Namibia - going to the 2nd least populated country in the world is like visiting another planet

The country just felt otherworldly – like a quaint European resort town mixed with a post-apocalyptic Mars-like landscape. We had already done our safari in Kenya, so we opted to drive around the desert-like landscape in the midpart of the country. Others recommended going north to Etosha National Park for safari and also visiting Dead Coast where boats are stranded in the sand.

Itinerary Overview

Fly into Windhoek and get your car, then through Solitaire to Sossusvlei, back through Solitaire to Swakopmund, through Cape Cross Seal Colony to Okonjima Cheetah Reserve, back to Windhoek to fly out. 

Note: we booked our accommodations and car through &Beyond - highly recommend them

(Pro-tip: Get a 4x4, you need it for the dirt roads.)

What to Do

  • Arrive in Windhoek – the capital city, where we arrived, picked up our car and stayed at Galton House, a cute B&B, to get ready for our drive.

  • Stop in Solitaire - don't miss the apple crumble at Moose McGregor’s and Instagram the abandoned vintage cars

  • Spend the most time in Sossusvlei – hiking up dunes in Sossusvlei Park, running down them almost as a cross-country skier. We hiked Big Daddy (that’s the actual name of the dune). Exploring Dali-esque Deadvlei. Getting sand everywhere. Stayed Hoodia Desert Lodge, a gorgeous spot that reminded Jon of the home of a Bond villain – in the middle of seemingly nowhere pops up a chic design showcase.

  • Stop in Swakopmund – cute seaside town with many adventuresports. Stayed at a cute B&B called Sandfields Guesthouse. We did sandboarding (where we captured this epic shot)  in Dorob National Park. How it works is that you take a snowboard, wax it up like a surfboard, climb up a dune, strap in and snowboard through sand all the way down. More fun to me was sand sledding, taking a compressed wood board waxed up and going down. Our guides made it even more fun by using a speed gun on us. I hit 71 km/hr before I spun off and ATE IT. I mean, I actually ate a ton of sand.

    • Optional: Stop at Cape Cross – this may be smelliest place on earth with 100,000 seals camped out.

  • Camp Kipwe in Damaraland - Flintstones camp with gorgeous sunsets, but not really sure what there is to do around there. Great to stay if it’s on your route.

  • Okonjima Lodge – where Brangelina stayed and visited the big cats. It was beyond gorgeous – one of the best places we stayed in Africa. amazing conservancy for leopards and cheetahs, a few of which have radio collars to make it easier to track. We got super close to a leopard eating a freshly killed warthog.

Must Dos

  • Sossusvlei and Deadvlei for epic views and sand-filled hikes
  • Hoodia Desert Lodge and Camp Kipwe for luxurious stays worthy of Bond villains
  • Swakopmund for pretending you're in Mad Max or Tank Girl
  • Solitaire for a quirky roadside lunch and quirky pics of deserted vehicles

Recommended Reading

NYTimes' take on driving through 1,500 miles of Namibia