AT A GLANCE
This 7 day safari will take to you to two of Namibia’s must see natural wonders, starting in Etosha which,one of Africa’s best game viewing destinations. We will stop over in Windhoek whereafter we will visit the Namib Desert and Sossusvlei, home to some of the highest sand dunes in the world. The safari promises a wonderful trip with our expert-guide, showing you extraordinary wildlife & mammals, beautiful landscapes and unique birds in the country of Namibia.
This Private Guided Safari can be booked for any date as per your planned travel dates
Arrival in Windhoek, drive to Etosha National Park
Welcome to Namibia! Your Nature Travel Namibia guide will pick you up this morning at your hotel in the city, or at the Hosea Kutako International Airport outside of the city if you flew in. After loading your luggage into one of our comfortable airconditioned vehicles, we will start making our way to our destination; the world famous Etosha National Park!We will only be driving through Windhoek today, but if you have an extra day or two it is a very interesting small city to visit, with many top attractions close by. 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.
We will drive northwards for about 5 hours, passing through the towns of Okahandja (known as Namibia’s Garden Town where two major rivers converge), Otjiwarongo (a fast-growing town with a large German-speaking population) and Outjo, best known as the gateway town to Etosha, but also home to the Rare and Endangered Species Trust (REST), where one of our sister companies runs a wildlife veterinarian rehabilitation clinic. On our drive today we will also pass close by to some of Namibia’s famous smaller parks and private game reserves, including Erindi, the Waterberg Plateau Park and Okonjima.
We will enjoy lunch somewhere along the route, and you might get to sample some of Namibia’s unique and tasty Afro-German cuisine! It is also worth keeping an eye out for wildlife during our drive, as Namibia is fairly unique in that most animals roam freely in the vast open spaces of the countryside. We might get to see some interesting fauna and flora, including Common Ostrich, Gemsbok, Pale Chanting Goshawk, Sociable Weavers or even a Greater Kudu.
We will arrive at our lodge on the southwestern side of Etosha late in the afternoon and settle in to our accommodation. If there is time it might be fun to walk around the lodge grounds looking for interesting smaller fauna and local flora. Our accommodation for tonight is in an area perfectly situated to explore Etosha and all that it offers. We will enjoy dinner and have a good night’s rest; tomorrow we hit Etosha properly!
Etosha National Park (southern side)
We will get up fairly early this morning, but it will be worth it! We will begin exploring the southwestern region of the vast Etosha National Park, driving slowly and keeping our eyes open for movement and listening for tell-tale sounds in the bush.
Undoubtedly one of the great parks of Africa, Etosha 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. The San Bushmen people tell of a raid on a village where all of the men and children were slaughtered, sparing only the women. One of the women was so distraught about the death of her family that she cried and cried until her tears formed a massive lake. When the lake dried up there was nothing left apart from a huge white pan, the Etosha pan.
Among many other highlights, 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!
We will do a morning game drive, stopping somewhere for coffee and rusks, a classic thing to do on a southern African safari! We will return to our lodge in the heat of the day (it gets hot even in winter!) to have lunch and maybe a short siesta. We will again go out in the afternoon for a game drive, looking for some of the amazing fauna and flora that make us wax lyrical about this park!
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!
We will not only search for the big mammals that Etosha is famous for, but also look out for some of our feathered friends. Etosha has a bird list of more than 350 species, including regional specials like Kori Bustard, Blue Crane, Violet Wood Hoopoe, Ruppell’s Parrot, Pygmy and Red-necked Falcon, Bare-cheeked and Southern Pied Babbler, and Burchell’s and Double-banded Courser.
Other notable birds that we will look for include Etosha’s 35 species of raptors (including Bateleur, Tawny Eagle and Lappet-faced Vulture), the colourful Lilac-breasted Roller, Monteiro’s and Bradfield’s Hornbill, Carp’s Tit, loud Rosy-faced Lovebirds, striking Crimson-breasted Shrike, Shaft-tailed Whydah and many more. One of the most spectacular sights occurs in years of good rains when the Etosha pan fills with water; this attracts thousands of flamingos – seeing this sea of bright pink in the middle of the desert is truly unforgettable!
We will enjoy dinner and maybe even sit around the camp fire reminiscing about Namibia and its wide open spaces with a drink in hand. 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 (southern and eastern sides)
We will enjoy another morning and afternoon game drive in Etosha today, but we will also slowly make our way to the eastern side of the park, where we will overnight tonight.
