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Namibia holidays and Namibia safaris - Sossusvlei dunes

Privately Guided - Exploring the Kalahari & Namibia


SPL12U
12 NIGHTS
FROM £3,995
International flights quoted separately
Combine the deserts of South Africa & Namibia on this privately guided holiday. Experience the unique wildlife of Kgalagadi, before travelling to the dunes of Sossusvlei & the Namib Desert. See the vast salt pans of Etosha, home to a variety of big cats & track cheetah and leopard at Africat. Ideal for special interests such as photography. English speaking guide, all transfers & game drives included.
Kalahari South Africa Namibia Guided Private Photographic Safari Tour Etosha
• 
Kgalagadi Park
• 
Black Maned Lion
• 
Oryx
• 
Photography
• 
Kalahari
• 
Namib Desert
• 
Sossusvlei
• 
Twyfelfontein
• 
Etosha Park
• 
Africat
• 
Kgalagadi Park
• 
Black Maned Lion
• 
Oryx
• 
Photography
• 
Kalahari
• 
Namib Desert
• 
Sossusvlei
• 
Twyfelfontein
• 
Etosha Park
• 
Africat
Day 1
You will be met at Upington Airport and transferred to your hotel in this small town that acts as the gateway to the vast Kalahari.
 
Check in and relax under warm blue South African skies.
Day 2
This morning we travel 3-hours through the vast and arid Kalahari, one of the world’s last unspoilt ecosystems and one of Africa’s greatest wilderness areas. In this land of far horizons, marvel at the gigantic nests of the sociable weaver birds set high in camel thorn trees and stop to examine some of the amazing succulent desert plants which have adapted to survive in such harsh conditions.
  
The malaria-free Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is a visionary 3.7-million hectare joint venture between South African and Botswana. There are several  self-catering rest camps, with accommodation in simple but comfortable air-conditioned chalets and tents. Your guide has an allowance to cover your breakfast, picnic lunch & dinner every day you are in the park.
Day 3
Today is devoted to game viewing, as we explore the vast Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. As you will have the services of your own driver/guide throughout your safari, you will have the flexibility of discussing preferred routings and travelling times with him each day. However we recommend setting off early each morning as the camp gates open (05h30 to 06h00 depending on the season), to take advantage of the best game viewing conditions of the day. All game drives will be in your guide's air-conditioned vehicle.
 
Wildlife is plentiful in the red sand dunes and semi-desert of this vast game sanctuary, which is twice the size of the Kruger National Park. Of the many species of mammals and reptiles that have successfully adapted to the harsh desert conditions, the most famous is the black-maned Kalahari lion. Kgalagadi is also renowned for the magnificent oryx, cheetah and leopards - which are more easily seen in the sparse vegetation. You will see some of Africa’s most unusual animals in the Kalahari and many of the “great cats” – lion, cheetah and leopard – but the vegetation does not support elephants, rhino or buffalo.
 
We should see large herds of antelope including springbok, eland and blue wildebeest. We also hope to see the brown and spotted hyena, black-backed jackals, curious meerkats, yellow mongoose, porcupines, honey badgers, bat-eared foxes, Cape foxes, African wild cats and many other interesting animals. Bird life is also prolific, with over 260 species, including 20 different raptors.
 
You can spend the full day on the road, or return to your rest camp for breakfast and some relaxation, before setting out again at the time of your choice (usually the late afternoon) for another game drive.
Day 4
After some final game viewing, today we depart the great Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park through Mata Mata Gate and after completing border formalties enter Nambia.
 
We travel northwards for 4-hours (picnic lunch included) towards the scrub vegetation and red sands of the vast Kalahari, the largest sand mass on earth. The migratory Bushman people who live here call it the “Soul of the World” and its endless grass plains interspersed with acacia trees provide the only form of survival for a vast amount of wildlife that has survived in this semi-desert environment for thousands of years.
 
After good rains (end November/early December - although this can vary greatly) you can see hundreds of different wildflowers here.
Day 5
Today we travel through ever-changing landscapes to the great Namib Desert, a 5-hour drive through dramatically beautiful desert scenery. The terrain becomes more arid as we travel towards Sossusvlei, whose great mountains of sand are a monument to the extreme forces of nature.
 
We explore Gondwana Namib Park and Namib Naukluft Park before checking into our lodge. The petrified dunes of the dry riverbed of the Dieprivier are a special attraction, as these are fossilised remnants of an ancient desert that is now overlaid with the sands of the younger Namib.
 
After the unpredictable desert rains (mid November/mid December), we may be fortunate enough to see the colourful desert flowers that burst forth here and provide a delightful display.
Day 6
Set out early this morning on a 4x4 tour into the famous sand dunes at Sossusvlei, as this is the coolest part of the day and the best for photography
 
This clay pan is surrounded by some of the highest dunes in the world – an endless sea of reddish sand stretching all the way to the distant horizon. These monumental star shaped dunes, some as high as 1,000 ft (325 m), were formed by strong multi-directional winds. The warm tints of sand range in colour from apricot to orange, red and maroon - and contrast vividly with the stark white clay pans at their base. You will be astonished by surreal Deadvlei, surrounded by some of the highest dunes and Sossusvlei, where the mostly dry Tsauchab River abruptly ends.
 
