Nothing on earth can prepare visitors for Namibia's drastic geographical land changes, its adapted wildlife, unbelievable sand dunes and magnificent coast line. There is simply no place like it and this Namibia wildlife safari shows it all! There are not too many tours where you can visit beaches with sea lion colonies by day and track a lion pride in the evening. It's truly incredible.You start the journey by visiting some highlights of Namibia, including: Sesriem Canyon, Sossusvlei (home of the famous giant sand dunes) and Swakopmund where you visit sea lion colonies by foot or kayak - your choice! The latter part of the trip is dedicated to tracking and finding wildlife like the Desert Elephant, lions, cheetahs, rhinos and much more! On this wildlife safari in Namibia, you will stay at hand-selected safari camps, be guided by our professionally trained staff and indulge in delicious local cuisine. Our tours are guaranteed departures and each one has been crafted so you leave with full Namibia safari experience!
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Custom Trip Note: Below is one of our most popular safaris in Namibia, however, we can customize this trip at every turn to fit your availability, trip preference, activities, budget, lodging preferences or any other reason. Please call us at 800-451-6034 to customize any Africa trip.
Welcome to Namibia!
Guests are picked up from their hotel or from the airport. You will leave Windhoek, accompanied by your assigned guide, in a special safari vehicle, and follow a south westerly direction past the picturesque Khomas Hochland Highlands. You will then go down to the Namibia Desert through the Great Escarpment. A picnic lunch awaits you at a lovely spot along the way. Around mid-day you'll arrive at Sossus Dune Lodge. This will be your "home" for two nights as you survey amazing sights in the Namibia Desert with the assistance of your guide. Hopefully, you will have time to spare on this first day to visit a geological spot called Sesriem Canyon or even to sample the Elim Dune. Alternatively, you may choose to unwind and absorb Sossus Dune Lodge’s peaceful environment.
Sesriem Canyon: This geological feature is the result of erosion that took place over centuries because of River Tsauchab which has carved a constricted gorge about 1 mile long and a depth of 90 feet. You will be able to view the different layers of deposited sediment which have affected the conglomerates in the surrounding, in many million years. The canyon’s sheltered chilly depths make it possible for pools to form when it rains and such pools persist round the year. It is from these pools that settlers derive water for livestock by looping six (ses) lengths of thongs (riems) made from rawhide. For this reason, the canyon and its vicinity are called Sesriem.
Wake up early in the morning on day to of this Namibia safari to ensure a view the giant sand dunes when there is still some light and shadows which make the tall curves and shapes even taller. Here you will find some of the most towering isolated dunes on the globe which will help you understand, to some extent, how the Namibia Desert was formed, the inherent flora and fauna and the dynamics of survival. Your stress-free brunch will find you relaxing under a camel thorn tree after you return from exploring the dunes in Deadvlei and Sossusvlei. The early afternoon will find you back at the Sossus Dune Lodge and go to the Sesriem Canyon, if you did not go on Day 1. After the excitement of the morning, the afternoon is free for you to relax or take part in any lodge activities of your choice.
Sossusvlei: This is the area in the Namib Naukluft National Park which that is most visited. Sossusvlei is renowned for its tall sand dunes. There is an amazing geographical feature (clay pans) which is found amidst dunes. They are ghost white and shaped like stars. At the end of the transient River Tsauchab, the sand dunes with their orange complexion, are juxtaposed with the whitish clay pans. This river emanates from the Great Escarpment of the Naukluft Mountains. It moves for about 40 miles through sand sea before it eventually dries out at Sossusvlei which is almost equidistant from the Atlantic. This river reached the ocean about 60,000 years ago until dunes impinged its course.
On rare occassions in this pan area will receive enough water to flood the pan. This brings about beautiful reflections of thorn trees and dunes by the water. Sossusvlei is the largest among the four water pans in this area. Deadvlei pan is also renowned for its ghostly and gnarled camel thorn trees. It also has dead trees still standing erect after their only path to water was blocked by sand which prevented water from flooding the pan often.
