Susan Worner Tours

Namibia – Safari on the Skeleton Coast – Twyfelfontein – Palmwag
– Landscapes, Geology, Wildlife and Flora

16 – 28 November 2020

Namibia is a fascinating country with richly diverse landscapes, geology, wildlife, and flora including endemic species such as the extraordinary Welwitschia mirabilis plant, one of the country’s national symbols. The Skeleton Coast is the focus of our journey to the northwest – a vast, remote region – with the highlight two days based at Shipwreck Camp in an isolated coastal wilderness. Here we have a unique chance to explore the dramatic ocean shore with seal colonies and shipwrecks, and to discover desert-adapted wildlife and flora.


© Alastair Marsh Photography

We start our journey from Windhoek by travelling west to Swakopmund on the Atlantic Coast where we encounter the “Little Five” (insects, reptiles and small mammals) living in the dunes, desert hardy flora, and flamingos resident in the lagoon at Walwis Bay. Heading north and inland, we spend two days at Mowani Lodge in Damaraland where we may spot desert-adapted elephants, lions and cheetahs on our game drives. Our next destination, the Desert Rhino Camp on the Palmwag Concession, has Africa’s largest free-ranging population of black rhino, protected by the Save the Rhino programme.

From Damaraland we travel to the protected Skeleton Coast and Shipwreck Lodge, where we stay in stylish wooden cabins nestled between the dramatic sand dunes, with views of the Atlantic Ocean. In this wild, remote landscape with its roaring dunes, we bird-watch around the lake in a nearby oasis and visit seal colonies and shipwrecks.

Heading south, we leave the coastal area and arrive at the Old Traders’ Lodge in Erindi Game Reserve. Covering a vast area, the Reserve is home to a spectacular variety of wildlife and vegetation, providing endless fascination on our game drives.

Our lodges have been handpicked after extensive research. They are well run, comfortable and designed to be environmentally sensitive. Our guide/driver, Namibian Siggi Straube, is a top-rate guide and photographer; local lodge guides are well trained and knowledgeable about local fauna and flora.

The group will comprise a maximum 10 guests. We travel in a small and comfortable coach, well built for the terrain. Overnight flights are between London Heathrow and Johannesburg with connecting flights to/from Windhoek.

 

Itinerary

DAY ONE – MONDAY 16 NOVEMBER D

Evening departure from London Heathrow on South African Airways overnight to Johannesburg.

DAY TWO – TUESDAY 17 NOVEMBER – Hansa Hotel, Swakopmund BD

Morning arrival in Johannesburg and transfer flight to Windhoek, arriving late morning. Transfer west to Swakopmund on the Atlantic coast, arriving late afternoon. Aperitif and short talk on the programme before enjoying dinner in the hotel restaurant.

DAY THREE – WEDNESDAY 18 NOVEMBER – Hansa Hotel B

Early morning excursion into the dunes to discover with our guide the plants, small creatures and insects which survive in the dunes thanks to the mist created by the cold Atlantic current. Free lunchtime followed by an afternoon excursion to the lagoon at Walwis Bay, home to hundreds of seabirds including flamingos and avocet.
Dinner to be enjoyed at a beach restaurant, The Tug.

DAY FOUR – THURSDAY 19 NOVEMBER – Mowani Mountain Camp BD

Departing from Swakopmund, we follow the coast to Henties Bay before turning inland through desert landscapes and then granite hills and huge boulders as we arrive at Mowani. Time to relax before enjoying a sundowner above the camp and dinner together.

DAY FIVE – FRIDAY 20 NOVEMBER – Mowani Mountain Camp BPicnicD

Early morning game drive to spot desert-adapted elephants and giraffes feeding on the trees of the dry bed of the Aba Huab River. We should see extensive birdlife and maybe lions, springbok, ostrich and blue wildebeest. Mopane and camelthorn trees provide the wildlife with shelter and nourishment. We return at lunchtime. Afternoon at Twyfelfontein to discover ancient rock carvings. We walk up into the boulder-strewn hills to watch the sun go down, returning to the lodge for dinner.

DAY SIX – SATURDAY 21 NOVEMBER – Desert Rhino Camp BLD

Morning departure to arrive at the Palmwag entrance of the remote Desert Rhino Camp, set in a wide valley. Welwitschia mirabilis grows profusely along the track to the Camp. During our stay, we learn more about endangered black rhinos, and the efforts of the Save The Rhino Trust to protect the species in a conservation programme actively supported at the Camp. A guided nature walk introduces us to the wider spectrum of flora and fauna found in the harsh, arid environment. We enjoy a special bush dinner together.

