• Namib Desert • Walvis Bay • Damaraland • Etosha National Park
Climb some of the world's highest sand dunes and discover Namibia's wide open spaces on an excellent network of gravel and tar roads with all the back up and support you could need. Track desert-adapted elephants on ephemeral riverbeds in Damaraland and enjoy game viewing in an underground hide overlooking a waterhole on a private game reserve. You'll also embark on exciting game drives within Etosha National Park, visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Twyfelfontein, and to finish, explore the world renowned Big Cat research centre run by the AfriCat Foundation.
Day 1: Windhoek After landing at Windhoek International (Hosea Kutako) Airport, located 40 km outside Windhoek, you will be met by a representative of Ultimate Safaris. You will then be transferred by road into Windhoek and to your guest house, the Galton House. You will also be provided with everything you will need for your self-drive safari; from your accommodation vouchers to a map marked with your route and a full safari briefing. At the guest house you will also receive your rental vehicle with a full briefing. Dinner this evening is for your own account to give you the option to either dine at Galton's in-house restaurant, or out at one of the restaurants in town.
Day 2: Windhoek > Sossusvlei After breakfast you depart Windhoek in your rental vehicle and drive onwards to arrive at Hoodia Desert Lodge, where you will stay for two nights whilst you explore the remarkable sights of the Namib Desert. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure at Hoodia Desert Lodge to enjoy your scenic desert surroundings and relax by the pool. Lunch on arrival is included for you. At optional extra you can select to join a guided sundowner drive with Hoodia on their property.
Hoodia Desert Lodge lies nestled on the banks of the Tsauchab River, overlooked by the impressive Naukluft Mountains. The lodge offers comfortable accommodation in tented, thatched bungalows equipped with a private open-air bathroom, air-conditioning, minibar, tea / coffee station and a shaded balcony. The lodge restaurant serves excellent traditional and international cuisine accompanied by a wide selection of South African wines from the underground wine cellar. A wooden walkway leads you to a refreshing swimming pool sculpted into natural rock.
Day 3: Sossusvlei This morning you will rise early for a captivating guided Sossusvlei excursion as arranged with Hoodia Desert Lodge. You would enter the park at sunrise and capture the dunes whilst the light is soft and shadows accentuate the towering shapes and curves. This area boasts some of the highest free-standing sand dunes in the world and your guide will give you an insight on the formation of the Namib Desert and its myriad of fascinating creatures and plants that have adapted to survive these harsh environs. Once you have explored Sossusvlei, Deadvlei and surrounding dune fields to your heart's content you can enjoy a relaxed picnic in the shade of a camel thorn tree. You then return to Hoodia Desert Lodge in the early afternoon, with the rest of the afternoon at your leisure.
Day 4: Sossusvlei > Swakopmund Optional sunrise balloon flight before you depart for Swakopmund (not included).
The fascinating drive today takes you northwest through awesome and ever changing desert landscapes of the Namib Naukluft National Park, including the impressive Gaub and Kuiseb canyons. You will meet the coast at the port town of Walvis Bay, where you have the option to visit the lagoon to see the interesting mix of pelicans, flamingos and other sea-birds, before continuing north to Swakopmund where you can enjoy the pleasant seaside location and cooler coastal air. This afternoon you have the option to explore the shops, waterfront and craft market as appeals, before heading out for dinner at one of the popular restaurants in town.Dinner this evening is for your own account as there are a number of excellent restaurants to choose from.
We recommend that you avoid a stay in Swakopmund over a weekend, as most shops close by Saturday afternoon and only a select few open on a Sunday. However, restaurants will be open and tours will be on offer in the morning over weekends.
Day 5: Swakopmund Today is at your leisure to spend exploring Swakopmund, Walvis Bay and surrounding areas. You may like to climb the coastal dunes at Langstrand or Dune 7, explore Swakopmund's shops, cafe's, museums and waterfront, or partake in any of the adventure activities on offer such as sand-boarding, boat cruises, kayaking, and scenic flights (all at extra cost).
We recommend joining a morning dolphin and seal catamaran cruise on the Walvis Bay harbour and lagoon this morning, where you will see seals, pelicans, and flamingos amongst other marine life, and hopefully you will also see Heaviside and Bottlenose dolphins. Oysters and South African bubbly are served on board, along with other beverages and snacks.
Another option would be to explore the desert area by taking part in the fascinating and informative "Living Desert Tour". This Desert Tour concentrates on exploring the local dune belt between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund, taking special care not to damage the gravel plains and cause any unnecessary damage to the dune eco-system. Also highly recommended is a half or full day excursion into Sandwich Harbour, the most important wetlands and feeding area on the west coast of Southern Africa for many migratory birds.
