Fetch you from the airport and take you to a good quality guest house in Windhoek i.e. Casa Piccolo or Onganga www.onganga.com 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.
Leave after breakfast for the Namib Desert via the Khomas Hochland, Spreetshoogte Pass and the tiny settlement of Solitaire, stopping off at times to look at the scenery, plants and game found in this area. We will spend the night at the Namib Desert Lodge, which is part of the Gondwana Collection of Lodges, www.gondwana-collection.com.
Get up very early to drive to Sossusvlei, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sossusvlei, on the edge of the Namib Desert, with its monumental sand dunes - the top tourist destination in the southern region of the country. Here you will see some of the highest and most spectacular dune scenery in the world – a photographer’s paradise, especially in the early morning or late afternoon. Visit the fascinating Sesriem Canyon on the way back to get some idea of how much of the desert and surrounding area has been shaped by water, strange as it might seem. We will take breakfast, a light lunch and refreshments with us (as is done every day of the trip), to be enjoyed in a desert environment.
After visiting Sossusvlei and Sesriem we will return to Namib Desert Lodge, which is situated at the base of some very interesting petrified sand dunes and here you will go on a truly spectacular scenic late afternoon sundowner drive to the top of these dunes.
After an early breakfast we will leave for the village of Swakopmund via Solitaire (the most aptly named settlement in Namibia) - famous for the farm shop and Moose’s apple pie - and the gravel plains of the Namib Desert Park. On the way we will visit the Kuiseb Canyon Viewpoint, where two German geologist hid out for almost three years during WW II because they wanted nothing to do with the war (read “The Sheltering Desert” ISBN 0 86852 150 7 by Henno Martin). Travel further westwards through the ever more barren desert, stopping off to look at the strange Welwitschia plants which only occur in Namibia and southern Angola and nowhere else in the world. Close to Swakopmund stop again to look at the stark Moon Landscape which was sculpted by water in the desert. You will spend the night in a good guesthouse, The Secret Garden Guest House, www.secretgarden.com.na in Swakopmund and dinner will be had at a good local restaurant or at the adjoining Bistro.
Swakopmund and Walvis Bay with its calm bay and large sand dunes are the Tourism Activity Centres of Namibia. These activities include quad biking, sea kayaking, boat cruises, dune boarding and dune skiing, dune hang gliding, shore and boat angling (shark angling/releasing is really exciting) as well as wind surfing and kite surfing.
After breakfast, we will drive 30 km south to the harbour town of Walvis Bay where you will go on a most interesting cruise around the bay, see Catamaran Charters, www.namibiancharters.com. Visitors are assured of seeing Cape fur up close (some even jump up onto the boat) as there is a large colony on the sand spit close to the lighthouse on Pelican Point; two different species of dolphins, maybe a whale or two or a huge sun fish, as well as many different species of sea birds, including flamingos and pelicans. A delicious lunch consisting of sea food and light snacks is served on board the boat since there are many thriving oyster farms in the Bay which produce some of the best oysters in the world and you will be able to have your fill of these.
You can also choose to do what is called a Combo trip: do part of the Bay cruise and then you will be transferred to a 4 x 4 vehicle to be driven 50 km down the coast (sandwiched between the dunes and the sea), to Sandwich Harbour, www.sandwich-harbour.com , which was used by the American whaling fleet during the 19th century. From there you will be driven back through the dunes (both up and down!) to Walvis Bay - a really memorable trip which I am sure you will not forget and a very good picnic lunch will be served in the dunes. THIS IS THE TRIP I HAVE BOOKED FOR YOU.
A more adventurous option is to go kayaking amongst the seals, Eco Marine Kayak Tours, www.emkayak.iway.na (see their photo gallery) since you can get up very close to the seals as they are not afraid of being approached by people on the kayaks.
