Namibia offers numerous opportunities to explore off- the-beaten track destinations – either self-guided or guided. Large tracks of the country are sparsely inhabited and the scenery range from the wilderness of Kaokoland to the seemingly endless dune sea of the Namib Desert.
Damaraland and Kaokoland are popular with self-drive 4×4 enthusiasts, while Bushmanland and Khaudum National Park and the Northeastern parks (Bwabwata, Mamili and Nkasa Rupara) also offer exciting possibilities. You need to be well-prepared and completely self-sufficient in respect of all your food and equipment, as well as sufficient fuel. It is advisable to travel with at least one other vehicle due to the remoteness of these areas.
Day and overnight 4×4 routes can be explored from Henties Bay to destinations such as the Doros and Messum craters, Brandberg and the ‘Dead Sea’ at the old Strathmore Mine. A satellite map and booklets with GPS coordinates can be obtained from the Henties Bay Tourism Office.
A permit, obtainable from the Henties Bay Tourism Office, is required as the trails are either in or traverse the Dorob National Park.
Several companies offer day trips from Walvis Bay to Sandwich Harbour in their own vehicles. Companies include West Coast 4×4, Turnstone Tours, Sandwich Harbour 4×4, Unique Tours and Dolphin Tours. Contact any tour operator at the coast. You can also do this as a self-drive trip, but bear in mind that it can only be done at low tide and a permit, obtainable from the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism in Walvis Bay or Swakopmund, is required. One can also obtain a permit to drive in the off-road vehicle zones in the dune belt between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay.
Guided tours through various parts of the dune sea are offered to destinations in what was known as Diamond Area No 2 before it was incorporated into the Namib-Naukluft Park. Trips are conducted to Saddle Hill (3 or 4 days), between Lüderitz and Walvis Bay (6 days) and other remote spots along the coast. These tours will test not only test your driving skills to the limit, but also your nerves as you provide your own vehicle. The section of the Skeleton Coast from just north of Terrace Bay to the Kunene River mouth can also only be explored by joining a guided tour in your own vehicle.
Operators who offer these must have a legal concession from the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism to conduct these tours and only a certain number of trips are allowed yearly.