Take a self-drive in Namibia

Jenny Bowen
Dec 14
A unique place for independent travel! This is Namibia!

Montenebello, Windhoek 

Montebello Guesthouse in Windhoek is an exclusive, luxurious and sophisticated bed and breakfast, conveniently located in the mountains of Eros, an upmarket area in Windhoek. It offers a modern and beautiful setting for you to enjoy peace and tranquility.

Windhoek, the capital of Namibia, is located in a basin between the Khomas Highland, Auas and Eros Mountains. It’s 1680m above sea level, 650km north of the Orange River and 360km from the Atlantic seaboard. Whether due to pure luck or a brilliant stroke of Germanic planning, the city’s situated in what is almost the country’s geographical centre.

Windhoek’s home to approximately 350,000 people, an extremely small capital by global standards. This number’s growing rapidly at present mostly due to a lack of employment in rural areas. Despite the large increase in population over the last few years, the city centre’s extremely clean, and mostly trouble free.

The centre’s characterised by a proliferation of German style buildings, a lasting reminder of Namibia’s early colonial history. Early buildings such as the Alte Feste (old fort), Christuskirche and Tintenpalast (the parliament buildings) are of particular historical interest. Other notable buildings in Windhoek include St Mary’s Cathedral and the Turnhalle Building.

A Little Sossus Lodge   

Little Kulala is a desert retreat in tranquil desert surrounding. Watching desert-adapted wildlife in the area is fascinating and another dimension of this truly spectacular place.

The lodge’s surrounded by the Nubib, Tsaris and Naukluaft mountains, and also has views of the dunes to the west. The main part of the lodge is a converted farmhouse that creates a lovely homely feeling and is also a cosy area for those colder winter nights. There’s also a garden full of palm trees, and at the end of the day you can enjoy a pleasant walk to enjoy the setting sun.

The world-famous Sossusvlei is both the name for the area in general, as well as an enormous clay pan, flanked by the enormous sand dunes. Nearby, at the foot of some of these dunes, the skeletons of trees dominate the landscape, where once water flowed. This is known as Dead Vlei.

There are some hiking trails starting from the lodge so that you can explore the area on foot and at your own pace.

There are also chances to go on a sundowner drive on the top of a nearby mountain. Let the staff show you this extraordinary area.

Accommodation: Accommodation consists of 16 chalets, with twin beds and en suite facilities and each are built from local rock and stone. Totally inspiring.

Sandfields Guesthouse, Swakopmund  

Drive to the coast, travelling along the C19 and C14 roads, via Solitaire. You may like to stop at Walvis Bay to see the famous lagoon, a wetland of international importance and home to many bird species including the greater flamingo.

Sandfields Guesthouse is a small, boutique bed and breakfast, an easy walk away from the sea and a short drive to the town centre of Swakopmund, situated on Namibia's fascinating Skeleton Coast. The guesthouse’s situated in a quiet neighbourhood.

Swakopmund itself is a fascinating and intriguing resort town, complete with German architecture, monuments, historic buildings, well maintained gardens, palm lined avenues, coffee bars and great seafood restaurants. Temperatures rarely drop below 15C and rainfall is practically zero, however, the town is subjected to 9 months of morning fogs each year. These damp and grey conditions often result in cool temperatures persisting the whole day, but this mist band, stretching up to 30km inland, gives water and life to the deserts plants and animals giving rise to 80 types of lichen and the ancient Welwitschia plants.

Accommodation: The rooms at Cornerstone are tastefully decorated with en suite facilities and all the mod cons, and the peaceful setting is a real welcome after your drive and activities. Each room even has its own fireplace! Sandfields also dedicates time to being as ecological friendly as possible to reduce carbon emission and encouraging recycling.

Spitzkoppe Lodge 

The lodge’s situated on the northern periphery of the Spitzkoppe inselberg, between huge granite boulders, which were created more than 150 million years ago, with breathtaking views of the Brandberg and Erongo Mountains.

