Namibia Group Safari Itinerary

Days 1 & 2

Depart U.S. / Windhoek

Board independent flights to Namibia. Arriving at International Hosea Kutako Airport, you are welcomed by our naturalist travel guide and accompanied to Galton House. A short city tour en route orients you to Windhoek. Namibia’s capital city nestles among rolling hills, bounded by the Eros Mountains in the east, the Auas Mountains to the south, and the Khomas Hochland in the west. It is a meeting place between Africa and Europe, the modern and the old, where well-preserved German colonial buildings contrast with modern architecture, and Herero women in traditional Victorian dress mingle with sophisticates in the latest fashions. Enjoy a relaxing afternoon as you settle into your charming accommodation and perhaps explore Windhoek city shops and craft market. The evening celebrates our official welcome and briefs you on the small-group Namibia safari ahead. A festive tasting of fine South African wines, presented by a local expert, is followed by a congenial dinner at the guest house with our guide. (Meals Aloft, D)

Day 3

Windhoek / Okonjima

After a leisurely breakfast, journey through Okahandja to Okonjima, home of the AfriCat Foundation. Okahandja, a town of great significance to the Herero people, means “small widening,” the place where rivers meet. A perfect rest stop halfway to today’s destination, a point of interest includes the Okahandja Craft Market (look for the Mbangura woodcarvers). Just prior to reaching our first camp, we enjoy a planned stop at the REST vulture center, saving species of these birds on the brink of extinction. We may even have the opportunity to feed these incredible birds. Arrive at Okonjima Bush Camp for lunch and settle in to your superb accommodation before heading out on a guided afternoon game drive, tracking leopard by 4x4 safari vehicle. Okonjima is home to the AfriCat Foundation, a wildlife sanctuary dedicated to conservation awareness, preserving habitat, and supporting animal welfare. With luck, we’ll visit during an annual checkup of the animals and be witness to the incredible work being done. Close encounters with leopard and cheetah are an unforgettable highlight of your Namibia safari. Evening continues the excitement with a visit to the night hide after dinner. Nocturnal animals such as porcupine, caracal, honey badger and leopard may be seen. (B,L,D)

Day 4

Eastern Etosha National Park

We enjoy an exciting excursion this morning — like tracking cheetah on foot — before returning to camp for brunch. Any activity you choose at Okonjima ensures the active and experiential; you are by no means a bystander. Enjoy an extended game drive as we head to the eastern boundary of Etosha National Park, stopping for lunch en route. Take in Lake Otjikoto, mythically bottomless, with its rare mouth-breeding species of fish, on our way to Onguma Tree Tops Camp. After an afternoon drive through their private game reserve, we enjoy dinner at camp and a memorable evening viewing game at the floodlit waterhole. (B,L,D)

Day 5

Etosha National Park

After an early breakfast, Etosha National Park beckons with phenomenal game viewing. The park covers 8,598 square miles and boasts some 114 mammal and 340 bird species. Until three million years ago, the Etosha Pan formed part of a huge, shallow lake that today would be the third-largest lake in the world. Now, it is filled with grassland, woodland and savannah supporting elephant, lion, giraffe, blue wildebeest, eland, kudu, oryx, zebra, rhino, cheetah, leopard, hyena, honey badger, warthog and black-faced impala. Return to camp for lunch and a siesta, then we spend the afternoon enjoying an interactive activity in the company of a local researcher whose specialty is the reserve’s endangered black rhino. During the last century, the black rhino has suffered the most drastic decline in total numbers of all rhino species. Today, you are part of this unique effort to find out more about these elusive creatures. Gain insights into the biology, tracking and conservation work being accomplished to protect these truly magnificent animals. Help collect data from camera traps, stimulate your senses by sampling preferred rhino vegetation, feel the trees they rub against, and interpret their messages. Return to camp after sunset for another glorious evening at Tree Top. (B,L,D)

Day 6

Southern Etosha National Park

Today’s extended game drive immerses us in Etosha National Park as we travel from the east to the southern boundary. Enjoy a picnic-style lunch en route, and visit the famous Okaukuejo waterhole before exiting through Andersson’s Gate onto the Ongava Game Reserve. The leisurely drive lets you spend unhurried time game viewing a variety of species at various waterholes along the way. Late afternoon brings us to Andersson’s Camp, where we spend another mesmerizing night observing game at the waterhole. (B,L,D)

