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FROM US$2,320-US$3,100

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: Day-by-day

More detailed information of what each day entails, and the various places you’ll stay on the Caracal Self-drive Safari. Everything we do is completely tailor-made so while this is an idea which works well, we’ll always design an itinerary just for you.


Day 1

Starts: Windhoek International Airport

About image
Day 1

Pick-up car: Windhoek International Airport

12:00
Windhoek International AirportNamibia

On arrival you'll collect your hire vehicle at the airport before beginning your Namibian adventure.

Galton House
Day 1

Galton House

1 night
Bed & BreakfastWindhoek, Namibia

Every desert, whether of sand or concrete, needs an oasis and Galton House fits the bill. After a day travelling Namibia’s great plains or weaving through Windhoek traffic, Galton House is a cool sanctuary of minimalist, state-of-the-art décor. The old capital still bears traces of its German colonial past, and its newest kid on the block is like a time portal into the modern era.

Galton House

Every desert, whether of sand or concrete, needs an oasis and Galton House fits the bill. After a day travelling Namibia’s great plains or weaving through Windhoek traffic, Galton House is a cool sanctuary of minimalist, state-of-the-art décor. The old capital still bears traces of its German colonial past, and its newest kid on the block is like a time portal into the modern era.

Think Scandi-cool in Africa, it is a smart boutique hotel in all but name. Situated in a quiet, affluent suburb a few minutes from the city centre, its complex of nine rooms with a small pool are an interior designer’s daydream of wood, glass and marble enlivened by canvas prints of striking wildlife photography and indigenous tribes.

"..the rooms were very well appointed and the service was fantastic."

Mr & Mrs D.fromCambridge

Arrived 31 Aug 2019, 1 night

The open plan lounge is an invitation to relax with a book, and no need to head back downtown for dinner with friendly staff on hand to cook up dishes like beef satay in creamy peanut sauce, and zucchini with leek and mushroom in basil pesto that can be served al fresco by the pool. Since we’re now back in the 21st century, high speed WiFi, satellite TV and air conditioning are standard. After a long flight or day’s sightseeing, there are few modern oases more welcome. See our full report on Galton House

90%
147 reviews of Galton House by travellers since August 2007

Activities

Cultural excursion

BullsPort Lodge & Farm
Days 2-4

BullsPort Lodge & Farm

2 nights
Half BoardNamib-Naukluft National Park, Namibia

Namibia is a land of mirages and at first sight BüllsPort Lodge & Farm could be one. It shimmers into view in a huge, empty landscape beneath the Namib Naukluft mountains, a haven for cattle, game, thoroughbred horses and travellers. Managing this remarkable menagerie are farmer Ernst Sauber and his wife Johanna, who have created 14 comfortable and stylish guest rooms in outbuildings to help them through recurring droughts.

BullsPort Lodge & Farm

Namibia is a land of mirages and at first sight BüllsPort Lodge & Farm could be one. It shimmers into view in a huge, empty landscape beneath the Namib Naukluft mountains, a haven for cattle, game, thoroughbred horses and travellers. Managing this remarkable menagerie are farmer Ernst Sauber and his wife Johanna, who have created 14 comfortable and stylish guest rooms in outbuildings to help them through recurring droughts.

There are more luxurious and expensive lodges, but this is a genuine farm stay for visitors wishing to experience rural Namibian life. Ernst has created hiking and biking trails in and around the mountains and takes guests on drives around the farm, while Johanna lives her dream of breeding the finest bloodline horses in the country and schooling them for lessons, day rides and two-day safaris.

Blink and you’d miss a rustic primary school a few miles away for children from farms in the area, but the Saubers support it and visits can be arranged to hear the school choir and chat with staff. Such experiences linger in the memory.

"Lovely place with great self-walking trail"

P & B,fromUK

Arrived 5 Sep 2019, 1 night

As does dinner with the farmer and his wife by candlelight, beneath a huge umbrella thorn tree with kudu and mountain zebra on the menu. See our full report on BullsPort Lodge & Farm

89%
175 reviews of BullsPort Lodge & Farm by travellers since August 2007

Activities

4WD Safari

Guided walking safari

Horse-riding

Self-guided walking

Kulala Desert Lodge
Days 4-6

Kulala Desert Lodge

2 nights
Half BoardNamib-Naukluft National Park, Namibia

Situated on the 210km2 private Kulala Wilderness Reserve south of Sesriem, Kulala Desert Lodge offers a close and spectacular view over the Namib Sand Sea to the west, and the Namib-Naukluft Mountains to the east. Originally opened in 1996, the lodge was built to make the most of the vista. In addition to the dunes on its doorstep, however, its defining attraction remains a private entrance from the reserve into the Namib-Naukluft National Park.