Day 6: Swakopmund > Damaraland Today you continue your self-drive journey, passing Namibia's highest mountain, the Brandberg which peaks at 2,573 m above sea level, and take time to view game and absorb the vastness of the scenery along the way. Damaraland is typified by displays of colour, magnificent table topped mountains, rock formations and bizarre-looking vegetation. The present day landscape has been formed by the erosion of wind, water and geological forces which have formed rolling hills, dunes, gravel plains and ancient river terraces. It is the variety and loneliness of the area as well as the scenic splendour which will reward and astound you, giving one an authentic understanding of the word 'wilderness'.
You arrive at Onduli Ridge where you are staying for the next two nights. If you arrive on time, you can join a scheduled afternoon activity.
Onduli Ridge, named after the resident giraffe of the area, is built at the base of two south facing granite outcrops, offering magnificent views of Namibia's highest mountain, the Brandberg, to the south and the dispersed cathedral-like granite inselbergs to the north. The six suites are hidden amongst the granite boulders that nestle the camp and the more temperate climate of central Damaraland allows for naturally ventilated suites, partial open-air bathrooms and largely open communal areas. The camp is designed to maximise the views of this most extraordinary landscape and every space becomes a viewpoint whether from the bed, the desk or the bathroom. Louvered shutters can be opened completely, blurring the lines between the indoors and nature, or closed for complete privacy if required. A king size bed cooled by its own 'climate conditioner' (Evening Breeze) is also the perfect place for afternoon siestas and the bed can be rolled out onto your private deck for a night under a billion stars as required.
The camp exudes character and meticulous attention to detail meeting all requirements, from large rooms to libraries, rain showers, infinity pool and plenty of places to laze. Food to tantalize the palate after enjoying exceptional activities combines a genuinely unforgettable stay with exceptional quality while blending effortlessly into the natural surroundings.
Day 7: Damaraland After an early breakfast you will be treated to an exciting 4x4 excursion along the ephemeral river valleys to explore this remarkable region and to search for game, including the elusive desert adapted elephants if they are in the area. Damaraland is home to a variety of desert adapted wildlife and hidden desert treasures. As the elephants are mostly active in the mornings you will normally have the best chance to see them then before returning to camp for lunch. However, you also have the option to take a picnic lunch and stop to enjoy that in the shade of a large Ana tree by the riverbed, ideally while watching a herd of elephant browsing nearby.
Your guide will arrange to fit in a visit to Twyfelfontein and other nearby attractions at a suitable time if you haven't already done so the previous day. On return to camp there should be time to take a walk into the local area with your guide if desired, or simply relax and enjoy some well-deserved leisure time.
Day 8: Damaraland > Southern Etosha Today you drive to Ongava Lodge which boasts a very productive floodlit waterhole, renowned to be very lively during the day and at night.
Ongava Lodge is situated on the slopes of a rocky outcrop within the private 30,000 hectare Ongava Game Reserve, which shares a common border with Etosha. The lodge offers guests the full Etosha experience whilst providing superb accommodation and service, as well as night drives and nature walks on the reserve. Guests are accommodated in luxury air-conditioned thatched chalets with private veranda, all with en-suite bathroom. The main lounge, dining and pool area is situated on the foothills of the Ondundozonanandana Range, overlooking a floodlit waterhole and a vast plain.
The Ongava Game Reserve is effectively a private game reserve, spanning 30,000 hectares along the south-west border of Etosha National Park. The reserve is home to a wide variety of game including lion, leopard, giraffe, rhino, Hartmann's mountain zebra, gemsbok (oryx), kudu, steenbok and much more. The scenery is attractive with large open plains blending into Mopane tree woodlands and dolomite outcrops.
Day 9: Southern Etosha > Eastern Etosha Today you enter the Etosha National Park (gates open sunrise) and explore and stop over at the various waterholes in the hope of experiencing some exciting wildlife sightings. You can have lunch (own expense) at any of the rest camps inside the park. After your arrival at Onguma Tented Camp, the rest of the day is spent at your leisure.
Onguma Tented Camp has seven luxury en suite tents, each overlooking the nearby waterhole. The main complex, also overlooking the waterhole, includes a reception area, lounge, wine cellar, bar, dining room, and swimming pool. Onguma Tented Camp is exquisitely styled for the more exclusive safari experience. Zebra, giraffe, lion, a variety of antelope and superb birdlife will accompany you during your stay.
