Fetch you from the airport and take you to a good guest house, Casa Piccolo (tel. no. +264 61 221155) in Windhoek. The rest of the day is yours to relax and catch up on some sleep, especially if you have been on the long flight, or if you are up to it, go on a sight seeing tour of Windhoek. Go out to dinner in the evening to one of the many good restaurants in town.
There are several excellent craft operations in the Windhoek area (including the Namibia Craft Centre) and it would be very easy to go and visit these, because then you would be able to see the craft people at work i.e. carving beautiful wooden picture frames; the embroidering of exquisite Hardanger table cloths (work now done by some of the local women, which is hardly practiced in Norway anymore where it originated from) etc.
Namibia is well known for its excellent German jewellers, who make some of the most beautiful jewellery imaginable, both traditional and contemporary, and both Windhoek and Swakopmund have several outstanding jewelers as well as some excellent leather merchants (including a workshop where visitors can have coats etc. made to order). Do bear in mind that our overseas visitors can get the 15% VAT refunded on items bought, provided they obtain a tax invoice from the seller and can show the articles at the airport when they apply for the tax refund (be sure to get to the airport a bit earlier).
After an early breakfast leave for the coastal town of Swakopmund, where there is a lot to see and do.
In Swakopmund we will book into one of the many good guesthouses, i.e. Secret Garden Guesthouse, www.natron.net/tour/secretgarden; (tel. no. +264 64 40 4037) Sandfields Guesthouse, www.sandfieldsguesthouse.com; The Stiltz, www.thestiltz.com , or one of the up-market hotels, i.e. Swakopmund Hotel & Entertainment Centre, www.legacyhotels.co.za; Hansa Hotel, www.hansahotel.com.na; Swakopmund Boutique Hotel; Rossmund Golf Lodge (one of only five desert golf courses in the world, with 200+ springbok wandering all around) etc. according to your preference. Tonight we will have dinner at one of the good local restaurants.
This morning you will be taken on a Living Desert Excursion www.living-desert-adventures.com excursion to discover what all lives in the Namib Desert.. This is a wonderful experience and most people are totally amazed at the variety and amount of living creatures to be found in the desert.
The afternoon is yours to do as you wish. There is plenty to do and see in Swakopmund, because it is a very charming little late 19th century “German” town, set on the desert coast of Africa and everything is within easy walking distance. Namibia is well known for its excellent German jewellers, who make some of the most beautiful jewellery imaginable, both traditional and contemporary, and both Windhoek and Swakopmund have several outstanding jewelers as well as some excellent leather merchants (including a workshop where visitors can have coats etc. made to order). Do bear in mind that our overseas visitors can get the 15% VAT refunded on items bought, provided they obtain a tax invoice from the seller and can show the articles at the airport when they apply for the tax refund (be sure to get to the airport a bit earlier).
Yet another option to consider is to undertake a mid-afternoon flight across the Namib Desert down to Sossusvlei, and from there across to the cold Atlantic coast where desert and ocean meet and then back again along the coast to look at some of the shipwrecks and seabirds to be found here. One has no idea of how large and how spectacularly beautiful the desert is, and such a flight helps to put everything into perspective. Do please bear in mind that the flight should be reserved in advance, especially during the peak tourist season (optional extra).
Spend another night at the Secret Garden Guesthouse and have dinner at a different restaurant.
Leave early for the excellent Okonjima Lodge, home of the AfriCat Foundation (this Foundation is a non-profit organisation committed to the long-term conservation of Namibia’s large carnivores, especially cheetah and leopards), 55 km south of Otjiwarongo, en route to Windhoek - see firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the Etosha National Park you are not guaranteed to see any of the large predators because the Park is so big and these animals are often secretive, but at Okonjima visitors will be able to see lion, leopard and cheetah up close. These animals are kept in very large camps and not in small pens, and they often have to be located by means of radio collars. Visitors can also participate in several other activities on offer i.e. game drives, bush walks, guided Bushmen trail, bird viewing from hides etc. You will be staying in the Garden Cottages, close to the reception area.
This is an up-market lodge and Okonjima was recently chosen as Namibia's Leading Safari by The World Travel Awards www.worldtravelawards.com . Although fairly expensive, it offers very good value for money and all our previous guests have really enjoyed their stays here. I have known the family who own the Lodge since 1979 and I contacted them to find out if they would give me a special rate. It so happens that they are offering Namibian tour operators a GREEN rate during the 2013 OFF season (Jan. – May) and I have used this rate instead of the normal rate for your group. This gives you a savings of 20% and makes this offer the same as the Camp Kipwe offer.
Since you are keen to look at various animals, we will stop off shortly before reaching Okonjima Lodge to visit the REST (Rare and Endangered Species Trust) aviary, www.restafrica.org, where Maria Diekman looks after injured vultures and other birds of prey. This is a most interesting and worthwhile project as the guests can learn about the work she does as well as see some of the birds up close.
Spend a second full day at Okonjima participating in all of the various activities on offer, which you might have missed out on during the previous day.
