NA1 NAMIBIA TOUR

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'Land of Contrasts'

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS:

The Namib, world's oldest desert; Apricot dunes at sunrise; Kaleidoscope of cultures; Swakopmund: charming seaside town; Rugged Skeleton Coast; Etosha: Africa's undiscovered wildlife gem

  • DATES & PRICES
  • FULL ITINERARY
  • MAP & HOTELS
  • TRIP INFORMATION

Dates & Prices

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Prices are in US Dollars (USD), before taxes (if applicable) - All pricing reflects per-person Land Only expenses, however, we can book flights from virtually every city. Please call us for an air quote.


Start DateEnd DatePriceMore Info
Mon 19 Sep 2016Fri 30 Sep 2016 $3480 USD
Tue 11 Apr 2017Sat 22 Apr 2017 $3690 USD
Tue 16 May 2017Sat 27 May 2017 $3690 USD
Wed 02 Aug 2017Sun 13 Aug 2017 $3690 USD
Tue 19 Sep 2017Sat 30 Sep 2017 $3690 USD
Sat 28 Oct 2017Wed 08 Nov 2017 $3690 USD

Optional Single Supplement: $720 USD (number of singles limited).
This tour may require a mandatory single supplement charge of $360, if twin-sharing accommodation is unavailable.


Tour Overview


This 12-day tour of Namibia takes us along the dense streets of its capital city, Windhoek, where we walk among people from the numerous tribes that wear a mixture of traditional and contemporary dress. This country's captivating history shines through its architecture from the turn of the century, but a sense of modernism is kept alive through its vibrant culture. Once we're outside of the city, the colourful Sossusvlei sand dunes tower above us with their record-breaking heights of 300 metres. What would a trip to Africa be without a day spent game-viewing? Etosha National Park's "salt desert" is an important resource for the mixture of wildlife that inhabits this land. Naukluft National Park yields an excellent display of animals as diverse as the baboon, rock hyrax or leopard. This is a perfect adventure through a country that serves as an excellent showcase of what makes Africa such a compelling continent for so many travellers.

Regions visited: Southern Africa
Countries visited: Namibia


Testimonials


All excursions included in the tour were excellent. Our local guides Orlando and Edward were superb - knowledgeable, courteous, attentive, excellent communicators, etc. All meals exceeded expectations. The safari vehicles were roomy and air conditioned. All meals exceeded expectations. We were impressed and are likely to use your services again. Recommend highly.

Full Itinerary

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Day 1 Arrival in Namibia
Arrival in Windhoek, the capital of Namibia.

As capital cities go, Windhoek is very relaxed with a whole mixture of Namibia's tribes strolling the streets. Many are in traditional dress and others are in stylish contemporary clothes often with magnificent plaited hairstyles. The city is full of trees and gardens, plus some splendid buildings dating from the turn of the century, all jumbled up with post-modernist office blocks in a swirl of ethnic mix.

Today you will meet our Namibia-based Tour Leader and enjoy a welcome dinner this evening.

Overnight in Windhoek.

Meal plan: Dinner

Day 2 Windhoek - Namib-Naukluft National Park
Today we leave the interior plateau region and head southwest through the Gamsberg Pass to the Namib Desert, through magnificent colours, pastel-basted rock formations, and waves of taupe-coloured grasses. Even the clouds are tinged orange-pink as distant dunes reflect their colour skywards. In the Nama language, Namib means vast, and this is an understatement. At the opposite end of the moisture scale is the parched Namib Desert with endless orange dunes blown into razor sharp ridges by the sand-shifting wind. The famous Sossusvlei sand dunes at 300m (1,000 ft), are the highest in the world, towering over their nearest rivals in Arabia, and just begging to be climbed barefoot.

Animals, insects, and plants have adapted to live in this generally inhospitable region and apart from infrequent rains, rely on the sea mist that rolls far inland. En route we have the chance to see kudu, springbok, gemsbok and black eagles set against some of the most expansive and dramatically rugged scenery in the world.

En route we have several stops for scenery viewing and photos. Upon arrival this afternoon you will have time to wander the land around our lodge and enjoy the multi-hued sands, strange twisted acacia trees, and almost guaranteed perfect sunset.

Overnight in the vicinity of the Namib-Naklauft National Park.

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 3 Namib-Naukluft National Park
Very early this morning we drive into the park to a special place called Sossusvlei, a huge dried up pan (vlei) which sporadically holds water, at the base of some of the most spectacular dunes in the Namib. We watch the morning sun light up the apricot coloured sands, the long shadows accentuating the graceful, almost feminine curves of the dune crests. These immense rich ochre sand dunes are one of the most wondrous sights in the world.

