Experience the beauty and harshness of the Namib Desert, from Windhoek to Sossusvlei, Swakopmund to Damaraland and the sanctuary of Etosha National Park at your own pace, on your own terms. Like nowhere else in Africa, Namibia provides you with the opportunity to escape, experience peace and freedom, sit and admire the breathtaking landscapes and reflect. From game-packed parks to the silence and spectacle of the desert, this incredible country, its landscapes, people and wildlife are waiting.
Price per person sharing (for 2 people)
Mobile camping in a fully equipped 4x4 with rooftop tent, three lodges stays - R32 850.00
In a luxury 4x4 auto, mid-range 3 & 4 star lodges - R 56 250.00
In a luxury 4x4 auto, 4 star + lodges - R71 550.00
Includes car hire in a Nissan XTrail 4x4 automatic (or similar) for 10 days with supercover or a fully equipped Nissan hardbody single-cab with rooftop tent and all camping gear, accommodation, select meals depending on chosen trip.
Excludes park entry fees, conservation levies, fuel, meals/food while camping
Before we can provide a detailed itinerary, we require a 10% booking fee, after which we book accommodation and propose your itinerary. If we can't provide a satisfactory itinerary we will refund the booking fee, but once you are happy we then collect a top up deposit on confirmation and full payment is required 90 days prior to travel.
DAY 1, WINDHOEK
Upon arrival, head towards the car hire kiosks and collect the keys to your vehicle or be transferred to the car hire depot. After a thorough explanation of safety, do's and don'ts for Namibia, take to the road and head to Windhoek, 30 minutes away - capital city of Namibia. Originally the site of a spring, people began to settle here in 1840, and was then colonised by Germany in 1890.
Our accommodation here varies from campsites to mid-range and luxurious guesthouses and hotels. If you are self-catering for the next few days, head to a supermarket and buy supplies or relax until dinner time when you can enjoy some local cuisine at one of many restaurant options or at your guesthouse.
For an atmospheric, upmarket beer-garden and restaurant experience, head to Joe's Beerhouse.
DAYS 2 & 3, SOSSUSVLEI, NAMIB NAUKLUFT NP
Depart Windhoek after breakfast for the scenic drive to Sossusvlei, the shortest route is approximately 4,5 hours [the longest you will drive on this itinerary] but we love the route via Gamsberg Pass and down through Solitaire. Arriving late afternoon, check into your accommodation and either relax for the afternoon or, if you are eager to get started, head straight into the dunes!
Sossusvlei, a large ephemeral pan, is set amid red sand dunes that tower up to 325m above the valley floor. It rarely contains any water, but when the Tsauchab River has gathered enough volume and momentum to push beyond the thirsty plains to the sand sea, it’s completely transformed. The normally cracked dry mud gives way to an ethereal blue-green lake, surrounded by greenery and attended by aquatic birdlife, as well as the usual sand-loving gemsboks, and ostriches.
This sand probably originated in the Kalahari between three and five million years ago. It was washed down the Orange River and out to sea, where it was swept northward with the Benguela Current to be deposited along the coast. The best way to get the measure of this sandy sprawl is to climb a dune, as most people do. At the end of the 65km 2WD road from Sesriem is the 2WD car park; only 4WDs can drive the last 4km into the Sossusvlei Pan itself. Visitors with lesser vehicles park at the 2WD car park and walk, hitch or catch the shuttle to cover the remaining distance. If you choose to walk, allot about 90 minutes, and carry enough water for a hot, sandy slog in the sun.
There are a number of attractions around Sossusvlei for visitors to explore, including Sesriem Canyon, Dune 45, Hiddenvlei, Big Daddy and Deadvlei. The interesting landscape makes this area one of the most photographed in the world.
Accommodation options here start with campsites inside the national park, lodge accommodation inside the park, or lodges in private reserves bordering the national park. We have our favourite spots depending what level of luxury you are looking for and what your activity levels are like. Climbing the dunes, balloon rides, helicopter flips, hikes, walks exploring Sesriem Canyon, e-bike rides, quadbike tours are just some of the activities available here!
