Please note the 2017 itinerary runs from April 2017 through to March 2018.
This Complete Namibia Camping Safari sets off from Windhoek the capital city of Namibia, driving south into the unique Kalahari Desert and on to the highlights of southern, then central and northern Namibia.
An affordable and well-rounded scenic, cultural, nature and wildlife Namibian journey!
On day one of our Complete Namibia Camping Safari you will be collected from your pre-tour accommodation in Windhoek, between 07:30 and 08:00am in the morning.
From Windhoek we drive south, passing through the narrow finger of Kalahari in the east of Namibia. Our route takes us via the small town of Rehoboth, the traditional home of the Baster people, and other hamlets. Reaching Kalkrand we make our way into the Kalahari Desert, a vast semi-arid land. The Kalahari is home to a surpising variety of animals and plants, as it receives more rainfall than a true desert.
Arriving at the game farm where we camp overnight there is time to unwind and watch wildlife and birds at the local watering hole.
Then we embark on a nature drive in the wilderness, going in search of the wild animals roaming the farm. Exploring the sparsely vegetated red-sand dunes of this fossil desert you get to experience the wide open spaces, typical of Namibia's landscapes.
The game farm hosts some thirty wildlife species from rhino, giraffe and zebra to cheetah and a variety of antelopes, including oryx, kudu, gemsbok, blesbok, impala and spingbok. We spend our first night camping under expansive African skies, twinkling with stars.
Day two starts with a morning game drive in the Kalahari, exploring the bush in the early hours of the day when many animals are at their most active.
Then we drive to the small market town of Mariental and further south to Keetmanshoop, the administritive capital of the Karas Region in Namibia. This town, founded in 1860 by the Rhenish Mission Society, still features remnants of the original colonial German buildings, along with buildings dating back to the first European expeditions in 1791. Here we visit the Mesosaurus Fossil Site and Quiver Tree Dolerite Park, on the outskirts of Keetmanshoop.
The Mesosaurus Fossil Site offers some of the best evidence to support the theory of continental drift. The Quivertree Park hosts around 5000 specimens of living fossils, in the form of strange looking plants. These aloes occur commonly here, but are in fact one of the rarest floral species in the world. The strange looking succulents, with their finger-like branches, are actually indegenous aloes, not trees. The area is scattered with these rare quiver trees, which are endemic to this part of Namibia.
From Keetmans, as Keetmanshoop is known, we continue south to the Fish River Canyon area, where we camp overnight.
This morning we go to the Fish River Canyon to admire the sheer scale of this massive canyon, dropping up to 550m deep. The sight of the world's second largest canyon is awe-inspiring with its sheer cliffs and distant floor. Formed by millions of years of erosion this 160 km long canyon is one of nature's true marvels.
Returning from the edge of the impressive Fish River Canyon we break-up camp and hit the road for the little town of Aus. Set in the scenic Aus Mountains of the Huib-Hoch-Plateau Region, this small town served as a First World War prison camp for German military in 1915.
We overnight at a camp on a private game reserve on the fringes of Aus.
On day four we get up at sunrise, journeying into an area called the “Forbidden Zone”. This zone was off limits back in the day when alluvial diamonds simply lay scattered across the desert in the area, hence the name. A highlight of travelling in this part of Namibia is the chance to spot Namibia's only wild horses. We look out for these unique, desert-adapted horses of the Namib as we drive.
In the coastal town of Luderitz you have the option of taking a boat trip on the The Sedina, an old-fashioned sailing ship. The wooden ship cruises out into Luderitz Bay, visiting Halifax Island - hosting a colony of Jackass Penguins. Engines are cut and we sail back to the mainland (depending on the weather).
After the optional boat trip we travel to Kolmanskop (optional extra), a deserted town in the desert, some 20 km outside of Luderitz. The town sprung up during the diamond rush of the 1920's only to be abandoned when diamond mining prospects elsewhere along the coast showed more promise. Today the desert is slowly encroaching on this small ghost town, giving it an other-worldly and haunting atmosphere.