Geologists say that this desert, covering most of the Namib-Naklauft Park, could be the oldest in the world. The older the dune, the brighter the colour from slow iron oxidisation and minute fragments of garnets. Dwarfed by the sheer size of the dunes, your footprints look like insect trails and each step forward forms a mini sand-slide. The solitude is immeasurable and your place in the great scheme of life takes on a curious insignificance. Visually powerful and deafeningly silent, this unforgettable experience is a high point of our visit to the Namib. Possible game sightings include oryx antelope, springbok, or ostrich.

At Sossusvlei we have plenty of time to walk into the heart of the dunes, scale a dune or two for panoramic views, and walk across the sand to a pan called Dead Vlei. This spooky place is named as such because of the blackened dead acacia trees that "sprout" from a blinding white pan against an orange dune backdrop. Stupendous.

On our way back to our accommodation we will make a stop at Sesriem Canyon, located near the entry gate to Sossussvlei. It was an important source of water for early inhabitants and even during dry times there is water in the upper reaches, where deep clefts in the rock reduce evaporation. Explorers, transport riders and early travellers used to lower a bucket down to collect the water and it normally took 6 lengths of thong tied together, hence the Afrikaans name 'Ses' meaning six, and 'Riem' meaning thong. The canyon was formed by the Tsauchab River rising in the Naukluft and Zaris Mountains to the east, and flowing through to Sossusvlei. Walking through the canyon takes you on a journey back 10-20 million years ago when sedimentary layers of gravel and sand were deposited and cemented together by lime. The ledges are now inhabited by pigeons, raucous pied crows and chattering starlings.

Overnight in the vicinity of Namib-Naklauft National Park.

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 4 Namib-Naukluft Park - Swakopmund
We continue our journey north through Namib-Naukluft Park via Solitaire. As the name suggests, this is a lonely place in the middle of absolutely nowhere. The only reason it exists at all is to service visitors to the park. It used to have one solitary tree, one petrol pump, a take away kiosk and a captive puff adder. But big things have been happening here and there are now two or three petrol pumps, a fully blown cafeteria and small shop. The dead tree is still standing stark against the flat dry landscape, but the puff adder has gone.

We continue our journey through the spectacular rocky Kuiseb Canyon (photo stops en route) -- with possible sightings of baboon, rock hyrax, or, if lucky, leopard -- to the German colonial resort town of Swakopmund. This is Namibia's second biggest town and traditional "summer capital", and one of the most surreal places in this surreal country. You approach the town through the endless expanses of the Namib Desert, one of the world's largest wilderness areas. Then, through the mists (it is almost always misty in the morning and late afternoon) Bavarian spires and elaborate Germanic architecture rise through the fog banks. The boom of the surf on the notorious Skeleton Coast is an ever-present reminder of the icy Atlantic Ocean beyond.

Overnight in Swakopmund.

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 5 Swakopmund
Today is free to wander the streets of charming Swakopmund. The town is an eclectic mixture of Bohemian and Bavarian, home to an intriguing mix of artists, hippies, strait-laced descendants of German settlers, stately Herero women in Victorian dress, and hardened miners, game rangers, safari operators and fishermen. Swakopmund exudes romance and history, a rich cultural melting pot of old and new. Nighttime entertainment ranges from sophisticated spins on the casino's roulette wheels, through raucous parties at the many pubs and restaurants, to an assortment of drama, music and cultural events. It is indeed odd to be in a little corner of old Bavaria wedged between one of the world's harshest deserts and even harsher coastlines.

You might wish to take an optional scenic flight along the famed Skeleton Coast where you may get a glimpse of the Damara desert-dwelling elephants, the many shipwrecks that litter the coast, or perhaps the sea of dunes to the south. Your Tour Leader can help you with these and other options.

Overnight in Swakopmund.

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 6 Swakopmund - Damaraland
After a very early breakfast the road takes us north and east into the wonderful and diverse region of Damaraland. We pass Namibia’s highest mountain, the Brandberg, which peaks at 2573 m above sea level, and take time to view game and absorb the vastness of the scenery along the way. Weu make our way into the heart of Damaraland where we will spend the next two nights at our specially erected Under Canvas Camp ("Huab Under Canvas").

Damaraland is typified by displays of colour, magnificent table-top mountains, rock formations and bizarre-looking vegetation. The present day landscape has been formed by the erosion of wind, water and geological forces which have created rolling hills, dunes, gravel plains and ancient river terraces. It is the variety and loneliness of the area as well as the scenic splendor which will reward and astound you, giving one an authentic understanding of the word 'wilderness'.

