Natural wonders such as that mighty gash in the earth at Fish River Canyon and the wildlife utopia of Etosha National Park enthral, but it’s the lonely desert roads, where mighty slabs of granite rise out of swirling desert sands, that will sear themselves in your mind.
It’s like a coffee-table book come to life as sand dunes in the world’s oldest desert meet the crashing rollers along the wild Atlantic coast. Among all this is a German legacy, evident in the cuisine and art nouveau architecture of Luderitz or Swakopmund and in festivals such as Windhoek’s legendary Oktoberfest.
Namibia is also the headquarters of adventure activities in the region, so whether you are a dreamer or love hearing the crunch of earth under your boats, travel in Namibia will stay with you long after the desert vistas fade.
Best itinerary, locations, camps and experiences on a trip to Namibia:
This Safari is using Camps and Lodges owned and operated by Natural Selection.
Natural Selection is a collection of owner-operated safari camps, united by the common aim of providing guests with unique and exceptional safari experiences and being a part of the conservation solution for Africa’s wildlife.
All camps are full of unique soul and colorful character, with extraordinary staff, located in the very heart of where the wild things are.
Why you’ll love this Itinerary:
- Wake up at dawn and climb the blood-red sand dunes at Sossusvlei, before sleeping under the desert stars in the ‘stargazer’ rooms at Kwessi Dunes.
- Search for desert-adapted giraffe and walking through the maze of dry riverbeds and sandy plains in the Hoanib Valley.
- Get your heart rate going with the activities on offer from Shipwreck Lodge: with quad-biking, dune boarding, 4×4 drives and dune sundowners, there’s never a dull moment.
- Make your wildlife dreams come true and add on a couple of nights in Etosha, home to the highest concentration of animals in Namibia.
Namibia is awe-inspiringly impressive from all angles, but if we had to choose one way to marvel at the magnificent landscapes, it would be from a small plane, high up in the skies. And that’s exactly why I am recommending with this ultimate Namibia flying safari. For six nights, you’ll swap four wheels (almost) for two wings, and travel across Namibia on a series of short flights. All that’s left to do is sit back, relax, and enjoy the scenery sweeping below you.
Your first two nights on the flying safari will be at Kwessi Dunes, before you swoop over the vast Namib Desert and the towering dunes of Sossusvlei from above. You’ll touch down briefly for a beach lunch in Swakopmund, and then back to the sky for an incredible flight over the Atlantic Coastline and inland to the Hoanib Valley for two nights. Leave the plane behind for the spectacular drive to the Skeleton Coast where you’ll stay at award-winning Shipwreck Lodge for a further two nights, before you hop back in the plane for a final flight across the interior of the country to Windhoek. It’s going to be difficult to choose a highlight…
DAYS 1 & 2:
This flying safari begins in Windhoek, where you’ll meet your pilot and take to the skies for the flight to Kwessi Dunes in the NamibRand Nature Reserve. As you near the reserve, you’ll fly over the iconic, blood-red dunes stretching for as far as the eye can see.
2 nights at Kwessi Dunes, a classic canvas-and-thatch lodge in the heart of the striking NamibRand Nature Reserve that offers an escape from the modern world and a chance to reconnect with the wild.
Why You’ll Love Kwessi Dunes:
- The diverse landscape of rich, red dunes, elusive fairy circles, unravelling plains and craggy mountains has to be seen to be believed.
- Kwessi Dunes is a brand-new camp and our first in the area; it’s is as special to us as it is to you and the rooms are cool and quirky (and air conditioned!).
- The is a private experience on a private reserve and the small number of lodges in the area co-ordinate with each other to ensure you won’t bump into another soul.
- Kwessi itself is located in 15,000 hectares of exclusive desert terrain, but you’ll have access to all 200,000 hectares of the NamibRand Reserve.
- Break away from traditional game drives and try horse riding, star gazing, quad biking, a nature walk or a hot air balloon flight.
- The star gazing opportunities are out of this world. The NamibRand is Africa’s first designated International Dark Sky Reserve meaning it’s one of the least light-polluted areas in the world – and it shows.
• Day trip to the dunes of Sossusvlei.
• Morning and afternoon scenic drives and walks in the NamibRand Nature Reserve.
• Quad biking.
• Hot air ballooning and heli flights
• Star gazing; the NamibRand is Africa’s first International Dark Sky Reserve
DAYS 3 & 4:
This morning, it’s back to the plane for a flight towards the Atlantic Coast. As the plane veers northwards, you’ll pass the Eduard Bohlen, one of the most famous shipwrecks on the coastline that came adrift in 1909, as well as Conception Bay and Sandwich Harbour.
You’ll then land in Swakopmund for a seafood lunch on the beach and a brief tour of the quaint town, before continuing north in the plane. This dramatic coastline was nicknamed the “gates to hell” by Portuguese sailors who had to navigate the powerful currents in their quest to round the Cape of Good Hope, and the Atlantic Ocean’s power is visible from the air as it hits the rocky coastline. From the air, glimpses of the remnants of shipwrecks are still visible and a stark reminder of nature’s power.