DAY 4, SWAKOPMUND & SANDWICH HARBOUR
The drive from Sossusvlei via Solitaire to Walvis Bay and Swakopmund is around 4,5 hours and takes in the Kuiseb Canyon pass, an otherworldly moonscape! Walvis Bay is the first town you reach, more of an industrial town than the charming Swakopmund, just half an hour further up the road.
Sandwiched between Atlantic rollers and the Namib Desert, Swakopmund is one of those great traveller way stations along the African road. At once Namibia's adventure capital and a surreal colonial remnant, part destination in its own right and part launch pad for an exploration of the Skeleton Coast and Namib Desert, this is a city with as much personality as it has sea frontage. We plan for only one day here, if you wanted an easier couple of days, or do more than one activity (there's plenty!) you could stay two or three...our favourite activity though, is the trip to Sandwich Harbour, either that same afternoon or the following morning.
After meeting your guide in Walvis Bay and getting into their vehicle, you head south, passing the Walvis Bay Lagoon with lots of flamingoes, then on past the salt works and onto a flat section of beach, the Kuiseb River Delta. Passing fishermen, seals, jackals and gulls you continue for at least 45 minutes before reaching the dunes. At that point your guide will choose which way you go, along the beach or up onto the dunes. If it is a particularly high tide, with the waves washing up against the dunes, you will take the high route on the dunes, if not, along the shoreline. Formerly a whaling and fishing station, the lagoon was built to promote nesting birds for guano collection - but the jackals would raid at low tide so the whole plan fell apart. You can climb the dunes for some dramatic views over the bay and beyond. On the way back you have the opportunity to spend some time up the dunes if you did go along the shoreline. Either way a light meal is served; snacks, bread, fresh fruit, some fresh Walvis Bay oysters, sparkling wine and Tea and Coffee.
Our trips include a private Sandwich Harbour trip for 2 people.
In addition to Sandwich Harbour trips, you can explore the bay and coast on marine cruises, if you are adventurous, take to the dunes on a quad bike, slide down on a dune board, take a scenic flight along the coast, explore the living desert with a guide - just let us know and we will set it up!
Accommodation options vary from campsites to basic bnb's, guest houses and more luxurious hotels.
DAY 5, SPITZKOPPE
From Swakopmund to Spitzkoppe is an easy drive of just a couple of hours. Drive north towards Henties Bay and view the wreck of the Zeila, south of Henties, before turning inland until the rock massif begins to loom large to your left.
One of Namibia’s most recognisable landmarks, the 1728m-high Spitzkoppe rises miragelike above the dusty Pro-Namib plains of southern Damaraland, sometimes called the Matterhorn of Africa. It offers fascinating rock formations and rock paintings - the stone bridge or rock arch is famous amongst photographers! This is a great place to take a walk and explore the rocks and bushman swimming pool - a natural pool that has formed in the rock.
Camping at Spitzkoppe is world famous. A mountain oasis in the Namib desert, with unique oversized boulders and secret caves, allows the visitor to camp in complete peace and tranquillity. With the majestic Namibian “Matterhorn” as backdrop, and with the camping sites spread around the various formations, each visitor “owns” the mountain during their time. Tented and lodge accommodation is also available outside the protected, community-managed area.
DAY 6 & 7, DAMARALAND
Another easy drive on gently winding roads, amongst towering igneous extrusions, gets you to your lodge or campsite near Twyfelfontein.
From the glorious rock formations of Spitzkoppe, Erongo and the Brandberg in the south to the equally glorious red-rock, wild-desert mountains around Palmwag in the north, Damaraland is one of Namibia's most dramatic collections of landscapes. Hidden in the rocky clefts is Twyfelfontein, which along with the Brandberg contains some of Southern Africa’s finest prehistoric rock art and engravings, and there's even a petrified forest nearby, as well as palm-fringed, oasislike valleys. Damaraland is also one of Southern Africa's most underrated wildlife-watching areas. One of Namibia's last ‘unofficial’ wildlife regions, it's home to critically endangered black rhinos, desert-adapted lions and elephants, as well as the full range of Namibia specialities such as gemsbok, zebra, giraffe and spotted hyena.
