This 14 day small group Namibian Camping Experience offers an extremely comprehensive safari tour of Namibia. We will depart from Windhoek and continue to the Kalahari area, from the Kalahari our journey takes us to the mighty Fish River Canyon and through the stark and tortured beauty of the Southern Namib and to the tiny fishing centre of Luderitz. Continue to the Namib Desert where you...
An accomplished and experienced Namibia birding and photographic guide, Toni holds a Namibia Academy for Tourism and Hospitality Level 3 qualification (the highest level attainable in Namibia) and is widely renowned for her extensive knowledge of the cultures, ornithology, flora, astronomy and wildlife of the country.
In 1981 Toni moved to Namibia with her family and from then on her love of the outdoors and all things nature grew and grew. Her father was an exploration geologist who travelled extensively around Southern Africa, living in small mining towns and managing bush camps where Toni would spend her school holidays camping in the bush, or visiting private farms and reserves. Toni’s father passed on to her his unparalleled knowledge of all things Namibia, and she carried this with her as she became a manager and guide at some of the most remote lodges in the extreme North West of Namibia. Toni has travelled expansively across Namibia and its neighbouring countries, making regular visits to all of the National Game Reserves and developing her photographic skills which she takes great pleasure in passing on to visitors to the region.
Her deep love and knowledge of the Namibia, coupled with her infectious passion and enthusiasm to want to share it, make her one of the country’s top guides and ambassadors for this beautiful country. More than just a guide who simply points from a vehicle, Toni becomes fully involved in the experiences of her fellow travellers and places a great emphasis on finding the best adventures, wildlife encounters and photo opportunities for her tour groups. As a Managing Tour Consultant she plans safaris for a wide range of interest groups but her main focus is on birding and photographic small group tours, where she delights in each visitor gaining an up-close and personal experience of all that the country she loves and knows so well has to offer.
Born in Chartres in the West Falklands, Jenny grew up on the family farm where her love for animals was nurtured by the25,000 sheep, horses and cows that lived alongside her. Forever a nature, conservation and wildlife enthusiast Jenny has travelled extensively throughout the Falkland Islands, visiting each and every wildlife island at least once, and even travelling around some by yacht. She spent 11 years on Sea Lion Island as Manager of the Lodge, Warden of the Nature Reserve and as the principal tour provider, meaning her knowledge of Sea Lion Island in particular is second to none. Having spent so much time here, as expected her wildlife speciality is Elephant Seals, but she is also well versed in the ways of the seabirds, penguins, whales, dolphins and sea lions that call the Falklands their home.
After her time on Sea Lion Island Jenny moved to Stanley to work for the Falkland Islands Government and became manager of a local travel firm assisting with travel arrangements for incoming visitors, before taking semi-retirement to spend more time with her family and enjoy more time further exploring the lands she knows so well. Jenny is extremely passionate about sharing the hidden nature secrets of the Falklands with those who come to visit her homeland and will be looking forward to accompanying you and passing on her unsurpassed knowledge of the areas you will be visiting.
You will be collected at your Windhoek accommodation between 07:30 & 08:00. We start our journey south on the main highway, travelling through the thin strip of Kalahari Desert that protrudes onto the eastern side of Namibia. Stopping at small towns along the way including Rehoboth, traditional home of the Baster people and on to Kalkrand where you bid the main road farewell and head off into the Kalahari.
The Kalahari Desert often surprises people when they first see it. It is very different from the Namib. First of all, remember that the Kalahari is not a desert. It receives more rain than a true desert should. The Kalahari is a fossil desert. Don’t expect to find tall Sossusvlei-style dunes devoid of greenery here. The Kalahari’s dunes are very different. They are often equally beautiful, but usually greener and less stark – and with this vegetation comes its ability to support more flora and fauna than a true desert.
