Upon your arrival in Windhoek you will be welcomed and transferred to your guesthouse in Windhoek.
The remainder of your day will be at leisure to explore the capital city or to do any last minute shopping for your tour. Windhoek is often described as a city with a “continental” atmosphere due to its architecture (historical buildings dating back to the German colonial rule), cuisine, culture, dress and educational institutions. Windhoek portrays the color, sounds and tempo of a modern African city with its displays of African drums and woodcarvings on the pavements, which contrast with the elegant shops offering sophisticated Swakara garments and Namibian gemstones. Sidewalk cafes offering Namibian style breakfasts (Fruhschoppen) which can be enjoyed with a glass of sparkling wine or locally brewed draught beer. In addition to steak houses and coffee bars serving snacks, the city has a wide range of a la carte restaurants offering German, French, Taiwanese, Portuguese, Italian, African and Chinese cuisine.
Your vehicle will be delivered to you your hotel in the morning.
Continue from Windhoek to the Namib Desert. Your first stop can be at the small town of Solitaire. Solitaire has a filling station and a small shop, which sells, soft drinks, snacks and basic supplies. The name Solitaire is derived from the lone dead tree standing next to the service station. After refueling continue south along the route C 19. This route runs parallel to the Namib Naukluft Park for most of the way except for a short corridor, which joins the plains of the Namib Desert to the Naukluft Mountain Range. This serves as a migratory corridor for the Gemsbok (Oryx Antelope), which migrate between their summer and winter-feeding grounds.
Continue along this route for approximately 70 km passing the signposts to Sesriem / Sossusvlei. Overnight in the Sesriem area.
Today should be spent conducting an early morning excursion into the Namib Naukluft Park to the Namib Sand Sea including the Sossusvlei dune belt, “Dune 45” and “Dead vlei”. This area has some of the highest known sand dunes in the world and the “vlei “ itself. Sossusvlei is situated at the end of the Tsauchab River, a dry riverbed that only flows in the years of exceptional rainfall.
Shortly before reaching the Namib “Sand Sea” is an area demarcated for parking sedan vehicles, which are unable to continue the last 5 km of four – wheeled drive terrain into the Sossusvlei Dune belt. This last stretch of road can be easily done on foot and can be incorporated into visiting either the “Nara Vlei” or “Hidden Vlei” all found in the area and provides an introduction into the ecology and scenic splendor of the Namib Desert. For the less energetic a return transfer shuttle services is available. Sossusvlei is a word from Nama descent, which directly translated means a place with many endings. Many visitors to Namibia say that no part of the desert is more stunning than Sossusvlei, with its monumentally high dunes, the shadows of their sinuous crests continually changing as the day waxes and wanes. Gigantic star-shaped mountains of sand, the highest estimated at 325 m. The warm tints of the sand, ranging from pale apricot to brick orange and deep red, contrast vividly with the dazzling white surfaces of the deflationary clay pans at some of their bases.
On completion of your excursion into Sossusvlei return to the Sesriem entrance of the Namib Naukluft Park. An optional afternoon excursion to the Sesriem Canyon, approximately 3 km from this entrance gate in the park may also be included. The Sesriem Canyon is a small yet picturesque canyon carved over millions of years into the Tsauchab River.
The remainder of the afternoon can be at leisure to relax and enjoy the splendor of the desert scenery with its unique fauna and flora. This is not a game rich area due to the harsh environment, however, what game is seen is interesting and dramatized by the contrast between desert and the magnificent animals like Springbok, Oryx and Ostrich who survive and eke out an existence on these arid plains.
After breakfast departure back to the settlement of Solitaire. From Solitaire continue travelling towards the coastal town of Swakopmund. This route follows the gravel plains of the Namib Desert through the spectacular Gaub and Kuiseb Canyons before crossing the Namib Desert on route to the commercial harbor town of Walvis Bay. The Walvis Bay Lagoon is protected under the RAMSAR Convention as an important wetland and is renowned for its seasonal abundance of both the Greater and Lesser Flamingo species. From Walvis Bay join the main route which leads between the coast and the dune belt to the coastal resort town of Swakopmund.
