This trip in Namibia is a self-drive adventure. As a self-drive adventure, each vehicle seats four passengers. Only two guests per vehicle need to volunteer to drive, a primary and backup driver. The vehicles are fully insured, with the standard exception of tires and glass. The vehicles are specially outfitted dual-cab mid-size 4x4 trucks (Nissan, Mazda, Toyota).
Each vehicle is equipped with a secure hard top shells, two spare tires and dual fuel tanks for extended range.
Like most countries with a British heritage, they drive on the left. Sitting in the right seat and manually shifting with your left hand becomes natural in short order.
With only 20% of Namibia’s roads paved, we will be spending a good deal of time on well maintained gravel roads. Their road system is well marked and easily driven with a good map. The main gravel roads are nice and wide allowing speeds of 60 to 80 kph (40-50 mph), although an average speed of 35 to 45 kph (20-35 mph) is more likely. Grading crews roam the countryside and do their best to keep the washboards in check.
This ancient land is amazingly beautiful and self-driving is by far the best way to fully experience it.
Day 1 - Arrival into Namibia. Those who joined us in Cape Town will fly together to Windhoek, Namibia's capital, all others will arrange to join us independently.
Day 2 - Driving south an hour on the last paved road we’ll see for the day, we turn southwest up a long valley toward the Naukluft Mountains. After a roadside lunch stop, we’ll drive through the mountain pass, fording several streams along the way. We’ll come out on the western side of the Naukluft’s and turn south along the edge of the Namib Desert to Sesriem and the Sossusvlei Lodge were we will stay two nights.
Day 3 - This morning we will journey deep into the Sossusvlei valley, with dunes on both sides painted a beautiful red by the rising sun. The dunes rise up to a thousand feet and are crested by a clear pale blue sky.
Besides stopping for many photo-ops alone the way you will have the opportunity to climb Dune 45, the most photographed icon in Namibia. The morning concludes with a dune buggy ride to Sossusvlei and Deadvlei where the desert's hidden water surfaces into life giving ponds before disappearing again below the massive dunes.
Day 4 - With an early start we'll drive north over the Burnt Mountains to Swakopmund, Namibia's beach resort town. Again there will be plenty of photo-ops along the way and a stop for lunch at a vista point overlooking the valley ahead. We arrive in Swakopmund early afternoon, after checking into our hotel we'll spend the rest of the day exploring the many shops and local art markets around the city center.
Day 5 - Leaving Swakopmund we drive north along the coast on the salt road before turning northeast heading back into Namibia's interior. As we round Mt. Brandberg and approach the Paresis Mountains the photo-ops increase dramatically; besides all of the areas natural beauty, two local tribes have set up roadside stands displaying their handmade goods and semi-precious gems.
While one tribe dresses in heavy full length turn-of-the-(19th)century garb, the other wears only loincloths and covers their bodies in red clay. It all makes for an interesting shopping experience.
After crossing to the south side of the Paresis Mountains we will enter the area I call 'The Monument Valley of Namibia’. Buttes and bluffs dot the horizon, and in the saddle between two of these Buttes lays The Vingerklip Lodge, our home for two nights. There will be plenty of time to relax and freshen up before walking up to the Eagles Nest for dinner and sundowners atop the bluff.
Day 6 - A leisure day at Fingerklip. The lodge provides many hiking trails around the bluff area as well as a relaxing pool and shaded game viewing patio located near the bar. We will offer an optional day trip to the historical site of Twyfelfontein (an ancient bushman gathering site full of petroglyphs 20 to 30 thousand years old.)
Days 7,8,9 - A short drive from Fingerklip is Etosha National Park where we will spend the next three nights at Camp Okaukuejo. Our camp's main complex area contains the park registration office, convenience store and gift shop, post office, pools, bar and restaurant. At sunset the gates are closed, making it safe to walk to and from dinner or sit at the illuminated waterhole all night. Our chalets are located only meters from the waterhole viewing area.
The waterhole at Okaukuejo is famous for its frequent night visitors such as Mama Rhino and her young, numerous types of antelope, the ever-present jackal and even an occasional lion.The park surrounds the large Etosha Salt Pan and is located in the very north central part of Namibia. South of the salt pan the terrain is a mix of open grass lands dotted by clumps of thick brushy mounds to dense mopone forests. The wildlife moves from their feeding grounds to the waterholes and back again. If we're near their path or sitting at the waterhole, the wildlife just comes to us.
During the day we explore the park sighting large herds of elephants, zebra, kudu, gemsbok,giraffe, impala and springbok (to name a few) parading out of the bush for a drink at one of the park's many waterholes.
Our package includes breakfast and dinner at camp Okaukuejo, while lunch will be at Halali camp to the east. Halali makes a good mid-day rest stop. Bring your swimwear for a dip in their rejuvenating pool. After exchanging information about what each vehicle experienced during their morning drive, we split up again to further explore the park and its wildlife on our drive back to Okaukuejo.
Day10 - From Etosha we'll drive south for our last night in the bush at Okonjima Nature Reserve. Okonjima is the home of the AfriCat Foundation, a cheetah and leopard rescue group. We'll meet their resident cats and tour the rescue facilities before being treated to a five star evening meal.
Day 11 - We return to Windhoek for our farewell dinner and prepare to fly home the next morning.
During our three days in Etosha, we'll see dozens of different wildlife species and have the time to just sit and watch their behaviours and antics.
Kudu and Springbok are all sharing the waterhole located just yards from our camp's chalets.
The game viewing is so spectacular that some guests choose to spend the day here rather then join the vehicles on their tour of the park.
Situated just outside the Namib National Park’s main gate, the lodge is a perfect base to explore the dunes of Sossusvlei. The lodge has individual cottages scattered around the main complex.
Each cottage is a wonderful combination of tent accommodations and standard ¾ bath, each single unit also has it’s own patio. Meals are served outside buffet style with BBQ and Mongolian grill options at dinner.
Up north one tribe dresses in heavy full length turn-of-the-(19th)century garb, the other wears only a loincloth and covers their bodies in red clay. It all makes for an interesting shopping experience.While in Swakopmund, there will be plenty of time to sightsee and shop before dinner.
Swakopmund is Namibia’s coastal resort destination and full of shops, restaurants and even a street market where regional tribes sell their handmade crafts and artwork.