If time allows this morning we will visit the nearby attractions and geological sites of the pre-historic Twyfelfontein rock engravings (recently declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site). We will then enjoy lunch before making our way along the Huab River, hopefully tracking the elusive desert adapted elephants (if in the area), to our private Under Canvas Camp. We will arrive in the late afternoon after what would have been a long yet rewarding day -– with time to enjoy fireside sundowners at your camp that will be your home for the next two nights.

Our Under Canvas camps use large rectangular Meru tents (4m x 3m and 2.5 m high) with built in groundsheets and mosquito screens on all doors and windows. Each spacious tent is equipped with standard height camp beds, solar lighting, and storage for clothing and other belongings that need to be accessible. Each also has a bathroom which has its own toilet, bucket shower and washbasin. A small table, mirror, towels and toiletries as well as solar lighting are also provided in the bathroom, and chairs on the patio allow guests to relax and enjoy the surrounding view.

Huab Under Canvas is located in a core desert adapted black rhino area in the //Huab Conservancy in Damaraland, approximately 90 km north west of Khorixas, and it is nestled in a grove of Mopane trees on the banks of a tributary of the Huab River. Protected from all the prevailing winds and sun, the semi-mobile camp is virtually invisible from anywhere around and it carries arguably the lowest environmental footprint of any camp in Namibia. Tents are raised on mobile platforms and have basic infrastructure that allows for important comforts such as en suite flush toilets, but the essence of the camp remains Under Canvas, mobile and experiential. 

Overnight at Huab Under Canvas Camp.

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 7 Damaraland
Full day to explore the Damaraland area, enjoying the freedom to discover the fascinating landscapes with our guide. Damaraland is a surprising refuge for desert adapted wildlife that may include elephants, giraffe, oryx, springbok and even some predators such as lion, though with any wildlife sightings in Namibia, its season depending and never guaranteed. The wildlife roams large tracks of unfenced desert landscapes and sightings can therefore be at times challenging, but part of the adventure of exploring this wild untouched gem of Namibia.

The Huab Under Canvas Camp works together with the Save the Rhino Trust (SRT) - an NGO that has been has been instrumental in the preservation of the rare, endangered, desert adapted black rhino. Having barely survived the slaughter in many parts of Africa during the '80s and '90s, the black rhino population of Namibia increased substantially since the formation of SRT. We will spend an exciting and memorable morning out rhino tracking, before returning to camp for a freshly prepared brunch and with time to relax at camp during the heat of the day. Later in the afternoon we head out again for a scenic nature drive or walk to explore this vast and astounding ecosystem.

Overnight at Huab Under Canvas Camp.

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 8 Damaraland - Etosha National Park
This morning after breakfast we will continue our safari to Etosha National Park. Lunch is had en route and if time allows this afternoon our guide will take us on a game drive into Etosha, exiting the park before the gates close at sunset. The rest of the evening can be spent game viewing at the camp's floodlit waterhole.

Etosha National Park covers 22,270 km², of which approximately 5,000 km² is made up of saline depressions or 'pans'. The largest of these pans, the Etosha Pan, can be classified as a saline desert in its own right. The Etosha Pan lies in the Owambo Basin, on the north-western edge of the Namibian Kalahari Desert. Until three million years ago it formed part of a huge, shallow lake that was reduced to a complex of salt pans when the major river that fed it, the Kunene, changed course and began to flow to the Atlantic instead. If the lake existed today, it would be the third largest in the world. Etosha is the largest of the pans at 4,760 km² in extent. It is nowadays filled with water only when sufficient rain falls to the north in Angola, inducing floods to flow southward along the Cuvelai drainage system.

The park consists of grassland, woodland and savannah. Game-viewing centers on the numerous springs and waterholes where several different species can often be seen at one time. The park boasts some 114 mammal and over 340 bird species. Wildlife that one might see includes elephant, lion, giraffe, blue wildebeest, eland, kudu, gemsbok (Oryx), zebra, rhino, cheetah, leopard, hyena, honey badger and warthog, as well as the endemic black faced impala.

