The tour starts at the Arebbusch Lodge in Windhoek. Those on group flights will be picked up at the airport and we will drive into town for an hour or so. In town everyone will have a chance to change money and pick up any supplies they may need; this is also an opportunity for our guides to buy fresh food. We will then drive to our lodge. The afternoon can be spent exploring or relaxing.
Today we head southwest through the spectacular scenery of the Namib-Naukluft Park to Sesriem. This national park, one of the largest in the world, is home to one of the driest and oldest deserts on earth. It contains the finest desert scenery in Africa, if not in the world, with towering jagged rock formations and an incredible lunar landscape, so be prepared for some great photo stops.
Today we spend all day in the Namib Desert. Rising early we catch the tallest sand dunes in the world in the best light and have the opportunity to climb one of the dunes as the sun rises, truly one of Africa's greatest sights. We can either walk to Hiddenvlei or catch a transfer (optional extra) to Deadvlei where ancient acacia trees in the desert form an eerie scene. If we're lucky we may see gemsbok or ostrich among the sand dunes. In the afternoon we visit Sesriem Canyon before continuing onto our camp an hour away.
A long but very scenic drive through the Namib-Naukluft Park to Swakopmund. En route we visit Walvis Bay for lunch and to see local flamingos. Swakopmund is a small German colonial resort town with quaint cake shops and coffee houses and a centre for adrenaline activities.
Today is a free day to enjoy one of the many optional activities on offer in and around town. At sea you can go deep-sea fishing and dolphin watching, in the desert you can go sand-boarding and quad-biking and in the sky you can fly over the skeleton coast or even go sky-diving! Or if none of these appeal you can spend the day enjoying the fantastic Viennese style cakes, walk along the beach or in the nearby dunes or just enjoy watching the world go-by in this town which seems strangely out of place in Africa
After a relaxing start we leave the cool breeze of the Atlantic Ocean behind and head inland towards Namibia's highest mountain, Brandberg, in Damaraland. The Damaraland area is famous for the desert elephants which roam in the Ugab River. Star gazing is normally spectacular from this remote area.
This morning we drive to Twyfelfontein to view the highest density of Bushmen (San) engravings in Southern Africa. We then take a scenic drive to the Petrified Forest (260 million years old) to see how the wood has been metamorphasised into stone. We spend the night at a community run campsite, and therefore all fees go straight to the local community.
Today is spent with a scenic drive to Etosha. We should arrive at Etosha in time for a late afternoon game drive before camping at Okaukuejo, which has an excellent waterhole for viewing game at night. Our itinerary allows plenty of time to really enjoy this fabulous game park.
Day 10 - 11
Etosha is a huge park of mixed forest and grassland centred around a large salt pan. Etosha is home to a great variety and number of game, which is easy to find as the animals congregate at different times around the waterholes. There are waterholes next to the excellent campsites, and it is not uncommon for us to spend all night watching a gala performance of animals: wildebeest, zebra, impala, springbuck, kudu, elephant, giraffe, lion and even rhino are all common sights here. Take plenty of camera memory and lots of patience and you will be rewarded by one of the greatest game spectacles in Southern Africa. Etosha is also a good place for birds, with plenty of water birds on the lakes (when filled with water), and weaverbirds and hornbills in the trees. While in Etosha we move from Okaukuejo to either Halali or Namatoni rest camps. These camps now offer optional night drives which you can book and pay for on arrival.
We leave Etosha and arrive at the Cheetah Conservation Centre in time for cheetah feeding. You will have the chance to meet the local residents, cheetahs who cannot be released back into the wild, and visit the education centre and museum. We then drive to Otjiwarongwe for the night.
This morning we drive to the Waterberg Plateau, a 200 metre high gigantic flat topped plateau with bushveld on top, which is one of the more fertile areas in Namibia and very colourful, especially after the rains. Here there are several walking trails, including one leading to a spectacular viewpoint near the top of the plateau for a great view. Optional 4x4 game drive.
A drive of three hours or so brings us back to Windhoek.