(Tours can be adapted to personal preference)
DAY 1 WINDHOEK
Arriving at Hosea Kutako Airport in Namibia. From the airport, a transfer will take you to a hotel in Windhoek, the capital of Namibia. The city is bordered by the Eros and Auas mountains and towards the west stretches the Khomas Hochland. Windhoek is very clean and has a cosmopolitan flair. The German influence in the language and culture is still very much present, although English is the official language. An interesting visit is “Tintenpalast” (Ink Palace) that houses Namibia’s parliament as well as the “Alte Feste” (Old Fort) that is Namibia’s National Museum. In the evening have dinner and enjoy the hospitality of a Namibian beerhouse.
Guide experience: “While waiting in anticipation for the client’s arrival, I experience the dry heat of Windhoek. I am re-thinking every detail of the coming safari. There are many questions regarding clients that I still have to meet. And all these questions are driven from my mind by the fact that I can take them on the exploration of this country that lies very close to my heart.”
DAY 2 GROOTFONTEIN
After breakfast, you will be transferred to the 4×4 rental company. Here you will be introduced to the vehicles and their equipment. After these formalities, leave Windhoek and travel in a northerly direction to Grootfontein (big fountain), passing through the towns of Okahandja, Sukses and passing the flat top Waterberg Plateau. On the way, visit the world’s largest iron meteorite, weighing some 60,000kg, that was found on the farm Hoba in 1920 near Grootfontein. Overnight at Roy’s Camp lodge accommodation, 50km from Grootfontein.
Guide experience: “This part of Namibia is well-known to us as a family, due to the fact that we lived there for a long time, and travelling through the cattle-farming area, brings back pleasant memories to us. I still remember my first visit to the Hoba Meteorite as a child with my father, and the amazement that we experienced to think that this big piece of metal was once a star in Heaven.”
DAY 3 OMURAMBA – BUSHMANLAND
Leaving from Grootfontein, travel in a northeasterly direction to Tsumkwe. Tsumkwe is a small town where the San (Bushmen) tribe lives. The Bushmen people are very friendly and have a deep understanding of nature and the ecology. The men are expert archer hunters whereas the woman collect wild fruits, like berries and wild onions that are rich in starch. There is about 30,000 Bushmen that lives in Namibia, but only 2,000 of them still follow a traditional way of life.
From Tsumkwe, travel north to the Kaudom Game Park, which is the most pristine nature conservation area in Namibia, that lies in the 3842sqkm Kalahari Sandveld.
This landscape consists of dry forests with Omiramba (broad sandy riverbeds) and only after heavy rain it runs for a short time. A 4×4 vehicle is an absolute necessity, and slow speed is essential on these soft and sandy roads. There are only two camps in the park, Sikeretti, where you will stay for the first night and Khaudum that is further on to the north.
This Game Park has no fences, so the game can move freely between Namibia and Botswana and into the Caprivi. A very beautiful, game-rich park with large herds of elephant, giraffe, wildebeest, many antelope species, lion leopard, hyena and more than 300 different bird species.
Guide experience: “Arriving in Bushmanland is to me like a homecoming. The Bushmen are the oldest inhabitants of Southern Africa and listening to their tongue-clicking conversations and the singing of the children while playing their games, brings back memories of our children, playing in the farmyard, with the Bushmen children, practising archery with the small Bushmen bow and arrow.”
DAY 4 KAUDOM GAME PARK
After an early breakfast at Sikeretti camp, travel north to the Khaudum camp. Like the day before, the travelling speed will be very slow. While travelling enjoy wildlife viewing, and have stopovers at different waterholes, to view all sorts of wildlife. A well deserved dinner will be enjoyed in the evening with interesting stories to tell of this past day.
Guide experience: “Kaudom Game Park – Sand. Beauty. Game. Beauty. Sand. Game. There are only three words that describe this park the best. Which word comes first? You will decide for yourself at the end of the two days!!”
DAY 5 RUNDU
Depart very early from the Khaudum camp, to travel very slowly up to Katere, and on to Rundu, that lies directly on the Okavango riverbank. Rundu is the gateway to the Caprivi and the only commercial centrum in the Kavango region. The beautiful river offers spectacular sunsets for the photographer.
The Kavango people are maize, vegetable and livestock farmers and very skilful woodcarvers. They originate in Angola.
The border is practically “non-existent” because the Kavangos live on both sides of the Okavango River. Optional excursions – Sunset Rafts/Horse Trails/Cultural Excursions. Overnight at a lodge in Rundu.
Guide experience: “More Beauty. More Game. More Sand. The 80km road to the northern exit up to Katere, can sometimes take 8 to 9 hours of driving, that is why a group with only one vehicle is not allowed into the park. The roads in this park can test your 4×4 driving skills to the utmost best, that is why I will always be a real 4×4 exploration fanatic. What I will always remember about Rundu, is the early morning singing of the woman, while doing the washing of the family’s clothes and the children cheerfully playing on the sand of the Okavango river.”