After breakfast we will leave for the Etosha National Park via the villages of Otjiwarongo and Outjo, where we will book into Okaukuejo Rest Camp, www.nwr.com.na for the night. The afternoon will be spent driving around, game viewing in the vicinity of the camp. Okaukuejo has an excellent, floodlit waterhole where guests can sit and watch game coming and going after dark as well as in the morning. If it has not rained in the vicinity for some time, so that there is plenty of water available in the veld for the game to drink, then the Okaukuejo waterhole is one of the very best places to sit and watch hundreds of game animals at close range and many guests can not believe their eyes. At Okaukuejo you can also choose to go on a guided night drive (optional extra), which can be very interesting.
After an early morning game drive (returning for breakfast and looking at the game at the camp waterhole - if it has not rained in the area), we will continue travelling eastwards, viewing game on the plains and at various waterholes, en route to Halali Rest Camp, where we will have lunch and be spending the second night in the ENP.
The afternoon will again be spent game viewing and we will return to the camp for the evening because all guests have to be back before sunset. Here too, you can choose to go on a night drive (optional extra).
From Halali, we will continue driving east to Fort Namutoni, the most easterly camp in the ENP. This is a restored German colonial police fort, which is now used as a tourist camp and it has quite a different atmosphere from the other camps. Lunch will be had at Namutoni and the rest of the afternoon will be spent driving around looking for game.
We will leave the Park shortly before sundown for one of the excellent private lodges where you will be spending the night. There are several lodges close to the Park boundary to choose from and the costs vary from lodge to lodge. I will try to book Onguma Bush Camp www.onguma.com, (tel. no. +264 67 22 9112) as it is very good, very reasonably priced with excellent food, failing which, I will book you into one of the other good lodges in the vicinity.
From Onguma we will travel to the town of Rundu which is situated on the Kavango River (which feeds the Okavango Swamps) and from there we will continue for 200km along the river until we reach either Nunda River Lodge or Mahangu Safari Lodge, www.mahangu.com, depending where we can get accommodation. Both lodges are situated on the banks of the Kavango River in the lush region of the Caprivi in the north-east of Namibia. It is an ideal base to explore this area as it is close to both Popa Falls and the “old” Mahango National Park. Activities include game drives into the park, boat cruises on the Kavango, fishing, Mokoro (home made canoe) trips and guided walks to a nearby traditional village. See http://www.namibia-travel.net/travelguide/northern-namibia/caprivi.html .
This morning we will go on an early morning game drive into either the old Mahango Game Reserve or Buffalo Game Reserve which now forms part of the new Bwabwata National Park. Here you should see several new game species coming down to the river to drink as well as many different species of waterfowl.
After the morning game drive, we will travel via the old West Caprivi Game Reserve (now renamed Bwabwata National Park) as far as the Kwando River, which is the dividing line between the western section and eastern sections of the Caprivi Region. At Kongola we will turn south for a short distance until we reach the small but lovely rustic Mavunge Camp, where Mashi River Safaris, www.mashiriversafaris.com, (tel. no. +264 81 461) operates from. This operation is run by Dan Stephens, a friend of mine whom I can recommend unconditionally (ask Barbara and her friends for their opinions) Here you will be staying in fully equipped comfortable tents and we will be very well looked after by Dan, and his small staff.
Shortly after reaching the camp we will all get on Dan’s boat and he will then take us on a fascinating boat excursion (a double hulled catamaran) on the Kwando. Tonight you will spend the night in a wild camp somewhere before the sun goes down. Dan will make sure that everybody is safe as there are wild animals around, and that is why he has pre-selected islands that he uses for the overnight camping. Here you can get your line into the water if you would like to try your luck at Tiger fishing as well as some of the excellent edible Bream. Dan knows this area like the back of his hand and I am very sure that you will love it. To watch the elephants as well as some of the other game such as buffalo, lechwe, giraffe and maybe even see lions (if we are lucky) strolling about contentedly 20-30m away from the safety of the boat is something to cherish and the bird life is also very prolific and quite spectacular.
We will spend the rest of the day cruising around looking at what game there is to be seen but we will return to Dan’s camp for the night.
To day we will leave for Vic Falls via Katima Mulilo and Botswana and here we will book into the A’Zambesi Hotel Victoria Falls, www.armidillotvl.com , (tel. no. +263 4 302261/67/93). If there is enough time we can visit the Falls today or else you can choose to go on a sunset cruise.
If you missed visiting the Falls yesterday afternoon, then you can do so this morning and then spend the rest of the morning looking around town, before I will have to take you to the Victoria Falls International Airport in time for your flight back home. All flight arrangements are for you to make.
This is a fairly expensive tour, but the all our guests who have done it, thought it was well worth it, but it is for you to decide. The price of the tour will depend upon the number of guests and will be forwarded to you with pleasure upon request. It will include the following: All transport in an air-conditioned vehicle fitted with a fridge; all meals; all accommodation; refreshments & water in the vehicle; Park entrance fees; plus compulsory 15% VAT and driver/guide with extensive experience. Only tips, laundry and alcohol / drinks at the table and optional extras are excluded.
We try at all times to provide top quality service so that you may have a holiday to remember and we look forward to being of service to you and your friends.