AT A GLANCE
If you are looking for an African destination that is a perfect mix of wildlife safari, amazing landscapes and authentic cultural experiences, yet it is safe and full of historic elements at the same time, you have found your dream itinerary!
Namibia is truly the most scenic country on the African continent, featuring giant sand dunes, granite rock formations, breath-taking beaches, vast expanses of the Kalahari bush, rolling farm hills, dry lake bottoms and a great variety of valuable habitats for wildlife. Several of its original inhabitants preserved their traditional lifestyle and are happy to share it with visitors. The low population allowed for the establishment of a huge array of protected areas, private conservancies and natural parks. Namibia is beautiful, safe and diverse; this trip is a must for the adventure traveller.
This Private Guided Safari can be booked for any date as per your planned travel dates
Arrival in Windhoek
Welcome to Namibia! After arriving at Hosea Kutako International Airport outside the country’s capital city of Windhoek, a representative will be waiting for you in the arrivals hall of the airport with your name on a signboard. After loading your luggage into the vehicle, it is a short 45 minute drive to Windhoek to your hotel.Windhoek, the capital of Namibia, is encircled by magnificent mountains, expansive valleys, fertile farmlands, lodges and luxury guest farms. The landscape of the Greater Windhoek area surrounding this bustling city is characterised by vast valleys, thick scrub, rocky hills, and covered in golden savannah. . 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. You will have dinner at one of the restaurants in Windhoek and rest up for the adventure to come!
Erindi Private Game Reserve
After an early breakfast at your hotel we will head straight north for about 300 km, with only a short break for lunch, as we make our way towards our first attraction of the safari; Erindi Private Game Reserve.
Erindi is the world’s largest private nature reserve (71,000 hectares/275 sq mi) and the perfect introduction to African wildlife on this safari. Erindi means “place of water” in the local Herero language, and is a sustainable natural wonderland. Erindi has vegetation ranging from savannah plains to thorny bushveld and rocky mountains. Furthermore two perennial rivers flow through the reserve.
The passionate owners have undertaken an immense task to pursue conservation initiatives under the eco-friendly tourism banner, whilst at the same time empowering local communities. Species that were once persecuted by neighbouring farms and villages have a safe haven here; where they are fully protected, rehabilitated, and released back into the wilderness. Several conservation projects are under way to protect and study some very special and endangered mammal species here, including African Wild Dog, pangolin, Honey Badger, Serval and more.
We hope to check in at Erindi in the early afternoon and have a short break. We will then go on a unique game drive and see our first wildlife on this trip! The reserve has incredible fauna and flora diversity, and we could see Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, African Wild Dog, Spotted and Brown Hyaena, African Elephant, Hippopotamus, Black and White Rhinoceros, Common Eland, Giraffe, two species of zebra, Impala, Greater Kudu, Common and Black Wildebeest, Gemsbok, Waterbuck and more.
We will only return to our luxurious accommodation at sunset and have dinner under the vast star-filled African sky.
The San (Bushmen)
As the African rises this morning we will be in the bush greeting it, on our open safari vehicles on another game drive in Erindi.
We will search for all the big mammals, but also look out for smaller creatures like Serval, Caracal, Bat-eared Fox, Black-backed Jackal, Yellow and Banded Mongoose, Meerkat, Common Warthog and many more. Erindi is also home to more than 300 species of birds, and some of the specials include Crimson-breasted Shrike, Ruppell’s Parrot, Rosy-faced Lovebird, Violet Woodhoopoe, Pygmy Falcon, Cape Vulture, Verreaux’s Eagle and many more.
A full breakfast will attract us back to the lodge, and as soon as we are done we will hit the road again. We are heading northeast, for about 5 hours, to one of the most remote corners of Namibia, and home to the Bushmen (San) people. Only dedicated travellers venture here, but it is certainly worth the effort!
After a quick stop to admire the world’s largest (estimated at 60 tonnes!) known intact meteorite at Hoba, we will enjoy lunch in the nearby town of Grootfontein. We then make our way to our lodge where we will spend the night. Our lodge, Roy’s Camp, is situated on a game farm and is the perfect base from which to explore and spend time with the Bushmen/San people.
