The unique landscape of Etosha National Park makes it one of the best animal-viewing destinations in the world, and you’ll enjoy a full day of game drives here.. End the day in Damaraland by ascending the hill to a viewing platform for a sweeping vista of the Mopane woodland illuminated by the setting sun.. Enjoy a wine and cheese tasting experience on a working wine farm in the Olifants River Valley, with your host ‘Sparky’.. As eerie as they are fascinating, the sand dunes of the Sossusvlei can be seen in all their blazing beauty from the top of Dune 45.
Flanked by ocean and desert, Namibia boasts both landscapes and wildlife of world-class diversity. Travelling down the coast from Windhoek, see how vast herds of herbivores make Etosha National Park one of the continent’s premier game-viewing destinations. The peaks, petrified forest, ancient rock paintings and Damara culture make Damaraland a fascinating insight into the history of humans and the earth, while the landscapes surrounding Swakopmund and Sossusvlei are simply some of the greatest desert scenery in the world. Climb to the top of Dune 45 and be rewarded with unreal views across wild terrain that is quickly becoming iconic. Nestle into unique accommodation among granite boulders, then take in the view across the second largest canyon in the world. Drift down the Orange River in a canoe, then cruise through the world of South African wine on a tasting experience at a wine farm in Trawal. Finish up in Cape Town, where stunning coastline, Table Mountain, and a home-cooked dinner in the colourful Bo-Kapp neighbourhood await. This two-week journey from Namibia into South Africa is one you’ll need your camera for.
Breakfast Included: 14 Lunches Included: 11 Dinner Included: 11
Your journey begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. Those arriving early can take a stroll around the town and visit some of its museums or perhaps take a township tour. Take in the German architecture evident in a number of buildings. The finest are the Tintenpalast (Ink Palace), the Christuskirche (church), the gymnasium and the Genossenschaftshaus.
Etosha National Park
Travel to our lodge located just outside Etosha National Park (400 km; approximately 7–8 hours including stops). On arrival the afternoon will be free to relax at the Lodge. Maybe cool off in the pool, read a book, or enjoy a sundowner by the bar. Be sure to charge your camera tonight. Tomorrow we will have a full day in the Park. This is one of the world's premier game-viewing destinations; spotting animals in the park is relatively easy due to the man-made waterholes and the large, sparsely vegetated pans. The bushland surrounding the pans is difficult to see through, but there are enough clearings, pans and waterholes to allow for sightings. Namibia has protected its game reserves against poaching, so there are large herds of elephants, antelope and other herbivores.
Etosha National Park
Rise early and enjoy a full day of game viewing in the truck. Keep a close eye on the landscape for black rhino, Hartmann's mountain zebra, black-faced impala, roan antelope and the tiny Damara dik-dik. The park is also home to some 340 bird species. Return to the lodge and reflect on the day's adventures with your fellow travellers over dinner.
Enjoy a morning Game Drive in the Park then venture off the beaten track as you head into the heart of Damaraland (220 km; approximately 5 hours). Home to Namibia's highest peak, ancient rock paintings and petrified forests, the harshly beautiful and sparsely populated Damaraland region is a land of spectacular contrasts. Depending on the time of year, you might be lucky enough to see the desert elephants that roam the area.
Spend the morning visiting the surrounding sights such as Twyfelfontein Heritage Site and the Petrified Forest. Twyfelfontein has one of the largest concentrations of ancient rock engraving in southern Africa and is a fascinating insight into the past. The Petrified Forest looks back into nature’s history, where 280 million-year-old fossilised tree trunks lie. Continue on to the Living Museum of the Damara, which aims to reconstruct and preserve the 'lost culture’ of the Damara. Learn about this fascinating traditional culture that is, along with the Bushmen, the oldest nation in Namibia. Their original culture was a mixture of an archaic hunter-gatherer culture and herders of cattle, goats and sheep. Due to their loose social structures, the Damara struggle to defend themselves against colonisation – one of the reasons that the culture faced extinction. Return to the lodge around 2 pm, with the rest of the day free to relax by the pool, with a book or a nap.