Sossusvlei to Swakopmund
NOTE: If you desire to fly over the Namib Naukluft National Park via a light aircraft or hot air balloon before leaving Swakopmund and to have a picturesque view, you can arrange this with ROW Adventures exclusively. This will ensure that the other scheduled activities are not interrupted.
Today, the third day of your Namibia Safari, you will travel northwest and experience tremendous and fluctuating desert landscape within the amazing Namib Naukluft National Park and the attractive Kuiseb and Gaub canyons. The coast awaits you at Walvis Bay, which is a port urban centre. Your journey will take you northwards to the seaside and cooler location of Swakopmund, which you will inhabit for two nights. This afternoon will be spent exploring, on foot, this cool town and later take your dinner in a trendy restaurant, renowned for fresh seafood.
NOTE: Instead of driving through spectacular landscapes to Swakopmund to Sossus Dune Lodge you can opt to fly over Sossusvlei and the Diamond Coast at an additional cost. This will grant you a bird’s eye view over abandoned mining settlements, Sandwich Harbour, Dune Sea and salt pans and you will end the experience at Swakopmund Airport. You will be met by your guide at Swakopmund at a later time in the afternoon. It is crucial to understand that this offer requires arrangement of flights with ROW Adventures to avert logistical complications to the rest of the scheduled mainstream safari.
Swakopmund: This town looks like a typical but small German coastal luxury destination located between the sea and the desert. Here you will find modern hotels, restaurants, galleries, museums, cafes, shops, craft centres and in the same locality as colonial German architecture. Swakopmund was originally a German colonial navy landing centre which was created in 1892 as the Germans established beacons. There were unsuccessful attempts to develop a harbor through construction of concrete mole and a jetty made from iron. When the First World War began, any further development was stopped. It was this situation that led to the decline and deterioration of the town. Later, infrastructure became better and there was an asphalt road running between Swakopmund and Windhoek. This opened up the town that was previously remote making it prosperous. It also became the leading resort centre in Namibia. The sea may be cold generally thus negating swimming but you can enjoy these beautiful beaches especially after spending a lot of time in the hot desert.
Centrally positioned guesthouse: For the next two nights, you will spend your time in a guesthouse which is located at the centre of the town.
You will have breakfast early in the morning. Your guide will then drive with you to the picturesque coastal road as you head down to Walvis Bay on this Namibia safari. Here you will enjoy an unforgettable kayaking adventure in the outer lagoon. Your kayaking guide will take you to Pelican Point where you will view its windswept splendor and lighthouse. The salt works will provide a platform for viewing many species of birds as you reach the launch point.
One of the best ways to view Cape fur seals is to go kayaking. Other animals you will see include flamingos, dolphins, pelicans, Heaviside, bottlenose dolphins and many other varieties of birds. You may also be lucky enough to see leatherback turtles, whales and sunfish. In all the activities of this day, you will be accompanied by your guide who will inform you concerning the surrounding. Before returning to Walvis Bay, you will be served delicious light refreshments while on the beach.
Important note: if kayaking does not appeal to you, enjoy an unforgettable motorized boat dolphin and seal excursion in the harbor and outer lagoon. This is your opportunity to view Heaviside, pelicans, flamingos, Cape fur seals, bottlenose dolphins and many other sea birds. Just as with the previous case, if luck is on your side on this day, you are likely to see sunfish, whales and leatherback turtles. As you enjoy the excursion, you will be served with snacks and also fresh oysters and sparkling wine. At around midday, you will get the chance to go back to the jetty.
Before making it back to Swakopmund, you will have the chance to walk around the Walvis Bay and waterfront area. The afternoon will be spent in a leisurely manner in your room or in another location in the town. We can also arrange camel rides, take picturesque flights within the dunes at the coast, engage in quad biking, sky diving or a wide variety of other adventures.
Centrally positioned guesthouse: Exquisite guesthouse which is located at the centre of the town.
