This 12 day self drive tour endeavours to show you the best parts of Namibia while staying in luxurious accommodation. Your stay at most lodges will include excursions and many drinks and meals and a balloon flight over the desert. Red-knobbed coots favour habitats with water bodies. Flocks of 1,000 or more are common.
The scenic drive into the Namib Desert is a great opportunity to appreciate the outstanding natural environment Namibia has to offer. The Namib is a long, coastal desert which varies in width from 50km to 140km. It extends along the entire coastline of the country and dune belts, canyons and dry riverbeds feature regularly. The jewel in the desert crown is called Sossusvlei, a clay pan guarded on 3 sides by imposing, towering sand dunes.
Once you've landed safely in your oversized picnic hamper, it's time to shake out the dust from your leather boots for a rumble to the Atlantic coastal town of Swakopmund. Desert meets ocean here, which means plenty to do and see. On arrival you can be forgiven for thinking that your 4x4 is a time machine. Swakopmund does really look as if it could belong to a German colonial-era film set. Once you've stopped whistling the Rocky Horror Show's 'Let's Do The Time Warp', the adventure on sea and sand can begin.
Driving through Damaraland is possible with any car that has a reasonable ground clearance. Taking things slowly when required is important and it is not advisable to travel after dark. Don't forget that desert-adapted elephants and the regions other desert-dwelling creatures have right of way, including the smallest and slowest.
The northern adventure continues to the western side of Etosha National Park. Your 3 night stay is a luxurious one and allows for selected game-viewing at the best waterholes throughout your visit. Night driving offers a completely different atmosphere and experience to it's early morning and late afternoon counterparts. The exclusivity and privacy offered at Little Ongava ensures that your night-time game-drive is both memorable and exciting.
Your final location heads south to Okonjima, a wildlife conservation and rehabilitation centre run by a non-profit organization called the AfriCat Foundation. Their unusually high percentage of releasing big cats back into the wild is second to none. If you were unable to see leopard and cheetah in Etosha, then Okonjima can fill that void. Enjoy that last drive onto to Windhoek.
Although it is possible to book this self drive tour as is, as with all our self drive trips this is entirely customisable. We can add or delete days, change the accommodation used and generally design the tour to suit your individual requirements. If you do not like the idea of driving yourself, a guided safari could be arranged.
Sossusvlei, Swakopmund, Damaraland, Etosha & Ongava Reserves, Okonjima.
Plan to leave Windhoek at a reasonable hour today. This will leave you sufficient time to reach your overnight accommodation in good time and enjoy the scenery on the way. Most of your journey will be on unsealed gravel roads. The drive is around 300 kilometers and the duration is some 4-5 hours. There are a number of routes to take, we recommended via the Spreetshoogte Pass. The views from the top of the escarpment over the desert plains below ... are stunning. A timely arrival allows for an afternoon guided nature drive or walk once you have settled in.
First thing this morning is tea and coffee before the sun rises. Afterwards you will head out towards the dunes at Sossusvlei in one of the lodges guided vehicles. Making use of the lodges own private entrance you enter the park at sunrise. On the way to Sossusvlei you can enjoy the colourful effect the sun has on the landscape. Once there you have plenty of time to explore, climb a dune and generally photograph to your hearts content. Time ... for one more snap before your guide calls you over to a large, shady camelthorn tree for a desert brunch. Afterwards you can head back to the lodge with a short walk along Sesriem Canyon before you return if desired. The rest of the day if yours to chill and maybe join a nature drive or one of the lodge's other activities. After dinner an early night is recommended as there is another early start in the morning.afternoon you are welcome to join a nature drive (or other activity) on the Kulala property before dinner and bed.
This morning you are collected from the lodge and join a balloon flight over Sossusvlei - this is followed by a champagne breakfast, held wherever the balloon lands. Later you will head north from Sossusvlei in your own vehicle through the gravel plains of the Namib towards the harbour town of Walvis Bay. The birdlife at the lagoon is amazing, thousands of birds especially pink flamingoes and other water birds congregate here. Continue north for 30km along a picturesque road sandwiched between large dunes and the Atlantic ocean to Swakopmund.
You will be collected from the hotel after breakfast at around 08h30 and head out with your guide in a 4x4 vehicle to the Namib Desert. The drive along the foot of the dunes is a slow one as care is taken not to drive on the gravel plains and cause any unnecessary damage to the environment. The coastal dune belt is alive with desert-adapted creatures including endemic Damara terns who nest here. Conservation issues and the geological structure of ... the desert will be discussed in detail, often coinciding with opportunities to photograph the dunes and the surrounding environment.Your guide will stop continuously to look for tracks to determine which animals were active the night before, at times trying to catch some to show you. Additional knowledge can be passed on about each desert animal, including emphasis on special adaptations and its perfect design used for survival in the desert. Then it is time to return every animal back where it came from. Later you will stop at the top of a dune which outlooks spectacular scenery before heading back to Swakopmund for a late lunch. The afternoon is yours to explore Namibia's premier seaside town.
Today the journey begins with a drive up the Skeleton Coast, through the town of Henties Bay to the Cape Cross Seal Colony. After spending some time seal watching you will begin your journey inland past Namibia's highest mountain, the Brandberg. Damaraland is a scenic semi-desert area and you will be staying in the suite at Mowani Mountain Camp which is nestled amongst architectural granite boulders.
Today you have the choice of exploring the sites of Damaraland in your own vehicle, or if you prefer joining the guided excursions offered by the lodge (included in package price). However you choose to travel this is sure to be an exciting day in a very interesting area.
The Ongava reserve lies on the southern border of Etosha near the Andersson Gate, and it is here you will spend the next three nights in a suite at Little Ongava (complete with it's own plunge pool). This afternoon you can join a guided game drive or just relax and enjoy your surroundings Days can be spent on guided game drives and walks around Etosha & the Ongava Reserve. Having an experienced guide really enhances game viewing and with any luck ... you should really rack up the sightings. Etosha is Namibia's premier game viewing destination, large herds of plains game concentrate around the waterholes in the dry season and makes for exciting game viewing. Species that can be seen year round include elephant, lion, leopard, cheetah, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, springbok, oryx, kudu and the diminutive Damara dik-dik. Birdlife is also good with ostrich and raptors in abundance. Local specials include the short-toed rockthrush, Haulaubs francolin, rockrunner, Ruppells parrot, white-tailed shrike and chestnut weaver. Ongava Game reserve is one of the few private game reserves in Southern Africa where you have a chance of seeing both black and white Rhino. The reserve also has a good population of lion, eland, mountain zebra, black faced impala and a number of other antelope species.
Leaving Ongava the drive to Okonjima takes around 3 hours. Apart from the beautiful location, stunning accommodation and wonderful meals the main reason for visiting Okonjima is to view cats. Your activities here are included in this package and centre around viewing leopard & cheetah, visiting a night hide and generally learning about what the AfriCat foundation is doing to preserve these wonderful animals. You will be accommodated in the private Bush Suite and will participate in a range of ... activities including cheetah feeding, leopard tracking and visits to night hides. If you do not feel like participating in an activity you can relax in the lounge or around your large private swimming pool at the suite.
The drive back to Windhoek takes around 3 hours. You will probably want to stop at the wood carving markets at Okahandja as this is one of the best places to stock up on wooden curios. If you are flying out tonight you can drop your vehicle at the airport or additionally we can arrange accommodation in Windhoek.
Although we have excluded the cost of renting a vehicle from the quoted rate we are happy to advise you on the best possible vehicle and arrange a rental for you. For an idea of what is available have a look at our car hire in Namibia section
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