14-Day Namibia Mammal Safari
On this Namibia Mammal Safari, we focus on that exactly: the wonderful mammals of Namibia. And what better place to experience some of the planets greatest mammals, including some endemic and near-endemic mammals. The Namibia Mammal Safari takes us to Namibia’s most beautiful destinations where you can see these mammals in their natural habitat.
Next Group safari departure date: 13 May 2024
Full Itinerary – 14-Day Namibia Mammal Safari
Arrival in Windhoek (Hosea Kutako International Airport)
Welcome to Namibia! Today is not part of the official mammal safari but as we are departing at around 9 am tomorrow (13 May 2024) , we advise that you arrive a day early. Accommodation, meals and airport transfers are not included but we can arrange all of this for you. Please let us know should you need assistance with booking any additional services.
Start of tour – Okonjima Nature Reserve
Welcome to Namibia! After meeting you at the airport or your Windhoek hotel, we will depart for Okonjima Lodge near Otjiwarongo in central Namibia where we will spend our first evening.
On arrival, we will enjoy lunch, have time to settle in and freshen up, before departing for the afternoon activity which will be Leopard tracking with the lodge. During our tracking game drive we will be on the lookout for Leopard but could also spot Kirk’s Dikdik, Common Eland, Hartebeest (caama subspecies), White Rhinoceros, Mountain Zebra (hartmannae subspecies), Common Rock Hyrax, Gemsbok, Yellow Mongoose, Greater Kudu, Giraffe and Springbok. Some of the carnivores are fitted with a radio-collar which contributes valuable information to the research project and gives us the chance to get a glimpse into the lives of these rarely seen cats.
We will enjoy a sundowner drink in the bush before arriving back at the lodge in time to relax around the fire before dinner. We will enjoy a wonderful dinner prepared by the lodge staff. This will be the perfect Namibian welcome and should set the tone of for the rest of the safari.
After dinner we will do a night drive where we could spot possible species like Honey Badger, Cape Porcupine, Brown and Spotted Hyena, Southern Lesser Galago, Southern African Spring-hare, Aardvark, Temminck’s Ground Pangolin, Black-backed Jackal and Caracal.
Okonjima Nature Reserve
Today we have a full day to explore the reserve with a combination of game drives and walks searching for some of the resident mammal species. Some of the smaller mammals we will be targeting on the Okonjima property include Dassie Rat, Woodland Dormouse, Bushveld Sengi, a variety of Gerbils including Bushveld, Cape, Hairy-footed and Highveld Gerbil.
For those of you keen to take a break during the warm part of the day you can enjoy a long siesta or we can arrange a visit to the Africat Centre where you have the opportunity to learn more about the Namibian population of free-roaming predators (Lion, Leopard, Hyena and smaller species) and the way this foundation is trying to protect them living on private cattle farms. They also have a very interesting rehabilitation centre here where you can get close up views of these amazing animals. They currently focus on research on lesser known species such as Pangolin and Brown Hyena helping us getting a better understanding of these fascinating animals.
We will end the day with sundowner drinks and dinner at the lodge and afterwards we will do another night drive searching for nocturnal mammals. Other small mammals on the reserve include Southern African Hedgehog, Damara Mole Rat, Four-striped Grass Mouse, Large-eared Mouse, Namaqua Rock Rat, Cape Pouched Rat, Black-tailed Tree Rat, Red Veld Rat, Lesser Red Musk Shrew.
After an early morning walk around the lodge we will make our way north to our overnight stop near the town of Grootfontein. Although today is mostly a driving day we should see some roadside mammals that might include Chacma Baboon, Gemsbok, Greater Kudu, Hartebeest (caama subspecies), Steenbok and Common Warthog.
We should arrive at our lodge by mid to late afternoon. We will spend some time walking in the area around the lodge, looking for some smaller mammals.
Some of the smaller mammals we will looking for include Smith’s Bush Squirrel, Acacia Rat, Red Veld Rat, Southern Lesser Galago, African Savanna Hare, Bushveld Gerbil, and Desert Pygmy Mouse.
We will return to our lodge to freshen up and meet up for dinner prepared by the lodge. Tomorrow we head further east to the riverine and broadleaf woodland of the Caprivi Strip.
Mahango National Park
After an early morning coffee and short walk, we will make our way further east through the broadleaved woodland between Rundu and Mahango National Park. We should arrive around lunchtime and will have the afternoon to explore the riverine woodland around the lodge or do a game drive in the park. The location and habitat around the lodge is good for Shortridge’s Mastomys (Multimammate Mouse) as well as Smith’s Bush Squirrel.
Mahango National Park offers exceptional game viewing with our main mammal targets being Sable and Roan Antelope, Topi (tsessebe subspecies), Southern Lechwe (leche subspecies), African Buffalo and Bushbuck which we will not have the opportunity to see again on this safari. Some of the interesting smaller species that occur in the Caprivi Strip include Common Genet, Central African Large-spotted Genet, Banded Mongoose, Marsh Mongoose, White-tailed Mongoose, African Civet Cat, Slender Mongoose, Common Dwarf Mongoose.
