Namibia - Discover Untouched Africa!
Even by African standards, Namibia is vast—bigger than Texas—but with one of the lowest population densities in the world at just two million. But what Namibia lacks in population, it more than makes up for in sheer adventure, offering experiences that are impossible to have in other African nations. Where else can you track cheetah on foot, sea kayak with Cape fur seals, track desert-adapted elephant, interact with the last traditional nomadic people in Southern Africa, the Himba, and track the only population of desert black rhino still living in the wild? A timeless land rich in natural and human history, including stone-age rock art, a petrified forest more than 280 million years old, and unique wildlife adapted to survive its harsh deserts, Namibia is perhaps the most “out there” destination in all Africa. And we’ll show you the best of it, from exciting game tracking by vehicle and on foot to hiking the enormous sand dunes of Sossusvlei! Think you know Africa? Join us for this one-of-a-kind safari and see a very different side of this amazing continent.
Game tracking by vehicle and on foot, sea kayaking, hiking
- Climb some of the world's highest sand dunes at Sossusvlei
- Track leopard by vehicle and cheetah on foot at AfriCat Foundation
- Visiting an authentic Himba village and learn about their nomadic way of life
- Camp 'under canvas' in private camp at Damaraland
- Travel with one of Namibia's most respected naturalist guides throughout your journey
Duration: 13 days Start Location: Windhoek End Location: WindhoekDownload Detailed Itinerary
Day 1 : Arrival in Windhoek
You may arrive anytime at Windhoek's Hosea Kutako International airport (WDH) today, but please be sure to arrive before 6 p.m. so that you can participate in the first trip briefing over dinner with your guide at 7 p.m. An MTS representative will meet you at the airport and escort you to your hotel, the modern Galton House. Check in and freshen up before dinner, when you will meet your guide and the other members of the group.
Day 2 : AfriCat Foundation
This morning you will be collected at the hotel by your guide for the drive north of Windhoek heading towards Okonjima. If the group wishes, we can stop in Okahandja to visit the local craft market, though it is often best to leave any serious curio shopping until the end of the safari. We'll reach Okonjima in time for lunch. Okonjima is home to the AfriCat Foundation, a wildlife sanctuary dedicated to research and rehabilitation of Africa's big cats, especially injured or captured leopard and cheetah. Close encounters with leopard and cheetah are an unforgettable highlight. We'll start with a guided afternoon excursion to either track cheetah on foot or see leopard from the comfort of an open safari vehicle (whichever activity is not done today will be done tomorrow morning). After dinner, we'll take a night drive to a nearby hide where nocturnal animals such as porcupine, caracal, honey badger, and even leopard may be seen.
Day 3 : Drive to Etosha National Park
After our second AfriCat activity, we return to Okonjima Bush Camp for brunch before driving further north to the southern boundary of Etosha National Park. We should arrive in time to take a short evening game drive within Etosha park, leaving before sunset and arriving back at camp in time for dinner.
Etosha owes its unique landscape to the Etosha Pan, a vast shallow depression of approximately 1,930 square miles which forms the heart of the park. Once part of a large inland lake fed by rivers from the north and east, it dried up 120 million years ago as continental drift changed the slope of the land and the course of the tributaries. This white, chalky expanse colors the park, and with the waterholes creates the characteristic atmosphere of Etosha today. We'll spend two nights at Andersson's Camp, located in the Ongava Private Game Reserve bordering Etosha. The camp overlooks a waterhole where guests can enjoy the interaction of wildlife coming and going throughout the day and night.
Day 4 : Etosha National Park
Today will be a full day of game viewing in Etosha National Park, Namibia's premier wildlife destination. We can either do two game drives, one early and one afternoon with a return to the lodge at midday for lunch, or we can pack a picnic and spend the whole day in the park (majority vote will decide). Etosha National Park is typified by white calcrete soils, rocky outcrops, and scrub-covered plains which support a variety of game such as giraffe, zebra, lion, rhino, wildebeest, elephant, and various antelope species including oryx, kudus and the endemic black-faced impala. Night drives are not possible within Etosha National Park itself, but are possible in the private game reserve of Ongava, where our camp is located.
