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FROM US$2,690-US$4,120

Caracal Self-drive Safari

The quintessential Namibian self-drive adventure exploring the highlights from Sossusvlei and the Namib Desert to Damaraland’s wilderness and a safari in Etosha. A great mix of accommodation and excellent value.

Caracal Self-drive Safari: Summary

Caracal Self-drive in a nutshell

This self-drive trip is the perfect introduction to Namibia. A two-week adventure taking in all the best bits and staying in a great mix of lodges, the Caracal Safari is our "go to" for first timers here.

Begin in Windhoek, picking up your rental car for an easy drive into Namibia’s small capital for the night before setting off into the wilderness. The first stop is BüllsPort Lodge & Farm, a welcoming spot offering scenic hikes and horse rides in the rugged Naukluft Mountains. Then continue west to the edge of the Namib Sand Sea and a stay at Kulala Desert Lodge. With its private entrance to the Namib-Naukluft National Park, be among the first to arrive at the surreal Sossusvlei pan for the best of the morning light and a chance to climb one of the world’s tallest sand dunes before things heat up.

Turning north, stop as and when you like en route to the quirky seaside town of Swakopmund, where you can try your hand at sandboarding or kayak among its seal colony. Cross Damaraland’s rolling hills to Doro Nawas. Highlights here include tracking desert adapted elephants and a visit to the ancient rock engravings at Twyfelfontein.

Reach Etosha National Park for two nights at Okaukuejo Camp, whose somewhat basic nature is more than made up for by a waterhole which is the best spot in Africa for wild black rhino sightings, with another two nights at the excellent Mushara Bush Camp. Spend your time exploring Etosha completely at your own pace, spending as much on safari as you fancy. Finally, return south with one final night at Ai Aiba Lodge en route to Windhoek.

At a glance

Starts: Windhoek International Airport
1 night Galton House - Windhoek, Namibia Bed & Breakfast
2 nights BullsPort Lodge & Farm - Namib-Naukluft National Park, Namibia Half Board
2 nights Kulala Desert Lodge - Namib-Naukluft National Park, Namibia Half Board
2 nights Cornerstone Guesthouse - Swakopmund & Walvis Bay, Namibia Bed & Breakfast
2 nights Doro Nawas - Damaraland, Namibia Half Board
2 nights Okaukuejo Camp - Etosha National Park, Namibia Bed & Breakfast
2 nights Mushara Bush Camp - Etosha National Park, Namibia Half Board
1 night Ai Aiba Lodge - Central Highlands, Namibia Half Board
Ends: Windhoek International Airport

Galton House

Day 1

Galton House, named after the early explorer Sir Francis Galton, is just ten minutes' drive from central Windhoek. A modern yet homely guesthouse, with a backdrop of rolling hills, it was opened in the residential suburb of Eros in 2011. There's a mix of comfortable indoor and outdoor spaces in which to relax and the convenience of an in-house restaurant that caters for all meals.

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BullsPort Lodge and Farm

Days 2-4

Within its own section of the majestic Naukluft Mountains, BullsPort Lodge & Farm offers both hiking and horseriding. Also spelled BüllsPort or BuellsPort, it is one of Namibia's oldest farms, lying some 250km south-west of Windhoek, or 50km south of Solitaire.

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Kulala Desert Lodge

Days 4-6

Situated on the 210km² private Kulala Wilderness Reserve, Kulala Desert Lodge offers spectacular views. To the west it looks over the Namib Sand Sea; to the east, to the Namib-Naukluft Mountains. Having opened in 1996, south of Sesriem, to make the most of the vista, its other defining attraction remains a private entrance from the reserve into the Namib-Naukluft National Park.

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Cornerstone Guesthouse

Days 6-8

Small and owner-run, Cornerstone Guesthouse lies in a residential area close to the heart of Swakopmund. The old town centre, with plenty of restaurants, is within easy walking distance of the B&B, while in the opposite direction, the ocean is also a short walk away.

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Doro Nawas

Days 8-10

Doro Nawas Camp is perched on top of a rugged, rocky hill, on the floodplains of Namibia’s dry Aba Huab River. Solid, castle-like and almost foreboding in appearance, it has open and attractive views across the plains to the mountains and sandstone cliffs of Twyfelfontein.

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Okaukuejo Camp

Days 10-12

Set in the heart of Etosha National Park, Okaukuejo Resort is a classic restcamp, with a range of accommodation. With over 100 rooms and a large campsite, it is one of the largest properties we feature. Yet accommodation is not what Okaukuejo is about; travellers stay here for one thing – the wildlife, and particularly the wildlife that visits the superb floodlit waterhole.

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Mushara Bush Camp

Days 12-14

Designed with both families and couples in mind Mushara Bush Camp is the newest property in the Mushara Collection. It was opened in 2009, one of a group of lodges set on the private 25km² Mushara Reserve, just 9km from the eastern edge of Namibia's Etosha National Park. From here, the camp offers a comfortable and affordable base from which to discover Etosha's abundant wildlife.

