Namibian Experience

tours / Adventure

Highlights

  • Sossusvlei sand dunes & Sesriem Canyon
  • Stunning Namib Desert landscapes
  • Fish River Canyon - second largest in the world
  • Kalahari Desert
  • Cheetah conservation project sites
  • Game drives and floodlit waterholes in Etosha National Park
  • Twyfelfontein ancient rock engravings
  • Visit a Himba tribe
  • Swakopmund
  • Cape Cross seal colony

Tour description provided by World Expeditions

Discover the best Namibia has to offer on this in-depth wilderness adventure. We gain an appreciation for the vastness of this country and are constantly in awe of its harsh beauty. Spectacularly remote and with stunning desert colours, unique wildlife that has adapted to an arid environment, ancient rock art, living fossils and a heritage borne of both European and Indigenous traditions, Namibia is an amazing destination. our itinerary commences in Windhoek and includes game viewing in Etosha National Park, cultural interaction with a Himba Tribe, rock art at Twyfelfontien, scenic Damaraland, the coastal towns of Luderitz and Swakopmund, the Skleleton Coast, some of the world's biggest sand dunes at Sossusvlei, Fish River canyon and the Kalahari Desert. In addition to this fabulous mix of heritage, wildlife, wild places and culture your Namibian experience is rounded off by visits to several working projects that are influential in the conservation of African Big Cats such as cheetahs and lions.

What's included

  • 13 breakfasts, 14 lunches and 10 dinners
  • National park and conservation fees
  • Services of professional guide and camp assistant
  • Pick up and drop off from accommodation in windhoek on days 1 & 14
  • All group camping equipment including tents and mattresses (sleeping bags not included)
  • 3 nights comfortable hotel accommodation
  • (upgrade to hotels/lodges/ permanent safari camps throughout is possible for additional cost - must be prebooked and is subject to availability)
  • Private transport in specially designed vehicles throughout
  • Entrance fees and activities: days 1 (kalahari game drive), 2 (fossil site), 4 (luderitz), 8 (okonjima africat tour) & 11 (himba village)

