Go see all the highlights of Namibia as your guide takes you to the Kalahari, Fish River Canyon, the giant sand dunes and endless expanse of Sossusvlei, quaint coastal towns on the Skeleton Coast; Damaraland and remote Kaokoland to meet the nomadic Himba people; and Etosha National Park - the spot for excellent wildlife in Namibia, one of Africa's finest.
Day 1: Windhoek ( 1 night )
You will be met by your guide on arrival in Windhoek and handed your travel package. A gift? Yip. You'll love it.
When you're there: City tour of Windhoek with your guide (depending on your time of arrival). If you just come off a long haul flight, take the day to relax and get some rest. A comfortable bed sounds good. If you just caught a short hop over flight, then ask your guide to take you into town. Explore the sights. Go to the museum. Go shopping.
For dinner, stay at your accommodation if you aren't keen to venture out. Dinner is offered. Book on arrival. If you want to go out, ask your guide to make a reservation for you at one of the local favourites. Enjoy.
The Weinberg Windhoek
The Elegant Guesthouse
Day 2: Kalahari ( 1 night )
On the way: After breakfast drive the three hours on good tar roads to the Kalahari. Look out for God's Window or at least that's what it's known by. A bridge over the road towards Rehoboth. The view looks like a framed picture. A stunning one at that.
When you're there: Take a scenic drive on the Intu-Afrika Reserve. Go quad biking. Look out for game and meerkats. A Bushman walk is also on offer. All activities will be extra with the lodge as your guide can't conduct these activities with you, being a private reserve. Enjoy the sunset. Spectacular and a good excuse for a gin and tonic.
Zebra Kalahari Lodge
Camelthorn Kalahari Lodge
Day 3: Fish River Canyon ( 1 night )
Drive the 500km south on paved roads to the Fish River Canyon. It's a long day on the road but it's not just get in and go until you reach the Canyon. You'll be stopping along the way.
On the way: Stop at Brukkaros, an extinct volcanic crater on a scenic ring road. Near Keetmanshoop you can explore the Quivertree Forest and go see the massive boulders that look as though they have been thrown down as part of a game. It could only have been giants that did this. Well that's the fable that goes with 'Giants Playground'. Aha. Now the name makes sense.
When you're there: Guided excursions to the Fish River Canyon; scenic flights over the canyon; hiking trails; horse trails; scenic drives; game viewing. Let your guide take you on a sundowner to the best view point.
Fish River Lodge
Day 4 & 5: Luderitz ( 2 nights )
On the way: It's roughly three hours to Aus. Home to one of the last known populations of wild desert horses. They're not always around but you might be lucky to spot them. Arrive in Luderitz in time for lunch overlooking the sea.
Stop a last time to view Fish River Canyon. This time at the northern viewpoint; the drive spans the transition from the Kalahari to the Namib Desert. From one desert to another. Note the changes.
When you're there: Go with your guide to Kolmanskop. This ghost town boasts the highlight in these parts. Want to get on a boat? Go to Halifax Island and Diaz Point. Go see the Bogenfels Rock Arch. Birding is good. The food is good. Enjoy some spots in town, there are loads and your guide knows the best ones.
Luderitz Nest Hotel
Alte Villa Boutique Guest House
Day 6 & 7: Sossusvlei ( 2 nights )
Today you're heading further north. Leave the cold waters of the ocean behind you. You're heading into the heart of the Namib Desert. Get ready for heat. The desert gets pretty hot, and by that we mean, very hot especially at mid day.
On the way: To your left: the Namib-Naukluft Park. To your right: seemingly endless mountain ranges. It's about a 5 hour drive. One of the most scenic desert drives. Stop off at Duwisib Caslte, a short diversion near Maltahöhe. Your guide will unfold the world beyond the window as you go along. Fascinating.
When you're there: Wake up at the crack of dawn. Leave the lodge. Sesriem bound. Enter the gates at sunrise and then it's a 60km drive to Sossusvlei inside the park. Water? Check. Walking shoes? Check. Camera? Check. Jolly good. Go explore with your guide. Climb the dunes. Marvel at the sheer size of them. They're not known as some of the world's largest for no reason. If you climb them you'll really grasp what we're talking about here.
Dead Vlei makes for one of the best spots for pictures. A dry and desolate white pan. Sheltered by towering dunes. THE petrified trees that everyone knows the desert in Namibia by. Now you'll know them too. Spectacular.
Head back to the lodge for lunch and respite. The afternoon can be spent on a scenic drive with the lodge. The sundowner is a must. If you want to, re-enter the park and go see Sesriem Canyon.
Desert Quiver Camp
Day 8 & 9: Swakopmund ( 2 nights )
On the way: Look out for the endemic Hartmann's mountain zebra and often giraffe can be seen too. Look closely. Stop at Solitaire, about 80km from Sesriem. Pull over for a visit to the bakery and to buy some cold drinks for the road. Up and over the Gaub and Kuiseb passes. A photo opportunity at the Tropic of Capricorn. Pretty cool. Much like the weather at the coast. Go see Walvis Bay en-route or take the detour to lunar landscape to see some really old welwitschias.
When you're there: Visit the Walvis Bay Lagoon - a RAMSAR wetlands site - flamingos wading make a stunning picture. Explore the town of Swakopmund on foot, either on your own at leisure or ask your guide to take you on an informative and historical tour of the town and its strong German heritage. You may well have noticed it by now (it's hard to miss), but may not necessarily understand how it came to be. It's interesting, this quaint coastal town at odds with its bleak surrounds.
