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FROM US$2,300-US$3,070

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

To help get your adventure underway as swiftly and smoothly as possible we’ll arrange for your hire vehicle to be ready and waiting for you on arrival at Windhoek International Airport. The rest of the day is then yours to explore the city or recuperate from the flight.

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.

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, this 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 is an interior designer’s daydream of wood, glass and marble enlivened by canvas prints of striking wildlife photography and indigenous tribes.

The open-plan lounge is an invitation to relax with a book, and 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 alfresco by the pool, there's no need to head into town for dinner.

"The perfect end to our trip.. overall vibe is very homey and relaxed."

Mr & Mrs V.fromLeiden

Arrived 23 Oct 2021, 1 night

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%
150 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.

"a lovely guest farm.. owners & staff are exceptionally welcoming & friendly..."

Mr K & Mrs NfromUK

Arrived 4 Mar 2022, 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%
180 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

With mountains to the east, and the great Namib Sand Sea to the west, Kulala excels at natural grandeur. The exclusivity of a private reserve makes the setting feel even more special, and with its own private entrance into the Namib-Naukluft National Park, Kulala Desert Lodge takes a lot of beating.

Kulala Desert Lodge

With mountains to the east, and the great Namib Sand Sea to the west, Kulala excels at natural grandeur. The exclusivity of a private reserve makes the setting feel even more special, and with its own private entrance into the Namib-Naukluft National Park, Kulala Desert Lodge takes a lot of beating.

Blending almost seamlessly into the scenery, the thatched roofs at the heart of the lodge rise to a peak, mimicking the surroundings. Natural wood, stone floors and rough white walls help to minimise the desert heat, while touches of greens, browns and burnt orange reflect the natural world.

During the day, discover the majesty of the dunes by 4WD. Nearer to home, explore the reserve on foot, take to the air in a hot-air balloon, or round off the day with a sundowner drive.

And then to bed. Meaning “to sleep” in the Oshiwambo language, “kulala” here refers to the chalets – and with good reason. There may be 23 of them, but in this vast environment each feels like a tented oasis, with a private veranda, comfortable beds, and a ceiling fan to enhance the cooling breeze through mesh windows.

"Beautiful location.. service is hard to beat.. a fantastic & very relaxing stay."

Mr & Mrs V.fromLeiden

Arrived 9 Oct 2021, 2 nights

Best of all, though, is to fall asleep on your own roof terrace, the myriad stars of the Namibian night sky above, the desert all around. Just how cool is that? See our full report on Kulala Desert Lodge

92%
332 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

Small, friendly and particularly personable, Cornerstone has a welcoming feel that makes you feel instantly at home. It’s also in a near-perfect location: close to the heart of Swakopmund, yet just a short walk to the ocean, and barely more than that to the fringing sands of the Namib Desert. After a long drive or a busy safari, this owner-run bed and breakfast is an ideal spot to catch your breath.

Cornerstone Guesthouse

Small, friendly and particularly personable, Cornerstone has a welcoming feel that makes you feel instantly at home. It’s also in a near-perfect location: close to the heart of Swakopmund, yet just a short walk to the ocean, and barely more than that to the fringing sands of the Namib Desert. After a long drive or a busy safari, this owner-run bed and breakfast is an ideal spot to catch your breath.

Set yourself up for the day in the large, bright breakfast room, where a substantial buffet is matched by home-cooked bacon and eggs. Enjoy a freshly brewed coffee or tea against a background of soft music, or rummage through the selection of books about Namibia before setting off to explore.

Swakopmund itself has cafés, shops, museums and restaurants aplenty – all within easy walking distance of Cornerstone. You could take a guided trip into the desert, head south to the lagoon at Walvis Bay, or challenge yourself to one of the local adrenalin activities.

"friendly, helpful hosts - rooms comfortable, well maintained - perfect location"

Mr and Mrs O.fromIndiana

Arrived 30 May 2022, 2 nights

Returning to your comfortable room in the afternoon, a powerful shower awaits, as does a private patio set with a table and chairs – or you could wander round the attractive gardens. Then all you need to do is decide where to have dinner – perhaps over a cool beer. See our full report on Cornerstone Guesthouse

94%
239 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 elephants.

