AT A GLANCE
If you are looking for an African destination that is a perfect mix of wildlife safari, amazing landscapes and authentic cultural experiences, yet it is safe and full of historic elements at the same time, you have found your dream itinerary! Namibia is truly the most scenic country on the African continent, featuring giant sand dunes, granite rock formations, breath-taking beaches, vast expanses of the Kalahari bush, rolling farm hills, dry lake bottoms and a great variety of valuable habitats for wildlife. Several of its original inhabitants preserved their traditional lifestyle and are happy to share it with visitors, while the low population allowed for the establishment of a huge array of protected areas, private conservancies and natural parks. Namibia is beautiful, safe and diverse; this trip is a must for the adventure traveller.
DAY 1: Welcome to Namibia
Your very special African voyage to Namibia commences today with your arrival at Windhoek airport. You will be transferred to your hotel in Windhoek where you will enjoy dinner and rest up for a wonderful journey that starts tomorrow morning.
DAY 2: Erindi Private Game Reserve
The first break of daylight will find us around the breakfast table today, and will be on the tarmac road northbound soon afterwards. Our morning is dedicated to a straight drive, interrupted by a nice lunch break only, in order to be able to cover the 300 km distance to Erindi Private Game Reserve – the world’s largest private nature reserve and the perfect introduction to African wildlife on this itinerary. We plan to check in at our lovely African safari lodge at around two in the afternoon, and proceed for a unique game drive after some refreshments and a short break. Erindi has an incredible diversity of wildlife species with regular sightings of Lion, Cheetah, Wild Dog, Elephant, Hippo, Giraffe, Black Rhino, White Rhino and Zebra. We will only return to our accommodation with the setting sun, and prepare for a much-deserved dinner under the vast, open, star-filled African sky.
DAY 3: The San Bushmen
This morning the rising sun will find us in the bush again, on our open safari trucks, in search of Elephant and Rhino, as well as Lion and Cheetahs and many other species of the African fauna. A full, cooked breakfast will attract us back to the lodge after a couple of hours, but we will hit the road again as soon as our dietary needs are provided for. We are heading to one of the most remote corners of Namibia today, a vast bush land, home to the San people, to where very few dedicated travellers ever venture. After a quick stop to admire the worlds largest know meteorite at Hoba, we enjoy lunch in Grootfontein, and make our way north to our lodge where we will spend the night. Roy’s Camp is situated on a game farm and is the perfect base from which to explore and spend time with the Bushman/San people. We plan to reach our lodge just before the sun sets, so that we can enjoy the evening with a drink in our hands under the tall thatched roof of the restaurant area, followed by dinner and an early bed time.
DAY 4: Off to Etosha National Park
After a relaxing breakfast we will be in the vehicle and make our way to meet up with the Ju/’hoansi Bushman, who live in small villages scattered across Bushmanland. After a quick introduction and greeting ceremony, we set off right away, deep into the bush, with the village hunters, and spend most of the morning with them, looking for anything to prey on with their poisoned arrows, as well as for edible roots, berries, honey and whatever else would be welcomed by the villagers. We will break for an early lunch and coffee before we are back in the village again, interacting with the women whose job is to process whatever the hunters brought home from our morning excursion. If we are lucky, the villagers will have a good harvest or any other reasons to celebrate tonight, so that we can stay and participate in an original, traditional, non-organized singing and dancing event, before we make our way to Mushara Lodge situated on the boundary of Etosha National Park where we will spend the next 3 nights.
DAY 5: Etosha National Park
After breakfast we will explore the game rich eastern section of the park. We plan to do a full morning game drive and arrive back at the lodge around lunchtime and after siesta we will be back in the park for an afternoon game drive. One of the most unique phenomena we will encounter this afternoon is Etosha Pan – a huge, 130km long and 50 km wide ‘nothing’. This is the dry, flat, endless bottom of the occasionally flooded Etosha Pan, a ‘must see’ for all adventurers. Naturally, the park consists of many more habitats as well, most of which are lush and very much habitable for wildlife, making Etosha one of the best safari destinations in Africa.
DAY 6: Etosha National Park
Our entire day is dedicated for wildlife viewing in Etosha National Park with a morning and afternoon game drive in open safari vehicles with a break for lunch at the lodge in between. Etosha is home to the tallest Elephants in the world and we hope to find a few herds at the waterholes. Besides the Elephants, Etosha often produces great sightings of Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, Giraffe, Spotted Hyena, Zebra, Gemsbok, Blue Wildebeest and it is the best place in the world to see Black Rhino.
DAY 7: Etosha National Park
Our entire day is dedicated for wildlife viewing in Etosha National Park. The rising sun will find us on the remote game drive routes across the park and along Etosha Pan, in search of the world’s largest (tallest) elephants and many other unique animals, along with endemic and rare bird species. We will stop for lunch en route and we should be at our lodge by mid to late afternoon. One of the great features of Okaukeujo is the flood-lit waterhole at the lodge which gives us the chance to enjoy game viewing long after the sun has set.
