We will be in Namibia mid to late November this year. We have about 12 days to spend and am most interested in Damaraland and Sossusvlei, but would like to have a couple days to rest in Swakopmund. We would like to do part of it as a self-drive but honestly, don't relish being in the car for more than 6 hours at a time and even that, is a long time in the car for me. I've been reading posts and scouring maps for days and have come up with a tentative itinerary. I have several questions and would appreciate some advice.
1. Is this a realistic itinerary? We are interested in nature, some game and culture. We don't want to go at too aggressive of a pace, but really want to get a nice flavor of the areas. Given our time restraints, I think we will pass on Etosha, as it does not seem prime time. We may instead go to Chobe or Hwange later in the trip.
2. My selection of lodges will probably not work within my budget. Any alternative suggestions? We really don't want to do self-catering but want to be comfortable. It would be nice to have 1 or 2 splurges, but don't need to have them all be 5 star. My thought was to perhaps try to save some money in Swakopmund but would love suggestions of any alternatives in the the other areas.
3. If fly-in to Sossuslvei is too expensive, how long is the drive from Swakopmund and then back to Winhoek? I recall 6-7 hours? Is there a good spot to stop mid way for an overnight, that would be interesting? I saw Rockstock Ritz Desert Lodge might be an option.
3. While I really want to develop an itinerary that is specific to our wishes, I think I might like to book through a local tour operator. Any suggestions? I've seen WildDog, Cardbox and a few others.
This is the very tentative itinerary:
Day 1 Arrive Windhoek from JNB at noon and pick up rental car
Drive to Ozongwindi Lodge (1 night)
Day 2 Leave mid-morning and drive to Mowani Mountain Lodge (2 nights)
Day 3 Mowani Mountain Lodge
Day 4 Leave late morning and drive to Desert Rhino Camp (2 nights)
Day 5 Desert Rhino Camp
Day 6 Leave late morning and drive to Cape Cross (1 night)
Day 7 Afternoon drive to Swakopmund (2 nights)
Day 8 Swakopmund
Day 10 Depart on a Fly-in to Little Kulala (2 nights)
Day 11 Little Kulala
Day 12 Return from Kulala to Winhoek, Flight to Vic Falls
Many thanks for your honest feedback.