Damara Tern Self Drive
Luxury Self Drive to Swakopmund - Namibia
This short self driven excursion from Windhoek to Swakopmund is the ideal get-away for those living or working in Windhoek. While at the coast you will join an expertly guided half-day trip into the Namib Desert and also spend a morning on a catamaran on the Walvis Bay Lagoon. Damara terns rarely venture from the arid desert coastline, except for the sheltered bays and shallow reefs visited here.
The Damara Tern Self-Drive concentrates on the variety of flora and fauna living in the desert. The Walvis Bay Lagoon excursion illustrates the variety of sea creatures and mammals that inhabit Namibian waters. This is a fascinating few days, highlighting the country's coastal creatures, great and small, that survive in the desert or ocean.
Although it is possible to book this self drive safari 'as is', as with all our self drive trips this is entirely customisable. We can add or delete days, change the accommodation used and generally design the tour to suit your individual requirements. If you do not like the idea of driving yourself, a guided safari could be arranged.
- Day 1: Windhoek - Swakopmund
- The main route from Windhoek to Swakopmund is around 350km's and takes around three and a half hours on a good tarred road. There are two other, more scenic routes, through the Khomas Hochland Mountains - either using the Bosua or Gamsberg Passes but both of these take considerably longer (around 7 hours) as they use windy gravel roads. If you are in no particular rush to get to Swakopmund using one of these routes is a pleasant, if somewhat dusty, experience.
On arrival in Swakopmund check into your accommodation before heading out for a drink, dinner and a night on the town.
Accommodation Hansa Hotel
- Day 2: Swakopmund
- Time for an early breakfast as you will be collected from the hotel at around 8.30am and head out with your guide into the Namib Desert.
You will slowly drive along the foot of the dunes, taking precaution not to drive on the gravel plains and cause any unnecessary damage to the environment. The gravel plains are protected and home to nesting Damara Terns, which are endemic to this area. Driving along gravel plains leaves scars, which can take up to 100 years to recover. Conservation issues and the geological structure of the desert will be discussed in detail en route. Plenty of time is available for frequent stops to take photos of the dunes and the surrounding environment.
Your guide will stop continuously to look for tracks (known locally as reading the bushman paper), to determine which animals were active the night before and wherever possible will try to catch some of them to show you. Great care is taken in sharing knowledge with you on each desert animal, including emphasis on special adaptations and perfect design used for survival in the desert. Time and care is taken to ensure each animal is returned safely to its home.
We cross the dune belt from east to west in a 4x4 vehicle, lending opportunity for incredible views of the desert landscape and an adrenalin packed journey where experienced knowledge of sand driving is essential. Enjoy a stop on top of the dunes overlooking spectacular scenery.
You will be back in Swakopmund in time for a late lunch, and then have the afternoon to explore the town.
Accommodation: Hansa Hotel
- Day 3: Swakopmund - Windhoek
- After breakfast you will need to drive the 30km's from Swakop to Walvis Bay as you will be joining a catamaran cruise on the Walvis Lagoon. While enjoying sparkling wine & oysters you are likely to be joined by Cape Fur Seals, Heavyside Dolphins and a cornucopia of marine & bird life. After the cruise it is time for lunch and then the drive back to Windhoek.
- All your meals and activities as specified.
A welcome pack including maps and vouchers for the places that you'll be visiting.
See the individual lodges for precise inclusions & exclusions
The Cardboard Box Travel Shop's own Namibia Guide Book
A 24 hour emergency assistance phone number
- Vehicle & Fuel
Park entrance fees (these need to be paid on arrival).
Tips and gratuities (which are optional).
Any meals or activities not specified.
See the individual lodges for detailed inclusions & exclusions.
- Although we have excluded the cost of renting a vehicle from the quoted rate we are happy to advise you on the best possible vehicle and arrange a rental for you. For an idea of what is available have a look at our car hire in Namibia section
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