Back in seaside Luderitz you can enjoy lunch at one of the local cafes and explore the historic town. Here colonial-era buildings perch on the rocky coastline, looking out over the bay dotted with small fishing boats. The town of Lüderitz is tinged with a surreal atmosphere as the moods of the ocean change from sparkling blue to stormy grey. The fresh seaside climate is a welcome relief after our time in the hot deserts. In the afternoon we go to Diaz Point where we look out for seals, enjoy some bird watching and view an old stone cross, erected by the Portuguese explorer Bartholomew Diaz.
Driving back to Aus we watch the sun set over the desert mountains and put our feet up at camp.
Today we drive north into the mesmerising Namib Desert, passing small rural settlements en route. The landscapes become more stark as we enter the harsh desert terrain, characterised by striking rock formations and rocky hills, called koppies.
From this arid area of austere beauty we move into gentle grassland savannahs and farming lands, before heading deep into the ancient Namib. Towering red-orange sand dunes rise up around us in this immense desert wrapped in silence.
In the late afternoon we reach our camp and settle in as the sun sets over the glowing ochre desert, casting shifting shadows and changing the hues of the desert sands. Sleeping out under the starry skies of the empty Namib is a remarkable experience, imbued with great solitude and peace.
On day six we rise at dawn and head into this famous desert of Namibia to explore. Our early start ensures that we get to see the warm colours of the dunes as the light of sunrise bathes the sea of red dunes.
We drive via Sesriem into the rolling dune fields and take a memorable 5km walk to Sossusvlei. Walking in the cool morning air we get to watch the desert light up in a spectacular show of contrasting light and shadow. The Sossusvlei Dunes are said to be some of the tallest deserts in the world, towering over the surrounding pans. We keep our eyes open for gemsbok and ostriches on our walk through ancient pans scattered with camel thorn trees. This walk into the dunes is ideal for taking photographs of the magical Namib Desert.
The morning is spent exploring Sossusvlei and surrounds and we also visit the well-known Dune 45 in the area. We head back to Sesriem in time for lunch, retreating during the heat of the day. Later in the afternoon we embark on a short outing to the Sesriem Canyon, before returning to our overnight Namib Desert camp.
Today we have breakfast and journey back to Namibia's capital city, Windhoek.
Driving back to Windhoek we pass over the Naukluft mountain range, an ancient geological site. Our scenic drive also takes us via beautiful mountain passes in the Khomas Hochland mountains.
At about 4:00pm we arrive in Windhoek, where we spend the night.
We set off between 08:30 and 09:00 in the morning, driving north via small towns. We stop at the town of Okahandja, where we visit Namibia's largest wood carving market, run by local co-operatives. The market is an ideal place to shop for authentic Namibian souvenirs.
From Okahandja we continue north through farmlands arriving in Okonjima in the mid-afternoon. We set up camp and relax in the shade, before venturing on to the property for our afternoon activities.
Okonjima is the home of the Africat Foundation, a conservation organisation focusing on the Big Cats of Africa, especially cheetah.
On our afternoon tour we enjoy close encounters with the cheetahs of the Africat rehabilitation programme. Most of the animals at Okonjima are rescued orphans or animals that were caught in traps. The wildlife rehabilitation centre aims to re-introduce the animals into the wild.
After our informative wildlife tour we return to camp and share a hearty dinner under bright African skies.
The day starts early, as our journey takes us futher north through small towns. We stop briefly along the way to refuel and stock up on supplies.
Our safari destination for today is the Namutoni region of eastern Etosha Park. We arrive at camp in time for lunch, giving us time to rest before embarking on our first thrilling game drive. We explore Etosha National Park on our first drive in the cool afternoon hours.
Day ten is set aside for game viewing in Etosha Park.
The day kicks off early, as the cool morning hours are one of the best times for game viewing. We make our way through Etosha Park, heading to Halali camp, located in the heart of the game park. Our game drive takes us to several watering holes to spot animals, as well as venturing to the expansive Etosha Pan. This area of the game park offers excellent game viewing, with the chance of sighting new species, not commonly spotted in the Namutoni area.