The San are hunter-gatherer people, indigenous to southern Africa, who are extremely successful at surviving in the bush and desert despite their limited technology and weaponry. They are descendants of prehistoric people who had migrated from southern Africa northwards into east and central African before returning to the southern tip of the continent. They belong to the Khoisan group that speak the “click” languages. They are famous for their rock engravings and researchers’ interpretation of the San people is that their beliefs and rituals are very much a part of their art.
We plan to be back at the lodge just before sunset so we can enjoy the brilliant red and orange hues with a drink in hand. We will follow this with dinner and a good night’s rest.
Bushmen and off to Etosha National Park
After an early breakfast we will make our way to meet up with the Ju/’hoansi Bushmen, who live in small villages scattered across Bushmanland. After a quick introduction and greeting ceremony, we set off into the bush with the village hunters. We will spend most of the morning with them, looking for prey to shoot with their poisoned arrows, as well as for edible roots, berries, honeycombs and whatever else would be welcomed by the rest of the villagers. It is a fascinating experience walking with these men, whose knowledge of the bush and all its inhabitants is simply astounding.
We will break for an early lunch before we have our interaction with the women of the village this time. Their job, among others, is to process whatever the hunter-gatherers brought back to the village this morning. If we are lucky and it was a good bounty, we might even witness one of their original, traditional, singing and dancing celebrations.
In the afternoon we will make our way northwest for about 3 hours to our next exciting destination; the Etosha National Park! We will reach our lodge just outside the park’s eastern gate in time for dinner and then enjoy a good night’s sleep.
Etosha National Park (eastern side)
We will explore the eastern side of world famous Etosha park today, going for a morning drive after breakfast and returning for lunch and a break in the heat of the day.
Undoubtedly one of the great parks of Africa, the huge Etosha National Park in north-central Namibia covers more than 22,300 km2 (8,620 sq mi) and is synonymous with big game and wide open spaces. The name Etosha actually means “great white place” referring to the massive (130km long and 50km wide) dry pan in the middle of the park, believed to have been formed over 100 million years ago.
Etosha is home to a staggering amount of wildlife, both common and rare, including several threatened and endangered species. The mammal list is at over 110 species, including four of Africa’s Big Five, Cheetah, Giraffe, Spotted Hyaena, Zebra (2 species), Greater Kudu, Springbok, Gemsbok (Namibia’s national animal), Common Warthog, Honey Badger and many more. It is the best place in the world to see Black Rhinoceros.
In the drier months of the year, almost all the animals tend to congregate around the waterholes dotted around the massive park. They come to drink water and are inevitably followed by predators; this allows us to sit and wait at some of the waterholes and wait for the action to come to us. This is what sets Etosha apart from other parks in southern or east Africa; unique indeed!
We will return to the park for an afternoon game drive and then enjoy dinner back at the lodge again. Remember to look up before settling into your bed tonight – the African night sky, undisturbed by city lights out here in the bush, is truly amazing.
Etosha National Park (eastern side)
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.
Etosha not only boasts some fantastic mammals, but also has a bird list of more than 350 species, including regional specials like Kori Bustard, Blue Crane, Violet Woodhoopoe, Ruppell’s Parrot, Pygmy and Red-necked Falcon, Bare-cheeked and Southern Pied Babbler, and Burchell’s and Double-banded Courser. We will naturally look for these on our drives in the park, as well as around our lodge grounds.
Tonight we will again sit around a fire after dinner, chat about the day’s sightings and enjoy another spectacular African night sky.
Etosha National Park (south-western side)
We have another full day to enjoy Etosha today, but we will also slowly make our way to the southwestern side of the park, where we will overnight today. We will stop at Halali camp in the middle of the park for lunch.
Named a game reserve in 1907 by the governor of then-German South West Africa, Etosha was elevated to the status of national park in 1967 by an act of parliament of the Republic of South Africa which administered South West Africa during that time. Since then it has become one of the main reasons visitors from all over the globe come to Namibia, and annual numbers are over 200,000. Although Etosha is best known today as a spectacular refuge for an abundance of animals, it is also a part of the world that is providing critical evidence for the existence and evolution of ancestral animals. The rocks in the hills near Halali camp have revealed fossil life as old as 650 million years!
Etosha is also a photographer’s dream, with the contrasts in light, colour and textures particularly dramatic. Many a guest’s “lifer shots” of African animal and bird species were taken in this park. The sunrises and sunsets are particularly spectacular, so better get those cameras and phones ready!
