For those on the group transfer, we spend an hour in the capital city to change money and collect supplies and then drive to the Arebbush Lodge on the outskirts of the city.
Today we head southwest through the spectacular scenery of the Namib-Naukluft Park to our first campsite at 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 incredible lunar landscapes.
Today we have a full day in the Namib Desert and get the opportunity to visit the Sossusvlei dunes, either on foot to Hiddenvlei or by taking a transfer to Deadvlei (optional). We get up early to watch the early morning light over the dunes and there is then time to climb some of the highest sand dunes in the world! Alternatively you can enjoy the changing colours on the towering dunes from lower down as the sun gets up. If we're lucky we may see gemsbok or ostrich among the dunes, an irresistibly photogenic scene! Whilst we are out the camp assistants will prepare our breakfast. We then drive for about an hour to our campsite. There is an optional night game drive on the farm after dinner to try and spot desert antelopes, bat eared fox and porcupines.
A long, but spectacular drive through Namib -Naukluft Park to Swakopmund, en route we will be visiting Walvis Bay to view the flamingos.
Today is spent in and around Swakopmund - a German colonial resort town. There is time to go fishing, relax on the beach, or enjoy a cream tea and a seafood dinner along the front. If you're keen for some action, there are enough options for the whole family - take an optional dolphin watching cruise, experience the thrill of quad biking over the sand dunes or try the popular new sport of sand boarding.
Today we drive towards the stark Skeleton Coast visiting the seal colony at Cape Cross. This gives us a wonderful opportunity to take some close up shots of the hundreds of Cape Fur seals frolicking and fishing in the nearby surf. We then continue inland to Brandberg.
We travel a further into Damaraland to Twyfelfontein. This rocky country is remarkable and makes for spectacular driving. It's here that we'll find ancient and well-preserved rock-paintings, as we take a walk among the most extensive collection of 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 metamorphosed into stone. From here we take a drive of about an hour to lodge in the town of Khorixas for the night.
The first day is spent with a scenic drive to Etosha. We should arrive in time to do a late afternoon game drive before setting up at our camp, 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 with a mix of forest and grassland surrounding a large saltpan. 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 near the camps, and it is not uncommon for us to spend many hours watching a gala performance of animals: wildebeest, zebra, impala, springbok, kudu, elephant, giraffe, lion and even rhino are all common sights here. Those with patience are frequently 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 and weaverbirds and hornbills in the trees. While in Etosha we move from Okakuejo to a camp in either Namutoni or Halali (they both have waterholes). These camps now offer optional night drives which you can book and pay for on arrival.
Today we visit the Cheetah Conservation Centre. The cheetah is the fastest animal on earth, capable of reaching speeds of 75mph and accelerating faster than most sports cars. Unfortunately the cheetah is also the most endangered big cat in Africa. You will have the chance to meet the local residents who cannot be released back into the wild, as well as visting the education centre and museum. We then drive to Otjiwarongwe.
This morning we drive to the Waterberg Plateau, a 200 metre high gigantic flat-topped plateau covered with bushveld. It 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.
A drive of three and a half hours or so brings us back to Windhoek. Those not travelling with the group to London will leave us during the day.