This self-drive safari takes you to some of Namibia’s most famous highlights. Admire the deep gorges of the Fish River Canyon, climb the world’s highest dunes at Sossusvlei and discover that the desert “lives”. Allow yourself to be enchanted by the magic of Swakopmund, a charming town on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. Enjoy the drive to Malansrus, situated in Twyfelfontein, and cross the world famous Etosha National Park from south to east before returning to Windhoek.
Arrival at Hosea Kutako (Windhoek International) Airport. After you have sorted out all the formalities regarding your rental vehicle, drive to Windhoek, the capital city of Namibia.
Windhoek is located in a basin between the Khomas Highland, Auas and Eros Mountains. It is 1,680m above sea level. Whether due to pure luck or a brilliant stroke of Germanic planning, the city is situated in almost the countries epicentre. Windhoek is the social, economic, political, and cultural centre of the country. Nearly every Namibian national enterprise, governmental body, educational and cultural institution is headquartered here. Central Windhoek is a surprisingly modern, well-groomed city where office workers lounge around Zoo Park at lunchtime, tourists funnel through Post St Mall admiring African curios and taxis whizz around honking at potential customers. In fact, first impressions confirm that the city wouldn’t look out of place in the West. It’s not a big city and is eminently walkable; add to this a mixed population, a pedestrian-friendly city centre, a relaxed, relatively hassle-free pace and an utterly cosmopolitan outlook and Windhoek makes for a very pleasant exploration indeed. Of course that’s only part of the story; a trip into Katutura, the once-ramshackle township on the outskirts of the city, now just another outer suburb, gives insight into the reality of most people’s lives within the boundaries of the capital.
Your journey will take you to the heart of the world’s oldest desert, the Namib. Spend the nights at Desert Hills Glamping Camp, located near Sossusvlei, with an excellent opportunity to explore the Namib.
The camp is located in a secluded spot with scenic views across the vast landscape. Here you can enjoy the peace and beauty of untouched nature.
We can recommend a day trip to Sossusvlei today (not included).
The best time to visit Sossusvlei is in the early morning. The park gates open at dawn and the golden light just after sunrise is perfect. Take along enough drinking water, sunscreen and a hat.
Situated in the largest conservation area in Africa (the Namib-Naukluft National Park), Sossusvlei is possibly Namibia’s most spectacular and best-known attraction. Characterised by the large red dunes that surround it, Sossusvlei is a large, white, salt and clay pan and is a great destination all year round. The dunes in this area are some of the highest in the world and provide photographic enthusiasts with wonderful images in the beautiful morning and evening light. Sossusvlei literally translates to “dead-end marsh”, as it is the place where the dunes come together preventing the Tsauchab River to flow any further, some 60km east of the Atlantic Ocean. However, due to the dry conditions in the Namib Desert the River seldom flows this far and the pan remains bone-dry most years.
Close to Sossusvlei, Deadvlei is a clay pan characterized by dark, dead camel thorn trees contrasted against the white pan floor. The pan was formed when the Tsauchab River flooded and the abundance of water allowed camel thorn trees to grow. However, the climate changed and the sand dunes encroached on the pan, blocking the river from reaching the area. The trees are estimated to be approximately 900 years old, however they have not decomposed due to the dry climate. Deadvlei is at least 1km walk from the parking lot so be sure to take drinking water with you.
Sesriem Canyon is located approximately 4.5km from the entrance gate of the Namib-Naukluft National Park. The Tsauchab River has shaped the Canyon over millions of years and it is one of the few places in the area that holds water all year round. The early Afrikaans explorers in the region named the canyon after the fact that they had to use six (“ses”) leather straps (“riem”) tied together to create a rope long enough to lower buckets into the canyon below, in order to fetch water.
Today’s destination is Swakopmund, a resort located between the Atlantic Ocean and Namib Dunes.
Where the desert dunes sweep down to the ocean on Namibia’s western flank, lies the charming seaside village of Swakopmund. Swakopmund, deriving its name from the fact that it lies at the mouth of the Swakop River, is an oasis, neatly nestled between the wild Atlantic Ocean and the world’s most ancient sea of sand, the Namib Desert. With its old world charm, temperate climate and German background, Swakopmund is indeed the tourist mecca of Namibia, offering not only scenic beauty, but all the modern amenities and facilities to cater for tourists, both local and international.