Andersson's Camp was named after Swedish explorer Charles Andersson -- one of the first Europeans to "discover" Etosha, Africa's largest saltpan. The resurrected former farmstead that stands on the site now forms the center of a charming camp fronting onto a productive waterhole. The 20 tented en suite units are raised on decks for an enhanced view of the waterhole and surrounding plains.
Day 5 : Damaraland
After breakfast, we'll make our west to Damaraland. This landscape is characterized by hills interspersed with valleys and dry riverbeds. Early morning fog brings precious water to flora and fauna, which have adapted superbly to the harsh environment. Despite its aridity, Damaraland supports a surprising diversity of wildlife, including a healthy number of desert-adapted elephant, as well as giraffe, gemsbok, springbok, the occasional cheetah, and black rhino. We'll stop for lunch under a shady tree out in the wilderness, then begin our search for a traditional Himba settlement, which may take some time as the Himba are a nomadic tribe and may move their cattle to better grazing areas without notice!
The Himba are cattle and goat herders, and are best known for the striking ochre they wear to protect their skin from the desert sun. Over the years, this resilient tribe has survived drought and war, and—with the help of international activists—successfully fought the damming of the Kunene River, which would have flooded their ancestral lands. Under the independent Namibian government, the Himba have mobile schools and control over wildlife and tourism in their nature conservancies. The remote, harsh desert environment has helped them maintain their pastoral lifestyle, and their population currently numbers between 20,000 and 50,000. Many Himba still wear traditional dress, consisting of animal-skin skirts and jewelry that includes coiled leather necklaces, copper bangles, and beaded anklets, and Himba women often sport elaborate braided hairdos.
Tonight we'll enjoy the first night in our rustic yet comfortable mobile camp.
Day 6 : Rhino Tracking
After an early breakfast, we'll set off with our guide and experienced local trackers to spend most of the day rhino tracking. Namibia is home to the larger of the two subspecies of the black rhinoceros found in southern Africa. The only population that remains in the wild—unhindered by fences and outside of reserves—these rhinos occupy an arid range in the western Kaokoveld. Their preferred habitat is the mountainous escarpment, but they follow ephemeral rivers into the northern Namib as well, especially when conditions are favorable after the rain. They are the only black rhino in Africa that are internationally recognized as a "desert group." Like desrt-adapted elephant, they cover great distances, walking and feeding at night, and resting during the day. Our trackers will look for tracks on the ground and teach us how to identify them. We'll have lunch in the field and return to camp in the late afternoon with some time to relax in the shade of the Mopane trees.
Our mobile camp is fully-serviced and equipped so you can simply relax and revel in the feeling of space and solitude that makes Namibia so special. We use large 10 by 10 foot igloo tents with built in groundsheets and mosquito screens. Each tent has robust light, a bedside table, and camp beds with mattress, duvet, pillows and sheets. Bathroom facilities are shared with flush toilets and running water in the showers. Our camps are all set up for you before you arrive and have their own chef who prepares delicious, wholesome 3-course meals using fresh produce whenever possible.
Day 7 : Damaraland
Today we head south to Camp Kipwe, situated in the heart of Damaraland. This area is known for its displays of color, magnificent table-topped mountains, rock formations and bizarre-looking vegetation. It is the variety and loneliness of the area as well as the scenic splendor which will reward and astound you. During the drive south, we'll explore by 4WD the ephemeral Aba Huab and Huab River valleys, in search of game, including desert-adapted elephants. Desert-adapted elephants in Kaokoland and the Namib walk further for water and fodder than any other elephant in Africa. The distances between waterholes and feeding ground can be as great as 42 miles. To meet their nutritional requirements they graze on no fewer than 74 of the 103 plant species that grow in their range. Lunch will be picnic-style in the bush, with a late afternoon arrival into our camp.