After another fantastic day in the park, we will reach or camp and freshen up. We will either be staying in a ccamp inside the park or just outside the park’s gate. We will then enjoy dinner and a good night’s rest. One of the great features of the camps inside Etosha is the floodlit waterholes at the perimeter fence, where guests can sit and enjoy game coming to drink only a few metres away; a special treat that to remember forever!
We will leave Etosha relatively early this morning, making our way further north. We are heading for a small town called Opuwo, about 4 to 5 hours away. We will naturally stop for any exciting wildlife sightings along the road or if we see some beautiful landscape features. Opuwo is the only bigger town to be found in the Kunene region and is an ideal stopover when travelling north to the stunning Epupa Falls. The only airport of the region is found here, offering the option of fly-in safaris.
The Kunene region is home to the Himba tribe who seem to thrive in this stark desert landscape. The Himba people, one of the last true nomadic tribes on Earth, is a highlight on any visit to the area, with their intricate customs and traditions, ochre-covered bodies and elaborate jewellery. They are pastoral people who follow their cattle and goats in search of good grazing. They are descendants of the earlies Hereros, who migrated here from Botswana early in the 16th century. Today the Himba are believed to number about 16,000, living mostly off the milk and meat of their livestock. Like the Maasai people of East Africa cattle are the central and most important feature of their lives, representing status and wealth.
We hope to arrive in time for lunch and the entire afternoon is dedicated to our interaction with the fascinating Himba people. We are guaranteed to learn a great deal!
We will arrive at our lodge for the evening in the late afternoon. It is beautifully located with great views of the surrounding landscape. We will have dinner and good night’s sleep after yet another great day in Namibia.
After breakfast this morning we head directly south. It is a long drive to our next destination, but the road trip will be worth it. We will traverse dry riverbeds and rocky plains and ruggedly beautiful terrain when we reach the edge of Damaraland.
This beautiful mountainous region is home to an assortment of scientifically important desert adapted wildlife such as African Elephant, Black Rhinoceros and Lion, which somehow survive and thrive in this near-barren landscape. We hope to see some of them; a special treat indeed!
After a picnic lunch en route we will stop and admire the “petrified forest” rock formation, believed to be more than 200 million years old! Here we will also look out for the Namib Desert’s weird-looking living fossil plant, the Welwitschia, the longest living plant on earth.
Before we check into our lodge this evening, we will visit two more fascinating geological formations, the “organ pipes” arrangement (a distinctive series of dolerite pillars that have been exposed by erosion) and the much-photographed “burnt mountain” (a flat-topped mountain that derives its name from the piles of blackened limestone at its base).
After sunset we will freshen up and gather for dinner in dramatic Damaraland.
Skeleton Coasta and Swakopmund
We start the morning with breakfast after which we proceed southward to Twyfelfontein.
Meaning “uncertain spring” in Afrikaans, Twyfelfontein is a massive open-air art gallery that is of great interest to international rock art connoisseurs, and another of Namibia’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. 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.
We will follow our Twyfelfontein stop with an interesting stop at the abandoned mining town of Uis. We will take a short break here to take some photographs and learn about the history of mining in Namibia.
We will drive past 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.
We then continue to the Atlantic coast, crossing the desolate gravel plains of the Namib Desert before arriving at the Skeleton Coast and having a roadside lunch break. This bleak and evocatively named area is one of the most unusual coastal wildernesses on the planet, protecting about a third (500 km) 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.
We are here to see some of the many shipwrecks along the coast, but also to visit Cape Cross and its famous seal colony. It is the breeding place of over 200,000 South African Fur Seals Arctocephalus pusillus. It is a protected area owned by the government of Namibia with the official title of Cape Cross Seal Reserve, and is also a National Heritage Site. We will be able to view the seals from a 200m long walkway, constructed of recycled plastic. Other facilities include information points, toilets, campsites and a picnic spot. Cape Cross has both historic and biological significance and is a popular tourist attraction. Apart from the seals, there are also other fauna to be seen here, including Brown Hyaena, Black-backed Jackal, Greater and Lesser Flamingo, Grey Phalarope, Damara Tern, Cape Teal, Black-necked Grebe and African Black Oystercatcher.
