Namibia Encompassed

Namibia Encompassed

Style: TravellerCultural discovery away from the crowds
Duration: 15 days
Type: GroupTravel with a small group of other travellers


Day 1: Arrival in Windhoek

Arrive in Windhoek and transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure with no guided activities. Overnight at Olive Grove Hotel or similar. No meals are included today.

Day 2: Windhoek - Mariental (driving time approx. 2 hours 45 min)

This morning you will be collected at your Windhoek accommodation between 9:00 and 9:30. We start our journey south on the main highway, traveling through the thin strip of Kalahari Desert that protrudes onto the eastern side of Namibia. Stopping at small towns along the way including Rehoboth, traditional home of the Baster people and on to Kalkrand where you bid the main road farewell and head off into the Kalahari.   The Kalahari Desert often surprises people when they first see it. It is very different from the Namib. First of all, remember that the Kalahari is not a desert. It receives more rain than a true desert should. The Kalahari is a fossil desert. Don’t expect to find tall Sossusvlei-style dunes devoid of greenery here. The Kalahari’s dunes are very different. They are often equally beautiful, but usually greener and less stark – and with this vegetation comes its ability to support more flora and fauna than a true desert. Overnight at Kalahari Anib Lodge or similar. (BLD)

Day 3: Mariental - Mesosaurus Fossil Site - Fish River Canyon (driving time approx. 4.5 hours)

An early morning departure to the town of Mariental and south to Keetmanshoop. Just outside the town you have the opportunity of visiting the Mesosaurus Fossil Site. We travel via the town of Keetmanshoop for overnight on the Fish River area. Here you have the opportunity of seeing the Quivertree. Quiver trees are not in fact trees, they are a type of aloe, (Aloe Dichotoma), so called because the branches fork “dictomously”. These weird looking plants dot the landscape in this part of the world and are locally common, however they are one of the world’s rarest flora species. Overnight at Canyon Roadhouse or similar (BLD)

Day 4: Fish River Canyon – Lüderitz via Aus Mountains (driving time approx. 3.5 hours)

Depart the lodge early today at around 8am so we can get to the lookout point early over the Fish River Canyon lookout point for utterly jaw dropping panoramic views, before later travelling to the port town of Lüderitz. We will stop en route in the Aus Mountains for lunch (not included) and we may have a chance to see the wild horses which inhabit this area. Continue the scenic to Lüderitz where we hope to arrival around mid-afternoon and on arrival, we will take a short orientation of tour the town. Overnight Lüderitz Nest Hotel or similar (BL)             

Day 5: Lüderitz and Kolmanskop

Today there is time to join an optional extra excursion - a marine trip. Take a cruise around Luderitz bay and, weather permitting, to Halifax Island to see the Jackass Penguins. Time at leisure to explore Luderitz Town with its traditional German architecture and later we will take a drive out to Diaz Point to see the bird life, hopefully a few seals and the stone cross replica, originally erected by the Portuguese mariner Bartholomew Diaz. Straight after the marine trip we drive out to Kolmanskop, a desert ghost town about 20 km out of Luderitz.  It was built in the 1920’s during the diamond rush and was abandoned when bigger and better diamonds were found further along the coast. The area is still abandoned and the desert has encroached over the entire town, giving an eerie feeling and real meaning to the word “ghost”. Overnight Lüderitz Nest Hotel or similar (B)

Note: The optional boat cruise is subject to availability and, if undertaken, is at your own risk and expenses.

Day 6: Lüderitz - Sesriem area – Sossusvlei (driving time approx. 6 hours)

Turning north, we once again head deep into the ancient southern Namib, travelling on small gravel roads and passing some tiny rural communities along the way.  The scenery is harsh, and sometimes forbidding.  The process of erosion in these areas is well advanced and we pass time rounded “koppies” arid terrain and outcrops of tortured rock.

Traversing this bleak yet beautiful landscape, the terrain begins to change and we cross some open grass savannah and farmlands before the terrain begins to give way to the immense red sand dune desert of the Namib.  We aim to arrive at our lodge during the late afternoon and watch the colours glow and change on distant mountains to the east. We sleep tonight at Klein Aus Vista, a private reserve, beautifully located in the Aus Mountain Range, (Huib-Hoch-Plateau region). The road takes us through the “forbidden Zone” so named because in years gone by, the alluvial diamonds found in Namibia were simply scattered across the desert and we again have time to enjoy sunset over the mountains. Overnight at Sossusvlei Lodge or similar (BLD)