Swakopmund is considered as Namibia’s premier coastal resort and is a popular destination with Namibian’s as a welcome respite from the heat of the interior. The town is also noted for 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 years. Time should be spent exploring Namibia’s premier coastal resort town. This quaint town nestled between desert and ocean is enhanced by lush green lawns, palm trees and carefully tended gardens. There is a good selection of restaurants and coffee shops selling traditional German cakes and pastries, while the coastline and the desert respectively offer many options for adventure or relaxation.
Overnight at a Guesthouse in Swakopmund
Day at leisure to enjoy the town of Swakopmund, alternatively there are many activities that can be done at the coast:
This early morning Dolphin and Seal Cruise is conducted from the Walvis Bay Yacht Club. The tour begins with your skipper leading you through the commercial vessels docked at the Walvis Bay harbor, Namibia’s largest port. Passing the small craft harbor the central basin of the harbor is exited heading north, visiting Bird Island and providing spectacular scenes of the desert dune landscape enhanced by the contrast between the ocean and the dunes. Highlights of the excursion include close encounters with Cape Fur Seals and bow riding Dolphins while crossing the harbor mouth to Pelican Point. While drifting past seal colonies fresh oysters and sparkling wine can be enjoyed. Return to the Walvis Bay Yacht Club via the lagoon and flamingo colonies. If you are interested in the ocean, marine mammals or aquatic birds this would be the ideal opportunity to experience the Atlantic Ocean. Fresh Oysters, Sparkling wine, soft drinks and light snacks are served on board.
Experience the sheer thrill of riding a four wheeled motorbike through Namibia’s boundless expanse of shifting sand dunes along a route approximately 35km. After the engines are revved up and ready to roll an experienced guide will lead you from the Swakop River Mouth twisting and turning down the riverbed. Feel the freedom of riding through one of nature’s great wildernesses as you cut through the plains and head to the dunes. As the towering dunes approach weave your way through the smaller ones towards the “Amphitheatre”. With “power Up”, blast your way to the top of the first big dune on a sea of sand waves via the “Roller Coaster” to the top of “Big Billy” where you stop for a drink and to capture the stark and savage beauty of the Namib Desert. After riding down the “Devils Dip” (Guaranteed to get your adrenaline pumping) ride the berms, spirals and slopes as you cruise towards the “Table Top”, a great dune that offers a spectacular view of the sea to one side and the desert on another. This excursion is suitable for all ages, no previous riding experience is necessary. For non-riders semi-automatic 160CC quad bikes are available and for the more experienced manual 200CC quad bikes are available. The tour includes a pre-trip safety talk, a lesson in riding quad bikes and environment friendly riding methods, helmet, goggles, gloves, fuel, transport and soft drinks.
Welwitschia Plains & Moon Landscape
As this excursion enters into the Namib Naukluft Park a daily entrance permit needs to be obtained from the offices of the Namibia Wildlife Resorts in Swakopmund. Departing from your hotel the first stop is at the Martin Luther, a steam tractor shipped from Halberstadt, Germany in 1896 to replace the ox-wagons transporting goods from the coast to the interior. Locals named it after the Protestant reformer who once said “Here I stand. May God help me, I cannot do otherwise.”
Early morning departure from Swakopmund. An optional excursion which can be included on route today includes a visit to the Cape Fur Seal Colony at Cape Cross. In 1486, the first European to set foot on the coast of Namibia, Diago Ciao, erected a cross in honor of John 1 of Portugal at a site now known as Cape Cross 115 km north of Swakopmund. In addition to being of historical interest, Cape Cross has a breeding colony of Cape Fur seals.
