Arrive at the Windhoek Hosea Kutako International Airport. Upon arrival our transfer company will meet you and transport you to Windhoek. Overnight at a guesthouse in the city.
Windhoek is Namibia’s capital, home to an international airport and a plethora of restaurants, shops, entertainment venues and accommodation options. The city is clean, safe and well-organised, with a colonial legacy that is reflected in its many German eateries and shops, and the widespread use of the German language. Windhoek has an interesting mix of historical architecture and modern buildings, many of which are worth a look, including the Alte Feste (Old Fort), the 1896 Christuskirche (Christ Church), and the more contemporary Supreme Court.
Namibian National Flag
Windhoek – Namib Desert (350km) Desert Homestead – Full Board
After breakfast, your guide will meet you at your guesthouse. Depart Windhoek and travel over the Eros Mountains and along scenic roads on our way south-west to the desert. We will also pass over part of the Naukluft Mountains, which are of particular interest for the ancient geological history of this part of the country. Heading down from Namibia’s central plateau by way of the beautiful Spreetshoogte Pass, we will reach open plains and the tiny settlement of Solitaire. From Solitaire we continue driving cross some open grass savannah and farmlands before the terrain gives way to the immense red sand dune desert of the Namib, arrive at our lodge during the late afternoon and watch the colours glow and change on distant mountains to the east.
Arrive at Desert Homestead in the afternoon. Spend the next 2 nights at Desert Homestead, your base from where you will explore the Namib Desert.
The Desert Homestead is situated approximately 32kms southeast of Sesriem, the gateway to the dunes at Sossusvlei. The wide grassy valley is sheltered by the Nubib, Tsaris and Naukluft mountains, with a magnificent view of the distant dunes of the Namib Desert in the west. The living areas of the Main Lodge are all open plan. The verandah is a prominent feature here, where guests can enjoy their meals or even a candle-lit dinner, completely sheltered from the wind.
Desert Homestead pride themselves on their creative farm style cuisine, with fresh vegetables from their very own desert gardens. Their dishes are prepared with the ‘finest touch.’ and their staff are well trained and friendly. There is a cozy lounge, complete with ethnic African decoration and comfortable leather sofas, satellite TV (in a separate room), Internet facilities and a curio shop. The bar is attended by a friendly, well educated and communicative barkeeper. There is also a swimming pool in front of the main building.
Accommodation is in 20 thatched rustic chalets. They have all been lined up a good distance from each other, the main lodge and the open grassland. Each en-suite chalet, has been luxuriously decorated in pale linens, and furnished with dark wood riempie furniture. There is a either a large single or double bed, and the lights and fans are powered by a bank of batteries, charged by wind or solar energy during the day. All of the guest amenities (soaps, shampoo, body lotion etc.) are environmentally friendly. Each unit has its own verandah under a canopy with views extending to the Rotterkaum Mountains.
Desert Homestead Sunset
Oryx Namib Desert
Desert Homestead – Sossusvlei – Desert Homestead
A pre dawn start is essential this morning as we drive early in the morning to catch the soft light of the sunrise on the desert. At a sunrise drive into the dry river bed to Sossusvlei and we will soon start to see the dunes. Spend the morning in and around Sossusvlei and Deadvlei, also visit Dune 45. After visiting Sossusvlei and Deadvlei we continue to Sesriem Canyon for a short visit.
Sossusvlei – many visitors to Namibia say that no part of the desert is visually more stunning than Sossusvlei with its monumentally high dunes. These gigantic star-shaped mountains of sand – one of the largest was measured from the base to be 325 m high – are a sought-after topic for artists and photographers. The warm tints of the sand contrast vividly with the dazzling white surface of the large deflationary clay pans at their bases. One of these, referred to as Dead Pan, is a large ghostly expanse of dried white clay, punctuated by skeletons of ancient Camelthorn trees, carbon-dated as being between 500 and 600 years old.
