Namibia - Desert Dreams


Namibia - Desert Dreams

Style: TravellerCultural discovery away from the crowds
Duration: 11 days
Type: GroupTravel with a small group of other travellers

Itinerary

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 or similar

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

Departure will be between 9 and 10am. Today we head for Mariental, a small, flourishing market town in the heart of Southern Namibia, and the administrative capital of the Hardap Region. Named by local Rhenish (German Lutheran) missionaries after Maria the wife of the first colonial settler of the area Herman Brandt, Mariental was founded in 1912 as a railway stop between Windhoek and Keetmanshoop. It was proclaimed a town in 1920 and a municipality in 1946. Our lodge for the night is a relaxed and down-to-earth stopover which offers a taste of the Kalahari, the desert which lies over the vast areas of southern Botswana, eastern Namibia and northern South Africa. The terrain consists mainly of large arid and semi–arid areas, brown sands and red dune scenery. In the evening approximately 4 – 5pm we will enjoy a 3-hour sundowner drive to explore the local area. Overnight at Kalahari Anib Lodge or similar  (BD)

Day 3 – Kalahari – Namib Desert (Sossusvlei) 

After a leisurely breakfast depart for a beautifully scenic drive through to and area just north of Sossusvlei where you overlook the striking fossilised dunes.  Tomorrow we’ll visit Sossusvlei, the oldest desert on earth, distinguished as being home to some of the strangest flora and fauna on the continent. During our journey dramatic scenery unfolds around each corner and there are many opportunities for photographic stops. This afternoon will give be at your own leisure after the drive to relax or you can take an optional activity from the accommodation such as an afternoon dune drive. Overnight at Namib Desert Lodge or similar (BD)

Day 4 – Dead Vlei and Sesriem Canyon

Today we have an early start around 6am as we drive to some of the highest sand dunes in the world and watch the sun rise over the red dunes, some standing up to 300m high. The first rays of the sun light up the dunes with a deep orange glow making for a photographer's delight. It is a wild, beautiful and romantic spot, with sparse vegetation edging a few water courses which flow in from the Tsauchab River. Here Springbok and Ostrich are often seen. We'll also explore the 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 water pools attract several species of birds and animals. Sesriem means 'six thongs'; which refers to the six lengths of rawhide rope (from a wagon) needed to make a line long enough to lower from the rim of the gorge to the stream below, in order to haul up a bucket of water. Later this afternoon you will have some time at leisure before an afternoon sundowner dune drive in the Namib Desert. Overnight Namib Desert Lodge or similar (BD)

Day 5 – Namib Desert – Solitaire – Walvis Bay - Swakopmund (driving time approx. 4 hours)

Travelling via Solitaire, and through the Kuiseb Canyon, we pass awe-inspiring landscapes as we head across the Namib gravel flats towards the Atlantic Coast and Walvis Bay. Continue the short journey to Swakopmund, surrounded by the Namib Desert on three sides, and the Atlantic Ocean to the west. Culturally and architecturally, Swakopmund is particularly influenced by its having been a German colony, with many beautiful examples of German colonial architecture to be found. Visitors can easily explore the town on foot and attractions include the Swakopmund Museum, the National Marine Aquarium and the Crystal Gallery. On arrival we will have short orientation tour of the town. Overnight Delight Swakopmund or similar (B)

Day 6 – Swakopmund – Leisure time or optional activities

Today is a day at leisure for you to relax or explore the town independently which can be done on foot. Alternatively, Swakopmund has a myriad of activities for those in search of adventure. Options include a Living Dunes experience to learn about the flora and fauna of the desert, scenic flights over the Namib Desert and the skeleton coast, or a Catamaran voyage to search for marine wildlife. For adrenaline junkies, skydiving or dune surfing is possible. Please contact us if you are interested in a list of optional excursions. Overnight at Delight Swakopmund or similar (B)

Day 7, 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 8, Damaraland at leisure of optional activities

A day at leisure to relax and enjoy the tranquil surroundings of Damaraland, a vast and hauntingly beautiful desert landscape. For those that wish to keep active, there are self-guided walking trails ranging from 1 – 3 hours from the lodge and also a look out point nearby, an ideal vantage point to catch a spectacular desert sunset. Overnight Damara Mopane Lodge or similar (BD)

Day 9, Damaraland – Outjo - Etosha National Park (driving time approx. 5 hours)

We depart early at 8am for our journey to Etosha National Park via Outjo, 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. Arrive in time for an afternoon game drive in the park in our tour vehicle and stay in the park until around sunset. Spend some time observing any visiting species at Okaukuejo waterhole or nearby waterholes if sightings are proving elusive.  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. There is something enigmatic in the vast silent grey-white pan that covers the reserve. Overnight at Etosha Safari Camp or similar (BD)

Day 10, Etosha National Park

We continue searching for game today.  Numerous waterholes and underground springs attract large herds of animals including Springbok, Zebra, Wildebeest and Giraffe. At its very heart is the Etosha Pan, which geologists believe was formed some 12 million years ago from an inland lake about the size of Holland. Shrunk to its present dried-up size, it is now a gigantic depression in the ground - flat, saline and silvery, a mysterious place of mirages and dust-laden images. Overnight at Etosha Safari Camp or similar (BD)

Day 11, Etosha National Park - Windhoek (driving time approx. 5 hours)

After breakfast we depart around 8am travel back to Windhoek, arriving mid-afternoon. On the way we will make a short stop to visit the Okahandja Woodcarvers market for souvenirs. Transfer to the airport for departure or perhaps you may wish to extend your stay in Namibia or travel onwards to South Africa to continue your holiday. Please contact us if you require further arrangements. (B)

Kindly note if  you are leaving Namibia today please do not book flights before 4pm.


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