Visit some of Namibia’s finest national parks, as well as stops in Botswana and Zimbabwe, to follow herds of elephant and enjoy the rich diversity of wildlife.
The tour begins in Windhoek, with an overnight stay to relax after the flight, before venturing into the wild Namib Desert. Enjoy exploring Sossusvlei and Naukluft National Park to observe the unique wildlife, including the rare and elusive aardvark. With guaranteed clear nights, star-gazing here is superb, and is considered to be the finest star-gazing spots in southern Africa.
The tour continues north to Swakopmund, for a chance to see the spectacular sand dunes of the Skeleton Coast, before heading to Damaraland. Here, there is a chance to look for the rare and endangered desert elephant, as well as black rhino, gemsbok, kudu and springbok. Before leaving Namibia, visit the famous Etosha National Park, one of Africa’s largest protected areas..
Crossing into Botswana, two nights are spent exploring the waterways of the magnificent Okavango Delta, where island accommodation provides numerous opportunities to explore by mokoro (traditional boat). Return to Namibia, for a night in the Caprivi to visit the Zambezi’s tributaries, before travelling back to Botswana, into Chobe National Park. This park is home to one of the highest concentrations of wildlife found on the African continent, and you will spend an afternoon here on the Chobe River.
The last stop of the tour is the spectacular Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, with opportunities to view the falls, go birdwatching in the nearby forest, or relax by the pool following an adventure-filled tour of southern Africa.
Day1: Depart UK
Day2: Arrive Windhoek
On arrival, you will be transferred from the airport to your overnight accommodation in Windhoek. The rest of the afternoon and evening is at your leisure.
Accommodation: Guesthouse, 1-night
Day3: Transfer to the Namib Desert
This morning, meet your tour leader before setting out towards Sossusvlei and Naukluft National Park. The scenic drive follows the rolling hills south of Windhoek, before dropping down onto desert plains for a stop at Solitaire, for a chance to taste the world’s best apple pie!. In the afternoon, travel into the Namib Desert to enjoy the vast open space surrounding the overnight lodge, and relax amidst the picturesque scenery.
A full day in the desert is spent in the Namib Naukluft Park to witness the magnificent landscapes of Sossusvlei and Deadvlei. These clay pans are formed by the occasional flooding of the Tsauchab River. Sossusvlei is dotted with ancient camel thorn trees, while the trees on Deadvlei are lifeless and stark against the backdrop of magnificent orange sand dunes. The wildlife found here is interesting and often unique, and large mammals include springbok, gemsbok, ostrich and wild horses. The rare and elusive aardvark is occasionally sighted at night, along with Cape fox, polecats, aardwolf and other nocturnal animals. With no light pollution and virtually guaranteed clear nights the Namib is considered to be one of the finest star-gazing areas in southern Africa.
Travelling north towards the Atlantic Coast, the cooler sea breezes are a welcome change from the hot desert climate. Swakopmund lies at the mouth of the Swakop River which flows infrequently but forms the northern boundary of the relentlessly northward migrating sand dunes. Here, there is an opportunity to take an optional scenic flight to observe the magnificent landscapes along the Skeleton Coast.
Accommodation: Zum Kaiser, 1-night
Days6-7: Brandberg Massif
Heading inland towards the Tsiseb Conservancy and the Brandberg – a mountainous granite outcrop – there is an opportunity to look for the rare desert elephant. Standing at over 2,600 metres, the Brandberg Massif towers above the surrounding plains and contains more than 1,000 rock shelters and an impressive 45,000 rock paintings, including the famous ‘White Lady’.
Your lodge is situated in the dry Ugab River Valley, home to the desert elephants. With their extensive range and elusive nature, a sighting cannot be guaranteed, however, you will enjoy a fascinating exploration of the local area, accompanied by an expert local guide. Other species you may encounter include black rhino, gemsbok, kudu and springbok. Birders will not be disappointed as there is a chance to see the endemic Monteiros’ hornbill, Ruppell’s parrot, white-tailed shrike, rockrunner and Herero chat.
Accommodation: Brandberg White Lady Lodge, 2-nights
Day8: Etosha National Park
Today, travel north towards Namibia’s premier national park, Etosha, which is formed from remnants of a large salt pan which dried out thousands of years ago.
Your camp this evening is ideally located on the edge of a floodlit waterhole, where there are chances to catch a glimpse of nocturnal animals that come to drink, including the rare black rhino, lion and possibly leopard.
Accommodation: Okaukuejo Rest Camp or Halali Camp, 1-night
Day9: Etosha National Park
Spend a full day exploring Etosha National Park on a vehicle safari in search of the region's prolific wildlife. The highlight of any trip here are the elephants, which are often coated in white salt dust from the pan and make for fantastic photographs.
Accommodation: Namutoni Camp, 1-night
Day10: Etosha National Park, transfer to Grootfontein
Today is spent mostly in Etosha National Park, before transferring to your accommodation in the Grootfontein District. On the way, a stop is made at the Hoba meteorite – at over 60 tonnes, it the largest known meteorite on earth.