Dunes Namib Desert
Namib Desert – Swakopmund (350km) Beach Hotel Swakopmund
An early start today, we are heading north-west to the seaside town of Swakopmund located on the Skeleton Coast. Leaving the dune fields far behind us and soon we are back into the mountain desert.
Cross the Tropic of Capricorn and traverse both the Gaub and the Kuiseb pass, driving down to the dry river bed at the bottom of the canyon before climbing up the other side, watching the spectacular desert landscape unfold before you.
From the mountains cross the desolate “Namib gravel plains” before reaching the coastal sand dunes at the port town of Walvis Bay. First we will stopover at the lagoon of Walvis Bay here you will have a chance to see the flamingos and other bird life in the Walvis Bay lagoon before continuing the now short drive into Swakopmund.
We aim to arrive in Swakopmund in the late afternoon giving us time to explore the town on foot before sunset or enjoy the sunset on the Beach. Swakopmund is a very pleasant seaside town with lots of shops, a good stretch of beach (although the Atlantic here is quite cold) and an open-air curio market. There is also a very good museum and the Namibian National Marine Aquarium is located in Swakopmund.
The Beach Hotel in Swakopmund is located on the beach front and has the added convenience of being close to the city centre. Individual travellers, self-drive tourists and the business community alike will be attracted to this convenient location, the wide range of accommodation available and the classic interior furnishings installed behind a magnificent glass frontage. The iconic Swakopmund jetty, over 100 years old is nearby, as is the modern National Marine Aquarium.
Flamingo at Walvisbay
Swakopmund – Beach Hotel Swakopmund
Swakopmund is much loved because of its old-world charm and relaxed atmosphere. Founded in 1892 during the period of German colonial rule, it served as the territory’s main harbor for many years. Today’s lush green lawns, palm trees and carefully tended and colorful public gardens enhance this curious desert town, hedged by desert and sea. Swakopmund has several excellent restaurants, pubs and discos and a few nightclubs. A special feature of the town is its jewelry shops, which offer pieces ranging from contemporary African to continental designs. Art and craft shops offer local products, while street vendors sell Namibian rural art.
The museum on the beachfront was founded by Dr Alfons Weber in 1951, and contains the largest collection of birds’ eggs in Namibia. The reference library, known as the Sam Cohen Library, comprises some 6 000 volumes, including the renowned 2 000-title Africana collection of the late Ferdinand Stich. The archives, housed in the same building, allow visitors access to a unique collection of newspapers dating from 1898 to the present day.
Day at leisure to explore the town and surrounds.
Chameleon on Living Desert Tour
Swakopmund – Grootberg (460 km)
Leaving early and heading north along the coast, first we will stopover at Cape Cross where it is possible to see thousands of Cape Fur Seals in the water and on the surrounding rocks and beaches.
Although the entire coastline of Namibia was formerly called The Skeleton Coast, more commonly today it refers only to the Skeleton Coast National Park. The park stretches from the Kunene River in the north for approximately 500km to the Ugab River in the south, and protects about one-third of Namibia’s coastline. The Skeleton Coast is normally associated with famous shipwrecks, and stories abound of sailors walking for hundreds of kilometres through this barren Namibian landscape in search of food and water. The name came from the bones that lined the beaches from whaling operations and seal hunts, but more than a few of the skeletons were human. The Bushmen called it The Land God Made in Anger and the Portuguese knew it as The Gates of Hell. Ever since European navigators first discovered it, ships have wrecked on it’s off-shore rocks, or run aground in the blinding fog. While small boats could land, the strong surf made it impossible to launch, hence the stories of sailors walking through the murderous terrain. The coast has scores of shipwrecks, some are barely recognizable, other are still in remarkably good condition.
We exit the National Park and make our way to Grootberg Lodge.
Grootberg Lodge is situated on the C40 road, 90kms from Kamanjab and 23kms from Palmweg. Perched on the rim of the Grootberg Plateau, the Grootberg Lodge stands sentinel over the Klip River Valley. 12 000 hectares have been set aside by the Khoadi / Hoas community for conservation and tourism, and it is through this pristine wilderness that you meander either on foot or by vehicle to encounter the inhabitants of this remote biosphere.
