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.
Day1: Depart the UK
Day2: Arrive Windhoek; transfer to Sossusvlei
On arrival at Windhoek airport, meet your guide and the rest of the group, then set off for Kulala Wilderness Reserve. The journey takes 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. Time permitting, in the late afternoon, head out for a vehicle safari on the private reserve, a 37,000-hectare tract of land bordering the Namib-Naukluft National Park.
Day3: Day & night vehicle and foot safaris, plus optional activities
Soon after dawn you head to Sossusvlei to see the world’s highest dunes. Early morning is the best time to view and photography the dramatic dunes, as they are tinted with an intense reddish colour that gradually fades as the sun rises. Return to camp for lunch, and in the afternoon, head out again for another activity.
On your drives and walks in the Sossusvlei/Sesriem area, you will get to see a variety of desert-adapted wildlife such as gemsbok (oryx), ostrich and springbok, together with some of Namibia's smaller creatures such as 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. There also some more adventurous optional activities available (at additional cost).
Day4: Scenic flight to Swakopmund
This morning you transfer to the nearby airstrip and board a light aircraft 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 this charming colonial town with its architectural beauty.
Accommodation: Hansa Hotel, 2-nights
Day5: Swakopmund: boat trip Walvis Bay
The entire day is dedicated to exploring the Atlantic coast around Swakopmund. A boat trip will take you from Walvis Bay to visit the oyster beds, before moving on to Pelican Piont lighthouse, where you may encounter the rare endemic Heaviside's dolphin, dusky dolphin and Atlantic bottlenose dolphin. As well as diverse pelagic i.birdlife, in season you may see pelicans, flamingos, Cape fur seals, sunfish, leatherback turtles, plus southern right and humpback whales.
You eventually disembark at a deserted beach at the jetty at Pelican Point, from where you continue by 4 wheel drive 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.
Day6: Drive northward up the Skeleton Coast
Driving northward along the legendary Skeleton Coast, 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. Overnight at a remote camp with beautiful views of the ocean.
Accommodation: Terrace Bay Lodge, 1-night
Days7-8: Drive through Skeleton Coast National Park
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. The next day, visit the Klein Oase and Auses Springs in the dunes, and enjoy the spectacular desert scenery.
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.
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.
The Skeleton Coast is one of the most beautiful places on earth, with soaring dunes and plains to deep canyons, mountains, saltpans and freshwater springs. Wildlife includes huge colonies of Cape fur seals, and travelling by light aircraft provides stunning views of the coastline and its remarkable natural features.
Where: Erongo & Kunene Regions
Ideal for viewing: brown hyena, cape fur seal, desert elephant, gemsbok, Hartmann’s mountain zebra
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
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
Operated in conjunction with Save the Rhino Trust, this camp is set in the Palmwag Concession amongst rolling hills with scattered euphorbia and ancient welwitschia plants. It has eight large Meru-style en suite tents, and the dining area offers uninterrupted views of the desert and mountains.
This remote camp, with just seven tents, occupies a broad valley at the confluence of two tributaries of the Hoanib River in the northern section of the private Palmwag Concession. Its scenic location is one of the most isolated areas of the Kaokoveld and only accessible by light aircraft.
Kulala Desert Lodge consists of 12 thatched and canvas chalets in the heart of the Namib Desert, in a large private reserve bordering the Namib-Naukluft Park. The main verandah overlooks a waterhole, and there are early morning guided drives to the nearby spectacular red dunes of Sossusvlei.