Namibia: Open Skies & Endless Horizons
July 18 – 31, 2014
Namibia is a land of open skies and endless horizons. A country of varying eco-systems, it is best known for its towering sand dunes, red canyons and ethnic groups who continue to practice their traditional way of life. Much of the population is centered around Windhoek- the capital giving you a sense of tranquil quietness as one travels into the rural areas. This trip will go through the north of the country visiting wild life conservancies and game reserves, tribal outposts and small towns all the while learning about the fascinating history of this former German colony and one of the world's largest diamond producer. It is a land that is full of surprises and contrasts and it is not uncommon to feel 'surreal' as you travel up the Skelton Coast witnessing huge waves of the Atlantic Ocean crashing into the desert sand dunes that undulate for hundreds of miles. Or the sight of bright pink flamingoes as they swoop down into the multi-colored salt flats in search of food. One can get the opportunity to see the desert elephants as they travel for up to 70 kilometers a day in search of water or conservationists who have played an important role in re-introducing the Big Cats into the wild life areas
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Day 1 -
Depart the US
Day 2 - Arrive Windhoek, Namibia
Met on arrival in Windhoek and transferred to your hotel.
Welcome dinner at hotel
Overnight : River Crossing Lodge (or equivalent) (D)
Day 3 - Windhoek - Okonjima Nature Reserve
Depart with driver and guide to the Okonjima Nature Reserve. Lunch en route or guests own account.
Afternoon leopard tracking from game-viewing vehicles. Post-dinner - join your guide at the nocturnal hide where you may view 'nightlife' such as porcupine honey-badgers and caracal, amongst others.
Overnight : Okonjima Main Lodge (or equivalent) (B,L, D) – garden chalet
Day 4 - Okonjima Nature Reserve
Morning guided walk: identify some of the more than 250+ species in the area, including Namibian endemics – Carp’s Black Tit, Hartlaub’s Francolin and the Damara Rock Runner. Walking trails of 4 – 6 km’s, for those of you who want to spend some time alone in the solitude of the Okonjima wilderness. Walk amongst various game and enjoy glorious views.
After lunch we will visit AfriCat’s 'Information & Carnivore Care Center', which offers you valuable insight into the work of The AfriCat Foundation (http://www.africat.org/). Their mission is to contribute to the long term conservation of Namibia’s large carnivores. AfriCat was created as a result of information gained on Okonjima when it was still a cattle farm losing calves to leopards and the desire and urgent need of sharing this information with fellow farmers. The consequent contact with numerous farmers and AfriCat’s exposure led to the rescue of many trapped large carnivores. Since 1993, 1060 of these predators were rescued. Over 85% were released back into the wild.
Overnight : Okonjima Main Lodge (or equivalent) (B,D) – garden chalet
Day 5 - Okonjima- Etosha National Park
This morning continue further north to a lodge situated on the outskirts of the Etosha Game Reserve Arrive in time for the late afternoon sundowner afternoon drive on the Onguma Reserve. The Reserve covers an area of over 34 000ha and incorporates ecological substrata such as savannah, bushveld, omuramba and dry pan. Age-old and well-worn migration routes, once used by elephant and buffalo wander through Onguma’s three dry riverbeds. The Reserve boasts over thirty different animal species. Plains game roam freely on the Reserve and predators although not easy to spot are nevertheless common residents of the area. Lions are frequently seen and often heard. There is a healthy black rhino and leopard population and hyenas are also often seen. Overnight : Onguma Tented Camp (or equivalent) (B,D)
Day 6 - Game drive in Etosha National Park
Early morning game drive in the Etosha Game Reserve. Etosha, meaning ‘place of dry water’, is encloses a huge, flat calcrete depression (or pan) of about 5 000km². The ‘Pan’ provides a great, parched, silver-white backdrop of shimmering mirages to an area of semi-arid savannah grassland and thorn scrub. The pan itself contains water only after very good rains and sometimes for only a few days each year, but is enough to stimulate the growth of a blue-green algae which lures thousands of flamingos. Etosha attracts all the major predators as well as the endangered Black Rhino. It is a scene from “Noah’s Ark” as herds of animals take their turn at the watering holes. Overnight: Onguma Tented Camp (or equivalent)(B,L,D)
Day 7 - Etosha - Damaraland/ Kunene Region
This morning after breakfast we continue to Damaraland (newly named Kunene). Damaraland is one of the most scenic areas in Namibia, a huge, untamed, ruggedly beautiful region that offers the more traveler a more adventurous challenge. Here there are prehistoric water courses with open plains and grassland, massive granite koppies and deep gorges.