DAY 8: The Himba
Today we are heading to the exciting northern tribal territories of Namibia and have a long road trip ahead of us, so we check out of our lodge very early and drive out of the park within a couple of hours. Naturally, we will stop for great wildlife sightings, but overall, we will leave the park behind relatively early and make our way to a small town called Opuwo in the north. We are in the heartland of Kaokoland, known for its exciting Himba tribal villages and traditions, as well as the unique ‘desert elephants’ and other species that can’t be found elsewhere in Namibia. We plan on arriving in time for lunch and the afternoon is dedicated to the amazing Himba people – the last truly nomadic tribe in Namibia. We will be back at the lodge situated on top of a hill overlooking Kaokoland to enjoy a beautiful sunset and a well-deserved dinner.
DAY 9: Twyfelfontein and Damaraland
After breakfast this morning, we head directly south, through dry riverbeds and rocky plains, until we reach the edge of Damaraland, where the landscape suddenly changes into one of the most spectacular and dramatic in Namibia. Damaraland boasts magnificent desert scenery, fascinating geological formations, archaeological sites and a unique variety of desert fauna and flora. It is also the southernmost roaming ground for the rare Black Rhino and the ‘desert adapted Elephant’, which we will keep searching for all along. After a picnic lunch en route, we will stop to admire the 260 million years old logs of the Petrified Forest, as well as a beautiful, impressive specimen of Welwitschia mirabilis, the longest-lived plant on Earth. Before we check into our lodge this evening, we visit the geological formations of the ‘Burnt Mountain’ and the ‘Organ Pipes’, which are particularly stunning in the late afternoon golden light. After sunset, we quickly occupy our rooms and gather for a great dinner.
DAY 10: Swakopmund and the Skeleton Coast
After breakfast, we start the morning with a visit to Twyfelfontein world heritage site, where bushman communities engraved and painted over 2500 pictures some 6000 years ago. This will be followed by a very interesting visit to a Damara village, before we reach the abandoned mining town of Uis. We will take a short break here to photograph the buildings and learn about the history of mining in Namibia, before continuing towards the Atlantic Coast. This route crosses the desolate ‘gravel plains’ of the Namib Desert before arriving at the ‘Skeleton Coast’. After a nice lunch break on the roadside, we reach the ocean and turn northbound, in order to visit Cape Cross and its world famous Cape Fur Seal colony. We will take our time to adequately explore, enjoy and photograph the 80 000 inhabitants of the colony, before we continue south along the coast and make our way to Swakopmund – the first place with a real town feeling, since we have left Windhoek ten days ago! After a quick check-in at our city hotel, we use the remaining hour or two of the daylight, to explore this charming coastal city, booming in the middle of hostile desert environment. We will all be back at our hotel after sunset, for a nice dinner and a great night’s rest.
DAY 11: Living Desert Adventure and off to Sossusvlei
After a relaxing breakfast we will depart for a Living Desert Adventure in the Namib Desert where we will learn more about the fauna and flora that have adapted to survive in this harsh but beautiful environment. Amongst other creatures we will look for Side-winder and Horned Adders, scorpions, Namaqua Chameleons, Reticulated Lizards, legless skink and Palmato Gecko. After a quick stop for lunch we will be in the vehicle and make our way south, via the Namib Naukluft Park as well as through the Kuiseb and Gaub Canyons. We will reach our accommodation as the sun is disappearing behind the horizon, painting the surrounding sand dunes flaming red. A nice dinner and an early bed time will endure that we have enough energies for the early start tomorrow.
DAY 12: Sossusvlei, Deadvlei and Sesriem Canyon
Once again, we will rise before the sun does today, and will be in the vicinity of the world’s highest, bright-red sand dunes when the first rays appear over the horizon. This is a truly magical time of the day here, as the giant, dark shapes suddenly dress in color and the mosaic of shades and sunlight creates incredible photo opportunities. From our accommodation, we drive in the ancient bed of the extinct Tsauchab River, stopping at every great location, climbing a few dunes and slowly making our way to the world famous Dead Vlei, where red dunes provide a breath-taking backdrop to centuries old, dry trees standing in the desert. It will take all morning to explore this true wonderland, so we will only be back at our accommodation after noon. A nice lunch and a siesta will ensure that we are ready for further exploration in the evening, though. At this time, for one last excursion, we visit the 18 million years old and 30 meters deep Sesriem Canyon, carved out by the Tsauchab River while it was still flowing. Just before sunset, we get back to our lodge and enjoy our last dinner together.
DAY 13: Hot Air Balloon Ride and back to Windhoek
For one last time, we get up early today for what will be one of the highlights of your Namibian adventure – a hot air balloon ride over the dunes as the sun is rising. Once we are back on the ground we will enjoy a champagne breakfast in the park before getting back into the vehicles as we will make our way to Windhoek. We plan to arrive in Windhoek by late afternoon and unless you have an evening flight home you will spend one night in a Hotel located in the centre of the city. This will be the perfect opportunity for some last minute curio shopping. This is the official end of our tour.