Travel on through the Namib Desert today (330 km; approximately 6 hours with stops) to reach the Atlantic Ocean coastline. Take in the beautiful, diverse and colourful landscapes that stream past along the way; mountains, sand dunes, ocean waves and, shipwrecks. Your destination is the beachside town of Swakopmund on the Skeleton Coast. Upon arrival at Swakopmund, you will check into your hotel and have free time to enjoy this interesting township of German-Namibian atmosphere. The accommodation is within walking distance of the town, and you can enjoy a walk on the beach, or visit the open-air markets or local museum.
With free time today, you may wish to take an optional trip north to Cape Cross, a breeding site for Cape fur seals. There can be in excess of 100,000 seals there at any given time, making for quite the spectacle. Quite a smell too, if the wind happens to change direction. Wander the coastline and attempt to document these beautiful creatures in a photo or two, and visit the large cross that lies nearby, left there by Diego Cao (the first European to arrive on Namibian soil in 1485). There are also a number of optional activities available here (at extra cost) for those who are interested.
Depart your coastal retreat in Swakopmund and head south today towards Sesriem (300 km; approximately 6 hours). Walvis Bay is the hibernation area for thousands of migratory birds, most notably flamingos. If in season you may take quick detour to see these elegant birds. Continue on past moon valley; an eerie rocky granite valley, and the Tropic of Capricorn. Stop by the small settlement of Solitaire before arriving at your lodge. Scattered with abandoned trucks, cars, petrol pumps and cacti, it's the only place between Walvis Bay and Sossusvlei to feature a petrol station, post office, general dealer, and bakery! The local Apple Pie has earned itself quite a reputation too.
Sossusvlei / Sesriem
Make an early-morning visit to Sossusvlei, which lies at the end of an ancient riverbed. This is a great opportunity for unsurpassed views of the surrounding area. Climbing to the top of Dune 45 will reward you with spectacular vistas of the surreal desert landscape. After breakfast, travel to Dead Vlei, a clay pan best known for the iconic postcard like images that many snap here. The pan is surrounded by some of the highest dunes in the world, 'Big Daddy' or 'Crazy Dune' average about 350 metres in height. In the afternoon you will visit Sesriem Gorge, a tranquil natural corridor that you can walk through and explore. Return to the lodge for the evening.
Fish River Canyon
Depart Sossusvlei early this morning and travel to Fish River Canyon (600 km; approximately 8-9 hours). Your accommodation for the next two nights is a gem hidden in this rugged environment. It's easy to see why the Canyon Lodge is a feature stay on this trip. A fusion of farmhouse flavour and natural splendour, walkways lead to 25 natural stone chalets nestled amongst granite boulders and perfectly landscaped gardens, making it really feel like an oasis in the middle of nowhere. After checking into the lodge you may like to cool off in the stunning pool, wrap up the day with a short excursion to our very own ‘local’ mountain, or simply have a drink and watch the sun go down.
Fish River Canyon
Rise early and witness the colourful sunrise from the edge of Fish River Canyon. At 500 metres deep and over 160 km long, this gaping chasm is one of the largest canyons in the world, ranking close in size to Peru's Colca Canyon and the Grand Canyon in the USA. You will stop at various lookouts, which offer spectacular views and photographic opportunities. Keep an eye out for some of the birds that inhabit this area, including plovers, wagtails, hammerkops and herons. If you're lucky you might even catch a glimpse of a baboon or antelope. After capturing all the photos you like, make your way to the main viewpoint and sit down to enjoy picnic breakfast with an unforgettable view over the canyon. Return to the lodge and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure. There are a number of optional activities that you might like to join: take a guided drive to the Fish River Canyon and be inspired by new perspective; meander along the 4x4 Wildebeest Drive watching plains animals; or celebrate sunset from a hillock, overlooking the spectacular scenery.
Farewell Fish River Canyon and head on to Orange River, just a short 2.5-3 hour drive away (approximately 200 km). You should reach your destination on the banks of the river by lunchtime. The Orange River is the longest stream in South Africa, running from high up in the Drakensberg mountain range and down into the Atlantic Ocean. This stream is significant for its role in transporting diamonds, which in turn leaves the deposits that are found along the Namibian coastline. Set off this afternoon on a 3-kilometre canoe journey down the Orange River. The canoe trip will be done in two-person canoes with a local guide. It is a slow paced, easy trip, and you should be travelling simply down stream for most or all of the trip.