26 September 2016
Imagine the warmth of the African sun, the sights and sounds of magnificent wildlife and the quiet tranquility of the arid open desert plains . . . this is Namibia. Home to the oldest desert, the highest sand dunes and the largest canyon in Africa, this stunning country offers some of the most mesmerising scenery in the world. And on this tour, which begins and ends in the capital Windhoek, you will see so much visiting Fish River Canyon, the Kalahari and Namib Deserts, Swakomund, Damaraland and the Etosha National Park.
You will be picked up from your Windhoek hotel in the morning and begin your adventure by travelling into the largest sand mass on Earth, the Kalahari Desert. The Bushman refer to it as the "Soul of the World", an emotive description for an amazing area. With its deep red sand dunes and endless grass plains interspersed with acacia's and shrubs, it is the only form of survival for a vast number of specially adapted wildlife. Enjoy the scenery as you experience this desert environment.
Today you travel south through expansive rocky plains, visiting the unique quiver tree forest. Nestled among huge dolerite boulders that are stacked in a mysterious way, the area is also aptly referred to as the Giant's Playground. Then continue to your lodge, situated close to the awesome Fish River Canyon, where you stay tonight. On arrival you can relax in the sun or go out and explore the area on foot or on a guided nature drive in the late afternoon.
Your morning starts on the edge of the Fish River Canyon, where you gaze into this magnificent geological phenomenon, the second largest of its kind on Earth. After exploring the canyon travel to the Succulent Karoo, the most species diverse desert on Earth. From here you drive on to Lüderitz and visit Kolmanskop ghost town. Other attractions you will see here include the wild horses of the Namib Desert, Diaz Point and the coastal town of Lüderitz itself.
A full day at leisure when you can get to know this area better. The Succulent Karoo, which consists primarily of winter rainfall desert, is one of only two hot spots that are entirely arid - the other being the Horn of Africa. The region is commonly divided into two zones - one extending along the coast and the other being made up of the Namaqualand Desert. You can take a tour today seeing the changing landscapes or relax in the tropical sunshine.
After breakfast this morning you travel north through the pre-Namib to your next accommodation - a lodge in the Namib Desert. This is the gateway to Sesriem Canyon and Sossusvlei, where some of the highest sand dunes on Earth stand towering over the white desert plains. The afternoon can be spent relaxing beside the pool soaking up the sun, exploring this unique area or taking part in some of the optional activities which are offered at the lodge.
Make an early start this morning to watch as the first rays of sunrise paint the mountains of sand into a variety of apricot, red and orange, contrasted against a crisp blue skyline, so have your cameras ready. At Sossusvlei, where the mostly dry Tsauchab River ends abruptly among majestic dunes, you walk up one of these huge sand hills to admire the desert landscape. Later visit the Sesriem Canyon, a life sustaining natural phenomenon in the heart of the Namib Desert.
After breakfast travel via the desolate, rolling hills of the Kuiseb Moon Valley towards the Atlantic Ocean. In Walvis Bay visit the shallow lagoon, one of the most important wetland areas on the African continent and a World Heritage Site. More than 80 per cent of the African flamingos feed in this lagoon and present a breathtaking picture when they appear in groups counting hundreds of thousands. Having arrived in the coastal town of Swakopmund, spend the rest of the day at leisure.
Swakopmund is the perfect location for walking tours, shopping, relaxing at a quaint coffee shop or along the sandy beaches. This being Namibia's holiday playground, there is a wide variety of activities on offer, ranging from dolphin cruises, desert tours and scenic flights to quad biking, paragliding, parachuting and kite surfing - to mention a few. You are spoilt for choice for things to do here and Swakopmund makes a great place for a break on your Namibia tour.
Heading further north, travel via the Brandberg, Namibia's highest mountain, into the Damaraland, one of the least populated and geologically diverse areas in Africa. This harsh, rocky environment is home to the rare desert elephant and black rhino. Visit Twyfelfontein, where Bushman communities engraved and painted more than 2,500 pictures some 6,000 years ago. Then explore the Burnt Mountain, Organ Pipes and the Petrified Forest - all geological phenomenas. After visiting a traditional village check in to your lodge.
After a relaxed breakfast, today you travel towards the Etosha National Park, famous for its vast amount of wildlife and unique landscape. Once you have reached your camp, you have the rest of the day at leisure, but you can also book an afternoon game drive in open vehicles with the lodge. This is a great place for a safari and you will see so many animals on the organised game drives which are guided by experts who know where to look for the wildlife.
Another wonderful day today which is devoted purely to the abundant wildlife found in the Etosha National Park, which surrounds a parched salt desert known as the Etosha Pan. The park is home to four of the legendary Big Five animals - elephant, lion, leopard and rhino - and there is a good chance of seeing all of them. The waterholes support a rich diversity of birds and mammals, including rare species such as black-faced impala, roan, cheetah, and Namibia's smallest antelope, the Damara dik-dik.
Today take another early morning game drive in the Etosha National Park. You may encounter animal species you have not seen the previous day and look forward to any new surprises at the different waterholes visited. Also, there's another chance today to see some of the Big Five. In the afternoon return to your comfortable lodge, where you can enjoy the rest of the evening at leisure swapping stories with other guests at dinner under a vast star studded African sky.
Today your wonderful tour of Namibia comes to an end. After breakfast at the lodge you head southwards back to the capital city Windhoek arriving in the late afternoon or early evening. Then you are dropped off at your hotel or at the international airport to catch an onward flight or begin your journey home taking with you so many incredible memories from one of the most fascinating countries on Earth.
Gold fr £3697pp
Rates based on twinshare
International flights not included unless otherwise stated