NAMIBIAN HIGHLIGHTS (7 Days)
This a highlight tour that gives one an insight into some landscapes and wildlife that are unique to Namibia. Within a week we will visit the high and red sand dunes in Sossusvlei, spend some time enjoying the Namibian Coast in Swakopmund and Walvis Bay. We will then make our way inland along the coast, taste a bit of the Skeleton Coast before we reach Damaraland to see the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Twyfelfontein, the Rock Engravings made by the San people some 2000 years ago. We end our week stay in the Etosha National Park before returning to the capital city of Namibia, Windhoek.
Dead Vlei, Sand Dune Climbing (“Big Daddy” or Dune 45), Sossusvlei, Sesriem Canyon
Scenic Drive, Walvis Bay Lagoon
Catamaran Tour, Sandwich Harbour Tour, Living Desert Tour
Drive through Skeleton Coast National Park, Shipwrecks, Cape Cross Seal Reserve, Twyfelfontein Rock Engravings, Petrified Forest
Day 5 & 6
Etosha National Park
Overnight in Windhoek
Day 1 Sossusvlei
Your guide will pick you up either from the airport or accommodation in Windhoek. We will drive southwards to the desert through scenic landscapes that may include mountain passes depending on the road being used. You will have a lunch stop along the way to Sossusvlei. We will be in Sossusvlei area before sunset and enjoy the sundowner drive in the desert.
Day 2 Swakopmund
An early morning start will see us getting into the Namib Naukluft Park. Early morning light shining on the red sand dunes gives one great photographic opportunities and memories of the magnificent Namib Desert. The Namib Naukluft Park is the third largest National Park in Africa covering and area of 50 000 km2 . The Namib desert has been arid for about 80 million years, with true desert conditions predominating the last 15 to 20 million years. Various wildlife thriving in this area includes Gemsbok, Springbok, Brown Hyeana, Black-backed Jackal among others. If lucky you might see the only true Namibia Endemic bird, the Dune Lark among various birds in this area. We will visit the most photographed sand dune in the area, Dune 45. Depending on your energy levels, climbing one of the highest sand dune in the area, the Big Daddy, is quite fun. A visit to the Dead Vlei is worthwhile. This a white clay pan with dry Camel Thorn trees that are believed to have been dead 800 years ago. The area is so dry that the trees have not decomposed. After a visit to the Sossusvlei we will then visit the Sesriem Canyon. It is about a kilometer long and 30 (100ft) meters deep and might have some water, quite important for animals to drink it. After lunch we will make our way to the Coast past scenic Gaub and Kuiseb passes.
We will go past Walvis Bay Lagoon for some interesting water birds including Flamingoes. We will then overnight in Swakopmund and enjoy some dinner in some of the best restaurants.
Day 3 Swakopmund
We have options for this day. All optional activities start in the morning after breakfast:
The Living Desert Tour
This tour is done in the Dorob National Park, in the sand dunes. Dry bone, without a trace of moisture and as dry as a weathered bone! These terms may be used to describe this unique biome with sneaky creatures that have adapted to living in harsh environment. For these little creatures either camouflage or agility to faking deaths, helps in serving food on the table or avoid being someone’s meal somehow.
This is a 4 to 5-hour tour conducted by passionate and experienced desert specialists who are desert conservationists as well. If lucky you might see the desert “Little Five”; Shovel-nosed Lizard, Namib Sand Gecko, Namaqua Chameleon, Namib Desert Sidewinding Adder and the Cartwheeling Spider (“Dancing White Lady”). Birds of interest include Gray’s Lark, Tractrac Chat, Damara Tern among others. You a should be back around lunch time and enjoy a stroll around the Swakopmund city or take any optional activities that we can arrange for you in advance.
Catamaran and Sandwich Harbour Combo.
