WILD WEST NAMIBIA EXPEDITION (13 Nights/14 Days)
This is one of Africa’s true remaining wilderness. It is the least populated part of Namibia with a density of one person per every 2 km2. It is less visited by tourists and is home to several desert adapted wildlife. During this 14-day adventure tour we will explore Namibia’s ephemeral rivers; Ugab, Huab, Aba-Haub, Uniab, Hoanib, Hoarusib. These are important for the survival of Desert Adapted Elephants, Black Rhino, Oryx, Springboks, Desert Adapted Lion, Cheetah, Leopard, and other animals. Special birds that are mostly near endemic to Namibia include White-tailed Shrike, Benguela Long-billed Lark, Monteiro’s Hornbill, Damara Red-billed Hornbill, Bare-cheeked Babbler, Violet Wood hoopoe, Ruppel’s Korhaan, Ruppel’s Parrot, Ludwig’s Bustard among others. We will do the OvaHimba cultural tour. A visit to the Epupa Falls and a drive along the Kunene River is worthwhile. Birds of interest around this area include Rufous Palm-Thrush, elusive Grey Kestrel and Cinderella Waxbill. Afternoon boat cruise along in the Kunene River is a good way of waving a goodbye to the Kaokoland before we explore another less visited part of Etosha National Park: the northwestern part.
Day 1 & 2
Afternoon Nature Drive, White Lady Rock Painting, Desert Adapted Elephant Tracking
Day 3 & 4
San (Bushman) Rock Engravings, Damara Cultural Tour, Desert Adapted Elephant Tracking, Nature Drive
Day 5 & 6
Petrified Forest, Sundowner Drive, Desert Adapted Rhino Tracking on foot, Nature Drive
Day 7 & 8
Game Drive in the Hoanib and Hoarusib Riverbeds, OvaHimba Cultural Tour, Sunset Drive
Visit Epupa Falls, Walk and birding along the Kunene River
Kunene River Lodge
Scenic Nature Drive along the Kunene River, Sunset Boat Cruise
Day 11& 12
Etosha National Park (North)
Drive through Ovamboland Tribe, Explore Northern Etosha, Game Drive
Etosha National Park (South)
Full Day Game Drive from the North to the East then Southern Etosha
Departure to Windhoek
Day 1- Brandberg
After breakfast you will meet your guide and head to Brandberg. We will have a lunch stop along the way or upon arrival at Brandberg White-lady Lodge. This afternoon we will do a sundowner drive around the Brandberg area and explore the Ugab River. Various mammals and birds are found along the riverbed where they get food and water. Brandberg mountain is the highest mountain in Namibia, measuring 2,573 m (8,442 ft.) at its peak. “Brandberg” is Afrikaans, Dutch and German for Burning Mountain, which comes from its glowing color which is sometimes seen in the setting or rising sun. The local Damara tribes named the mountain “Dâures”, which also means ‘burning mountain’. The area has quite fascinating plants as well, of the 357 species recorded in this area, 11 species are endemic to Brandberg.
Day 2- Brandberg
We will visit the White Lady Rock painting after breakfast. This is a half an hour hike through the Brandberg Mountain. There are about 1000 rock shelters around the Brandberg, and this was home to the San people. Over 45 000 rock paintings have been found and of particular interest is the White Lady Rock painting. While some archeologists in the past concluded that the lady had elements of ancient Mediterranean origin, more recent scholars argue that the painting is from indigenous people with no European links. The white lady is actually a boy covered with white clay while undergoing an initiation ceremony. Others think it is a Shaman. Local guides will take us to the painting. We will be back for lunch at the lodge and in the afternoon we will try our luck with the desert adapted elephants around this area.
Day 3 Twyfelfontein
After morning breakfast, we will make our way to Twyfelfontein area. We will arrive at lunch and make our way to the Bushman Rock Engravings. 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. This is a 45-minute walk and conducted by local guides. We will then visit some fascinating geological formations: the Organ Pipes and the Burnt Mountain. The Organ Pipes are tall angular columns of dolorite in a most unusual formation and late afternoon light on the Burnt Mountain worth seeing.
Day 4 Twyfelfontein
We will explore the Aba-Huab and Huab Rivers in search for desert adapted wildlife including Elephants, Black Rhino, Oryx, Springbok, Giraffe among others. After lunch, we will visit the local Damara people, to learn how they foraged and hunted in the past. One has an opportunity to see tools, jewellery and handmade crafts, as well as enjoy dancing, singing and traditional games.
