You should arrive at the airport to take your overnight flight to Johannesburg.
After your morning arrival you will connect with your onward 1 hour 50 minute flight to Windhoek, the capital of Namibia and our hotel for the night, the centrally-located four-star Avani Hotel with breakfast. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure to relax after your flight.
We leave Windhoek this morning and soon we are in open country, without another building or road in sight. This is our first experience of driving on Namibia’s famed gravel roads, but with a smooth ride on our specially adapted coach. We stop to appreciate the scenery as we cross the Tropic of Capricorn. The low hills in the distance are interspersed with acacia trees and bushes – the soils here, as in most places in Namibia, are far too poor for agriculture, so this is cattle country, but you’ll wonder exactly what they find to eat! You’ll start spotting some game too: some tall Kudus or springbok perhaps and many trees with huge thatch-like structures which are the nests of sociable weaver birds. We arrive in Solitaire at around lunchtime – it’s no more than a filling station and lunch-stop surrounded by hundreds of square miles of emptiness. Our hotel for two nights is the 3-star superior Namib Desert Lodge, on dinner and breakfast basis.
An early start today as we enter the vast Namib Naukluft National Park. Look out for oryx, with their long straight horns, superbly adapted for this harsh climate. The further we drive, the redder and higher the dunes become, before finally reaching the point where the road ends and we transfer on to 4x4 vehicles for the final 3-mile drive through the sand to the Sossusvlei dunes. In the distance you’ll be able to discern the enormous bulk of ‘Big Daddy’, at 325 metres one of the highest dunes in Namibia. Our destination is Dead Vlei, located on a flat clay salt pan, the dramatic contrast between the white salt pan and the sun-blackened stumps of the trees against the red sand of the dunes is absolutely extraordinary. The more adventurous can climb of one of the nearby dunes, but remember you’ll need to tackle the rather steeper descent. Your afternoon is at leisure at our hotel – the sunsets here are simply amazing and at night you’ll see more stars than you could have thought possible.
After breakfast we head towards the Atlantic coast at Walvis Bay and Swakopmund. Walvis Bay is the main port of Namibia whilst Swakopmund retains the air of a sedate seaside resort, with its red and white lighthouse, its pier and lush gardens – a world away from the surrounding desert landscape. Our Swakopmund hotel for two nights is the 3-star superior Plaza Hotel with breakfast.
A day at leisure to enjoy the charms and sea air of Swakopmund, with its clean wide streets and German-inspired architecture. There are plenty of shops, restaurants, a long beach and numerous optional trips to try out. One of the most popular is a catamaran harbour cruise in search of dolphins, seals and seabirds; there’s also light aircraft flights along the stunning coastline to spot some of the famous shipwrecks of the Skeleton Coast; finally, there’s the opportunity for a desert drive in 4x4 vehicles on a ‘living desert’ tour to track and spot all the amazing geckos, lizards, beetles and chameleons that manage to survive this inhospitable environment.
This morning we follow the coast north towards the Skeleton Coast before arriving at Cape Cross, site of the largest Cape fur seal colony in world. Sustained by the nutrient-rich waters of the cold Benguela current the sheer size of the colony is a sight to behold – but be prepared for the smell! Turning inland we cross into Damaraland, an area of desert, including Namibia’s highest mountain, which is rich in ancient remains. Our hotel for two nights is the 3-star Damara Mopane Lodge with dinner and breakfast.
Our destination today is Twyfelfontein, Namibia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, with numerous 6,000-year old rock engravings. As you would expect, there are depictions of animals to be found locally such zebras, lions and giraffes, but intriguingly a seal and penguin are also shown, which live hundreds of miles away. The whole area is surrounded by fractured red sandstone cliffs and escarpments – with few signs of human settlement. Nearby we’ll also visit the organ pipe rock formation before an included lunch. ‘The rest of the afternoon is at leisure to relax in the spacious gardens and pool at your hotel.
Today we gain a fascinating insight into the culture of the local tribe, the Himba. Following a semi-nomadic lifestyle, they have retained much of their unique customs, dress and very distinctive hairstyles! We visit them at one of the local villages, guided by members of the tribe, to see their way of life at first hand. We stay for one night at the 3-star superior Taleni Etosha Village, with dinner and breakfast.
This morning we enter Etosha, Namibia’s most famous national park. Slightly larger than Wales, Etosha is home to over 100 mammal species, including elephants, giraffe, rhino, lions and elusive leopards. Our first stop is the Okaukuelo waterhole where you are usually guaranteed to see a large variety of game. Continuing our drive through the park, we stop at other waterholes and the Etosha Outlook viewpoint which is located in the salt pan itself. Our home for the next two nights is the excellent four-star Mokuti Lodge on dinner and breakfast basis, the closest lodge to the park’s eastern gate. With its numerous thatched buildings, lush gardens and pools, this cool, green oasis of calm is an ideal spot for some ‘down-time’.
A day at leisure to enjoy the beautiful gardens and facilities of your lodge. Alternatively, the lodge also has its own spa and half-day safaris are also available into Etosha
Saying goodbye to Etosha we head south, finally back on tarmac roads, towards Windhoek. On the way we stop for a visit to the popular Okahandja craft market, full of interesting wood carvings and curios. Our destination is the Midgard Country Estate, set in its own 29,600 acres of beautiful countryside. With two swimming pools, large stables, hiking trails, a vintage car collection and even a skittle alley, this is a fascinating last night in Namibia. Dinner is included tonight.
A morning at leisure until our afternoon departure for our return overnight flight to the UK, via Johannesburg.
You arrive home this morning after a truly extraordinary tour.