Elephants

Namibia 4WD Desert Safari Trip Notes

Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Private Group Adventures
Destinations:
Namibia
Programmes:
Wildlife
Trip Code:
WZP
Activity Level: Leisurely
Leisurely

You are healthy, enjoy the outdoors and want a relaxing trip. No experience is required.

15 Days Flight Inclusive
13 Days Land only
Ages: 16+

Trip Overview

Namibia’s northwest corner is one of the least populated areas on Earth and one of Southern Africa’s last true wildernesses. Here wildlife outnumbers people and we have the opportunity to look for a large variety of animals including Desert elephants, lions and the world’s largest population of free-ranging Black rhino. This is a trip that rewards a spirit of adventure and the willingness to explore the path less travelled, but the journey is made easier by the use of specially designed 4WD safari vehicles and the relative luxury of full service camping.

At a Glance

11 nights full-service camping and 1 night comfortable hotel

Travel by 4WD safari vehicle with window seat

Trip Highlights

  • Explore a vast wilderness home to Desert elephant, lion and Black rhino
  • Spend two days in the private Palmwag Concession with, amongst others, over 100 lion, cheetah, leopard and hyena
  • Marvel at nature's theatre around Etosha's water-holes Stylish, full service wild camping

Is This Trip for You?

This trip visits some remote areas with limited infrastructure but we bring along everything we need to be fully self‐sufficient, including solar showers and wash‐basins. The camping is comfortable, full service camping where everything is set up for you and delicious meals are cooked by our team (see Accommodation and Food section for more details).

There are some long drives on dirt roads, though these are through stunning landscapes as well as on game drives. We also keep the maximum group size relatively small to ensure that everyone can get a window seat and to improve the comfort of the journeys.

There may also be a few fairly short walks to see wildlife. Given the nature of the region visited, this may be over uneven terrain.

This is a trip for anyone who is ready to get away from the normal tourist trail and explore a remote but fascinating part of Southern Africa and view some magnificent wildlife. A virtually un‐inhabited area of dramatic beauty where age‐old tribes eke out a nomadic existence and wildlife roams freely outside of national parks.

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Adult min age:
16
Min group size:
4
Max group size:
9

Itinerary

WZP Map

Land Only Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Windhoek.

    The group flight arrives in Windhoek and rest of the day is free to relax or explore town. There will be a briefing this evening about the rest of the trip.
    Hotel Safari or similar

  • Day 2

    Drive to Spitzkoppe.

    This morning we drive to Spitzkoppe Camp. The afternoon is free to explore this mountain oasis on a number of self-guided trails. The drive is approximately 4 hours.
    Spitzkoppe Camp or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 3

    Visit Twyfelfontein San Bushman Engravings.

    Heading in a northwesterly direction we'll make our way through Damaraland's varied landscape of stark plains, petrified forests and ancient valleys to the rocky outcrops of Twyfelfontein. This area has the highest concentration of San Bushman engravings in Africa, some dating up to 6,000 years. We have the opportunity to explore the area on foot and see some of these San Bushman engravings.
    Twyfelfontein Wild Camping

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Days 4-5

    Visit the Palmwag Concession to search for Desert elephants and Black rhinos.

    Continuing on our journey, we will spend the next two days in the Palmwag Concession. There are few places on Earth that offer such a great opportunity for wildlife viewing but with none of the crowds that can be found at the better known safari destinations. This 5,000km2 private desert reserve has a number of springs which support a healthy wildlife population. This includes Desert elephants, the second largest population of predators in Namibia after Etosha National Park (including lion, cheetah, leopard and hyena), Hartmann's gazelle, zebra, giraffe, oryx, springbok, kudu and about 70% of the world's free ranging Black rhinos. The concession is also home to most of the country's endemic bird species as well as diverse vegetation.

    The two days here will be spent tracking wildlife and visiting various hidden springs.
    Palmwag Concession Wild Camping

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Days 6-7

    Transfer to Hoanib River; game drives

    We have a final hike within the Palmwag Concession to see what activities the wildlife may have been up to overnight before continuing our journey to the Hoanib River, where we will spend the next two nights. This dry riverbed is densely overgrown with nutritious acacia trees, a favourite food of Desert elephant, and we have good chances of seeing breeding herds of these giant creatures over the next game drives. The exact schedule over these two days will be decided by the tour leader and is dependant on the weather.
    Hoanib River Wild Camping

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 8

    Drive towards the narrow Khowarib Gorge.

