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, enjoy a boat cruise with lunch in Walvis Bay looking for marine wildlife, 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 40km 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.
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 or scenic light aircraft flight over the Namib Naukluft National Park 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 the Mowani Mountain Camp where you are staying for the next two nights. If you arrive on time, you can join a scheduled afternoon activity to visit the nearby attractions and geological sites of the pre-historic Twyfelfontein rock engravings (recently declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site) - if not there is the option to do this tour the following afternoon.
Day 7: Damaraland Today you join on a scheduled morning activity, which departs after an early breakfast into the ephemeral Aba Huab River valley to explore this remarkable region and to search for game, especially 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. You will normally then return to camp for lunch and a well-deserved siesta and enjoy an afternoon activity as on offer at Mowani.
Day 8: Damaraland > Southern Etosha Today you continue on your self-drive safari to southern Etosha, arriving at Safarihoek lodge for an overnight,
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 (for own account) at any of the rest camps inside the park. After your arrival at Onguma Lodge, the rest of the day is spent at your leisure (very often this is welcomed since you have spent most of the day in the vehicle game driving in the park).
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 and freshening up you will depart for and make your way to Okonjima located at the base of the Omboroko Mountains near Waterberg. You will arrive at Okonjima Bush Camp in time for lunch. Here you can enjoy the welcoming atmosphere, superb accommodation and fantastic activities; starting with a guided afternoon excursion
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 You will 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.
• Self-drive journey • 12 nights' accommodation • Rental vehicle based on Ford Ranger 4x4 Double cab (or similar) • 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
Booking conditions Expect an average of 5 -7 hours per journey on travelling days. Single cost is based on travelling together with others. Price on application for Nov/Dec 2018 and cross-season itineraries.
Expect an average of 5 -7 hours per journey on travelling days. Single cost is based on travelling together with others. Price on application for Nov/Dec 2018 and cross-season itineraries.