Sossusvlei is a salt and clay pan surrounded by massive sand dunes, located in the southern part of the Namib Desert, in the Namib-Naukluft National Park of Namibia. The area is characterized by sand dunes of vivid pink-to-orange colour that make for spectacular photographic opportunities. These dunes are among the highest in the world; many of them are above 200 metres.
Swakopmund resembles a small colonial German coastal resort nestled between the desert and the sea. Although the sea is normally cold for swimming there are pleasant beaches and the cooler climate is refreshing after time spent in the dry hot desert. There numerous activities to be enjoyed including balloon safaris and marine cruises and for the more adventurous skydiving and quad biking along the beaches.
Damaraland is typified by displays of colour, magnificent table topped mountains, rock formations and bizarre-looking vegetation. It is the variety and loneliness of the area as well as the scenic splendour which will reward and astound you, giving one an authentic understanding of the word 'wilderness'.
Etosha National Park is made up of saline depressions or ‘pans’. Until three million years ago it formed part of huge, shallow lake that was reduced to a complex of salt pans when the major river that fed it, the Kunene, changed course and began to flow to the Atlantic instead. If the lake existed today, it would be the third largest in the world.
This morning we will collect you from your various accommodation establishments or from the Windhoek International Airport (assuming you land before 08h00). You then depart Windhoek in your safari vehicle with your private guide and drive southwest through the scenic Khomas Hochland highlands before heading down the Great Escarpment into the Namib Desert below, stopping for a picnic lunch at a scenic location along the way. You arrive at Dead Valley Lodge in the mid afternoon and you will stay here for two nights whilst you explore the remarkable sights of the Namib Desert with your guide. If there is still time today, your guide will take you to visit Sesriem Canyon, a nearby geological attraction, or explore Elim Dune. However, if you prefer, you can just relax and soak in the scenic and tranquil surroundings at Dead Valley Lodge.
This morning you will need to rise early for a magical excursion with your guide in the Namib Naukluft National Park, normally setting off before sunrise to capture the dunes whilst the light is soft and shadows accentuate the towering shapes and curves. This area boasts some of the highest free-standing sand dunes in the world and your guide will give you an insight on the formation of the Namib Desert and its myriad of fascinating creatures and plants that have adapted to survive these harsh environs. Once you have explored Sossusvlei, Deadvlei and surrounding dune fields to your heart’s content you can enjoy a relaxed picnic brunch in the shade of a camel thorn tree. You then return to Dead Valley Lodge in the early afternoon in time for a late lunch, with the option to visit Sesriem Canyon afterwards if you haven’t already done so the day before. The rest of the afternoon is at your leisure (from experience, this is usually welcomed after an exhilarating morning in the dunes).
The fascinating drive today takes you northwest through awesome and ever changing desert landscapes of the Namib Naukluft National Park, including the impressive Gaub and Kuiseb canyons. You will meet the coast at the port town of Walvis Bay and then continue north to Swakopmund where you can enjoy the pleasant seaside location and cooler coastal air for your next two nights. There will be time this afternoon to explore the town and wander along the waterfront on foot, before heading off for dinner at a popular restaurant which specializes in locally harvested seafood.
After an early breakfast your guide will drive you along the scenic coastal road back south to Walvis Bay for a memorable kayaking adventure within the outer lagoon. After meeting your kayaking guide you will be taken on a short scenic drive to Pelican Point to see its lighthouse and windswept beauty, stopping briefly at the salt works to view the variety of birdlife on your way to the launch point. The kayaking is an ideal way of seeing Cape fur seals, Heaviside and bottlenose dolphins, pelicans, flamingos and a wide variety of other sea birds. If you are lucky, there is also a chance of seeing whales, leatherback turtles and sunfish. During the course of the day the guide will stop and inform you about the environment and light refreshments will be served on the beach before heading back to Walvis Bay.
