An epic, privately guided road trip that uncovers the most captivating corners of this unique desert country.
Price Per Person From:From: POA
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Day 1-14: Private African Sky Guide & Vehicle
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. 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 breakfast, the tour departs Windhoek and travels in a southerly direction en route to the Fish River Canyon, said to be Namibia’s second-most popular tourist attraction. As we travel the countryside morphs from wooded grassland into dry desert scenery. Not long after passing the rural town of Keetmanshoop, we say goodbye to paved roads and head out into the Namib Desert, finally arriving at our overnight accommodations around mid-afternoon. After check-in and some time allowed for relaxation, we travel to the Fish River Canyon near Hobas.
The canyon is the second largest in the world and the largest in Africa and was formed over millions of years as a result of ongoing geographical processes. Once a moist well-wooded landscape, the canyon today is a barren, stony and sparsely vegetated environment covered with hardy drought-resistant plants. Sunsets from the Hobas viewpoints are spectacular as the sun sets due west over the canyon, lighting up the stony canyon walls with myriad golden orange and red hues as the sun descends to the horizon.
After a late breakfast, a quick stop - if required - is made again at the Fish River Canyon, before traveling north to the national B4 road. Once we reach this paved road we turn due west towards the Namib-Naukluft Park and the Sperregebiet - the restricted diamond area, alongside which your overnight accommodations are conveniently located. After some time relaxing in this surreal environment, guests will enjoy a guided sunset drive into the desert near the lodge, where both the famous desert wild horses and the unique desert ecology may be seen at close quarters. Later a scrumptious dinner is enjoyed at the lodge as you witness yet another spectacular sunset over the Namib Desert.
The ‘ghost town’ of Kolmanskop is located about ten kilometers from the coast amongst a sea of rock and dune and was once a thriving mining settlement with opulent luxuries found in every prominent household, all imported at great expense from Europe. It was near this settlement in 1908 that a laborer found the first diamond, which led to the realization that the area was rich in these precious stones. The German government quickly declared the area a prohibited area or ‘sperregebiet’ and immediately began to exploit its mineral wealth. Today the area is approximately 10,400 square miles in extent and occupies three percent of Namibia’s land mass.
After enjoying a guided tour of Kolmanskop, we travel to nearby Luderitz on the coast where, after enjoying lunch, some time is spent exploring this small seaside village by vehicle. The tour then returns to your overnight accommodations in the late afternoon.
From the tiny village of Aus, the tour heads north. The Namib-Naukluft Park to the west provides spectacular backdrops, with rocky outcrops, beautiful desertscape scenery, and wide open plains. Several stops are made en route. As we approach Sossusvlei, the famous red dunes of the Namib - the world’s oldest desert - become visible in the distance.
Sossusvlei is essentially a mud pan created by the Tsauchab River, which flows through the Namib only once every five to ten years. Even in very wet years the river does not reach the Atlantic Ocean but drains away into the Sossusvlei dunes. ‘Sossus' means ‘place of no return’. The Namib - known as ‘the living desert’ - is a world of vast space, endless horizons, dramatic desert landscapes, and jagged mountain heights. Over the next few days, guests will enjoy various guided excursions into the desert in the surrounding area.
After breakfast, we depart Sossusvlei and travel westwards towards the coast via the Kuiseb Pass. En-route several stops are made where guests will have the opportunity to experience the sweeping views and the variety of geographical rocks and formations so typical of this region of Namibia. Closer to the coast the temperature cools and the landscape becomes barren, flat and featureless. During the middle afternoon, we reach the village of Swakopmund, an oasis in a never-ending desert. Swakopmund was established in 1892 and is a quaint and picturesque seaside town with a rich and vibrant history. The remainder of your day may be spent exploring the village or relaxing.
Your excursion today is tide and weather dependent. From Swakopmund we’ll make our way to Walvis Bay along the coastal road, passing the salt production plant at Walvis Bay and then heading out into the vast Namib dune sea. Finally, the sandy 4x4 track reaches the coast as we continue southwards along the beach en-route to Sandwich Harbor, about 60km (37 miles) from Walvis Bay. Alternatively, if the swells are too high or if the weather is generally poor and the track along the coast is considered unsafe, we’ll view Sandwich Harbor from the top of the surrounding high dunes. Sandwich Harbor – a saltwater lagoon, is designated a 'Wetland of International Importance’ and some 40 000 birds - 34 different species in total, were recorded in the area during recent surveys. Take a leisurely walk around the lagoon, an official marine sanctuary, and you might also see seals, dolphins and even whales. A lunch stop is included before returning to Swakopmund where the remainder of your time may be spent at leisure.
After a last breakfast in Swakopmund, we say goodbye to civilization as we travel north towards the Skeleton Coast on the coastal ‘salt road’. This northern coastal region of Namibia is one of the most remote locations on the planet. While the landscape is barren and almost completely devoid of any feature, the adjacent cold Atlantic Ocean is rich in nutrients and supports a diverse variety of wildlife.
Our first stop en route is at Cape Cross. The Portuguese navigator-explorer Diogo Cão, in his search for a sea route to India and the Spice Islands, placed a stone cross here in the 1480s. Today a replica of the cross is on display at this location. Cape Cross is a protected area and home to one of the largest colonies of Cape fur seals on the African continent, numbering at least 80, 000 individuals. After some time spent viewing the seals, the safari continues northwards along the coast before heading inland to Bergsig. As we leave the coast behind, signs of vegetation begin to appear and sightings of common animals like springbok, gemsbok, and kudu are possible. We reach our overnight accommodations at Palmwag in Damaraland during the late afternoon.
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 safari 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 safari tour in Namibia.
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