Other small mammals we will be on the lookout for include: Acacia Rat, Red Veld Rat, Swamp Musk Shrew, Natal Mastomys (Multimammate Mouse). We will again have the opportunity to do a walk after dinner looking for nocturnal species.
Mahangu and Buffalo National Parks
Today we have a full day to explore Bwabwata National Park (both the Mahangu and Buffalo sections) is well known for their big buffalo herds and plenty of Hippopotamus. Besides some of the species mentioned before we might see African Elephant, Lion, Leopard, African Wild Dog, Plains Zebra, Impala, Common Duiker, Greater Kudu, Giraffe and Common Warthog.
We will either enjoy a packed lunch in the park or return to the lodge for lunch overlooking the river. This part of the Okavango River is home to huge Nile Crocodiles and plenty of Hippos. The resident Bushbuck and Vervet are always around and if we are lucky we might see African Elephant from the deck at the lodge.
Late afternoon we will join the lodge for a dinner cruise on the Okavango River. Two mammal species we will be on the lookout along the Okavango River are the African Clawless Otter and Spotted-necked Otter. We will depart at 17h30 and after cruising for a short while we will stop on an island and enjoy sundowner drinks and snacks around a bonfire. Our view of the Bwabwata National Park on the opposite bank of the river will be the perfect vantage point from where we can watch wildlife drinking while we enjoy the beautiful sunset with a drink in hand. After enjoying our drink, we will board our boat again and slowly cruise back to the lodge while we enjoy our dinner on the Okavango River. A truly magical experience and one of our recent trips even had a Leopard drinking while slowly cruising past. What an incredible experience!
Etosha National Park East
We will start with a cup of coffee or tea overlooking the Okavango River enjoying a spectacular sunrise. I have personally seen African Wild Dogs hunting from the viewing deck a few times and a colleague did see a Leopard on a recent trip.
Today is mostly a travelling day (we can do a quick early morning game drive in Mahangu) as we leave the tropical Caprivi and Okavango regions behind us and make our way south to Etosha which is one of the great game reserves of Africa and offers game viewing that is as good as you can find anywhere in Africa. As we make our way south you will notice how the habitat will chance from Broadleaf Woodland to mixed Woodland and later Acacia Savannah with the species changing with the habitat. We will do regular roadside stops to stretch and pick up new species.
We should arrive at our beautiful lodge by mid-afternoon. If we arrive in time, we will depart for a short afternoon game drive but after sitting for most of the day we often just enjoy a nice leisurely walk around lodge gardens. The relaxed group of Banded Mongoose will provide plenty of entertainment. Egyptian Slit-faced Bat and Southern Lesser Galago are often seen within the lodge grounds. Early evening we will meet up for a sundowner drink and then enjoy dinner at our lodge.
Etosha National Park East
Today will be dedicated to exploring the eastern section of the vast Etosha National Park. From a mammal point of view we will search for the endemic Kirk’s Dikdik (Namibian subspecies), African Elephant, Lion, Black Rhinoceros, Giraffe, Spotted Hyaena, Leopard, Black-backed Jackal, Black-faced Impala (another endemic subspecies), Hartebeest (Red subspecies), Gemsbok (Namibia’s national animal), Greater Kudu and Springbok. This part of Etosha is our best chance to see Cheetah and we will visit all our known hotspots for seeing them.
There is a fascinating known interaction between Honey Badgers and Pale Chanting Goshawks where the Goshawk will follow the Badgers hoping that when they dig out prey some escape offering them an easy meal. We often see this in Etosha and we will hopefully be lucky on this trip.
After lunch we will spend the afternoon visiting various waterholes to see if we can spot some of our target list mammals drinking. We might be lucky to get a herd of Elephant drinking at Groot Okevi or Tsumcor waterhole and we hope to see Common Eland at Chudop or Klein Namutoni. This waterhole is the perfect last stop in the park with setting sun behind us offering incredible photographic opportunities.
After arrival at our lodge we will freshen up, meet up for sundowner drinks and enjoy another Namibia dinner in the African bush.
Etosha National Park South
Today we make our way to the central section of the park with a full day of game viewing. We will stop at two waterholes where we often find Spotted Hyena drinking early morning and we often have Lion walking across the open plains returning from their hunt. Although Etosha is famous for and probably the best place to see Black Rhino we will visit an area where we have a chance to see White Rhinoceros and our only chance on this safari.
We will stop for lunch at Halali Resort giving us a chance for a short break and a quick visit to the camp waterhole.
By mid to late afternoon we will arrive at Okaukuejo resort, famous for its flood-lit waterhole at the edge of camp which offers fantastic game viewing with African Elephant, Black Rhinoceros and Giraffe visiting on most nights and Lion seen often. The area around Okaukuejo and we will be on the lookout for Brown and Spotted Hyena, South African Ground Squirrel, Yellow and Slender Mongoose, African Elephant, Giraffe, Gemsbok, Greater Kudu, Springbok, Black-backed Jackal, Common Warthog, White and Black Rhinoceros, Leopard, Lion, Aardwolf and Honey Badger.
