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Namib-Naukluft Budget Safari Tours

Namib-Naukluft National Park is an extraordinary park, a miraculous world that includes some of the most beautiful sand dunes in southern Africa, at Sossusvlei, as well as rugged mountains just waiting to be explored. There’s so much to see here, and one of the best things about coming on a budget safari is that, unusually, some of the budget accommodation has a really great location. Yes, there are times when the main track through the sand dunes of Sossusvlei can get a little crowded, but that shouldn’t spoil your experience. It’s such a big place that a strong feeling of wilderness is easy to find amid all this beauty.

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1-9 of 9 cheap tours, packages and holidays to Namib-Naukluft National Park

6 Questions About Namib-Naukluft Budget Safaris


6 Questions About Namib-Naukluft Budget Safaris

Answered by Anthony Ham

How do I get to Sossusvlei on a budget?

“There are lots of tours and packages that make a visit to Sossusvlei possible on your Namib-Naukluft National Park budget safari. Most involve driving along Namibia’s excellent road network (both sealed and unsealed) from Swakopmund or elsewhere in the country. If you’re on a group budget safari, you will probably travel in a 4WD or minibus along with other travelers in the group, as well as a driver and guide. It may be part of a wider Namibian safari, or possibly one organized out of Swakopmund or Walvis Bay. If, on the other hand, you’re on a self-drive budget safari, you’ll do the driving and you won’t have a guide; the roads and tracks shouldn’t pose too many difficulties and as long as you have a reputable GPS map system (or paper maps, for those of you who prefer that), you should be fine. The major destinations are well signposted.”


Which other parks should I visit on a Namib-Naukluft budget safari?

“Before thinking about where else to visit on your Namib-Naukluft budget safari, make sure that your itinerary really explores this park to its full potential. Almost everyone who comes here visits the dunes of Sossusvlei, but far fewer visitors explore the Naukluft Mountains, with their oases, hiking trails and deliciously remote camps. Looking farther afield, there are so many places to see, although not all of them are protected as national parks. You should explore as much as possible of the Skeleton Coast, which has shipwrecks, seals and sand dunes all the way along the country’s Atlantic shore. Damaraland is another personal favorite of mine, with its stunning mountains, rock art and desert-adapted wildlife (including lions, elephants and rhinos). If you’re willing to travel farther, there’s the world-class wildlife of Etosha National Park, although the smaller private reserves of Okonjima and Erindi are closer and easier to reach. Down south, Fish River Canyon is often described as Africa’s Grand Canyon.”


What are the campsite facilities like on a Namib-Naukluft budget trip?

“Namib-Naukluft has good camping facilities. The main campsite is just inside the main Sossusvlei gate at Sesriem, and is one of very few places actually inside the gate: this means you can get a head start on exploring the dunes while everyone else is waiting in a queue to get in the gate at first light. Facilities at this and other campsites include toilets and hot-water showers, and there’s a small shop and park booking office on-site. The main (probably only) disadvantage of the public campsites is that they can get really crowded during high season, which runs from July to November. Assuming you’re able to make a reservation (or your safari tour operator is able to do this for you), you can expect it all to feel a little busy, especially in the evenings. Just outside the gate, in the small settlement of Sesriem, there are also privately run campsites, which have facilities that are usually slightly better and less crowded than those at the public campsites.”


How do I avoid the crowds on a budget trip to Namib-Naukluft?

“There will be some times when it simply won’t be possible to avoid the crowds. This is true if you’re staying in one of the public campsites, or if you’re waiting in a queue to get into the park early in the morning. Such moments will be an unavoidable part of your trip. But once you’re inside the park proper, you can do a few things to get away and enjoy the solitude: climb a sand dune that no one else is climbing, for example, or drive right to the end of the Sossusvlei valley and get an hour or two alone while everyone else is working their way up the valley, stopping as they go. For the rest of the park, plan to hike one of the trails through the Naukluft Mountains. These mountains, and the trails that cross them, see a small fraction of the visitors who go to Sossusvlei. You could also visit outside of high season, which means visiting between December and June. It rarely rains out here in the desert, so you might get the benefit of fine weather without the crowds.”


