Day 1: Fetch you from the airport and take you to a good guesthouse or hotel in Windhoek. The rest of the day is yours to relax and catch up on some sleep, especially if you have been on the long flight, or if you are up to it, go on a sight seeing tour of Windhoek. Go out to dinner in the evening to one of the restaurants in town.
Day 2: Spend the day seeing the sights of Windhoek. One cannot really see all there is to see in one day, but we will do our best. Have lunch and dinner at some of the local restaurants. Namibia is a seriously carnivorous country, but vegetarians will not starve.
Day 3: Travel south-east from Windhoek to the guest farm where you will stay overnight in very stylish accommodation with en suite facilities. Here the guests can watch various craftsmen at work making Karakul carpets and handmade jewelery and you can find out how a Namibian farm operates.
Day 4: Leave after an early breakfast to visit the Fish River Canyon, SW of Keetmanshoop. En route stop off at another farm to have a look at the beautiful hand-embroidered bed and table linen which is made by some of the local ladies living on the farm. Although the Fish River Canyon is only a third as big as the Grand Canyon, it is the second largest canyon in the world and certainly worth having a look at. Stay over at the unusual Canon Lodge which is situated amongst some lovely granite hills close to the Canyon. Here you can also go for a flight over the Fish River canyon and the very rugged area towards the west and south (optional).
Days 5 & 6: Leave the Canyon Lodge and go to the village of Aus and then northwards all along the edge of the desert on a particularly interesting road, to a very special Lodge called Wolwedans situated on the largest private nature reserve in Namibia, Namib Rand Nature Reserve, arriving there in the late afternoon. Spend two night in the stunning Wolwedans Dunes Lodge or the Tented Camp, whichever you prefer. Spend the second day being driven around this spectacular area in an open top Land Rover.
Here you will see a totally different aspect of the sand dune desert - rolling dunes covered in short perennial grass, interspersed with camelthorn trees (Acacia erioloba) – all of which backs onto the plains and mountains to the west. This farm fell within the conservation area that was controlled from Keetmanshoop when I was stationed there with the Ministry of Nature Conservation from 1980-82, and I always said that if I ever had had the money to buy only one farm in the country, it would have been Wolwedans, and not even Bill Gates would have been able to buy it off me.
This Lodge is fairly expensive, but one of the benefits is that it is situated in a spectacularly beautiful desert environment and it includes a full day sightseeing trip. It is also possible to go for a balloon trip over the dunes in the early morning, with a champagne breakfast thrown in. However, this will require an additional day, since one can only fly in the early morning when the air is still cold enough and if the wind is not blowing too strongly. The location that you fly from is situated 30 km to the north of Wolwedans Lodge, and one has to get up very early to get there in time for the flight. This too is expensive, but many people who have been ballooning here think it is worth every cent, but the choice is yours.
Day 7: Get up very early to drive to Sossusvlei on the edge of the Namib desert, with its monumental sand dunes - the top tourist destination in the southern region of the country. Here you will see some of the highest and most spectacular dune scenery in the world – a photographer’s paradise. Visit the fascinating Sesriem Canyon on the way back to get some idea of how much of the desert and surrounding area has been shaped by water. We will take breakfast, lunch and refreshments with us. After visiting Sossusvlei and Sesriem we leave for a small and very cosy guest farm before it gets too hot where you can spend the afternoon. The owner is one of only two wine makers in Namibia. Allan is very enthusiastic about the wine, the area and all things related to Namibia and all our previous visitors have loved their stay here.
From here our guests can undertake either an early morning or mid-afternoon flight across the Namib desert via Sossusvlei (optional), down to the coast where the warm desert and cold Atlantic ocean meet and then back again via the beautiful dune and mountain landscape in the vicinity of Namib Rand Nature reserve. The pilot is experienced and has been flying around this area a lot. This flight can either be undertaken during mid-afternoon or just after sunrise the next day, because then the dunes with their long shadows are at their best.
Day 8: After an early breakfast (or after the early morning flight) leave for Swakopmund via Solitaire and the gravel plains of the Namib Desert Park. On the way we will visit the Kuiseb Canyon Viewpoint, where two German geologist hid out for almost three years during WW II because they wanted nothing to do with the war (read “The Sheltering Desert” ISBN 0 86852 150 7 by Henno Martin). Travel further westwards through the ever more barren desert, stopping off to look at the strange Welwitschia plants which only occur in Namibia and southern Angola and nowhere else in the world. Shortly before getting to Swakopmund stop again to view the stark Moon Landscape which was also formed by water in the desert. Book into a charming guesthouse or one of the upmarket hotels in Swakopmund. Dinner at a good local restaurant.
