The wild, stark landscapes of Namibia are truly epic. The Namibian coastline is one of the most infamous, and eerie, in the world. Even the country’s wildlife has been changed and adapted to meet the special conditions confronting them in this challenging environment. So, prepare to be awe-struck by the massive, wind-carved dunes of Sossusvlei, and the bones of shipwrecks lured to their doom on the Skeleton Coast.
You’ll follow the spoor of desert-adapted elephants along the Hoanib riverbed and track rhinos in Damaraland. You’ll experience the colonial charm of Swakopmund, kayak with seals and even visit Africa’s largest canyon. And how better to take it all in then on a self-drive; being able to stop whenever you want to capture the photographs you might otherwise miss, and visit the sights that intrigue you the most.
Johannesburg – Windhoek
Fly to Johannesburg to catch your connecting flight to Windhoek, where your discovery of this bleak, yet magical country begins. You will be met and taken to your guesthouse close to the city centre where your hire car will be waiting for you.
Stay: One night in a standard room at Galton House – bed & breakfast
Today you’ll start your adventure with a four-hour drive south to your chalet accommodation in Mariental. It’s a great place to break up the journey between Windhoek and the Fish River Canyon, with the opportunity for sundowner/nature drives.
Stay: One night in a dune chalet at Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch – half board
Today you will complete the drive to Fish River Lodge, another five hours or so. Surrounded by 45,000 acres of ancient Kokerbome trees, the lodge boasts an unrivalled location on the rim of the Fish River Canyon – one of the largest canyons on the planet. The lodge’s lap pool offers spectacular views over the landscape, as does your room where you can watch stunning sunrises and sunsets from the comfort of your own bed.
Those who wish to head out and explore can take walks into and along the canyon rim, as well as morning and afternoon nature drives. Mountain zebra, klipspringer, oryx and kudu roam the area’s valleys and side canyons, whilst fish eagles and the Cape clawless otter can be found in the pools along the river.
Stay: Two nights in a double standard room at Fish River Lodge – bed & breakfast
A three-hour drive north now brings you to Aus, a quaint town in southern Namibia just outside of the Klein Aus Vista Nature Reserve. Your lodge sits at the foot of the Aus Mountains, a remote, idyllic setting where you can really appreciate the serenity of the desert. Your time here can be spent exploring the reserve’s numerous walking trails, or visiting the nearby ghost town of Kolmanskop – a fascinating way to spend a morning.
Stay: Two nights in an eagle nest chalet at Klein Aus Vista – half board
From Aus your journey takes you into the world’s oldest desert – the Namib. You’ll be excellently based at the entrance to Sossusvlei, a region of vast sand dunes shaped by the wind into great crescents and shifting curves. Here photographers have a chance to capture images of a seemingly alien environment, whilst guided game drives offer encounters with unique desert-adapted wildlife such as springbok, gemsbok, bat-eared fox and dune larks. Guided walks and sundowner drives are also on offer, but for something really spectacular a balloon safari, followed by a champagne breakfast, is a truly memorable way to experience the region.
Stay: Three nights in a double room at Hoodia Desert Lodge – half board
Now onto Swakopmund and the opportunity to explore the desert surrounding this laidback coastal town. Not to mention the quaint colonial architecture, vibrant public gardens, superb restaurants and jewellery shops. From your centrally located villa you can venture out to explore the area, go kayaking with seals off Pelican Point or enjoy a full day 4×4 excursion along the legendary Skeleton Coast – an unmissable opportunity to photograph where the sand dunes meet the sea.
Two nights in a standard room at Villa Margherita – bed & breakfast
After the comparatively large community of Swakopmund, you’ll find yourself driving four and a half hours to the remote wilderness of Damaraland. This vast, untouched region captivates travellers with its magnificent geological formations, archaeological wonders and desert flora and fauna. Here you’ll experience the adventure of a desert safari with the chance to track desert-adapted rhinos and elephants – followed by sundowners in the evening.
Stay: Three nights in a luxury room at Mowani Mountain Camp – half board
Day 16 brings you to Namibia’s premier wildlife destination – Etosha National Park. Encompassing 20,000 square kilometres of game-rich savannah and a huge saltpan, the park supports big cats like lions and leopards, as well as elephants, hippos, white and black rhino, giraffe, wildebeest, zebra and a variety of antelope species.
Your lodge sits adjacent to the park in the exclusive Ongava Game Reserve, a region dominated by woodland and low dolomite hills where you can enjoy guided walks, birding, traditional game drives and white rhino tracking.
Stay: Three nights at Ongava Lodge – full board
More wildlife adventures await at your next destination – Okonjima. Here you will be staying in a luxurious private chalet, beautifully constructed from orange clay walls, thatched roofs and green canvas. The ultimate base for on-foot cheetah tracking, exploring leopard trails, going on nature walks and visiting bird hides.
Stay: Two nights in a double chalet at Okonjima Bush Camp – half board
Windhoek – Johannesburg – London
Your epic exploration of Namibia comes to an end. Your final drive brings you back to Windhoek International airport where you will check in for your flight back to Johannesburg. There you will meet your flight home, arriving early the following morning.