A Road Trip to Remember
South Africa and Namibia are both considered great first-time safari destinations, where you can experience an abundance of varied wildlife, cultural and active discoveries. So, why not combine the two in a showcase of Africa’s best landscapes and attractions?
A road trip is the best way to maximize everything that these two countries have to offer. If you fly, you’ll get there sooner, but you won’t get to enjoy the scenic attractions, unique experiences, and out of the way stops en route.
Likewise, you can easily complete this 1 478 km journey from Cape Town to Windhoek by road in two days if you only stop to sleep, but that defeats the object of the trip, and you’d miss out on exploring all the wonders along the way.
Rather take some tips on how to make the most of your trip along the Cape Town to Namibia route.
Logistical Considerations for the Cape Town to Namibia Route
You can fly into Cape Town international airport from almost anywhere, or head for OR Tambo and take a domestic flight to the Mother City to start your travels.
If you’re hiring a car, you can get by with an ordinary sedan, but it’s a good idea to opt for a 4×4 as this gives you the ability to maximize your off-road adventures along the way.
Some travellers like to be spontaneous and book their accommodation on the spot depending on where they find themselves on the day. With an adventure such as the Cape to Namibia route, it’s often best to book in advance. This gives you a target distance for the day and ensures you don’t end up without a bed for the night in one of the smaller towns or overpaying for a last-minute stay.
Namibia offers good tar and gravel roads as well as excellent accommodation and dining options wherever you go.
Remember, this is a hot country, so take extra water with you wherever you go, and never forget sun protection for outdoor activities and a camera to capture the memories.
Heading Out from Cape Town
The Mother City is one of the world’s favourite places, so make sure you spend a few days or more exploring some things this metropolis has to offer before you start your trip.
Table Mountain is a must-see attraction in Cape Town, along with the Kirstenbosch Botanical gardens at its foot.
Don’t miss the chance to meander through the surrounding winelands while you’re in town either. This scenic route has abundant opportunities for wining and dining, shopping, and nature activities.
A morning on one of the city’s lovely beaches will do your soul the world of good, as will a hike among the surrounding mountains. Are you a fan of arts and culture? Guided tours are the answer for satisfying your curiosity about Cape Town’s long history, diverse cultures, and staggering creative talents.
Pencil in some of these attractions to fill any spare moments before you depart from Cape Town:
- The V&A Waterfront
- Cape Point
- The Neighbourgoods Market
- Boulders Beach Penguin Colony
You’ll find no shortage of fine dining, fast foods and classic Cape Town street food to choose from as well as an abundance of great wines, artisan gins, and superb coffee for every day you spend in the city.
From Cape Town, you’ll head out on the N7 toward Malmesbury for the first leg of your trip.
Langebaan and Paternoster
Langebaan is only just over two hours drive from Cape Town, but it’s the perfect place for your first stopover.
This seaside hamlet offers easy access to the West Coast National Park with its beautiful coastline and wonderful opportunities for walking among the fynbos and wildlife.
Set aside a few hours to lap it all up, then book into one of the local seaside apartments. Otherwise, you can drive another 30 minutes to Paternoster for unexpectedly fine dining in this tiny coastal fishing village, and opt to spend the night there.
Seafood is the order of the day in this part of the world, but you’ll also find haute cuisine of the finest order as well as sustainable eats fashioned from sustainable local ingredients.
If you stay on the M7 until Malmesbury and then take the M315 toward Langebaan, you’ll bypass the adorable town of Darling, where you’ll delight in the markets, galleries, and artisan food on offer.
Namaqua National Park
Heading back along the N7, it will take you about 5 hours to reach Namaqua National Park from Langebaan. Along the way, you’ll traverse some of the Cape’s most scenic interiors, with views of the Cedarberg and gorgeous farmlands. Plan your trip during the springtime and you’ll soon find out why this part of the world’s called the Flower Route.
