This small group tour of Namibia takes in the highlights of this outstanding country: dunes, desert, plains and wildlife - the complete Namibia adventure.
Staying largely in exclusive accommodation in private reserves, you visit Sossusvlei’s soaring dunes, take a boat trip at Swakopmund, explore the desert in Damaraland, and marvel at Etosha’s prolific wildlife. Activities include walking, mountain biking, seeing ancient rock engravings at Twyfelfontein, and rhino tracking.
Day1: Depart the UK
Day2: Arrive Windhoek, transfer to Sossusvlei
On arrival in Windhoek, you will meet your guide and the rest of your group, and set off for Kulala Reserve, a full day's drive drive through the Khomas Hochland mountains and down into the iconic Sossusvlei region. Depending on your arrival time, in the late afternoon you may head out for a vehicle safari on the private Kulala Wilderness Reserve, a 37,000-hectare tract of land bordering Namib-Naukluft National Park near the spectacular sights of Sossusvlei.
Day3: Sossusvlei dunes; day & night vehicle & walking safaris
Soon after dawn you head into Sossusvlei, the world’s highest dunes. In the soft morning light the dunes are flushed an intense red colour that gradually fades as the sun rises higher and contrast is lost. You will have plenty of time to appreciate the spectacular scenery before returning to the camp for lunch and a siesta, after which you head out again for another activity.
On your drives and walks, you should see desert-adapted wildlife such as ostrich, springbok and gemsbok, plus smaller creatures such as black-backed jackal, bat-eared fox and Cape fox. Other highlights include dining under star-filled skies, and watching blood red sunsets accompanied by a cacophony of barking geckos.
Day4: Transfer to Swakopmund
Today you head on to your next destination, Swakopmund - a drive of 350 kilometres. After an early departure you follow the road that snakes through the dramatic Kuiseb Canyon, before eventually arriving in Walvis Bay. From here it is a short distance up the coast to 'Swakop', as it is known. Once you have checked in at the hotel, the rest of the day is free to explore this quaint coastal town with its distinctly Germanic air.
Accommodation: Hansa Hotel, 2-nights
Day5: Swakopmund: boat trip
Today is dedicated to exploring the ice blue Atlantic coast around Swakopmund to see its incredible marine life, with a private catamaran trip from Walvis Bay (weather permitting). You'll visit the oyster platforms to learn how oysters are cultivated - with an opportunity to taste them - before moving on to Pelican Point to see the lighthouse and an area where three species of dolphins may be encountered: the rare endemic Heaviside's dolphin, dusky and Atlantic bottlenose dolphins. As well as spotting diverse pelagic (ocean-going) birdlife, in season you can see pelicans, Cape fur seals, flamingos, massive sunfish, leatherback turtles, humpback and southern right whales.
Day6: Transfer to Damaraland
Continue by road to Damaraland, to the west of the Brandberg Mountain, the second largest monolith in the world after Ayer's Rock in Australia. En route you stop for lunch at the Ugab Save the Rhino Trust Camp - this non-profit organisation has focussed on rhino conservation since the 1980s, and today this area of Namibia boasts the largest concentration of black rhino anywhere on the planet outside a national park. Community game scouts, employed by the trust as monitors, will be your trackers and guides.
Days7-8: Day & night vehicle & walking safaris, mountain biking, Twyfelfontein rock art
During your stay here, you will have plenty of opportunity to explore the Damaraland's spectacular scenery and unique wildlife. Availability of food and water governs the cyclical movements of the rare and endangered desert elephant, black rhino, gemsbok and other species that have successfully adapted to this unforgiving environment. Even lion and cheetah may, occasionally, be seen in the area. Birders have the chance to spot endemic species, Monteiros' hornbill, Ruppell's parrot, plus a wide variety of resident raptors.
This evening, take some time to relax under the night skies - Damaraland’s crystal-clear skies offer fabulous stargazing opportunities.
Day9: Transfer to Ongava Reserve, Etosha National Park
Drive to Ongava Game Reserve (a distance of 330 kilometres and around five hours drive) on the boundary of Etosha National Park, to experience big game viewing at this iconic saltpan.
This morning you embark on a full day wildlife safari in Etosha National Park, exploring the south side of the pan from Okakeujo to Halali. Spending time at waterholes, this is a fabulous opportunity to enjoy the endless vistas and mirages, with unexpected encounters with the prolific wildlife found in the park.
Day11: Transfer to Windhoek & depart
Early this morning you set off for the drive back down Namibia's main highway to Windhoek. Later in the afternoon, check in for your overnight flight back to the UK via Johannesburg.
Day12: Arrive UK
Duration and price including flights from/to UK: 12 daysfrom £3,975 pp
Duration and price excluding international flights: 10 daysfrom £3,075 pp
The Namib Desert is the oldest in the world and the wildlife to be found here is extremely interesting and often totally unique, having adapted itself to the harsh environment. However, the most remarkable sight is at Sossusvlei, where the world’s highest sand dunes tower more than 300 metres.
Where: Karas, Hardap & Erongo Regions
Ideal for viewing: aardwolf, cape fox, gemsbok, springbok, lanner falcon
Excellent for: Walking safaris, Vehicle safaris
Swakopmund is a charming Germanic seaside town, from where there are many excursions. In particular, Walvis Bay has huge colonies of Cape fur seals and is a world-renowned sanctuary for over 160,000 resident birds, as well as a feeding station for around 200,000 waders and terns on their migration routes.
Damaraland is an ancient area of arid plains, deep chasms and dramatic red, rocky peaks, dominated by the huge Brandberg Mountain. With the Atlantic coast nearby, sea mists drift inland providing sustenance to various desert life forms and natural laws of food and water dictate the movement of the desert elephant.
Where: Erongo Region
Ideal for viewing: black rhino, desert elephant, springbok, white-tailed shrike, augur buzzard
Excellent for: Walking safaris, Vehicle safaris
Etosha is considered to be one of the finest sanctuaries in southern Africa. It is famous for its vast, dazzling saltpan with permanent waterholes, which attract a multitude of wildlife particularly during the dry winter. The neighbouring Ongava Private Game Reserve offers the attraction of tracking rhino on foot.
Where: Oshikoto & Oshana Region
Ideal for viewing: black rhino, black-faced impala, damara dik-dik, African elephant, lion
Excellent for: Walking safaris, Vehicle safaris, Just Conservation
This camp is one of Namibia’s best kept secrets. Located in the much-lauded Ongava Game Reserve, south of Etosha National Park, it overlooks a nearby waterhole. Constructed from stone, canvas and thatch, the camp accommodates 16 guests in eight large, comfortable, Meru-style tents.