Kulala Desert Lodge

Situated on the 210km2 private Kulala Wilderness Reserve south of Sesriem, Kulala Desert Lodge offers a close and spectacular view over the Namib Sand Sea to the west, and the Namib-Naukluft Mountains to the east. Originally opened in 1996, the lodge was built to make the most of the vista. In addition to the dunes on its doorstep, however, its defining attraction remains a private entrance from the reserve into the Namib-Naukluft National Park.

"Excellent “Back Door” to Sossusvlei"

J&JfromPlockton

Arrived 9 Oct 2019, 2 nights

Kulala is a very comfortable lodge in a lovely setting and has long been a favorite of the Expert Africa team. While the rooms may be in need of renovation, the welcoming team and relaxed, informal atmosphere that we have always enjoyed remain unchanged. The private entrance to the national park is a real bonus for guests on an organised excursion with the lodge as it's substantially closer than the main gate, offering a fantastic opportunity to make the most of the early-morning light. However, guests who prefer to drive themselves to the dunes should bear in mind that it's quite a long way to the main gate at Sesriem. See our full report on Kulala Desert Lodge

92%
326 reviews of Kulala Desert Lodge by travellers since August 2007

Activities

4WD Safari

Helicopter

Hot air ballooning

Quad-biking

Sleeping under the stars

Cornerstone Guesthouse
Days 6-8

Cornerstone Guesthouse

2 nights
Bed & BreakfastSwakopmund & Walvis Bay, Namibia

Cornerstone Guest House is a small, owner-run bed and breakfast, situated in a residential area within easy walking distance of Swakopmund's old town centre – and plenty of restaurants. In the opposite direction, the ocean is a short walk away.

Cornerstone Guesthouse

Cornerstone Guest House is a small, owner-run bed and breakfast, situated in a residential area within easy walking distance of Swakopmund's old town centre – and plenty of restaurants. In the opposite direction, the ocean is a short walk away.

"Amazing breakfast ... nothing is too much trouble."

Mrs L.fromLeatherhead

Arrived 18 Aug 2019, 2 nights

Cornerstone Guest House is a good-value little bed and breakfast, and while it’s not a luxury property we’ve always loved it’s homely and personable atmosphere,. It offers attractive accommodation and attentive service from a friendly and approachable team, and benefits from a good location in Swakopmund. See our full report on Cornerstone Guesthouse

95%
222 reviews of Cornerstone Guesthouse by travellers since August 2007

Activities

4WD Safari

Birdwatching

Boat trip

Dune-boarding

Fishing

Kayaking

Mountain biking

Quad-biking

Doro Nawas
Days 8-10

Doro Nawas

2 nights
Half BoardDamaraland, Namibia

A partnership with the local community, the fortress-like Doro Nawas is strategically placed for visiting the highlights of Damaraland. Brooding atop a rugged hill like some dark, Moorish castle, Doro Nawas boasts 360-degree views across the surrounding plains.

Doro Nawas

A partnership with the local community, the fortress-like Doro Nawas is strategically placed for visiting the highlights of Damaraland. Brooding atop a rugged hill like some dark, Moorish castle, Doro Nawas boasts 360-degree views across the surrounding plains.

Like all proper castles, it comes complete with great big wooden doors, a crackling fireplace, and a rooftop look-out post where 21st-century inhabitants can gaze at the stars – or scan the plains for wildlife such as ostrich or even desert-adapted elephant.

Encircling the slopes below, steeply thatched chalets are cool and dark inside, contrasting with the harsh sun above. A cooling fan and extra blankets are on hand to counter the extremes of temperature, and fluffy towels bring warmth to the spacious bathrooms.

Outside, a shaded veranda features a shower-with-a-view, with privacy guaranteed by simple wooden palisades. But when the veranda really comes into its own is after dark, when the beds can be rolled out for you to cosy up under the stars.

"a spectacular setting... a very pleasant stay.6"

J&JfromPlockton

Arrived 14 Oct 2019, 2 nights

Born of a joint venture between Wilderness Safaris and the Doro !Nawas community, the lodge is an outstanding example of such partnerships. A stay here is particularly memorable as most of the staff are drawn from the area, giving guests the opportunity of an insight into their culture that is far more personal than any structured village visit. See our full report on Doro Nawas

93%
432 reviews of Doro Nawas by travellers since August 2007

Activities

4WD Safari

Birdwatching

Cultural excursion

Guided walking safari

Night drive

Sleeping under the stars

Okaukuejo Camp
Days 10-12

Okaukuejo Camp

2 nights
Bed & BreakfastEtosha National Park, Namibia

Okaukuejo Camp (formerly known as Okakwiju), meaning a woman who bore a child each year, stands at the western end of the famous Etosha Pan, about a half-hour drive from the Andersson Gate, the southern entrance into Etosha National Park. Although a larger camp than most we feature, it is a popular choice due to its well-established waterhole, which attracts a variety of game in large numbers.