Tonight's accommodation depends on the date of departure chosen. For 2017, 11 April, 19 Sept, and 28 Oct will stay at Andersson's Camp:

Andersson's Camp takes its name from Charles Andersson, the Swedish explorer who first 'discovered' the Etosha Pan with Sir Francis Galton in 1851. Set against a backdrop of the low Ondundozonanandana Mountains, Andersson's Camp is located within the private Ongava Game Reserve which borders onto Etosha National Park. The Ongava Game Reserve is typified by white calcrete soils, rocky outcrops and scrub-covered plains which support a rich variety of game such as giraffe, lion, rhino and various antelope species. The camp overlooks a waterhole where guests can enjoy the interaction of wildlife coming and going throughout the day and night. This former farmstead has been tastefully rebuilt to modern-day standards. The old farmhouse now forms the main dining, bar and swimming pool area of Andersson's Camp, with guest tents radiating outwards into the secluded Mopane woodlands typical of the region. Tents are constructed using a clever mix of calcrete stone cladding, canvas and wood, with double-door entrances and a small verandah that is an extension of the elevated wooden decks on which the tents are raised.

For dates 16 May & 02 Aug, we will stay at:

Etosha Safari Lodge, situated on a hillock overlooking the African bush savannah, approximately 9km from the southern entrance to the Etosha National Park. Each en-suite chalet offers a warm and creative African ambience and has air-conditioning and mosquito netting. Apart from the restaurant and bar, there is a wooden deck ideal for enjoying sundowners high above the Mopani bush, and three inviting swimming pools.

Overnight at Etosha-West.

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 9 Etosha National Park
Today we spend the entire day game driving through the Etosha National Park to reach Mushara Bush Camp, is situated on the eastern boundary of Etosha. We will enter the Park at Andersson's Gate and drive through Okaukuejo and Halali on the southern side. Lunch will be had en-route and arrive at Namutoni in the late afternoon where you will leave the park at the Von Lindequist Gate and after your arrival at Mushara the rest of the day is spent at your leisure.

Mushara Bush Camp: Mushara Bush Camp offers a down-to-earth tented bush camp experience which is well-suited as an exceptionally affordable base for independent travellers exploring the Etosha National Park. The main Bush Camp area is thatched and has a true bush camp feel to it. The early evenings see a camp fire lit where guests can exchange stories of the day's wildlife sightings. The 16 custom made en-suite tents are built from a combination of canvas and local limestone. With their own private verandah and roof to floor windows, these rooms are spacious and airy. Each large bathroom has an oversized window and shower looking into the surrounding bush. The brushed cement floors and lime stone walls keep the rooms cool from the afternoon sun with the help from floor fans.

Overnight at Etosha-West.

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 10 Etosha National Park
Full day of exciting game viewing within Etosha National Park. One has the option of heading in to the park and game driving oour way towards Halali where you will stop for lunch before returning or do two shorter game drives exploring the areas around Namutoni returning to the camp for lunch during the heat of the day. Either way we will exit the park before sunset with enough time to freshen up for dinner back at Mushara Camp.

Overnight at Etosha-East.

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 11 Etosha - Ombili Bushman Project - Windhoek
We leave Etosha early today and take a short drive to the Ombili Bushman Project where we can spend some time learning about the fascinating lives of today's San people (Bushmen). The village here allows a good insight into how the San of today are coping with the modern world.

We head south back to Windhoek, via the towns of Tsumeb, Otjiwarongo and Okahandja, to arrive in the late afternoon.

Overnight in Windhoek.

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Day 12 Departure
Today we depart from Windhoek.

BON VOYAGE!

Meal plan: Breakfast

Tour Map

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*The red tour trail on the map does not represent the actual travel path.


Hotel List


The following is a list of sample hotels at some locations included on this tour. The hotels shown here are meant to provide a general sense of the standard of hotel we usually aim for; they are not necessarily confirmed for your chosen departure.


Galton House

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Windhoek
Country: Namibia

Galton House is Windhoek's newest accommodation establishment. Named after the famous explorer Sir Francis Galton, it has a relaxed but
... style which creates a very welcoming atmosphere. Impressive wildlife photography adorns the walls whilst the rest of the interior is a combination of modern minimalistic and understated chic.

A mere ten minute drive from the centre of town and perched on the edge of Windhoek's northernmost affluent suburb of Eros, guests staying here will be ensured of peace and tranquillity. There is Wi-Fi throughout the property and the eight guest rooms all have wired internet connectivity and satellite television. There is a coffee/tea station available in the reception area and these can also be provided in the rooms on request.

The communal areas consist of a large lounge, indoor and outdoor dining areas, a swimming pool, an early arrival/late departure day room (including toilet, shower, changing and re-packing facility) as well as understated garden areas. There is also a delightful 'al fresco' dining area by the pool where freshly prepared and very tasty meals are served (including lunch and dinner). A number of shops, restaurants and supermarkets are within easy striking distance.

Read More.