The plane will then turn inland toward the Hoanib Valley and it’s now that you’ll start to appreciate the mindboggling vastness of the country…
2 nights at Hoanib Valley Camp, an elegant tented camp located amongst the towering mountains and sand dunes of north-western Namibia.
Why You’ll Love Hoanib Valley Camp:
- Discover the true magnitude and magic of Namibia and visit a place that not many will ever have the chance to explore…
- This area is one of the best places to see desert adapted elephant, giraffe, lion, rhino, mountain zebra, and oryx.
- Sip a G&T on your private veranda and contemplate the stark beauty of the landscape spread out all around you.
- Learn more about the ground-breaking giraffe research that is being conducted in this remote corner of Namibia.
- Spend time with local Herero people and learn a little of their fascinating way of life in such a harsh climate.
- Embark on a guided nature walk and uncover the smaller flora and fauna of the desert.
• Morning and afternoon desert game drives to search for desert-adapted giraffe, elephant, lion and rhino.
• Learn about the giraffe research conducted in the area.
• Nature walks through the dry riverbeds and dunes.
• Spending a morning or afternoon with the local Himba communities.
DAYS 5 & 6:
Today, you’ll swap two wings for four wheels for the drive to the Skeleton Coast.
The full-day journey is one of the most spectacular drives on the continent, and you will travel along the ephemeral Hoanib River, home to large herds of elephant. From there, the route follows the course of the Hoarusib River, where dry plains give way to a clay-baked landscape, and as the salty sea breeze begins to pick up, so the landscape turns to white sand dunes.
2 nights at the award-winning Shipwreck Lodge, designed to resemble the shipwrecks that line the hauntingly beautiful Skeleton Coast.
Why You’ll Love Shipwreck Lodge:
- This is a chance to explore a raw, rugged and impossibly remote slice of African wilderness.
- Stay in some of the most unique and dramatic accommodation on the continent- not many can say they’ve slept in a shipwreck after all!
- Spend a day exploring the dry riverbeds, starting with a sunrise breakfast overlooking the incredible landscape and ending with a climb to the top of the great roaring dunes.
- Learn about the history behind the dramatic shipwrecks that line the mist-enshrouded coastline.
- Look for tok-tokkie beetles and the unusual plants and lichens that survive in the cold fog that rolls off the ocean.
- Combine a stay with Hoanib Valley Camp and enjoy a one-of-a-kind transfer drive through the changing scenery and dramatic landscapes.
• Trips to the Mowe Bay seal colony, including stops at the Suiderkus and Karimona shipwrecks, Westies diamond mine, and the remains of the Ventura Bomber.
• Sundowner drives to the roaring dunes.
• Full day 4×4 Hoarusib River excursions, including the Clay Castles and wildlife spotting.
• Beach lunches.
• Quad biking and sand boarding.
TAKE AN EXTENSION:
Add on two nights in the Etosha Heights Private Reserve, a 60,000-hectare private reserve that shares a border with the famous Etosha National Park. The reserve offers unspoiled landscapes and a sense of tranquillity and solitude. Wildlife-wise, you’ll find lion, cheetah and many of Namibia’s fascinating desert species, but the reserve is probably most famous for its strong population of black and white rhino.
Stay at Etosha Mountain Lodge. At the lodge, you can expect nine, classically-Namibian chalets, all with 180-degree, camera-loving panoramas of the wilderness, a beautiful main ‘lapa’ area, and a cool swimming pool for the hot African days.
Why You’ll Love Etosha Mountain Lodge:
- Well-established, comfortable and classically Namibian in style, Etosha Mountain Lodge is the perfect place from which to discover the iconic wildlife of Etosha Heights.
- With only nine chalets, this is the perfect lodge for small groups and families to book privately for the most personal of safaris.
- Track endangered black and white rhino in an area that’s renowned for high populations of the elusive and majestic beasts.
- Have your cameras at the ready for throngs of antelope and trumpeting herds of ellies as you game drive through the reserve.
- Enjoy the peace and solitude that comes from staying in a private reserve, far from tourist crowds – and any other people for that matter!
Activities at the Lodge:
- Enjoy early morning and late afternoon game drives in the privacy of Etosha Heights Private Reserve, and track elusive black and white rhino whilst keeping your eyes peeled for the big cats.
- Who says the action stops when darkness falls? Take a guide, add a powerful spotlight, and you’ve got the opportunity for an excellent night game drive.
- Bush meals and picnics can be arranged on request.
How to Book:
You can book with Natural Selection’s partner agent in India, Experiential Travel Journeys Pvt. Ltd., based out of New Delhi. They are a Boutique Travel Design company and Africa experts with established connections and resources in Namibia to help you planning and executing a trip of a lifetime.