Activities abound. There's plenty to do. Take a scenic flight over Skeleton Coast; go on a boat cruise of Walvis Bay where you meet dolphins and seals and the delicious oysters farmed in the bay. Then you eat them. The oysters that is (not the dolphins and seals), delicious. They're known to be some of the best out there. Go quad biking, or sand boarding to experience the sand dunes along the coastline.
Swakopmund Luxury Suites
Day 10: Damaraland ( 1 night )
Destination Damaraland. You're off to your next lodge in the wilderness. After the short stay in civilization again, you can't miss the enormity of the vastness that characterizes the rugged landscapes of a desolate Damaraland. One of the most scenic regions of Namibia with good reason. You'll see.
On the way: Stop to see the Cape Cross seal colony. It's the largest breeding cape fur seal colony in the world. Go further north along the Skeleton Coast to see it's expanse and some shipwrecks (rather what's left of them) or go inland and watch as the landscape changes even more. Look out for Brandberg Mountain. You can't miss it. It's huge. The highest inselberg in the country at 2,573m.
When you're there: Go look for the desert-adapted elephants in the dry riverbeds. There's other wildlife too and the scenery is equally phenomenal. The highlights of Twyfelfontein are a short drive from the lodge: the Twyfelfontein rock paintings, Burnt Mountain and the Organ Pipes. Visit the Damara Living Museum if you want to explore the culture of the dynamic people that call this harsh land home.
Mowani Mountain Camp
Twyfelfontein Adventure Camp
Day 11: Kaokoland ( 1 night )
On the way: Follow the scenic back roads which wind through rocky outcrops and grassy plains typical of Damaraland north until you reach the dusty town of Opuwo in Kaokoland. That's all there really is out here. Just a small shanty town in the middle of nowhere.
When you're there: This is an overnight stop en route to Epupa Falls. Relax after the last few busy days and long drives. The pool is a great place to chill. If you want to you can ask your guide to take you to visit a local Himba village. You'll have time for this in Epupa too.
Luxury & Standard Accommodation
Opuwo Country Hotel
Day 12 & 13: Kaokoland ( 2 nights )
On the way: Further north you're heading to the Kunene River. Long dusty roads get you to this enviable oasis. Welcome to Epupa Falls.
When you're there: Explore the banks of the river. Hike. Meet local Himba people at their authentic villages. Birding is great along the river and go on a scenic drive. Sundowners on the waters edge offer something different than those you've experienced in the desert or on the coast thus far.
Omarunga Epupa-Falls Camp
Epupa Camp & Campsite
Day 14: Etosha National Park - West ( 1 night )
Today you will travel south, backtracking the way you came for the most part before making your way to the western side of Etosha National Park.
On the way: It's a drive that takes you back the way you came. Look out for wildlife in Etosha or on the private reserve (depending where you stay).
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. And that's not even all of it. Plains game are found in large numbers too. Birding is abundant. Quite frankly, everywhere you look there's something to see and the scenery adds to what makes it so special and unlike other national parks you may have experienced before.
Day 15: Etosha National Park - South ( 1 night )
On the way: After breakfast you will game drive your way southwards through Etosha Park to your next lodge near Andersson's gate. A wildlife extravaganza. Your guide has a good eye. Watch him spot some of the big guns. Enjoy the sightings. Binos out. Camera at the ready. Off you go.
When you're there: One full day to enjoy game drives and wildlife with your guide. Etosha has 30 plus waterholes and some impressive loops that take you deeper into the bush. Sit and watch the African bush come alive in front of your eyes as the animals come an go. Wait. Watch. What's that? Something could be watching you.
Day 16 & 17: Etosha National Park - East ( 2 nights )
After breakfast you can spend the day driving through the park to the Von Lindequist Gate on the eastern side of Etosha Park. Your lodge is set on a private game reserve about 8km outside the park.
On the way: Look out for animals along the road or stop at the waterholes to spend some time taking photographs. Your guide knows the park like the back of his hand. He'll show you the best spots and knows where to go for great sightings.
When you're there: More time for wildlife. Another full day on this side of the park to explore. Spend some time relaxing with your feet up too. You'll find action inside the park and possibly on the reserve. Enjoy the bush it's all about the peace and quiet.
Onguma Bush Camp
Day 18: Waterberg ( 1 night )
The drive to the Waterberg is roughly three hours and then on to your lodge on a private reserve.
On the way: You can still enjoy a last morning game drive if you want. It won't be a long one but you could if you wanted to. Then off to your lodge to arrive around lunch. Or skip the morning drive and you could go to see the Hoba Meteorite, the world's largest meteorite and have picnic lunch at Lake Otjikoto or Lake Guinas.
When you're there: If time allows, you can explore some of the Waterberg Plateau Park, although this is a little off route as you are quite some way from Waterberg. Enjoy the excellent walking trails on the Okonjima Reserve. It's really all about the active conservation programme of The AfriCat Foundation and the activities they offer. At Otjiwa, the oldest game farm in Namibia, it's all about the bush and wildlife. Go on game drive, game walk or track white rhinos.
*At Okonjima 2 scheduled camp activities included. Discuss your activity schedule and options on arrival at the lodge.
Okonjima Luxury Bush Camp
Otjiwa Safari Lodge
Day 19: Windhoek ( Departure / End of Tour )
The drive to Windhoek is short and comfortable on tarred roads. The journey should take about three to four hours, so you've got time for an early wildlife activity and a leisurely breakfast before heading back.
On the way: Traditional craft markets at Okahandja
When you're there: Bid your guide farewell. You're off. He'll make sure you get to the airport 2 hours before departure.
Our tip: Book a late departure flight out or add an additional night in Windhoek and fly out the next morning.
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This trip was absolutely amazing and is one of my tops!
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