Day 9: After breakfast, drive 30 km south to the harbor town of Walvis Bay where you will go on a most interesting dolphin cruise around the bay. Visitors are assured of seeing Cape fur seals (some of which jump up onto the boat), two different species of dolphins, and if very lucky maybe a whale or two, as well as many different species of sea birds, including flamingos and pelicans. A delicious lunch consisting of sea food and light snacks is served on board the boat.
Those who do not wish to go on the boat trip, can go on an exploration excursion to discover the wonders of the desert – most people are amazed at the variety and amount of living creatures to be found in the desert. The afternoon is yours to do as you wish. There is plenty to do and see in Swakopmund, because it is a very charming little late 19th century “German” town, set on the desert coast of Africa and everything is within easy walking distance. Spend another night at the same guest house and have dinner at a different restaurant.
Day 10: This is a long day and we far to go, so we have to leave early, so as to get to Cape Cross by ten o’clock in the morning, when the gates open. Stop off en route to look at the huge lichen fields growing in the desert. Visit the huge Cape fur seal colony at Cape Cross (one of the largest on the African continent), and also have a look at a replica of the padrão which the Portuguese explorer, Diogo Cão, planted there in 1486, during his journeys of exploration down the African coast. Carry on further north into the Skeleton Coast Park, where a picnic lunch will be had next to the sea. As you leave the Skeleton Coast Park, traveling eastwards, one enters the stark but beautiful region of the southern-central Kunene province, with its characteristics flat-topped basalt mountains. Stay over at one of three lodges situated close to the Twyfelfontein rock art site.
The smaller exclusive lodge is set amongst beautiful granite boulders where visitors stay in lovely big Meru tents, each with its own view; the second one is a much larger lodge which caters for larger groups and the third one is a small rustic camp with its own airstrip from where guests can choose to go flying in either a balloon, micro-light or fixed wing aircraft. All three are new lodges and very good, but it will depend upon which one you would prefer to stay at, as well as the availability, so it is best to let us know well in advance what your preference would be.
Day 11: Visit the fascinating Twyfelfontein rock art site (soon to be declared a World Heritage Site), one of the most important archaeological sites in southern Africa, where hundreds of rock engravings can be seen, some dating back thousands of years. Carry on and spend the night at a very good lodge close to the western boundary of the Etosha National Park. Guests can choose between staying at a secluded lodge where they can relax in a hot spring, enjoy an aroma therapy treatment or go on a slow game drive; or at the guest farm which hosts the Afrileo project and where they can see the lions being fed; or at a lodge adjoining the Etosha where guests can go on an evening game drive or one couple can choose to overnight in the tree house, away from the other guests and where they too might see some of the nocturnal animals.
Day 12: Spend a second day at here relaxing or taking part in the various activities on offer (optional), so as to get away from spending the whole day traveling from one place to the next – the idea of a holiday after all is to relax and enjoy yourself.
Day 13: Enter Etosha National Park through the Otjovasandu Gate situated on the western boundary and drive 200 km through the ENP to Okaukuejo Rest Camp. This western area of the ENP is normally closed to the general public and chances of seeing game here is fairly good, depending upon when last it received rain. Book into the Okaukuejo rest camp. This camp has a floodlit waterhole which is excellent for viewing game at night as well as in the morning, so that you do not have to go any distance at all to see a truly wonderful Africa spectacle. Dinner at the camp restaurant.
Day 14: After breakfast and watching game at the waterhole, continue in an easterly direction viewing game to reach Halali Restcamp in time for lunch. After a siesta during the hot part of the day, go on another game drive in the late afternoon. Halali also has an excellent, floodlit waterhole where guests can sit and watch game coming and going after dark. Dinner that evening at the camp restaurant.
Day 15: Continue further eastwards the following morning, viewing game on the plains and at various waterholes, to Fort Namutoni, the most easterly camp in the Park. This is another restored German colonial fort, which is used as a tourist camp; it has quite a different atmosphere from the other camps. Spend the night here and have dinner at the restaurant, or if you prefer a traditional southern African “braai” (barbeque). However, if the guests prefer to stay over at a lodge instead, this can easily be arranged, as there are several excellent lodges close to the Namutoni entrance gate.
Day 16: Leave Etosha at the Namutoni Gate and visit Lake Otjikoto, which is a dolomite sinkhole lake near to Tsumeb. The German colonial forces dumped their ammunition and cannons in this lake, shortly before surrendering to the South African troops in 1915. From Lake Otjikoto travel to Tsumeb for coffee and cakes and then southwards to Otjiwarongo in time for lunch. Continue on down to Windhoek, stopping at Okahandja to see the Kavango Wood Carvers before returning to Windhoek. Book into the guest house and go out to dinner in the evening.
Day 17: Leave the following day for the airport. If there is enough time, then visit the Namibia Craft Center and shops, or spend the time relaxing before the long journey home.
Also see tour packages in:
Africa Namibia Local Culture Cultural Journey Desert Expeditions
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