Twyfelfontein is a World Heritage site, protecting an incredible collection of ancient bushman petroglyphs (rock engravings), so we suggest heading straight to this site the first afternoon, where a local community guide will give you a tour of the site. In addition to the Rhinoceros, the site also includes six painted elephant, ostrich and giraffe, as well as drawings of human and animal footprints, and rock shelters with motifs of human figures in red ochre. The objects excavated from two sections, date from the Late Stone Age. The site forms a coherent, extensive and high-quality record of ritual practices relating to hunter-gatherer communities in this part of southern Africa over at least 2,000 years, and eloquently illustrates the links between the ritual and economic practices of hunter-gatherers.
The following morning, take a drive with your lodge guide in search of Desert Elephants. The Huab River is a sandy riverbed that only flows after one of those rare rainy periods but essentially remains dry. Acacia Albida and Erioloba trees are plentiful and this is what the elephants are after as a food source. Local people live here too, with herds of cattle and goats, and it is water sources provided for their livestock which the elephants also make use of - viewing these elephants with rocky mountain and sand dune backdrops makes for interesting photography. Relax for the rest of the afternoon and watch the sunset over the extraordinary mountains in the area.
Our trips include the morning game drive in search of desert elephants, regardless of which lodge you stay at.
Accommodation here is available at luxury lodges all the way down through mid-range lodges to campsites amongst the rocks.
DAY 8 & 9, ETOSHA NATIONAL PARK
Depart after breakfast and head east to Etosha, stopping somewhere on the way for a snack lunch, depending where you are staying, enter the park on the west or drive around to the east - inside or outside the park, spend the next few days in search of big game, small game, birds and landscapes.
Etosha National Park, covering more than 20,000 sq km, is one of the world’s great wildlife-viewing venues. Unlike other parks in Africa, where you can spend days looking for animals, Etosha’s charm lies in its ability to bring the animals to you. Just park your car next to one of the many water holes, then wait and watch while a host of animals – lions, elephants, springboks, gemsboks etc – come not two by two but by the hundreds.
Etosha's essence is the vast Etosha Pan, an immense, flat, saline desert that, for a few days each year, is converted by rain into a shallow lagoon teeming with flamingos and pelicans. In contrast, late in the dry season, everything, from the elephants to the once-golden grasslands, seems cast, spectre-like, in Etosha’s white chalky dust. And what wildlife there is! Even if you’ve had a taste of African wildlife watching previously, you are likely to be mesmerised by it here.
Accommodation options are vast, from campsites and chalets inside the national park to mid-range and luxury lodges outside the park - some in their own private reserves. We choose lodges that are conveniently located near the park gate, so you can either drive into the park yourself or go on the lodge's guided game drives inside the park or on their own land.
The luxury lodge option includes safari activities, inside or outside the national park.
DAY 10, WATERBERG PLATEAU, CHEETAH, OKONJIMA
Depart after breakfast and head south to the Otjiwarongo region, an easy drive of a few hours on good highways, before turning off to your proposed destination - this stop breaks up the fairly long drive back to Windhoek but also gives you an insight to another region and conservation initiatives that are taking place in Namibia.
Founded in Namibia in 1990, Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) is the global leader in research and conservation of cheetahs. CCF is dedicated to saving the cheetah in the wild. The vast majority of wild cheetahs are outside protected areas, in areas populated by humans. Saving this magnificent animal from extinction requires innovative conservation methods that address the welfare of both cheetah and human populations over large landscapes. CCF has developed a set of integrated programs that work together to achieve this objective. CCF’s programs have effectively stabilized and even increased the wild cheetah population in Namibia.