Late this afternoon we hop onto an open vehicle for a late afternoon sunset drive with a variety of game such as giraffe, kudu, zebra, oryx, blue wildebeest, eland and much more. The reserve has some of the highest dunes in this region with views over the pan, characteristic to the Kalahari. Between the dunes, which are called streets, are the beautiful Acacia trees. The Kalahari has more than 150 species of birds. The well known suricate (meerkat) is also to be seen, although they are very scarce. Cheetah feeding allows one the opportunity to come up close to the cheetah, great for taking photos. Your guides will provide interesting facts about this incredible cat and the history of the cheetahs in their care. After this, a sundowner on the dune will await you, with refreshments and a Namibian snack, while enjoying a breath-taking sunset in the Kalahari.
Overnight camping at the Bagatelle Kalahari Ranch Campsite with lunch & dinner. The lodge lies on the edge of the Southern Kalahari in the mixed tree and shrub Savanna. The ranch is characterized by huge red sands dunes running parallel, and in a northern-westerly to south-easterly direction. Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch has 5 individual campsites. Set between the red sand dunes, each campsite has its own dedicated ablution block, toilet, shower, washbasin and mirror. It is fully tiled and hot water supplied by modern gas geysers and solar lights. Relax around a campfire and enjoy the Kalahari night. Other facilities – Swimming-pool , Camp site and Wine cellar.
An early morning departure to the town of Mariental and south to Keetmanshoop. Just outside the town you have the opportunity of visiting the Mesosaurus Fossil Site.
We travel via the town of Keetmanshoop for overnight camping on the Fish River area. Here you have the opportunity of seeing the Quivertree. Quiver trees are not in fact trees, they are a type of aloe, (Aloe Dichotoma), so called because the branches fork “dictomously”. These weird looking plants dot the landscape in this part of the world and are locally common, however they are one of the world’s rarest flora species.
Overnight camping at Canyon Roadhouse Campsite with breakfast, lunch & dinner. Under tall shady trees on the bank of a dry riverbed nature lovers find attractive and well-shielded camping sites (distance to the Fish River Canyon: about 24 km). Toilets and bathroom facilities are built from the area's natural stones. The flat hillock behind the camping site affords grand vistas of the scenery and lends itself as just the spot for sundowners. Camping guests are welcome to use the swimming pool at Canyon Roadhouse (a 2 minutes' walk) as well as the restaurant and bar. There you won't only enjoy the break from your campsite cooking but you will also find yourself carried back to the good old time of the automobile: you dine amidst lovingly arranged bodywork and other exhibits of yesteryear's transportation.
The Fish River Canyon in Namibia is (allegedly) the 2nd largest canyon in the world after the Grand Canyon. The immensity of this magnificent landscape is truly breath taking. The towering rock faces and deep ravines were formed by water erosion and the collapse of the valley due to movements in the earth’s crust over 500 million years ago. Today the canyon measures 160km long up to 27km wide and almost 550m at its deepest. It is fair to say that when you arrive at the canyon though, its exact location is a bit of a mystery as the 500m vertical drop from the flat dry plateau is completely out of view.
Early morning we head to the main view point where we can see how impressive this canyon actually is. This is an ideal opportunity for photos and to spend some time experiencing this amazing sight. Viewing from the top we can see the river sparkling in the sunlight far below us, and can barely imagine how many millennia it took for the forces of erosion to carve such a magnificent vista.
Time to pack up camp and move on to our next destination, the coastal town of Lüderitz where its colonial-style buildings cling to the rocks overlooking the bay, on some days a deep iridescent blue, on others grey and stormy, the crisp fresh climate, fishing boats bobbing up and down on the Atlantic horizon, penguins and seals diving beneath the waves, give the town a curious other-worldly allure.
We aim to arrive at our guest house during the late afternoon. 1 night stay at Luderitz Nest Hotel with breakfast & lunch.
