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Private Namibia Safari and Desert Tour

Nature Travel Namibia has chosen two of the country’s top attractions for this 7-day safari, an ideal time frame in which to explore these two wonderful must-see destinations. You will start this trip in the capital Windhoek and go straight to the first highlight, the Etosha National Park, which is, without a doubt, one of Africa’s best game-viewing destinations.

After a quick stopover in Windhoek again, you will visit the Namib Desert, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, that contains the second top highlight of the trip, the world-famous Sossusvlei, home to some of the highest sand dunes in the world.

Key information

  • Private safari
  • Minimum 2, maximum 4 participants in a safari vehicle
  • Starts and ends in Windhoek
  • English-speaking guide
  • All park fees are included

Highlights

  • Explore Etosha National Park, one of the greatest wildlife parks on the planet
  • Opportunity to see rare animals such as Black-faced Impala and black rhino
  • Excursions to Sossusvlei, home of some of the highest dunes on earth
  • Visit the Namib Desert, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and super photogenic
  • Sample some of Namibia’s unique and tasty Afro-German cuisine
  • 6 nights accommodation
  • Transfer from/to the airport

Styles


5 activity days
Group size: Maximum of 4 participants
Airport transfer included: Hosea Kutako International Airport
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Accommodation

Check-in Time:
14:00
Check-out Time:
10:00

During the tour, you will stay in comfortable mid-range camps or lodges (luxury options available). This safari can also be converted into a camping safari.

Program

Day 1: Arrival in Windhoek, drive to Etosha National Park

Welcome to Namibia! Your Nature Travel Namibia guide will pick you up this morning at your hotel in the city, or at the Hosea Kutako International Airport outside of the city if you flew in. After loading your luggage into one of the comfortable airconditioned vehicles, you will start making your way to our destination; the world-famous Etosha National Park!

You will only be driving through Windhoek today, but if you have an extra day or two it is a very interesting small city to visit, with many top attractions close by. It sits at 1,700 metres (5,600 feet) above sea level (the 12th highest capital in the world) in the Khomas Hochland plateau area between the Auas and Eros mountain ranges. It is home to about 400,000 people at a low density of only 63 people per square kilometre and has over 300 sunny days per year.

You will drive northwards for about 5 hours, passing through the towns of Okahandja (known as Namibia’s Garden Town where two major rivers converge), Otjiwarongo (a fast-growing town with a large German-speaking population) and Outjo, best known as the gateway town to Etosha, but also home to the Rare and Endangered Species Trust (REST), where one of our sister companies runs a wildlife veterinarian rehabilitation clinic.

On your drive today, you will also pass close by to some of Namibia’s famous smaller parks and private game reserves, including Erindi, the Waterberg Plateau Park and Okonjima.

You will enjoy lunch somewhere along the route, and you might get to sample some of Namibia’s unique and tasty Afro-German cuisine! It is also worth keeping an eye out for wildlife during the drive, as Namibia is fairly unique in that most animals roam freely in the vast open spaces of the countryside. You might get to see some interesting fauna and flora, including Common Ostrich, Gemsbok, Pale Chanting Goshawk, Sociable Weavers or even a Greater Kudu.

You will arrive at the lodge on the southwestern side of Etosha late in the afternoon and settle into your accommodation. If there is time it might be fun to walk around the lodge grounds looking for interesting smaller fauna and local flora.

Your accommodation for tonight is in an area perfectly situated to explore Etosha and all that it offers. You will enjoy dinner and have a good night’s rest; tomorrow you hit Etosha properly!

Day 2: Etosha National Park (southern side)

You will get up fairly early this morning, but it will be worth it! You will begin exploring the southwestern region of the vast Etosha National Park, driving slowly and keeping your eyes open for movement and listening for tell-tale sounds in the bush.

Undoubtedly one of the great parks of Africa, Etosha covers more than 22,300 km2 (8,620 sq mi) and is synonymous with big game and wide open spaces.

The name Etosha actually means “great white place” referring to the massive (130 km long and 50 km wide) dry pan in the middle of the park, believed to have been formed over 100 million years ago. The San Bushmen people tell of a raid on a village where all of the men and children were slaughtered, sparing only the women. One of the women was so distraught about the death of her family that she cried and cried until her tears formed a massive lake. When the lake dried up there was nothing left apart from a huge white pan, the Etosha pan.

Among many other highlights, Etosha is also a photographer’s dream, with the contrasts in light, colour and textures particularly dramatic. Many a guest’s “lifer shots” of African animal and bird species were taken in this park. The sunrises and sunsets are particularly spectacular, so better get those cameras and phones ready!

You will do a morning game drive, stopping somewhere for coffee and rusks, a classic thing to do on a southern African safari! You will return to the lodge in the heat of the day (it gets hot even in winter!) to have lunch and maybe a short siesta. You will again go out in the afternoon for a game drive, looking for some of the amazing fauna and flora that make you wax lyrical about this park!

