Traveling from Epupa Falls to Windhoek

By the third week of our Namibian travel we thought we’d seen almost everything we crossed the country from South to North and definitely visited all the main highlights. But there are many amazing places in Namibia that you can visit if you have enough time. During our third week we went to less famous but still very interesting places. 

Important! if you take this route you drive all the time on tarred roads so expect to see police road blocks, speed cameras and policemen hiding in the bush. We didn’t see any of these driving on gravel roads all the way from Fish River canyon to Epupa Falls but here it’s different.

Epupa Falls to Windhoek road trip map

Complete travel route; Epupa Falls – Ruacana Falls – Ondangwa – Tsumeb – Grootfontein – Otjiwarongo – Waterberg Plateau – Dinosaur Footprints – Omaruru – Spitzkoppe – Karibib – Windhoek. Total distance: 1825km.

Travel budget

7 days, 2 people

  • Petrol – NAD1500/US$120
  • Accommodation (5 nights camping, 1 night in the car) – NAD1120/US$90
  • Food, drinks – NAD1100/US$87
  • Entrance fees – NAD100/US$8

Total: NAD3820/US$305 NAD272 or US$21 per day per person.

Epupa Falls to Windhoek one week trip itinerary 

Day 1. Epupa Falls – Ondangwa, 419km

Epupa Falls – Ruacana – Oshakati – Ondangwa, 419km (474km if you drive through Opuwo), 6-7h.

Practical info

  • Opuwo (178km) – petrol stations (only cash), supermarkets, ATMs.
  • Ruacana (230km) – supposed to be a petrol station but we didn’t see it, neither shops no ATMs.
  • Outapi (293km) – petrol stations (only cash), supermarkets, ATMs.
  • Oshakati (383km), Ondangwa (419km) – petrol stations, supermarkets, ATMs.
  • Road – The shortest way to Ruacana Falls is terrible the worst road we had in Namibia think twice before taking it. Rather take the longer route through Opuwo it’ll add 55km extra to your trip.
  • Police road block outside Oshakati on the way to Ondangwa.

Our plan was to camp at Hippo pools campsite near Ruacana Falls but we changed it once arrived there. Ruacana falls are not worth of stop since the construction of dam there is no water in the falls as well as no hippos or crocodiles in the river. Actually one week later we saw news that due to lots of rain there was water in the falls again. The Hippo pools campsite looks quite shabby and abandoned. You can see the dam and ex-waterfall from the “view point”. The good thing about Ruacana is that the road is tarred again!

Ondangwa rest camp

We kept driving towards Ondangwa it was getting late and we decided to camp there at Ondangwa rest camp, NAD110/US$8 pp. It’s a good place right in the town but gives some sort of wild feeling due to big lake in the middle, lots of bush and many birds around.

Campsite facilities

  • Hot shower – Yes
  • Flushing toilets – Yes
  • Electricity – Yes
  • Outlets – Yes, at sites
  • Running water – Yes, at sites
  • Wi-Fi – Yes, at the bar
  • Braai place – Yes
  • Potable water – Yes
  • Other – bar/restaurant.
Ruacana Falls. Would look very impressive if there was water. Namibia road trip guide
Ruacana Falls. Would look very impressive if there was water. Namibia self drive trip
Ruacana Hydroelectic dam.
Ruacana hydroelectric dam.

Day 2. Ondangwa – Grootfontein, 322km

Ondangwa – Tsumeb – Grootfontein (Meteorite campsite), 322km, 3h.30min.

Practical info

  • Road – Easy drive on tarred road, watch for speed limit signs and cameras.
  • Tsumeb (250km) – petrol stations, shops.
  • Grootfontein (307km) – petrol stations, city mall, ATMs.

The main attraction near Grootfontein is meteorite, the biggest in the world by the way.

Meteorite campsite

We camped at Meteorite campsite, NAD100/US$8 pp., a farm 3km from the meteorite itself in between corn fields. Beautiful place very nice camping different from all the lodges we stayed. Big grassy area with some trees, beautiful views over the mountains and corn fields, amazing sunsets. Very friendly dogs will entertain you during your stay. We camped here twice and both times were alone.

Campsite facilities

  • Hot shower – Yes
  • Flushing toilets – Yes
  • Electricity – Yes
  • Outlets – Yes
  • Running water – Yes
  • Wi-Fi – No
  • Braai place – Yes
  • Potable water – No
  • Other – space under the rood for cooking and washing dishes with a braai place.
Meteorite campsite, Grootfontein
Meteorite campsite, Grootfontein. Namibia self drive trip
Beautiful sunset at Hoba meteorite campsite
Beautiful sunset at Hoba meteorite campsite

Hoba meteorite

The largest meteorite in the world, 60 tonnes, size 2.95m x 2.84m. It fell on Earth 80 000 years ago and it’s age is estimated between 190 and 410 million years (quite a wide range). The meteorite is located on private land to see it you pay NAD30/$2 pp. Unlike in a museum here you can touch it, climb on it, sit on it, just think about it sitting on something that came thousands years ago from the space, quite exciting isn’t it?!