There is time to join an optional extra excursion, a marine trip. Take a cruise around Luderitz bay and, weather permitting, to Halifax Island to see the Jackass Penguins. N.B: The boat cruise is subject to availability and, if undertaken, will be at the client's own risk and expense. Time to explore Luderitz Town with its traditional German architecture and later we will take a drive out to Diaz Point to see the bird life, hopefully a few seals and the stone cross replica, originally erected by the Portuguese mariner Bartholomew Diaz.
Straight after the optional marine trip we drive out to Kolmanskop, a desert ghost town about 20 km out of Luderitz. It was built in the 1920’s during the diamond rush and was abandoned when bigger and better diamonds were found further along the coast. The area is still abandoned and the desert has encroached over the entire town, giving an eerie feeling and real meaning to the words “ghost town”.
We camp tonight at Klein Aus Vista, a private reserve, beautifully located in the Aus Mountain Range, (Huib-Hoch-Plateau region). The road takes us through the “forbidden Zone” so named because in years gone by, the alluvial diamonds found in Namibia were simply scattered across the desert and we again have time to enjoy sunset over the mountains. Each of the ten sites is equipped with a tap, table, grill and windbreak. Shower and toilet facilities are within easy reach of each site. Barbecue packs are available at the reception of Desert Horse Inn (1.5 km); those who like to skip camp dinner are more than welcome at the Inn's restaurant (subject to space available, please enquire upon arrival). Several hiking trails run through the valley; the Sundowner Trail leads to a lookout point where you can watch the sun disappear behind the distant horizon at the far end of vast desert plains. The Desert Horse Campsite is just 20 km away from the habitat of the Wild Horses.
Camp breakfast, lunch & dinner included
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Turning north, we once again head deep into the ancient southern Namib, travelling on small gravel roads and passing some tiny rural communities along the way. The scenery is harsh, and sometimes forbidding. The process of erosion in these areas is well advanced and we pass time rounded “koppies” arid terrain and outcrops of tortured rock.
Traversing this bleak yet beautiful landscape, the terrain begins to change and we cross some open grass savannah and farmlands before the terrain begins to give way to the immense red sand dune desert of the Namib. We aim to arrive at our camp during the late afternoon and watch the colours glow and change on distant mountains to the east.
Located perfectly at the entry to Sossusvlei inside the park gate is Sesriem Camping, just a short drive from Sesriem Canyon and right beside the gate into the desert It is perfect for campers who want to experience the beauty of the Namib Desert with the sun setting over the Elim dune then the stars emerging until they fill the sky above you and the clicking of the desert barking Geckos and distant howl of the Jackal. Sit by the fire and imagine what you will.
On your 2nd day at Sesriem a pre-dawn start is essential as we want to catch the soft light of the sunrise on the desert. After passing through Sesriem, the gateway to the dunes and driving into the heart of the dune field, we reach Sossusvlei itself by walking the last 5 km through the dunes. The walk is like nothing else, in the cool of the morning, with soft sunlight just beginning to play over the dunes creating a sharp light and shadow contrast across the whole desert.
Ancient mineral pans, stunted camel thorn trees and the chance of seeing a gemsbok or maybe an ostrich make the photo opportunities perfect.
We spend the morning in and around Sossusvlei, also visiting dune 45, and as the day wears on we return to Sesriem for lunch to escape the heat of the afternoon. As the day cools off in the late afternoon we will take a short excursion to the Sesriem Canyon.
2 nights camping with breakfast, lunch & dinner
After breakfast we begin our journey, over the mountains and along scenic roads, back to Windhoek. We will travel over the Naukluft Mountains and also the Khomas Hochland Range, through beautiful mountain passes on our way back to civilization.
We are due back into the city in the late afternoon / early evening and you will be dropped off at Guesthouse Tamboti for a 1 night stay with breakfast.