The buildings are linked with elevated walkways all constructed to be wheelchair friendly and minimise the impact on the environment. The development and operations are integrated with nature. Limited use of concrete with elevated floors and decks and composite materials for walls, which can be dismantled easily, will enable nature to restore itself in just a few months after deconstruction. Sensitivity towards wildlife and heritage was paramount in all the stages of the development. The tented roof shapes simulate the surrounding rock formations and soften the square building plan form.

Water, which is unfit for human consumption, is sourced from boreholes and purified with our own reverse osmosis plant. The lodge is connected to the national grid by way of a 5km long underground cable for its electricity supply, all to ensure minimum disturbance of the spectacular archaeological landscape.

This is an intoxicating experience in this ancient landscape, take time to let your heart, mind and soul take in all that there is to offer and be assured it will never leave you….

Accommodation: The stylish, private accommodation consists of 15 generously spaced tastefully furnished chalets, each with private bathroom and covered outside viewing deck. The Lodge accommodates a maximum of 30 guests. Window openings are equipped with gauze and the beds with mosquito netting.

Given the remoteness of the area, the stargazing opportunities here should be spectacular and we believe the lodge have star maps available at reception. The lodge recommends coming in the winter months (July-October) when the air is clear and dry for the best stargazing opportunities.

Camp Kipwe, Twyfelfontein Area  

Camp Kipwe is situated within the Twyfelfontein Conservancy in the Damaraland area, only 4kms from its sister lodge of Mowani Mountain Camp. Damaraland is renowned for its geology, unusual rock formations, rock paintings, and rare desert-adapted flora and fauna.

Relax and unwind in the lounge — the mountain views from here are breathtaking as are the stunning sunsets. There’s also a swimming pool, where many guests head straight to after a day's activities, as well as a laundry service.

Activities include elephant nature drives lasting 3 to 6 hours, starting in the morning. These guided trips include exploring the surrounding area in a 4x4 vehicle, in search of Namibia's remaining 600 desert dwelling elephant. The Twyfelfontein excursions will last for around 2 and a half hours, starting in the afternoon. The drive includes visits to the Burnt Mountain, the Organ Pipes, as well as to the fascinating Bushman Engravings. There are a number of guided nature walks that will cover trails in and around Camp Kipwe, the durations will depend on the guests. 

Twyfelfontein

Perhaps make an excursion to the Twyfelfontein rock etchings and paintings. A local guide will escort you around the ancient hillsides which are open for guests between 8am and 5pm. This area is covered in numerous fascinating examples of San rock art and is well worth a visit where a local guide will explain the area to you. The Burnt Mountain, an interesting area of volcanic rock, is also close by as are the dolomite ‘organ pipes’.  

Burnt Mountain and Organ Pipes 

The Burnt Mountain’s an amazing sight as the sun shines over these rocks, giving the impression of flames moving over the mountain. Another intriguing site is the Valley of the organ pipes situated across the road from the Burnt Mountain. This strange formation was formed when basalt slabs were gouged out by a river thousands of years ago.  

Desert elephant/nature drive 

For this drive, you’ll head out on a drive along the meandering course of the Aba Huab River. The drive will take you in search of some of the areas’ many varied birds and animals, hopefully culminating in an encounter with the regions rare and beautiful desert adapted elephant.

Accommodation: Accommodation is in 8 igloo-shaped double bungalows, allowing a maximum of 16 guests at a time, emphasising the peace and quiet of the camp. Outside each bungalow is an en suite bathroom with a shower, as well as a private veranda, overlooking the surrounding plains. They all have an in-room safe.