Swakopmund to Damaraland
Today, you will continue with the safari by taking the road to the north and then east to the magnificent area of Damaraland. On the way you will see the Brandberg, which at 2,573m altitude, is the tallest mountain in Namibia. There are also numerous wild animals and vast but impressive scenery on the way. Color, rock formations, superb flat topped mountains and weird-looking vegetation - this is the best way to describe Damaraland. Erosion by water, wind and geological forces has resulted in a landscape replete with gravel plains, rolling hills, dunes and dated river terraces. You will fbe astaunded by the vastness, scenic splendor and variety of this area to the extent of comprehending what the term ‘wilderness’ really means.
You may also be taken by your guide to sample geological sites attractions in the vicinity, specifically the famous Twyfelfontein rock engravings, if there will be surplus time. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Organ Pipes and Burnt Mountain can also be visited although we may save this for the next day.
Twyfelfontein: Named by the first European farmer in the area, the name refers to the failings of a perennial spring which wells up near the base of the valley and the name simply means ‘doubtful spring’. Strewn over a hillside amongst flat-topped mountains of red sandstone, Twyfelfontein’s 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. These days a local guide accompanies visitors to showcase the 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 and has recently become a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Burnt Mountain: The largest mountian in Namibia, itt has a circular shape and is found just a few miles from Organ Pipes and Twyfelfontein. The mountain appears to catch fire at both sunset and sunrise. This phenomenon results in multifarious colors at dusk and dawn and is attributed to chemical activity which occurred about 125 million years ago. It is believed that molten lava went through organic limestone and shale deposits thus leading to metamorphism at contact. Ordinarily, the mountain is dull black in color. Blackened debris is found on one side like residue from a fire.
Organ Pipes: They also create geological curiosity in the area. There are masses of vertical dolerite pillars which penetrated other rocks in the vicinity about 125 million years ago, and since then, lie exposed in a gorge because of erosion by rivers.
We have an early breakfast and leave for an exhilarating excursion to the valleys of transient rivers Huab and Aba Huab. Here you will track wild animals and more than likely see the hard to find desert elephant. There are many animals which can be found in Damaraland and also other concealed desert treasures. Elephants are active in the early hours of the day and you may see some before lunch back at the camp. Alternatively, safari participants may want to carry a picnic lunch and eat it under huge Ana trees at the riverbed while watching elephants eat alongside you. For those who did not visit Twyfelfontein and the other important sites yesterday, personal guides can arrange for such visits today. When you come back to the camp, there will be time to visit local villages on foot with your assigned guide or to sit back for some leisure time as you finish this Namibia wildlife safari day!
Desert Adapted Elephant: Under normal circumstances, an elephant eats about 300kg of food and 230 litres of water daily. How much does that translate to in one week, one month or one year for an entire herd of elephants? It sounds strange to find an African elephant in the desert, but it is possible. There are also many other animals including giraffe and rhinoceros. These animals are found in a wide area beginning from the catchment of northern Kaokoveld rivers and ending in the Northern part of the country. Elephants are found within an area which has seven river courses from Ugab and this gives the animals avenues for crossing the desert and reaching the Skeleton Coast. The largest of these rivers are the Huab, the Hoarusib, the Ugab and the Hoanib rivers.
The elephants found in this desert are known to traverse longer distance in search of food and water than the average African elephant. Waterholes can be as far as 40 miles from feeding grounds. The typical area within which a family herd operates is greater than 2,000 km². This is eight times more than the average rage range in which elephants in central Africa operate, considering there is more rainfall in the latter. Since they need a lot of nutrients and large quantities of food, elephants in the desert eat from 74 out of the 103 types of plants which are found in their habitats. These elephants are not a different species or even sub-species. Rather, they are simply a unique ecotype that is found in Namibia in the south of Africa and which is adapted in terms of behavior to extreme hardship conditions. In Africa, only elephants in Mali and the south western border of the Sahara have been to known to exist in similar situations.