    Today we travel via Sesfontein to the Khowarib Gorge, a narrow gorge on the dry Hoanib River and home to a few Damara and Herero families. On the way we visit a local Himba village. The Himba are a nomadic people who move with their cattle to graze new lands. They are very traditional and still wear few clothes other than a loin-cloth and covering their bodies in a mixture of red-ochre and fat giving their skin a distinctive colour.
    Grootberg Lodge or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 9

    Etosha National Park

    Leaving the Khowarib area behind we travel via the Grootberg Pass to Kamanjab and further on a tarred road towards Etosha National Park. We arrive at Okaukuejo Rest camp, within the park, in the afternoon. Etosha National Park is centred around the Etosha Pan, a vast, dry depression. Springs feed water-holes where wildlife abounds. This evening we can sit by the flood-lit waterhole at the restcamp and watch the natural theatre unfold before us.
    Okaukuejo Camp or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 10

    Etosha National Park and Onguma Game Reserve

    We spend much of the day on game drives as we travel across the national park via Halali Camp and Namutoni towards Onguma Game Reserve. This reserve is on the eastern edge of Etosha National Park and covers 20,000 hectares of land. It is home to over 30 mammal species and numerous bird species.
    Onguma Game Reserve Camp or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 11

    Explore Etosha N.P., famous for its watering holes and wildlife.

    We spend another day exploring Etosha National Park looking for lions, elephants, giraffes, rhinos, and various other animals which call this part of the world home.
    Onguma Game Reserve Camp or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 12

    Visit Waterberg Plateau, renowned for its birdlife.

    Leaving Etosha and Onguna, we head towards the Waterberg Plateau. This plateau is home to over 200 species of birds including Black eagles and the only breeding colony of Cape vultures in Namibia. There are several short self-guided walks through the plateau's beautiful scenery and even a couple of longer hikes for those feeling more energetic.
    Waterberg Camp or similar

    Meals included:
    Breakfast,
    Lunch,
    Dinner
  • Day 13

    To Windhoek; end.

    We take our final drive towards Windhoek in time to catch our flight this afternoon.

    Please note: Clients must not book flights leaving before the group flights (typically 3pm).

    Meals included:
    Breakfast

Post-trip Extensions

Swakopmund

You may choose to extend your time in Namibia by visiting the popular colonial town of Swakopmund. With Germanic architecture and German being as widely spoken here as Afrikaans and English, Swakopmund feels like a world away from Northern Namibia. The town is full of coffee shops with delicious cakes and great people watching but it is also worth coming here for the wide variety of activities on offer such as quad‐biking and sky diving.

The extension includes a shuttle transfer from Windhoek to Swakopmund and back plus two nights' accommodation in a lovely guesthouse in the centre of town on a bed and breakfast basis as well as a living desert tour.

Please ask for prices.

 

Extension Day 1

Pick up from Windhoek after lunch and drive to Swakopmund.

Meals included: Breakfast

 

Extension Day 2

Transfer into the desert outside of Swakopmund for a living desert tour.

Meals included: Breakfast

 

Extension Day 3

Morning transfer back to Windhoek.

Meals included: Breakfast

 

Some of the many activities on offer include (please note prices are indications only):

Quad‐biking from N$ 450

Flight over Sossousvlei from N$ 4000 (depending on number of participants)

Township Tour N$ 500

Desert Night walk N$ 500

Sandboarding:

Lay Down N$ 400

Stand up N$ 500

Accommodation

Camping & Hotel

11 nights full service camping and 1 night comfortable hotel. Some of the camping will be wild camping but we bring everything we need to be fully self-sufficient. The tents are comfortable dome tents (2.6m x 2.6m x 1.8m), sleeping is on fold-up camp beds with mattresses, linen, cushions and duvets and there is a bedside table and electric(battery operated) lantern. We will also have solar bucket showers and long-drop bush toilets as well as canvas wash-basins.

Single accommodation (available on request).

Where a single supplement is available, paying for a single will only guarantee a room for single use. It does not necessarily mean a twin or double room will be provided for sole occupancy.

Please note that a member of the group may be allocated a single room by default if the make-up of the group means there isn’t anyone for them to share with. Paying the supplement in advance is the only way to guarantee a single room.

Single supplements cannot be refunded retrospectively.