Those who do not wish to go on the boat trip can go on a “Living Desert” excursion during the morning to discover the wonders of the desert, www.living-desert-adventures.com. 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. For the guests who are more interested in the natural history of the area and its people, I recommend that you go on a most interesting quad bike tour into the Kuiseb River delta, www.kuisebonline.com, which separates the Namib sand sea from the gravel plains. During this trip you will also see the fossilised tracks of elephants, rhinos, other game animals as well as ancient human footprints and old human remains which are covered and uncovered by the prevailing desert wind.
The tours are done on fully automatic quad bikes (and the wearing of safety helmets is compulsory) and are suitable for the rider with no previous experience, even for children and healthy elderly people. The tours are done usually in the mornings only, because of prevailing winds, but the weather permitting, tours are also done in the afternoons. Soft drinks are included.
Do please let me know which option you prefer, since the quote only covers the Bay cruise or the “Living Desert” excursion. An extra day is recommended if you wish to do more than one of the tours, since the tours are all done in the morning.
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 (highly recommended). Do bear in mind that the flight should be reserved in advance, especially during the peak tourist season (optional extra), so please let me know if you would be interested.
Spend another night at the same guest house and have dinner at a different restaurant.
Today we will travel inland to the Guest Farm Omandumba West, www.omandumba.de. On the farm there are many different rock art sites, that can be visited and Harald, the young farmer will take you to these tomorrow morning. The San (Bushmen) had lived in these mountains for thousands of years as is evidenced by the many rock art sites as well as the stone tools dating back to the early, middle and late Stone Age times.
You will notice on the website that there are some San people living on the farm and you can choose to go on a walking trip with them if you wish (optional extra). Tessa and I have been on such a trip and found it most interesting as they are not there just for the show.
Spend the late morning visiting the various rock art sites and if there is enough time in the afternoon I will take you to visit another nearby farm, where there is the largest single collection of rock art paintings in Southern Africa on the wall of an overhanging shelter, approx. 2000+!!
From Omandumba we will travel via the little mining village of Uis and the Brandberg (the highest mountain in Namibia) to the Twyfelfontein Rock Art Site where you will stay over at one of four lodges situated close by.
Here you can stay over at either one of three lodges or one camp site situated close to the Twyfelfontein Rock Art Site. The smaller, exclusive lodge, Mowani, www.mowani.com is set amongst beautiful granite boulders where visitors stay in lovely big Meru tents, while the second one, Camp Kipwe, is a charming small camp, (part of Mowani with excellent food and very personal attention as they only accept a maximum of sixteen guests and my personal favourite), but it is more expensive than Twyfelfontein Country Lodge.
The third one is a much larger lodge, Twyfelfontein Country Lodge, www.namibialodges.com, which caters for larger groups (the one I used in my quote). All three are new lodges and very good, but it will depend upon which one you would prefer to stay at, as well as the availability and affordability, so it is best to let us know well in advance what your preference would be. I HAVE NOW BOOKED YOU INTO TWYFELFONTEIN COUNTRY LODGE INSTEAD OF CAMP KIPWE FOR THE TWO NIGHTS (see the difference in price).
Camp Xaragu, is much www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g479220-d1180801-Reviews-Camp_Xaragu-Damaraland_Otjozondjupa_Region.html, a smaller rustic campsite, neat and clean, but it has unfortunately recently been closed down.
This morning (or afternoon) you will go on a most interesting nature drive in this fascinating area, down the dry river bed of the Huab River to see whether you can locate any of the famous desert- adapted elephants of the Namib Desert (not guaranteed) and some of the other game to be found here – kudu, oryx, giraffe, springbok, steenbok, ostrich etc To see these elephants in this amazingly dry and beautiful surroundings is an experience which you will never forget and you will be taking plenty of pictures, whether you find them or not.
After returning from the nature drive we will visit the fascinating Twyfelfontein Rock Art Site (recently declared a World Heritage Site), one of the most important archaeological sites in southern Africa where hundreds of rock engravings can be seen, some dating back thousands of years, www.bradshawfoundation.com/namibia/twyfelfontein_site_report18.php
Also look at: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twyfelfontein.