Take the opportunity to climb one of these dunes, which afford endless vistas across the desert landscape and the sea of sand.
 
Also visit the narrow gorge of the impressive Sesriem Canyon, with its rock pools fed by the Tsauchab River during the rainy season. The name is derived from the six “rieme” (leather thongs) that early pioneers used to draw water from these pools. Afterwards return to your lodge, with afternoon at leisure.
Day 7
Today we drive for 6-hours through the starkly beautiful Gaub and Kuiseb Canyons of the Namib Desert to the beach resort of Swakopmund with its old lighthouse (picnic lunch included).
 
Swakopmund is situated on the Atlantic Coast where the cold Benguela Current sweeps up from Antarctica, releasing no moisture into the prevailingly onshore winds – hence the very low rainfall and desert conditions. Fog is common along the coast in the early mornings and late afternoons and this is what gives life to the desert-adapted flora and fauna of the region. The cold current is also highly oxygenated, causing it to teem with marine life.
 
Check into your hotel and relax on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean.  
Day 8
This morning transfer 30-minutes to Walvis Bay for a 3-hour Marine Cruise to view the resident school of dolphins and large seal colony at Pelican Point, whilst enjoying oysters and champagne on board.
 
Marine bird life is abundant and includes pelicans, terns and large flocks of flamingos which live in the shallow waters surrounding the harbour. You may also see migrating whales in season (September to October).
 
Afternoon at leisure to relax at the beach resort of Swakopmund.
Day 9
A full day on the road today as we travel 5.5-hours from Swakopmund across the barren Skeleton Coast, renowned for its many shipwrecks and inhospitable coastline (picnic lunch included). There is small lichen reserve here, where a relatively large variety of these slow growing organisms are protected.
 
We stop to see the thriving population of seals at Cape Cross Seal Reserve and the many gannets and other sea birds in this area, before continuing to timeless Damaraland - home of the Spitzkoppe and Brandberg Mountains, the highest in Namibia.
 
Damaraland is one of the least populated and most geologically diverse areas in Africa and home to the rare desert elephant and rhino. Take time to enjoy some of the fascinating rock formations in these vast uninhabited open spaces, where magnificent semi-desert flowers can grow after good rains.
Day 10
Today we travel 4-hours through Damaraland to Etosha National Park, one of the largest and greatest game parks in Africa (picnic lunch included).
 
Etosha owes its unique landscape to a vast shallow depression – the Etosha Pan.  During the dry season it becomes an expanse of white cracked mud, shimmering with mirages and spiralling dust devils, with its open pans offering magnificent game viewing. Etosha is home to over a hundred different species of mammals, including cheetah, leopard, lion, elephant, rhino, giraffe, zebra and wildebeest.
 
Check into your rest camp near the southern entrance to the park.
Day 11
Today is devoted to game viewing in the famous Etosha National Park, one of the largest wildlife conservation areas in Africa surrounding an enormous salt pan that is the size of the Netherlands.
 
As you will have your own driver/guide throughout your safari, you will have the flexibility of discussing preferred routings and travelling times with him each day. However we recommend setting off early each morning as the camp gates open (05h30 to 06h00 depending on the season), to take advantage of the best game viewing conditions of the day, with all game drives in his vehicle.
  
Explore the vast Etosha Pan, which offer magnificent game viewing opportunities including springbok, oryx, black-faced impala and the small Damara dik-dik. A series of waterholes throughout the park guarantees rewarding game viewing, with Etosha being renowned for its vast arrays of plains game and its “great cats” which are more easily seen on the open pans - including cheetah and leopard.
  
Enjoy an included picnic lunch before setting out again for another game drive. With over 100 different species of mammals and reptiles in Etosha National Park, you can hope to see giraffe, hyena, kudu, springbok, warthogs, baboons and many other interesting animals. Etosha is also a bird watchers paradise, with hundreds of recorded bird species and many migrants during the summer months.
 
After a beautiful African sunset, enjoy the balmy evening and pristine stars of the Milky Way as you have never seen them before – as well as the spectacular Southern Cross.
Day 12
Today we travel 4-hours through central Namibia to Okonjima.
 
This is the home of the Africat Foundation dedicated to the preservation of Namibia’s large carnivores, but especially leopard and cheetah. Namibia accounts for 25% of the world’s population of the endangered cheetah, which can be tracked on foot in the rehabilitation area where they roam freely and catch their own prey. Leopards can also be radio-tracked from the game viewing vehicle.
 
Check in to your lodge and settle in, before enjoying an afternoon game activity in the reserve.
 
Day 13
After an early morning game activity in the Africat Reserve, travel 3-hours through central Namibia to Windhoek Airport for your flight home.
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