Price starts at $7598 Land per person, per day, double occupancy.
Day 1: Windhoek, Namibia
After landing at Windhoek, Airport, you are welcomed by your private guide, who transfers you to your guesthouse. En route, enjoy a short, casual city tour . The remainder of the afternoon is at your leisure to relax, or explore the city’s shops and craft market, time permitting. Dinner tonight is at the guesthouse with your guide who will discuss the details of your safari with you. Windhoek, Namibia’s capital, nestles among rolling hills, bounded by the Eros Mountains in the east, the Auas Mountains to the south and the Khomas Hochland to the west. It is a meeting place between Africa and Europe, the modern and the old. Well-preserved German colonial buildings are in sharp contrast to the modern architectural styles. Herero women in their traditional Victorian dresses mingle with others dressed in the latest fashions. Your guesthouse, with just seven guest rooms, is a ten-minute drive from the center of town in the northernmost affluent suburb of Eros. A number shops and restaurants are within easy reach. Rooms feature internet connectivity, satellite television, coffee/tea station and general guest amenities. The house also has a dining room, swimming pool and garden. There is also delightful ‘al fresco’ dining area by the pool. Galton House (D)
Day 2: Windhoek / NamibRand Nature Reserve
This morning, you are taken to Eros Airport for your scheduled light aircraft flight to the Wolwedans Dunes Lodge. The scenic flight passes over the central highlands of Namibia and the great Namib Desert to the NamibRand Nature Reserve to land at the lodge airstrip. Upon arrival at the Wolwedans base camp, you are met by a local lodge ranger who takes you to the impressive lodge overlooking the vast plains of the reserve. The rest of the afternoon is at your leisure until you set out on a late afternoon scenic drive. The breathtaking reserve is one of the largest private nature reserves in southern Africa, was began as a conservation initiative in 1984. Today, it extends over 180,000 hectares/445,000 acres of pristine Namib Desert, which was once used for Karakul sheep farming. The reserve shares a part of its border with the Namib-Naukluft National Park to the west, while the imposing Nubib mountain range forms a natural border to the east. The NamibRand possesses a diversity of desert landscapes, with expansive sand and gravel plains and great stretches of grass savannah, the majestic mountain ranges and dune belts of deep red sand. Before NamibRand became a private nature reserve, it consisted of sheep farms, surveyed and allocated in the early 1950s to ex-soldiers of World War II. Today visitors to the Namib Rand can admire nature in its original state, as indigenous animals and plants have been reintroduced. The lodge has nine chalets perched along the top of a dune plateau. The lodge overlooks panoramic vistas in all direction. Its building style is a combination of wooden poles and large canvas blinds/windows that open up to the desert. Each of the nine spacious chalets has an en suite bathroom, and a private veranda looking out over stretches of untouched sand. Wolwedans Dune Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 3: NamibRand Nature Reserve
Today, a scenic drive takes you into the unique landscape of the reserve, where you learn about this amazing ecosystem, enjoy the stunning scenery and a picnic lunch before returning to the lodge in the late afternoon. Other activities offered include walking safaris, scenic flights, horseback riding and hot-air ballooning. Wolwedans Dune Lodge (B,L,D)
Day 4: NamibRand Nature Reserve / Damaraland
After a leisurely breakfast, you return to the airstrip for your scheduled light aircraft flight into the heart of Damaraland. Fly over the famous Sossusvlei Dunes and the great sand sea towards to coast. Weather permitting, you may see deserted mines, shipwrecks and seal colonies along the way to Sandwich Harbour and the port of Walvis Bay. Your plane refuels at the coastal resort of Swakopmundl. Continue north to reach the airstrip at Twyfelfontein, where you will be met by your private, naturalist guide and transferred to Camp Kipwe in time for lunch. The remainder of the afternoon can be spent on a guided excursion to visit the rock engravings at Twyfelfontein, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Strewn over a hillside among flat-topped mountains of red sandstone, the boulders and slabs of red sandstone hold some 2,500 prehistoric engravings that depict wildlife, animal spoor and abstract motifs. It is perhaps the largest and finest collection of petroglyphs in Africa. The engravings show animals such as elephant, giraffe, kudu, lion, rhinoceros, springbok, zebra and ostrich that once used to drink from a fountain at the bottom of the hill. In some cases footprints were engraved instead of hooves or paws. The abstract motifs feature mainly circles. Stone tools and other artifacts found at Twyfelfontein suggest that hunter-gatherers occupied the site over a period of perhaps 7,000 years. A local guide accompanies you to tell the story of this ancient rock art. The engravings lie along two circular routes, one an hour’s climb and the other 40 minutes longer. Twyfelfontein is one of Namibia’s key National Monuments. Burnt Mountain is a rounded hill a short distance away from Twyfelfontein and the Organ Pipes. It seems to catch fire at sunrise and sunset with a fantastic range of colors due to a chemical reaction that took place roughly 125 million years ago when molten lava penetrated organic shale and limestone deposits, resulting in contact metamorphism. In ordinary sunlight it is a dull black with blackened rubble that lies to one side like cinders from the original fire. Organ Pipes are another geological curiosity in the area consisting of a mass of perpendicular dolerite columns that intruded the surrounding rocks also about 125 million years ago and have since been exposed in a ravine due to river erosion. Your camp is nestled in an outcrop of giant granite boulders. Each comfortable thatched bungalow is simply but tastefully furnished with en-suite open-air bathroom. In the center of the camp lies a large alfresco dining area, bar, lounge and reception with an inviting fireplace nearby to relax beside in the evenings, a refreshing swimming pool and a sunset lookout with lovely views over the landscape. Camp Kipwe (B,L,D)
Day 5: Damaraland
