On the Road Trip

Want to Make the Most of Your Namibian Road Trip? Sleep On Top of Your Car

by Kevin Short and Katie Heller
Sossusvlei, Climbing the sand dunes at Sossusvlei for the sunrise. All photos by Kevin Short and Katie Heller.

Let 2017 be the year you finally plan that trip you've been fantasizing about forever. For travel bloggers Kevin Short and Katie Heller, it was Namibia, and their photos do all the talking.

SOSSUSVLEI, Namibia — Years ago, a friend told us about his road trip through Namibia. It sounded like an incredible adventure full of sand dunes, deserted backroads, and African wildlife. In the back of our minds, we bookmarked this destination for some future trip. Fast forward to the present: On a yearlong journey traveling through Africa and Asia, the time had finally come.

Namibia is a nature lover's paradise. It's beautiful, untamed, and empty. And it's absolutely massive: The country is bigger than Texas, but its population barely exceeds two million. We rented a four-by-four truck and hit the dirt roads. Awaiting us were soaring sand dunes, otherworldly desert landscapes, local tribes, and excellent opportunities for self-drive safaris.

4x4 in Namibia

Namibian road

We spent eighteen days exploring Namibia in a four-by-four truck. We slept in a rooftop tent. Most of the driving happened on gravel roads without any humans in sight.

Namib Desert, Namibia

Sossusvlei sunrise, Namibia

The dunes of the Namib Desert are among the oldest and highest in the world. Sunrise at the majestic Sossusvlei sand dunes are incredible. 

Namib Desert Dunes

A portrait of Dune 45, photographed during the afternoon golden hour.

Namib Desert hues

Colors shift dramatically in the early morning light, displaying brilliant hues of red, yellow, and orange.

Sossusvlei dunes, Namibia

Five-million-years-old sand dunes at Sossusvlei stand one thousand feet above the desert floor.

Namibia acacia trees

Dead acacia trees in the salt pan at Deadvlei.

Walking in the Namib Desert

We walked with giants.

Coffee in the 4x4, Namibia

Morning cup of coffee in the back of the pickup.

Namibia's open roads

Lost along open roads.

Himba woman, Namibia

The Himba people are an indigenous tribe found in the Kunene region of northern Namibia.

Himba woman with ochre paste, Namibia

Himba women rub a red ochre paste onto their skin, hair, and clothing for decoration and sun protection.

Himba child, Namibia

A young Himba child.

Sesfontein sunset, Namibia

A purple sunset sky near Sesfontein in the Kunene region.

Etosha National Park, Namibia

Cruising the backroads on a self-drive safari in Etosha National Park.

Etosha Pan, Namibia

Seeing the curvature of the earth at the Etosha Pan in Etosha National Park.

Elephant in Namibia

An elephant crossing our path.


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We make every effort to ensure the information in our articles is accurate at the time of publication. But the world moves fast, and even we double-check important details before hitting the road.