AITO: The Association of Independent Tour Operators
Wildlife & Wilderness

Wildlife & Wilderness

Wildlife & Wilderness Overview

A tour of Namibia's most beautiful regions, including Windhoek, the Kalahari Desert, Sossuvlei dunes, Sesriem Canyon, Damaraland, and the Etosha National Park.

This 15 day holiday allows you to experience the best of Namibia’s untamed desert, wildlife-filled national parks, soaring dunes and coastal towns. Wildlife & Wilderness of Namibia

Itinerary

Day 1 (Wednesday) - Fly overnight from the UK to Namibia
Meal included on the international flight

Fly overnight from the UK to Windhoek. Namibia’s capital city is an interesting mix of European architecture and African culture. The current city was founded in 1890 when Von Francois laid the foundation stone of the Alte Feste (Old Fortress).

Day 2 (Thursday) - Free day in Windhoek
Meal included on the international flight.

After a morning arrival in Windhoek, you are met at the airport and taken to your hotel. You meet your driver-guide who will be accompanying you throughout the trip. The afternoon and evening are free for you to recover from your flight or explore the city at your leisure. Perhaps visit the Christ Church, built following the wars between the Germans and the Khoikhoi, Herero, and Owambo (indigenous groups). Another highlight is the Tukondjeni Market, where you can find Namibian food such as barbecued meat, dried fish, fried mopane worms (known as “omaungu”) and indigenous vegetables called “ombidi”.

Day 3 (Friday) - Drive to the Kalahari and take the optional Kalahari Sundowner Game Drive
Breakfast at the hotel. Dinner at the lodge.

Today is an early start as you drive south for around 300 kilometres to the Kalahari Desert. Most of the route will be on smooth paved roads, whilst the last third of it is a gravel road, but not too bumpy. The journey is stunning, with mountainous views and plenty of photo opportunities. As you enter the Kalahari you find yourself in a vast region characterised by red sand dunes and endless grass plains interspersed with acacias. There are a few breaks en-route to stretch your legs, use the toilet and buy snacks, before arriving at the lodge in the early afternoon where you can have a late lunch. This is often the case on travelling days throughout this itinerary, and you will generally either buy snacks and then arrive at the next hotel for a late lunch, or buy lunch enroute depending on the day. Spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing at the lodge, or take the optional Kalahari Sundowner Game Drive with the chance to spot giraffe, zebra, wildebeest as well as a breathtaking sunset over the unique dune formations.

Day 4 (Saturday) - Enjoy a scenic drive to Sossusvlei in the centre of the Namib Desert
Breakfast at the lodge.

Leave early for a scenic 300km drive (50% gravel roads, 50% paved roads) to Sossusvlei. Like yesterday you have a few breaks en-route to stretch your legs, use the toilet and buy snacks, before arriving at the lodge in time for a late lunch and the rest of the afternoon to relax.

Day 5 (Sunday) - Visit the Sossusvlei dunes, Deadvlei and Sesriem Canyon
Breakfast at the lodge.

The day begins with an early start and a 45-minute drive to the park gate for opening time at sunrise (typically between 6 – 6:30am). The benefit of entering the park at sunrise is that you are able to see the sand dunes at their most picturesque, with the first light creating beautiful shadows on the imposing dunes. There will be a chance to stop at the 170-metre-high dune 45, which you can climb to be rewarded with a panoramic view of the surrounding desert. Depending on fitness levels, it takes around an hour to get to the top. Whether or not you climb is also dependent on factors such as the size of your group and climate. Once you reach the end of the 60km paved road, you switch to a park-operated vehicle for the final five kilometres. This takes you on a sandy track to visit Deadvlei, a large, ghostly expanse of dried white clay, punctuated by skeletons of ancient camelthorn trees. For the more adventurous, and if time allows, there is a chance to climb the tallest dune in the Sossusvlei area, the appropriately named Big Daddy, at a staggering 325 metres. Due to the extreme heat, the climb can be very demanding and you may choose to climb part of it, or not do it at all. On the drive back, keep an eye out for oryx and other desert wildlife. The final stop will be at Sesriem, a 30-metre-deep canyon which is one of the few places in the area that holds water, carved into the rock by the Tsauchab River. From here you will return to your hotel, with the afternoon free to relax.

Day 6 (Monday) - Drive to Swakopmund on the coast, via Solitaire
Breakfast at the lodge.

Leave early for a 400-kilometre drive to Swakopmund. It is a scenic but bumpy journey on gravel roads, taking around five hours. Make a pitstop at Solitaire, a welcoming settlement named due to its remote location in the middle of the desert, where you can enjoy a snack at the German bakery. Depending on timing you stop for lunch in Walvis Bay or Swakopmund, and also visit the lagoon where you may see large flocks of flamingos gathering from October to April. Arrive in Swakopmund where you'll have the rest of the afternoon free to relax. With palm-lined streets, seaside promenades and half-timbered German architecture, Swakopmund still manages to create a feel of timelessness and has the ambience of a small German village.

Day 7 (Tuesday) - Free day in Swakopmund or take the optional Catamaran excursion
Breakfast at the hotel.

