Vast deserts, towering mountains, infinite salt pans and endless game, who wouldn't want to drive around the world's second least populated country? Our resident ex-safari guide, Matt, explains why he thinks Namibia is the world's best destination for a self-drive safari.

While private and guided tours have their place in southern Africa, Namibia is the Cullinan diamond of self-driving destinations. The quality of the roads, the unrivalled scenery and diversity of destinations and landscapes makes the perfect recipe for an epic road trip. Furthermore, compared to some of the slightly scary stories you sometimes hear about other African countries and hapless tourists driving on their own, Namibia is an extremely safe destination to drive around. We're here to suggest some top destinations to visit en-route…

4x4-desert-safari

Sossusvlei and the Dunes

Take the long drive to the edge of the Namib-Naukluft National Park from Windhoek for your first experience of just how vast Namibia really is. From a nearby lodge, visit Sossusvlei, which roughly means 'dead-end marsh'. Then carry on towards the unimaginably impressive Dunes as you head toward the coast and have a go at climbing the highest sand dune in the world, Dune 7.

sand dunes of Swakopmund

Swakopmund and Walvis Bay

Try to picture an African coastal town with strong Germanic influences in the middle of a desert. Can't quite imagine it? Go to Swakopmund and Walvis Bay. With amazing seafood and exciting experiences such as sandboarding, desert safaris and beach fishing, Namibia's top two coastal towns are a must for road trippers.

black rhino

Damaraland

Prep yourself for the amazing drive north through deserts, scrub and mountains to the vast and immense Damaraland. In this endless wilderness, use your time wisely by booking onto a safari and tracking desert adapted black rhino and elephants.

giraffes in etosha national park

Etosha National Park

Who needs Kruger? In the dry season, game viewing in Etosha National Park is some of the best in Africa. You also have the added bonus of the Etosha Pan, the Namutoni German Fort and an awesome array of camps and lodges to stay at to give you a true experience of the park. If you self-drive anywhere in Namibia, make Etosha your longest stop, I have spent a week self-driving there and could have spent far longer!