Single supplement from £250.00

Food & Transport

Eating & Drinking

13 breakfasts, 11 lunches and 11 dinners.

Whilst camping we will be treated to three wholesome meals a day sat around a table prepared by our camp staff. Breakfast is 'full English' style, lunch is comprised of cold meats, cheese, salad, pickles, vegetables and fruit and dinner is a tasty warm meal cooked over the fire. Drinking water is provided throughout the trip.

Transportation

We use specially designed 4WD safari vehicles (either Landrovers or Toyota Landcruisers). Vehicles have large sliding windows and every passenger has a window seat to maximise wildlife viewing. One of the window seats is in the front with the driver and the group are expected to rotate seats every day.

Weather & Seasonality

When to go

Namibia is in the Southern Hemisphere, therefore essentially has the opposite seasonality to the UK. The summer months of June, July and August, whilst clear and warm during the day, can drop down to single figures and even freezing at night. Between September and May it is considerably warmer with the time between October and March being the hottest, getting up to the high 30s (degC). However it is always a dry heat and the temperature does drop at night. The wet season is between November and February, but this is not a bad time to go as the desert blooms after rainfall, there is plenty of birdlife to see and, it never rains for very long.

Weather Information

Namibia is in the Southern Hemisphere, therefore essentially has the opposite seasonality to the UK. The summer months of June, July and August, whilst clear and warm during the day, can drop down to single figures and even freezing at night. Between September and May it is considerably warmer with the time between October and March being the hottest, getting up to the high 30sºC. However it is always a dry heat and the temperature does drop at night. The wet season is between November and February, but this is not a bad time to go as the desert blooms after rainfall, there is plenty of birdlife to see and, it never rains for very long.

Weather Charts

Windhoek

Joining Instructions

Travelling flight inclusive from London: 15 Days

The group flight from London is an overnight flight departing the day before Day 1 of the itinerary.

Flights from London

We normally use the scheduled services of South African Airways or British Airways or Virgin Atlantic (depending on availability). As flight timings and schedules change regularly we recommend you call one of our specialist sales staff or your agent to confirm up‐ to‐date timings. Please note timings may change at a later date and cannot be confirmed until approximately two weeks before departure.

Travelling land only: 13 days starting and ending in Windhoek

Your trip normally starts at our accommodation in Windhoek in the afternoon of Day 1 of the itinerary. Details of how to reach the start point are provided in the Final Joining Instructions ‐ sent approximately two weeks before departure.

In the unlikely event of any of your luggage being misplaced or damaged, a Property Irregularity Report (PIR) must be filed with the appropriate airline if you subsequently wish to make a claim against the airline or on your travel insurance. This must be done at the airport where your baggage arrived, or should have arrived.

Regional Flights

The Flight Inclusive price is based on a London departure, but we are happy to tailor this to your local or regional airport. Please ask about flights from local or regional airports.

If booking regional flights other than with Exodus, you must allow a minimum connecting time (in addition to the international check-in time) of 1 hour at Gatwick, and 1.5 hours at Heathrow; this is longer than the official minimum, but baggage handling is known to be subject to delays.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Transfers Details

Airport transfers are included for those on the group flights. Please note that transfers are not included for clients arriving on any other flight, even if Exodus has booked it.

If you require airport transfers, you may (by prior arrangement only) be able to join the group transfer. Transfers are arranged to coincide with the arrival time of the group flight - please check the group flight details 2 weeks before departure. If you do not take this transfer, or miss it, you must make your own way to the joining point at your own expense.

If you would like us to organise a private transfer, the cost is $50
per person with a minimum of two people, and is payable before departure. Please ensure that you
provide us with all relevant information at least 2 weeks before departure.

The land‐only portion of this trip starts from Windhoek Airport, if you arrive in Windhoek early you will be picked up at the pre‐tour hotel after the rest of the group has been picked up from the airport and en route to the tour's first destination.

Location start:
Windhoek
Location end:
Windhoek

What to Take

Essential Equipment

Warm and cold weather clothes
Sun hat
Sun glasses
Sun cream
Swim-wear
Torch/flash light
Wet wipes
Trainers or walking shoes for walks in Twyfelfontein and the Waterberg Plateau


You do not need to bring towels as these will be provided.


Please note that even when day-time temperatures are pleasant and warm, night time temperatures can drop significantly and it can get very cold after dark so make sure to bring warm clothes.


