This is a tour of the magnificently rugged Namibia - home to the oldest desert in the world, the Namib, as well as the semi-desert Kalahari (Kgalagadi).
Arrive Windhoek, the capital city. A short tour of the city centre, including the Christuskirche, Tintenpalast and Alte Feste museum – with time for changing money and any necessary shopping. Dinner at Joe’s Beerhouse – a typical Namibian feast!
Travel south via the towns of Rehoboth (the Baster “capital” of Namibia), Kalkrand and Mariental; then west via Maltahohe – into the heart of the Namib Desert. To the magnificent Desert Homestead Lodge, on the edge of the vast Sossusvlei dune sea. (www.deserthomestead-namibia.com)
Sossusvlei. Today we rise EARLY in order to get into the dunes before sunrise. Travel via Dune 45 into the heart of the dunes. Explore the Sossusvlei and Dead Vlei dunes among the highest in the world – looking out for desert life such as the oryx antelope, side-winding adder, barking gecko and the magical fruit of the Namib, the Nara melon. Return via the Sesriem Canyon. Snacks and cold drink stops en route. Afternoon at leisure to relax at the pool – and get the Namib sand out of every corner of your body! Or an optional horse ride can be arranged.
Travel via the tiny desert settlements of Bullsport, Klein Aub and Rietoog, over the awesome Remhoogte Mountain Pass, then via the capital, and north to the Dusternbrook Game Farm, in the Khomas Hochland Mountains north of the city. Late afternoon hiking trail or simply relax at the pool. (www.duesternbrook.net)
Early morning leopard-viewing game drive followed by breakfast. Then it’s on to Namibia’s premier Atlantic coastal resort of Swakopmund, via the towns of Okahandja, Karibib and Usakos. A bizarre anachronism, Swakopmund is like a piece of 19th century Imperial Germany picked up and dumped on the edge of the desert! Weird architecture, German bakeries and bookshops, a wonderful lighthouse and museum – Swakopmund is the place to immerse yourself in colonial history for a while! Overnight at the Brigadoon Guest House. Dinner (to own account) at one of the many fine restaurants in the town – seafood and German cuisine being the specialities of the place! (www.wheretostay.co.za/brigadoon.htm)
Swakopmund. Full day at leisure to explore the town and surrounds on foot – with many optional adventure activities like sand-boarding, paragliding, hot air ballooning, dune biking etc. available for the adrenaline junkies!
Travel north via the towns of Omaruru and Kalkveld to Outjo, centre of the huge northern cattle-farming district. Then head west into the vast open spaces of the Damaraland province. Check into the superb Vingerklip Lodge, on the slopes of the famous Vingerklip. Afternoon at leisure to explore on foot this stunning rock formation. (www.vingerklip.com.na)
Vingerklip. We spend the day exploring some of the fascinating art / archaeological / geological spots in the area, including the World Heritage site at Twyfelfontein (some of the finest San rock engravings in southern Africa) and the Burnt Mountain and Organ Pipes rock formations.
We travel via Outjo, and then north to the Etosha National Park, Namibia’s most famous game reserve. Check into en suite bungalow accommodation at the Okakuejo Restcamp. Relax at the pool or at the game-viewing platform next to the waterhole - a particularly rewarding game-viewing spot, especially at night when rhino and elephant come to drink. Dinner under the incredible Namibian night sky – perhaps accompanied by the distant roars of lions or howls of hyenas! (www.namibiawildliferesorts.com)
Etosha. Today we take a slow drive east through the park, game-viewing en route. The park is home to four of the “Big Five” – rhino, elephant, lion and leopard – as well as zebra, giraffe, cheetah and any number of antelope species including the tiniest antelope of them all, the Damara Dikdik. To the Fort Namutoni Restcamp – built in and around the original German military fort. – and check into en suite bungalows. Afternoon at leisure to relax at the pool or at the water-hole. Late afternoon / evening game drive.
Etosha. Early morning and late afternoon / evening game drives, with plenty of time in between to relax and enjoy the tranquility of the wilderness.
Exit the park, and travel via the subterranean Lake Otjikoto and the mining town of Tsumeb – the gemstone capital of Namibia - to the Waterberg Plateau National Park. Bernabe de la Bat Camp chalet accommodation. The park, with its sheer cliffs and towering rock formations, is the breeding ground of a number of rare game species, including rhinoceros, buffalo and sable and roan antelope. Check into en suite bungalows – and relax at the pool or take a short hike up to the top of the plateau – before a 15h00 open-vehicle game drive. (www.namibiawildliferesorts.com)
A short drive to the magnificent Okonjima Lodge, near the town of Otjiwarongo - home to the Africat Foundation. Lunch and relax before an afternoon drive in quest of the big African cats – lion, leopard and cheetah. Dinner under the stars. (www.okonjima.com)
After an early morning game drive and hearty bush breakfast, we travel via Okahandja – with a stop for craft and curio shopping en route - to Windhoek.
Transfer to Windhoek International Airport for return flights.