DAY 6 ETOSHA NATIONAL PARK
In 1907, Etosha was declared a game reserve by the German colonial administration. Etosha covers an area of more than 22,000sqkm and represents almost all African animal species. The very large herds of springbok are a beautiful picture to observe. The vast Etosha saltpan in the centre is surrounded by thorn and grass savannah and is always dry except in the southern parts where there are numerous waterholes that give life for a large number of wildlife. The three rest camps, Namutoni, Halali and Okaukuejo are well-maintained camps.
Namutoni is situated at the eastern entrance of Etosha and centres on an old German fort, which was built before the turn of the century. The campsite will be your overnight home. A floodlit waterhole next to the fort is another highlight of the stay.
DAY 7 ETOSHA NATIONAL PARK
After breakfast at the restaurant, depart from Namutoni camp, doing wildlife viewing at some of the waterholes, while driving to Halali camp which is halfway between Namutoni and Okaukuejo camp. Halali got its German name from the call made to announce the end of a hunt.
Visit Halali camp and have a stop at the restaurant for Lunch. Depart for Okaukuejo camp, which houses the Etosha Ecological Institute where research is done. A permanent waterhole that is floodlit at night, gives you a wonderful opportunity to see regular visitors like elephants, lions and black rhinos as well as the shy, nocturnal wildlife.
Overnight at Okaukuejo campsite.
Guide experience: “A lot of good memories will always fill my mind, thinking of the Etosha National Park. First of all, the beautiful, very near sights of the numerous game at most of the waterholes, taking a lot of photos. Visiting Okaukuejo will always remind me of an incident years ago while sleeping in my tent during one of my numerous visits. During the night my wife woke me to tell me that the lions were roaring at the floodlit waterhole. I wasn’t fully awake and told her that it was the neighbour campers that were snoring, only to find out the next morning, that it wasn’t our neighbour snoring, but a lion that caught a kudu at the waterhole during the night.”
DAY 7 KHORIXAS
Departing after breakfast, with very good memories, leave the Etosha National Park to continue on to Outjo where you will re-fuel and enjoy lunch. The Herero’s named Outjo, that means ‘little hills’. On the way to Khorixas visit the Rock Finger, Twyfelfontein Rock Engravings – an extensive gallery of rock engravings consisting of 2,000 petroglyphs. In the same area, visit the basalt columns called Organ Pipes and Petrified Forest with its 300 million-year-old tree trunks.
Khorixas forms the centre of Damaraland. The Damara people together with the Bushmen are the oldest inhabitants of Namibia. This town was formerly known as Welwitschia. Overnight at a camping site near Khorixas.
Guide experience: “Leaving the Etosha National Park, always leaves one with a little feeling of sadness, but with a lot of wonderful memories and moments to remember forever. Moving into Damaraland we experience the wide openness of this rocky and unforgiving area, which can be transformed from a completely desert area into a green landscape if only the rain will come.”
DAY 9 SWAKOPMUND
After an early breakfast, leave from Khorixas to travel to Swakopmund where you will be staying for two days at the Swakopmund Municipal Flats. On the way we will travel through Uis (former mining town) through the gravel plains of the Namib, passing the 2573 m high Brandberg that dominates this area.
Arriving at the coastline town of Henties Bay, named after Major Hentie v/d Merwe who started recreational fishing here, stop here for lunch. Thereafter travel about 80km, along the coastal road to Swakopmund, passing places with very interesting names like Jakkalzputz, Wlotskasbaken and Mile 4. Swakopmund is named after the Swakop River. In 1892 Captain Curt von Francois built a military post on the site where the present town is today. Swakopmund offers a lot of excursions in and around the town.
Sandboarding, horse riding, parasailing, ballooning, kayaking, camel rides, scenic flights, quad biking and fishing are only some of the large number of activities on offer.
“Just outside of Henties Bay, at Jakkalzputz a very nice fishing spot, the place where I had my first saltwater fishing experience and my eldest son his first and only burying of the evening meal. During that fishing expedition, I caught a nice Kabeljou, and as the custom is, to dig a shallow hole to bury the fish, and mark the place, so that it will stay fresh till the time of going back to the campsite at Henties Bay.
I asked my four year old son to do it, and you can imagine what happened, yes he did not mark it well and we didn’t find it either. That night we had a canned meat dinner, which was also very good. Luckily, the next day we caught another kabeljou and had a very nice meal.