Plastic bottles are a big issue in many countries where recycling isn't yet widely available; they often end up in landfill sites or get burnt, both processes are harmful to the environment and we would like to reduce our impact here. For your trip we have decided to include drinking water in order to reduce the amount of plastic used. This means that safe filtered drinking water will be available throughout. You will be provided with a bottle on day 1 of the tour so there shouldn’t be a need for you to buy water in small plastic bottles.


If while packing you find a spare bit of space in your bag please be sure to check out our partner EHRA's website:
http://www.desertelephant.org/elephant-conservation-volunteer/elephant-e...

The following items would be welcomed by local schools (your tour leader can assist with donating the items):
socks
pencils
pens
notebooks
bubbles, glitter and any fun games
clothes
blankets
footballs and pumps
books

 

Optional Equipment

Binnoculars
Camera equipment with plenty of battery/memory/film (there is an inverter in the vehicles to plug in battery chargers) and water/dust-protection bag for your camera

Practical Information

Passport

Namibia

All nationalities require a full passport that must be valid for 6 months beyond the intended length of stay. It is your responsibility to have the correct personal documents and to obtain your own visa, if one is necessary, in accordance with the regulations of the country you are to visit. The information below is primarily for UK passport holders, and other nationalities should check with their travel agent or the relevant embassies. We are not responsible for the actions of local immigration and customs officials, whether at points of entry or otherwise, and any subsequent effects.

Visa

Namibia

Visas for Namibia are not required for UK or Commonwealth passport holders. Other nationalities should check before travelling. Please ensure you have at least one full blank page in your passport (but we recommend three) and that it is valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into NamibiaBefore leaving the immigration desk in the airport arrivals hall, check that the duration of your stay has been noted correctly - we recommend adding a week to your duration in case of COVID-19 related issues.

If you are transiting through South Africa and are a non UK passport holder you may require a transit visa. Please check before travelling. Please note that if flying via South Africa you will probably have to pass immigration there.

Please note that new regulations relating to travel with children means that in addition to valid passports, parents travelling with children (under 18) should at all times carry the original or certified copy of the unabridged birth certificate (listing the child’s and both parents’ details).

Adults travelling with children where they are not the biological or legal guardians of those children, should be in possession of an affidavit statement from the child’s parents giving consent for their travel. If a child is travelling with only one parent, the other parent should give consent for travel in the form of an affidavit.

Visa regulations can change without notice: please check the current regulations in good time to obtain a visa if one is required.

Vaccination

Namibia

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements.

Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A.

Malaria prophylaxis is essential and we suggest that you seek advice from your GP or travel health clinic about which malaria tablets to take.

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad.

Bilharzia is known to occur in some of the lakes or rivers visited on this itinerary, we therefore advise all to take advice from your guide or leader locally before venturing for a swim.

As we are not qualified to answer all your questions about travel health we strongly recommend you contact your Medical Professional or a Travel Health Clinic at least 8 weeks prior to departure for up-to-date information. Please note: vaccinations that are routinely recommended to residents of the UK, North America or Australasia are not considered to form part of the travel health advice, and you should ensure these are kept up to date where necessary.

For additional information please visit: https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/countries

Insurance - are you adequately covered?

It is a condition of joining any of our holidays that you must be fully insured against medical and personal accident risks (to include repatriation costs and air ambulance or helicopter rescue services where appropriate). On arrival in destination for your trip, you will be asked to present details to your leader or local representative of your policy.

If you are resident in the UK we strongly recommend the Exodus travel insurance policy, this is specifically designed to cover all activities on your trip. If arranging your own policy please ensure that you are covered for all activities that are part of the trip, optional activities that you intend to take part in and/or on high altitude itineraries, that you are covered up to the maximum altitude of the trip.

Local Time

Namibia's Timezone:
Africa/Windhoek CAT (GMT +02:00)

Electricity

Namibia's Electricity:

220 Volts. Plug types D & M; establishments often take the large 3 round pin plugs as used in South Africa.

There is opportunity to charge electrical equipment at some of the places we stay. The vehicles are also fitted inverters which can be used to charge up to four items at the same time. These inverters have European style sockets.

Money

Namibia's Currency

The national currency of Namibia is the Namibian Dollar (NAD), with an exchange rate at the time of publication (July 2020) of approximately 21 to the GBP,  17 to the USD, 13 to the CAD, 19 to the EUR, 12 to the AUD and 11 to the NZD.