Day 5 Palmwag
Before heading north to our destination, we will visit the Petrified Forest after breakfast. 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 then make our way to Palmwag and we should be in time for lunch. Along the way, various wildlife can be spotted. One can either walk around the lodge area or relax at the swimming pool. During late afternoon, we will then go for a sundowner drive.
Day 6 Palmwag
This will be a very early morning start to search for the Desert Adapted Black Rhino. We will be taken by local guides and Rhino Rangers. The Namib Desert is home to the last truly wild stronghold of black rhino. This activity involves 4 x 4 driving in a rugged terrain, and walking safari to get to the rhinos if lucky. These mammals are not in a fenced area but in an open ecosystem. It is a joint venture of the Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism, the communities, Save Rhino Trust and other Non-governmental Organizations in conservation of Black Rhinos. The programme of Community-based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) seeks to empower people living in rural areas to manage and benefit from their natural resources. This activity might take the whole day, however there is still a possibility of a late afternoon sundowner drive in our own vehicle.
Day 7 Purros
After breakfast we will make our way to Purros. We will explore the Hoanib river, which is 270km long and one of the 12 ephemeral rivers in Namibia. In
addition to larger populations of many species of antelope found in the lower reaches of the Hoanib, are also a large number of Desert Adapted Elephants, Rhinos, Giraffes and also several Lion prides, and smaller predators. Among other wildlife in this area, we have our chances with the Desert Adapted Lion. Only 150 of these animals are left in the wild www.desertlion.info. We will enjoy our lunch packs somewhere along the way and make it to our destination for the day.
Day 8 Purros
In the morning we will explore Hoarusib River, which is also rich in wildlife and birds. After lunch we will visit the OvaHimba tribe, and learn their fascinating culture and way of life. They are semi-nomadic pastoralists with huge herds of cattle. This afternoon we will learn about the intriguing traditional life of the OvaHimba tribe, including their dress, food and craft. You will also learn about how the homestead is built, with holy fire at its heart (where all communication with ancestors take place).
Day 9 Epupa Falls
We will continue our Wild West Namibia expedition moving far north west of the country, Epupa Falls. We will be there around lunch time. Late afternoon we will visit the Epupa Falls on the Kunene River. The Falls are a series of cascades where the river drops a total of 60 meters over 1.5 km (a mile). It then separates into a multitude of channels and forms a myriad of rock pools. It is quite a breathtaking view as has richly coloured rock walls mixed with wild fig and baobab trees, waving Makalani Palm trees spectacular sunsets and perennially flowing waters. Bird watching is good with iconic species to the area including Rufous Palm Thrush, African Fish Eagle, Giant Kingfisher, among others.
Day 10 Kunene River Lodge
After breakfast, we will drive along the Kunene River. Nested in huge Makalani Palm trees, enjoy the beauty, peace and tranquility of this riverine
habitat. We will arrive at lunch and embark on an afternoon boat cruise with hope of seeing rare birds like the Cinderella Waxbill, Grey Kestrel and Angolan Cave Chat among others.
Day 11 Etosha North
This is a driving day. After breakfast we will continue exploring the Kunene River past a hydro-electric dam towards small town of Ruacana. We will drive past a series of towns to get to our destination, Etosha North. These northern parts of Namibia are totally the opposite of Kaokoland as they are heavily populated. We will stop for lunch along the way. We get to experience the land of the Owambo people which has a total surface area of around 56 000km2. The land consists mainly of communal farming land and most of the inhabitants survive on subsistence farming. They are various wetlands that hosts a number of water birds.
Day 12 Etosha North
We will explore the less visited part of the Etosha National Park. We will do the morning and afternoon game drives and look for wildlife around waterholes. This part of the park has an open grassland and dense vegetation. Etosha has around 114 mammalian species and over 350 birds.
Day 13 Etosha South
After breakfast we will drive from the northern part to the eastern and then make our way to the southern Etosha. This will be a full day game drive in the park with a lunch stopover. We will continue visiting waterholes and adding more to our animal list. We will be wrapping up our Wild West Namibia adventure.
Day 14 Windhoek
We depart to Windhoek where you may either stay for a night or catch a flight back home.