Hoba Meteorite, Grootfontein. Namibia road trip guide
Hoba Meteorite, Grootfontein. Namibia self drive trip

From Grootfontein you can go to Caprivi to see some hippos, crocodiles and maybe even venture to Chobe National park in Botswana or famous Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe/Zambia. 

Day 3. Grootfontein – Waterberg, 382km

Meteorite campsite – Otavi – Otjiwarongo — Waterberg, 382km, 3h.

Practical info

  • Otavi (77km) – petrol station, shops. From here down to Windhoek on B1 watch for speed limit signs! There are quite a few cameras, road blocks and policemen hiding in the bush.
  • Otjiwarongo (194km) – petrol stations (Puma accepts cards), supermarkets, food places, ATMs. A nice place to stop for lunch or to do shopping.
  • Road – tarred road most of the way, ok gravel road with some potholes last 20km.

Waterberg is a big plateau looks quite impressive when you approaching to it.

Waterberg Plateau National park 

Waterberg park campsite is the most expensive one NAD160/$12 pp plus NAD130/$10 per site. The main perk you get if you stay there is that you can do a short unguided hike to the top of plateau (1h30min. return). Near the reception we saw a couple of Dyk-dyk deer and warthogs.

There are two more camp sites a bit further (20km) they charge NAD170/$13 pp and there are some short hiking trails as well as sunset view points there. We arrived quite late and slept in the car next to the road.

Waterberg plateau. Namibia road trip guide
Waterberg plateau. Namibia self drive trip
Dyk Dyk at Waterberg National park near reception area.
Dyk Dyk at Waterberg National park near reception area. The cutest deer in the world!

Day 4. Waterberg – Dinosaur Footprints, 185km

Waterberg – Dinosaur Footprints (campsite), 185km, 3h.

Practical info

  • Road – tarred all the way except last 60km on gravel road sometimes quite bad especially if it rains.
  • No shops or petrol stations on the way.

The drive on a dirt road to Dinosaurs Tracks was amazing with a lot of wildlife; kudus, springboks, warthogs, eagles and other birds running or flying along the road.

Some warthogs on the way to Dinosaur's Tracks campsite. Namibia road trip guide
Some warthogs on the way to Dinosaur’s Tracks campsite. Namibia self drive trip

Dinosaur Tracks campsite

Price NAD100/$8 pp + NAD20/$1,5 entrance fee. The campsite is in the middle of nowhere it became one of our favorites for this particular reason. Due to its remote location and lack of electricity the campsite is a perfect place for stargazing. As well as bird watching there are hundreds of them around, here we saw rhino birds from close by. Watch for scorpions and snakes not the we saw many (one scorpion) but it’s better to be alert. The only one problem is getting here can be difficult if it rained a lot.

Campsite facilities

  • Hot shower – Yes
  • Flushing toilets – Yes
  • Electricity – No
  • Outlets – No
  • Running water – Yes
  • Wi-Fi – No
  • Braai place – Yes
  • Potable water – Yes
  • Other – tables, benches.

Dinosaur Tracks

The footprints are about 300m from the camping area. There are two different groups of tracks, actually there are more in the area but the rest is not opened to public. The big footprints were left by Ceratosauria, the longest track continues for 28m. The small tracks (look like chicken footprints) belonged to Syntarsus. Both tracks are about 219 million years old.

Ceratosauria tracks. Its footprint compare to Alya's and its size compare to a human. Dinosaur's Tracks.
Ceratosauria tracks. Its footprint compare to Alya’s foot and its size compare to a human. Dinosaur’s Tracks.
Syntarsustracks. Its footprint compare to Alya's and its size compare to a human. Dinosaur's Tracks.
Syntarsustracks. Its footprint compare to Alya’s foot and its size compare to a human. Dinosaur’s Tracks.

Day 5. Dinosaur Footprints – Spitzkoppe, 246km 

Dinosaur Footprints (campsite) – Omaruru – Spitzkoppe, 246km, 3h30min.

Practical info

  • A short drive from the campsite on a bad gravel road, again some animals and birds on the way.
  • Omaruru (96km) – petrol stations, supermarkets, coffee shops, ATMs.
  • Road is gravel all the way except last 30km to Spitzkoppe ok gravel road.