Named a game reserve in 1907 by the governor of then-German South West Africa, Etosha was elevated to the status of a national park in 1967 by an act of parliament of the Republic of South Africa which administered South-West Africa during that time. Since then, it has become one of the main reasons visitors from all over the globe come to Namibia, and annual numbers are over 200,000.

Although Etosha is best known today as a spectacular refuge for an abundance of animals, it is also a part of the world that provides critical evidence for the existence and evolution of ancestral animals. The rocks in the hills near Halali camp have revealed fossil life as old as 650 million years!

You will not only search for the big mammals that Etosha is famous for, but also look out for some of the feathered friends. Etosha has a bird list of more than 350 species, including regional specials like Kori Bustard, Blue Crane, Violet Wood Hoopoe, Ruppell’s Parrot, Pygmy and Red-necked Falcon, Bare-cheeked and Southern Pied Babbler, Burchell’s and Double-banded Courser.

Other notable birds that you will look for include Etosha’s 35 species of raptors (including Bateleur, Tawny Eagle and Lappet-faced Vulture), the colourful Lilac-breasted Roller, Monteiro’s and Bradfield’s Hornbill, Carp’s Tit, loud Rosy-faced Lovebirds, striking Crimson-breasted Shrike, Shaft-tailed Whydah and many more.

One of the most spectacular sights occurs in years of good rains when the Etosha pan fills with water; this attracts thousands of flamingos – seeing this sea of bright pink in the middle of the desert is truly unforgettable!

You will enjoy dinner and maybe even sit around the campfire, reminiscing about Namibia and its wide open spaces with a drink in hand. Remember to look up before settling into your bed tonight – the African night sky, undisturbed by city lights out here in the bush, is truly amazing.

Day 3: Etosha National Park (southern and eastern sides)

You will enjoy another morning and afternoon game drive in Etosha today, but you will also slowly make your way to the eastern side of the park, where you will overnight tonight.

Your guide will decide, with your input as to your fauna and flora sighting preferences, what the best routes will be to follow. All the guides know Etosha intimately and will make sure you see all that this great African wildlife park has to offer.

Etosha is home to a staggering amount of wildlife, both common and rare, including several threatened and endangered species. The mammal list is at over 110 species, including four of Africa’s Big Five (Rhino, African Elephant, Lion and Leopard), fleet-footed Cheetah, Spotted Hyaena, Giraffe, two species of zebra, Common Eland, Greater Kudu, Hartebeest (Red, or caama subspecies), Common Wildebeest, Springbok and the beautiful Gemsbok, Namibia’s national animal. Smaller species include the Common Warthog, aptly named Bat-eared Fox, South African Ground Squirrel, Caracal, Black-backed Jackal, the tough-as-nails Honey Badger and many more.

One of the best reasons (from a wildlife point of view) to visit Etosha is its healthy population of the iconic Black Rhinoceros. This amazing beast is endangered and the waterholes are probably among the best places in the world to see this precious animal. Another rare and endangered species is the Black-faced Impala, which can be seen all around. The animals are very relaxed and will provide you with some excellent photographic opportunities.

One of the many unique features of Etosha is the fact that there are natural waterholes scattered around the park. The tourist roads skirt these waterholes and provide some stunning interaction with all sorts of wildlife. It is an unforgettable experience to sit and watch different species of mammals and birds come to drink at one of the waterholes. Some spectacular footage has been shot at these waterholes, with predator-prey interactions especially common.

You will either enjoy a packed lunch on the way east today or stop at one of Etosha’s tourist rest camps and enjoy a sit-down lunch.

You will not only look at and photograph the big animals and Etosha’s many bird species but also search for other fauna like reptiles, with Etosha containing more species of reptiles than mammals! Some of the more common ones you are likely to encounter include Fitzsimons’ Thick-toed Gecko, Namaqua Chameleon, and many lizards. Snakes are also fairly common, with regular sightings of Black Mamba, Boomslang and Anchieta’s Cobra.

Your guides pride themselves on knowing everything about all of Etosha’s fauna and flora, so if you have a particular interest please don’t hesitate to ask your guide about anything you want to; they love the challenge!

Tonight you will again enjoy an Etosha dinner together, chat about the day’s sightings and enjoy another spectacular African night sky.

Day 4: Etosha National Park to Windhoek

After an early morning game drive or a relaxing breakfast together, you will return to Windhoek. It is a 5 to 6-hour drive southwards to the capital.

In Windhoek, you will be taken to a comfortable hotel or guesthouse to check in. If time allows we might get to enjoy some of the attractions that the capital city of Namibia offers, like the Namibia Craft Centre, the National Museum of Namibia or the beautiful Christuskirche.

You will get together for dinner at one of the many excellent restaurants in the city, and then return to the hotel or guesthouse for a good night’s rest. Tomorrow the second part of this exciting trip starts!