We can recommend a dolphin Cruise with Laramon (or similar) today (not included). Chat to our team about the various options and we will be happy to make reservations for you.
An early start to the day is required for today’s adventure. Drive to the nearby town of Walvis Bay, from where your boat cruise with Laramon Tours departs. You are requested to be at the check-in at the Walvis Bay Waterfront by approx. 08h45.
The scenic drive from Swakopmund to Walvis Bay takes about 45 minutes. Don’t forget to take a hat, sunscreen and a warm jacket along. After 3 exciting hours the catamaran will dock and your guide will return you to the Guesthouse.
Your cruise today departs the Walvis Bay Yacht club at approx. 09h00 and takes you through the harbour, passing moored Russian trawlers en route and on to Pelican Point, where inquisitive seals will swim up to the boats looking for something to eat, all whilst pods of Heaviside and Bottlenose Dolphins swim alongside the boat. For bird lovers, apart from seeing flamingos, cormorants and pelicans, there are common sightings of the White Chinned Petrel, Wilson’s Storm Petrel, Black Oystercatcher and even the Jackass Penguin. With a bit of luck you might see a Sunfish (Mola Mola) and the Leatherback Turtles. In season, the larger mammals like the Southern Right Whale and the Humpback Whales may be spotted and occasionally the Killer Whales (Orcas). To round the trip off you will be spoilt with fresh Walvis Bay oysters, snacks and cold sparkling wine on board as you make your way back to the docking station.
Onward you travel to Twyfelfontein. Your destination is the beautiful Malansrus Tented Camp.
The Malansrus Tented Camp is located on the banks of a sidearm of the Aba Huab River, offering easy access to the main sites and highlights of the Twyfelfontein area and is accessible by all kinds of vehicles.
Recommended today: a day trip to Twyfelfontein, Organ Pipes and the Burnt Mountain (not included). Alternatively chat to your lodge to combine this day trip with an elephant tracking excursion (not included).
Twyfelfontein (“Doubtful Spring”) has one of the most extensive galleries of rock engravings in the world. They aren’t real paintings, but have been done by cutting through the hard surface layer of sandstone. More than 2000 petroglyphes have been counted here, and in 1952 the valley of Twyfelfontein was proclaimed a National Monument. The rock engravings are found on a number of smooth rock surfaces and most of them depict animals and their tracks. Scientists have estimated their ages to vary between 1000 and 10 000 years. The majority agrees on an age of about 6 000 years.
In 2007, Twyfelfontein was declared an UNESCO World Heritage site.
The Organ Pipes are a fascinating geological formation located near Twyfelfontein. Strikingly rich rusty colours are portrayed in long columns resembling those of a church organ, some rising up to 5m high. Thought to be the result of the Gondwanaland breakup, fractures and cracks were formed as the dolomite columns cooled through the process of columnar jointing approximately 120 million years ago.
Just a short walk from the Organ Pipes is a small inselberg named the Burnt Mountain, proclaimed a national monument on 15 September 1956. The reason for its name is best evident in the early mornings and late evenings when the rays of the sun seem to set the mountain ablaze. Rich red colours mixed with shades of black and purple are quite strikingly caused by Manganese coated clay molecules.
Travel towards the Etosha National Park today. Your accommodation is situated outside the south entrance of the park.
Etosha Village is a prime destination for nature lovers combined with excellent service and cuisine. It uniquely combines affordability with comfort and delivers the perfect safari style experience in a private and protected reserve directly adjacent to the Etosha National Park, near Okaukuejo.
Explore the Etosha National Park today in your own vehicle; alternatively ask your lodge for possible lodge activities.
Travel through the National Park today, from south to east, on your way to today’s destination: Mushara Bush Camp. Stop at a few of the many waterholes along the way, in search of the famous Big 5.
Your wonderful Namibian Safari has come to an end. Drive from Mushara via Tsumeb, Otavi, Otjiwarongo and Okahandja back to Windhoek to the International Airport. Here you check in for your outbound flight.
We wish you a safe journey home.
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