Itinerary

Day 1 Windhoek to Kalahari
You will be collected at your Windhoek accommodation between 07:30 & 08:00am. We start our journey south on the main highway, travelling through the thin strip of Kalahari Desert that protrudes onto the eastern side of Namibia. Stopping at small towns along the way including Rehoboth, traditional home of the Baster people and on to Kalkrand where you bid the main road farewell and head off into the Kalahari. The Kalahari Desert often surprises people when they first see it. It is very different from the Namib. First of all, remember that the Kalahari is not a desert. It receives more rain than a true desert should. The Kalahari is a fossil desert. Don’t expect to find tall Sossusvlei-style dunes devoid of greenery here. The Kalahari’s dunes are very different. They are often equally beautiful, but usually greener and less stark – and with this vegetation comes its ability to support more flora and fauna than a true desert. Relax near the water hole and watch a variety of game come to drink. We will join one of the game drive vehicles to track some game. There are thirty different species of game found on our game farm including species such as Rhino, Black Impala, Golden & White Oryx, Black & White Springbok, White Blesbok, Njala, Giraffe, Cheetah, Kudu, Gemsbok, Zebra & many more. (Approx driving distance 270km) Overnight camping
Day 2 Kalahari to Fish River Canyon area
An early morning nature drive into Kalahari (included) before leaving for the town of Mariental and south to Keetmanshoop. Just outside the town we have the opportunity of visiting the Mesosaurus Fossil Site and Quivertree Forest- (although these trees are also found around the Fish River Area). Quiver trees are not in fact trees, they are a type of aloe, (Aloe Dichotoma), so called because the branches fork “dictomously”. These weird looking plants dot the landscape in this part of the world and are locally common, however they are one of the world’s rarest flora species. The recently re-furbished Ai-Ais Hot Springs Spa & Resort, (re-opened in August 2009) is at the southern end of the Fish River Canyon and offers an excellent place to relax in and around the thermal baths & heated swimming pool, especially after a hot, dusty day's drive, the resort is set at a sulphurous hot spring, which makes perfect sense as the name '/ai-/ais' means 'burning water' in the local Nama language. (Approx driving distance 400km) Overnight camping
Day 3 Fish River Canyon area to Aus
The Fish River Canyon in Namibia is (allegedly) the 2nd largest canyon in the world after the Grand Canyon. The immensity of this magnificent landscape is truly breath taking. The towering rock faces and deep ravines were formed by water erosion and the collapse of the valley due to movements in the earth's crust over 500 million years ago. Today the canyon measures 160km long up to 27km wide and almost 550m at its deepest. It is fair to say that when you arrive at the canyon though, its exact location is a bit of a mystery as the 500m vertical drop from the flat dry plateau is completely out of view. Time to pack up camp and move on to our next destination, the tiny town of Aus. We sleep tonight at Klein Aus Vista, a private reserve, beautifully located in the Aus Mountain Range, (Huib-Hoch-Plateau region). (Approx driving distance 350km) Overnight camping
Day 4 Luderitz
We are up with the dawn this morning for the short drive to Luderitz, we travel on the main road and keep a sharp look out for the unique Namib wild horses. These horses are the only feral horses in Namibia and have, very unusually, become adapted to an existence with very limited water. Where they originated from is un-clear, some people think they are the descendants of the horses used by the German cavalry during the First World War. Another theory is that they originally came from a horse farm that used to be run by a German Barron, (von Wolff), in the very early colonial days. We arrive in Luderitz in time to join an optional extra excursion, a trip on an old wooden sailing ship, “The Sedina”. We take a cruise around Luderitz bay and, weather permitting, to Halifax Island to see the Jackass Penguins. If the weather conditions are suitable we turn off the engines and come back to Luderitz under sail. Straight after the Sedina trip we drive out to Kolmanskop, a desert ghost town about 20 km out of Luderitz. It was built in the 1920's during the diamond rush and was abandoned when bigger and better diamonds were found further along the coast. The area is still abandoned and the desert has encroached over the entire town, giving an eerie feeling and real meaning to the word “ghost”. Lunch today is not included in the programme, this is to allow everybody as much flexibility with their time as possible and to give us the opportunity to sample some of the excellent local cafes. During the middle of the day there is time to explore Luderitz Town with its traditional German architecture and later we will take a drive out to Diaz Point to see the bird life, hopefully a few seals and the stone cross replica, originally erected by the Portuguese mariner Bartholomew Diaz. Returning to Klein Aus Vista in the late afternoon, the road takes us through the “forbidden Zone” so named because in years gone by, the alluvial diamonds found in Namibia were simply scattered across the desert and we again have time to enjoy sunset over the mountains. N.B: The “Sedina” excursion is subject to availability and, if undertaken, will be for the clients own risk and expense. (Approx driving distance 250km) Overnight camping
Day 5 To Sesriem
Turning north, we once again head deep into the ancient southern Namib, travelling on small gravel roads and passing some tiny rural communities along the way. The scenery is harsh, and sometimes forbidding. The process of erosion in these areas is well advanced and we pass time rounded “koppies” arid terrain and outcrops of tortured rock. Traversing this bleak yet beautiful landscape, the terrain begins to change and we cross some open grass savannah and farmlands before the terrain begins to give way to the immense red sand dune desert of the Namib. We aim to arrive at our camp during the late afternoon and watch the colours glow and change on distant mountains to the east. (Approx driving distance 350km) Overnight camping
Day 6 Sesriem and Sossusvlei
A pre dawn start is essential this morning as we want to catch the soft light of the sunrise on the desert. After passing through Sesriem, the gateway to the dunes and driving into the heart of the dune field, we reach Sossusvlei itself by walking the last 5 km through the dunes. The walk is like nothing else, in the cool of the morning, with soft sunlight just beginning to play over the dunes creating a sharp light and shadow contrast across the whole desert. Ancient mineral pans, stunted camel thorn trees and the chance of seeing a gemsbok or maybe an ostrich make the photo opportunities perfect. We spend the morning in and around Sossusvlei, also visiting dune 45, and as the day wears on we return to Sesriem for lunch to escape the heat of the afternoon. As the day cools off in the late afternoon we will take a short excursion to the Sesriem Canyon. (Approx driving distance 120km) Overnight camping
Day 7 Naukluft Mountains to Windhoek
After breakfast we begin our journey, over the mountains and along scenic roads, back to Windhoek. We will travel over the Naukluft Mountains and also the Khomas Hochland Range, through beautiful mountain passes on our way back to civilization. We are due back into the city around 16:00 and you will be dropped off at your accommodation on our return. (Approx driving distance 350km) Overnight guest house
Day 8 Okonjima, Africat Foundation