DAY SEVEN – SUNDAY 22 NOVEMBER – Desert Rhino Camp BPicnicD

Full day’s outing in remote hills with trackers to find the wild black rhino. The trackers explain their work during a picnic lunch in the shade of trees surrounding a water hole. On our return, we may see the rare Hartmann’s mountain zebra. Evening at the lodge where we enjoy dinner around the fire pit, with views across the wide valley to the nearby mountains. We gain an amazing insight into the ecology and conservation of the area.

DAY EIGHT – MONDAY 23 NOVEMBER – Shipwreck Lodge BD

We depart from Palmwag for the coast at Möve Bay, from where we are transferred by Landcruiser to the beach based Shipwreck Lodge. Our route takes us past colonies of seals and shipwrecks on the shore of the remote Skeleton Coast National Park, between the outlets of the Hoarusib and Hoanib Rivers. Sundowner drive before dinner together at the Lodge.

DAY NINE – TUESDAY 24 NOVEMBER – Shipwreck Lodge BLD

Day excursion in the dry bed of the Hoarusib River – where water flows underground outside the season of rains – where we discover the natural geological formation of Clay castles, and have a chance to spot some of the unique, desert-adapted wildlife browsing on camelthorn acacias.

DAY TEN – WEDNESDAY 25 NOVEMBER – Erindi Reserve, Old Traders Camp BD

We depart for Möve Bay and then head inland eastwards via Khorixas. Our first visit is to a petrified forest, unimaginably old, with enormous fossilized tree trunks washed down a river after one of many Ice Ages ended on the Gondwana continent some 280 million years ago. We arrive at the Erindi Reserve in time to enjoy an evening game drive before dinner.

DAY ELEVEN – THURSDAY 26 NOVEMBER – Erindi Reserve BLD

Early morning game drive in the reserve to observe the wildlife grazing and browsing. There is a chance to sight giraffes, oryx, springbok, and possibly lions, before we return to the Lodge for breakfast. A notable feature of Old Traders is the viewing terrace overlooking the large water hole, where a wide variety of wildlife congregates. We enjoy an evening game drive, perhaps sighting elephants, returning to the lodge for dinner.

DAY TWELVE – FRIDAY 27 NOVEMBER B

Early morning game drive to admire the beauty of the dawn light over the mountains, and to discover elephants, and perhaps kudu and oryx. Depart with luggage after breakfast to Windhoek airport for our return flights.

DAY THIRTEEN – SATURDAY 28 NOVEMBER B

Early morning arrival at London Heathrow Airport.

Notes:

The climate is likely to be hot and dry by day, cooling at night. Early morning game drives will be cool, or even chilly, and additional layers (e.g. a fleece jacket) are recommended.

Insect repellent is recommended. Malaria protection is not necessary in the regions we visit. The tented rooms have insect screens and ceiling fans for your protection and comfort.

Meals included are shown as B (breakfast), L (lunch), Picnic and D (dinner)

Lunches in the form of brunch are provided after an early morning game drive. When we are travelling between lodges, we stop for a light snack en route.

Limited Wi-Fi is available in some lodges, but those in more remote areas have no Wi-Fi.

Namibia is a very safe country, and the indigenous people are most friendly and helpful. English is spoken everywhere as well as German. For currency, the South African Rand can be used as well as local Namibian Dollars.


In 1836 William Cornwallis Harris led an expedition purely to observe and record wildlife and landscapes by the expedition’s members. Harris established the safari style of journey, starting with a not too strenuous rising at first light, an energetic day walking, an afternoon rest, concluding with a formal dinner and telling stories in the evening over drinks…

Map of Namibia Skeleton Coast


Tour Costs

£7,550 per person sharing
Single supplement £1,200

Included:

All air flights, land transport, accommodation in lodges/guest house, delicious meals, local guided game drives and walks. Tips to the lodge room and restaurant staff. Services of a professional guide/driver and of Susan Worner as tour leader.
Water supplied on coach.

Not included:

Drinks, lunch if not indicated, driver/guide and lodge guides’ tips, items of a personal nature. Fully comprehensive travel insurance cover.

Hotels/Lodges

The Lodges/Camps provide luxury tented individual rooms, with all modern conveniences en suite, stylish furnishings and a comfortable bed.
Hansa Hotel, Swapokmund
www.hansahotel.com.na
Mowani Mountain Camp – Twyfelfontein
www.mowani.com
Desert Rhino Camp
wilderness-safaris.com
Shipwreck Lodge, Skeleton Coast
www.shipwrecklodge.com.na
Erindi Game Reserve, the Old Traders Lodge
erindi.com/old-traders-lodge

Activity Level:

Travel days are quite extensive in a comfortable, air conditioned vehicle.