Day 1 - Arrival in Windhoek
Arrive in Windhoek and transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure. Overnight at Olive Grove Guest House or similar. No meals nor guided activities are included today.
Day 2 - Windhoek - Mariental
(Approximate driving time todqy: three hours)
Today we head for Mariental, a flourishing market town in the heart of Southern Namibia, administrative capital of the Hardap Region. Named by local Rhenish (German Lutheran) missionaries after Maria the wife of the area’s first colonial settler, Herman Brandt, Mariental was founded in 1912 as a railway stop between Windhoek and Keetmanshoop.
Our lodge is a relaxed and down-to-earth stopover which offers a taste of the Kalahari, the desert that occupies vast tracts of eastern Namibia, southern Botswana and northern South Africa. In the late afternoon we take a sundowner drive through surrounding arid and semi–arid areas, brown sands and red dunes. Overnight at Kalahari Anib Lodge or similar. (BLD)
Day 3 – Kalahari – Namib Desert (Sossusvlei)
After a leisurely breakfast we depart on a scenic drive through an area just north of Sossusvlei, overlooking striking fossilised dunes. The journey features an unfolding dramatic landscape with many opportunities for photo stops. After arrival the afternoon is free, or there’s time for one of the lodge’s optional activities, such as an afternoon dune drive. Overnight at Namib Desert Lodge or similar. (BLD)
Day 4 – Dead Vlei and Sesriem Canyon
Sossusvlei is the oldest desert on earth, home to some of the strangest flora and fauna on the continent. Today there’s an early start as we plan on driving to some of the highest sand dunes in the world to catch the sun as it rises over a sea of red dunes, some up to 300m high. The first rays of the sun light up the dunes with a deep orange glow – a photographer’s ‘golden hour’.
It is a wild, beautiful and romantic spot, with sparse vegetation skirting the few water courses flowing in from the Tsauchab River. Here springbok and ostrich are often seen. Later, we explore the narrow, cool passageways of the Sesriem Canyon on foot. The canyon is small but very picturesque – many plants grow in the shade and shelter it offers, and its permanent water attracts several species of birds and animals. Sesriem means ‘six thongs’, referring to the six lengths of rawhide rope needed by early settlers to haul up a bucket of water.
In the afternoon there’s time to relax before a sundowner dune drive in the Namib Desert. Overnight at Namib Desert Lodge or similar. (BLD)
Day 5 – Namib Desert – Solitaire – Walvis Bay - Swakopmund
(Approximate driving time todqy: four hours)
Travelling via Solitaire the Kuiseb Canyon, we pass awe-inspiring landscapes as we cross the Namib gravel flats towards the Atlantic Coast and Walvis Bay. Continuing the short journey to Swakopmund, we’re surrounded by the Namib Desert on three sides, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west.
Culturally and architecturally, Swakopmund is strongly influenced by its German colonial legacy, examples of Germanic architecture characterizing the town. On arrival we will have short orientation tour and afterwards explore on foot, perhaps visiting the Swakopmund Museum, the National Marine Aquarium or the Crystal Gallery. Overnight at The Delight Swakopmund Hotel or similar. (BL)
Day 6 – Swakopmund – Leisure time or optional activities
Today is free to relax or explore the town independently. Alternatively, Swakopmund has myriad adventure activities, including skydiving or dune surfing…
Other options include the Living Dunes experience, learning about the flora and fauna of the desert, scenic flights over the Namib and the Skeleton Coast, or a catamaran voyage in search of marine wildlife. Please contact us for further optional excursions. Overnight at The Delight Swakopmund or similar. (B)
Day 7 - Swakopmund - Damaraland
(Approximate driving time: four hours)
Today we aim to reach the rugged beauty of Damaraland. We stop en route to view prehistoric rock engravings at Twyfelfontein’s UNESCO World Heritage Site for the largest known concentration of Stone Age petroglyphs in Namibia – approximately 2,500. Nearby, we also visit a curious geological structure of perpendicular slabs of basalt known as the ‘Organ Pipes’.
The town of Khorixas lies at the centre of Damaraland’s rough terrain and was the region’s capital prior to Namibia’s independence. Most inhabitants here are from the Damara ethnic group. The town is close to a remarkable accumulation of enormous fossilized tree trunks, over 280 million years old, known as The Petrified Forest and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007. Overnight at Damara Mopane Lodge or similar. (BLD)
Day 8 - Damaraland at leisure and optional activities
Today there’s time to relax and enjoy the lodge’s tranquil surroundings amid Damaraland’s vast and hauntingly beautiful desert landscape.
For those preferring to keep active, the lodge offers several self-guided walking trails, from one to three hours, and a hike to a nearby lookout ideally situated for spectacular desert sunsets. Overnight at Damara Mopane Lodge or similar. (BLD)
Day 9 - Damaraland – Outjo - Etosha National Park
(Approximate driving time today: five hours)
Today we leave early for Etosha National Park, an immense, saline desert, covering over 32,000 square kilometres that provides a habitat for 114 species of animals and 340 species of birds. Etosha has been described as the best game reserve on the African continent. We arrive in time for an afternoon game drive and stay in the park until sunset. We spend some time observing animals visiting Okaukuejo waterhole, hoping to see elephant, rhino and hopefully lion. Overnight at Etosha Safari Camp or similar. (BLD)
Day 10 - Etosha National Park
Today we explore the park’s numerous waterholes and underground springs, each of which attracts large herds of animals, including springbok, zebra, wildebeest and giraffe. The park’s landscape varies from dense bush and wildlife-filed plains.
However, at its heart is Etosha Pan, a silent grey-white salt pan almost 130km by 50km. Geologists believe the pan was formed some 12 million years ago from an immense inland lake about the size of Holland. Shrunk to its present size it’s a gigantic depression – flat, saline and silvery, a mysterious place of mirages and dust-laden images. Overnight at Etosha Safari Camp or similar. (BLD)
Day 11 - Etosha National Park - Windhoek
(Approximate driving time today: five hours)
We depart after breakfast for the journey back to Windhoek, arriving mid-afternoon. On the way we stop at Okahandja Woodcarvers market, a great place for souvenirs, before heading to the airport and onward flights. Please contact us for extensions in Namibia or South Africa. (BL)
Please note: If you are leaving Namibia today do not book flights departing prior to 4pm.
- Arrival and departure transfers
- All accommodation as per the itinerary
- Tour transport throughout the tour
- Services of English-speaking tour leader/guide (not on self-drive option)
- Meals as listed (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
- Entrance fees for sites listed as part of the itinerary: Sossusvlei Excursion & Park Fees; Afternoon Dune Drive @ Gondwana Namib Park; Twyfelfontein & Burnt Mountain Excursion; Game Dives in Etosha as per itinerary (not included on self-drive option)
- International flights
- Optional activities not included in main tour
- Items of a personal nature
- Any airport taxes
- Travel Insurance
- Tips (discretionary)