Peter Orsel

The Best Photo Spots of Namibia on a Road Trip

Visiting Namibia has been a long awaited dream of mine. With all the photographers going and getting home with the best photos, I decided that I wanted to do a road trip in Namibia too! I did this trip with a friend, so we both had company and we could share the costs. Here are my favourite locations for a road trip in Namibia!

In This Post

Does organising a trip give you a headache? This is the most affordable trip I could find that covers pretty much all locations I write about in this blog. For less than $3.000 you get to visit all the spots, and there’s nothing you have to worry about. 

Dirt road in Namibia
Endless Dirt Roads in Namibia

Arriving in Windhoek

You will most likely arrive in Windhoek, once you enter Namibia. Many airlines are covering Windhoek airport and I flew in from Kuala Lumpur, flying with Ethiopian Airlines. On the way back I flew to Brussels, again with Ethiopian Airlines. My best advice would be renting a car upon arrival. You can book your car ahead, using Rentalcars, or contact someone directly. A 4WD is necessary, as there are many dirt roads. Sometimes for hundreds of kilometers!  

Windhoek is a nice town for your first or your last nights, but there’s not so much to do. I used my time here to catch up with some work, and plan the rest of the trip. At our last day, we worked again before heading back to the airport.

Person standing in a common area of a desert lodge in Namibia
If you get the chance, stay in a lodge in Namibia!

Where to stay in Namibia?

Of course you’ll need some accommodations along the way. Me and my friend booked our lodges in advance, but kept our other accommodations open, as we were not sure yet in which towns we wanted to stay. We did this trip during the shoulder season in April, so availability wasn’t a problem. If you’re going in the peak season – June to  September – it’s recommended to book your accommodations in advance. 

The most common accommodations are: 

  • Self Service Apartments 
  • Lodges 
  • Camp Sites
 

Self service apartments are great for families, or when you want to cook yourself. If you bring a roof tent for your 4WD, campsites can be your go to. For remote areas and more luxurious stays, try a lodge. I would highly recommend to stay at least once in a lodge, as it’s a unique experience. 

We stayed at Pelikan Point Lodge in Walvis Bay and Gondwana Collection: Desert Grace, close to Deadvlei. 

Close up of a leopard
A close encounter with a leopard ready for lunch

See the wildlife in Namibia

I spent the first days on my own and we didn’t plan a visit to Etosha National Park on this trip. If you’re coming for wildlife and looking for 4 of the Big 5, Etosha is the place to be. But as it’s a bit further up from Windhoek, I decided to stay close to the capital, to see if I could find some wildlife there. 

After some research, I found Dusternbrook Guest Farm. A nature reserve where animals live free, but in a semi protected area. For most animals, there’s no guarantee you’ll see them, but the chances are high. There are hippo’s, giraffes, ostriches, wildebeest, monkeys and so much more. They also take care of two leopards, which are living in a protected area in order not to harm other animals. They’re impressive to see, but not a wild encounter as you might hope. 

Giraffes in Namibia
A close encounter with the giraffes around Düsternbrook

One of the best things they offer, is horse riding tours to the giraffes. Because the giraffes are seeing the horses as their friends, you can come close to the giraffes without scaring them. I didn’t get a chance to try, but some other guests did and it was a once in a lifetime experience for them! 

Spitzkoppe Namibia
Spitzkoppe around sunset

Spitzkoppe and Skeleton Coast

Driving a car on the beach in Skeleton Coast
Driving on the beach at Skeleton Coast is a unique experience

When you make your way to the Skeleton Coast (Most likely Swakopmund or Walvis Bay), you should make a stop at Spitzkoppe. This is a beautiful mountain range and a great spot to take amazing photos. Our stop was right before sunset and we still had a while to go, so we didn’t get to stop very long. But, we still managed to take some cool drone shots! There’s way more to see, and on a next trip I’d really consider to do an overnight stay in the area. 

Swakopmund and Walvis Bay

Kayaking with seals at Pelican Point

Located on the Skeleton Coast, Swakopmund and Walvis Bay are must visits on a road trip in Namibia. Lots of small restaurants, an incredible coastline and many activities. Seeing some of the shipwrecks is a must, like the one I shared above. It’s called Zeila Shipwreck and located just a few hundred meters next to the highway. 

Some activities I recommend in this area below! And let me tell you, kayaking with the seals of Pelican Point was a once in a lifetime experience. 

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Visit Sandwich Harbour in Walvis Bay

Expect views like this when you drive through the desert. Simply amazing!

My favourite activity during my time in Namibia was visiting Sandwich Harbour. I wrote a blog about it! It’s that famous location where the desert meets the sea. Out of all desert safari’s I’ve done (quite a lot, not gonna lie), this was my favourite. The drivers are skilled, they know lots about the desert and the sea, and the food is simply amazing. It’s slightly expensive, but It’s so worth it if you ask me! Your best option is to book a tour through for example GetYourGuide, as a self drive is not possible. 

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Deadvlei

If there’s one place you surely can’t miss in Namibia, it’s Deadvlei. There’s no place like this anywhere in the world. The old trees, the majestic sand dunes, the endless photo opportunities. Just wow! It requires some research to know how and when to enter the national park, so stay tuned for my next blog post about this. It’s best to stay in the national park, or just out of it. We stayed in the Desert Grace Lodge, but from there it was another 2 hours to get to Deadvlei. 

I’d recommend to go as early as possible, to be able to capture the area with the best light and the fewest people. You’ll surely not be alone, but it’s so big that you’ll be able to capture photos without anyone in it. 

Deadvlei, Namibia
Deadvlei is the best when you arrive in the early morning

Please note that you need a 4WD (and some experience to drive it) to get to the main parking for Deadvlei. The road is sandy and lots of people get stuck. If you don’t dare to do it yourself, there’s a shuttle service available for the last kilometer. 

Tree in Namibian Deadvlei Landscape
The colours and the contrast at Deadvlei are amazing

Photography tips for your Road Trip in Namibia

As mentioned before, Namibia is a dream destination for many photographers. It has lots of opportunities to be creative, and it’s (together with San Pedro de Atacama, Chile) one of the best locations in the world to capture the stars. 

Are you into drone photography? At some points you’ll be allowed to fly your drone, at some points you won’t. Make sure you register beforehand, to have the right papers and being able to fly the drone. Visit the website of NCAA for more information about the registration process. The Deadvlei area, Etosha National Park and Sandwich Harbour are some examples of places where it’s not allowed to fly a drone. Don’t let that discourage you, as there are places where you can fly and you can capture the country beautifully without a drone too. 

I’d recommend this gear on a road trip in Namibia: 

  • Full frame camera body – Like a Sony A7IV
  • A variety of lenses. Bring at least a 200mm+ lens if you’re planning to capture wildlife! 
  • Tripod 
  • Extra batteries 
  • Eventually a drone. 

 

Take a look at my Amazon page to see the gear I’m using at the moment. 

Pelican Point
Pelican Point is a unique sight and staying at the lodge was a once in a lifetime experience

Extra: Visit the Himba Tribes

Something on our list that didn’t fit our program, was visiting the Himba Tribes. It’s great to learn more about people living an indigenous lifestyle, and they’re usually very open to be photographed. If you can fit it in your schedule, make sure you visit these beautiful people. 

 

About Me

Peter Orsel is a Dutch travel photographer. He visited over 40 countries, capturing them in the most beautiful ways. Right now he writes about his trips and inspires others to do the same. 

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