The scenic beauty of Namibia is only matched by its diversity. Deep canyons, towering sand dunes, otherworldly rock formations and vast salt pans seamlessly merge into each other in an endlessly shifting landscape. The sky seems particularly big here with spectacular sunsets and, at night, the sight of billions of stars twinkling overhead. This is the backdrop for healthy wildlife populations and a melting pot of different communities.
This is a small group guided holiday. The group is usually between 4 and 16 in size, with an average of 12 like-minded clients booking individually, in a couple or as friends together.
We stay in a variety of lodges and guest houses, generally 2 and 3 start. These are simple but clean and all are en-suite. Most of the properties have swimming pools. The rooms in Etosha National Park are the only ones which provide mosquito nets as the park is in a low-risk malaria zone.
Single supplement is available (from £350)
Namibia is in the Southern Hemisphere, therefore essentially has the opposite seasonality to the UK. The months of June, July and August, whilst clear and warm during the day, can drop down to single figures and even freezing at night. Between September and May it is considerably warmer with the time between October and March being the hottest, getting up to the high 30sdegC. However it is always a dry heat and the temperature does drop at night. The wet season is between November and February, but this is not a bad time to go as the desert blooms after rainfall, there is plenty of birdlife to see and, it never rains for very long.
|DEPOSIT||£150||SINGLE PERSON SUPPLEMENT||£350|
|GROUP SIZE MIN||4 people||GROUP SIZE MAX||16 people|
AVAILABLE TOUR DATES:
|31 /07/2016||13 /11/2016||09 /04/2017|
|16 /10/2016||05 /02/2017||23 /07/2017|
Those on group flights will be picked up at the airport and we will drive into town for an hour or so. In town everyone will have a chance to change money and pick up any supplies they may need; this is also an opportunity for our guides to buy fresh food. We will then drive to our lodge. The afternoon can be spent exploring or relaxing.
Today we head southwest through the spectacular scenery of the Namib-Naukluft Park to Sesriem. This national park, one of the largest in the world, is home to one of the driest and oldest deserts on earth. It contains the finest desert scenery in Africa, if not in the world, with towering jagged rock formations and an incredible lunar landscape, so be prepared for some great photo stops.
Today we spend all day in the Namib Desert. Rising early we catch the tallest sand dunes in the world in the best light and have the opportunity to climb one of the dunes as the sun rises, truly one of Africa’s greatest sights. We can either walk to Hiddenvlei or catch a transfer (optional extra) to Deadvlei where ancient acacia trees in the desert form an eerie scene. If we’re lucky we may see gemsbok or ostrich among the sand dunes. In the afternoon we visit Sesriem Canyon before visiting the Namib Carnivore Conservation Centre where we can join biologists working on a cheetah tracking and conservation project (depending on time we may go cheetah tracking tomorrow morning). We then continue on to our camp.
A long but very scenic drive through the Namib-Naukluft Park to Swakopmund. En route we visit Walvis Bay for lunch and to see local flamingos. Swakopmund is a small German colonial resort town with quaint cake shops and coffee houses and a centre for adrenaline activities.
Today is a free day to enjoy one of the many optional activities on offer in and around town. At sea you can go deep-sea fishing and dolphin watching, in the desert you can go sand-boarding and quad-biking and in the sky you can fly over the skeleton coast. Or if none of these appeal you can spend the day enjoying the fantastic Viennese style cakes, walk along the beach or in the nearby dunes or just enjoy watching the world go-by in this town which seems strangely out of place in Africa.
After a relaxing start we leave the cool breeze of the Atlantic Ocean behind and head inland. Our destination is Twyfelfontein which has the highest density of Bushmen (San) engravings in Southern Africa. We hike out to see some of these ancient rock-paintings and admire more of Namibia’s desert scenery. Keep an eye out for the Desert elephants this region, Damaraland, is known for.
We then take a scenic drive to the Petrified Forest (260 million years old) to see how the wood has been metamorphasised into stone before continuing to Kamanjab and a nearby community of Himba, one of Africa’s most distinctive people. The Himba are a pastoralist and very traditional people who staunchly hold on to their traditions and way of life despite pressure to pull them into the 21st Century. They dress scantily in goat-skin and are adorned with jewellery whilst they cover their skin and hair in a paste made from ash, butter and ochre giving them their distinctive red colour. Allowing tourists to visit their village is a means for them to generate an income used for food, medicine and education for the children. Please remember, however, that we are guests in their village and whilst the Himba are curious about their visitors and happy to share their story, traditions and beliefs with us, this is not a human zoo. Be respectful of our hosts, the Himba are normally happy to be photographed but always ask first.
Today is spent with a scenic drive to Etosha. We should arrive at Etosha in time for a late afternoon game drive before spending the night at Okaukuejo, which has an excellent waterhole for viewing game at night. Our itinerary allows plenty of time to really enjoy this fabulous game park.
Etosha is a huge park of mixed forest and grassland centred around a large salt pan. Etosha is home to a great variety and number of game, which is easy to find as the animals congregate at different times around the waterholes. There are waterholes next to the excellent campsites, and it is not uncommon for us to spend all night watching a gala performance of animals: wildebeest, zebra, impala, springbuck, kudu, elephant, giraffe, lion and even rhino are all common sights here. Take plenty of camera memory and lots of patience and you will be rewarded by one of the greatest game spectacles in Southern Africa. Etosha is also a good place for birds, with plenty of water birds on the lakes (when filled with water), and weaverbirds and hornbills in the trees. While in Etosha we move from Okaukuejo to either Halali and/or Namatoni rest camps. These camps now offer optional night drives which you can book and pay for on arrival.
Another day game-viewing in Etosha N.P.
Leaving Etosha behind, we head towards the Waterberg Plateau. This 200 metre high gigantic flat-topped plateau with bushveld on top is one of Namibia’s most fertile areas. There are several walking trails, including one leading to a spectacular viewpoint near the top of the plateau offering a great view of the surrounding area. It is also possible to do an optional 4×4 game drive.
We have some free time this morning to relax or explore the Waterberg Plateau a little further. Later we head back to Windhoek stopping at a crafts market on the way.
A drive of three hours or so brings us back to Windhoek; depart Windhoek.
A country four times the size of England yet with only 1.6 million people, Namibia, put simply, is the finest desert wilderness on the planet. Whether it is the massive sand monoliths of Sesriem, the extraordinary rock formations of Damaraland or the Skeleton Coast, Namibia is a dream for those in search of wilderness and adventure. It is not all desert though; there is the coastal resort of Swakopmund (now vying with Victoria Falls and Cape Town as the adventure capital of Africa) with quad biking, sand boarding, parachuting, shark fishing, scenic flights and balloon trips. Etosha National Park is the third largest in Africa, centered on a huge saltpan.
Namibia recently won Top Destination in the latest Wanderlust Travel Awards.