Day 7

Etosha / Damaraland

Today, our Namibia safari travels west to the market town of Kamanjab before heading south into the heart of Damaraland. Extraordinary displays of natural color, magnificent tabletop mountains, rock formations and bizarre-looking vegetation await. Formed by ages of wind, water and geological forces, the landscape fills the eye with rolling hills, dunes, gravel plains and ancient river terraces. The astounding variety, loneliness and visual splendor convey an authentic wilderness experience. En route to camp, our guide will track ancient pathways to bring you into a local Himba settlement. These nomadic and deeply traditional people have little time for conventional practices. Tall and slender, the proud yet friendly Himba are noted for their unusual sculptural beauty, enhanced by intricate hairstyles and adornments. They rub their bodies with red ochre and fat, a treatment that protects their skin against the harsh desert climate. Their homes are simple, cone-shaped structures of saplings, bound together with palm leaves, mud and dung. During our interactive visit, learn about the customs and beliefs that drive their way of life. Lunch at a scenic location is another highlight of today’s safari after which we reach our home for the next two nights, Camp Kipwe. (B,L,D) 

Day 8

Damaraland

After an early breakfast, an exciting 4x4 excursion follows the ephemeral Aba Huab and Huab River valleys to explore this remarkable region and search for game. Keep an eye out for the elusive desert- adapted elephant and other adaptive wildlife at home in Damaraland. Return to camp for lunch and an afternoon visit to the Damara Living Museum, which preserves the residents’ once-traditional way of life, demonstrating skills from tanning and blacksmithing to dancing and holy fire making. At Twyfelfontein (a UNESCO World Heritage site), we take a walk through archeological time, with some 2,500 prehistoric engravings depicting wildlife, animal spoor and abstract motifs. It is perhaps the largest and finest collection of petroglyphs in Africa. Stone tools found here suggest that hunter-gatherers occupied the site over a period of 7,000 years. End the day visiting Burnt Mountain with its fantastic range of colors (from a molten lava reaction 132 million years) and Organ Pipes, a mass of perpendicular dolerite columns. (B,L,D)

Day 9

Sossusvlei / NamibRand Nature Reserve

Transfer to the airstrip for a light-aircraft flight south. We say goodbye to our guide and enjoy the flight along the Skeleton Coast — a hallucinogenic vision of shipwrecks, seal colonies and old diamond-mining camps. Flying above the great sand sea, we stop to refuel in Swakopmund before passing into Sossusvlei and landing at Sesriem. Here we are met by a new Namibia travel guide who whisks us off on a fascinating adventure in Namib-Naukluft National Park, home to some of the highest sand dunes in the world. Among these towering apricot-colored sands, we discover intriguing creatures and plants adapted to survive the harsh environment. A relaxing picnic lunch in the shade of a camel thorn tree is a highlight of this interlude and provides an opportunity to observe how the color nuances of the landscape change continuously as the day progress. Return to the airstrip for a short flight to the Wolwedans airstrip, arriving in time for a magnificent sunset enjoyed from the comfort of the Wolwedans Dunes Lodge. (B,L,D)

Day 10

NamibRand Nature Reserve

Today, we are immersed in the breathtaking beauty of NamibRand Nature Reserve, one of the largest private nature reserves in Southern Africa. Begun as a conservation initiative in 1984, it now extends over 180,000 hectares of pristine Namib Desert. To the west lies Namib- Naukluft National Park; to the east, the imposing Nubib mountain range. NamibRand is renowned for its diversity of landscapes, representing all facets of Namib Desert life. Expansive sand and gravel plains and endless stretches of grass savannah alternate with majestic mountain ranges and vegetated dune belts of deep red sand. Before NamibRand became a private nature reserve, it had been divided into sheep farms. Today it is restored to its original state, with indigenous animals and plants flourishing. Take in the best of it at sundown as we raise a glass out on the dunes with zebra and antelope feeding below. Celebrate this final night of our Namibia safari with an optional wine tasting in a truly unique location…a wine cellar situated in a dune at the lodge! (B,L,D)

Day 11

Windhoek / Depart

This morning, arise to our final day in this otherworldly location. Following a full breakfast, transfer to the local airstrip for our light-aircraft flight to Windhoek International Airport — taking in from above the land you have just explored. Upon landing, you are met by a representative who will facilitate your check-in and bid you bon voyage as you board your flight home. (B)