We stop for lunch and a rest at Halali Camp, visiting the Halali waterhole. There is also time for a refreshing dip in the swimming pool and a drink at the bar before we head to Okaukuejo, game viewing along the way.
We set up camp at Etosha's main rest camp, Okaukuejo. The original site of a German fort, built in 1901, the watchtower is still standing today. Okaukuejo hosts the Etosha Ecological Institute, founded in 1974. After dinner you can enjoy more game viewing at the floodlit waterhole, situated within easy walking distance on the edge of the camp.
The waterhole is considered to offer one of the best game viewing opportunities in Southern Africa and is the ideal place to witness fascinating animal behaviour. The watering hole is regularly visited by black rhino, elephants, lion and numerous antelope species during the dry winter months.
Our Complete Namibia Camping Safari departs from Etosha Park this morning, travelling south to Kamanjab, a small town relatively close to Etosha.
The village is home to the only Himba community living traditional lifestyles, outside of the Kaokoland region of Namibia in upper northern Namibia.
These Himba people migrated to the area bringing their way of life and customs with them. The site of the village varies as the Himba move to new locations on the farm. Here we gain insight into the marriage customs, traditional foods and the “Holy Fire” religion of the Himba.
Next we travel the short distance to a scenic community campsite, nestled among granite hills and mopane trees. This eco-friendly camp features a hot water system that is heated by the barbecue fire, so the hot water for your shower is warmed while preparing your meal.
We camp under the stars tonight.
After our cultural experience in the Grootberg, we travel into Damaraland, one of the most scenic desert areas in Namibia.
Our journey west takes us via the Grootberg Pass en route to Twyfelfontein, where we visit some ancient Bushman rock art. We set off on a guided tour with a local to view the rock engravings. After our walking tour we set up the overnight camp.
On day 13 of our Complete Namibia Budget Safari we journey deeper into the deserts of Damaraland, passing The Brandberg Mountain, Namibia’s highest mountain at 2573m above sea level.
Driving on through Damaraland we enjoy spectacular scenery before stopping in Uis, an small old mining town. The remote little town of Uis, situated in the middle of nowhere, is one of the best places to buy semi-precious stones. Namibia is famous for its semi-precious stones and in Uis you can find rough Amethyst, Tourmaline and others at bargain prices.
Then we head west across the “gravel plains” to the icy Atlantic Ocean. We reach the Skeleton Coast at Henties Bay, and take a slight detour to view the seal colony at Cape Cross. As many as 100,000 Cape Fur seals can be seen at Cape Cross in some seasons.
Driving south along the Skeleton Coast we travel to Swakopmund, Namibia's premier seaside resort destination.
Breakfast is the only meal included in the tour price, allowing as much flexibility as possible without set meal times during the day. This is a great chance to try out the excellent local cafes and restaurants in Swakopmund.
There is excellent seafood available in this coastal town and your tour guide will offer to arrange a group meal in one of the local restaurants in the evening (recommended but not required).
This morning is free for you to explore Swakopmund, before we return to Windhoek.
Swakopmund is considered the Adventure Capital of Namibia, offering a variety of optional activities. These activities include aeroplane and microlight flights over the desert, scenic drives, fishing trips (from the beach or by boat), four-wheel motorcycle (quad bike) trips into the desert and over the sand dunes around Swakopmund, sand boarding trips (also in the dunes), skydiving, surfing, bird-watching and many more options.
Your safari guide will inform you of the activity options before you reach Swakopmund and offer to make advance bookings for you.
You can go sightseeing in the lively town of Swakopmund, visiting the local museum and the Namibian National Marine Aquarium. There are plenty of shops, as well as a lovely beach (the icy Atlantic is not for the faint-hearted) and an open-air African curio and crafts market.
After lunch you will be transferred to your post-tour accommodation in Windhoek city, where this Complete Namibia Camping Safari ends.