After an early breakfast, you embark on an exciting 4×4 excursion along the ephemeral Aba Huab River Valley to explore this remarkable region and to search for game, especially the elusive desert-adapted elephants, if they are in the area. Damaraland is home to a variety of desert wildlife and hidden treasures. Return to camp for lunch and enjoy some time to relax. Or, your guide can arrange a visit to Twyfelfontein, or you take a walk with your guide in the local area. In habitats with sufficient vegetation and water, an adult elephant consumes as much as 300 kg and 230 liters of water every day of its life. Other large mammals include black rhinoceros and giraffe. Their ranges extend from river catchments in northern Kaokoveld as far south as the northern Namib. Apart from the Kunene River, seven river courses northwards from the Ugab provide them with possible routes across the desert, right to the Skeleton Coast. The biggest are the Hoarusib, the Hoanib, the Huab and the Ugab Rivers. Desert adapted elephant in Kaokoland and the Namib walk further for water and food than any other elephant in Africa. The distances between waterholes and feeding grounds can be as great as 68 km. The typical home range of a family herd is larger than 2,000 km², or eight times as big as ranges in central Africa where rainfall is much higher. They walk and feed at night and rest during the day. To meet their nutritional and bulk requirements they browse on no fewer than 74 of the 103 plant species that grow in their range. Not a separate species or even a subspecies, they are an ecotype unique to Namibia in Africa south of the equator, behaviorally adapted to hyper-arid conditions. Elephant in Mali on the southwestern fringe of the Sahara Desert are the only others known to survive in similar conditions. Camp Kipwe (B,L,D)
Day 6: Damaraland / Etosha National Park
This morning, you will have an early departure as you make your way north deeper into the heart of Damaraland. En route, you will visit an extremely remote Himba village, only known to a few people. Your guide’s presence and contacts with the local community insure that you will be welcomed as a ‘friend of a friend.’ You will have the rare opportunity to spend time with these nomadic pastoralists. There has been virtually no modern influences on these communities, which makes this a fascinating cultural exchange. The Himba, Tjimba and other Herero people inhabit Namibia’s remote northwestern Kunene Region, and are loosely referred to as the Kaokovelders. Basically Herero in terms of origin, language and culture, they are semi-nomadic pastoralists who tend to move from one watering place to another, but seldom leave their home territories. They have been little influenced by other cultures and have lived a relatively isolated existence for centuries. The women are noted for their unusual sculptural beauty, enhanced by intricate hairstyles and traditional adornments. They rub their bodies with red ochre and fat, a treatment that protects their skins against the harsh desert climate. Men, women and children adorn themselves with necklaces, bracelets, anklets and belts made from iron and shell beads. With their unusual and striking designs, these items have gained a commercial value and are being produced on a small scale for the urban market. Sculptural headrests in particular are much sought after. A family may move from one home to another several times a year to seek grazing for their goats and cattle. The homes of the Himba of Kaokoland are simple, cone-shaped structures of saplings, bound together with palm leaves and plastered with mud and dung. The men build the structures, while the women mix the clay and do the plastering. You will then continue on your journey, enjoying a picnic lunch en route to your camp on the southern border of Etosha in the late afternoon. The low Ondundozonanandana Mountains serve as a backdrop to the camp in the private Ongava Game Reserve. Bordering Etosha National Park, the Ongava Game Reserve is typified by white calcrete soils, rocky outcrops and scrub-covered plains, which support a rich variety of game such as giraffe, lion, rhino and various antelope species. The camp overlooks a waterhole where guests can enjoy the interaction of wildlife throughout the day and night. The camp’s design was guided primarily by the principles of environmental sustainability – reduce, reuse, recycle. The old farmhouse now forms the main dining, bar and swimming pool area with guest tents radiating outwards into the secluded mopane woodlands typical of the region. Tents are constructed using a clever mix of calcrete stone cladding, canvas and wood, with double-door entrances and a small verandah that is an extension of the elevated wooden decks. The open-air en-suite bathrooms continue the unique design. Andersson’s Camp (B,L,D)
Day 7: Etosha National Park
Your morning guided game drive heads into Etosha National Park tracking the wide variety of game and bird species. Etosha National Park covers 22,270 km², of which over 5,000 km² is made up of saline depressions or ‘pans’. The largest of these pans, the Etosha Pan, can be classified as a saline desert in its own right. The Etosha Pan lies in the Owambo Basin, on the northwestern edge of the Namibian Kalahari Desert. Until three million years ago, it formed part of a huge, shallow lake has been reduced to a complex of salt pans today. The major river that fed it, the Kunene, changed course and began to flow to the Atlantic. If the lake existed today, it would be the third largest in the world. Etosha Pan is the largest of the pans at 4,760 km² in extent. Return to the camp for a late lunch and time to relax or take a swim before you head out again for an afternoon game drive. Alternatively, you can opt to spend the whole day out in the park with a picnic lunch one of the waterholes. Enjoy the evening watching animals come to the camp’s floodlit waterhole. Andersson’s Camp (B,L,D)
Day 8: Etosha National Park / Windhoek
After breakfast this morning, travel south from the Etosha National Park through the small towns of Outjo and Otjiwarongo before stopping at the Okonjima Day Centre. Here, enjoy a short game drive and educational tour of the AfriCat Foundation in order to learn about the great work being done here in the conservation of Africa’s large cats. After lunch at the center, continue to Okahandja to visit the local craft market for some last minute curio shopping, if time allows. Upon arrival in Windhoek your guide will transfer you to your accommodation. Galton House (B,L)
Day 9: Windhoek / Depart
You are transferred to the aiport for your departing flight home. (B)
Land price, per person, double occupancy: February 1 – June 15, 2014: From $7598. June 16 – October 31, 2014: From $8150.
Single room supplement and child rates available upon request.