Day 8 : Twyfelfontein to Swakopmund
After an early breakfast, we'll head out to explore the nearby attractions and geological features of the Twyfelfontein rock engravings, Burnt Mountain, and the Organ Pipes. The petroglyphs at Twyfelfontein, recently named a World Heritage Site, are difficult to date accurately, but archaeologists believe they span a period of about 1,500 to 5,000 years ago. The artists were groups of San who walked the length of the country and recorded images from their journeys on massive sandstone cliffs in the area. The engravings lie along two circular routes; one is an hour's climb and the easier route takes about one hour and forty minutes. A rounded hill located just a few miles from Twyfelfontein, known as the Burnt Mountain, seems to catch fire at sunrise and sunset. This is due to a chemical reaction that took place roughly 125 million years ago when molten lava penetrated organic shale and limestone deposits, resulting in contact metamorphism. The Organ Pipes are another geological curiosity in the area consisting of a mass of perpendicular dolerite columns that intruded the surrounding rocks millions of years ago and have since been exposed in a ravine due to river erosion.
Once these sites have been visited, we'll head further south past Brandberg, Namibia's tallest mountain, then veer west to the coastal town of Henties Bay before turning south again to Swakopmund.
Day 9 : Kayaking Walvis Bay
After an early breakfast, we'll drive along the scenic coastal road to Walvis Bay for a memorable Namibian kayaking adventure within the outer lagoon. Before getting into our kayaks, we'll drive to the lighthouse at Pelican Point and stop at the salt works to admire the views and check out the birdlife. Kayaking is an ideal way to see Cape fur seals, Heaviside and bottlenose dolphins, pelicans, flamingos, and a wide variety of other sea birds. If we are lucky, there is the chance of seeing whales, leatherback turtles, and sunfish as well. We'll stop for snacks on the beach before heading back to Walvis Bay. No experience is necessary to enjoy the kayaking today. We'll head back to the Desert Breeze in the afternoon for a little leisure time before dinner.
Day 10 : Drive to Sossusvlei
Our fascinating drive today takes us southeast through the awesome and ever-changing desert landscapes of the Gaub and Kuiseb canyons until we find the dunes at the entrance to Namib Naukluft National Park. There is the option, at additional cost, to take a scenic flight today, over the Dune Sea, abandoned mining camps, shipwrecks, Sandwich Harbour, and salt pans to Sossusvlei, instead of driving. Those trip members who choose to fly will meet up with the guides and group later in the day at the Sossus Dune Lodge.
Day 11 : Sossusvlei
This morning you will rise early for a magical excursion with your guide in the Namib Naukluft National Park, setting off from the lodge within the park boundary. As a result, you can be on your way at sunrise to capture the dunes while the light is soft and shadows accentuate their towering shapes and curves—a photographer's dream! This area boasts some of the highest free-standing sand dunes in the world, and your guide will give you an insight to the formation of the Namib Desert and the myriad of fascinating creatures and plants that have adapted to survive its harsh environs. Once you have explored to your heart's content you can enjoy a relaxing picnic breakfast under the shade of a camel thorn tree.
Return to Sossus Dune Lodge in the early afternoon for a late lunch, stopping off to view Sesriem Canyon en route, if this wasn't done the previous day. The rest of the afternoon is at your leisure.
Day 12 : Sossusvlei to Windhoek
After breakfast you bid farewell to the Namib Desert, traversing the Great Escarpment and scenic Khomas Hochland highlands to make your way back to Windhoek. Upon arrival in Windhoek your guide will transfer you to Galton House for the last night of your trip. This evening you will have your farewell dinner at The Galton's in-house restaurant.
Day 13 : Depart Windhoek
Spend as much of the day as is available relaxing at the guest house or exploring town until it is time to be transferred to the Windhoek International Airport in time for your international flight home.
DATES: Best time to go: May - June, August, October Departures: Oct 13 - 25, 2014 May 3 - 15, 2015 Jun 1 - 13, 2015 Aug 2 - 14, 2015 Oct 4 - 16, 2015
2014 Prices, per person
High Season (October trip)
2015 Prices, per person
Low Season (May trip)
High Season (June-Oct)
Galton HouseWindhoek, Namiba
Galton House is one of Windhoek's newest accommodation establishments. The seven rooms are all equipped with internet connectivity, satelite television, coffee/tea station and general guest amenities. The communal areas consist of a large lounge, dinning room, swimming pool and garden. There is also delightful 'al fresco' dinning area by the pool, serving freshly prepared and very tasty meals. There are also a number shops, restarants and supermarkets within easy walking distance.