Okaukuejo Camp

Okaukuejo Camp (formerly known as Okakwiju), meaning a woman who bore a child each year, stands at the western end of the famous Etosha Pan, about a half-hour drive from the Andersson Gate, the southern entrance into Etosha National Park. Although a larger camp than most we feature, it is a popular choice due to its well-established waterhole, which attracts a variety of game in large numbers.

As a large, formerly government-run camp, Okaukuejo still has rather a resort-like feel and does not reach the same standards as the smaller, private camps outside the park. However, its excellent waterhole and convenient location inside the park make it well worth consideration, and its prices are reasonable.

Finding space at Okaukuejo

"we had great views of the waterhole"

Mr & Mrs LfromSurrey

Arrived 3 Oct 2019, 2 nights

The fantastic waterhole makes Okaukuejo a very popular choice for travellers to Etosha, and it can get very booked up, especially from July to October. Expert Africa holds two rooms throughout this period – usually two-person Bush chalets – reserving them for travellers who visit Okaukuejo as part of a fly-drive holiday with us. This means that sometimes we have space, even when the camp will tell you that they are 'full'. See our full report on Okaukuejo Camp

83%
635 reviews of Okaukuejo Camp by travellers since August 2007

Activities

4WD Safari

Birdwatching

Night drive

Mushara Bush Camp
Days 12-14

Mushara Bush Camp

2 nights
Half BoardEtosha National Park, Namibia

Opened in 2009, Mushara Bush Camp is the newest property in the Mushara Collection, a group of lodges set on the private 25km2 Mushara Reserve, just 10km from the eastern edge of Namibia’s Etosha National Park. Owned by Marc and Mariza Pampe, this camp is specifically designed to offer families a comfortable, affordable base from which to explore Etosha's abundant wildlife.

Mushara Bush Camp

Opened in 2009, Mushara Bush Camp is the newest property in the Mushara Collection, a group of lodges set on the private 25km2 Mushara Reserve, just 10km from the eastern edge of Namibia’s Etosha National Park. Owned by Marc and Mariza Pampe, this camp is specifically designed to offer families a comfortable, affordable base from which to explore Etosha's abundant wildlife.

"Beautiful, great staff."

Mr & Mrs SHfromSeattle

Arrived 18 Dec 2019, 1 night

Mushara Bush Camp is a very family-friendly, relaxed and affordable place to stay near Etosha National Park. It's ideal for self-drive guests, and offers a down-to-earth bushcamp experience – which is why we love it: it is very good at what it does, and is great value. See our full report on Mushara Bush Camp

94%
236 reviews of Mushara Bush Camp by travellers since August 2007

Activities

4WD Safari

Birdwatching

Ai Aiba Lodge
Day 14

Ai Aiba Lodge

1 night
Half BoardCentral Highlands, Namibia

Nestled at the foot of a granite kopje, Ai Aiba Lodge – sometimes marketed as 'Ai Aiba – The Rock Painting Lodge' – enjoys views of Namibia's Erongo Mountains. The lodge is in an area with a large concentration of Bushman rock art, some of it up to 2,000 years old and much of it in good condition.

Ai Aiba Lodge

Nestled at the foot of a granite kopje, Ai Aiba Lodge – sometimes marketed as 'Ai Aiba – The Rock Painting Lodge' – enjoys views of Namibia's Erongo Mountains. The lodge is in an area with a large concentration of Bushman rock art, some of it up to 2,000 years old and much of it in good condition.

"Lodge in a beautiful location renown for rock paintings."

PavelfromEleebana

Arrived 18 Jun 2019, 2 nights

We are tremendously excited to see Ai Aiba Lodge back on the map. This is another option in a less-visited area of Namibia with some superb examples of rock art and we cannot wait to visit again. We will keep this page up-to-date with any new information we receive and look forward to giving our full report once we have visited. See our full report on Ai Aiba Lodge

89%
9 reviews of Ai Aiba Lodge by travellers since August 2007

Activities

4WD Safari

Birdwatching

Cultural excursion

Guided walking safari

Self-guided walking

About image
Day 15

Drop-off car: Windhoek International Airport

11:00
Windhoek International AirportNamibia

After many miles it's time to drop your vehicle back at the airport where you picked it up.

Day 15

Ends: Windhoek International Airport

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Inspire me

Experiences you can add to this trip.

Optional extra day-trips and excursions possible whilst staying at lodges on this trip. These are usually best arranged in advance so talk to us.


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
93% (59 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% (152 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% (190 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 and seal cruise
90% (10 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
100% (9 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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