Best of Namibia: sand & sea!

Location: Namibia

Itinerary duration: 5 days

Places of note: Sesriem, Sossusvlei, Swakopmund & Walvis Bay

Namibia is a country that almost feels untouched by man. An absolute jewel of Africa, Namibia has captured my heart. It has everything your wanderlust mind could dream of: breathtaking sand dunes, a variety of amazing animals and a coastline that rivals even the most famous in the world! This itinerary will take you from city to sand dunes to sea - and boy is it a wonderful ride!

Day 1: Windhoek to Sesriem (A→B)
Our starting point was Windhoek, the capital of Namibia. I had already spent the weekend in Namibia but it is possible to arrive early morning at Windhoek's airport, hire a car from there and begin your road trip immediately. 

Sesriem, located just outside of Sossusvlei, is the closest place one can stay at to access the sand dunes. The drive from Windhoek to Sesriem can take at least 5 hours but with stops in-between, it can obviously take much longer. Bear this in mind when planning your trip. Solitaire, located about 1.5 hours outside of Sesriem, is a great place to stop for a drink or pastry snack. My boyfriend and I stayed at the Sesriem Campsite - inside the Sesriem park gates. Before the sun set, we drove to Sesriem Canyon and walked all the way down into the canyon upon the watchful eyes of nearby baboons. The canyon is really beautiful and I would definitely recommend visiting it in the late afternoon as it is cooler than during the scorching midday heat. The lighting and colours are also beautiful at this time.

Day 2: Sossusvlei (from B)

Whether camping or lodging, staying inside the Sesriem park provides major advantages over staying outside. You will have a 1 hour advantage over visitors staying outside the gates to head to Sossusvlei and reach it by sunrise (around 06h00 in Summer). The inside gate opens an hour before sunrise for those inside the park and the outside gates open at sunrise. Ask your accommodation reception for the gate times. 

My boyfriend and I were the first people to hike up Big Daddy dune, the largest in the area at around 325m high. The experience was unforgettable and the views spectacular! Even before you begin your hike, the views are amazing! After your hike, spend some time in Deadvlei, a picture-perfect place just waiting to be explored and photographed! Maybe even visit Big Mama dune nearby. We spent the rest of our day looking for Oryx and ended it with a sundowner at Dune 45. 

Day 3: Sesriem to Swakopmund (B→C)

The drive from Sesriem to Swakopmund takes you past Solitaire again - where we decided to have some apple strudel. Delicious! The rest of drive has some incredible views and plenty of Springbok & Oryx along the way. In total, the drive takes at least 5 hours without any stops but obviously a few photograph opportunities will present themselves. 

We arrived in Swakopmund in the late afternoon, just in time to catch the sunset at the Jetty and have dinner by the lighthouse. The sea breeze is unbeatable!

Day 4: Walvis Bay & Swakopmund (from C)

Our 4th day began with a scenic drive from Swakop to Walvis Bay. If you have a 4x4 car, you are able to drive along the beach for a section of the way - a unique experience with stunning views of the dunes on your left and the sea on your right. 

Walvis Bay is a beautiful town with the main attraction being the thousands of pink flamingos! We spent a good amount of time just admiring the flamingos and breathing in the fresh sea air. We headed to Dune 7 nearby, which is the highest dune in the Namib desert, and then to a smaller dune where we enjoyed some snacks with a view! 
Swakopmund is a lovely seaside town with a German influence. Bakeries, coffee shops and, of course, the Jetty are the main attractions here. It was just so lovely to stroll around and be relaxed. We even spotted some dolphins!

Day 5: Swakopmund to Windhoek (C→D)

Our last day began with having an ice cream on the Jetty. It was time to say goodbye to lovely Swakop and head back to Windhoek. The route back is on a single lane road, meaning that you need to be alert when overtaking trucks etc. as it can be very dangerous! Okahandja is a great place to stop and fill up your car. 

An amazing trip in such a beautiful country - I can't wait to be back in Namibia!