The Organ Pipes (similar to the Giants Causeway in Ireland, but much smaller) and the Burnt Mountain will also be visited afterwards. Spend the second night at the lodge of your preference.
(**Optional extra** If you wish, you can go on a magical early morning balloon flight (www.ballooning-namibia.de) over the fascinating landscape, but this has to be reserved well in advance because the pilot and balloon crew have to come all the way from Uis which is 150km away– N$ 3600 per person**
After breakfast (or the balloon flight) we will leave for the Etosha National Park, 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 during the morning. At Okaukuejo you can also choose to go on a guided night drive (optional extra), which can be very interesting. All meals are to be had at the camp restaurants.
After breakfast and watching game at the Okaukuejo waterhole, we will continue in an easterly direction viewing game on the plains and waterholes to reach Halali Rest Camp in time for lunch. After a siesta during the hot part of the day, we will go on another game drive. Halali also has an excellent, floodlit waterhole where guests can sit and watch game coming and going after dark.
Today we continue travelling further eastwards to Fort Namutoni, the most easterly camp in the Etosha National Park, viewing game on the plains and at various waterholes. This is a restored German colonial police fort, which is used as a tourist camp and it has quite a different atmosphere from the other rest camps. Here we will have lunch and then spend the rest of the afternoon looking at game and visiting various waterholes before leaving for one of the excellent private lodges situated close to the eastern boundary of the Etosha National park, where you will spend the evening.
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 with excellent food, failing which, I will book you into one of the other good lodges in the vicinity.
Leave early for Windhoek and visit Lake Otjikoto, a dolomite sinkhole lake near to the mining village of Tsumeb into which the German colonial forces dumped their ammunition and cannons shortly before surrendering to the South African troops in 1915. From here we travel to Tsumeb for coffee and cakes and then southwards to Otjiwarongo in time for lunch and then to REST, www.restafrica.org and Okonjima Game Lodge, email@example.com afterwards for two nights. Okonjima is the home of the AfriCat Foundation, www.okonjima.com/, a non-profit organisation committed to the long-term conservation of Namibia’s large carnivores, especially cheetah and leopards.
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 leopard, cheetah, black backed jackals, porcupines and possibly hyenas as well as some of the common antelope species i.e. kudu, oryx, steenbok, dik-dik etc. These animals are kept in very large camps and not in small pens, and they some time 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, Bushmen trails, bird viewing from hides etc. Visitors can choose to stay at either the Main Camp, the Bush Camp or at the luxurious Bush Suite, but we will be staying in the Garden Cottages at the Main Camp.
This is an up-market lodge and OKONJIMA and the AfriCat Foundation were recently chosen as Namibia's Leading Safari by The WORLD TRAVEL AWARDS www.worldtravelawards.com . At Okonjima there are many different activities to take part in i.e. visits to the lions and cheetahs; searching for the leopards using radio tracking equipment; day and night time visits to the waterholes; tracking and field excursion etc., so that two days would almost seem too short a visit. Although fairly expensive, it offers very good value for money and all our previous guests have thoroughly enjoyed their visits here.
After the early morning activities we will leave for Omatozu Safari Camp, www.safarinow.com/go/OmatozuSafaris, located between Okonjima and Windhoek, where you will be spending the night under canvas. This will give you the opportunity to relax before flying home on the morrow.
We will leave for Windhoek after a leisurely breakfast and since most of the International flights only leave after midday or early evening, you can choose to go shopping, visit the Namibia Craft Centre or spend the time relaxing before leaving for the airport in time for your flight home.
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; driver/guide with extensive experience; all accommodation; all meals; refreshments; water in the vehicle; Park entrance fees plus the compulsory Government 15% VAT. However, tips, laundry and alcohol / drinks at the table are excluded, otherwise the only extra money you have to bring along, is what you wish to spend on yourself. Although we are comprehensively insured, all guests have to take out their own personal travel insurance as well.
We try at all times to provide top quality service so that you may have a holiday to remember.