The Namibian Dollar is pegged to the South African Rand and both currencies are interchangeable in Namibia (though not in S. Africa). It is easier to obtain South African Rand than Namibian Dollars in your home country before travelling. You can also change GB£, US$ and Euros in Namibia.

ATM Availability

The Namibian dollar is tied to the South African Rand, and South African notes are widely accepted throughout Namibia. 

The best currency to bring along is South African Rand though you can also change Pounds Sterling as well as US Dollars. Cash machines are available in most sizable towns but it's best not to rely fully on these.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

You will need some spending money for meals on the first and last days of the trip, drinks (other than water) throughout the trip and souvenirs.

Tipping

Tipping is optional but given the level of service on this trip we recommend £3 (approx.US$5) a day for camp assistants and £6 (approx. US$10) a day for guides. Depending on group size there could be 1-2 guides in addition to a driver and a camp assistant.

Responsible Tourism

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Exodus Community

Join the Exodus online community

Don't forget to visit the Community area on our website. You can view the range of Exodus videos and podcasts, read trip write-ups which have featured in the national media and take advantage of some special deals on travel gear and equipment.

In the Community Travel Forum you'll find the Departure Lounge where you can discuss your trip with fellow travellers before you depart. When you get back from your holiday remember to upload your images to the relevant trip page on our website. This helps other people see what our holidays are really like and you'll be entered automatically into our monthly photo competition.

To make full use of the Community you'll need to join My Exodus. It's free, registration is simple and easy, so what are you waiting for?

Important Information

On all guided trips

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely partake in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity.

Although rarely enforced, by booking this trip you agree to section 14 of our Booking Conditions which clearly states that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these circumstances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred.

On all trips

In booking this trip you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability you should call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary.

 

Every time that you travel abroad you should take the time to read the warnings in the essential information in the brochure.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers, and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately 2 to 3 weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; in order to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, as stated in our brochure, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons - climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

As fuel prices, airport taxes and exchange rates fluctuate, and airlines manage their rates to match demand, it is proving harder than ever to guarantee our Flight Inclusive prices. Although we endeavour to keep our website as accurate as possible, daily fluctuations mean that our Flight Inclusive price may be out of date. For accurate prices we recommend that you contact one of our Travel Experts, or your Travel Agent.

This trip includes time by a lake, river or sea, where there may be opportunities to swim. Swimming results in more tourists deaths than any other activity. All customers should always seek local advice before deciding whether to swim, and are requested to treat the sea with extreme caution if they choose to enter the water. Details on how to keep yourself safe while swimming are shown here.

TRAVEL AWARE – STAY SAFE & HEALTHY ABROAD

 

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and the NHS have up-to-date advice on staying safe and healthy abroad. For more on security, local laws, plus passport and visa information, see https://travelaware.campaign.gov.uk/

Keep informed of current travel health news by visiting https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/

Advice can change so check regularly for updates.

For all latest travel information about your holiday, please visit our Travel Safety Advice page.

Important Notes

In line with our ‘book and travel with confidence’ promise which allows you to cancel free of charge up to 42 days prior to departure, or transfer to another trip free of charge up to 21 days prior to your trip starting in country, please be aware that this excludes ‘irrecoverable costs’. Details can be found here: https://www.exodus.co.uk/about-exodus/exodus-booking-conditions

For this trip the irrecoverable costs related to in-country operations are outlined below, if booking flight inclusive your sales agent will confirm the terms related to your international flights at the time of booking.

If cancellation occurs from 20 days up to 24 hours prior to departure:
Accommodation - £120 / US$156 / AU$228 / €132

Costs are accurate at time of writing in September 2020

If you need to cancel your trip because you or a member of your party is diagnosed with COVID-19 or has received a request from the Government to self-isolate, you will receive a full refund less these irrecoverable costs.

How to Book

1. Check availability

Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.

2. Secure your place

You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.

3. Complete your booking and payment

When you're ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque. Book with confidence: Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582 issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA ‐ The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all monies paid to us for your trip are fully protected.

TRIP NOTE VALIDITY

These Trip Notes are valid from the "Current as" date on page one. They will occasionally be updated post booking and pre-departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary bookers will be written to separately. All customers will also receive a link to the most up-to-date version of the Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions pre-travel.