31 October – 14 November 2017
An amazing country with sweeping landscapes, mountains, fascinating geology with dunes, the oldest in the world, canyons and deserts. Wide open spaces with few inhabitants but a wealth of wildlife, plants, and birds all adapted to their environment. Our itinerary covers the central and southern regions of Namibia, malaria-free zones.
The lodges and guest farmhouses chosen are small with all comforts and good food. Attractively designed in typical vernacular style with breathtaking views and always a friendly welcome. After a travel day, we spend a relaxing day around the lodges with local activities.
Our road travel is with a comfortable vehicle adapted to gravel tracks which form a major part of our journeys. We are accompanied throughout by an excellent and knowledgeable local guide who is also a professional photographer. The overnight flights are to Johannesburg with a connection to Windhoek.
DAY ONE – TUESDAY 31 OCTOBER D
Depart from London Heathrow to take the overnight South African Airways flight to Johannesburg. Dinner is served after take-off.
DAY TWO – WEDNESDAY 01 NOVEMBER BD
Arrival in Johannesburg early morning and transfer to the Windhoek flight in Namibia. We are met at the airport and start the journey southwards arriving at our lodge in the Kalahari Desert, south of Windhoek. Our lodge lies amid deep-red sand dunes, salt pans and savannah plains. Late afternoon game drive for an introduction to the local wildlife and vegetation, stopping for a sundowner. We enjoy dinner together around the Boma fire.
DAY THREE – THURSDAY 02 NOVEMBER BLD
The Bushman (San people) live in the Kalahari and we join them for a walk and learn their use of plants and their handicrafts returning for brunch and time to relax. Afternoon nature drive through the dunes where we may see suricats (meerkats), giraffes, oryx and springbok. Sundowner on a dune ridge with superb views before returning to the lodge for dinner.
DAY FOUR – FRIDAY 03 NOVEMBER BD
We travel south, leaving the dunes and pass through the mountainous Namgorab region, to Helmeringhausen at lunchtime. A well-known auction centre for sheep and goats farmed locally. We may see the sociable weaver bird colonies located in a camelthorn tree. We arrive at Alte Kalkofen Lodge in the afternoon with time to relax. An excellent collection of lithops (stone plants) will be shown to us by the owners who are collectors. Dinner together in the lodge.
DAY FIVE – SATURDAY 04 NOVEMBER BLD
Morning visit to the magnificent Fish River Canyon, the second largest in the world. Walk along the ridge with amazing views and discover the majestic but poisonous candelabra euphorbia (Euphorbia virosa). Late afternoon sundowner drive on the farm before dinner.
DAY SIX – SUNDAY 05 NOVEMBER BD
Heading north, we traverse the Gaub Pass into the sweeping plains towards the Naukluft mountains to arrive at Kulala Desert Lodge, on the edge of the Namib desert, our base for two nights. Our early evening game drive in the extensive reserve gives a fascinating insight into desert life. Return to the Lodge for dinner.
DAY SEVEN – MONDAY 06 NOVEMBER BRD
Early start before sunrise to enter the Namib-Naukluft Park, in a Land Cruiser along the Tsauchab riverbed, towards the high dunes, with frequent stops along the 60 km track to Sossusvlei. Walk up the dune to the Dead Vlei with its ancient dead acacia trees in the salt pans. The dune colours are exceptional. We enjoy a brunch under a camelthorn tree in Sossusvlei on our return from the dunes. Late afternoon we enjoy a drive on the Lodge’s private reserve to watch a spectacular sunset over the savannah plains to the mountains and dunes. This evening, if possible, the lodge prepares a braai (barbeque) in the bush around a Boma fire. Very atmospheric and a delicious meal. Possibility to sleep under the stars on the roof of your room.
DAY EIGHT – TUESDAY 07 NOVEMBER BD
We depart through the mountains to arrive late afternoon at Hakos Guest Farm facing Gamsberg mountain at 2347m. Sunset walk including the planet trail for a sundowner before enjoying dinner with the family. An opportunity after dinner for a guided stargazing session (with a powerful telescope) as Hakos is an exceptional site for astronomy.
DAY NINE – WEDNESDAY 08 NOVEMBER BLD
Morning guided botanical walk on foot from the farm with Uschi Pond, ecologist, along a mountain ridge to discover the local escarpment flora, birds and maybe the protected mountain zebra. Afternoon nature drive by 4×4 with a discovery of geological highlights. Oryx, kudu and zebra may be seen as we watch the sun go down before dinner together. After dinner presentation of the local flora in the rainy season and the welwitschia by Uschi, co-author of a recently published book about them.
DAY TEN – THURSDAY 09 NOVEMBER BD
We depart from Hakos through the mountains towards the coast, diverting to discover the ancient welwitschia, rare plants often growing over a metre high and up to 500 years old. They are adapted to grow under arid conditions, receiving moisture from regular early morning fog from the sea. Continuing along the desert-like landscape, which becomes moonscape-like with amazing geology, we arrive late afternoon in Swapokmund on the Atlantic coast. The city’s German origins are quite pronounced: the beautiful old German Colonial buildings make an even starker contrast at the edge of the Namib Desert. We have dinner in the hotel restaurant.
DAY ELEVEN – FRIDAY 10 NOVEMBER B
Morning excursion into the desert where, in the dune belt, we are shown Palmato geckos, desert chameleon, the white lady spider and vegetation surviving in the dunes. In the afternoon in Walvis Bay we discover the lagoon, one of the most important wetlands of southern Africa, hibernation area for migratory birds. The flamingos are eye-catching, as are the black oyster catchers, avocets and plover. Reservation for dinner at the restaurant The Tug on the sea shore.
DAY TWELVE – SATURDAY 11 NOVEMBER BLD
Depart inland for Erindi Private Game Reserve, north-east near Omaruru, arriving for lunch. Watch wildlife from deck terrace around the waterhole. Our guide, a professional photographer, gives an introduction to wildlife and landscape photography. Late afternoon game drive to discover the rich wildlife on the reserve. Delicious dinner on the deck restaurant.
DAY THIRTEEN – SUNDAY 12 NOVEMBER BD
Early morning game drive to discover a rich variety of game – many antelope, wildebeest, elephants and giraffe and maybe lions, hippos and cheetahs. We return to the lodge for brunch. Relaxing day, until tea and cakes in the afternoon, before leaving on a sunset game drive to discover more of the wildlife on the reserve. Return to the lodge deck terrace for dinner.
DAY FOURTEEN – MONDAY 13 NOVEMBER BD
Depart after breakfast for the final drive south to Windhoek airport for the flight to Johannesburg changing onto the overnight flight to London Heathrow.
DAY FIFTEEN – TUESDAY 14 NOVEMBER
Arrival at London Heathrow early morning.