Windhoek, the Waterberg Plateau and Etosha National Park provide a soft introduction to Namibia’s wide open spaces whose wildlife and extraordinary natural environments are protected in national parks. Dramatic changes await you when you continue north into the densely populated “Four O Regions”, still better known under their former name, Owamboland. Apart from an interesting geography despite of its flat appearance, modern town developments live here side-by-side with one of Namibia’s richest ethnic cultures.
During those first days on tour, you might question why a 4x4 vehicle was necessary for this safari. However, once in the far north-western Kunene Region, you may also experience how fulfilling it is to 'hear' the silence and to 'feel' the presence of pristine wilderness when a heightening of your senses makes thoughts of the world beyond disappear.
When you reach the prehistoric rock art galleries of Twyfelfontein and eventually Swakopmund on the central Skeleton Coast, situated in the Erongo Region, you are already familiar with most of the Namib Desert's many different faces, from rugged high mountain ranges to vast barren gravel plains. Swakopmund and its balmy seaside atmosphere created by the Atlantic Ocean as well as a sophisticated lifestyle, bely the fact that it’s a town surrounded and separated from the remainder of the country by the desert – until one leaves its boundaries.
When you continue south past Walvis Bay, the Kuiseb River not only marks the border with the Hardap Region but prevents the sands of the southern Namib that cover thousands of square kilometres from moving further north. The Namib’s sand dunes are at their highest and most impressive around the depressions of Sossusvlei and Dead Vlei, both formed by ancient rivers. The amazing spectacle of the Tsauchab River breaking through the sand barriers beyond its Sesriem Canyon and transforming Sossusvlei into a shallow lake can still occasionally be seen in years of particularly heavy rain falls in the river's catchment area. Climbing one of the Namib dunes opens up vistas of a sea of sand that is not only very photogenic but a sight to behold.
This tour is based on the easiest to drive routings but some more demanding ones do exist. If you do have some off-road experience and are up for a new challenge, please let us know!
Unique Tours & Safaris opted for a rather plain name for this safari although it’s anything but … experience contrasts and the Namib Desert at their best on this Northern Namibia Tour.


Upon arrival at the Hosea Kutako International Airport, collect your 4x4 vehicle and proceed to your accommodation in one of Windhoek’s suburbs.
The remainder of the day is spent at leisure. You find various sightseeing opportunities during a stroll through the city centre or just unwind around the lovely garden and pool area of your guest house that has a contemporary flair and stylish surroundings. Take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy a meal at Windhoek’s most famous restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating, Joes Beerhouse, situated only a stone-throw away.
Windhoek – Khomas Region
Bed and Breakfast


Day 2Windhoek – Waterberg
Only 70 km north of the capital city, Namibia's largest woodcarvers' markets on the outskirts of Okahandja, is well worth scouting for some first souvenirs. Proceed through typical African bushveld dotted with oddly-shaped mountains and criss-crossed by ephemeral rivers. Watch out for warthogs, baboons and antelopes trying to cross the tar road in bright daylight.
South of Otjiwarongo, the huge Waterberg Plateau Mountain rises on the north-eastern horizon and leads the way to today’s destination. During the afternoon, enjoy individual activities and the magnificent view of the vertical cliffs of the Waterberg. If you love hiking in unique surroundings, consider staying here a bit longer (optional extension days on request).
Waterberg Plateau – Otjozondjupa Region
Bed and Breakfast


Elephant taking a midday bathWaterberg – Etosha
Proceeding north, past the mining town of Tsumeb, its museum and the mysterious Lake Otjikoto, you reach the eastern boundaries of the famous Etosha National Park and your accommodation, overlooking the Fisher’s Pan area of the park.
Enjoy watching African wildlife in all its diversity, during your individual afternoon game drives in the eastern and central parts of the park, along the vast glittering expanse of the Etosha Pan and on visits to permanent waterholes.
More game viewing opportunities are available from the bar and dining room of the lodge, as well as a swimming pool and optional picnic baskets to take along on Etosha outings.
Etosha National Park – Oshikoto Region
Bed and Breakfast


Owambo pounding MahangoEtosha – Oshakati
Today’s journey takes you north through Etosha, with game viewing en route, before leaving the park through the King Nehale Gate. The Oshana Region and its bustling economic centre, Oshakati, beckon. Check with your lodge’s reception for optional afternoon activities available at the time.
Visiting a street market, traditional pottery, shebeen (informal bar), and other places of interest should only be done in the company of a local guide who speaks Oshiwambo and is familiar with the local ethnic culture. Those interested in European missionary work in Africa, in the late 1800's, may visit the Olukonda Museum to the south of Ondangwa. The museum housed in the former mission station has seen better days but still affords an interesting glimpse into a by-gone era.
If visiting the region after a summer season with plenty of rainfall, you might find the channels and lakes of the Oshana System flooded, which provides an idea of how similar to Botswana's Okavango Delta this part of Namibia used to look, millions of years ago, when the Kunene River still drained into the Etosha Pan instead of into the Atlantic Ocean.
Oshakati – Oshana Region
Bed and Breakfast


Ruacana FallsOshakati – Ruacana
Your journey continues almost straight north-west, on a tar road lined by traditional villages and informal settlements on communal land where livestock roams freely and people live from subsistence farming and fishing the Oshana System's ponds. The land is flat and sparsely vegetated, apart from small stands of photogenic Makalani palm trees, all the way to Ruacana on the Kunene River.
Here you enter the Kunene Region. If the river carries enough water to keep the Ruacana Falls flowing, the Ruacana Hydro-Electric Power Plant meets part of Namibia’s electricity needs and may be visited.
Your nearby accommodation is located on the banks of the river and the only one not requiring a 4x4 for access all year round.
Ruacana - Kunene Region
Bed and Breakfast


