This unusual trip through northern Namibia combines the world-famous Etosha Park with more off-the-beaten track destinations, exploring some of Namibia's hidden gems.
Discover the unique landscapes, wildlife and cultures of Namibia on this affordable camping safari, starting and ending in Windhoek.
This Northern Namibia Safari Adventure kicks off with collection between 8:30 and 9:00am in Windhoek, Namibia's capital city.
Departing from Windhoek we drive north towards our first stop - Okonjima. Along the way we stop in at the biggest wood carving market in Namibia, located in Okahandja (time allowing). This lively market, run by the local people, is a great place to shop for authentic Namibian arts and crafts.
We travel on via the farming area of northern Namibia, arriving at Okonjima mid-afternoon. Here we set up our camp for the night and rest after our drive from Windhoek.
Then it's time for our included afternoon tour of the Africat Foundation at Okonjima. The Africat Foundation is a wildlife conservation organisation focussed on protecting the big cats of Africa, especially cheetahs. The centre takes care of rescued wildlife, taking in animals that have been injured, orphaned and snared, with the aim of returning them to their natural habitats.
On our tour of the Africat Foundation you get up close to the resident cheetahs that are being rehabilitated for release into the wild.
We return to camp after our close encounters with Africa's big cats and enjoy dinner under starry African skies.
Today we get going early in the morning, continuing our journey north through Namibia. We pause in little towns along the way to stretch our legs and stock up on supplies.
Our next destination is Namutoni, the eastern part of world-renowned Etosha National Park. We set up camp, take a rest and have lunch at Namutoni.
Later in the afternoon we embark on our first exciting game drive in Etosha Park, heading into the bush as the heat subsides and the wildlife becomes more active. Etosha is ideal for spotting game as the animals congregate at watering holes scattered across this relatively arid national park. The sparse vegetation also makes spotting game easier than in more lush reserves. The flat Etosha Pan dominates this unique game park, stretching out endlessly under wide-open skies. Here animals can be seen roaming amid the heat mirages that rise up from the sun-bleached land.
We venture into the bush bright and early, before the heat of the day sets in and while the animals are still out and about. The whole of day three is spent exploring the wilderness of Etosha Park in search of wildlife and birds. We drive via watering holes that attract animals and birds, improving our chances of sighting an array of species.
Our game drive takes us into the centre of Etosha Park towards Halali Camp. Along the way we get to admire spectacular views out over the vast Etosha Salt Pan, while spotting the different wildlife found in this central part of Etosha.
During the hottest part of the day we stop at Halali Camp and take it easy, having lunch in the shade. You can visit the watering hole at Halali, unwind at the bar and take a refreshing dip in the pool.
After our lunch break we head into the bush again, taking a game drive to Okaukuejo to the south. This is the oldest rest camp in Etosha National Park and our next overnight stop. Okaukuejo serves as the central hub of administration in Etosha and is home to the Etosha Ecological Institute.
Okaukuejo's claim to fame is however its floodlit watering hole, renowned for its superb game spotting opportunities. After dinner you are free to walk to this centrally located waterhole to watch the animals that come down to drink under the floodlights. This is a great place to sit back and watch the drama of the bush come to life as the animals interact with each other. Frequently sighted wildlife includes lion, black rhino, tall elephants and a variety of antelope species.
Today we make our way out of Etosha Park, driving south into the rugged Kunene Region of northwestern Namibia.
Our next stop is near the small village of Kamanjab in a remote area, where communities of the traditional Ova-Himba tribe of Namibia live. Here we visit the only traditional Himba community outside of the northernmost Kaokoland Region of Namibia.
We explore the Himba village meeting these semi-nomadic indigenous people with their intricate hairstyles and elaborate accessories. The women of this proud tribe customarily cover themselves in a red-mud paste, giving this tribe its name as the 'red people' of Namibia. This community migrated from the north, bringing their original customs with them. This is a rare and unique opportunity to gain insight into these iconic herders and their way of life.