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Ai Aiba Lodge

Day 14

Nestled at the foot of a granite kopje, Ai Aiba has enviable views of Namibia's Erongo Mountains. The surrounding area hides a high concentration of Bushman rock art, leading to the camp’s alternative name, The Rock Painting Lodge. Over 200 sites have been recorded here, some thought to be over 2,000 years old and many in excellent condition. The area’s rolling hills and rugged terrain are also well-known for hiking.

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Galton House

Galton House

Windhoek, Namibia

BullsPort Lodge and Farm

BullsPort Lodge & Farm

Namib-Naukluft National Park, Namibia

Kulala Desert Lodge

Kulala Desert Lodge

Namib-Naukluft National Park, Namibia

Cornerstone Guesthouse

Cornerstone Guesthouse

Swakopmund & Walvis Bay, Namibia

Doro Nawas

Doro Nawas

Damaraland, Namibia

Okaukuejo Camp

Okaukuejo Camp

Etosha National Park, Namibia

Mushara Bush Camp

Mushara Bush Camp

Etosha National Park, Namibia

Ai Aiba Lodge

Ai Aiba Lodge

Central Highlands, Namibia

About image


Our thoughts on five of the top experiences of this Caracal Self-drive Safari.

  • Climbing Sossusvlei’s dunes at dawn
  • Watching wildlife at Okaukuejo waterhole
  • Tracking desert elephants in Damaraland
  • Hiking in Namibia’s Central Highlands
  • Experiencing an Etosha safari at your own pace


Some activities which can be included in the Caracal Self-drive Safari: talk to us about those which interest you.

  • 4WD Safari

  • Birdwatching

  • Boat trip

  • Cultural excursion

  • Dune-boarding

  • Fishing

  • Guided walking safari

  • Helicopter

  • Horse-riding

  • Hot air ballooning

  • Kayaking

  • Mountain biking

  • Night drive

  • Quad-biking

  • Self-guided walking

  • Sleeping under the stars

About image

Key species to see on the Caracal Self-drive Safari

Based on our travellers' observations, we’ve estimated the likelihood of seeing these species during the Caracal Self-drive Safari. Click on the animals and our wildlife surveys page for more info.


100% chance


100% chance


100% chance


100% chance


100% chance

Black Rhino

95% chance


88% chance


85% chance

Spotted Hyena

84% chance


59% chance

White Rhino

57% chance

Brown Hyena

56% chance

Roan antelope

44% chance

Sable antelope

41% chance


27% chance


8% chance


0% chance


0% chance

Side-trips whilst on this trip

We may be able to build in some of these optional excursions from the Caracal Self-drive Safari. Talk to us: they’re usually best arranged when you book.

Ballooning in the Namib Desert

Ballooning in the Namib Desert

Half day, including breakfast

Ballooning over the world’s oldest desert is an experience you shouldn’t miss. Enjoy spectacular views as the sun rises over the dune-covered plains and rocky mountains of the Namib Desert. You may even spot the occasional oryx or black-backed jackal punctuating the landscape below.

More about Ballooning
94% (71 reviews)
Kayaking with seals

Kayaking with seals

Morning incl. tea, coffee & sandwiches

Get up close and personal with a colony of Cape fur seals on a kayaking excursion from Walvis Bay. Enjoy a gentle morning’s paddle in Walvis Bay Lagoon as seals surround and interact with you and your kayak. If you’re lucky you may even catch a glimpse of some Heaviside’s or bottlenose dolphins.

More about Kayaking with seals
98% (176 reviews)
Coast and Sandwich Harbour

Coast and Sandwich Harbour

Full day

Experience this usually inaccessible part of the Skeleton Coast, where the dunes of the Namib plunge into the Atlantic Ocean. One of our top recommendations, this is an adventurous 4WD trip, guided by experts. You'll explore the Kuiseb Delta and (tides permitting) traverse dunes and the beach to reach Sandwich Harbour, a remote freshwater lagoon with abundant birdlife.

More about Coastal tour
94% (220 reviews)
Dolphin and seal cruise

Dolphin and seal cruise

Half-day inc brunch

A boat cruise around Walvis Bay lagoon is a must for lovers of wildlife and the great outdoors. Seek out the ‘marine big five’ – from Cape fur seals to bottlenose dolphins – and marvel at the range of bird species for whom this haven on the Skeleton Coast is home. Then round off the morning with an oyster brunch.

More about Dolphin & seal cruise
89% (14 reviews)
Desert tour

Desert tour

Variable, depending on the tour

Discover the unexpected on a trip into the desert surrounding the coastal towns of Swakopmund and Walvis Bay. A must for wilderness lovers, this extraordinary landscape encompasses the Welwitschia Plains, sculpted dunes, the magic of the Kuiseb Delta – and much more. There are plenty of options, each with its own unique focus.

More about Desert tour
96% (11 reviews)
Scenic flights in Namibia

Scenic flights in Namibia

Variable, depending on the flight

Namibia is famed for its stark beauty and boundless desert vistas and there is no better way to soak these in than from the air. A scenic flight gives you a unique perspective on this stunning and varied country, and may even provide a bird’s-eye view of areas that are out of reach to those restricted to terra firma.

More about Scenic flights
94% (7 reviews)

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