Damaraland to Southern Etosha National Park
Early breakfast awaits you before taking the Grootberg Pass into the Etosha National Park. Your guide will deviate during your journey to take you on a visit to a settlement of the indigenous Himba people. However, finding them may not be easy because they often move without notice. The Himba are the only tribe that is still purely traditional and unperturbed by modernity in Namibia. This is your opportunity to know their traditions, customs, culture and daily routine. Once you are through with this proud tribe, you will journey east towards a small urban centre called Kamanjab and culminate your journey at the welcoming Andersson’s Camp which is found to the south of Andersson’s Gate of the Etosha National Park. You will arrive here early evening which means that you will have eaten a picnic lunch along the way. Once you arrive at the camp, you will have time to freshen up after the activities of the day and to wind down the evening watching game at the floodlit waterhole of the camp at dinner.
The Himba: the term Kaokovelders refers to the Tjimba, Himba and the other tribes of the Herero people who live in the remote Kunene region, in north-western Namibia. The Himba belong to the Herero group both linguistically and culturally and also practice semi-nomadic pastoralism. However, they live within the one locality thus implying that other cultures have not impacted the Himba to a great extent. The Himba are the most populous among the Kaokovelders. They are partly nomadic and are scattered in various settlements in the Kunene area. The Himba are statuesque, slender and tall and are proud yet friendly. Himba women are beautiful and have numerous traditional adornments and complex hairstyles. Bodies are scrubbed with fat and ochre which ensures the sun is safe from the severe climate of the desert.
This community builds simple structures made like a cone by using saplings which are tied together with palm vegetation and plastered with dung and mud. While the women are tasked with preparing clay and plaster the house, the structures are built by men. At the headman’s house, there is a fire which does not go off thus providing heating and light and also warding off insects. Families migrate during the year in pursuit of pasture for their animals. All members of the society adorn themselves with shell and iron beads. Himba women can spend over three hours sprucing up. The process begins with a bath and anointment with a special mixture to avert skin problems from harsh weather and insects and also to prevent hair loss. Next they apply a mixture of black coals, fresh herbs and butter fat to the hair and use a permanent fire often to ‘steam’ their garments. All members of the society, including women, men and children decorate their bodies with anklets, belts, necklaces and bracelets which are made fromshell beads and iron. These unique and unorthodox items are also made for commercial purposes to a low extent, with sculptural headsets being especially popular.
Estosha National Park
This is an entire day of wildlife safari in Namibia's Etosha National Park’s inner sanctum. You will travel from the southern Andersson’s entrance to a place called Halali where lunch will be served. The journey will take you across a number of waterholes, including the one at Goas, where game viewing is a delight. Eventually, you will arrive in the east at the Namutomi Camp. It is necessary that you leave the park prior to the setting of the sun and arrive at the wonderful Onguma Tree Top Camp with time to spare for rest and rejuvenation before the evening meal. The floodlit waterhole at the camp is an appropriate point to wind up your evening with excellent views of animals.
Etosha National Park: This facility encompasses 22,270km², with about 5,000km² of these comprising of briny pans or depressions. Etosha Pan is the largest to the extent of qualifying to be called a saline desert. This pan is found in the Owambo Basin with the later being located on the northwestern border of the Kalahari Desert in Namibia. Three million years ago, the park was a section of a vast low depth water mass which later became a series of salt pans after the Kunene River, which fed it with water, changed its course to drain into the Atlantic. Had it been in existence today, it would be the third largest lake on earth. Etosha Pan’s 4,760 km² makes it the largest pan. The only time it receives water is when it rains and concomitant floods in northern Angola. This park has woodlands, grasslands and savannah. The best places to view game are the may springs and water points in which a multiplicity of species gather simultaneously. Etosha has more than 340 species of birds and 114 types of mammals. Some of the wildlife you will find here includes blue wildebeest, elephant, kudu, lion, eland, rhino, hyena, honey badger, cheetah, giraffe, gemsbok (oryx), warthog and impala which is ever-present.