Guide experience: “Just outside of Henties Bay, at Jakkalzputz is a very nice fishing spot and the place where I had my first saltwater fishing experience. During one fishing expedition, I caught a nice Kabeljou, and as the custom is, dug a shallow hole to bury the fish, and mark the place, so that it will stay fresh till the time of going back to the campsite at Henties Bay. I asked my four-year-old son to do it, and you can imagine what happened. He did not mark it well and we didn’t find it either. That night we had a canned meat dinner, which was also very good. Luckily, the next day we caught another kabeljou and had a very nice meal. Swakopmund will always remind me of all the wonderful sea holidays that we had as a family. Besides the wonderful fishing excursions, we also enjoyed sand and dune explorations in our blue 4×4 vehicle. On one of these explorations, everything went smoothly during the drive until reaching a huge dune that I had to cross. Not quickly enough, I changed to 4×4 Low, but it was too late. We were stuck for about an hour and decide to go fishing before the big dig-out. This calmed our spirit and soon we were ready for the dig-out excursion. Luckily the tyre pressure was already reduced to a minimum, and it did not take us long to get out and going to the next sand dune.”
DAY 10 SWAKOPMUND
Enjoy a full day of adventurous excursions, or enjoy a bit of relaxing in Swakopmund. A visit to the town centre is also a wonderful experience. The German influence is very remarkable. Aside from the language and architecture, the best place to experience it is to have lunch at a German Backerei und Café. There are numerous little shops where you can buy presents and mementoes for family or friends.
Guide experience: “Swakopmund always reminds me of all the adventurous times that we spend on the dunes: Sandboarding, quad biking, dune driving (for which not all has the courage), and surfing and fishing. In the evening after the day’s exploration, when the mist roll in from the sea, and you are sitting in one of the Brauhaus’s enjoying an excellent meal and German beer, you have the feeling that you could just as well be somewhere in Europe.”
DAY 11 SESRIEM
Leave early to visit Walvis Bay, on way to the Namib Naukluft Park. Walvis Bay is the only deep harbour of Namibia. Due to the richness of the fishing in this area, there’s a lot of fisheries in town. On the lagoon in Walvis Bay, you will have the opportunity to take beautiful pictures of the rich birdlife that lives here, like pelicans and flamingos. Continue on to Naukluft Park which is Namibia’s largest nature reserve of about 50,000sqkm (The size of the Netherlands) consisting of gravel plains, mountain and dune areas.
Most parts of this very large area are not accessible to man. One can only visit a small part north of the Kuiseb River, the Naukluft Mountains and Sossusvlei in the central dune fields. The road from Walvis Bay through the Namib Naukluft Park has spectacular landscapes, and the scenery is absolutely beautiful. At Solitaire campsite have lunch, and then continue to Sesriem. Overnight at Sesriem campsite for one night. Sesriem Canyon is situated about 5km from the campsite and is in the upper Tsauchab River. The name Sesriem comes from the time when early settlers and pioneers travelling in the region with ox wagons had to join six lengths of rawhide ropes called ‘riems’, to reach the water below in the canyon.
Guide experience: “I can still not believe that the earlier Pioneers could travel by ox wagons through this vast area where surface water is not available except in good rainy years. One always has this notion that around the next bend, you could stumble on a camel-train with their Arabian masters. Till today it is unbelievable to me that wildlife can adapt to this vast and rough terrain and seeing the oryx gazelle running up the side of the red sand dune in a healthy condition, leave me in absolute amazement of the adaptability of the plant and wildlife of this country of contrast.”
DAY 12 SOLITAIRE 220km
Leave camp very early to travel a short distance to view the spectacular sunrise at Sossusvlei. These magnificent red-coloured sand dunes are absolutely a photographer’s dream.
The Sossusvlei is a huge clay pan surrounded by these majestic mountains of sand. Some of these dunes are 300m high (the highest in the world). The dunes have developed over a period of many millions of years. Climbing one of these dunes will give you a panoramic view of Sossusvlei, Deadvlei, Narravlei and Cessna Pan. Deadvlei is a true and typical portrayal of the history of the cluster of pans collectively known as Sossusvlei.
After lunch, travel back to Solitaire, where you will overnight.
Guide experience: “What astounds me, of this Sossusvlei area, is that every time you arrive in the vicinity of the majestic red sand dunes, you feel the smallness of man. Standing on the ridge of the dune, looking onto the white clay pan with the dead camel thorn trees, one can only marvel at the breathtaking view of the contrast of the different colours of the landscape.”
DAY 12 WINDHOEK
Leaving the Namib Desert and the coastline behind, we will travel in a North-westerly direction, through the picturesque semi-desert countryside of the Khomas Hochland, with its rolling hills, that was once an extensive mountain land.
Spend this day for shopping, relaxing at the pool, or exploring Windhoek. At the appropriate time, a transfer will take you to your next accommodation or to the international airport for your flight home.
Guide experience: “This last day, my mind is now filled with a lot of new images of the past safari, and it is sad to say goodbye to clients that over the past days became friends. This is normally a very emotional part of this safari, but is also the conclusion of an excellent experience.”
DETAILS OF THE TOUR:
Hotels & Lodges & Accommodation: