Join us on our 15-day Private Guided Student Conservation Tour through Namibia.
This unique tour offers the opportunity to students, school groups and young explorers alike to embark on a journey visiting some of Namibia’s major National Parks, Conservation projects and top attractions. You can look forward to experience the Namib Desert; the dunes and landscapes at Sossusvlei, Sesriem Canyon; the Skeleton Coast including Swakopmund with an unforgettable Little 5 desert tour, continuing along the coast via Cape Cross; before heading inland to Brandberg.
The adventure continues with a 6-day trek through the desert terrain and learning all about the desert adapted Elephants. Etosha National Park is famous for game-viewing and we’ll be spending some time here before continuing to the Cheetah Conservation Fund and the AfriCat Foundation, learning all about predators and the projects dedicated to them.
This tour can be tailor-made according to the school or university’s course objectives and learning outcomes. We focus on specific learning experiences and collaborate closely with lecturers/teachers to ensure that each learning outcome is met.
• Nature Awareness (Windhoek)
• Namib Naukluft National Park (Sossusvlei) and the Namib Desert
• Dorob National Park
• Cape Cross Seal Reserve on the Skeleton Coast
• Damaraland (Desert Elephants)
• Etosha National Park
• Cheetah Conservation Fund
• Okonjima Nature Reserve (AfriCat)
• Save the Rhino trust
Should you feel you would like to contribute to any of the above conservation areas or conservation establishments, please let us know in advance and we will arrange the details for you.
Day 1: Arrival – Greater Windhoek
Welcome to Namibia! After arriving at Hosea Kutako International Airport outside the country’s capital city of Windhoek, your Nature Travel Namibia guide will be waiting for you in the arrival’s hall of the airport with your name on a signboard. After loading your luggage into the vehicle, we drive to our first overnight destination outside Windhoek.
After our arrival we go on a short farm walk where we are introduced to farm life in Namibia. We continue with a guided nature awareness walk and get an insight of the different fauna and flora. The rest of the day is spent at leisure as we reflect on what we have learnt today.
Day 2: Windhoek to Sossusvlei
After breakfast and packing up, our journey continues to the Namib desert. We will not have much time to spend in Windhoek itself, but it is a very interesting small city nonetheless. It sits at 1,700 metres (5,600 feet) above sea level (12th highest capital in the world) in the Khomas Hochland plateau area between the Auas and Eros mountain ranges. It is home to about 400,000 people at a low density of only 63 people per square kilometre and has over 300 sunny days per year.
We will drive through the Khomas Highland and down the escarpment via one of the many scenic mountain passes into the Namib Desert. This journey will take about 4 to 5 hours, depending on the number of stops for photographs. We will certainly start seeing some of Namibia’s fantastic fauna and flora along the way, including Common Ostrich, Gemsbok, Pale Chanting Goshawk, Sociable Weavers or even a Greater Kudu.
We will reach our accommodation in the afternoon and if there is time, it might be fun to walk around the campgrounds looking for interesting smaller fauna and local flora. Our accommodation for tonight is in an area perfectly situated to explore the surrounding desert and its many attractions. We visit Elim Dune this afternoon on a walk.
Day 3: Sossusvlei Excursion and Swakopmund
After an early breakfast we will depart for an exciting morning excursion to Sossusvlei and nearby Dead Vlei, where we will spend a couple of hours. Sossusvlei is where you will find the iconic red sand dunes of the Namib. The clear blue skies contrast with the giant red sand dunes to make this one of the natural wonders of Africa and a photographer’s heaven. On our way back we will also stop at the Sesriem Canyon and explore it for a while.
Sossusvlei itself is actually the pan or valley floor that we will park our vehicle on and is surrounded by massive dunes on almost all sides.
We will have plenty of time to enjoy some of the many highlights that surrounds Sossusvlei itself:
• Dune 45:
The most photographed dune on earth (situated 45 km past Sesriem on the road to Sossusvlei);
Perfect if you are looking for solitude in the desert
• The magnificently tall Big Daddy dune
• Dead Vlei:
A paradise for photographers, as it is punctuated by blackened, dead acacia trees, in vivid contrast to the shiny white of the salty floor of the pan and the intense orange of the dunes;
• Sesriem Canyon:
A narrow gorge of 1 km long and up to 30 m deep slashed into the earth by the Tsauchab river millions of years ago. The name derives from the Afrikaans for the 6 lengths of ropes that were needed to haul water out of the gorge to the top with containers in days gone by.
After lunch we will depart for the coastal town of Swakopmund, driving through the vast Namib-Naukluft Park to get there. It is a beautiful drive of about 4 hours, and if time allows we will stop for the famous Apple Pie in the small desert oasis town of Solitaire, a true Namibian tradition that should not be missed.
Our drive this afternoon is wholly in the Namib Sand Sea, one of Namibia’s two UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It is the only coastal desert in the world that includes extensive dune fields influenced by fog. Covering an area of over three million hectares, the site features gravel plains, coastal flats and rocky hills within the sand sea, a coastal lagoon and ephemeral rivers, resulting in a landscape of exceptional beauty. Fog is the primary source of water in the site, accounting for a unique environment in which endemic invertebrates, reptiles and mammals adapt to an ever-changing variety of microhabitats and ecological niches.
Swakopmund will be our home for the next two nights.
