Read time – 3 minutes

Home to some of the highest sand dunes in the world, the most eminent image of the Namib desert is sloping orange ridges set against a turquoise sky.

Last December, Exodus traveller and fine art portrait photographer Syarifah McDonough went on an Exodus self-drive tailormade trip to Namibia. She explored this sensational landscape with her two children, and they loved it!

From crossing the Tropic of Capricorn to getting up close and personal with a leopard, we asked her what made this trip so special for her family. 

Self Drive Adventure in Nambia

A self-drive tailor made family trip to NamibiaNamibia family adventure

What was your favourite activity in Namibia?

This is a hard one. But it has to be in Sossusvlei, climbing the Big Daddy and sliding down to the Deadvlei.

Afterwards, we headed back to our campsite at Sossus Oasis to prepare our braai under the dramatic orange and pink sky.

What was your top animal sighting during your trip?

Spotting the leopards under the shaded tree in Okonjima Nature Reserve, as we know leopards are hardest to find!

A leopard sighting in NamibiaLeopard in its natural habitat

Did you find the trip educational for the kids? 

It was very educational, they learnt about the desert-adapted elephants and the white rhinos at Palmwag. But what they enjoyed most was learning about the AfriCat, a foundation that was set up at Okonjima Nature reserve.

It focuses on preservation through education, exploring how humans can live side by side peacefully with the large carnivores of Namibia. It really inspired our 9 year old daughter to want to learn more about cheetahs and leopards.

Did you have a favourite campsite? 

Sossus Oasis definitely. We never knew camping can be so magical. Who needs a five-star lodge when you can sleep under a million bright stars!

Explore the sand dunesWalking through the desert

How did you find the self-drive trip as a family?

We found it quite easy and rather enjoyable. We were able to stop at places that weren’t on the itinerary and take our time. It really is the best way to see the country.

We initially loaded movies on our kids’ kindles so they could watch it on the long drives, but they didn’t really watch them much. There was so much to take in and experience during the drive. That, or they slept in the car. 

We loved how we had to look at an old fashioned map, as there is no GPS. Exodus also equipped us with very detailed instructions on how to get from one place to another.

Would you recommend the itinerary to other families? 

Definitely. We have kept the itinerary so we can recommend it to our friends. It really did show us the diverse landscape of Namibia.

The seal colony at Cape Cross and the Skeleton Coast wasn’t on the itinerary, but you didn’t need to stay there, we just passed through from Swakopmund to Palmwag.

The seal colony and the driving through the eerie, bleak but stunningly beautiful Skeleton Coast is a must. It’s an otherworldly place.

All in all, it’s been our best family holiday and we would definitely visit Namibia again. Maybe next time we will do the wild camping when the kids are a bit older.

Wildlife watching on a tailor made self-drive trip to NamibiaFamily self-drive in Nambia

All of the images in this blog were shot by Syarifah herself. Visit her website for more global portraits.

Create your own family-friendly tailormade adventure. The Exodus team are just an email or phone call away and can help you create your dream trip.

Discover more of our family adventure trips below.