It hardly seems possible to include such a variety of sights and activities in just 16 days. Between the ancient desert, the wildlife of Damaraland and Etosha, the bounteous wetlands of the Caprivi and Chobe, and the wonder of Victoria Falls, it will be hard to pick a favourite.
This private guided safari visits Namibia's famed attractions including Sossusvlei in the Namib Desert, the Skeleton Coast, Damaraland, Etosha National Park and the Caprivi wetlands. Top this fascinating voyage of discovery with a safari in Botswana's Chobe National Park and a visit to Victoria Falls and you really have the makings of an amazing holiday.
Day 1: Windhoek ( 1 night )
When you're there: Head into the city and take a tour if time allows (depending on your flight arrival time). Relax after checking in at your accommodation. Put your feet up. This is the start of your holiday! Let your guide make a recommendation and a booking for you for dinner tonight.
The Olive Exclusive
Am Weinberg Boutique Hotel
Day 2 & 3: Sossusvlei ( 2 nights )
It's time to depart the city and head south to the sea of sand in Sossusvlei. A six hour drive will get you there on paved and gravel roads. Let your guide point out the best spots to stop for pictures and a picnic lunch. There's loads to do and see along the way. It's all about the journey and yours has just begun.
On the way: The road has some grand scenic passes and the Namib Desert stretches to infinity at the base of an enormous escarpment; stop for lunch on the Spreetshoogte Pass... you'll want your camera for this.
When you're there: It's an early rise to enter Sossusvlei at sunrise (when the gates open. Remember to take your breakfast packs along, a hat, sun cream and it's best to wear closed shoes.) You'll be climbing the dunes. It's time to explore some of the world's highest in the world's oldest desert. The view from the top is well worth it. Dunes for days. As far as the eye can see. Inside the park you can visit Dead Vlei, Sossusvlei, Dune 45, Elim Dune and Sesriem Canyon. You're guide knows the best times to be in the best spots for photos according to the light and when there are less feet.
Desert Homestead Outpost
Desert Homestead Lodge
Day 4 & 5: Swakopmund ( 2 nights )
Make your way to Swakopmund, a quaint resort town on the cold Atlantic ocean. The glaring German heritage at odds with the bleak surrounds of sand, sand and more sand. From desert to coast (a coastal desert, the only one in the world), it's a change of scenery and temperature. This is the activity centre of Namibia. There's loads to look forward to.
On the way: Depart after breakfast or a last early sunrise activity, such as a hot air balloon safari. Then make your way via Solitaire, the Tropic of Capricorn, the Gaub and Kuiseb pass on gravel roads towards the cooler coast. Look out for the endemic Hartmann's mountain zebra, ostrich, springbok and oryx along the way. Detour via Moonlandscape and to see the welwitschias or head straight on and enjoy lunch in Walvis Bay or Swakopmund (depending on your departure time). Ask your guide what he thinks. He'll know the best route and time schedule for the day ahead. He'll also know which route to take based on what you would most like to see.
When you're there: Based in Swakopmund on the Skeleton Coast there is lots to do, either from Swakopmund or Walvis Bay, which is just 30km away. Take a scniec flight over the dunes where they meet the sea, shipwrecks, Langewand and old diamond mines. Explore Sandwich Harbour, take a dolphin boat cruise, quad bike in the dunes or even go kayaking. Your guide will help to arrange any of your activities and transfer you as necessary. Delight in great foods, cakes and coffees. Let your guide book you restaurants with a spectacular sea view.
Swakopmund Luxury Suites
Day 6: Damaraland ( 1 night )
Dry ephemeral riverbeds studded with acacias, open grassy plains and mountain ranges. Giant granite boulders and the desert-adapted elephants (among other wildlife). Your next destination is Damaraland. It's a longer day on the road but it's a scenic drive with a few stops along the way.
On the way: Your route will take you all the way along the coast today before heading inland or only as far north as Cape Cross, to see the largest breeding cape fur seal colony in the world, before you backtrack to Henties Bay and then head on via Uis to the Twyfelfontein area. Let your guide stop at the lichen fields, you'd hardly know where to find them on your own. A possible detour via Brandberg (depending on your route choice and how early you plan to leave). Visit the highlights of Twyfelfontein if time allows this afternoon.