You will be collected between 08:30 & 09:00. We will travel north, stopping at small towns along the way including Okahandja, where we have time to visit Namibia’s largest wood carving market. The market is operated on a local co-operative basis and is one of the best places to shop for truly Namibian souvenirs. Continuing north, passing through farmland, we aim to arrive at Okonjima around mid-afternoon, giving us time to set up our camp and to relax in the shade for a while before heading out on to the property to take part in the afternoon’s activity. Okonjima is the home of the Africat Foundation, a specialist conservation concern that centres its operations on the African Big Cats, particularly cheetah. This afternoon you will be taken on a tour where you will be able to meet some of the cheetah that are going through the Africat rehabilitation programme. Most of the animals currently living at Okonjima have been rescued from various desperate situations, being orphaned or caught in a trap, and the aim of the rehabilitation process is to attempt to re-introduce them into the wild. After our educational tour we will return to our camp and prepare for dinner under the spectacular African stars. (Approx driving distance 300km) Overnight camping
Day 9 To Etosha National Park
An early start and continuing north we pass through some small towns, making short stops for fresh supplies and fuel. Continuing on to our East Etosha, Namutoni region camp we again aim to arrive in time for lunch, giving us time to relax before heading into the park during the cool of the late afternoon for our first game drive. . Late afternoon and early morning are the times when wildlife is most active so we will make the most of these periods for our game drives. Etosha National Park is one of the most important reserves and game sanctuaries in southern Africa. It is centred around a massive salt pan 50km wide and 130km long. Perennial springs and waterholes occur within the park allowing the predominantly desert environment to support an incredible diversity of wildlife such as blue wildebeest, springbok, zebra, kudu, giraffe, cheetah, leopard, lion and elephant. Floodlit waterholes at Okaukuejo and Namutoni campsites attract an abundance of animals throughout the evening, providing many amazing wildlife sightings. (Approx driving distance 300km, excluding game drive) Overnight camping
Day 10 Etosha National Park
A full day's game driving. We again leave early to enjoy the cool morning air as we game drive our way through Etosha to Halali camp, situated in the middle of the park. Along the way we visit several waterholes and are afforded splendid views of the massive Etosha Pan. The game viewing is usually excellent and we have the chance to tick off a few new species that are not normally seen on the Namutoni side of the park. We stop at Halali for a rest and a leisurely lunch. There is time to visit the Halali waterhole and to make use of the swimming pool and bar facilities before continuing on our way and game driving down to Okaukuejo, Etosha's main rest camp and resort where we will check in and set up camp. Originally the site of a German fort built in 1901, Okaukuejo now houses the Etosha Ecological Institute, founded in 1974; the round watchtower is a remnant of the fort. After your evening meal there are still more chances to see Etosha's big game at a floodlit waterhole, situated on the boundary of our camp and easily reachable within a minute or two on foot. The waterhole has been described as one of the "best game viewing opportunities in Southern Africa" and the ideal venue to witness peculiar animal politics. Black rhino, Africa's tallest elephants, lion and numerous species of antelope are regular visitors during the cool, dry season. Overnight camping
Day 11 Etosha to Grootberg area, Himba visit
Leaving Etosha we begin our journey south with a relatively short drive to the small town of Kamanjab. Within this area we have the opportunity of visiting a Himba Village - the only traditionally functioning Himba community outside the far north Kaokoland region of Namibia These tribes-people have migrated here, lifestyle and customs intact, and are following their traditional way-of-life in their village on a farm, the exact location of the site varies as the Himba occasionally roam to a new location. We will learn about marriage customs, traditional food and the mysteries of the “Holy Fire” religion. From here it is a short drive on to The Hoada Community Campsite which is located among beautiful granite hills and mopane trees. To add an eco-friendly touch, the hot water system works in combination with the barbecue area, therefore whilst your meal is being prepared, your water will be warmed up for your shower! We overnight - camping under the stars. (Approx driving distance 310km) Overnight camping
Day 12 Grootberg area to Twyfelfontein
Today we head into one of the most beautiful desert regions in Namibia, Damaraland. We drive west via the Grootberg Pass and then take a detour to visit the ancient Bushman rock engravings at Twyfelfontein. At this location we will have a local guide to conduct us on a short guided tour before we set up camp for the night. (Approx driving distance 190km) Overnight camping
Day 13 Skeleton Coast, Swakopmund
From here we head deeper into the desert and pass Namibia’s highest mountain, The Brandberg, (2573 m) and more beautiful Damaraland scenery. We make a stop in the small town of Uis, an old mining town, and one of the best places to buy semi-precious stones, for which Namibia is famous. Here, rough Amethyst, Tourmaline etc can be found at bargain prices. From here we turn directly west and cross the gravel plains on our way to the Atlantic Ocean and the Skeleton Coast. Meeting the ocean at Henties Bay, we first head north along the coast to visit the seal colony at Cape Cross. At certain times of the year as many as 100,000 Cape Fur seals congregate. The next destination is Swakopmund, following the Skeleton Coast into Namibia's premier seaside town. We aim to arrive in the late afternoon giving us time to explore the town on foot before sunset. Tonight we take the chance to sample one of the excellent restaurants. The seafood in Swakopmund is superb. Your guide will offer to organise a group meal in a local restaurant for this evening. Participation is recommended but by no means required. (Please note: Dinner is at your own expense). (Approx driving distance 420km) Overnight hotel
Day 14 Return to Windhoek
The drive back to Windhoek today will take about 4 and a half hour. We will depart around lunch-time, giving us time to spend the morning relaxing in Swakopmund. It has many superb shops, a good stretch of beach (although the Atlantic here is quite cold) and an open-air curio market. There is also a very good museum and the Namibian National Marine Aquarium is located in Swakopmund. Alternatively, there are various optional activities that can be arranged. These include aeroplane and microlight flights over the desert, scenic drives, fishing trips (both from the beach or in a boat), four-wheel motorcycle (quad bike) trips into the desert and over the sand dunes around Swakopmund, sand boarding trips (also in the dunes), skydiving, surfing, bird-watching and many other activities are available. Your tour guide will discuss all the possible options with you before you reach Swakopmund and will offer to make bookings in advance of your arrival. PLEASE NOTE: All extra activities and excursions in Swakopmund are subject to availability and are made at your own risk and expense. This is the last day of our trip and after lunch we will transfer back to the capital city where you will be dropped off at your pre-booked accommodation. (There is no accommodation tonight included in the trip. Please ask us if you would like assistance to arrange this. Additional cost applies.) (Approx driving distance 350km)