Namibia Trip Planning: Itinerary and Tips

I was looking to plan a trip to Kruger with a stopover in Seychelles. In 2012, we have been on a safari in Kenya, seen Victoria Falls from Zambia and Zimbabwe side, and also have done a road-trip along the Garden Route and visited Cape Town in South Africa. Initially, I was planning to do a 10-day trip to Kruger and Seychelles. But then I thought of doing a longer African trip. I was searching for countries near South Africa, and that’s when I stumbled across Namibia. I thought of adding 5 or 6 days in Namibia, but soon realised it’s a big country and will need at least 10 to 14 days. This was one country which wasn’t on my bucket list. A bit of research and I was sold on a Namibia trip.

Panorama of Namibia

Index

Namibia Trip Planning: Itinerary and Tips
2 Weeks in Namibia: Detailed Itinerary and Trip Report
Accommodations and Vegetarian Food in Namibia

Our Namibia Trip Itinerary in Brief

Day 1 – Fly from Johannesburg to Windhoek and drive to Kalahari
Day 2 – Drive from Kalahari to Fish River Canyon
Day 3 – Fish River Canyon
Day 4 – Drive from Fish River Canyon to Sossusvlei
Day 5 – Sossusvlei
Day 6 – Drive from Sossusvlei to Swakopmund
Day 7 – Swakopmund
Day 8 – Drive from Swakopmund to Spitzkoppe
Day 9 – Drive from Spitzkoppe to Damaraland
Day 10 – Damaraland
Day 11 – Drive from Damaraland to Etosha National Park and stay inside the park
Day 12 – Etosha National Park
Day 13 – Full day in Etosha National Park and stay outside the park
Day 14 – Drive to Caprivi Strip
Day 15 – Caprivi Strip
Day 16 – Drive from Caprivi Strip to Katima Mulio Airport and fly to Johannesburg

Flight

There aren’t any direct flights from Mumbai to Namibia. However, many flights are available with a layover in countries like Qatar or Ethiopia. Since we were doing South Africa (Kruger only) along with Namibia, we booked a return flight on Air Seychelles from Mumbai to Johannesburg. From Johannesburg, it is easy to fly to Namibia by South African Airlines or Air Namibia.

We were supposed to take an Air Namibia flight at 6:40 am from Johannesburg and reach Windhoek at 8:45 am. After a few hours of sleep, we rushed to the airport only to find our “FLIGHT is CANCELLED”. This was our first experience in all these years of travel. Fortunately, they had already booked us on a later flight. But it got delayed and eventually, our flight landed at 3 pm. Air Namibia has a bad reputation for a reason. But on the other hand, they surprisingly served us the best meal we ever had on a flight.

Map of our Namibia Trip

Here is the map of the route we followed on our Namibia trip.

Map of Namibia Road Trip

Map of our Road Trip

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Namibia is during the dry season between May and October. July to August is the peak season, therefore it’s best to avoid it. By September-October, it starts getting hot, so I wanted to avoid it. November to March is not a good time as it is extremely hot and it’s also their wet season. During the wet season, wildlife viewing is difficult as animals move away from the waterhole and scatter around the park.

I chose June as the weather is cooler, good for wildlife spotting and prices are lower than the peak season. Furthermore, I could get the availability of lodges I wanted to stay at.

Car Rental – BidVest

At first thought, I didn’t believe that self-drive is possible in Namibia. Obviously, the first thing that comes to mind is safety. I did some research and found that it is pretty safe to self-drive in Namibia. Moreover, beyond Windhoek, there are hardly any cars on the road. Therefore, I could drive at my convenient speed and didn’t have to worry about people honking at me.

Apart from the main road, most of them are gravel roads. We were confident that we can manage driving in Namibia as we had driven on many gravel roads in Iceland. We found it easy to drive on Namibian roads.