OkonjimaOkonjima Game Reserve
Situated halfway between the capital Windhoek and the Etosha National Park, the 55,000 acre Okonjima Game Reserve has some of the best accommodation in Namibia, but the highlight has to be the cheetah and leopard safaris. Namibian safaris are truly wonderful and as The AfriCat Foundation rehabilitates cheetahs, wild dogs hyaenas and leopards, there are opportunities to see these beautiful carnivores in their natural environment.
Andersson's CampEtosha, Namibia
Located just 2miles from Etosha National Park's Andersson Gate. Set against a backdrop of the low Ondundozonanandana Mountains, Andersson's Camp is located within the private Ongava Game Reserve which borders onto Etosha National Park. The camp over looks a waterhole where guests can enjoy the interaction of wildlife coming and going throughout the day and night. The old farmhouse now forms the main dinning, bar and swimming pool area of Andersson's Camp, with guest tents radiating outwards into the secluded Mopane woodlands tyical og the region. Tents are constructed using a clever mix of calcrete stone cladding, canvas and wood, with double-door entrances and a small verandah that is an extension of the elevated wooden decks on which the tents are raised. The open-air en-suite bathrooms continue the unique design.
Damaraland Mobile CampDamaraland, Namibia
Our mobile camps are non-participatory and are serviced and quipped to ensure that guests are extremley comfortable while out in the less developed and remote 'Wilderness Areas'. We use 10ft x10f x 7ft igloo tenst with built in groundsheet and mosquito screens on all doors and windows. Each tent is equipped with robust light, bedside tables, camp beds, a bed roll contaning mattress, duvet, pillow, sheet and towel. Ablutions for this camp would be shared ablutions, with flush toilet and running water in the showers.
Camp KipweDamaraland, Namibia
Guest can relax and unwind in the lounge. The mountain views from here are breath-taking as are the stunning sunsets. Meals at Camp Kipwe are served in the dinning room. Accomodation is in 9 igloos-shaped double bungalows, emphasizing the peace and quet of the camp. Outside each bungalow is an en-suite bathroom with a shower, and has a private veranda, overlooking yhe surrounding plains.
Desert BreezeSwakopmund, Namibia
Desert Breeze offers 12, all en-suite, luxury bungalows and one exquisite villa, each with a private sun deck to admire the breath-taking view of the dunes. Each bungalow is equipped with wireless internet, mini bar, coffee and tea making facilities and digital safes.
Sossus Dune LodgeSossusvlei, Namibia
Sossus Dune Lodge is ideally located with dramatic views out over the surrounding desert landscapes; its unique location allows you early entry into the dunes at Sossusvlei an hour before sunrise and a late exit an hour after sunset. Accommodation is in very comfortable en-suite wooden and canvas chalets that lead to a private wooden veranda overlooking the expansive desert plains. There is a large main area consisting of a dinning room, a swimming pool and a pleasant bar.
Properties shown are representative of the accommodations we use on this trip, may not be inclusive of all accommodations we use, and are subject to change.
Michael’s family is Oshivambo speaking and originally comes from southern Angola, although they are now split between the southern part of Angola and northern part of Namibia. Michael was born in Angola during the liberation struggle and spent much of his childhood in a refugee camp near Kwanza, before UNICEF moved him and many other children to Cuba so that they could get an education in a safe environment. He returned to Namibia after Independence at the age of 16, and he completed his schooling in Windhoek before going on to study Natural Resource Management (Nature Conservations) at the Polytechnic of Namibia. During his studies, he did some in service training with Save The Rhino Trust (SRT). During that time, he met the owner of the premier Londolozi Camp in South Africa, and was offered his first job at Londolozi in 2003 as a result. After a year there, he moved to work for a year with a South African tour operator before returning to Namibia. He is married with two children, who he cherishes more than anything else in the world.