Today is a free day to explore Swakopmund. If you choose to take the optional Catamaran excursion you will spend the morning looking for dolphins, whales, turtles, seals and pelicans whilst aboard a catamaran, with fresh oysters and sparkling wine served as you cruise past iconic landmarks such as Pelican Point.

Day 8 (Wednesday) - Drive to Damaraland, stopping enroute to visit the Twyfelfontein rock art
Breakfast and dinner.

Today is the longest drive of the trip (around 500km) as you make your way to Palmwag Lodge in Damaraland, situated halfway between Swakopmund and Etosha National Park. Around 80% of this full day journey is on a bumpy gravel road, however, the ever-changing scenery is beautiful, with a wide range of landscapes to admire along the way. The day starts early by heading north along the Skeleton Coast, whose name derives from the bones that lined the beaches following whaling operations and seal hunts. Along the coast you will pass a shipwreck and Henties Bay where you will have your final chance to stock up on food before entering the remote and wild Damaraland. The landscape changes as you turn inland and pass through mountains and rugged scenery. The next stop is at Twyfelfontein, a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating back 6000 years and home to one of the largest concentrations of petroglyphs in Africa. The site includes engravings of rhino, ostrich, elephant as well as human figures and footprints. It forms an extensive record of ritual practices relating to the hunter-gather communities in southern Africa. After learning about the art on a one-hour tour, you continue to Palmwag, the ideal base from which to appreciate this wild and off-the-beaten-track region.

Day 9 (Thursday) - Free day in Damaraland or take the optional Rhino Tracking or Game Drive excursions
Breakfast and dinner.

You can spend the day at leisure or take one of the optional excursions. The Rhino Tracking excursion starts early with breakfast at 5:30am before heading into the vast areas of Damaraland with a qualified guide and tracker, to search for these amazing creatures. The excursion is done with an open game drive vehicle and the actual tracking is done on foot, so can be quite strenuous in the heat. If you would prefer something a bit more gentle then you can take the Palmwag Game Drive excursion which goes into the concession in search of lion, elephant, rhino, giraffe and zebra. It may also be possible to do an afternoon game drive - please contact us for further details.

Day 10 (Friday) - Drive to Etosha National Park and enjoy an afternoon game drive if time allows
Breakfast at the lodge.

Leave the lodge early for a drive of around five hours (around 300km) to Etosha National Park. The road is two thirds paved and one third gravel. Arrive at Etosha in time for a late lunch at the lodge, then, in the afternoon head into the national park for a game drive in the tour vehicle. The national park is home to a variety of wildlife including lion, giraffe, elephant, white and black rhino. Your guide will take you to the various waterholes to see these animals gather, before heading back to the lodge for the evening.

Day 11 (Saturday) - Full day game drive crossing Etosha National Park
Breakfast at the lodge.

Spend the full day crossing Etosha National Park in the tour vehicle, mostly on a gravel track. As you cross the park, your driver will stop at waterholes so you can get as close as possible to the wildlife. If you are lucky, you may see zebra, elephant, lion, rhino, antelope and prolific birdlife. The pan itself contains water only after very good rains and sometimes for only a few days each year, but is enough to stimulate the growth of a blue-green algae which can lure thousands of flamingos if you are lucky. Stop for a couple of hours in the centre of the park for lunch (not included) at Camp Halali where there is a watering hole which sometimes attracts animals. Then, head east and continue exploring Etosha National Park before leaving the park and checking in at your lodge for the evening.

Day 12 (Sunday) - Game drive in Etosha with optional upgrade to an open safari vehicle
Breakfast at the lodge.

Today you can choose to either spend the day at leisure at the lodge, or go back into the park in the tour vehicle for another day of game viewing. Alternatively, there is an optional Open Vehicle Game Drive in the morning which gives a more classic safari experience as you will be in an open safari vehicle rather than the usual tour vehicle. When on safari in an open sided 4x4 vehicle, there is nothing between you and the wilderness. Sounds and smells can be picked up more easily, and you will have better photography opportunities as you follow the animals around. There is also the opportunity to do an afternoon game drive - please speak to us for further details.

Day 13 (Monday) - Drive to Windhoek via Okahandja craft market
Breakfast at the lodge.

The drive back south to Windhoek will take around seven or eight hours, on a paved road. Stop en route at Okahandja's craft market where woodcarvers from all over come to sell a variety of wooden carvings including animals, bowls, jewellery and curios. This is a great place to buy biltong, a classic snack in Southern Africa consisting of dried, cured meat. The evening is free to explore Windhoek.

Day 14 (Tuesday) - Final day in Windhoek, fly overnight to the UK
Breakfast at the hotel. Meal included on the international flight.

Depending on your flight time, perhaps spend your last day shopping for souvenirs or relax before your flight. Transfer to the airport for your return overnight flight to the UK.

Day 15 (Wednesday) - Arrival in the UK

Your flight arrives in the UK.


Date of Departure & Approximate Holiday Prices

Prices are in £ per person
March, 2020 - £3099
April, 2020 - £3199
May, 2020 - £3249
July, 2020 - £3499
August, 2020 - £3499
September, 2020 - £3399
October, 2020 - £3349
November, 2020 - £3199

Single Supplement - £450
Full Excursion Package from £159, please visit our website or contact us for more details

Please visit our website or contact us for more details.



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