Day 5: Windhoek to Sossusvlei

After breakfast at the hotel or guesthouse, you will depart for Sossusvlei. You will drive through the Khomas Highland and down the escarpment via one of the many scenic mountain passes into the Namib Desert. This beautiful journey will take about 4 to 5 hours, depending on the number of stops for photographs.

You will reach the accommodation in the early afternoon and enjoy lunch. If there is time before the afternoon excursion, it might be fun to walk around the lodge grounds looking for interesting smaller fauna and local flora. Your accommodation tonight is in an area perfectly situated to explore the surrounding desert and its many attractions.

In the late afternoon, you will embark on a dune drive, exploring the stunning Namib desert by 4×4 vehicle. Get your cameras ready, because this is a truly stunning experience that will stay in your memory forever.

You will return to the lodge to sit around the fire and have dinner, chatting about the unexpected beauty of the Namib desert. You will then retire to your room for a good night’s sleep before you hit the big dunes tomorrow!

Day 6: Sossusvlei

After an early breakfast, you will depart for an exciting full-day excursion to Sossusvlei and nearby Dead Vlei, where you will spend a couple of hours. Sossusvlei is where you will find the iconic red dunes of the Namib. The clear blue skies contrast with the giant red sand dunes to make this one of the natural wonders of Africa and a photographer’s heaven.

Sossusvlei itself is actually the pan or valley floor that you will park the vehicle on and is surrounded by massive dunes on almost all sides.

You will have plenty of time to enjoy some of the many highlights that surround Sossusvlei itself:

  • Dune 45, the most photographed dune on earth (situated 45 km past Sesriem on the road to Sossusvlei)
  • Hiddenvlei, perfect if you are looking for solitude in the desert
  • The magnificently tall Big Daddy dune
  • Deadvlei, a paradise for photographers, as it is punctuated by blackened, dead acacia trees, in vivid contrast to the shiny white of the salty floor of the pan and the intense orange of the dunes
  • Sesriem Canyon, a narrow gorge of 1 km long and up to 30 m deep slashed into the earth by the Tsauchab River millions of years ago. The name derives from the Afrikaans for the 6 lengths of ropes that were needed to haul water out of the gorge to the top with containers in days gone by.

You will have a packed lunch today, in the shade of some of the biggest dunes on the planet. You will return to the lodge late in the afternoon for your final dinner together and another night under the breathtakingly bright Milky Way out here in the desert.

Day 7: Sossusvlei to Windhoek and departure

After an early morning final breakfast together you will depart for Windhoek. It is a 4 to 5-hour drive northwards back up the escarpment to the capital.

In Windhoek, you will be taken to the Hosea Kutako International Airport for your homeward flight or your connecting flight if you decide to combine this safari with an extension to the Caprivi, Victoria Falls, Botswana, Zambia or South Africa.

The Nature Travel Namibia team will also gladly assist with accommodation in Windhoek should you need to stay over.

Note

This Namibia safari is a private guided safari, customized for you by Nature Travel Namibia's expert team. Any element can be tailored, starting with your planned tour dates, activities, accommodation, etc.

Included excursions

  • Guided game drives in Etosha National Park, with own guide
  • Sunset dune drive
  • Guided excursion to Sossusvlei, with own guide

Location

This safari tour takes place in Namibia, a land of contrasts, landscapes, and wildlife.

Food

The package includes breakfast and dinner (except for dinner in Windhoek), as well as drinking water in the tour vehicle on traveling days.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
  • Drinks

The following drinks are included:

  • Water

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

What's included

  • 6 nights accommodation as in the itinerary
  • Breakfast and dinner (except for dinner in Windhoek)
  • Drinking water in the tour vehicle on traveling days
  • Activities: Sunset dune drive at Namib Desert Lodge; excursion / visit to Sossusvlei: Dead Vlei, Dune 45, and Sesriem Canyon with own guide and tour vehicle; game drives with own guide and tour vehicle in Etosha National Park
  • Private vehicle and private English-speaking guide and related costs
  • Park entry fees to Etosha National Park and Namib Naukluft National Park
  • Collection and drop off at Hosea Kutako International Airport
  • Fuel
  • VAT
  • Tourism Levy

What's not included

  • International, regional, and domestic flights
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Visa fees (if applicable)
  • Lunch
  • Dinner in Windhoek
  • Drinks
  • Gratuities
  • Pre- and post-tour accommodation.
  • Any airport / city transfers pre- / post-tour
  • Items of a personal nature: laundry, telephone calls, internet, souvenirs, etc.
  • Bank charges

How to get there

Recommended Airports

Airport: Hosea Kutako International Airport Airport transfer included: Hosea Kutako International Airport No additional charges. You can request this in the next step.

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 20% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid 30 days before arrival.
7 days / 6 nights
from --
Availability

Low season
  • 1 January - 30 June 2024

High season
  • 1 July - 31 October

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