Hobatere  

Hobatere Lodge is strategically located 65kms north of Kamanjab, in an 8,808ha private concession bordering the Etosha National Park, and is home to a wide selection of game, including: elephant, giraffe, eland and Hartmann’s Zebra

The name Hoabtere means ‘find me’ and is owned by the Khoadi/Hoas Conservancy. One of the main objectives of the lodge is to increase the benefits that the local communities receive, reduce the human wildlife conflict, and improve conservation of some of the endangered species found in this area.

Early morning and night drives are offered on the private concession area, giving the visitor to view nocturnal species that are often over-looked including, aardvark, cape fox and bat-eared foxes. Its environment and game densities are similar to Etosha, and here professional guides lead walking safaris and drives (day and night). Hobatere is slightly off the obvious route, but is worth the effort to reach it.

The main area boasts a restaurant, bar, lounge and the outside veranda allows for views over the waterhole. Next to the main area is also a refreshing swimming pool.

Accommodation: The lodge offers 12 chalets, 6 of which are double rooms, offering en suite facilities with a tea and coffee station and a flask of hot water.

Anderssons Camp, Eastern Etosha  

Andersson's Camp's ideal for full-day self-drives or guided drives into the Etosha National Park to take in the plethora of game found here.

Etosha National Park is Namibia's premier wildlife destination. At almost the size of Switzerland it’s certainly one of Africa's largest game parks. Large herds of game concentrate around the waterholes in the dry season, whilst the summer months' sporadic rainfall produces a profusion of new life — with baby springbok and comical young wildebeest.

Andersson's Camp is a model of eco-sensitive lodging and provides an authentic, safe and down-to-earth experience for all travellers to Etosha National Park. It’s also easily accessible by road. Energy-saving initiatives include solar-heated water for showers, while throughout the camp most of the natural vegetation has been retained.

This wonderful camp is set 8km inside the reserve, against a distant backdrop of the low Ondundozonanadana Range of hills. The surrounding plains and mopane woodland within the reserve have some good game populations, including both black and white rhino.

At its heart is a renovated farmstead, in front of which is a large, floodlit waterhole. A real highlight of the camp is its underground hide, accessible along a short pathway and through a tunnel, all within the camp’s boundaries, so guests can walk there without an escort. The view from the hide is at eye level with the waterhole, offering the chance to get up close to big game.

It’s a perfect spot for keen photographers, with plenty of seating and even a tea and coffee station.

Accommodation: The 20 tents radiate outwards into the secluded mopane woodlands typical of the region.

Tents are a clever mix of calcrete stone cladding, canvas and wood, with double-door entrances and a small veranda that is an extension of the elevated wooden decks on which the tents are constructed. The en suite bathrooms continue the unique design.

Okonjima Plains Camp, Otjiwarongo Area  

This drive will take you to the Otjiwarongo area, where you can stay at Okonjima Plains Camp. Arrivie in time for the afternoon activities, which begin at 3pm in winter, and 4pm in summer. We advise that you get there as soon as you can, as you can always do one of the walks before your afternoon drive.

West of the Waterberg Plateau, the vast plains are occasionally broken by the remnants of ancient Sandstone outcrops, which once covered large areas of northern Namibia. Nestled among the Omboroko Mountains lies Okonjima — a Herero name meaning Place of the Baboons. This is much more than just a lodge; Okonjima is also home to The Africat Foundation.

The Africat Foundation, works with farmers and the public to conserve the big cat species of Namibia. The project’s there to educate the local communities on how to work with big cat species rather than capturing them and removing them from arable land and includes a local school. The hopes are to extend their environmental education efforts to high school and even university undergraduates in the future.

One of the first steps along this route is to reinstate visits to the Africat clinic and education centre. Other unique activities here include nature walks, cheetah and leopard tracking, and bushman walks.

Accommodation: Accommodation at Plains Camp is in luxurious, recently built view rooms that overlook the spectacular, natural veldt. Each room has both air-conditioning and heating and comes with mini bar and coffee station. The rooms are quirkily modern with lots of unusual features yet weirdly blend into the environment. A wonderful 2 nights in the bush.

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