The lodge offers scenic drives down to the Klip River Valley where permanent springs provide water for the local population of zebras, antelopes and occasionally elephants, lions and black rhinos. Springboks, kudu and oryx are a permanent fixture and even the nervous and shy klipspringers are sometimes seen leaping about on the steep cliffs of the mountain as if they were flying.
Overnight: Grootberg Lodge (or equivalent) (B,D)
Day 8 - Damaraland/ Kunene Region
Departure is at 6.00am after an early breakfast at the lodge for a rhino tracking experience. The guide, along with the game trackers will take the guests in an open 4x4 game vehicle down to the Klip River. Part of the tracking will take place on foot, with the possibility of between 1 to 3 hours walk at the most. At lunchtime there will be a stop near the springs where people can enjoy some refreshments. It's almost a full day activity going along bumpy roads and walking in rocky terrain, so not advisable for the faint-hearted. Damaraland is one of the few last places where the wildlife roams freely thus no guarantee of sightings. Overnight: Grootberg Lodge (or equivalent) (B, L, D)
Day 9 - Kunene- Twyfelfontein
After breakfast depart to Twyfelfontein. The area has been inhabited for 6,000 years, first by hunter-gatherers and later by Khoikhoi herders. Both ethnic groups used it as a place of worship and a site to conduct shamanist rituals. In the process of these rituals at least 2,500 items of rock carvings have been created, as well as a few rock paintings. Displaying one of the largest concentrations of rock petroglyphs in Africa, UNESCO approved Twyfelfontein as Namibia's first World Heritage Site in 2007. We will view the rock engravings, Organ Pipes and Burnt Mountain. Overnight : Twyfelfontein Country Lodge (or equivalent) (B,D)
Day 10 - Twyfelfontein- Swakopmund
Early breakfast before departing on a Himba Village excursion. The Himba are semi-nomadic herders. Because of the harsh desert climate in the region where they live and their seclusion from outside influences, the Himba have managed to maintain much of their traditional lifestyle. Members live under a tribal structure based on bilateral descent that helps them live in one of the most extreme environments on earth.
Continue South to Swakopmund- a beautiful coastal town on the Atlantic ocean. The city was founded by the Germans in 1892 in an effort to establish a deep sea harbor. Today, it is a thriving town with a strong German influence as seen by the architecture and also a place for locals to come during the hot summer season due to its proximity to the ocean. Overnight : Swakopmund Boutique Hotel (or equivalent) (B, L)
Day 11 - Swakopmund/ Walvis Bay Excursion
After breakfast depart to Walvis Bay for a full day Dune Excursion. The excursion is an informative and exciting 4x4 excursion to the magnificent Namib Dunes on one side and the contrasting Atlantic Ocean on the other. Overnight: Swakopmund Boutique Hotel (or equivalent) (B, L)
Day 12 - Swakopmund - Sosussvlei (Namib Desert)
Say good bye to your ground guide. You will fly to the Sossusvlei area and be picked up for a short road transfer to your lodge. Enjoy a scenic sundowner drive at the lodge. The sand dunes of Sossusvlei in the Namib Desert are often referred to as the highest dunes in the world. Various arguments are laid out to support this claim, but all miss the point, which is that Sossusvlei is surely one of the most spectacular sights in Namibia. Overnight: Hoodia Desert Lodge (or equivalent) (B,D)
Day 13 - Sosussvlei
Depart on an early morning excursion with a packed breakfast and lunch to Sossusvlei and Sesriem Canyon. The canyon derives its name from the fact that early Afrikaner trekkers had to use six ('ses') leather thongs (a thong is a 'riem') so that their buckets could reach the water far below. The canyon begins as an almost imperceptible but nevertheless deep cleft in level, stony ground, and then widens until it finally flattens out onto the plain. Because it is so deep and sheltered, it often holds water well into the dry season - an invigorating sight in such a barren and stark environment.
Overnight : Hoodia Desert Lodge (or equivalent) (B,L,D)
Day 14 - Sosussvlei – Windhoek – Departure
Fly back to Windhoek. Met on arrival and assisted with check in formalities for your onward flight back to the U.S.
Cost and program Inclusions *
Land Portion * $8,399
*Based on double occupancy (preliminary)
- Full time professional guide from Day 1-10 (Soussevlei’s Hoodia Lodge provides own guide and no professional guide needed Day 11 and 12).
- All ground transportation and airport transfers
- Domestic flights: Swakopmund – Soussevlei - Windhoek.
- Accommodations and meals as indicated above.
- Day trips and excursions indicated above including all entry fees.
- All game drives and game viewing with professional wild life guides provided by the lodges.
- Tips and gratuities guides
- International flights to Windhoek.
- Visas (if applicable).
- Vaccinations (if applicable).
- Meals not indicated above.
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