The Southern Swing is a 7 day camping tour that takes in the southern areas of Namibia including; Sossusvlei, the Namib Desert, Lüderitz and the Fish River Canyon. This tour offers an excellent cross-section of southern Namibia and can be combined with its Northern Namibia Safari counterpart, allowing a more comprehensive experience to most of Namibia's traditional highlights.
- The Southern Swing Safari is run as a camping tour however, for a supplement an upgrade can be made to turn this into an accommodated safari. Enquire upon booking as this is subject to availability.
- Itinerary is assisted comfortable camping, with participation limited to only helping with the tents.
- Please note that from the 1 April 2016 this itinerary is slightly ammended on days 3 & 4. Both itineraries appear below.
The grand daddy of Namibian safaris - visits Fish River, Luderitz & Sossusvlei. Combine with the Northern Adventure for the 14 day Namibian Experience Safari.
You will be collected from you accommodation in Windhoek between 07h30 - 08h00 The safari starts heading south on the main highway, travelling through the thin strip of Kalahari Desert that protrudes onto the eastern side of Namibia. Stopping at small towns along the way including Rehoboth, traditional home of the Baster people and on to Kalkrand where we bid the main road farewell and head off into the Kalahari. The Kalahari Desert often surprises people it is very different to the ... Namib Desert. This is primarily because the Kalahari is not a true desert, it receives too much rainfall to be classified as such and is actually a fossil desert. Don’t expect to find tall Sossusvlei-style dunes devoid of greenery here, the dunes are greener and less stark – and with this vegetation comes an ability to support more flora and fauna.
Today starts with an early morning nature drive into Kalahari, before leaving for the town of Mariental and south to Keetmanshoop. Just before reaching Keetmans the tour detours to visit the Mesosaurus Fossil Site and Quiver-tree Forest. Quiver trees are not in fact trees, they are a type of aloe, (Aloe Dichotoma), so called because the branches fork “dichotomously”. These weird looking plants dot the landscape in this part of the world and are locally common, however they are one ... of the world’s rarest flora species. The Ai-Ais Hot Springs Spa & Resort is at the southern end of the Fish River Canyon and offers an excellent place to relax in and around the thermal baths & heated swimming pool, especially after a hot, dusty day's drive, the resort is set at a sulphurous hot spring, which makes perfect sense as the name 'ai-/ais' means 'burning water' in the local Nama language.
The Fish River Canyon is (allegedly) the 2nd largest canyon in the world after the Grand Canyon. The immensity of this magnificent landscape is truly breath taking. The towering rock faces and deep ravines were formed by water erosion and the collapse of the valley due to movements in the earth's crust over 500 million years ago. Today the canyon measures 160 kilometers long up to 27 kilometers wide and almost 550 meters at its deepest. It is fair to ... say that when you arrive at the canyon though, its exact location is a bit of a mystery as the 500 meter vertical drop from the flat dry plateau is completely out of view. Early morning we head to the main view point where we can see how impressive this canyon actually is. This is an ideal opportunity for photos and to spend some time experiencing this amazing sight. Viewing from the top we can see the river sparkling in the sunlight far below us, and can barely imagine how many millennia it took for the forces of erosion to carve such a magnificent vista. Time to pack up camp and move on to our next destination the coastal town of Luderitz. It's colonial-style buildings cling to the rocks overlooking the bay. On some days a deep iridescent blue, on others grey and stormy or a crisp fresh climate. Fishing boats bob up and down on the Atlantic horizon, penguins and seals dive beneath the waves, collectively giving the town a curious other-worldly allure. We aim to arrive at our guest house during the late afternoon. Dinner will be at client’s own expense tonight.
There is time to join an optional extra excursion, a marine trip, take a cruise around Luderitz bay and weather permitting, to Halifax Island to see the Jackass Penguins. N.B: The boat cruise is subject to availability and, if undertaken, will be for the clients own risk and expense. There will be time to explore Luderitz Town with its traditional German architecture. Later we will take a drive out to Diaz Point to see the bird life and hopefully a ... few seals. The stone cross replica, originally erected by the Portuguese mariner Bartholomew Diaz is also worth a visit. Straight after the marine trip we drive out to Kolmanskop, a desert ghost town about 20km out of Luderitz. It was built in the 1920's during the diamond rush and was abandoned when bigger and better diamonds were found further along the coast. The area is still abandoned and the desert has encroached over the entire town, giving an eerie feeling and real meaning to the word 'ghost'. Tonight we stay at Klein Aus Vista, a beautiful private reserve in the Aus Mountain Range, (Huib-Hoch-Plateau region). The road takes us through the 'forbidden zone'. In years gone by the alluvial diamonds found in Namibia were simply scattered across the desert. The sunset over the mountains presents the perfect end to the day.
Turning north, the safari heads deep into the ancient southern Namib Desert, Travelling on small gravel roads and passing some tiny rural communities along the way. The scenery is harsh, and sometimes forbidding. The process of erosion in these areas is well advanced and we pass time rounded hills & arid terrain with outcrops of tortured rock. Traversing this bleak yet beautiful landscape, the terrain begins to change and we cross some open grass savannah and farmlands before giving way to ... the immense red sand dune desert of the Namib. We aim to arrive at our camp during the late afternoon and watch the colours glow and change on distant mountains to the east.
A pre dawn start is essential this morning as we want to catch the soft light of the sunrise on the desert. After passing through Sesriem, the gateway to the dunes and driving into the heart of the dune field, we reach Sossusvlei itself by walking the last 5 kilometers through the dunes. The walk is like nothing else, in the cool of the morning, with soft sunlight just beginning to play over the dunes creating a sharp light and shadow ... contrast across the whole desert. Ancient mineral pans, stunted camel thorn trees and the chance of seeing a gemsbok or maybe an ostrich make the photo opportunities perfect. We spend the morning in and around Sossusvlei, also visiting Dune 45, and as the day wears on we return to Sesriem for lunch to escape the heat of the afternoon. As the day cools off in the late afternoon we will take a short excursion to the Sesriem Canyon.
After breakfast we begin our journey, over the mountains and along scenic roads, back to Windhoek. We will travel over the Naukluft Mountains and also the Khomas Hochland Range, through beautiful mountain passes on our way back to civilisation. We are due back into the city around 16h00 and you will be dropped off at your accommodation on return.
An excellent first time visitors tour. Includes: Africat, Etosha Park, Damaraland, Swakopmund & the dunes at Sossusvlei.
Starting in Windhoek this is primarily a Botswana trip - visiting the Okavango Delta and ending in Vic Falls.
Aimed specifically at families, this safari visits all the major sites on the country and includes a series of activities & adventures that will appeal to both children & adults.
The best the north has to offer: Etosha, Africat (for leopard & cheetah), Damaraland, Himba Villages, rock art and Sossusvlei.
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