18 days from £4125pp plus international flights.
Travel north from Windhoek, taking in Okonjima's big cats, waterhole wildlife at Etosha, desert-adapted elephant and black rhino in Damaraland, stone age rock art at Twyfelfontein, Swakopmund's fun and thrills, and the giant sand dunes at Sossusvlei, before returning to the capital. This 2 week, small group holiday is chock-full of highlights and is a great introduction to the country's diversity, a true Namibia Adventure.
Wildlife enthusiasts cannot fail but be entranced by cheetahs and leopards at the famous AfriCat Foundation, and are sure to be in their element on game drives in Etosha National Park and among herds of elephant by the Hoanib River, while the chance to track black rhino in the wild surely ranks as a highlight. Those in search of action can revel in nature walks, take their pick of water and land-based activities in the country's adventure capital, climb dunes and marvel at canyons. History and culture lovers will marvel at San Bushman rock paintings and engravings plus the chance to meet Herero and Damara families. Photographers, meanwhile, will have to pinch themselves to check that they're not dreaming the landscapes, from desert to coast, and dune to valley.
You stay in modest lodges along the way, selected for their prime locations, and have a wonderful 4 nights camping in different sites in Damaraland. All chores are carried out by the staff, so you need only sit back, enjoy the views, sip a drink by the campfire and relish the tasty food, later falling asleep in your dome tent, aware of nature all round you.
This is a small group holiday, with a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 10 people. This style of travel has many benefits: ready-made travelling companions, the ability to venture off the beaten track, the convenience of pre-planned travel arrangements, a professional guide for the duration of the trip, and great value for money.
This holiday is designed for people who are moderately active and mobile, and not those who have trouble walking. There is no set minimum age, though it's probably not suited to young children under 12 years.
When you arrive at the international airport in Windhoek, you will be met and transferred to your comfortable guest house. Relax after your flight, or maybe explore this interesting city.
This morning you will be collected early and head to the airport to meet the rest of your group. From here you are driven north to Okonjima, a journey of around 3 hours. Okonjima is the HQ of the AfriCat Foundation, committed to the conservation of wild cats in Namibia, especially cheetah and leopard, and you should have time to see some of these beautiful creatures for yourself. Tonight you have dinner and stay at Okonjima Plains Camp.
Your northerly journey continues, via the towns of Otjiwarongo, Otavi and Tsumeb to Mokuti Etosha Lodge, on the eastern side of Etosha National Park. This afternoon you head into the park for a first game drive, an exciting experience and taster of the days to come on safari.
Zebra, giraffe, kudu, oryx and impala are frequently seen, and attract lion, leopard and cheetah. The skill and expert knowledge of your guide soon become apparent, and will play a large part in your overall enjoyment of this holiday.
Etosha is known for its plentiful wildlife and waterholes, where a wide range of animals can be seen. Watching them as they drink and interact with one another is fascinating, and you should be able to capture some excellent photographs.
Safaris usually take place twice a day, in early morning and late afternoon, when animals are most active. By the end of today you will be getting into the safari spirit and learning for yourself how addictive this experience can become!
Today you travel west to Etosha Safari Lodge near the park's central entrance, where you stay for 2 nights. The lodge has comfy bungalow accommodation, all air conditioned and with en-suite bathrooms and a private veranda.
Facilities include a restaurant with covered and open dining areas, a bar and swimming pool. As a bonus there is free Wi-Fi so you can keep in touch with the outside world.
Etosha Safari Lodge is just 14kms from Anderson's Gate on the western border of Etosha, and today you set off on a game drive into the park. Each safari is different and a large part of the appeal lies in its unpredictability. You set out with hopes of what you may see, but often the reality is even better.
Watching herds of springbok and wildebeest is an enthralling sight, and encountering predators is always a thrill. At the end of each drive you return to camp to unwind and swap experiences with fellow travellers.
Your route continues westward to Hobatere Lodge, located in a private concession between Etosha National Park and Damaraland. There's a large lounge where you can relax after the journey, a bar and refreshment counter for drinks and snacks.
Outdoors there's a small swimming pool, deck and a fire pit and a little way away is a waterhole where, with the use of binoculars, you can watch game.
You are on the road again, your destination being your first campsite, at Khowarib Gorge, on the border of Damaraland and Kaokoland. This area is inhabited by a handful of Damara and Herero families. The campsite is operated by the Khowarib community, and is located on the riverbank.
There are lovely views of the gorge and river from the camp, and tonight you can enjoy the proximity to nature that camping affords, as you join the group around the campfire, and later, as you fall asleep to sounds of wildlife.
Breakfast is a generous meal, designed to set you up for the day ahead. The drive follows the course of the dry Hoanib River, where groves of acacia trees grow which provide nutrition for the region's desert-adapted elephants. You have good chances to observe these animals during your journey, aided, as ever, by your guide.
The campsite at Hoanib River is your home for the next 2 nights.
This remote and arid region may appear inhospitable but a number of animals have made it their home. It is not just the elephant that has adapted to the habitat and climate, but also giraffe, springbok and gemsbok, plus predators such as lion and hyena, and your guide can help you spot some of these creatures during today's safari.
The landscape with its rugged canyons and rocky hills, is starkly beautiful and lends itself to photography.
Your route leads into the Palmwag Concession, which extends for 5,000 square kilometres. It is a desert region yet has several fresh water springs, providing vital water for the wildlife including desert-adapted black rhino and elephant, Hartmann's mountain zebra, oryx, springbok, kudu and giraffe.
These in turn attract the likes of cheetah, leopard, lion and hyena. Not to be outdone, birds are profuse, with raptor such as Verreaux's eagle, lanner falcon and greater kestrel often seen. The resident population of black rhino makes up about about 70% of the world population of the free ranging species and Save the Rhino Trust operates conservation programmes in the reserve.