Shortly after Henties Bay join route heading in an easterly direction and crossing the “Gravel Plains” towards the abandoned mining town of Uis. The large-scale mining of tin began in Uis during 1951 but due to the mine no longer being profitable in was closed down in 1990. From Uis continue north along the route C 35 indicated as Kamanjab and Khorixas passing Namibia’s highest Mountain Range. The Brandberg is 2573m at its highest point and renowned for the famous work of San art, “the White Lady”. Continue further to your stop over in the heart of Damaraland.
Full day in the area. Between the Ugab and the Huab Rivers in Southern Damaraland lies a vast and unspoiled wilderness. This area boasts magnificent desert scenery, fascinating geological formations, archaeological sites and a unique variety of desert fauna and flora. It is also the southern most roaming ground for the rare black rhino and the desert adapted elephant.
While in the Twyfelfontein area optional excursions can be conducted to visit the Twyfelfontein Rock Engravings, one of the richest areas of rock engravings and Bushmen paintings in Namibia, and the geological formations of the “Burnt Mountain” and the dolomite columns known as the “Organ Pipes”. Continue over the Grootberg Mountain Pass to spend the night in the Grootberg conservancy.
Depart from the area and travel towards Kamanjab. An optional excursion can be made to the Himba Village just outside of Kamanjab. From Kamanjab continue to the Etosha National Park entering via the Anderson’s Gate. Overnight inside the Etosha National Park at the Okaukeujo Restcamp.
Leaving during the cooler morning, game drive your way to Halali, strategically located halfway between Okaukuejo and Namutoni. This Resort is situated at the base of a dolomite hill, amongst shady Mopane trees. Take a welcome break here and stop for lunch before proceeding on you game drive to Namutoni Resort. 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.
Namutoni is located in the eastern side of Etosha National Park. It centers on an old German Fort, overlooking the King Nehale waterhole. The Fort has been developed into the hub of activity, offering two restaurants, a relaxation lounge, a bar, crafts boutique, curio shop, jewellers and bookstore. The Fort area is for pedestrian access only, and an elevated decked walkway along the water-hole facing wall will provide opportunities for enjoying the surrounding scenery, wildlife and the spectacular sunsets.
Overnight at the Namutoni Restcamp.
After a leisurely breakfast leave the Etosha area, heading in a southerly direction towards the mining town of Tsumeb. Thanks to the wealth generated by the mines, Tsumeb is an attractive town boasting some fine old colonial buildings and a palm lined central park with spreading lawns. An optional excursion on route can be included to the Sinkhole Lake Otjikoto. The second town of the maize triangle is Otavi. This is a very inconspicuous town but was an important copper mining town in its day and was also the scene of many feuds between the Owambo, Herero and Bushmen.
Continue south towards the town of Otjiwarongo, This town provides a convenient stop over on route to the north of the country. As, with most towns in central Namibia the name Otjiwarongo originates from the Herero language, which translated means “place of the fat cattle” or “beautiful place”. Given the central role that cattle play in the Herero culture, both meanings are appropriate. The town was officially founded in 1906 upon the arrival of the narrow gauge railway linking the important mining center of Tsumeb and the coastal town of Swakopmund.
Overnight at Okonjima Reserver, home of the Africat Foundation. THE AFRICAT FOUNDATION: AfriCat is a non-profit organisation set up to conserve and protect threatened cheetah, leopard, and other wild carnivores of Namibia. Visitors will be able to observe some of this programme at work and learn more about these amazing and beautiful animals.
Depart after breakfast and return to Windhoek, via the small town of Okahandja. Okahandja is one of Namibia’s oldest established settlements and is the administrative center of the Herero-speaking people. Numerous of the former Herero leaders are buried here and an annual procession through the town to the Herero graves commemorate those who died during the wars against the Nama and Germans. Optional excursions on route include a visit to the open – air wood carving center and the Herero Graves.
Continue from Okahandja back to Windhoek, where you can either travel directly to the airport (with an afternoon flight) or overnight in Windhoek at a guesthouse. (guesthouse not included)