Grootberg Lodge is a landmark in Namibia’s tourism industry. It is the first middle-market establishment in the country that is 100% owned by the conservancy. The European Union funded the project, through the Ministry of Environment and Tourism’s Development Programme. At the same time, the private sector has been called in to supply the training and management skills, until the community becomes self-sustainable. The Lodge offers a professional service, extremely good food, well-trained guides and exceptionally good local management in great surroundings. The local community benefits greatly, thanks to the revenues generated by the Lodge.
Twyfelfontein Rock Engravings
Grootberg Lodge – Full Board
Full day at the lodge, desert elephant, black rhino and lion are some of the more impressive mammals to be found. But you will also find a myriad of smaller mammals, birds, reptiles, insects and plants.
Guests can take advantage of rhino and elephant tracking trips in the valley. Morning and afternoon scenic drives on the plateau at Grootberg Lodge offer an alternative pursuit. (not included in costs).
Grootberg – Etosha National Park (245 km) Okaukuejo – Full Board
In the morning we will leave the engravings far behind us and begin our journey driving north, optionally we can have a quick stop at the Petrified Forest before we continue driving now only a relatively short drive to the small town of Kamanjab to visit the Himba a village near Kamanjab. This is the only traditionally functioning Himba community outside the far north Kaokoland region of Namibia These tribes-people have migrated here, lifestyle and customs intact, and are following their traditional way-of-life in their village on a farm.
From here we continue driving to Etosha, enter the park through the Anderson gate and begin our first game drive on our way to Okaukuejo resort.
Okaukuejo is famous for its waterhole, which has been described as one of the “best game viewing opportunities in Southern Africa”. Situated on the doorstep of our camp, black rhino, elephant, lion and numerous species of antelope are usually seen.
Okaukuejo is the main administrative camp of the Etosha National Park, and was officially opened for visitors in 1957. A variety of accommodation is available from self-catering chalet units to twin bedded bungalows. Facilities at the rest camp include a restaurant, shop, post office, swimming pool and filling station. Okaukuejo is also home to the Ecological Institute, which is responsible for the research and management of the park. The Okaukuejo waterhole is probably one of the most renowned waterholes in the park. The presence of game is seasonal but winter offers game enthusiasts a unique experience as the illuminated waterhole is situated next to the camp. Common sightings include large herds of elephant, black rhino, lion, cheetah, brown hyena, Burchells and Hartman’s Mountain Zebra, Gnu and numerous antelope species.
Today’s Etosha National Park was proclaimed as Namibia’s first conservation area in 1907 by the then German government and is one of the largest game reserves in Africa. Consisting of saline desert, savannah and woodlands, its definitive feature is the Etosha Pan, a vast shallow depression.
For the greater part of the year the pan is a bleak expanse of white, cracked mud which, on most days shimmers with mirages. Seeing vast herds of game against this eerie backdrop, referred to in the local vernacular as the ‘great white place of dry water’, makes the Etosha game-viewing a unique experience.
Of the 114 mammal species found in the park, several are rare and endangered, such as black rhino, cheetah and black-faced impala. Etosha’s current population of more than 700 black rhino represents one of the few growing populations of black rhino in the world.
About 340 bird species occur in Etosha, about one third being migratory. For the greater part of the year (the dry season) Etosha’s animals and birds are dependent on about 30 springs and waterholes. These provide excellent game viewing and photographic opportunities. During the rainy season, especially the bird life at the main pan and Fischer’s Pan is worth viewing.
Okaukuejo is the main administrative camp of the Etosha National Park, and was officially opened for visitors in 1957. A variety of accommodation is available from self-catering chalet units to twin bedded bungalows.