You’ll need a 4×4 and a compressor to manage your tire pressure when exploring these sandy reaches. The Namaqua National Park is a botanical paradise and home to over 1,000 species of plants that occur nowhere else. You’ll also find steenbok, tortoises, and ostriches in abundance around these parts.
You can spend the night in one of the park’s rustic campsites or opt for one of the temporary luxury tents set up for the flower season. Skilpad rest camp or Luiperdskloof Guest cottage offer a self-catering stay.
Alternatively, there are many guest houses and campgrounds located on the outskirts of the park or in nearby Hondeklip Bay.
Vioolsdrif to Fish River Canyon
It’s only just over an hour’s drive to South Africa’s border with Namibia from the Namaqua National Park, but you’ll want to leave early in case of delays.
Overnighting near the Fish River Canyon means you can spend some time admiring the stunning views over Africa’s largest canyon or even hiking some of the shorter trails.
You can stay in the Hobas campsite, but most travellers choose to spend time at the Ais-Ais hot springs resort, where you can soak in the warm mineral waters of a natural spring and indulge in luxury spa treatments.
It’s worth taking a day or two in this part of the world if you have time to spare. Don’t miss the chance to enjoy a meal at the quaint and universally popular Canyon Roadhouse about an hour’s drive from Ais Ais.
Lüderitz and Kolmanskop
During the five-hour trip from Ais-Ais to Lüderitz via Aus, you’ll begin to notice the slow evolution of the scenery into Namibia’s typical arid landscape.
For a spectacular showcase, take a side trip along the way by travelling via Seeheim to view the amazing Quiver Tree forest. This detour will add another hour and a half to your trip, but it’s worth every extra minute and kilometre.
You should also make time to spend a while at the Garub viewsite to see if you can catch a glimpse of the famous feral horses that roam this area and capture some photographs of this unique attraction.
Lüderitz is a charming seaside destination offering access to the wonders of the Namib desert as well as some of the world’s best kitesurfing.
Overnight in one of the local guesthouses and then be sure to book a trip to explore the haunting scenes of Kolmanskop and sign up for desert tours highlighting the denizens of the dunes.
No trip to Namibia is complete without enjoying the wonder of the Namib Naukluft National Park. This 49 768 km squared wilderness is home to plenty of unique attractions.
These include the Sossusvlei, Deadvlei, Sesriem Canyon, and the Welwitschia Trail. It’s best to spend a few days here if you want to enjoy everything there is to see and do amongst these vast landscapes.
You can stay at campsites within the park or opt for one of the more luxurious lodges on its edges. A hot air balloon trip to watch the sun rising over the dunes is a bucket list item for any traveller to Namibia.
Sossusvlei is a six-and-a-half-hour drive from Lüderitz along the C27 with a further four and a half hours to reach Windhoek, in central Namibia. That leaves you plenty of time to try the world-famous apple pies at Solitaire along the way.
Windhoek is Your Gateway to Namibia
After your long drive north, it’s a shame not to explore more of Namibia when you arrive.
From Windhoek, head out to Etosha National Park for exciting game drives to view Namibia’s wealth of wildlife on self-drive and guided outings or take a trip to the Spitzkoppe. This ‘Matterhorn’ of Namibia towering 1 728 m above sea level, can be spotted from a great distance and is a favourite for photographers, hikers and mountaineers.
Alternatively, head back to the coast to enjoy outstanding seafood, German culture, and high-adrenalin adventures in Swakopmund. Some of the attractions in this seaside town include skydiving, dune drives, camel rides, horseback riding, and deep-sea fishing.
Wherever you choose to roam in Namibia, Windhoek is the ideal starting point thanks to its well-equipped infrastructure and abundant accommodation options.
Book your place at Arebbusch Travel Lodge and start planning your trip by browsing our travel guide.
Please Note: The details shared herein were correct at the time of publishing. However, with time some of this information may change. We recommend confirming information with suppliers prior to making final travel arrangements. If you do happen to find an issue with any information we’ve shared here, please feel free to contact us so that we can make the relevant changes.