Onguma Game Reserve
This is yet another morning in which you will embark on an unforgettable game drive in the eastern part of Etosha National Park. Lunch will be served at the camp followed by some rest after which you will go for your last afternoon excursion at Onguma Game Reserve.
Onguma Game Reserve: It shares a border with Fisher’s Pan and is located to the east of Etosha. This game reserve is legally protected land, flora and fauna. It has more than thirty animal species. They include zebra, oryx, kudu, eland, giraffe and impala. There are also predatory species like cheetah, lion and leopard. In addition Onguma Game Reserve now has a black rhino family! You can also view in excess of 300 bird species on this reserve.
Onguma Game Reserve to Windhoek via the AfriCat Foundation
You will leave Onguma Tree Top early enough to head south to Tsumeb, then Otavi, past Otjiwarongo before finally reaching Okonjima’s AfriCat Day Center. This is a superb highlight to wrap up your Namibia safari. Your arrival will coincide with lunch after which you will embark on an informative and exhilarating game excursion and a visit to the center. You will gain vital information on how the center works and what it envisions in addition to meeting special ambassadors of the Foundation. It is now time to freshen up and continue with the journey southwards towards Windhoek where you will arrive at sunset. From Windhoek you can be taken to your chosen accommodation or straight to Windhoek International Airport in case your flight is scheduled for this evening. Normally, to ensure that you have time to visit the AfriCat Foundation and to cater for the journey to Windhoek, departure flights are not scheduled before 9pm. You can arrange with us your hotel night in Windhoek!
NOTE (VOLUNTARY EXTENSION):
If you feel that you need more time at the AfriCat Center to understand how it works or to view more leopards, cheetahs and other big cats, your extended stay can be arranged. You can spend one or two more days at Okonjima and be accommodated at the enchanting Luxury Bush Camp.
Dates & Rates
Trips depart every Tuesday and are guaranteed departures!
Low Season - February 12, 2019 - May 31, 2019
High Season June 1, 2019 - December 31, 2019
Single supplement :
Low Season - $750
High Season - $800
The Africat Luxury Bush Camp - $799 per person
Single Supplement - $285
2 Night Extension at the Africat Luxury Bush Camp - $1175 per person
Single Supplement $360
FAQ & More
Vehicles used are normally comfortable minibuses, equipped with air-conditioning and cool boxes or fridges for drinks and snacks. A trailer for luggage is taken if required. We reserve the right to change the vehicles used to 4 x 4 safari vehicles if the road conditions at the time indicate that this is necessary for the success of the safari.
Luggage is normally restricted to 44 pounds (not including photographic equipment) per person in a soft, hold all type bag. Weight is generally less important than volume as everything is carried with you on safari. For your light aircraft transfers the luggage limit is 44 pounds in soft bags, including hand luggage. Roll-ons are acceptable. If required, any extra luggage can be stored at the hotel in Windhoek while you are away on safari.
While not mandatory, tipping 10% is standard when dining on an Namibia adventure. With the typical Namibian earning a modest wage, a small tip to porters, housemaids and other service workers is appreciated.
You may access the internet in the cyber cafes of Namibia's large cities, but limited to no access should be expected in regional and rural areas.
There is decent cell phone coverage in Namibia's large cities and towns, but less so in rural and mountainous areas. Ensure you have global roaming activated before leaving home if you wish to use your mobile phone. Better yet, turn your phone off and immerse yourself in the place.
While tap water is considered safe in Namibia's cities, drinking tap water isn't generally recommended in Namibia. For environmental reasons, try to avoid buying bottled water. In our safari vehicle we carry a container of filtered water you can use to refill your reusable water bottle or canteen.
Credit cards are usually accepted by large hotels and western-style restaurants, but not by smaller vendors. Ensure you have adequate cash to cover purchases not able to be made on credit.
No vaccinations are mandatory but please consult your doctor for medical advice. Parts of Namibia are considered to be malarial so you may want to use anti-malarial prophylactics, especially if visiting during the Namibian summer (December to April) – subject to advice from your own doctor.