You will be collected between 08:30 & 09:00. We will travel north, stopping at small towns along the way including Okahandja, where we have time to visit Namibia’s largest wood carving market. The market is operated on a local co-operative basis and is one of the best places to shop for truly Namibian souvenirs. Continuing north, passing through farmland, we aim to arrive at Okonjima during the middle afternoon, giving us time to set up our camp and to relax in the shade for a while before heading out on to the property to take part in the afternoon’s activity.
Okonjima is the home of the Africat Foundation, a specialist conservation concern that centres its operations on the African Big Cats, particularly cheetah. This afternoon you will be taken on a tour during which you will be able to meet, up-close-and-personal, some of the cheetah that are going through the Africat rehabilitation programme. Most of the animals currently living at Okonjima have been rescued from various desperate situations, being orphaned or caught in a trap, and the aim of the rehabilitation process is to attempt to re-introduce them into the wild.
After our educational tour we will return to our camp and prepare for dinner under the African stars.
1 night camping at the Okonjima Campsite with breakfast, lunch & dinner. Situated halfway between the capital Windhoek and the Etosha National Park, the 55,000 acre Okonjima Game Reserve has some of the best accommodation in Namibia, but the highlight has to be the cheetah and leopard safaris. The Campsite at Okonjima is nestled amongst the Omboroko mountains. The 4 exclusive campsites, all share a private swimming pool. Each Private Campsite offers: Private shower/s (incl. hot water), Private flush toilet/s, a washing-up area under a roof with a power point to charge batteries and a viewpoint for sundowners. 1 fixed light per campsite for cooking & 1 plug point will be available for charging of fridges, cameras, cell phones etc.
An early start and continuing north we pass through some small towns, making short stops for fresh supplies and fuel. Continuing on to our East Etosha, Namutoni region camp we again aim to arrive in time for lunch, giving us time to relax before heading into the park during the cool of the late afternoon for our first game drive.
1 night camping with breakfast, lunch & dinner at Namutoni Campsite.
Built into an old German Fort Namutoni Campsite has a unique atmosphere. Within the fort you will find ample facilities. From the walls of the fort you can enjoy an elevated view of the King Nehale Waterhole allowing for great game viewing without leaving the camp. The walls of the fort are also an excellent spot for sundowners. There is hardly a better way to end a day in the bush and Namibia than to marvel at the colours of the setting sun.
A full day’s game driving. We again leave early to enjoy the cool morning air as we game drive our way through Etosha to Halali camp, situated in the middle of the park. Along the way we visit several waterholes and are afforded splendid views of the massive Etosha Pan. The game viewing is usually excellent and we have the chance to tick off a few new species that are not normally seen on the Namutoni side of the park.
We stop at Halali for a rest and a leisurely lunch. There is time to visit the Halali waterhole and to make use of the swimming pool and bar facilities before continuing on our way and game driving down to Okaukuejo, Etosha’s main rest camp and resort where we will check in and set up camp. Originally the site of a German fort built in 1901, Okaukuejo now houses the Etosha Ecological Institute, founded in 1974; the round watchtower is a remnant of the fort.
After your evening meal there are still more chances to see Etosha’s big game at a floodlit waterhole, situated on the boundary of our camp and easily reachable within a minute or two on foot. The waterhole has been described as one of the “best game viewing opportunities in Southern Africa” and the ideal venue to witness peculiar animal politics. Black rhino, Africa’s tallest elephants, lion and numerous species of antelope are regular visitors during the cool, dry season.
1 night camping at Okaukuejo Campsite with breakfast, lunch & dinner
Leaving Etosha we begin our journey south with a relatively short drive to the small town of Kamanjab.
Within this area you have the opportunity of visiting a Himba Village – the only traditionally functioning Himba community outside the far north Kaokoland region of Namibia. These tribes-people have migrated here, lifestyle and customs intact, and are following their traditional way-of-life in their village on a farm, the exact location of the site varies as the Himba occasionally roam to a new location. We will learn about marriage customs, traditional food and the mysteries of the “Holy Fire” religion.