We meet up for dinner at the resort and afterwards make our way to the camp’s waterhole. At the waterhole tonight we will look for Bushveld Sengi which have been recorded in the camp and we will try and see if we can locate any. If we are lucky we will hear Lion roaring or have them visit the waterhole as we enjoy the end of a wonderful day.
Some of the smaller mammals we will be targeting around southern Etosha include Namaqua Rock Rats, Desert Pygmy Mouse, Cape Scrub Hare, Bicolored Musk Shrew, Bushveld Gerbil and Red Rock Rat.
Etosha National Park South
After an early breakfast, we will use the first few hours of the day to explore the Okondeka Plains north of Okaukuejo. This area is also very good to try and find some of the smaller predators like Bat-eared Fox, Black-backed Jackal, Cape Fox and African Wildcat. We then leave Etosha and head towards Tandala Ridge located South of Etosha National Park.
Tandala Ridge is a great spot for mammal enthusiasts. Cape Porcupine is resident in the camp and other small mammals seen on the property include Southern Lesser Galago, Egyptian Slit-faced Bat, Stone Dormouse, Namaqua Rock Rat, Shortridge’s and Pygmy Rock Mouse, Bushveld Sengi, Common Rock Hyrax, Black Mongoose and Jameson’s Red Rock Hare.
Larger Mammals seen on the reserve include Gemsbok, Greater Kudu, Common Eland, Hartebeest (red subspecies), Common Wildebeest, Plains Zebra, Common Warthog, Steenbok, Common Duiker and Kirk’s Dikdik, Black-backed Jackal, Aardwolf, Bat-eared Fox, Caracal, Spotted Hyaena, Cheetah and Leopard. We will enjoy a night drive on the property which should give us a chance of seeing some of the rare and nocturnal mammals seen on the reserve.
This morning we will enjoy an early breakfast and do a short walk around the lodge. From here we will make our way south to Damaraland where we will spend one night. As the scenery changes, we will start looking out for Desert Adapted animals which calls this area their home. (There is an option to stop at some of the Twyfelfontein area rock engravings – this is long detour so please let us know in advance).
This beautiful mountainous region is also home to an assortment of scientifically important desert-adapted wildlife such as the desert adapted Elephants, Black Rhinoceros, Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra and Lion, Springbok, Gemsbok, Giraffe and Steenbok.
We might also be lucky to encounter the famous desert adapted Elephants of north-western Namibia which move up and down the Ugab River during our stay. Some of the smaller mammals we will be searching for include Klipspringer, Common Genet, Desert Pygmy Mouse, Dassie Rat, Rock Hyrax and Black-tailed Tree Rat.
We will spend early morning exploring around the Brandberg area and then make our way to the Erongo Mountains where we will spend the night.
Dassie Rat and Common Rock Hyrax are common mammals while Black Mongoose, Slender Mongoose, Central African Large-spotted Genet, Steenbok, Kirk’s Dik-dik, Leopard and Caracal are sometimes seen in this area.
After arriving at our lodge and enjoyed lunch we will settle into our rooms before we start exploring the area looking for smaller mammals, which could include Cape Hares, Bushveld Sengi, Bushveld Gerbil, Namaqua Rock Rat, Western Rock Sengi and Dassie Rat is relatively common in the area as well. Focusing on the cracks between boulders we hope to catch Pygmy Rock Mouse.
Swakopmund and Walvis Bay
After an early morning walk (looking for any specials we might have missed) and a great breakfast we will make our way to the coast where we will spend the night.
After arriving in Swakopmund and settling into our hotel for the evening we will spend the afternoon at the Walvis Bay Lagoon which has been declared a Ramsar site of global importance for thousands of waders that are found here.
We return to Swakopmund to meet up for sundowner drinks and afterwards enjoy a wonderful meal at one of the many great restaurants in town.
Some of the mammals we will be in search of in the area include Four-striped Grass Mouse, Namib Round-eared Sengi, Littledale’s Whistling Rat and the near endemic Southern Pygmy Gerbil.
Walvis Bay and Windhoek
Early morning after a cup of coffee we will make our way to Walvis Bay Harbour, where we will do a morning boat cruise to search for some of the mammals on our list. During our cruise we will be on the lookout for South African Fur Seal, Heaviside’s Dolphin, Bottlenose Dolphin, Bryde’s Whale, Humpback Whale and Killer Whale (Orca).
(Note: Some of these species are only in Namibian waters during certain times of the year and although we might be lucky sightings of whales are not guaranteed.)
After our boat cruise, we will enjoy lunch in Walvis Bay and the start making our way back to Windhoek where we will spend our last night in Namibia. We will overnight at a small reserve just outside Windhoek.
Dinner will be enjoyed at our lodge.
This morning after a leisurely breakfast we will make our way to the airport where you will take your return flight home.
(Depending on your departure flight time, there is an option to do game drive with the lodge on their grounds)
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