Great Drives Windhoek
Scenic Drives around WindhoekCareful planning is needed to make the most of Namibia’s wide open spaces. Make sure you take our Avis mini guide along with you to help you get the best out of your road trip.
To guide you along the way we would like to suggest some of the options available to you in your Avis hire car.
Prepare to spend some time behind the wheel as we explore the surroundings of Windhoek.
On the road in Namibia
It would take several weeks to explore all the main attractions of Namibia. There are various routes that you could take from Windhoek in order to do this in your Avis hire car – with the most popular being the Central Route. Preparation is paramount, so map out your travels before you leave in order to cram as much as possible into your available time.
Although most of the tar roads are wide and pleasant you will have to travel on gravel to reach some of the best spots, or even engage 4x4. Take this into consideration when choosing and booking your Avis rental.
This round trip is over 2 000km long, reaching its apex at Etosha National Park and incorporating Swakopmund. For reasons of brevity we will focus on the first half of this trip only.
If you have limited time, isolate a few spots along the way and focus only on those. For starters, the terrain in this part of the world is lush and hilly, with the grasslands and low scrub near Windhoek rapidly becoming more arid as you near the vast sandy reaches of the Namib environment of Swakopmund.
Places along the way
Located 210km from Windhoek along the B4, Okahandja provides a classic tourist pit-stop with a coffee shop and craft market selling all kinds of local crafts - from carved Makalani nuts to mokoros (a kind of fibre glass canoe).
After Okahandja, turn left on to the Trans Kalahari Highway (B2) towards Swakopmund, 290km away. Take note as you pass of the visual treat of the towering Erongo mountains etched grey against the clear Namib sky and the treed mountainous terrain of Karibib.
Spitzkoppe and the Namib
The Spitzkoppe looms on the horizon as you approach the turnoff towards Spitzkoppe and Henties Bay, with the vegetation becoming ever sparser until you are totally surrounded by the Namib Desert – stretching to the edges of your vision.
Take the turn off to Gaoanikontes, 40km before Swakopmund, and experience the contrasts of Namibia’s unique landscapes. About 20km from town, the otherworldly moon landscape of Namibia becomes visible in the distance, along with an incongruous green belt among the rocks and sand. This is the Swakop River - lifeblood of the olive and asparagus farms in this area.
For a closer view of this ethereal spectacle take the D1991 to Swakopmund.
A heavy bank of cloud and a rapid drop in temperature herald your approach to the icy Atlantic Ocean, where the Namib runs into the sea at Swakopmund – the adventure hub of Namibia.
If you have time
Visit the amusingly named resort of Gross Barmen, which is an oasis complete with palm trees, on the banks of the Swartkops River, just before you reach Okahandja. Here you can indulge in a meal a spa treatment and a dip in the thermal pools.
Get a taste of Namibia’s German heritage at a padstal near this hamlet in between Okahandja and Swakopmund. Here you can purchase Swakop olives and oils, preserves, biltong and homemade health bread, or snack on some delicious apfelstrudel. In this area you will also find locals selling huge dinner-plate-sized mushrooms along the road.
Anita Steyn’s Art Gallery Karibib
Next to the main road at Karibib, Anita Steyn’s Art Gallery materialises out of nowhere. This talented artist specialises in multimedia representations of the beautiful Namibian landscape, including ceramics and watercolours. Pick up a few items here and impress your friends with your good taste in remote shopping.
Ûiba-Ôas Crystal Market
Here you can browse among and buy an assortment of glittering stones, harvested from the surrounding mountains. The Ûiba-Ôas Crystal Market is strikingly silhouetted against a backdrop of the Spitzkoppe at the Henties Bay turnoff.
This seaside town is world-renowned for its wealth of adventurous pastimes. Take a hot air balloon, camel, or horse ride over the desert, fish deep in the ocean, slide down the dunes or explore the smaller denizens of the Namib on a guided tour.
This long drive exposes only a tiny bit of the many treasures to be found in Namibia. By the time you return your Avis hire car to us at Windhoek International Airport, Namibia is sure to have won your affections and instilled the desire to return deep within your soul.