The village is sometimes moved from site to site on a farm near Kamanjab with the most important feature of a Himba village being the 'Holy Fire' known as the okuruwo. This sacred fire is used to commune with the ancestors who act as a medium for communicating with their god. We see how these scantily clad people get married according to old customs and prepare food the old-fashioned way.
After our fascinating Himba cultural experience we head to our overnight camp. The community campsite is set in a scenic location, amongst rocky hills of granite stone and beautiful mopane trees. The campfire is used to warm the water of the showers here, so while dinner is prepared the showers heat up in an eco-friendly fashion. We spend the evening around the campfire at this secluded camp under starry African skies.
On day five we continue our drive southwest towards the coast of Namibia, travelling into the arid Damaraland Region of Namibia. The Damaraland and Kaololand areas are home to Namibia's desert elephants that have adapted to the harsh local environment over time. This is a sparsely populated region of wild and rugged open spaces, offering dramatic and captivating scenery.
We drive over the Grootberg Pass to Twyfelfontein, known for hosting one of Africa's highest concentrations of rock engravings. Twyfelfontein was the first UNESCO World Heritage Site to be declared in Namibia, due to the ancient rock art found here. Stone-age tribes are said to have created most of the older engravings and paintings several thousands of years ago. The San (Bushmen) are also said to have made some of the rock art a few thousands years ago.
We take a brief guided tour of the rock art sites before setting up camp in the Huab Valley, where we sleep under a blanket of countless stars.
Today we get a good look at the Brandberg Mountain, Namibia’s highest mountain - at 2573 metres above sea level, as we drive out of Damaraland. Leaving the untamed grasslands and granite hills of the scenic Damaraland behind, we journey further west into the northern reaches of the Namib Desert. En route we visit Uis, a small mining village known for its excellent collection of Namibia's famous semi-precious stones.
We then travel through the gravel flats that stretch towards the stark Skeleton Coast, famed for its numerous shipwrecks. From here our drive takes us north along the coast of the icy Atlantic Ocean, via Henties Bay.
We visit Cape Cross to see the massive seal colony found on the rocky shores, before turning south again. The Cape Fur Seal population can number up to 100 000 at times - quite a sight and smell to take in.
Next up is the coastal resort town of Swakopmund, Namibia's top beach holiday destination. Before reaching Swakopmund your guide takes you through some of the adventure activity options, booking activities for you in advance (optional).
Arriving in Swakopmund there is usually some time to wonder around this charming town before the sun sets. This evening you are free to enjoy some of the local nightlife and eat out in town (own expense). Your tour guide can arrange for your group to have dinner at one of the great restaurant in Swakopmund, known for its delicious fresh seafood.
On the final day of our Northern Namibia Safari Adventure we leave Swakopmund after lunch, returning to Windhoek in the middle of Namibia. In the morning you have time to explore the charming town of Swakopmund and take in some of the sights or try some adventure activities.
Stroll along the beach, visit the museum and national aquarium, or browse the local shops, relax at a cafe and visit the colourful curio market. There are also plenty of adventure activities to choose from, including scenic flights over the desert in either a microlight or a small plane. Other activities include skydiving, fishing trips, quad biking or sand boarding in the dunes, surfing, bird watching and more.
A four and a half hour drive brings us back to Windhoek, where this Northern Namibia Safari Adventure ends. Arriving in the city you are dropped off at your post-tour accommodation.
Accommodation is in canvas dome tents, fitted with camping mattresses (about 5 cm thick) each with a mattress cover. Camping chairs with backrests, are provided for all clients and sleeping bags can be hired in advance.
All evening meals are cooked over an open fire by your guide and vegetarians can be specially catered for by request (in advance). Salads and fresh vegetables are served daily, as well as fresh fruit (when possible). Tap water is safe to drink and bottled mineral water can be purchased locally.