22 November – 06 December 2019
An amazing country of sweeping landscapes, impressive mountains, fascinating geology with the oldest dunes in the world, canyons and deserts. Namibia has wide-open spaces with few inhabitants but a wealth of flora and fauna all adapted to the environment. Our itinerary covers the central and southern regions of the country, malaria-free zones.
The lodges and guest farmhouses chosen are small with all comforts and good food. They are attractively designed in typical vernacular style with breath-taking views and always a friendly welcome. After each travel day, we spend a relaxing day around our chosen lodge with the emphasis on local activities.
Our road travel is in 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.
DAY ONE – FRIDAY 22 NOVEMBERD
Depart from London Heathrow early evening taking the KLM flight via Amsterdam overnight to Windhoek. Dinner is served after take-off.
DAY TWO – SATURDAY 23 NOVEMBERBD
Arrival in Windhoek late morning. You are met at the airport by Susan and our local guide, Siggi, to start the journey southwards to our lodge in the Kalahari Desert, south of Windhoek. The 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 – SUNDAY 24 NOVEMBERBD
The Bushmen (San people) live in the Kalahari and we join them for an early morning walk to learn about traditional uses of plants. Time to relax at the lodge until the afternoon game drive in the undulating red dunes where we can spot giraffes, oryx, kudu and perhaps meercats and ostriches. Magnificent camel thorn trees (Acacia erioloba) and bushman grass (Stipagrostis sabulicola), and a poisonous but beautiful lily, grow between the dune ridges. After watching the sunset whilst enjoying a sundowner, we return to the lodge for dinner.
DAY FOUR – MONDAY 25 NOVEMBERBD
We travel south, leaving the dunes, and passing through the mountainous Namgorab region with extraordinary geology, we arrive at the village of Helmeringhausen for lunch. It is a well-known auction centre for sheep and goats farmed locally. We may see the sociable weaver -bird colonies located in a camel thorn tree. We arrive at Alte Kalkofen Lodge in the afternoon, allowing time to relax. An excellent collection of lithops (stone plants) from southern Namibia and northern South Africa will be shown to us by the owners, who are collectors.
DAY FIVE – TUESDAY 26 NOVEMBERBD
Morning visit to the magnificent Fish River Canyon, which is the second largest in the world after the Grand Canyon in the US. Walk along the ridge with impressive views and discover the majestic but poisonous candelabra euphorbia (Euphorbia virosa) and the quiver tree (Aloidendron dichotomum). We check into the Gondwana Canyon Lodge and enjoy a sundowner before dinner together.
DAY SIX – WEDNESDAY 27 NOVEMBERBD
Heading north, we traverse the Gaub Pass to enter the sweeping plains towards the Naukluft mountains and arrive at Kulala Desert Lodge on the edge of the 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 – THURSDAY 28 NOVEMBERBRD
We start before sunrise, entering the Namib-Naukluft Park in a Land Cruiser and travelling 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 saltpans. The dune colours are breathtaking in the early morning light. We stop for brunch under a camel thorn tree in the Sossusvlei pan on our return from the dune walk. Late afternoon we enjoy a drive on the Lodge’s private reserve to watch a spectacular sunset over the savannah plains towards the mountains and dunes. Dinner is notably atmospheric and delicious: a braai (barbeque) specially prepared for us by the Lodge staff and set in the bush around a Boma fire. You may, if you wish, bring the day to a perfect close by sleeping under the stars on the roof of your room.
DAY EIGHT – FRIDAY 29 NOVEMBERBD
We depart through the mountains to arrive late afternoon at Hakos Guest Farm facing the Gamsberg mountain at 2347m. Sunset walk including the planet trail for a sundowner before enjoying dinner with the family. Later, there is an opportunity for a guided stargazing session (with access to a powerful telescope) as Hakos is an exceptional site for astronomy.
DAY NINE – SATURDAY 30 NOVEMBERBPD
Morning guided botanical walk on foot from the farm with ecologist Uschi Pond along a mountain ridge to explore the local escarpment flora; birds; and maybe the protected mountain zebra. Afternoon nature drive by 4×4 with the opportunity to discover some geological highlights. Oryx, kudu and zebra may be seen as we watch the sun go down before dinner together. After-dinner presentation by Uschi of the local flora in the rainy season, with a focus on Welwitschia mirabilis: Uschi has co-authored a recently published book about the plant.
DAY TEN – SUNDAY 01 DECEMBERBPD
We depart from Hakos through the mountains towards the coast, with a diversion to view the ancient Welwitschia. These rare plants may grow to over a metre high and live for centuries – possibly even a thousand years. They are adapted to grow in arid conditions, receiving moisture from regular early morning fog rolling inland from the sea. Continuing along the desert-like landscape, which becomes like a moonscape with amazing geological formations, we arrive late afternoon in Swakopmund 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 – MONDAY 02 DECEMBERB
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 and a hibernation area for migratory birds. The eye is caught by the flamingos, black oyster catchers, avocets and plovers. Reservation for dinner at the restaurant “The Tug” on the sea shore.
DAY TWELVE – TUESDAY 03 DECEMBERBD
Depart for Erindi Old Traders’ Lodge in 70,000 hectares of pristine wilderness. Superb sightings of wildlife both from the deck of the lodge and during the game drives.
We enjoy a late afternoon game driver until after sunset returning to the lodge for dinner.
DAY THIRTEEN – WEDNESDAY 04 DECEMBERBRD
Early morning game drive to discover a rich variety of wildlife. flora and birdlife. We return to the lodge for brunch. Relaxing day watching birds and small mammals visiting the waterholes, until tea and cakes in the afternoon followed by a sunset game drive to discover more of the wildlife on the reserve. Return to the lodge deck terrace for dinner.
DAY FOURTEEN – THURSDAY 05 DECEMBERBD
Depart after breakfast for the final drive south to Windhoek airport taking the KLM flight overnight via Amsterdam to London Heathrow.
DAY FIFTEEN – FRIDAY 06 DECEMBERB
Arrival at London Heathrow early morning.