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.

"spectacular views.. spacious chalet & outside shower a bonus.. lots of wildlife"

Mr & Mrs OfromN Ireland

Arrived 2 May 2022, 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%
440 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

For most visitors, Okaukuejo is about just one thing: a wonderful floodlit waterhole that's a magnet for wildlife. Right in the heart of Etosha, the waterhole is – for humans and animals alike – the focal point of the Okaukuejo Resort. Despite changes over the years, the camp remains true to its roots: a place where visitors can get up close and personal with the park's fabled wildlife.

Okaukuejo Camp

For most visitors, Okaukuejo is about just one thing: a wonderful floodlit waterhole that's a magnet for wildlife. Right in the heart of Etosha, the waterhole is – for humans and animals alike – the focal point of the Okaukuejo Resort. Despite changes over the years, the camp remains true to its roots: a place where visitors can get up close and personal with the park's fabled wildlife.

The rambling range of accommodation remains, too, making it work for solo travellers, couples, families, or groups of friends. It may not be luxury, but it is relatively affordable, with self-catering options for those on a budget, and a small convenience shop on site.

A rather old-fashioned bar makes a good place to start the evening, before dining inside or out at the buffet restaurant (which is open for breakfast and lunch and dinner). Three swimming pools vie for family attention, and a fuel station looks after the basics.

"Overall, the waterhole and night drive compensated for the less good facilities "

Mr & Mrs D.fromCheshire

Arrived 17 Jul 2022, 2 nights

But all this is to Etosha as popcorn is to the cinema: a sideshow to the main event. By day or by night, find a ringside seat by the waterhole, then sit back and watch. Or explore by vehicle – your own wheels or an organised game drive – and discover why Etosha is Namibia's flagship national park. See our full report on Okaukuejo Camp

83%
653 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

Simple yet exceptionally welcoming, the relaxed Mushara Bush Camp is a perfect option for families. Family tents can sleep two small children; a fenced shallow pool sits alongside its larger sibling; books, crafts and toys are there for the asking; there are even childminders on hand. For the safari goer with youngsters, it’s pretty impressive.

Mushara Bush Camp

Simple yet exceptionally welcoming, the relaxed Mushara Bush Camp is a perfect option for families. Family tents can sleep two small children; a fenced shallow pool sits alongside its larger sibling; books, crafts and toys are there for the asking; there are even childminders on hand. For the safari goer with youngsters, it’s pretty impressive.

Yet it’s by no means all about children, for Bush Camp has plenty of other cards up its sleeve. Excellent value, for starters, along with really friendly service and a superb location for visiting Etosha.

Then there are cool, spacious tents, their beds festooned with net curtains adorned with small buttons, their lighting reminiscent of old-fashioned lanterns. And private verandas with twin canvas chairs that overlook the bush.

Plentiful and varied meals may be taken in the warmly lit dining area, but are often served semi-alfresco, shaded beneath a deeply thatched roof. As the temperature falls after sunset, gather around a welcoming campfire to discuss the day’s adventures.

"It was a camp I would return to without question"

ExplorersfromOklahoma

Arrived 28 May 2022, 2 nights

With Etosha just 9km from Mushara, those adventures can be many and varied. Explore the park in your own vehicle, perhaps watching animals at one of the waterholes, or join a guide for a 4WD game drive, and benefit from their experience and knowledge. Both can be excellent; what a choice! See our full report on Mushara Bush Camp

94%
247 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, with superb views of Namibia's Erongo Mountains, Ai Aiba Lodge is sometimes marketed as 'The Rock Painting Lodge'. It stands in an area with a high 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, with superb views of Namibia's Erongo Mountains, Ai Aiba Lodge is sometimes marketed as 'The Rock Painting Lodge'. It stands in an area with a high concentration of Bushman rock art, some of it up to 2,000 years old and much of it in good condition.

"Good accommodation and food.... Helpful staff"

Drs M & RfromUK

Arrived 25 May 2022, 1 night

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%
19 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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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
94% (62 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% (159 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% (195 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
91% (11 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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