Epupa FallsRuacana – Epupa Falls
Today, you reach the most northern point of your safari when you arrive at the Epupa Falls of the Kunene River. Affording unobstructed vistas of the water falls and the scenic river valley, your accommodation is located in one of Namibia’s most unspoilt surroundings.
The lush vegetation along the majestic Kunene stands in stark contrast to the surrounding barren Kaokoland. From here, you have the opportunity to meet the last nomadic tribe of Namibia, the Himba, who call themselves the Ochre People. Other activities on offer entail relaxing in the pools of the Epupa Falls (beware of crocodiles though!) and taking a walk through the Kunene River Valley.
Epupa Falls – Kunene Region
Dinner, Bed and Breakfast


Palmwag LodgeEpupa Falls – Palmwag
Leaving the paradise of the Kunene River behind, you travel south through woodlands dotted with Himba settlements into the barren, rugged Kaokoveld. Via Opuwo, the Kunene Region’s small capital, and the historic Fort Sesfontein, a relic of German-colonial times and nowadays a stop-over for lunch and re-fuelling, your journey takes you into the region’s Damaraland area.
On the Uniab River, just north of the Veterinary Control Fence that spans the entire width of Namibia, lies your accommodation, a green oasis visited frequently by wildlife and the legendary desert elephants. Wash off the dust of Kaokoveld in the sparkling pool and relax around the cosy lodge grounds, before retiring to your comfortable room. It’s been a long and exciting day!
Damaraland – Kunene Region
Dinner, Bed and Breakfast

DAY 10

TwyfelfonteinPalmwag – Twyfelfontein
Next on the menu is Namibia’s first World Heritage Site, since 2007: Twyfelfontein, situated in central Damaraland. When driving south from Palmwag early on a clear day, the magnificent views of the Etendeka Mountains from the Grootberg Pass may be worth taking a detour, unless prehistoric rock art and volcanic activities that created prominent geographic features have more appeal to you.
At Twyfelfontein, a 45-minute walk with a local guide across a mountain slope takes you to some of the best examples of petroglyphs in Southern Africa, consisting of rock paintings and engravings. Also Interesting are the nearby Organ Pipes, Burnt Mountain as well as Petrified Forest which may be visited individually. All of these attractions are situated in close proximity of your accommodation.
Damaraland – Kunene Region
Bed and Breakfast

DAYS 11 AND 12

Swakopmund JettyNamib – Swakopmund
Time to meet the Southern Atlantic Ocean and to indulge in some cooling down! Not before you travelled across the dry plains of southern Damaraland though, with the Brandberg Mountain as your companion for most of the journey, past Uis to Henties Bay. A detour up the coast allows visiting the Cape Cross Seal Reserve, home of one of the largest Cape-fur Seal colonies in the southern hemisphere, that thrives on the arctic Benguela Current.
About an hour’s drive south of Henties Bay lies your destination for the coming days, historic Swakopmund. Explore the town on foot, enjoy side-walk cafés, restaurants, museums and souvenir shops, join an optional tour of the central Namib Desert or a Dolphin Cruise, and in general, take it easy in the beautiful atmosphere of this cosy sea-side resort and your beach-front accommodation.
Swakopmund – Erongo Region
Bed and Breakfast

DAYS 13 AND 14

Sesriem CanyonSwakopmund – Sesriem
Bid farewell to Swakopmund and travel south via Walvis Bay across the barren gravel plains of the central Namib, and through the Kuiseb and Ghaub Canyons to reach Solitaire, for a delicious cup of coffee and apple crumble at the local farm shop that is known beyond the borders of Namibia. For those still feeling adventurous, the Sesriem Canyon situated just an hour’s drive further south, is worth exploring for its cool shade and permanent water pools at the bottom.
Or continue straight a little further to your accommodation where the remainder of the day is at leisure to relax at the swimming pool and enjoying desert vistas. A visit to Sossusvlei at sunrise the next morning is worth getting up early. Experience the change of colours on this ocean of sand and a climb up “Big Daddy”, the highest desert sand dune in this area.
Sossusvlei – Hardap Region
Bed and Breakfast

DAY 15

Breakfast after hotair ballooningSesriem – Windhoek
Should a Hot-Air Balloon Flight over the Namib Desert be on your wish list, this is the morning to do it! It requires another wake-up call well before sunrise but viewing the Namib’s dunes, mountains, plains and water courses from a bird’s eye perspective at day break is an experience hard to be beaten – and you are even rewarded with a Champagne Breakfast back on the ground.
Enjoy more of Namibia's wide open spaces en route back to the central highlands and a last night in the capital. Recall all the beautiful moments of your trip and dream along for the rest of the day. If this is not according to your taste, you might like to do some sightseeing around town, for which there are numerous options.
Windhoek – Khomas Region
Bed and Breakfast

DAY 16

Windhoek & Departure
A last few hours of shopping and lingering in town, before you return your rental vehicle at the International Airport and check in for your outbound flight.


Price List

Services Included in this 16-day SELF-DRIVE or GUIDED programme, based on 2 participants sharing room or camping equipment & vehicle

  • 15 nights’ accommodation & meals as indicated above
  • Vehicle rental from/to Windhoek - 16 days unless choosing the guided option:
    Toyota 4x4 Single Cab or similar
    - for accommodated safaris OR Toyota Camping Vehicle equipped for 2
    - for all camping safaris
    • Incl. unlimited mileage
    • Incl. Collision Damage Waiver (as per rental conditions)

Not included are:

  • Flights & Visa/Permits of any kind
  • Sightseeing program & entrance/park fees
  • Optional activities
  • Additional meals & all beverages
  • Fuel for rental vehicle unless travelling guided
  • Purchases and expenses of a personal nature



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