This takes the whole day and is done in Walvis Bay. Your guide will drive you to Waterfront in Walvis Bay after breakfast. You start with the Catamaran tour, and might get entertained by Cape Fur Seals and Pelicans on the cruise. Depending on the time of the year and luck, one might encounter Whales, Dolphins, Leatherback turtle and Seals.
After lunch you then proceed to the Sandwich Harbour, on an adventure 4 x 4 sand dune driving. This is one of the 5 RAMSAR sites (Wetlands of International Importance) where the dunes meet the sea. The coastal desert environment is characterized by pale sand dunes with traces of black shades of magnetite, implying they are of greater aesthetic value as well being a photographer’s playground. You might encounter Black-backed Jackal, Oryx, Springboks on your way in dry riverbeds. In the wetlands and mudflats there is great diversity of sea birds.
After this busy day, your guide will pick you up to Swakopmund.
Day 4- Damaraland
We will leave the Coastal environment, drive inland past a couple of Shipwrecks. This day we will visit the Cape Cross Seal Reserve. This is a 60km2 Reserve and has the largest Seal Colony in the world, with numbers up to 240 000 at a given time. It could be the second largest city in Namibia if these animals were humans! After this activity, we will then go through the Skeleton Coast National Park. The Namibian Skeleton Coast National Park is renowned for its cold and unpredictable Benguela Current of the Atlantic Ocean that contends with the dune and desert landscape. It is described as the world’s largest ship cemetery because of various shipwrecks found along the coast. The Bushman called the coast “the land God made with anger” and early Portuguese explorers refer to it as “Gates of Hell”. However, the name Skeleton Coast refers to visible bones of whales that died when they get stranded on this coastline. This is a rarely visited park in Namibia with eye-catching landscapes that ranges from sweeping vistas of windswept smaller sand dunes, to rugged canyons with walls of richly coloured rocks and extensive mountain ranges. Wildlife here includes Oryx, Springbok, Black-backed Jackal, Ostrich, Brown Hyeana, Desert Adapted Elephant, Black Rhino and Lion. Because of the harshness of the area, these animals do not occur in huge numbers and not very easily spotted, so let’s keep our eyes peeled.
Day 5-Etosha National Park
This morning we will visit the Bushman Rock Engravings around Twyfelfontein before making our way to Etosha National Park. This area was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007, and consists of over 40 000 rock engravings done by the San people 2000 years ago. It is a 45-minute walk conducted by local guides. We will then proceed to the Petrified Forest. This is a geological formation that happened 280 million years ago. Huge trees were carried by a river and buried here. Sand was deposited around them, creating ideal conditions for the cells of the wood to be replaced by silica and thus became petrified. It is thought these trees are Dadoxylon arberi, the same tree responsible for coal fields in Europe. This is a half an hour walk done by knowledgeable local guides. We will proceed to Etosha and we should be in time for an afternoon game drive.
Day 6- Etosha National Park
We will do a morning and an afternoon game drive in the National Park. This implies we will be back at the lodge around mid-day and go back into the Park late afternoon. Enjoy the siesta or swimming pool and the tranquility of the lodge. Etosha is a 22 270 km2 park with 114 mammal species and over 350 bird species. Etosha means “Great White Place” in local Oshindonga language, referring to the 4800 km2 salt pan that covers 23% of the park’s surface area. Mammals include Black and White Rhinoceros, Lion, Leopard, Cheetah, African elephant, Plains and Hartmann’s Mountain Zebras, Southern Giraffe subs. angolensis, Eland, Gemsbok, African Wild Cat, Spotted and Brown Hyeana among other animals. It is quite unique in its own way as the concentration and diversity around waterholes in the dry season in magnificent, giving one a chance to see animal dramas unfolding as they make turns to quench their thirst.
Day 7- Windhoek
Depending on your outbound flight, we can either leave early in the morning to catch a flight in Windhoek for late afternoon or do a morning game drive in Etosha, and overnight in Windhoek. This day marks the end of our trip.