Sossusvlei Lodge

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Namib-Naukluft National Park
Country: Namibia

The rooms are bungalow-style. Adobe walls are shaded by canvas roofs, almost Berber-like in their covering of the slate floors
... The property features a swimming pool, bar, curio shop. Warm beverages and cold water are available at no cost to guests 24 hours a day.


Read More.

The Swakopmund Hotel

Rating: 4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation4 Star Accommodation
Location: Swakopmund
Country: Namibia

Built in and around the old Station Building the hotel combines architectural beauty with first-world comfort. The rooms are all
... in a Victorian-style reminiscent of a bygone era of grace and civility. Rooms have individual air conditioning, television, tea/coffee making facilities, bathroom with bath, shower and toilet, direct dialling phones, electronic safes, electric razor plugs, fully stocked mini bars, hair dryers, eight channel TV.


Read More.

Anderson's Camp

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Etosha National Park
Country: Namibia

Andersson's Camp takes its name from Charles Andersson, the Swedish explorer who first 'discovered' the Etosha Pan with Sir Francis
... in 1851. Set against the backdrop of the low Ondundozonanandana Mountains, Andersson's Camp is surrounded by scrub-covered plains and white calcrete soils.

This former farmstead has been tastefully rebuilt to modern-day standards. The old farmhouse now forms the main area of Andersson's Camp with 20 tents (16 twin-bedded and 2 family units) radiating outwards into the secluded mopane woodlands typical of the region. Tents are a clever mix of calcrete stone cladding, canvas and wood, with double-door entrances and a small veranda that is an extension of the elevated wooden decks on which the tents are constructed. The en-suite bathrooms continue the unique design. The family units comprise two tents connected by a raised boardwalk.

Read More.

Etosha Safari Camp

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Etosha National Park
Country: Namibia

Down to earth, relaxed, innovative and charming are Etosha Safari Camp's alluring qualities - and of course, its proximity to
... National Park. This friendly safari camp has cosy accommodation set between the mopane trees, an inviting circular swimming pool, a lush green campsite and ample character.
Read More.

Mushara Bush Camp

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Etosha National Park
Country: Namibia

Mushara Lodge is the original establishment in the collection – the elegant lady.The comfort to be found whilst relaxing in
... will offer welcomed relief to the days game viewing activities.
Read More.


Trip Information

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Inclusions

Breakfast and dinner daily (hotels and restaurants); most lunches. All accommodation, transport, sightseeing and entrance fees for sites noted as 'visited' in the detailed itinerary. Gratuities for drivers, local guides, restaurant staff, porters. Airport transfers for land & air customers arriving / departing on tour dates.

Exclusions

Tour Leader gratuities, some lunches, drinks, personal items (phone, laundry, etc), international (if applicable) air and airport taxes, early / late arrivals / departures or Land Only customers. Optional trip cancellation insurance. Our post-reservation trip notes offer further guidance on shopping and not included meals.

Seasonality and Weather

Rains fall in summer (Nov-Apr); temperatures are high. Winter nights can be fairly cold, but days are generally warm and pleasant. Our departures occur in the cooler time of year and showers, though short lived, may occur. Expect daytime highs to range from 23-28 C (72-84 F), and cool mornings and nights. Our departures in Oct / Nov will experience hotter temperatures, especially inland (35-40 C / 90 - 100 F), and showers-sometimes heavy-will be a greater likelihood in Nov.

Transport and Travel Conditions

Varies depending on group size. Bus transport may be arranged, or the group may be accommodated in multiple Land Rover type vehicles. These are specially modified vehicles and are the best-suited for the conditions we will encounter. Note that air conditioning is VERY rare in vehicles in Namibia in general, though in a dry climate an open window should provide adequate relief. That said, you must remember that you will be visiting a desert environment in which heat and dust are a fact of life. Namibia is also a huge, sparsely populated country with great distances between facilities. We stop for breaks as often as possible, but you must be prepared for some long days and some early starts. For our full days of game viewing in Etosha we will be using open safari-style vehicles (ie Land Rover / Land cruiser) with space for 4-6.

Accommodation

Well-located, air-conditioned, 3&4-star hotels and lodges with en suite toilet and bath throughout (maybe shower only). Some hotels have hairdryers, irons, and outdoor swimming pools. Porter service is available throughout (see 'Inclusions'). Single rooms are limited and likely smaller than twins. There is no camping.

Staff and Support

Local Tour Leader throughout, drivers, local guides at various locations.

Group Size

6-9 (plus Tour Leader)

NA1 TRIP DETAILS

DURATION12 days

TOUR STARTWindhoek

TOUR ENDWindhoek