BEST OF NAMIBIA
PRICE: 1995 dollars per person based on 4 people for a private tour and guided
PRICE: 1195 dollars per person based on 2 people on a self-drive
– All entrance fees for national cultural parks, museums etc.
– 6 dinners
– Tour guide throughout your stay
– Marine cruise of Walvis Bay
This 10 day itinerary allows us to discover the contrasting beauty and sights that Namibia offers. From desert landscapes to lush oasis, home to treasures from millennia plants, remnants left by artists from another era and the rare and beautiful gems that abound in the country.
Highlights of the stay
- Windhoek, capital of Namibia, is located at 1600m on the central plateau.
- It is a medium-sized city, with a quiet atmosphere and architectural styles mingle but historic buildings are of Germanic influence.
- Etosha is one of the largest and most beautiful national parks in Africa, proclamed a national park in 1907 when it occupied 100 000km2 making it the largest national park on earth, but alas due to political pressure in the sixties, it was reduced to its present size of about ¼ of its original surface. It takes its name from “great white place of dry water” refering to the pan, which after a heavy rain it will acquire a thin layer of water and when dry is heavily salted by the mineral deposits on the surface of the pan. Etosha houses a large and varied animal population: mammals, birds, fish, amphibians, insects and reptiles.
- Twyfelfontein has the richest museum of petroglyphs in Africa left by the hunter-gatherers and later by Khoikhoi herders. 2,500 items of rock carvings were created, as well as a few rock paintings.
- Swakopmund is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Namibia. The Teutonic atmosphere contributes to the town’s pervasive love of comfort and hospitality.
- Sossusvlei is a bowl covered with a salt crust and surrounded by huge dunes of red ocher sand giving a surreal landscape of great beauty. Here the dunes are among the highest in the world, it is even said that “big daddy” with its 385m high is the highest in the world.
Upon arrival in Windhoek we head to Otjiwarongo located at the intersection of roads from Windhoek, Swakopmund, Outjo, Etosha and the “Golden Triangle”.
The rest of the day we are free to walk around the small town, in Otjiherero it means ‘pleasant place or place where fat cattle graze’ and see the Locomotive No 1which stands in front of the train station. It was manufactured in Germany and shipped to Namibia to transport the ore from Tsumeb to Swakopmund.
Day 2: Otjiwarago / Etosha
It is the largest town in the Oshikoto region, located at the tip of a triangle known as the “golden triangle” between Oshakati and Angola to the north, via Rundu and Grootfontein to Windhoek via Otavi in the the south.
Founded in 1905 it is famous for its mines from which are extracted 170 to 200 different minerals, some of which are found nowhere else on earth. Mineral collectors justifiably rank Tsumeb as one of the world’s greatest natural wonders. Today wealth lies in the cement industry and agriculture.
Approximately 20km from Tsumeb we will stop at Lake Otjikoto which is the smallest of only two permanent lakes in Namibia. It follows the collapse of a cave and dolomite forms a chasm 102m in diameter.The depth is not known with certainty as research shows that the lake ends in a network of tunnels. According to dives made on the one side of the lake is about 62m deep and 70m across, however an estimate has increased the depth of the lake at over 142m.
This is where the German army threw all his weapons and ammunition during the debacle of 1915 when South African invaded the country. We arrive at Etosha National Park for lunch
We leave immediately for our first safari and explore the park.
After breakfast we will enjoy a full day’s game drive interrupted by lunch in the park. The vast Etosha Park is one of the finest wildlife reserves and the largest conservation areas in the world. It houses more than 110 species of mammals, 340 species of birds, 16 species of reptiles and amphibians besides fish and countless species of insects.
Etosha means’ great white place of water drained’. The lake that there was there thousands of years ago has now disappeared leaving only a bowl of salt completely devoid of vegetation. The river that fed the lake was modified by movement of tectonic plates and reducing it to a dry and cracked area. But in the savannah around, wildlife is everywhere.
Chalet accommodation in one of the camps on the banks of a waterhole which attracts countless animals.
Day 4: Etosha / Twyfelfontein
This morning we make a very early start to the Damaraland between Etosha National Park and the massive Brandberg. This is the last place on earth outside a national park where we see lions, rhinos and the famous desert elephants in total freedom.
A stop for breakfast is provided at Outjo, quiet town agreeably flowered bougainvillea. Founded in 1880, it hosted a German garrison in the mid-1890s, and its oldest buildings date from this period including the Franke House which was the residence of the German commanders.
Damaraland is named after the Damara people who live here. Damara is derived from the word dama and nama and means ‘that worked there’ and indeed Nama knew the presence of the Damara by the footprints they left around water points.