Etosha National Park covers 22,270 square km, of which approximately 5,000 square km is made up of saline depressions or 'pans'. The largest of these pans, the Etosha Pan, can be classified as a saline desert in its own right. The Etosha Pan lies in the Owambo Basin, on the north-western edge of the Namibian Kalahari Desert. Until three million years ago it formed part of huge, shallow lake that was reduced to a complex of salt pans when the major river that fed it, the Kunene, changed course and began to flow to the Atlantic instead. If the lake existed today, it would be the third largest in the world. Etosha is the largest of the pans at 4,760 square km in extent. It is nowadays filled with water only when sufficient rain falls to the north in Angola, inducing floods to flow southward along the Cuvelai drainage system. The Park consists of grassland, woodland and savannah. Game-viewing centers on the numerous springs and waterholes where several different species can often be seen at one time. The Park boasts some 114 mammal and over 340 bird species. Wildlife that one might see includes elephant, lion, giraffe, blue wildebeest, eland, kudu, gemsbok (oryx), zebra, rhino, cheetah, leopard, hyena, honey badger and warthog, as well as the endemic black faced impala.
Onguma Game Reserve is situated on the eastern side of Etosha and borders Fisher's Pan. Onguma Game Reserve has more than 20,000 hectares of protected land and wildlife. The nature reserve boasts over 30 different animal species consisting of plains game including kudu, giraffe, eland, oryx, hartebeest, zebra, impala and many more roam freely, as well as predators such as lion, cheetah and leopard, being common residents of the area. Onguma Game Reserve is now also proud to be home to a family of black rhinos! More than 300 bird species can also be viewed at Onguma Nature Reserve.
Day 10: Etosha National Park Today is available for you to have time to relax in lovely comfortable surroundings while still giving time to be spent game viewing in the National Park as much as appeals in your own rental vehicle, within park regulations. Onguma also offers a choice of additional activities you can book and pay direct, including a sundowner drive on the Onguma Reserve.
Day 11: Etosha National Park > Okonjima After breakfast you will depart for Okonjima, located at the base of the Omboroko Mountains near Waterberg. Arrive at Okonjima Bush Camp in time for lunch. Here you can enjoy superb accommodation and fantastic activities; starting with a guided afternoon excursion.
Okonjima Bush Camp is situated at the edge of a wilderness area in the Omboroko Mountains, about three hours' drive north from Windhoek. Accommodation here consists of nine charming thatched African Chalets. Each exclusive chalet enjoys complete privacy and is a unique combination of glass glass panels and canvas windows that can be completely opened for unrestricted views of the savannah that offers a truly magical African bush experience. All meals are taken at the cosy main Lapa area shaped like a camelthorn pod, which is also where all activities begin. Okonjima has an education and research centre and you will have the opportunity to learn about the AfriCat Foundation which is perfectly situated to conduct ecological research focusing on a variety of rare and endangered species. There are interesting guided walking trails on offer, and bird watching is also a popular activity as over 300 bird species have been identified here.
Day 12: Okonjima A full day of wonderful activities as offered by Okonjima. You will rise early and have tea/coffee and a snack before departing on the morning guided activity. Return to camp for a hearty brunch with time to relax and enjoy your peaceful bush surroundings until the afternoon guided activity commences.
Day 13: Okonjima > Windhoek Rise early this morning for another memorable guided activity before you return to Bush Camp for a sumptuous breakfast. After freshening up you will depart for Windhoek in the late morning, via the town of Okahandja, to arrive back in Windhoek in the mid afternoon. If time allows, you will have the option to visit the Woodcarvers Craft Market in Okahandja for some last minute curio shopping before continuing on to Windhoek. Upon your arrival in Windhoek you return your rental vehicle, in time for your ongoing international flight back home.
• Tailor-made self-drive journey • 12 nights' accommodation • Rental vehicle based on 4x4 with reduced excess insurance cover • Meet and assist with rental car and itinerary • Some excursions and safaris as included by lodges/camps • Maps • 12 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 9 dinners
Pricing (per person) $NZD
Departs Daily between Jan - Oct
Daily between Jan - Oct
Booking conditions • Departures require a minimum of two people traveling together
• Single cost is based on travelling together with others
• Expect an average of 5-7 hours per journey on travelling days
• Please request a quote for Nov/Dec and cross-season itineraries
• Departures require a minimum of two people traveling together • Single cost is based on travelling together with others • Expect an average of 5-7 hours per journey on travelling days • Please request a quote for Nov/Dec and cross-season itineraries