The most exquisite destinations in central and northern Namibia are explored in the company of a knowledgeable African Sky guide.
Guests are met and welcomed on arrival in Johannesburg by their African Sky guide. After formalities are completed the party boards a regional flight to Windhoek in Namibia for the beginning of the 10 Day Northern Namibia Overland Safari. On arrival your guide will finalize vehicle arrangements, after which the party will travel to their overnight accommodations in the city. The remainder of the day is spent at leisure in Namibia’s capital city.
After an early breakfast, your safari departs Namibia’s only city and heads off in a westerly direction. Traveling first north along the national B1 route to the village of Okahandja, we then turn west en route to the bleak Skeleton Coast. As we travel the landscape becomes increasingly arid. About 140km from the coast we pass through the village of Usakos, or ‘grab the heel’, in the Damara language. In the Usakos locality a rare form of manganese phosphate, Purpurite, is mined. This mineral’s striking purple color and reflective properties are popular amongst jewelers who often use it to manufacture bracelets and earrings. As we approach the coast we enter the Namib-Naukluft National Park, with the barren ‘lunar landscape’ to your left. It is in this region that the endemic Welwitschia plant is often encountered. Sometimes referred to as ‘living fossils’, individual specimens are estimated to be as old as two thousand years. The Welwitschia, most closely related to conifers, and like the lichen fields in the same area, survives on moisture carried in from the Atlantic Ocean some 80 kilometers away by onshore winds. During the mid-afternoon we reach the coast where the remainder of the day is spent at leisure. Guests may opt to do a little exploring on foot in Swakopmund if they wish to stretch their legs.
Our first stop today is at ' Bird Rock', a guano island inhabited by some 200 000 birds and one of the first examples of man's efforts to utilize the rich natural resources of the area. The safari then makes its way to the lagoon at Walvis Bay and then on to Sandwich Harbor, both areas having been designated as 'wetlands of international importance'.
En route to Sandwich Harbor, we witness the towering, wind-sculptured dunes of the Namib Desert as they reach right up to edge of the Atlantic Ocean. Some 40 000 birds - 34 different species in total - were recorded in this area during recent surveys. Enjoy a leisurely walk along the lagoon (an official marine sanctuary) and you may also spot seals, dolphins and even whales. The Namibian safari then makes its way back to Swakopmund, arriving at the hotel in the late afternoon.
After breakfast, The safari travels northwards, hugging the shoreline of the Skeleton Coast. En route you will see lichen fields on the gravel plains, flamingos and pelicans on the salt pans, the bizarre seaside settlement of Wlotzkasbaken and Namibia's most northerly coastal town of Henties Bay. After visiting the seal colony at Cape Cross (one of the largest in the world), we head inland towards Damaraland, with the scenery changing dramatically as we travel from desert to rugged mountains and semi-arid sparsely vegetated desert. At the Messum Crater (a massive impact crater of geological significance) you will see some of the best examples of Welwitschia to be found in Namibia. We arrive at Camp Kipwe in the late afternoon - a lonely spot scattered amongst the boulders near Twyfelfontein. After freshening up at the camp, we embark on an excursion to the ancient sites of Twyfelfontein, Brandberg and Organ Pipes.
After breakfast the tour continues eastwards through an increasingly wooded environment and big sky country towards Etosha National Park, entering at Galton Gate.
Etosha is a place of contrast, taking on a completely different appearance after heavy summer rains and in the process attracting impressive flamingo migrations. The dry brittle vegetation turns a soft green, the animal breeding season begins and for a few months the flat landscape the Ovambo people call the ‘place of great white spaces’ sheds its arid image. For the remainder of the year the park is dry and arid, with thousands of zebra, springbok and an impressive variety of species concentrating around a handful of permanent waterholes.
The next two days are devoted to safaris in the region surrounding Dolomite Camp.
Your days are devoted to game drives in the Okaukuejo and Namutoni regions of the park. Due to the predictability of game concentrations, Etosha is not only one of the most popular parks in Southern Africa but also has an exceptionally high proportion of predators to herbivores. This offers visitors an excellent chance of witnessing thrilling confrontations between lion and zebra, springbok, impala and wildebeest.
During the evening guests will have the opportunity to sit along the fence-line overlooking the lighted waterhole, from where many animals and most notably black rhino are frequently viewed as they come down to the waterhole during the hours of darkness.
After a last morning game drive in Etosha the tour departs via the park’s eastern boundary gate and travels south to Windhoek. On arrival in Windhoek guests will board a regional flight to Johannesburg, bringing to an end a memorable overland safari of northern Namibia's highlights.
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