After this very informative excursions we will continue south along the coast to Swakopmund, the first place that will feel like a town since we left Windhoek many days ago! After checking in at our hotel we will explore this charming holiday town on foot before sunset.
Swakopmund has made a name for itself as the activity and sport capital of Namibia, but this town offers so much more. Sandwiched between the hot, arid desert and the cold waters of the Atlantic, Swakop (as the locals call it) is one of the most fascinating colonial towns in all of Africa. It is a heady mix of South African, Namibian and German cultures, architecture, languages and cuisine. For the adventurous there is quadbiking, sandboarding, kitesurfing, skydiving, angling, mountain biking, scenic flights over the coastline and much more. It is the most popular holiday destination in the country, with both locals and foreigners loving the laid-back atmosphere, good restaurants, top coffee shops, many activities and the temperate climate.
Nearby Walvis Bay, Namibia’s major harbour town, is well known for the lagoon and its prolific bird life. The Walvis Bay lagoon and salt pans are regarded as the most important coastal wetland in southern Africa, as over 150,000 migrant birds spend the summer months there. Over 150 different bird species have been recorded in this region, along with 11 types of chameleons, lizards and geckos, and 13 species of mammal (including Pygmy Rock Mouse, Littledale’s Whistling Rat and Setzer’s Hairy-footed Gerbil) that also reside in the area.
We will have dinner in town and return to our hotel for a good night’s rest.
Living Desert Experience and off to the Namib Desert
After a relaxed breakfast in Swakopmund we will depart for a Living Desert Experience, a unique adventure indeed and a real eye opener!
We will encounter and learn more about the fascinating wildlife of the Namib Desert with the help of a local expert. This seemingly dead environment supports a wealth of animal and plant life that have adapted in wonderful ways to survive and thrive here. We will look for geckos, scorpions, snakes, skinks, 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.
After a quick stop for lunch we will be in the vehicle and make our way further south toward iconic Sossusvlei, turning inland and traversing the vast Namib-Naukluft Park. Our entire drive today takes place 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.
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.
We will reach our accommodation as the sun is disappearing behind the horizon, painting the surrounding sand dunes flaming red. A hearty Namibian dinner and an early bedtime will ensure that we have enough energy for an early start tomorrow.
Sossusvlei, Deadvlei and Sesriem Canyon
We will again be up before the sun this morning, and we hope to be close to the world’s highest sand dunes by the time the first rays appear. It is a magical place to be as the sun rises, with incredible photographic opportunities.
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. It is one of the top tourist destinations in all of southern Africa and a must-see attraction when visiting Namibia. 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.
From our lodge we drive in the ancient dry bed of the Tsauchab river, stopping regularly at all the famous spots, climbing a few dunes, all the while making our way slowly to the world famous Dead Vlei. Dead Vlei is a paradise for photographers, as it is punctuated by blackened, long-dead trees, in vivid contrast to the shiny white of the salty floor of the pan and the intense orange of the dunes.
Our last excursion will be at Sesriem Canyon. It is a narrow gorge of 1km long and up to 30m deep slashed into the earth by the Tsauchab river millions of years ago, and is located near the entrance to Sossusvlei. 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. It is an interesting place to walk and appreciate the many geological features.
It will take most of the day to explore this wonderland, so we will only return to our lodge in the afternoon. Just before sunset we will be back at our accommodation to enjoy our last dinner together after a magical Namibian adventure.
After a relaxing final breakfast together we will depart for Windhoek. It is a 5 to 6 hour drive northwards to the capital. We will drive through the Namib Desert for the last time. It is the oldest desert and boasts the highest sand dunes in the world.
We will drive up to the Khomas Highland via one of the many scenic mountain passes, and remember to keep an eye out for some wildlife before we reach Windhoek. We might see Common Ostrich, Gemsbok, Pale Chanting Goshawk, Sociable Weavers or even a Greater Kudu.
In Windhoek we will either take you to your hotel (if you are planning a longer stay in the capital), or to the Hosea Kutako International Airport for your homeward flight or for your connecting flight if you decide to combine this safari with an extension to the Caprivi, Victoria Falls, Botswana, Zambia or South Africa. We will gladly assist with accommodation in Windhoek should you need to stay over.
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