Alternatively, you have the option to partake in a motorboat excursion to see seals and dolphins within the outer lagoon and harbour should the kayaking not appeal. Here you should also see Cape fur seals, Heaviside and bottlenose dolphins, pelicans, flamingos and a wide variety of other sea birds. Again, if luck is on your side, there is also a chance of seeing whales, leatherback turtles and sunfish. During the course of the excursion snacks will be served along with local sparkling wine and fresh oysters, before you will return to the jetty at roughly midday.
You then have the opportunity to explore the waterfront area of Walvis Bay further before returning to Swakopmund for an afternoon at leisure at your guesthouse or out in town. Activities such as scenic flights, sandboarding and more can all be booked at an extra cost.
Continuing on your safari today, the road takes you north-east into the wonderful and diverse region of Damaraland. You pass Namibia’s highest mountain, the Brandberg, which peaks at 2,573 m above sea level, and take time to view game and absorb the vastness of the scenery along the way. Damaraland is typified by displays of colour, magnificent table topped mountains, rock formations and bizarre-looking vegetation. The present day landscape has been formed by the erosion and geological forces which have formed rolling hills, dunes, gravel plains and ancient river terraces. It is the variety and loneliness of the area as well as the scenic splendour which will reward and astound you, giving one an authentic understanding of the word 'wilderness'. If time allows this afternoon your guide will take you to visit the nearby attractions and geological sites of the pre- historic Twyfelfontein rock engravings (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) - if not there is plenty of time to see them tomorrow.
After an early breakfast you will be treated to an exciting 4x4 excursion along the ephemeral Aba Huab and Huab River valleys to explore this remarkable region and to search for game, including the elusive desert adapted elephants if they are in the area. Damaraland is home to a variety of desert adapted wildlife and hidden desert treasures. As the elephants are mostly active in the mornings you will normally have the best chance to see them then, before returning to camp for lunch. However, if all the safari participants agree, you also have the option to take a picnic lunch and stop to enjoy that in the shade of a large Ana tree by the riverbed, ideally while watching a herd of elephant browsing nearby.
Your guide will arrange to fit in a visit to Twyfelfontein and other nearby attractions at a suitable time if you haven’t already done so the previous day. On return to camp there should be time to take a walk into the local area with your guide if desired, or simply relax and enjoy some well-deserved leisure time.
Today you set off on your journey to the Ongava Game Reserve which is situated on the southern border of Etosha National Park. You arrive in time for an afternoon game drive on the Ongava Game Reserve in an open game viewer with Ongava ranger, on a shared basis with other lodge guests.
Today you will be treated to an exciting morning guided game drive into the Etosha National Park to see more of the wide variety of game and bird species that are to be found there. There is then time to relax by the refreshing swimming pool before you head out again for an afternoon game drive into Etosha before exiting the park before sunset.
Alternatively, you can opt to spend the whole day out in the park and either take lunch by one of the other rest camps in the area, or have a picnic while watching game at a particularly productive waterhole in the area. Once you are back (gates close at sunset), the rest of the evening can be spent game viewing at the camp’s floodlit waterhole while enjoying dinner.
Another morning dedicated to memorable game drives within the southern section of Etosha National Park with your guide. You return to camp for lunch and an early afternoon rest, spending your final afternoon on a game drive on the private Ongava Game Reserve. You then return after sunset with enough time to freshen up and enjoy your final ‘safari dinner’ overlooking the camp’s floodlit waterhole.
Your early departure will take you south from Ongava via Outjo and Otjiwarongo to reach Okonjima’s AfriCat Day Centre, a wonderful highlight with which to conclude your safari. Okonjima is home to the AfriCat Foundation, a wildlife sanctuary which focuses on the research and rehabilitation of Africa's big cats, especially injured or captured leopard and cheetah. You arrive in time for lunch before embarking on an exciting and informative game drive and tour of the centre. Here you will learn about the function and vision of the AfriCat Foundation and will also get to meet some of the Foundation’s special captive carnivore ambassadors.
After the excursion and freshening up, the journey continues further south to arrive back in Windhoek in the late afternoon, just as the sun is setting. Upon your arrival in Windhoek you will be transferred to your accommodation of choice, or out to the Windhoek International Airport (transfer to be booked additionally) if flying out in the evening. A final night in Windhoek is highly recommended!