Namibia Highlights Safari
Damaraland, Etosha National Park, Kalahari, Sossusvlei, Swakopmund, Windhoek
Discover what makes Namibia one of the region's best safari and wilderness destinations. This 15-day tour goes from south to north visiting the major highlights of this vast, beautiful and empty country.
In 15 days, The Classic Namibia Safari visits most of the highlights of Namibia: Sossusvlei in the Namib Desert, with its great sand sea, the charming town of Swakopmund and the Skeleton Coast ; Damaraland , with its fascinating rock formations, Bushman rock art and desert-adapted wildlife; Kaokoland , the last frontier of true wilderness and the realm of the nomadic Himba people; Etosha National Park - one of Africa's great game parks; and the Waterberg Plateau, a scenic haven for Namibia's rare and endangered species.
From Windhoek head south to the Namib Desert and its Great Sand Sea. Arrive in time for a sundowner at your suitably poised lodge or atop the nearby Elim Dune. The drive takes about four hours.
On the way: The drive reveals the transition from Kalahari thornveld to the true desert of the Namib; Lilyveld, a valley 30km north of Maltahöhe, springs into bloom for about a week after good rains; Duiwiseb Castle is an interesting diversion 70km south-west of Maltahöhe.
When you're there: Enter Sossusvlei at sunrise and remember to take plenty of film or memory, sun cream, a hat, walking shoes and water. Explore the world's highest dunes and a sheltered pan with petrified trees that are hundreds of years old; climb the dunes and look out over a sea of sand. Private reserves in the area reveal fascinating flora, fauna and ancient desert landscapes.
A five-hour drive north takes you through the gradual change from mountains and dunes to rolling grass-covered hills with scattered acacia trees. Swakopmund is a quaint resort town by the sea with an obvious German heritage at odds with its bleak surrounds.
On the way: Look out for the endemic Hartmann's mountain zebra as you leave; stop at Solitaire, about 80km from Sesriem for some home-made bread and an ice cold drink; Kuiseb Canyon has some shady picnic spots; you can see springbok and pure-bred wild ostrich across the vast gravel plains of the Namib; the lunar landscape; look out for the welwitschia plant.
When you're there: Visit the Walvis Bay Lagoon - a RAMSAR wetlands site - where thousands of flamingoes, pelicans and numerous waders feed in the nutrient-rich shallows; restaurants, shops and attractions in Swakopmund; spend an extra day making the most of the cool air and refreshing sea.
Among the many organised activities, we recommend a scenic flight over Skeleton Coast; a comfortable and informative boat cruise of Walvis Bay where you meet dolphins, sea lions, pelicans and terns; and quad biking, which is an exciting way to experience the sand dunes.
Enormous granite outcrops and dolerite dykes have been carved over aeons. Grassy plains, tree-studded riverbeds and endless open skies add to the grandeur and make this area one of the most scenic regions of Namibia. The drive to Damaraland takes up to five hours because there is much to see and do along the way.
On the way: Drive along the Skeleton Coast to Cape Cross - the largest breeding cape fur seal colony in the world. The stench of 100,000 seals can be a tad over-powering: take a handkerchief to cover your nose; lunch at Cape Cross Lodge or picnic at some suitably serene and other-worldly spot; stop at the lichen fields and a salt pan that is an excellent birding spot; visit the Twfylefontein rock paintings, the Petrified Forest and the Organ Pipes.
When you're there: Game drives on private reserves in search of the famed desert-adapted elephant, black rhino and giraffe; among other hardy plains herds look out for Hartmann's mountain zebra; spend more time exploring the Twfylefontein rock paintings, the Petrified Forest, Vingerklip and the Organ Pipes; hike up the Brandberg Mountain, Namibia's highest point at 2,573m.
Follow the scenic back roads to Opuwo.
On the way: The road winds through rocky outcrops and grassy plains typical of Damaraland; the drive is short enough to visit the interesting rock formations and San rock art if you missed them on the way in. Pass the western edge of Etosha looking out for wildlife on both sides of the road; Dorsland Trek Monument; the Joubert Mountains; stop for a picnic with some wild and daunting countryside for a backdrop.
Accommodation: Opuwo Country Hotel
The drive from Opuwo to Epupa Falls is about five hours on the direct route; if you've got a 4WD vehicle the back roads traverse the truly wild country and the drive will take most of the day.
When you're there: Meet Himba villagers and discover their fascinating ways; scenic drives through Kaokoland; hikes; birdwatching and game viewing; excursions to the Kunene River with Himba villages along the way
Standard: Omarunga Camp
Luxury: Epupa Falls Lodge
Head south back toward Damaraland then west into Etosha National Park - the western sector has only recently been opened to the public and this vast area of grassy plains is quite unique to the rest of the park.
On the way: Looking out for wildlife on both sides of the road.
When you're there: Enjoy game drives twice daily in the exclusive western sector of Etosha National Park; birdwatching; scenic and photographic drives.
Accommodation: Dolomite Camp
After breakfast head south towards your next lodge. Look out for Etosha's wildlife, though the animals are far more wary of vehicles in the western regions; self-drive safaris can stop at Pie Alberts Koppies and Outjo for a comfort break.
When you're there: Etosha has an estimated 250 lions, 300 rhinos, 2,500 giraffes, 6,000 zebras, 20,000 springbok and 2,000 elephants. This on top of a large number of lesser and common plains herds, and abundant birds makes game viewing in Etosha something special. The surrounding lodges all have private reserves with equally impressive wildlife numbers and they offer private game viewing activities into the park.
Game drive eastwards to your next lodge.
On the way: You can stop as often as you like for as long as you like. There are many waterholes en route as you travel through the park to your lodge on the eastern side of Etosha Park.
When you're there: Your lodge will offer guided games drives in the park as well as guided game walks in the private reserve.
The drive to the Waterberg area will take about four hours.
On the way: Visit the world's largest meteorite; have picnic lunch at Lake Otjikoto or Lake Guinas.
When you're there: The Waterberg Plateau Park has several excellent hiking trails, the wildlife and birdlife and scenery make for a good hike; private game farms in the area offer game viewing and some have active conservation programmes like AfriCat and the Cheetah Conservation Fund.
The drive to Windhoek Airport for your return flight is short and comfortable on paved roads. The journey should take about three hours, so you've got time for an early wildlife activity and a leisurely breakfast.
On the way: Stop at Okahandja to collect any carvings you set aside
Customers who enquire about this tour end up making many changes to the standard itinerary. Below are the most recent variations of this base tour booked by us for our clients. Have a look at their itineraries, see what changes they requested, what the final cost was and read what they have to say about their holidays.
Or take a look at all of our recently booked tours and make your own dream holiday. Just drop us an enquiry and we'll do the rest.
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