This is the final night of the camping section of your holiday. Breakfast, lunch, dinner
Enjoy you last breakfast camping in the bush before boarding the vehicle for the drive to Palmwag Lodge. The lodge overlooks the Uniab River and is beside a natural spring and tall palm trees, giving it the feel of an oasis.
The lodge has a long history of hosting visitors to the area, and today you join that tradition. After your days camping you will appreciate facilities like the swimming pool, lounge, bar and cosy rooms to the full. The viewing decks are sited to allow you to watch birds and elephants by the river, and the restaurant has indoor and outdoor seating.
An undoubted highlight of the trip is Twyfelfontein which you visit today. This site holds around 2,000 ancient San rock paintings and engravings and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Most depict rhinos, with others of elephant, ostrich and giraffe, and some show hunting scenes including humans.
Following a guided tour of this fascinating site you continue to Swakopmund, via the colourful rocks of Burnt Mountain and the bizarre Organ Pipes formation of basalt columns. On arrival in Swakopmund you check into your lodge.
You have a treat in store this morning! You are taken down to the dock where you board a boat for a cruise into the Walvis Bay Lagoon, where bottlenose and Heaviside's dolphins are often seen. You cannot fail to be entranced by the sight of these creatures swimming alongside the boat and jumping out of the water. There are also good chances of spotting pelicans by the shore.
On your return to dry land you have the rest of your day to do as you please. Swakopmund is known as Namibia's playground and you have a wide range of activities to choose from including 4x4 rides in the Namib Desert, sand boarding, ecological tours of the dunes, strolling along the promenade, browsing among the art galleries and enjoying refreshments at the many restaurants and cafes.
You are travelling south today, through the Namib Naukluft Park via the Kuiseb and Gaub passes into the Namib Desert. The scenery is breathtaking and there are stops en-route to take photos and simply admire all that you see. Total driving time is around 5 hours plus stops.
Your destination is Sossusvlei Desert Camp, where you stay in a cosy, air conditioned chalet and can enjoy the seemingly endless desert vistas.
Rise early this morning to appreciate the beauty of dawn in the Namib Desert. Soon you are heading off to the vast red-orange sand dunes, some of the highest in the world at almost 400 metres. You also visit Sesriem Canyon, equally majestic in scale, formed over millions of years by the Tsauchab River.
Both destinations offer plenty of photo opportunities, so be sure to take your camera. After a long day in the open you'll be happy to return to your room to shower away the dust and prepare for dinner.
Enjoy breakfast at the lodge before packing your bags in readiness for the drive back to Windhoek. Your route takes you through the Remhoogte Pass, from which you can get far reaching views of the Namib Desert, and the historic town of Rehoboth. The journey takes around 5-6 hours, plus stops en route.
Tonight you stay at Galton House in the wealthy suburb of Eros. There are restaurants nearby but if you prefer you can dine in house.
Having had breakfast you are free to explore Windhoek until it's time to head to the airport to check in for your home bound flight.
Guide price from (pp sharing): £4125 (ex. international flights)
2020 guide price pp based on 2 sharing:
from £4125. Private departures are available from £5980. Rates on request
17 nights twin share accommodation, transport as per the itinerary, activities as per the itinerary, park fees, meals specified as included, mineral water on drives
International flights, departure taxes, visas, vaccinations, travel insurance, meals not specified as included, drinks, personal expenditure, optional excursions and activities, tips
This trip starts and ends in Windhoek. From the UK, we recommend getting a flight with British Airways or South African Airways via Johannnesburg. A rough guide cost would be about £1000 per person. We usually book these flights for you.
Departure dates: This is a small group holiday with set departure dates. Please note that we have added a night pre-tour to this itinerary to accommodate flight arrival times. It operates with a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 8 travellers. Private departures are available at a surcharge.
This is a region of gentle rolling hills, bushland and striking mountains that form the divide between the temperate interior and the coastal desert regions of Namibia.
Beach Lodge has a stunning ocean front setting, tasteful accommodation and a fine restaurant, just 6kms from the centre of Swakopmund.
Perfect for the independent traveller, comfortable, affordable self-catering accommodation close to Sesriem and Sossusvlei.
Perched on a hillock commanding breath-taking views. At just 9km from Andersson Gate, Etosha Safari Lodge is a great base from which to visit Namibia's jewel, Etosha National Park.
An attractive guest house with indoor and outdoor relaxation areas and a swimming pool in a quiet suburb of Windhoek.
A comfortable lodge in the heart of beautiful Damaraland. Your stay at this conservancy lodge benefits the local community.
Non-participation camping lets you travel to remote areas and enjoy being in the great outdoors, star gazing, and enjoying dinner cooked over the fire.
Recently rebuilt, Okonjima Plains Camp offers excellent and affordable accommodation at the home of the AfriCat Foundation.
Onguma Bush Camp is a family friendly camp located just a few minutes from Etosha's east gate.
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Time: GMT +2 hours
Flight time: Flights from UK to Windhoek are usually via Johannesburg or Frankfurt and take about 12.5 hours. Windhoek International Airport is 60km from the city centre.
Language: Namibiaâ€™s official language is English. Afrikaans, Dama/Nama, German, Herero, Oshiwambo, Sukwangali, Setswana and Silozi are also recognised.
Visas: Visas are not required British citizens for stays of up to 90 days.
Health: Malaria is present in Namibia. Certain areas are more high risk. A yellow fever vaccination is required for travellers arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission; this includes transiting through a yellow fever risk country; make sure you have a valid yellow fever certificate with you.