Okonjima Nature Reserve is famed for frequent cheetah and leopard sightings on its safaris, as well as The AfriCat Foundation. Since being founded in 1991, AfriCat’s mission has been to make significant contributions to conservation, while trying to ensure the survival of Namibia’s predators in their natural habitat. It undertakes research, community support and environmental education projects, as well as conservation work to rehabilitate carnivores such as cheetah and hyaena.
Waterberg (Afrikaans: water mountain) is a massive table mountain east of Otjiwarongo in the northern reaches of central Namibia. It is about 50 km long, up to 16 km wide and rises from the plains of the Omaheke, as this part of the Kalahari is known, to a height of up to 200 metres. This natural barrier often intercepts clouds, causing them to release their moisture.
The Waterberg Wilderness Reserve was established on the plateau in 1972. Waterberg Plateau Park is home to game such as buffalo, white and black rhino, giraffe as well as eland, roan and sable antelope, and it borders directly on Waterberg Wilderness, You can explore the wonderful world of the Waterberg up close on a guided plateau hike or on your own on well-demarcated hiking trails.
We choose accommodations around Otjiwarongo at any one of these destinations all of which have a variety of accommodations from campsites up to luxury lodges. Activities vary from unguided trail walks to visiting the information centres at the research centres to specific animal tracking activities. For some of the cheetah that cannot be returned to the wild, they are exercised on a running track and is an opportunity to see a cheetah at speed, up close!
DAY 11, DEPARTURE
Depart after breakfast and make your way back to Windhoek and the airport in time for your outward flight, filled with wonderful memories and camera full of images!
OPTIONAL ADD-ON, 2 nts DESERT RHINO TRACKING
From Twyfelfontein, continue north towards Palmwag and into the Palmwag conservancy. Upon arrival at the gate, you will be collected by a lodge guide and driven to the lodge on a nature drive.
Desert Rhino Camp camp lies amongst rolling, rocky hills of the 450 000-hectare Palmwag Concession. This region is marked for its tranquil, minimalist beauty, surprising wealth of arid-adapted wildlife and the largest free-roaming black rhino population in Africa. The camp consists of eight raised Meru-style canvas tents with front verandas to take in the sweeping views in front dotted with scattered euphorbia and ancient welwitschia plants, and the dramatic Etendeka Mountains. The comfortable tented dining and lounge area is also elevated with partially open sides offering those panoramic views while a swimming pool provides a refreshing respite during the midday heat. Evening meals are often taken around the fire pit under the starry skies, known for their clarity.
Rhino tracking on foot and by vehicle
You typically set out in the morning on game drive vehicles, behind the Save the Rhino trackers, who keep records on where and when previous rhino were seen. This enables them to track the rhino, although due to the vast terrain you sometimes drive long distances to view them. Once they have located an animal, tracking by foot can take place depending on the position or location of the rhino.
Game drives showcase the magnitude of the landscape and offer the best possibilities of seeing desert-adapted wildlife including rhino, elephant, giraffe, antelope, zebra and maybe even the area’s predators.
Guided nature walks
Learn more about the smaller flora and fauna that live in this incredibly harsh environment. Adaptation to the desert environment is the miracle of all that survives here.
OPT. ADD-ON, 4 DAYS, FISH RIVER CANYON & AUS
A million miles away from the rest of the world - the drive to the south is minimum 7 hours and can be broken with a stay in the Kalahari at one of the roadside lodges and on the way back or en-route to Sossusvlei, stay at Aus where the desert horses have become famous!
When you gaze upon the striking beauty of the The Fish River Canyon, it is easy to see why it is the second most visited tourist site in Namibia. Every year hundreds of hikers from all over the world gear up to brave the extremes along a 90km trail from the eastern side and all vow to do it again.
The Fish River Lodge offers a unique canyon hiking experience to small parties of guests. Set in the western side of the Fish River Canyon, the 45 000ha Canyon Nature Park offers exclusive hiking and 4×4 access down into the canyon where 74km of the Fish River meanders through the privately-owned park.
To experience the beauty and serenity first hand, lace up your boots, grab your binoculars and take a hike down into the canyon.