What are the pros and cons of a self-drive budget safari to Namib-Naukluft?

“Even though you’re on a cheap or budget self-drive safari, you can still have the same experiences once you enter the park gate as those visitors who pay hundreds of dollars more. That’s because this is one park where everyone gets to see the same things; the only difference is the level of accommodation. On a self-drive safari, you’re the boss, the one who decides when and where you go. You don’t have to keep other people in the group happy because there is no group. If you want to stop and take a photograph, you can do it. If you just want to rest and enjoy the view, no one’s going to stop you. In short, a self-drive safari just gives you so much freedom. The main drawback of a self-drive safari is that you won’t have the benefit of a guide, either for advice or for any explanation of what you’re seeing. Some of that you can get from your own research. But a good guide can quickly become a friend and can provide you with so many insights into local life and the natural world that you simply can’t find out for yourself. You also won’t get to share the road with other like-minded travelers, although whether you consider that to be a good or a bad thing will depend on your perspective and personality.”


How much does a Namib-Naukluft budget trip cost?

“Costs vary greatly and when you’re planning your holiday, you will find lots of different prices when choosing between the many tours and packages on offer. That said, as a starting point, you can expect to pay at least US$150 to US$175 per person per day. Whether or not that sounds affordable to you, remember that this cost for a group safari should include a guide, driver, vehicle, meals, water and some drinks, park entry fees, guided game drives and accommodation (including camping equipment). It may or may not include transfers at the beginning or end of your trip. If you’re on a self-drive safari, the quoted prices won’t include a guide or a driver, and you will be expected to pay for your own food and other supplies, as well as fuel. It should include the cost of any accommodation (e.g. campsites). Always ask your operator what is and what isn’t included in any prices quoted to you. There’s nothing worse than finding a nasty surprise when it comes time to pay.”


Namib-Naukluft Reviews

4.4/5 84 Reviews
Lizzie Williams  –  
South Africa ZA

Lizzie is a reputed guidebook writer and author of the Footprint guides to South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

One of the world’s oldest and most scenic deserts, famous for its majestic giant dunes

I am always blown-away by the beauty of Sossusvlei; the Namib Desert’s towering rust-red sand dunes blown into razor-sharp ridges by the wind is easily one of the most spectacular and powerful landscapes in Africa. The best time to visit...

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Christopher Clark  –  
United Kingdom UK

Christopher is a British travel writer and has contributed to various Fodor's guidebooks and a range of travel magazines.

A desert dream

The highlight of this barren but breathtaking national park is the majestic dunes of Sossusvlei, which rise like giant waves above the parched salt pans that punctuate the desert floor. At sunrise and sunset the changing colours and...

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Maria Franklin  –  
Australia AU
Reviewed: Aug 13, 2019
A Drive on the Wild Side

The Namib-Naukluft National Park is one of the most impressive places I've visited in a life full of travel. The wildlife, the stunning desert scapes and dunes, the Sesriem area, Sossussvlei and The Dead Vlei, Kolmanskuppe with its houses...

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Erika Santana  –  
Brazil BR
Reviewed: Mar 27, 2019

We loved our trip to the Sossuvlei Desert. It is a unic place with scenic views and a good energy. It seams that Namibia is still evoluing in the tourst business. I think that the service given on the trip is too expensive for what they...

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Andrew Thompson  –  
United Kingdom UK
Reviewed: Feb 16, 2018

The Namib desert is bleak and barren and vast, but also can be beautiful and surprisingly varied.
Plus there is some great wildlife here if you have a good local guide who knows where and how to find it.

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Maarten Elings  –  
Netherlands NL
Reviewed: Jun 8, 2017

This is truly a must-see in Namibia. It was our first experience with the desert in our lives and it was absolutely breath-taking. Start your days early (the ground temperature can rise to 80°C) and visit the Deadvlei, Sossusvlei and...

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