Day 4: Swakopmund
After breakfast in Swakopmund we will depart for a Living Desert Experience, a unique adventure indeed!
We will encounter and learn more about the fascinating wildlife of the Namib Desert with the help of a local expert. We will look for geckos, scorpions, snakes, lizards, birds and beetles as well as the incredible plant life that survives in this harsh and seemingly inhospitable environment. Some of the special creatures we might see include Namib Sand Gecko, Namaqua Chameleon, Shovel-snouted Lizard, Tractrac Chat and even Peringuey’s Adder.
Once we are back in Swakopmund we will enjoy lunch and drive to Walvis Bay to visit the Walvis Bay Lagoon. Optionally this evening we will meet with a representative from the Save The Rhino Trust who will give us an insight into conservation of the black rhino in Namibia.
Day 5: Wildlife Sanctuary
This morning we will have a brief discussion on telemetry and the role it plays in conservation followed by a telemetry exercise where we will track some of the wildlife on the sanctuary.
The afternoon session will focus on how to analyse camera traps and GPS data.
Day 5-10: Swakopmund to Brandberg, Damaraland:
We continue our safari northwards along the Skeleton Coast. This bleak and evocatively named area is one of the most unusual coastal wildernesses on the planet, protecting about a third of Namibia’s long coastline. It has a longstanding reputation of being a dangerous sea passage for sailors, and indeed the Portuguese sailors used to call this area the “Sand of Hell”, referring to the fact that even if one did survive a ship running aground, the harsh desert would almost certainly provide one’s final resting place.
After visiting one of the many shipwrecks along the coast for some dramatic photographs as well as the Cape Cross Seal Colony, we will turn inland towards spectacular Damaraland. We will drive to the Brandberg area, the Brandberg (literally “fire mountain”), Namibia’s highest mountain, with the highest peak at 2,573 meters (8,441 feet) above sea level. In the distance we will also see the Spitzkoppe (sharp head), one of Namibia’s most recognizable landmarks. It’s shape has inspired its nickname, “The Matterhorn of Africa”. It was first climbed in 1946 and is now a popular climbing destination with local and foreign mountaineers alike, with plenty of technical climbs available.
This beautiful mountainous region is home to an assortment of scientifically important desert-adapted wildlife such as elephant, rhino, zebra and lion, which somehow survive and thrive in this near-barren landscape. We hope to see some of them, a special treat indeed!
We will have 2 nights at the base camp to relax before we head out on Elephant Patrol. The aim of the week is to track the different herds, GPS their movements and take ID photos. In addition, we often investigate any conflict incidents, talk with farmers and check on general conditions and events such as births and deaths.
The patrol will be approx. 4 days long with 3 nights spent camping in the wild under the stars. The area that we patrol through has all kinds of other wildlife including black rhino, desert lion, oryx, giraffe, zebra, kudu, springbok, there are also a huge number of different birds in the area to be seen.
Day 11: Damaraland to Etosha National Park
After an early breakfast we will depart for Etosha National Park, about 4 hours’ drive away to the northeast. On the way there we will visit Twyfelfontein, another UNESCO World Heritage Site. Meaning “uncertain spring” in Afrikaans, it is a massive open-air art gallery in the northwestern Kunene region that is of great interest to international rock art connoisseurs. The 2,000-plus rock petroglyphs, estimated to be 6,000 years old, represent one of Africa’s largest and most noteworthy concentrations of rock art. Most of these well-preserved engravings represent rhinoceros. The site also includes depictions of elephant, ostrich and giraffe, as well as drawings of human and animal footprints, all done in red ochre. Here we will also look out for the Namib Desert’s weird-looking living fossil plant, the Welwitschia.
We will go on a short afternoon game drive in the Etosha National Park, before returning to camp.
Day 12: Etosha South – Etosha National Park:
We will enjoy morning and afternoon game drives in Etosha today, returning to our lodge in the heat of the day for lunch and to relax. Your guide will decide, with your input as to your fauna and flora sighting preferences, what the best routes will be to follow. All our guides know Etosha intimately and will make sure you see all that this great African wildlife park has to offer.
Day 13: Etosha to The AfriCat Foundation, Okonjima Nature Reserve:
After an early morning game drive or a relaxing final breakfast together, we will depart for Okonjima.
En-route we will visit the Cheetah Conservation Fund. Here we will go on a short informative walking tour visiting the main facility – Educational Centre, Cheetah Museum, Creamery, and an introduction to the Cheetahs, Dogs and Livestock that live at our main centre. Also includes the feeding of Cheetahs at 14:00 weekdays and 12:00 on weekends. Here we can enjoy lunch before continuing to Okonjima, home of the AfriCat. The rest of the day is spent at leisure, setting up camp and relaxing.
Day 14: The AfriCat Foundation, Okonjima Nature Reserve
Today you will take part in optional activities offered on Okonjima ranging from tracking Leopards from a game-view vehicle; endangered species nature drive, game drive, nature trails and other specialized activities.
Day 15: End of tour – Departure
Unfortunately, today our fantastic student conservation safari ends. Our last morning of this wonderful trip will be spent at the AfriCat foundation with an activity of your choice. Afterwards we will make our way back to Windhoek, about 3 hours away.
In Windhoek we will take you to the Hosea Kutako International Airport for your homeward flight or for your connecting flight.
For more information contact the Nature Travel Namibia team at firstname.lastname@example.org