The spectacular scenery of the region, ranging from vast plains, impressive granite formations and deep gorges will dazzle us with their diversity.
The Brandberg is a mountain range, the highest point is Könisgstein and rises to 2600m above sea level. The surrounding flat landscape allows it to be seen from a distance. Brandberg means “Mountain of Fire” in Afrikaans, German and Dutch and is named after the color of the mountains at sunset. The massif is called Daures in Damara which means “the mountain that burns” and Omukuruvaro in Herero meaning “Mountain of the Gods.”
Upon arrival at Twyfelfontein which is one of the richest African rock art sites we will visit the engravings or petroglyphs contained in this huge open-air museum. The age of the art has not been defined precisely but we know that some are more than 6000 years.
Then early in the afternoon we visit the petrified forest, a marvel where the fossilized trunks, half buried in sandstone, can reach 30m high and 6m in circumference. The orginal trees belong to an ancient group of cone -bearing plants and date back more than 2600 million years!
Day 5: Twyfelfontein / Swakopmund / Walvis Bay Kaokoland
We arrive at Cape Cross on the Skeleton coast edge of the Atlantic Ocean for lunch after which we visit the largest seal colony in Namibia.
The road heads south to Swakopmund, a charming little town. The historic buildings, German style, and small craft shops line the streets. All are always spotlessly clean. We meander passed small craft shops, peaceful gardens and along paths to the sea.
We reach Walvis Bay and tour the city.
Hotel on the lagoon
After an early breakfast we will depart for a speed boat cruise to see the harbor.
Bird Island is home to hundreds of Cape cormorants, we visit Pelican Point and its large population of sea lions and flamingos. Dolphins will be our traveling companions during few hours spent at sea.
After lunch in the city we discover the famous Welwitschia Mirabilis, botanical curiosities that exists nowhere else. They live in an area that receives less than 1cm of rain per year, provided by mist regularly providing the equivalent of 2cm additional water. These plants are extremely slow to develop and reach 2000 years of age !!
Time to explore.
After breakfast we head towards the Namib Desert via the Kuiseb Canyon reaching Solitaire.
Kuiseb Canyon is not a canyon but literally owes its name to the San people who had the same word for landscapes with different reliefs. The Kuiseb River is of major importance in the geography of the country as it is in fact the “wall” that stops the advance of the dunes to the north. It runs beside the mountains. The contrasting colours come from quartz, basalt and granite.
We arrive at Solitaire. It features the only gasoline station, post office, bakery, and the only general dealer between the dunes at Sossusvlei and the coast at Walvis Bay.
Day 8: Solitaire / Sossusvlei / Solitaire
This morning, very early start (5h00-5h30) towards Sossusvlei, a sea of sand that extends over 300 km long and 150 wide, covering 32,000 km2, it includes some of the finest and highest dunes in the world. The site visit at sunrise allows us to enjoy the extraordinary play of light and colour on the dunes.
Our breakfast is in the dunes!
We discover Dead Vlei a dry lake. First a clay pan with shallow pools when the river flooded allowing camel thorn trees to grow. When the climate changed, drought hit the area, and sand dunes encroached on the pan and blocked the river from the area. The trees died and the remaining skeletons of the trees believed to be about 900 years old are now black the due to the scorching intense sun. Though not petrified, the wood does not decompose because it is so dry.
Decor otherworldly, magical and infinite spectacle, Sossusvlei is one of the places on the planet that can not be ignored.
After lunch we will enter the Southern National Park Namib-Naukluft and will discover the famous Sesriem Canyon, “six belts” given by settlers who had to attach together six belts in order to reach buckets down into the canyon to scoop up water. A point of vital importance for the Herero, Nama and Damara people of this region where water is more valuable than diamonds peoples.
We return to our lodge in the late afternoon.
Day 9: Solitaire / Windhoek
Upon our arrival we will have free time to walk around the city.
Capital of modest dimensions, Windhoek, German flavoured capital, founded no more than 100 years ago, is located in the center of the country on a level plateau 1660m above sea level. It has a pleasant clean dry climate.
Stroll along the street and see the old and fossilized elephant zoo, historic buildings, or the open-air museum that exhibits 33 pieces of the largest known meteor, Hoba meteorite.
After lunch we go on a sightseeing tour of the city and the rest of the day will be free.
This evening dinner at the most famous restaurant in Windhoek, famous for its traditional dishes meat of wild animals.
Back to our hotel.
Day 10: Departure
Activities that day will be scheduled depending on the time of the return flight.