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12 Day The Great Namibian Journey

Namibia Scenery & Culture

Overview

This tour takes you on a journey of discovery through the sparsely populated country of Namibia, which was once a German colony. Starting in the capital city of Windhoek, you will head to Sossusvlei, home of the incredible sand dunes and a chance to see how many species adapt to life in the desert. A day cruise around Walvis Bay will enable you to see some of Namibia’s marine life, before you head up the Skeleton Coast to Damaraland for an unforgettable rhino-tracking experience. Your last few days will be spent in a luxury tented camp in Etosha National Park, where game drives will ensure that you see Namibia’s abundant wildlife.

Safaris

2 nights in Kulala Desert Lodge, Kulala Wilderness Reserve
2 nights in Hansa Hotel, Swakopmund
2 nights in Damaraland Camp, Damaraland
2 nights in Desert Rhino Camp, Damaraland
3 nights in Ongava Tented Camp, Etosha National Park
11 nights / 12 days safari

Days 1 & 2 – Kulala Desert Lodge, Kulala Wilderness Reserve
You will be met at Windhoek International Airport by your guide and begin your journey by driving  through the Khomas Hochland mountains and down into the iconic Sossusvlei region. The driving time is approximately five to six hours (330 kilometres/205 miles). En route, we will enjoy a lunch.
Explore the iconic red dunes of Sossusvlei and our 37,000 hectare private reserve where you will be awed by the desert-adapted wildlife surviving in one of the world’s oldest and most arid deserts.
Kulala Desert Lodge is in the private Kulala Wilderness Reserve, the result of a rehabilitation project that aimed to return this land, previously used for farming, to its former natural aspect. You can witness sparsely distributed desert-adapted wildlife such as ostrich, springbok, oryx, spotted and brown hyaena, and bat-eared fox. One of the many fascinating bird species, the dune lark, has its entire global distribution limited to the area.

Days 3 & 4 – Hansa Hotel, SWAKOPMUND
We fly by light aircraft transfer to Swakopmund Airport. This will be a scenic flight (weather permitting).

Namibia’s oldest hotel, and consistently one of the best, the Hansa has retained its 100-year-old charm while providing present-day service and comfort. Our bedrooms are spacious and tastefully appointed, with a blend of modern luxury and antique décor. 
The day starts 09:00 with a marine cruise for a chance to see the pelicans, dolphins and seals that frequent the Walvis Bay Harbour. Old boat wrecks as well as even whales and turtles can be seen in the bay in season.  At around 11:30 your skipper will drop you off at a deserted beach at the jetty of Pelican Point, where your Sandwich Harbour 4×4 guide will meet you with a Land Rover. From there you will be taken on an excursion to see the Kuiseb River Delta, the saltpans and the wetlands just north of the Sandwich Harbour Lagoon with the possibility of seeing their famed flamingos. If weather and tides allow, the drive goes right to the Sandwich Harbour Lagoon, one of Southern Africa’s richest and unique wetlands. If vehicles cannot make it there due to tides, you will have the time to walk four to five kilometres. Alternatively, you will get a chance to see the lagoon area from one of the many beautiful lookout spots. You will have plenty of time to take photos when you cross the big dunes in Sandwich Harbour. En-route, a light meal with snacks and salads, as well as oysters – some of the best in the world – and sparkling wine, are dished up.   On the return drive, more giant dunes are crossed.  You will arrive in Walvis Bay at approximately 16:30 after a fantastic day out.

Days 5 & 6 – Damaraland Camp, Damaraland
We continue our journey by road for approximately five hours (280 kilometres / 174 miles) partway up the legendary Skeleton Coast, named for the numerous shipwrecks the treacherous shores have claimed over the years. From here we drive the back roads through the game-rich riverbed of the Ugab, travelling north past the Brandberg Mountain – the second largest monolith on earth – to Damaraland. This all-day excursion with lunch en route ends with our arrival at Damaraland Camp.
A land of stark beauty, the area boasts a varied assortment of desert-adapted wildlife and incredible geological formations.
Set in the Huab River valley, Damaraland Camp is situated in arguably one of the most pristine wilderness areas in Namibia. Endless vistas across stark plains, ancient valleys and stunning ochre-purple mountains will be the backdrop during your stay. 