From here it is a short drive on to The Hoada Community Campsite which is located among beautiful granite hills and mopane trees. To add an eco-friendly touch, the hot water system works in combination with the barbecue area, therefore whilst your meal is being prepared, your water will be warmed up for your shower!
We overnight – camping under the stars. Breakfast, lunch and dinner included.
Today we head into one of the most beautiful desert regions in Namibia, Damaraland. We drive west via the Grootberg Pass and then take a detour to visit the ancient Bushman rock engravings at Twyfelfontein. At this location we will have a local guide to conduct us on a short guided tour before we set up camp for the night.
1 night camping a Madisa Campsite with breakfast, lunch and dinner. The camp is hidden between amazing rock formations which are scattered with Bushman Paintings and has privy to an ancient Desert Elephant route that often gets visited by these beautiful giants. Ideal for the traveller who wishes to camp comfortably without compromising the experience of exclusivity in this vast and magnificent area of Damaraland Namibia. Madisa is a good base camp to explore from as there are very interesting sites in the area such as Twyfelfontein, Brandberg, the Petrified Forest and much more these are all a easy drive and after a day of exploring what better to finish with a swim and enjoy your campsite under a blanket of stars. Each spacious campsite has an exquisite view of the Gauntegab River bed and rock formations. The campsites have individual ablution facilities situated on stilts hidden in the tree tops. The braai facilities also double up as a heater (donkey system) for hot running water at each open air shower. The camp sites are shaded by large Mopane trees and have a low rock wall around each site. The swimming pool and bar area are very welcoming after a long day and give you a chance to rejuvenate and enjoy your surroundings. It’s also nice to meet fellow travelers and share tails around a communal camp fire at night while the sky puts on a breath taking show of stars.
From here we head deeper into the desert and pass Namibia’s highest mountain, The Brandberg, (2573 m) and more beautiful Damaraland scenery. We make a stop in the small town of Uis, an old mining town, and one of the best places to buy semi-precious stones, for which Namibia is famous. Here, rough Amethyst, Tourmaline etc can be found at bargain prices.
From here we turn directly west and cross the gravel plains on our way to the Atlantic Ocean and the Skeleton Coast. Meeting the ocean at Henties Bay, we first head north along the coast to visit the seal colony at Cape Cross. At certain times of the year as many as 100,000 Cape Fur seals congregate.
The next destination is Swakopmund, following the Skeleton Coast into Namibia’s premier seaside town. We aim to arrive in the late afternoon giving us time to explore the town on foot before sunset.
Tonight if you wish you can take the chance to sample one of the excellent restaurants. The seafood in Swakopmund is superb. Your guide will offer to organise a group meal in a local restaurant for this evening. Participation is recommended but by no means required and is not included in the price of your trip.
1 night accommodation at Prost Hotel Swakopmund with breakfast & lunch included.
The drive back to Windhoek today will take about 4 and a half hours. We will depart around lunch-time, giving us time to spend the morning relaxing in Swakopmund. It has many superb shops, a good stretch of beach (although the Atlantic here is quite cold) and an open-air curio market. There is also a very good museum and the Namibian National Marine Aquarium is located in Swakopmund.
Alternatively, there are various optional activities that can be arranged. These include aeroplane and microlight flights over the desert, scenic drives, fishing trips (both from the beach or in a boat), four-wheel motorcycle (quad bike) trips into the desert and over the sand dunes around Swakopmund, sand boarding trips (also in the dunes), skydiving, surfing, bird-watching and many other activities are available.
Your tour guide will discuss all the possible options with you before you reach Swakopmund and will offer to make bookings in advance of your arrival. (N.B. All extra activities and excursions in Swakopmund are subject to availability and are made at the client’s own risk and expense).
This is the last day of our trip and after lunch we will transfer you back to the capital city where you will be dropped off at your accommodation in the late afternoon / early evening.
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