Driving north-east, we head into the Okavango Region towards our next nightstop situated along the Kavango River. This river flows from Angola, across the Caprivi and feeds the Okavango Delta where there are excellent birdwatching opportunities.
Accommodation: Nunda River Lodge, 1-night
Days12-13: Okavango Delta
Before leaving Namibia, there is time to visit the Mahango Game Reserve in the Caprivi. This area is part of a trans-frontier park, which allows wildlife to move freely across the area, and makes this region a hidden gem. It is as rich in wildlife as more popular areas such as Chobe National Park and the Okavango Delta. It will be possible to compare the likeness, as later in the day, you cross the Botswana border at Mohembo and head south to our lodge on the Okavango Pan Handle. From the lodge, venture out into the tranquil reed-lined rivers, crystal clear waters and abundant birdlife, with plenty of time to rest, relax and enjoy views of the beautiful Okavango Delta.
Note: In 2019, we will stay at the Guma Lagoon Camp.
Today, cross back into Namibia across the Caprivi Strip, for an afternoon boat safari in the wildlife-rich Kwando River.
Accommodation: Camp Kwando, 1-night
Day15: Chobe National Park
Today, cross back into Botswana across the Ngoma border, and head to Chobe National Park. The afternoon is spent on the Chobe River, where the focus will be the large numbers of elephants drinking at the water’s edge. Other wildlife you may encounter include lion, wild dog, cheetah, giraffe, leopard, blue wildebeest, bushbuck, impala, spotted and striped hyena, roan, sable, warthog, greater kudu, puku, red lechwe and huge numbers of hippo.
Accommodation: Chobe Safari Lodge, 1-night
Day16: Victoria Falls
The final destination on your trip is the spectacular Victoria Falls, accessed from the Zimbabwean side. The spray from the falls has supported the lush rainforest that surrounds it, and provides a haven for birdlife, including grey-headed parrot, African skimmer, white-backed night heron, African finfoot, collared palm thrush, and western-banded snake eagle.
Accommodation: Bayete Guest Lodge, 1-night
Day17: Victoria Falls & depart
Today is at your leisure, before transferring to the airport for your return flight to the UK.
Day18: Arrive UK
Duration and price including flights from/to UK: 18 daysfrom £4,595 pp
Duration and price excluding international flights: 16 daysfrom £3,395 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
The pleasant, relatively modern city of Windhoek is Namibia’s capital, and is the starting point of most wildlife safaris. A small city of contrasts, it combines modern Europe with modern Africa, together with a sprinkling of attractive old buildings of German architecture.
Excellent for: City stopover
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 1.6 million hectare wildlife paradise is a vast tapestry of crystal clear water channels, lagoons and small islands, and is known for its concentrations of large wildlife and birds. Outings by boat or on land, at day or night, yields fantastic sightings within the private concessions of exclusive accommodation.
Where: Northern Botswana
Ideal for viewing: hippo, Nile crocodile, red lechwe, sitatunga, tsessebe
Excellent for: Walking safaris, Vehicle safaris, River safaris, Birdwatching
A hidden gem, the Caprivi Strip is a long, narrow strip of land along the Okavango. Here the Zambezi’s tributaries form a complex system of waterways, islands and riverine forests – protected by parks and wilderness areas. It is rich in wildlife and makes an ideal combination with nearby Botswana or Zambia.
Chobe sits on the confluence of the Zambezi and Chobe Rivers. The mosaic of bush, waterway, floodplain and woodland is home to a vast array of wildlife, most notably Africa’s largest concentration of elephant, but also huge herds of buffalo that congregate along its fertile floodplain during the dry season.
Where: Northern Botswana
Ideal for viewing: Cape buffalo, African elephant, lion, puku, wild dog
Excellent for: Vehicle safaris, River safaris
Combining perfectly with a safari in Zambia, Botswana, Namibia or Zimbabwe, the Victoria Falls are not only a wonderful place from which to begin or end a trip, but offer enough interest to be a safari destination in their own right. The wildlife in the tributaries is active all year round, and the birdlife is superb.
Where: Matabeleland North
Ideal for viewing: waterbuck, African elephant, hippo, black eagle, Taita falcon
Excellent for: Vehicle safaris, River safaris
Situated in lush tropical gardens, Bayete Guest Lodge is a relaxing family-run retreat just a short drive from the almighty Victoria Falls. The lodge boasts 25 comfortable rooms set in a tropical garden, a large teardrop swimming pool, and a central dining boma adjoined to the characterful Ingwezi Tavern.
Within the tranquil Namib Desert, near the spectacular Sossusvlei dunes, lies Little Sossus Lodge. This old converted farmhouse offers 20 comfortable chalets, boasting stunning 180 degree views of the nearby mountains and plains. The lodge also has a small campsite for self-drive trips.
One of the oldest lodges in the Okavango Delta, Nxamaseri Island Lodge has a unique rustic charm. Its remote location, surrounded by indigenous forest, supports a wealth of remarkable birdlife, including African fish eagle, Pel’s fishing owl, African skimmer and western banded snake eagle.