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FROM US$2,750-US$4,390

Namaqua Chameleon Self-drive

A classic 12-night self-drive adventure around the highlights of eastern and northern Namibia taking in Sossusvlei, Swakopmund, Damaraland, Etosha and a final stop at Okonjima. Comfortable lodges and great value.

Namaqua Chameleon Self-drive: Summary

N. Chameleon Self-drive in a nutshell

This self-drive safari is a great introduction to Namibia, a classic loop discovering the most spectacular landscapes and wildlife in the east and north that also neatly fits into a two-week holiday with flights. Staying at a great selection of camps and lodges, its excellent value without any compromise on comfort or character.

After your flight touches down, pick up your rental car and the short drive into Namibia’s diminutive capital, Windhoek, for a relaxed first evening. In the morning, head southwest, getting your first taste of the country’s arid landscapes and gravel roads, en route to the remote Desert Homestead Outpost. There are some great hikes and guided horse trails from here while the region’s highlight, the famous dunes of Sossusvlei, are just a short drive away.

Turn north and head for the coastal town of Swakopmund, a quirky colonial relic between the desert and Atlantic that is a great base for adventure activities like sandboarding, sea kayaking and sky diving. Then head back inland, crossing Damaraland’s rugged hills to find Camp Kipwe hidden among orange boulders. A beautiful spot, see Twyfelfontein’s prehistoric rock engravings and search for desert-adapted elephant herds.

More wildlife awaits at Safarihoek Lodge. Set in a huge and exclusive reserve, explore on day and night game drives, on foot and dine out in the bush among oryx, kudu, zebra and giraffe. It’s also a particularly good spot for black rhino. Next drive into the neighbouring Etosha National Park for a stay at a rather simple camp that that more than makes up for it with its location right in the middle of the park next to a floodlit waterhole. Exploring the edge of the Ethosha’s lunar pan at your own pace, you’ll be greeted by huge congregations of species great and small as they gather around precious water sources.

Finally turning south, spend a night in the Okonjima Nature Reserve. Home to the AfriCat Foundation, learn about their conservation work as you track leopards, brown hyena, cheetah and more.

At a glance

Starts: Windhoek International Airport
1 night Elegant Guesthouse - Windhoek, Namibia Bed & Breakfast
2 nights Namib Outpost - Namib-Naukluft National Park, Namibia Half Board
2 nights Namib Guesthouse - Swakopmund & Walvis Bay, Namibia Bed & Breakfast
2 nights Camp Kipwe - Damaraland, Namibia Half Board
2 nights Safarihoek Lodge - Etosha National Park, Namibia Full Board & Activities
2 nights Halali Camp - Etosha National Park, Namibia Bed & Breakfast
1 night Okonjima Plains Camp - Okonjima Nature Reserve, Namibia Half Board
Ends: Windhoek International Airport

Elegant Guesthouse

Day 1

The Elegant Guesthouse is a relatively simple but stylish owner-run guesthouse situated in the residential area of Klein Windhoek. It's just a few minutes' drive from the shops, restaurants and other attractions of central Windhoek.

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Namib Outpost

Days 2-4

Formerly known as Desert Homestead Outpost, Namib Outpost is being re-built and is due to re-open in April 2023. Information on the newest incarnation of the property is scarce, but here is the information on the old lodge. The property is a 30km drive from the Sesriem gate, the entrance to the magnificent Namib-Naukluft Park. A very comfortable, if slightly remote base for exploring the Sossusvlei area, it has individual stilted houses with panoramic views over the vast gravel plains and mountains in the distance.

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Namib Guesthouse

Days 4-6

Located in a quiet, residential area of Swakopmund, Namib Guesthouse is a small, eco-friendly bed and breakfast. It is conveniently located, just 10-15 minutes walk from the seafront and a similar distance to the town centre.

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Camp Kipwe

Days 6-8

Built to an unusual design, Camp Kipwe fits harmoniously into its rocky surroundings. The small camp lies in Namibia's Aba Huab valley within the Twyfelfontein Conservancy, in easy reach of Damaraland's varied attractions.

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Safarihoek Lodge

Days 8-10

Set on a hill within a private reserve, Safarihoek looks across a small waterhole towards Etosha National Park. Also marketed as Etosha Heights Safarihoek Lodge, and opened in its current form in 2016, it’s a smart, contemporary place from which to explore the 600km², wildlife-rich Etosha Heights Reserve, which shares a 65km fence with Namibia's premier wildlife park.

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Halali Camp

Days 10-12

Strategically located alongside the middle of Etosha Pan, Halali Resort has its own floodlit waterhole. One of five erstwhile government restcamps and lodges inside Etosha National Park, it stands beside one of the park's very few hills in Etosha. It's also the smallest and quietest of the original restcamps – although it's still much larger than most camps in Namibia.

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Okonjima Plains Camp

Day 12

Okonjima Plains Camp is the most affordable place to stay within the 220km² private Okonjima Nature Reserve. Designed to reflect its cattle-farming origins, it opened in 2014, replacing the first lodge on the farm, Okonjima Main Camp, which had been converted from the original Hanssen family farmhouse. Predators, most notably leopard, roam across 220km² of plains and rolling hills, their presence underpinned by the work of the AfriCat Foundation, which was set up to conserve and protect Namibia's wildlife, focusing primarily on carnivores.

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Elegant Guesthouse

Elegant Guesthouse

Windhoek, Namibia

Namib Outpost

Namib Outpost

Namib-Naukluft National Park, Namibia

Namib Guesthouse

Namib Guesthouse

Swakopmund & Walvis Bay, Namibia

Camp Kipwe

Camp Kipwe

Damaraland, Namibia

Safarihoek Lodge

Safarihoek Lodge

Etosha National Park, Namibia

Halali Camp

Halali Camp

Etosha National Park, Namibia

Okonjima Plains Camp

Okonjima Plains Camp

Okonjima Nature Reserve, Namibia

About image


Our thoughts on five of the top experiences of this Namaqua Chameleon Self-drive.

  • Self-driving through iconic landscapes
  • Climbing Sossusvlei's spectacular red dunes
  • Going in search of desert-adapted elephants
  • Kayaking among seals at Walvis Bay
  • Tracking leopards at Okonjima


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

  • 4WD Safari

  • Birdwatching

  • Boat trip

  • Cultural excursion

  • Dune-boarding

  • Fishing

  • Fly-camping

  • 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 Namaqua Chameleon Self-drive

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


100% chance


100% chance


100% chance


100% chance


100% chance

Black Rhino

99% chance


96% chance


95% chance


93% chance

Spotted Hyena

83% chance

White Rhino

81% chance

Sable antelope

73% chance


65% chance

Brown Hyena

62% chance

Roan antelope

23% chance


16% chance

Wild dog

10% chance


7% chance


0% chance

Side-trips whilst on this holiday

We may be able to build in some of these optional excursions from the Namaqua Chameleon Self-drive. 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.

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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% (219 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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