North Western Wilderness

AT A GLANCE
This 13-day safari allows us to explore one of the last remaining true wilderness areas in Africa, Northwestern Namibia. Because of its rugged terrain, it receives less tourists and local inhabitants are mainly the OvaHimba Tribe with population density of 1 person per 2km2. The whole Kunene region is approximately 115 000 km2 and it has an open ecosystem where desert adapted wildlife migrate over large distances in search of food and water which is scarce in this rather arid area.
We will be exploring the main river beds which are usually dry with a few water sources. These include Ugab, Huab, Uniab, Hoanib and Hoarusib ephemeral rivers. We will visit the Damara and OvaHimba tribes, to learn more about their culture and every day way of life.
Bordering Namibia and Angola is a perennial river, the Kunene. We will explore it after our stay at the Epupa Falls. Our last stay will be the western side of Etosha National Park from the Galton gate side. Our accommodation will range from remote camping to luxury lodges. This safari can start in either Windhoek or Swakopmund and ends in Windhoek.

ITINERARY – NORTH WEST WILDERNESS SAFARI
DAY 1: Brandberg
After meeting your guide for the safari you will depart for Brandberg past the Spitzkoppe. This will allow us to see some of the main landmarks in the country with fascinating geological formation, the Erongo, Spitzkoppe and Brandberg mountains. From a geological point of view, all 3 belong to the Post-Karoo complexes, which are all of magmatic origins. Some special Namibian bird species e.g Herero Chat, Tractrac Chat, Ruppell’s Korhaan and free roaming wildlife can be spotted on this scenic drive. Depending on the time of arrival, exploring the Ugab River will be worthwhile for some desert adapted wildlife that the river is renowned for.

DAY 2: Brandberg
After an early breakfast and coffee, we will take a walk to the White lady rock painting located within Namibia’s highest mountain, the Brandberg (2573m). There are over 1000 known of rock shelters on the Brandberg that house more than 45 000 individual paintings of animals, human figures or glyphs. Of these, the popular one is the WHITE-LADY PAINTING. One can either relax in the pool during mid-day or take a walk around the lodge area for spectacular birding. In the afternoon we will explore the Ugab River during our sundowner drive. Depending on the amount of energy we have left, a night drive is worthwhile after dinner to explore some of the nocturnal mammals and bird.

DAY 3: Twyfelfontein
After a relaxed morning and breakfast we will make our way to Twyfelfontein area. We will visit the Bushmen Rock Engravings, Burnt Mountain and Organ Pipies.
A game drive in the Huab and Aba-Huab Rivers will be worthwhile before settling in at our destination. Along the way precious gemstones may be purchased as souvenirs at local markets for those interested.

DAY 4: Twyfelfontein
After breakfast we will do a morning game drive and explore the conservancy. If we are lucky we might encounter some of the Desert Adapted Elephants amongst other wildlife. This drive will take us up to lunchtime and we have some time to relax before our afternoon excursion.
In the afternoon we will visit the Petrified Forest. It is an interesting geological phenomenon whereby millions of years ago huge trees, Dadoxylon arberi, where washed away and buried. They could not decomposed because they were immediately covered by a mudstone layer. Silicon then fused into the trunks of the trees taking their shape, then exposed by erosion over years. The same tree is responsible for coal fields in Europe.
On our back we will go past the Damara Living Museum to learn more about one of the main tribes in Namibia, the Damara people.

DAY 5: Palmwag
After a relaxed morning breakfast, we will set off on with our journey northwards.
This will be our first day of camping on the trip. We will drive around Grootberg area and visit the Uniab Canyon.

DAY 6: Palmwag
After an early morning breakfast, we will join the lodge activity to the Torra Conservancy for Black Rhino tracking. This activity is done in an open game drive vehicle and the final tracking is done on foot, hence requires some level of fitness. The lodge has a joint venture with the surrounding conservancies. The conservancies benefit directly from the money paid for this activity, because part of it goes directly to them. In the afternoon we will take a sundowner game drive down the Uniab River.

DAY 7: Purros
After breakfast, we will continue our journey northwards, deep in into the Kaokoland, the home to the OvaHimba tribe. We will explore the Hoanib River and visit the OvaHimba village to learn their traditions and every day way of life.
Historically, they originate from the Bantu tribes and are closely related to the Masai people of Kenya. Whereas some closer to urban areas have been incorporated into the modern world, some still live their traditional life of being nomadic pastoralists. Our destination for the day will be a community run campsite, Puros.

DAY 8: Purros
We will spend the day exploring the Hoarusib River for some desert adapted wildlife. The Desert Adapted Elephants are completely dependent of water from this river. Desert adapted Lions occur here but are generally very difficult to find. They are approximately 150 desert adapted Lions in the Kunene region, widely distributed over an area of 52 000 km2.

DAY 9: Epupa Falls, Kunene
After morning breakfast we will explore the area around the Skeleton Coast National Park boundary. Various small sand dunes will allow us to experience some small and large wildlife around here. We will then go past the capital of the Kunene, Opuwo. After lunch we will go to our destination for the day, the Epupa Falls. The sound of the water at the Falls and Mourning Doves around this campsite gives one peace of mind.

DAY 10: Kunene
We will explore the perennial Kunene River by driving along it all the way to Kunene River Lodge. Various bird species may be observed here including the elusive Cinderella Waxbill and Grey Kestrel, if lucky. At our destination, we will take a sundowner boat cruise along the river.

DAY 11: Hobatere – Etosha West
Located on the western side of Etosha, the Hobatere Concession covers an area of 33000 hectares. This will be our destination for the day. It is the main corridor for movement of wildlife from the Etosha to outside, which is not very desirable as it creates conflict with farming communities nearby. We will do a night drive around this area. We will do a night drive around this concession with wildlife similar to Etosha.

DAY 12: Hobatere – Etosha West
After breakfast we will go out for a game drive in the Etosha National Park. Various mammal species can be spotted either in the Hobatere Concession or in Etosha National Park. We will come back in time for lunch and to relax. We will then do a sunset drive around the concession to end our journey, watching the sun going down while sipping on our drinks with trip memories.

DAY 13: Hobatere – Etosha West
After breakfast we will make our way back to Windhoek where you will overnight (not included) or continue your onwards journey home.

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