Your Namibia luxury safari will begin by heading to the Namib Desert; a great sand sea in Sossusvlei. The only true African desert south of the equator. Then you’ll fly high along the Skeleton Coast to Swakopmund, a town which seems to have landed here. Incongruous in its setting, an isolated coastal town. Next stop, the gemstone beaches of Mowe Bay before you have a complete change of gear: it’s Etosha time. Wildlife and game viewing galore. Grab your khakis, camera and binoculars.
Day 1 & 2: Sossusvlei ( 2 nights )
You’ll start your luxury Namibia safari with a 2-night fly package to the Namib Desert, the oldest desert on earth. It has been arid for the past 15 million years despite the ephemeral rivers that flow here. They may only flow briefly, but then they store water beneath the river bed. It may not be quite as dry as it seems on the surface.
On the way: You’ll be met by your NTS representative and given your travel documents. You’ll then meet the pilot and check in for your flight and briefing. Sit down, belt up, crosscheck. Your private charter flight from Windhoek to Sossusvlei is 1 hour 10 minutes. Be sure to take it all in, it is simply stunning. Marvel at the Namib Naukluft Mountain Range and the rolling sand dunes as far as the eye can see.
When you're there: Ah, the bliss of a guided Sossusvlei excursion. Complete with a picnic lunch in the dunes - with local branded drinks included. Much appreciated especially when you’re hot, hot, hot in the stark, stark desert.
Sossusvlei is the biggest of four pans in the area, surrounded by great pyramid piles known as star dunes. Nearby, older and deader (not a real word but a good one in this context) is Dead Vlei. These pans afford you the tallest dunes in the world, some as high as the Empire State Building. Dead Vlei was once like Sossusvlei with the river nourishing desert life but, 900 years ago, the sand sea finally blocked out the water. Highlights include Dune 45, Big Daddy, Elim Dune and Sesriem Canyon. Dune 45 is 170 metres high and 5 million years old. It's neither the highest in the area nor the oldest. Impressive.
Vivid colours contrast at sunrise and sunset - which are the best times to explore the otherwise blistering hot desert, especially in the summer months. You have a sundowner drive included. Enjoy an incredible sunset as the sun disappears beyond the horizon of open plains and towering dunes. Spectacular.
You have two nights here, ample time to explore and revel in one of the darkest night skies in the world.
*Scheduled camp activities included (details on request)
Sossusvlei Desert Lodge
Hoodia Desert Lodge
Day 3 & 4: Skeleton Coast ( 2 nights )
Next stop, the Skeleton Coast... From the air, it looks rather idyllic. A peaceful sea breaking over the shore. Majestic dunes. From land, it's a different story. With the evidence compelling, it’s been hard for man and beast to survive here. This is still the desert and it's where it meets the cold Atlantic Ocean. Long, skinny, inhospitable. In this 6,500 square mile national park, you’ll see clay castles, shipwrecks and seals in abundance.
On the way: You’ll fly out of Sossusvlei in a private charter plane. Enjoy the incredible scenery as you soar high above those dunes you were marvelling at yesterday. Old diamond mines and shipwrecks. Welcome to the Skeleton Coast. After an hour and 30 minutes, you’ll land in Swakopmund to refuel.
Want to continue on to the lodge further along the coast? No problem. Refuel and off you go. Want to go see Swakopmund? Sure. Transfer and go wander. The pleasures of a private charter.
Swakopmund. Palm-lined streets, seaside promenades. An unlikely companion to the Skeleton Coast. Definitely meander the main streets. Maybe go grab a bite to eat or at the very least a good cup of coffee and a slice of cake.
Further north. Your flight takes you along the coast. Look out for Vlotskasbaken, a random holiday settlement between Swakop and Henties Bay. Continuing north, quite a way north (about a one and half hour flight). Look out for a few of the shipwrecks and on to Mowe Bay where you will land.
Your transfer to the lodge is a nature drive and a scenic one at that. As you go, you disappear into the desolate Skeleton Coast National Park. There's little here but you and the lodge and untouched wilderness.
When you're there: You’ll take a game drive within the Skeleton Coast National Park. You'll see huge bleached whalebones, rusting ship hulls, dry riverbeds and dead plants. It's all about how nature fights to survive in this harsh environment. It is a stunning, if lonely place.
You’ll have sundowners and walks on the beach to explore the coastline. Staying with the shipwreck theme, you’ll visit the remains of Suiderkus and Karimona. Haunting to imagine sailors stumbling through the desert searching for a chance to live. Suiderkus was particularly unlucky. She ran aground in the 1970s - on her maiden voyage... You’ll have a 4x4 trip to the Hoanib River Delta. Here there are dozens of 'clay castles' which are tens of thousands of years old. Stop off at the seal colony en route to or from Mowe Bay. A German ship, The Mowe, made the first official sightings of cape fur seals in 1884. A drive along the Hoarusib River will give you the chance to track the desert adapted elephant. You’ll no doubt see the odd giraffe too.
*All scheduled camp activities included with lodge guide
Day 5 & 6: Etosha National Park ( 2 nights )
Just as your appetite has been whetted by those elephants, possibly desert lions and hyenas too, it’s time to head to Etosha.
On the way: You’ll be driven to the airstrip for a 1.5 hour flight from Mowe Bay to Ondangwa. Refuel, then it’s a half hour flight to the eastern side of Etosha. After a short drive to your luxury safari lodge you'll have a chance to unwind and get ready to immerse yourself in the wilderness for some of Africa's greatest game viewing.
When you're there: Park fees, all meals and local branded drinks are included. As are morning/ afternoon Etosha drives and daily sundowner drives on the private reserves. Etosha means ‘Great White Place’ and is dominated by a massive mineral pan. One of the best things about it is you don’t really have to try and find the animals, they will pretty much come to you. It’s massive, more than 20,000 sq km. Park off at a waterhole then wait and watch. Lion, elephant, rhino, cheetah, wildebeest, leopard may all come to drink.
*All game drives included with lodge guides in open safari vehicles
Little Ongava Lodge
Onguma The Fort
Day 7: Windhoek ( Departure / End of Tour )
It comes to an end today. That’s your lot and it has indeed been a lot! After a morning activity you’ll be driven to the airstrip for your charter flight back to Windhoek.
On the way: Private charter flight from Etosha to Windhoek International Airport. You need to be at the airport 2 hours before international departures.
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This trip was absolutely amazing and is one of my tops!
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