Omaruru

A small town that considered to be an artistic capital of Namibia, a good place to buy a painting or souvenir. There are two or three nice coffee shops/galleries in the town. It’s worth to stop on the way and drink a cup of good coffee or eat lunch. Try our favorite Main Street Cafe/gallery. The main attractions in Omaruru are Franke tower and Rhenish Mission Church.

Omaruru game lodge offers cheap safari drives, NAD220/US$17 pp for 3 hour tour drive, the cheapest we saw in Namibia. So if you still haven’t seen animals you want to see it’s an option. We couldn’t do it because we were there over the weekend when they do game drives only for lodge guests.

There is a campsite here Omaruru rest camp NAD100/$8 pp. Big area, each site has outlets, light, basing, table and benches, braai place, toilet and hot shower. Swimming pool and wifi at the bar.

Omaruru, an artistic capital of Namibia. Namibia road trip guide
Omaruru, an artistic capital of Namibia. Namibia self drive trip

Spitzkoppe

A group of bald granite mountains located between Swakopmund and Usakos in the desert famous place for nature and outdoor lovers. The landscape in the area is amazing with some weird shape rock formations and a lot to explore. If you have time you can spend 2 or 3 days here hiking around (you need a guide), bird-watching and stargazing. You can drive around the area on your own but to see rock paintings or to hike you need a guide. Don’t miss the night sky you won’t be disappointed.

Spitzkoppe campsite

The area itself is beautiful but the campsite itself is very basic if even so. At spots you have only dry toilet and some spots have some sort of shadow not even a tap with running water near by. There are hot showers and running water at the entrance but it’s quite far from the most spots so you have to drive to the showers and to get some water. Don’t get me wrong it’s an amazing place but for NAD150/US$12 you pay for camping it would be nice to have at least running water.

But if you want to visit Spitzkoppe it’s still cheaper to stay here than to camp somewhere else and do a day visit. The entrance fee is included in camping price so you pay NAD150/$12 pp and nothing else. If you are a day visitor you pay NAD50/US$4 each, plus NAD70/$5,5 per car. Spitzkoppe is a good place to finish your trip before going back to Windhoek.

Campsite facilities

  • Hot shower – Yes, at the entrance (2km away)
  • Flushing toilets – No, dry toilets
  • Electricity – No
  • Outlets – No
  • Running water – Yes, at the entrance (2km away)
  • Wi-Fi – No
  • Braai place – Yes
  • Potable water – No
  • Other – restaurant.
Spitzkoppe
Spitzkoppe.
Many huge boulders around the campsite. Spitzkoppe
Many big and small boulders around the campsite. Spitzkoppe

Day 6. Spitzkoppe – Windhoek, 271km

Spitzkoppe – Usakos – Karibib – Okahandja – Windhoek (Paradisegarden Backpackers), 271km, 3h.

Practical info

  • Usakos (55km), Karibib (86km), Okahandja (200km) – petrol stations, shops, ATMs.
  • Road – tarred road all the way except first 30km.

Paradisegarden Backpackers

This day we arrived at Paradisegarden Backpackers and basically did nothing except chilling next to the pool and talking nonsense. We loved the hostel, very good facilities, nice garden, big swimming pool, wi-fi, good kitchen, cheap laundry service NAD50/US$4 per load (the cheapest we could find in Namibia). Though it’s a hostel you can camp here in the garden or next to the pool as we did, for just NAD100/US$8 pp.  Dorm NAD170/$13 pp., double NAD450/$35 per room.

Campsite facilities

  • Hot shower – Yes
  • Flushing toilets – Yes
  • Electricity – Yes
  • Outlets – Yes
  • Running water – Yes
  • Wi-Fi – Yes
  • Braai place – Yes
  • Potable water – No
  • Other – kitchen, swimming pool, free tea/coffee in the morning.
Scenery on the way from Spitzkoppe to Windhoek. Namibia road trip guide
Scenery on the way from Spitzkoppe to Windhoek. Namibia self drive trip

Day 7. Windhoek

We’re not the biggest fans of big cities but Windhoek is not that big anyway. There are several things to see and to do in and around the city including visiting nearby private game reserves if you are not sick of them by that time!

Thing to do in Windhoek

  • Visit Botanic garden (Mon-Fr, 8.00am-5.00pm, lunch time 1.00-2.00pm), admission free;
  • Visit Christ’s Church (on the way to the garden);
  • Go souvenir shopping and drink a cup of coffee at Namibia Craft center;
  • Go for lunch to Single Quarters in Katutura and see how locals cook meat on an open flame;
  • To get some local night life experience go to the Boiler room, they have different program every day, most shows start between 8-9.00pm. 

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