When you're there: Go on a nature drive in search of the famed desert-adapted elephant, black rhino and other game. Visit the Twyfelfontein rock engravings, Burnt Mountain and Organ Pipes. Take a look into the lives of the local Damara people at the living museum. Spend time in the pool, it gets hot in these parts and be sure to make time for a sundowner. The sunsets are spectacular.
Mowani Mountain Camp
Day 7: Etosha National Park - South ( 1 night )
Destination Etosha National Park, it's time for some serious safari and game viewing. It's a shorter drive today which means an early start and you can be in the park just after lunch or explore more of the Damaraland area and take a slower drive to arrive in the Etosha area late afternoon.
On the way: Make a stop at the Petrified Forest close to Khorixas. A possible short detour to view Vingerklip and the Ugab Terrace, depending on what you have planned for today with regards to your arrival time at Etosha. Stop in Outjo at the bakery. Head north to your lodge for the night.
When you're there: Etosha is impressive. It's easily one of Africa's greatest game parks. Explore the wildlife and enjoy birding, there are 114 species of mammals and around 340 species of birds. Phenomenal. With your guide, you're bound to see a whole lot. Take out the binoculars. Snap a shot with the camera. Tick the list. This is wildlife extravaganza.
Day 8 & 9: Etosha National Park - East ( 2 nights )
Travel eastwards through the Etosha National Park to your next lodge.
On the way: Stop at waterholes along the way or head directly to your lodge and have lunch before returning into Etosha again for the afternoon. The wildlife in the park will determine the pace and most likely your schedule for the day. Watch. Wait. It's exhilarating.
When your're there: More guided game drives with your guide. Splendid. Pop the roof up. Snap away.
Mushara Bush Camp
Day 10 & 11: Caprivi - West ( 2 nights )
A long drive to the Caprivi requires an early start. The roads are all paved and there are some interesting stops along the way and an excellent lunch stop.
On the way: Visit the Otjikoto and Guinas lakes; Hoba Meteorite is the largest in the world; Roy's Camp for a comfort stop; lunch at N'Kwazi Lodge on the Kavango River near Rundu.
When you're there: The Caprivi is Namibia's Okavango Delta, minus the high price tags and it's more accessible. Enjoy game viewing in the excellent Mahango Game Park and Buffalo Game Park. Go on a river cruise and water safari at sunset; bush walks; and excellent birding and fishing.
Divava Okavango Lodge & Spa
Shametu River Lodge
Day 12: Caprivi - East ( 1 night )
Depart after breakfast and head further east along the Caprivi strip, entering East Caprivi at the Kwando River Bridge. It's your last night under Namibian skies and the last night with your guide.
On the way: Your drive today takes you through the Bwabwata National Park. Be on the look out for more wildlife.
When you're there: Enjoy the afternoon at your own leisure. Relax at the lodge or join on a boat cruise on the Kwando River (optional extra)
Nambwa Tented Lodge
Day 13 & 14: Chobe National Park ( 2 nights )
Today you head north to Katima Mulilo and you will say goodbye to your guide. You will be transferred to Ngoma Bridge where you enter Botswana and the Chobe National Park.
On the way: It's all about the bush. On either side of the road. Watch as the sub-tropical woodlands give way to the green foliage of the riverine floodplains; clear customs and immigration at Ngoma and drive through the game park to your safari lodge near Kasane.
When you're there: Chobe is another of Africa's great parks, famous for its large herds of elephant and buffalo, and its prides of lion. Activities include water safaris on the Chobe River, sunset cruises, walking safaris, birdwatching and game drives.
*Your scheduled camp activities are included here with a lodge guide
Chobe Game Lodge
Chobe Safari Lodge
Day 15: Victoria Falls (Zim) ( 1 night )
The drive to Victoria Falls is about an hour. The customs and immigration formalities as you leave Botswana and enter Zimbabwe may take a little longer.
On the way: The Kazangula Road often yields some excellent wildlife and bird sightings; clear customs and immigration at Kazangula and Victoria Falls.
When you're there: Where to begin? Visit the falls from both the Zimbabwean and Zambian sides; water adventure; game viewing; sundowner river cruises; scenic flights; craft markets; elephant safaris; adrenal fixes with bungee jumping, gorge swinging and skydiving; lunch on Livingstone Island on the edge of the falls; canoeing safari above the falls.
Victoria Falls Hotel
Batonka Guest Lodge
Day 16: Victoria Falls (Zim) ( Departure / End of Tour )
The flights departing via South Africa usually leave late afternoon so you have time to squeeze in any last-minute must-do activities or purchases.