Facilities at the rest camp include a restaurant, shop, post office, swimming pool and filling station. Okaukuejo is also home to the Ecological Institute, which is responsible for the research and management of the park. The Okaukuejo waterhole is probably one of the most renowned waterholes in the park. The presence of game is seasonal but winter offers game enthusiasts a unique experience as the illuminated waterhole is situated next to the camp. Common sightings include large herds of elephant, black rhino, lion, cheetah, brown hyena, Burchells and Hartman’s Mountain Zebra, Gnu and numerous antelope species.
Okaukuejo – Namutoni Resort
Full day’s game driving. Again we leave early to enjoy the cool morning air as we game drive our way through Etosha to Halali camp, situated in the middle of the park. Along the way we will visit several waterholes and are afforded splendid views of the massive Etosha Pan. The game viewing is usually excellent and we will have a chance to tick off a few new species that are not normally seen on the Okaukuejo side of the park.
We stop at Halali for a rest and a leisurely lunch. There is time to visit the Halali waterhole and to make use of the swimming pool and bar facilities before continuing on our way and game driving down to Namutoni.
Located in the eastern region of the Etosha National Park, the Namutoni Rest Camp was first constructed as a fort by the Germans. The first fort, a six roomed building was erected during 1902. In 1904, however it was totally destroyed by Owambo raiders. In 1906 it was rebuilt and considerably enlarged and the fort never again came under attack. From 1910 onwards it served periodically as a police post but eventually fell into disuse. It was however rebuilt in 1956 according to its original design and opened in 1958 as a tourist camp. A variety of accommodation is available from self-catering chalet units to twin bedded bungalows. Facilities at the rest camp include a restaurant, shop, post office, swimming pool and filling station.
Etosha – Ndhovu Safari Lodge (570 km)
Very early in the morning we will exit the park through Von Lindquist gate and drive north towards the town of Tsumeb and Grootfontein to Rundu in the Kavango Region. Our journey today takes us further to the area near Popa Falls, the start of the Caprivi Strip.
Ndhovu Safari Lodge is located in a peaceful riverine setting, opposite the Bwabwata National Park, (formerly Caprivi Game Park) in northern Namibia. It is an ideal stopover between Etosha National Park and Victoria Falls. Wildlife enthusiasts and photographers head for The Mahango Game Reserve, only 2 kms away, and it’s typical riverine and swampland habitat attract buffalo, red lechwe and sable antelope, to name a few.
Elephant and hippo often congregate in the river in the front of the lodge, and the open-sided thatched Lapa, extended with a wooden deck onto the Okavango River, gives it’s residents frequent and memorable game viewing opportunities. There are lit walkways in and around the lodge, and it is not uncommon for hippo to prance around the lodge at night.
Also located in the Lapa, is the kitchen and dining areas. Guests can enjoy a healthy breakfast, light lunch, and the chef will inform customers of the buffet dinner fare. After-dinner cultural dancing is also a favourite here. The curio shop sells locally made arts and crafts, including hand-painted dinner sets and branded T-shirts. There is also a small library, complete with old reference books to read, whilst relaxing and unwinding on 1 of the 2 comfortable leather sofa’s.
Ndhovu Safari Lodge – Kasane (420 km) Chobe Safari Lodge
We leave after breakfast and travel through the Caprivi strip to Katima Mulilo and down to the border with Botswana.
Not too long ago Kasane was a remote and forgettable small village. However, its strategic location along the main tourist routes (meeting point of four countries – Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Namibia) has led to rapid expansion in recent years.
Situated on the Chobe River in the northeast, Kasane is a bustling little town offering trouble-free access to the Chobe National Park. As there are no boundary fences between the park and the village, game such as elephant and hippo can frequently be seen wandering down the road and through the Kasane campsites.
The Chobe National Park, which is the second largest national park in Botswana and covers 10,566 square kilometres, has one of the greatest concentrations of game found on the African continent. Its uniqueness in the abundance of wildlife and the true African nature of the region, offers a safari experience of a lifetime.
