Expect the unexpected when you come to Namibia. This corner of southwest Africa has all the drama, beauty and animals that visitors expect from an African safari. Mountains of pink granite, deserts of striking orange sand dunes that form and reform into beautiful drifts. Canyons, plateaus, savannas, ocean; in some places the landscape appears lunar, in others it is lush and green, with every permutation in between. Namibia has been named the best safari country for scenic views, which means you'll see plenty of game (including the big five: elephant, lion, rhinoceros, leopard and African buffalo). We spend 4 nights in Etosha National Parks, one of the premier game parks in Africa, where the variety and quantity of animals are vast. Culturally the county is fascinating, once a German colony, some villages look like they were transplanted out of Germany a century ago. People are extraordinarily friendly and welcoming. You will find the food a delight, a combination of many cuisines. The lodges where we spend our nights are chosen for their beauty and comfort, and considered not only some of the best in Namibia, but the best in Africa.
DAY 1: THURSDAY, Dec. 1
You will be met by a representative on arrival at Windhoek's airport and transferred to hotel in central Windhoek. The day is yours to relax at the hotel, or if feeling more energetic we can explore the sights near our accommodations in the city center. This evening enjoy a welcome meal, meet trip leader and fellow travelers and discuss our upcoming adventure. Overnight at Windhoek Hilton.
DAY 5: MONDAY, Dec. 5
DAY 2: FRIDAY, Dec. 2
Windhoek to Sossusvlei
We depart Windhoek after breakfast and for the short flight to Sossusvlei. The term translates roughly to 'dead-end marsh,' an image that does not do justice to the white salt and clay pan surrounded by towering sand dunes, vivid pinkish or orange colored depending on the light. These are some of the highest sand dunes to be found anywhere and considered one of the highlights of a visit to Namibia. Antelopes and ostrich are adapted to live in this arid environment and if fortunate we will see them. One of the most unique sights is the petrified forest at Deadvlei, 'dead marsh,'which until 700 years ago was a thriving forest in the middle of Sossusvlei, thought to have died when they local climate changed, causing the trees to die, but with the harsh dry climate their trunks remain standing, rather than decompose, though now turned black in color due to the intense sun, making the contrast between white clay, black trees and orange dunes a memorable one.
Overnight at Desert Homestead Outpost.
DAY 3: SATURDAY, Dec. 3
Today we continue to explore the fascinating sights in Sossusvlei, one of the highlights will be the Sesriem Canyon, a natural gorge carved by the Tsauchab River. One mile long and 100 feet deep, the river has worn the colored sedimentary rocks into weird bizarrely beautiful formations. Optional hot air balloon safari in early morning or late afternoon to view Sossusvlei from above.
Overnight at Desert Homestead Outpost.
DAY 4: SUNDAY, Dec. 4
Sossusvlei to Swakopmund
Today we board another flight to carry us over the Namib Desert to land in the seaside town of Swakopmund. Swakopmund has a quaint German feel to it and an unusual yet pleasant vibe. Our guide will take us by vehicle and foot to explore Swakop is locals affectionately call their town. We will take an afternoon drive into the desert to see the welwitchia plants in the Moon Valley. This other worldly landscape is one of the do not miss sights near Swakopmund, and the welwitchia plants, over 2000 years old look more like creatures from a science fiction movie. Overnight at Namib Guesthouse.
This morning a short drive to the nearby town of Walvis Bay, the lagoon here is known for its birdlife, and home to thousands of flamingos, pelicans and other waders, easily seen in this protected site. Optional visit to Sandwich Harbor to see more stunning dunes, or boat cruise in Walvis Bay to see dolphins, sea lions and pelicans, and observe the coast from the sea. Overnight in Namib Guesthouse.
DAY 6: TUESDAY, Dec. 6
Swakopmund to Damaraland
Depart and drive north along the Skeleton Coast, so named for the numbers of whale and seal bones that litter the area, though later the graveyard of many ships that ran aground. And also the home to vast colonies of Cape fur seals. We'll stop to photograph both seals and ships. Our lunch will be at Cape Cross Lodge, one of the few places to eat in this untamed wilderness. See the largest breeding cape fur seal colony in the world. At Henties Bay we head inland, leaving behind the Skeleton Coast as we enter Damaraland, so named for the people who live here. We make a stop at Twyfelfontein to admire the 2000 year old rock paintings. Other stops today are the colorful Burnt Mountain and Organ Pipes, a formation of columnar vertical basalt stone. Late afternoon arrival to Camp Kipwe, one of the most unique and sought after lodges in Africa. Set on a mountain of round boulders, the individual thatch roof structures have the same round shape as the enormous boulders into which they nestle. Sunsets in Damaraland are famous for their beauty, yours to enjoy while relaxing this evening.