Day 7: Sesriem Canyon and Sossusvlei

A pre-dawn start is essential this morning as we want to catch the soft light of the sunrise on the desert. After passing through Sesriem, the gateway to the dunes, we head into the heart of the dune field, reaching Sossusvlei on foot, trekking the last 5 km through the dunes.  Landscape photo opportunities abound in the cool of the morning, with dawn’s soft light first illuminating the dunes from crest down the back slope, then blazing orange everywhere, creating a powerful contrasting vista across the whole desert.  We spend the morning in and around Sossusvlei and Deadvlei, also visiting dune 45.  Sossusvlei is where you will find the iconic red sand dunes of the Namib.  The clear blue skies contrast with the giant red sand dunes to make this one of the natural wonders of Africa and a photographer’s heaven. As the day wears on we return to Sesriem for lunch, escaping the heat of the afternoon.  As the day cools off in the late afternoon, we will take a short excursion to the Sesriem Canyon.  Sesriem Canyon, a deep chasm carved through the rocks by water, is a striking natural feature of the area that is best explored on foot. Stony walls rise up sharply on both sides of the canyon, while birds roost in its crags and lizards dart along the ledges. The canyon’s name was coined when early settlers used it as a water source, using six lengths of leather (‘ses riem – six thongs) tied together to lower buckets into the water at the base of canyon. Return to the lodge for the overnight. Overnight at Sossusvlei Lodge or similar (BLD)

Day 8: Sesriem – Welwitschia Plains - Swakopmund (driving time approx. 5-6 hours)

Drive to the Solitaire, where you will be transferred to Swakopmund. Afternoon arriving at the coastal town of Swakopmund.  Unwind and refresh at the end of the day in the warm and uplifting atmosphere of the Delight hotel, before savouring some of Swakopmund’s fine cuisine. Overnight The Delight Hotel or similar (B)

Day 9: Swakopmund

Today is a day at leisure for you to relax or explore the town independently which can be done on foot.

Alternatively, an optional marine cruise can be arranged and paid for locally on the Walvis Bay Lagoon where sightings of dolphins, seals and many species of sea bird are common. There are many other optional (not included) activities that can be done from Swakopmund including a Skeleton Coast scenic flight. Overnight The Delight Hotel or similar (B)

Note – Your guide will be available today as well to escort you to any optional activities.

Day 10: Swakopmund - Damaraland (driving time approx. 4 hours)

Today our journey continues to the ruggedly beautiful Damaraland. We will stop to view the prehistoric rock engravings at Twyfelfontein, which boasts the largest known concentration of Stone Age petro-glyphs in Namibia with approximately 2,500 engravings.  Also, in the area is the geological curiosity of the perpendicular slabs of basalt known as the “Organ Pipes”. Located in the southern Kunene Region, in the centre of Damaraland’s rough terrain, Khorixas was previously the capital of Damaraland prior to Namibia's independence. Most of the inhabitants are from the Damara ethnic group. The town is located close to an accumulation of enormous fossilized tree trunks, about 280 million years old called The Petrified Forest, as well as Twyfelfontein, the site of approximately 2000 rock carvings which were, in 2007, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Overnight at Damara Mopane Lodge or similar (BD)

Day 11: Damaraland

Today is a day at leisure to relax and enjoy the tranquil surroundings of Damaraland, this vast desert landscape is known as one of the most beautiful regions in Namibia. Huge, untamed and ruggedly beautiful, Damaraland is an exceptionally scenic landscape featuring open plains, ancient valleys and spectacular rock formations. Optional excursions can be arranged locally with the lodge - please contact us prior to the departure for details. Overnight at Damara Mopane Lodge or similar (BD)

Day 12: Damaraland - Etosha National Park (driving time approx. 5 hours)

We depart early at 8am for our journey to Etosha National Park, an immense, saline desert, covering over 12,400 square miles, and the habitat for 114 species of animals and 340 species of birds. It has been described as the best game reserve on the African continent. We will arrive in time for an afternoon game drive in the park in our tour vehicle and stay in the park until around sunset. In the park we hope to see elephant, rhino and hopefully lion. The terrain ranges from dense bush to large open plains where animals roam freely. This afternoon in our transport we drive along the network of gravel roads that crisscross the Park, visiting the various viewpoints and the permanent waterholes around which animals congregate. There is something enigmatic in the vast silent grey-white pan that covers the reserve. Overnight at Etosha Safari Camp or similar (BD) 

Day 13: Etosha National Park (at leisure)

A full day exploring Etosha National Park at leisure, visiting the many waterholes throughout the park. After experiencing the incredible and renowned wildlife sightings Etosha has to offer, return home to the easy-going warmth and friendliness of your camp for the night. Overnight at Etosha Safari Camp or similar (BD)

Day 14: Etosha National Park - Windhoek (driving time approx. 5 hours)

After breakfast we depart around 8am travel back to Windhoek, arriving mid-afternoon. A picnic lunch will be provided. On the way we will make a short stop to visit the Okahandja Woodcarvers market for souvenirs. Upon arrival in Windhoek, transfer to your hotel. Overnight Olive Grove Hotel or similar (B)

Day 15: Windhoek Departure

The day is at leisure until you are transferred to the airport for your departure flight (B)

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