The longest yet quickest route to the central coast from Windhoek is via the tarred B2, which peels off the B1 at Okahandja, some 66km north of Windhoek, heading west via the small towns of Karibib and Usakos to complete the remaining 280km to Swakopmund. The journey should take no longer than four hours, though there are diversions that can be made along the way, for example by venturing south into the Otjipatera Mountains south of Karibib, or exploring the bronze boulders and rock art of the Erongo Mountains to the north of Usakos, or even the dramatic Spitzkoppe, slightly further to the west. Try to avoid driving west along this road late Friday afternoon, especially on holiday weekends, as it’s prime time for accidents: the traffic is inevitably heavy and travelling fast, yet the dazzling setting sun will be directly in your eyes.

For quieter, more adventurous back roads to both Swakopmund and Walvis Bay, you need to head west and southwest out of Windhoek, along the C28 and C26, respectively – gravel roads that are devoid of shops, petrol stations and, for much of the way, human habitation. Both take you down scenic passes as the roads cascade off the central highland plateau, down onto the gravel plains of the central Namib below, across increasingly desolate landscape until you reach the coast.

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