The original inhabitants of what is now the park were the San people, otherwise known in Botswana as the Basarwa. They were hunter-gatherers who lived by moving from one area to another in search of water, wild fruits and wild animals. The San were later joined by groups of the Basubiya people and later still, around 1911, by a group of Batawana led by Sekgoma. When the country was divided into various land tenure systems, late last century and early this century, the larger part of the area that is now the national park was classified as crown land. In 1931 the idea of creating a national park in the area was first mooted, in order to protect the wildlife from extinction and to attract visitors.
In 1932, an area of some 24,000 square kilometres in the Chobe district was declared a non-hunting area and the following year, the protected area was increased to 31,600 square kilometres. However, heavy tsetse fly infestations resulted in the whole idea lapsing in 1943. In 1957, the idea of a national park was raised again when an area of about 21,000 square kilometres was proposed as a game reserve and eventually a reduced area was gazetted in 1960 as Chobe Game Reserve. Later, in 1967, the reserve was declared a national park – the first national park in Botswana.
Chobe Safari Lodge
After breakfast we head off on a leisurely game drive, exploring the wonders of the Chobe National Park by road. Game drives within the park offer the opportunity to view abundant elephant and other big game species up close, and there is also the possibility of an encounter with one of the large predators.
Time to relax in the afternoon before joining a river boat cruise. From the boat we will have the chance to see a huge amount of wild game, both on the river banks and in the waters swirling around us.
Crocodiles and hippos abound in the forbidding Chobe River and on the land side there is often a kaleidoscope of different antelope and species such as elephant, buffalo and even the Big Cats come to the river banks for their sundowner drink. The Chobe River provides a very broad habitat for bird life and it is possible to see many beautiful species of our feathered friends.
Today your guide will leave you and start his return journey back to Windhoek.
Chobe Safari Lodge – Zimbabwe (100km) Victoria Falls Hotel – Breakfast
Another border crossing today, you will be collected from your Lodge and transferred to Victoria Falls.
Built in 1904, The Victoria Falls Hotel was the very first hotel to be built in Victoria Falls. The hotel exhudes original colonial Edwardian charm but recent refurbishments offer guests the modern comforts one would expect from a luxury hotel. The Victoria Falls Hotel perfectly depicts the era of grand travel. The corridors of the hotel reflect the historical link to the era in which it was created with drawings, paintings and photographs of the major political figures of the day adorning the walls.
The hotel lies within a vast manicured garden which has an unobscurred view of the Victoria Falls bridge and the spray of the Falls. A private path leads guests from the gardens to the entrance of the Victoria Falls rainforest in an easy 10 minute stroll.
Victoria Falls offers a myriad of activities suitable for young and old, adventurous or lethargic to enjoy. The Victoria Falls hotel is perfectly positioned within the town to enjoy Victoria Falls to the fullest.
The Victoria Falls hotel has a charm and energy like no other. Expect a unique hotel with friendly good service in a world class setting.
Victoria Falls – Victoria Falls Hotel – Breakfast
David Livingstone, the Scottish missionary and explorer, is believed to have been the first European to view Victoria Falls on 16 November 1855 from what is now known as Livingstone Island, one of two land masses in the middle of the river, immediately upstream from the falls on the Zambian side. Livingstone named his discovery in honour of Queen Victoria, but the indigenous name, Mosi-oa-Tunya—”the smoke that thunders”—continues in common usage as well.
Open to visitors throughout the year, the Victoria Falls National Park in north-western Zimbabwe protects the south and east bank of the Zambezi River in the area of the world-famous Victoria Falls. It extends along the Zambezi river from the larger Zambezi National Park about 6 km above the falls to about 12 km below the falls. A notable feature of the park is the rainforest which grows in the spray of the falls, including ferns, palms, liana vines, and a number of trees such as mahogany not seen elsewhere in the region.
Visitors have the chance to view elephant, cape buffalo, white rhino, hippopotamus, eland and a variety of other antelope during drives and walking safaris. Crocodiles may be seen in the river, and a nearby Crocodile Ranch offers a safer view of these dangerous animals.
Transfer to Victoria Falls airport for your outbound flight.