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 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 (Rhino, African Elephant, Lion and Leopard), fleet-footed Cheetah, Spotted Hyaena, Giraffe, two species of zebra, Common Eland, Greater Kudu, Hartebeest (Red, or caama subspecies), Common Wildebeest, Springbok and the beautiful Gemsbok, Namibia’s national animal. Smaller species include Common Warthog, aptly named Bat-eared Fox, South African Ground Squirrel, Caracal, Black-backed Jackal, the tough-as-nails Honey Badger and many more.
One of the best reasons (from a wildlife point of view) to visit Etosha is its healthy population of the iconic Black Rhinoceros. This amazing beast is endangered and the waterholes are probably among the best places in the world to see this precious animal. Another rare and endangered species is the Black-faced Impala, which can be seen all around. The animals are very relaxed and will provide you with some excellent photographic opportunities.
One of the many unique features of Etosha is the fact that there are natural waterholes scattered around the park. The tourist roads skirt these waterholes and provide some stunning interaction with all sorts of wildlife. It is an unforgettable experience to sit and watch different species of mammals and birds come to drink at one of the waterholes. Some spectacular footage have been shot at these waterholes, with predator-prey interactions especially common.
We will either enjoy a packed lunch on the way east today, or stop at one of Etosha’s tourist rest camps and enjoy a sit-down lunch.
We will not only look at and photograph the big animals and Etosha’s many bird species, but we will also search for other fauna like reptiles, with Etosha containing more species of reptiles than mammals! Some of the more common ones we are likely to encounter include Fitzsimons’ Thick-toed Gecko, Namaqua Chameleon, and many lizards. Snakes are also fairly common, with regular sightings of Black Mamba, Boomslang and Anchieta’s Cobra.
Our guides pride themselves on knowing everything about all of Etosha’s fauna and flora, so if you have a particular interest please don’t hesitate to ask your guide about anything you want to; they love the challenge!
Tonight we will again enjoy an Etosha dinner together, chat about the day’s sightings and enjoy another spectacular African night sky.
Etosha National Park to Windhoek
After an early morning game drive or a relaxing breakfast together we will return to Windhoek. It is a 5 to 6 hour drive southwards to the capital.
In Windhoek we will take you to a comfortable hotel or guesthouse to check in. If time allows we might get to enjoy some of the attractions that the capital city of Namibia offers, like the Namibia Craft Centre, the National Museum of Namibia or the beautiful Christuskirche.
We will get together for dinner at one of the many excellent restaurants in the city, and then return to our hotel or guesthouse for a good night’s rest. Tomorrow the second part of our exciting trip starts!
Windhoek to Sossusvlei
After breakfast at the hotel or guesthouse we will depart for Sossusvlei. We will drive through the Khomas Highland and down the escarpment via one of the many scenic mountain passes into the Namib Desert. This beautiful journey will take about 4 to 5 hours, depending on the number of stops for photographs.
We will reach our accommodation in the early afternoon and enjoy lunch. If there is time before our afternoon excursion it might be fun to walk around the lodge grounds looking for interesting smaller fauna and local flora. Our accommodation for tonight is in an area perfectly situated to explore the surrounding desert and its many attractions.
In the late afternoon we will embark on a dune drive, exploring the stunning Namib desert by 4×4 vehicle. Get your cameras ready, because this is a truly stunning experience that will stay in your memory forever.
We will return to the lodge to sit around the fire and have dinner, chatting about the unexpected beauty of the Namib desert. We will then retire to our rooms for a good night’s sleep before we hit the big dunes tomorrow!
After an early breakfast we will depart for an exciting full day excursion to Sossusvlei and nearby Dead Vlei, where we will spend a couple of hours. 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.
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.
We will have plenty of time to enjoy some of the many highlights that surrounds Sossusvlei itself:
• Dune 45, the most photographed dune on earth (situated 45 km past Sesriem on the road to Sossusvlei)
• Hiddenvlei, perfect if you are looking for solitude in the desert
• The magnificently tall Big Daddy dune
• Deadvlei, a paradise for photographers, as it is punctuated by blackened, dead acacia trees, in vivid contrast to the shiny white of the salty floor of the pan and the intense orange of the dunes
• Sesriem Canyon, a narrow gorge of 1 km long and up to 30 m deep slashed into the earth by the Tsauchab river millions of years ago. 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.
We will have a packed lunch today, in the shade of some of the biggest dunes on the planet. We will return to our lodge late in the afternoon for our final dinner together and another night under the breathtakingly bright Milky Way out here in the desert.
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