DAY 7: WEDNESDAY, Dec. 7
Damaraland is characterized by enormous granite outcrops, grassy plains, dry riverbeds and endless open skies. Today we drive across this landscape, stopping to observe its beauty. We will see Brandberg Mountain, rising like an island out of the surrounding plains, this curious circular mountain sometimes called fire mountain as it glows vivid orange. The area is home to unique desert adapted wildlife; elephant, black rhinoceros, ostrich, oryx and giraffe. Overnight at Camp Kipwe.
DAY 8: THURSDAY, Dec. 8
Damaraland to Etosha
The drive to Etosha National Park is 4-5 hours, with short stops along the way at the petrified forest, tree trunks millions of years old now turned to stone via the process of silification. Another stop in the small town of Outjo to see its bizarre Vingerklip, a 100 foot tall rock formation rising out of the plain that looks like a giant finger.
Etosha has an estimated 250 lions, 300 rhinos, 2,500 giraffes, 6,000 zebras, 20,000 springbok and 2,000 elephants. Plus extraordinary numbers of other mammals and birds. Game viewing in Etosha is something truly special, and Ethosha is renown as one of Africa's finest game parks with unrivaled animal viewing. Overnight at Ethosa Oberland, one of the top rated lodges in all Africa.
DAY 9: FRIDAY, Dec. 9
Full day to explore Ethosa with your guide. You can choose bush walks or game drives or both. Or spend part of the day relaxing at the lodge. Overnight at Etosha Oberland.
DAY 10: SATURDAY, Dec. 10
As Etosha is so vast, we move to another lodge today so as to see more of the park. Departing Oberland Lodge we drive across Etosha National Park for a full day of game viewing, stopping at waterholes where animals concentrate. Early afternoon we arrive at the eastern gate of Etosha and get settled at Onguma Bush Camp, our home for the next 2 nights. Late afternoon game drive.
DAY 11: SUNDAY, Dec. 11
More exploration of Etosha
Today is devoted to game viewing, with a picnic lunch overlooking one of the waterholes. Overnight at Onguma Bush Camp.
DAY 12: MONDAY, Dec. 12
Etosha to Okonjima
We have a 4 hour drive to Okonjima, home to the Africat Foundation. This highly regarded endeavor is dedicated to the conservation of cheetah and leopard. Okonjima offers the best chance in Nambia to see these 2 species of cats. Additionally many species of antelopes, zebra, giraffe, rhino, hyena can be seen here.Overnight at Okonjima Lodge Plains Camp.
DAY 13: TUESDAY, Dec. 13
Okonjima to Windhoek
A final game drive this morning, then return to lodge for breakfast, before we return to Windhoek for our final night in Namibia. Farewell dinner this evening. Overnight at Windhoek Hilton.
DAY 14: WEDNESDAY, Dec. 14
The day is yours to prepare for flight home, or for those with late flights, time to explore Windhoek on your own.
PRICES & REGISTRATION INFORMATION
(Inclusive of food noted in itinerary, accommodations, ground transportation, activities except those listed as 'optional' in itinerary, entrance fees, services of licensed Namibian guide and driver, services of USA based trip leader )
$6500. (Based on double occupancy)
$7700. (Based on single occupancy)
Note on pricing: the above price is based on 6 participants, price will drop if more than 6 participants join trip.
NOTE: Gratuities, beverages, laundry, souvenirs, items of a personal nature and travel insurance, and PCR test and end of trip (if required) are NOT included.
Proof of Covid-19 vaccine and negative PCR test are required for participation on this trip. Travel insurance also required for this trip.
Participants are responsible for their own air transportation to Windhoek airport where the journey begins. Flights from USA to Namibia require a change of planes, Johannesburg and Capetown, South Africa; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; and Frankfurt, Germany all have flights to many USA cities and to Windhoek.
For those arriving before December 1, or staying after end of journey we can arrange additional nights in the hotel.
Citizens of USA (and many other countries) may enter Namibia without a visa.