Elvis was born in Swakopmund but spent his childhood in a small village called Eedunja in North Central of Namibia, where he completed his primary school before moving back to his birth town to complete his education. After completing his schooling Elvis went directly into the workforce, starting his career in a Fishing factory in Walvis Bay. While he was there, he started attending short courses offered by NATH in order to further his knowledge in the field that he really wanted to be in, tourism. As he had already demonstrated his enthusiasm and determination, it was a logical step for him to continue to expand his knowledge and experience by working at lodges which were based in the desert regions to the south of his home town In addition to his passion for guiding, Elvis is very interested in world affairs and local politics, knowing the families of many of the local senior politicians who come from his area. As a result, he is a very interesting companion with whom to discuss local issues and he is often able to offer interesting, and sometimes unexpected, African insights and perspective. He is single and lives in Windhoek although he still visits Swakopmund to see his family when he has time between safaris to do so. Some visitors initially find his accent a little hard to understand, but they swiftly get attuned to this so they can fully appreciate the depth of his knowledge in a wide variety of subjects. The insights he can offer in order to ‘bring the country alive’ are greatly valued, and he showcases aspects of what they are seeing in a way that is both unique and fascinating
Jason comes from a well-known family of Namibian “Nature Conservators” who have been very involved in development issues in the country for decades. The Nott family first came to “South West Africa” in the early 80’s to work for the South African administration in Nature Conservation, and they stayed on after Independence in 1990 when they all opted to take Namibian Citizenship. They have continued to work on conservation and community development issues, mainly in the north of the country, ever since. Jason spent his early years living in a small town called Omaruru where a love of nature was instilled in him from a young age. He took every opportunity to be outdoors, either with his parents or his godfather (Dr Flip Stander who has become well-known for his veterinary work and scientific research on Namibia’s desert lions). He gained a huge amount of knowledge and expertise through being with them as they worked, and he has added to this experience with his own book learning as he is also an avid reader of any publications on the subject. As he also enjoys working with people, he soon found a way of combining both interests through running his own safaris and then getting more heavily involved in the tourism industry. He studied to get his diploma in Travel and Tourism management, and then started his formal career off in lodge management when he ran a lodge in north-western Namibia. While he was there, he found his way to his true joy, sharing the wonders of the more remote areas of Namibia with visitors – and that is why he became a safari guide. He still guides for Mountain Travel Sobek guests where he has found a way to continue his professional guiding career while still being able to ‘give back’ to conservation and sustainable tourism. He also uses a separate part of his former experiences to manage the mobile (under canvas) safari department at the company, ensuring mobile camps run smoothly and efficiently whilst in the field. Jason is an enthusiastic and knowledgeable birder, although not yet quite able to claim that he is a specialist guide in the field, and he is an accomplished photographer. He is very personable and brings his passion for his country across to his guests, leaving them an abiding love for Namibia and its various inhabitants.
Tarry Murray Butcher
Tarry is a true Namibian, who was born in Windhoek and attended primary school at St. George’s Diocesan School and high school at St. Paul’s College. While there, he took part in many outdoor activities including hiking the Fish River Canyon, and doing volunteer work for the Ministry of Environment and Tourism in Etosha National Park. From a young age, Tarry had a keen interest in nature, birds and photography which was inherited from his parents, fostered during many family camping holidays, and extended through intensive involvement in the Scouts of Namibia. He started in Scouts at the early age of seven and went on to become a troop leader, later also being involved in two Cederberg Senior Scout Adventures. He then developed his skills further when he went to study at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in South Africa, and he spent his final year on their Game Ranch Management course where he extended his knowledge on wildlife and gained even greater understanding of the subject which provides his major graduate qualification. In addition to his general outdoor interests and academic studies, Tarry has also always been a keen sportsman. He enjoys hiking, mountain biking, and trekking as well as a number of team sports. He has regularly represented Namibia in the National field hockey team in both the indoor and outdoor form and he plans to continue doing so (when he has time) for the foreseeable future. Tarry has traveled all over southern Africa for personal and professional reasons, and this has given him a greater understanding of the relationship between Namibia and its neighbors.