We rented a car from Windhoek Airport and returned the same at the Katima Mulio Airport. Most of the rental cars’ companies didn’t allow the one-way drop off rental. Finally, I found Bidvest which offered a reasonable rate and I booked with them. Got an excellent car, drove around for 2 weeks with no problems and finally returned the car at the airport. A representative came to pick up the car, and we handed the keys over to him and off we went. He didn’t care to check about any scratches or dirt on the car, unlike Seychelles. It turned out to be a perfect choice, and I would highly recommend them.

Rental Car in Namibia

Our Car

Namibian Roads

Gravel Roads of Namibia

Booking Hotels

Before booking any hotels or flights, first secure booking at Okaukuejo Rest Camp which is located inside the Etosha National Park. You can check availability and book on their official website. To get booking for waterfront chalets is quite a task. I looked for availability 3 months in advance and it was available only on one date in May and one in June. So I booked waterfront chalets for June and then planned the rest of the trip accordingly.

After that, book accommodation in Sossusvlei. I wanted Sossusvlei Lodge, but it was full, even 3 months in advance. I believe they block a large chunk of rooms for the tour groups. After checking with them at regular intervals, I got the booking. I loved this lodge and would recommend booking ASAP.

Rest of our lodges/hotels had availability on our dates and it was easy to book. You can book hotels here or can email me at info@flexitravels.com and I can try to get you some discounts.

GPS

For GPS, we use the same tactics as always. We have a GPS which we bought in Greece back in 2015 and have served us well on all our road trips. Above all, saves us money as renting GPS each time is very expensive. Of course, you can use google maps but we prefer using a GPS. We pre-load our GPS with maps and also do the effort of saving each destination/hotel/restaurant in favourites which we intend to visit on our trip. As a result, we save precious holiday time.

GPS for roadtrip

GPS – Our road-trip saviour

Sim card

  • There are only two cell service providers in Namibia – MTC and TN Mobile. Both have very similar prices, but MTC has better coverage.
  • MTC has a store in the small arrivals hall at the Windhoek airport. It is on the left side as you enter the arrivals hall.
  • First, buy a SIM card from a staff member and insert it in your phone.
  • Each MTC store also has a touchscreen kiosk, and that’s where you can top up your new SIM. You can either buy a specific package or top up with as much credit as you need and send a code to activate the package you’re after.
  • We took the Aweh Gig Plan – 100 minutes free call, 1 GB data valid for 7 days for 32 NAD (Check the site for the latest plans).
  • To activate, text ‘#AwehGig#’ to 134. Aweh Gig vouchers can be bought at MTC vending machines.

Currency

The currency of Namibia is Namibian Dollars. But South African Rand is freely usable and valued at 1:1. Hence, it is best to get some South African Rand in cash for safety and pay most things by a credit card. Do remember to use all the Namibian Dollars before leaving the country as it won’t be possible to exchange them outside Namibia.

Since we were visiting South Africa before Namibia, we carried a Forex Card loaded with South African Rand. After landing at the Johannesburg airport, we went to the ATM just before the arrivals hall and used this Forex Card to withdraw all the cash. As forex card offers better rates than buying cash in India, we saved some money by doing this.

I would recommend using Amex Platinum Credit Card as it gives more rewards for international spends (As of Dec 2019). If you don’t want to pay the hefty fee of the Amex Platinum card, I would recommend using the Amex Travel Card. Amex points can be redeemed for Air Miles and/or Marriott points which will off-set the cost of a future trip. The other credit card which I use and recommend is Citi Prestige/Citi Premier Miles card. It has a plethora of airlines to which you can convert your points and redeem for flights.

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Planning a Namibia trip?

Check out all the other posts in this series:
2 Weeks in Namibia: Detailed Itinerary and Trip Report

Accommodations and Vegetarian Food in Namibia

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored or a free trip – We have paid for all our Holiday expenses but I spend a lot of time researching for the best deals and at times do get a discount as I run a travel business as well. However, this post contains some (not all) affiliate links. Any purchase made through the links will help support this blog at no additional cost to you. Thanks for your support!

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