The Torra Conservancy is one of the driest, most desolate yet beautiful regions in all Africa. Its landscape is characterised by dramatic hills interspersed with sweeping valleys and ephemeral riverbeds. Game drives, guided walks and cultural visits will make up your activities here. Despite its aridity, a surprisingly high diversity of wildlife is found here, including the fascinating desert-adapted elephant, giraffe, gemsbok, springbok as well as the occasional cheetah. Birding is excellent with white-tailed shrike and benguela long-billed lark common finds.

Days 7 & 8 – Desert Rhino Camp, Damaraland
We drive into the Huab riverbed to search for desert-adapted elephants, before heading north to the mountainous and rocky paradise of the massive Palmwag Concession. The speciality of the area is its growing population of the rare desert-adapted black rhino, the largest concentration in the world outside a national park, which are monitored and protected by the Save the Rhino Trust.
At Desert Rhino Camp you will take part in a thrilling and exclusive conservation success story. Tracking Africa’s unique and endangered desert-adapted black rhino is an unforgettable experience. To set the scene, you will be shown into one of the eight en-suite elevated Meru-style tents. You can absorb the panoramic views over the rolling, rocky hills beyond from the privacy of your veranda. Full day excursions are on offer; otherwise, between activities, relax in our tented living area. Evening meals are taken around the fire pit. As a wonderland of unusual plant life, fascinating wildlife and sparse wilderness, Desert Rhino is begging to be explored.

Days 9 to 11 – Ongava Tented Camp, Etosha National Park
We depart the Palmwag Concession eastward on an extended combination wildlife viewing and transfer drive of approximately 6 hours (350km/218 miles) to Etosha National Park, where we experience the pinnacle of Namibia’s game viewing. We are accommodated in the privacy of an exclusive bush camp situated in Ongava, an extensive private game reserve just on the outside of Etosha National Park.

Tucked away in the foothills of a dolomite hill, Ongava Tented Camp is one of Namibia’s best-kept secrets. You will be captivated by the bustling waterhole in front of camp as wildlife file through to quench their thirst. Etosha National Park takes its name from the world-famous Etosha Pan, one of the largest saltpans in the region. Around the pan, the topography ranges from broad swathes of mopane and tall tree canopies of woodland to open plains and dolomite hills. Game drives in both reserves will display a wide complement of wildlife including black-faced impala. Their predators, in particular lion, are never far away. Ongava is home to one of the largest black and white rhino populations in Namibia thanks to a successful reintroduction programme.  Bird life is prolific with 340 species recorded.

Day 12 – Departure
You will be transferred to Windhoek International Airport for your onwards journey.

Location

North-west of South Africa, on the Atlantic Coast

Experiences

The capital, Windhoek and coastal town Swakopmund, contain German colonial-era buildings and a legacy of the time from when Namibia was a German colony means that there are many abandoned ghost towns in the desert. The best-known one is Kolmanskop near the port town of Luderitz where the first diamond miners built a town in the architectural style of a German town. Kolmanskop was abandoned in 1954 and the geological forces of the desert mean that tourists now walk through houses knee-deep in sand. The Fish River rises in the centre of the country, before flowing south into the Orange River, on Namibia’s border with South Africa. In between, it has formed the great Fish River Canyon – the largest canyon in the southern hemisphere. The Skeleton Coast starts some 200 kilometres north of Swakopmund. Dense fogs, storms and violent surf in the past caused many ships to run aground here and the desolate coastline has become known as the world's biggest ship graveyard. It’s best to take a flying safari to see the shipwrecks in the sand.

Accommodations

Private safari lodges and eco resorts

Useful Info

Capital: Windhoek
Time: Two hours ahead of GMT and seven hours ahead of EST.
Money: The Namibian Dollar is the currency.
Health: There is no risk of Yellow Fever in Namibia and the government of Namibia requires proof of Yellow Fever vaccination only if you are arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever. It is recommended that visitors are vaccinated against Hepatitis A, Polio, Diphtheria, Typhoid and Tetanus.
Water: Tap water in Namibia's major towns and borehole water used in remote locations is fine to drink. However, it’s probably best for visitors to stick to bottled water to prevent any stomach upsets. 
Climate: Namibia's climate is typical of semi-desert terrain, with hot days and cool nights. Summer is from October to April when temperatures can reach 40º C during the day, falling sharply at night. Winter is from May to September with warm days and very cold nights, with temperatures often dropping to below freezing.

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