Marvel at the highly-adapted wildlife and desolate wilderness landscapes of the Namib Desert and dramatic Skeleton Coast on this guided small group trip to this unique region of Southern Africa.
Travelling as part of a small group escorted by an expert naturalist guide, and staying in comfortable camps and lodges in beautiful locations, gives you privileged access to places that would otherwise be difficult to reach. During this adventure you will walk in the Namib’s great dunes, fly over the Namib Desert and along the wild Skeleton Coastline, take a boat trip to see some magnificent Atlantic marine life, drive through the rugged landscape and track desert-adapted black rhino.
This fun trip reveals some of the most remote areas and astonishing scenic contrasts of this magical country in the convivial company of a small group of like-minded fellow travellers, with an experienced and knowledgeable guide.
Arrive Windhoek; transfer to Sossusvlei
On arrival at Windhoek airport, meet your guide after passing immigration and customs. Once the group has assembled, set off for Kulala Wilderness Reserve, a drive of 330 kilometres i.e. around six hours, through the mountains of the Khomas Hochland and into the iconic Sossusvlei region. On reaching your accommodation, you will have time to relax and recover from the journey. Depending on your arrival time, in late afternoon you will head out for a game drive on the private reserve, a 37,000-hectare tract of land bordering the Namib-Naukluft National Park, near the spectacular sights of Sossusvlei.
Accommodation: Kulala Desert Lodge – 2-nights.
Day and night vehicle and foot safaris plus optional activities
Soon after dawn you head to Sossusvlei to see the world’s highest dunes. In the soft morning light the dunes are flushed with an intense red colour that gradually fades as the sun rises higher and all contrast is lost. There is plenty of time to appreciate the spectacular scenery before you return to camp for a leisurely lunch and siesta. In mid afternoon, you head out again for another activity.
On your drives and walks here, you will see desert-adapted wildlife such as ostrich, springbok and gemsbok (oryx), plus smaller creatures such as bat-eared fox, black-backed jackal and Cape fox. Other highlights include dining under star-filled skies, and watching the blood-red sunset to the accompaniment of a cacophony of barking geckos. Among the many optional activities (at additional cost), you can you can choose from are hot-air balloon trip over the dunes, quad biking and horse-riding.
Scenic flight to Swakopmund
This morning you transfer to the nearby airstrip and board a light aircraft for the flight to Swakopmund, flying over the best-preserved shipwreck in Namibia and an endless sea of sand dunes. On arrival the rest of the day is free to explore the charming colonial town with its architectural beauty and distinctly Germanic air.
Accommodation: Hansa Hotel – 2 nights.
Boat trip, Walvis Bay
The entire day is dedicated to exploring the Atlantic coast around Swakopmund to see its incredible marine life, courtesy of a private catamaran trip from Walvis Bay (weather permitting). You'll visit the oyster beds and learn how oysters are cultivated – with an opportunity to taste them – before moving on to the lighthouse at Pelican Point. In this area you may encounter three species of dolphins: the rare endemic Heaviside's dolphin, dusky and Atlantic bottlenose dolphins. As well as spotting diverse pelagic i.e. ocean-going birdlife, in season you can see pelicans, flamingos, Cape fur seals, massive sunfish, leatherback turtles, plus humpback and southern right whales.
You eventually disembark at a deserted beach at the jetty at Pelican Point, where a local guide for Sandwich Harbour will meet you with a LandRover. From here, you continue to the Kuiseb River Delta, to explore the saltpans and wetlands that lie just north of Sandwich Harbour Lagoon, with a possibility of seeing the famed flamingo population.
Drive northward up the Skeleton Coast
You drive northward along the legendary Skeleton Coast for approximately 380 kilometres (some five hours without stops). Along the way you pass the lichen plains at Wlotskasbaken and visit the remains of the Zelia shipwreck near Henties Bay, the S.W. Seal shipwreck near Ugabmund, and the former mining settlement near Toscanini.
Accommodation: Terrace Bay Lodge – 1 night.
Drive through Skeleton Coast NP to the Palmwag Concession
Today you continue through Skeleton Coast National Park to the Möwe Bay Museum, and visit the site of the Suiderkus shipwreck en route to the Palmwag Concession. Although this is a drive of only 140 kilometres, it can take anything up to 5 hours due to the state of the rugged sand roads in some places. During your stay at Hoanib you will visit the Klein Oase and Auses Springs in the dunes, and enjoy the spectacular desert scenery.
Accommodation: Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp, 2-nights.
Drive through the Palmwag Concession, 2-nights
Continue through the rugged, rocky and mountainous Palmwag Concession, with opportunities to see giraffe, gemsbok (oryx) and springbok en route. This region is particularly known for its desert-adapted plants and wildlife, and you will have an opportunity to track the rare and iconic black rhino, which is monitored and closely protected in this location by the Save the Rhino Trust.
Accommodation: Desert Rhino Camp, 2-nights.
Fly back to Windhoek and depart
This morning transfer to Doro Nawas airstrip, where you board a light aircraft for the flight back to Windhoek in time to catch your international flight home.