Day 1: Fetch you from the airport and take you to a good guest house 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 many restaurants in town.
Day 2: Spend the day sightseeing the city 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 other local restaurants.
Days 3: Travel south from Windhoek to one of the many good guest farms in Namibia where you will stay overnight in very stylish accommodation with en suite facilities. At some of these guest farms the guests can watch local craftsmen at work, making superb Karakul wool carpets, handmade jewelery, beautiful embroidered bed and table linen. Guests can also go with the farmer on his daily rounds to find how a Namibian farm operates – most interesting and you will most likely see some game as well. Game drive and visit to private observatory to look at the stunning southern night skies.
Day 4: Continue further south, stopping off en route to visit another farm where the guests can see some of local craft women making beautiful hand-embroidered bed and table linen. Carry on to a working farm in the south where you can look at the ancient Mesosaurus fossils found here as well as hundreds of quiver trees (Aloe dichotoma). These fascinating fossils and aloes are unique to this part of the country and the scenery is a photographer’s paradise. Guests sleep in little chalets with en suite bathroom facilities. Here too, the guests can learn about the workings of a Namibian farm.
Day 5: Leave after an early breakfast to visit the impressive Fish River Canyon, SW of the village of Keetmanshoop. Although it is only a third as big as the magnificent Grand Canyon, it is the second largest canyon in the world and certainly worth having a look at, especially in the early morning or late afternoon. Stay over night at one of the excellent guest farms in the vicinity. Depending on where you are staying, you can also choose to go on a most interesting flight over the Fish River Canyon and the very rugged area lying between the Fish River Canyon and the Orange River (optional).
Days 6 & 7: This part of the journey will appeal to the more adventurous travelers who enjoy visiting an area that is off the beaten track. We will travel further south and visit the hot springs at Ai-Ais, which lie in the bottom of the Fish River, where you can enjoy the waters and where we will have lunch. From here the journey continues further to the south, through some really rugged countryside, until we reach the malaria free Orange River, where we check in a bungalows which are situated on the grassy banks of the Orange River for two nights.
Apart from a bar, an a’-la-carte restaurant and swimming pool, you can choose to either go canoeing, swimming, hiking, fishing, bird-watching, go on nature drives (optional), or just relax to you heart’s content in a very different environment to anything you have probably experienced before. The Orange River is the largest river in the southern part of Africa and it is bordered by stark mountains on either side, covered with some interesting vegetation.
Day 8: We travel further west along the Orange River as far as the river crossing at Sendelingsdrift, through yet more scenic and rugged countryside along the Orange River, and then turn north, passing through the mining village of Rosh Pinah en route for the village of Aus. From Sendelingsdrift we skirt the eastern edge of the southern Namib desert. Immediately west of Aus we book into some charming stone built cabins complete with en suite facilities, located amongst beautiful granite boulders.
Days 9 & 10: We leave after breakfast and travel via the seemingly endless and fascinating Namib desert to the small harbor town of Luderitz, where extensive diamond deposits were discovered early in the 20th century, resulting in a huge diamond rush. Luderitz is known for its old-world charm and distinctively German colonial architecture. There is a lot that visitors to Luderitz can make a visit to Kolmanskop, Namibia’s famous diamond ghost town, 10 km east of Luderitz in the Sperrgebiet, where diamonds were mined from 1908 until the 1940’s.
Also you can go on a day trip into the forbidden Diamond Area to view the huge rock arch known as the Bogenfels, or undertake a boat trip to nearby Halifax island to look at the small resident African penguin colony or visit the Dias peninsula where the Portugese explorer Bartolomeu Dias, planted a stone cross in 1488 during his explorations of the African coast. Spend the two nights in a private guest house or hotel, whichever do you prefer.
Days 11 & 12: Return to the little village of Aus from where we travel northwards on an interesting road running between the desert and the escarpment to the east, to a guest farm where you spend the night in fully equipped chalets. Meet your local hosts, who know their own part of the country very well and will be able to share with you many of the interesting stories, places, plants and animals found here. During the second day here the visitors can go on a 4x4 vehicle trip to explore the mountains and desert scenery which is truly stunning.
Day 13: Set off after breakfast and en route stop off at Duwisib Castle, which was built by the legendary Baron Von Wolff for his American wife, Jayta, and only completed in 1909. Visitors can look at much of the original furniture and artworks which was transported all the way from Germany to Luderitzbucht and across the Namib desert by ox wagons, nearly a century ago. From here carry on to the a guest farm, south of the rugged Naukluft mountains, which is owned by one of only two wine makers in Namibia.
You will be able to decide for yourself how his wine compares with your own local wines. Here you will stay in new and very neat bungalows. Spend the rest of the day relaxing on this rugged and beautiful farm. 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. However, if they are fully booked then we will stay at another very good guest farm close by.
Day 14: 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, strange as it might seem. We will take breakfast, lunch and refreshments with us. Leave for the farm again before it gets too warm and spend a relaxing afternoon and evening at your leisure.
Another interesting option that the guests can undertake from here is to go on either an afternoon or early morning flight across the Namib desert via Sossusvlei, down to the cold Atlantic coast where desert and ocean meet, and then back again via the beautiful dune and mountain landscape in the vicinity of NamibRand Nature reserve (optional). One has no idea of how large and how spectacularly beautiful the desert is, and a such flight helps to put everything into perspective. The pilot is very experienced and has been flying around this area longer than anybody else, so he knows it like the back of his hand.
Day 15: After an early breakfast (or after the flight), leave for Swakopmund via Solitaire (the most aptly named settlement in Namibia, and famous for the fascinating old farm shop and Moose’s apple tart), 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 up-market hotels (whichever you prefer) in Swakopmund. Dinner at a good local restaurant.
Day 16: After breakfast, drive south to the harbor town of Walvis Bay (about a 30 minutes drive) where you will go on a most interesting dolphin cruise around the bay. Visitors are assured of seeing Cape fur seals, 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 and this particular outing is most interesting and informative. Have a free afternoon sightseeing in Swakopmund, which is another late 19th century little German town set along the Atlantic coast of Africa. There is a lot to see and everything is within easy walking distance. Dinner at a different local restaurant. Spend another night at the same guest house/hotel.
Day 17: Return to Windhoek after breakfast, stopping off in Karibib at Henckert’s Souvenir shop and Leonid’s Minerals and Crafts Shop as well as at the Kavango Wood Carvers in Okahandja to do some last minute sight seeing or shopping for souvenirs and presents. Book into the guest house in Windhoek and go out to dinner in the evening. As an optional choice you can get on the luxury Desert Express train, which provides a scenic journey between Swakopmund and Windhoek, stopping along the way for several excursions. You sleep on the train and will be collected from the Windhoek station the next morning in time to be taken to the airport for your journey home.
Day 18: Departure. If there is enough time, then visit the Namibia Craft Centre and some of the other quality shops, or spend the time relaxing before your journey home. Leave for the airport in time to catch your flight home. End of the service.
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