Adventurous Namibia Family Vacation & Safari

A 14 day trip to Namibia 
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Namibia offers a boundless playground for active families, framed by surreal landscapes and bursting with unique experiences. Each local resident provides an exciting new perspective, from distinct ancient tribes that open their homes, to Black rhinos and Africa's unforgettable wild game. Carefully crafted for the intrepid family, this itinerary blends together Namibia’s once in a lifetime experiences, serving up a customized feast of enchantment, adventure, and fun. 

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General Information

Photos
Deadvlei and Sossusvlei in Namibia.
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Swakopmund, Walvis Bay, Skeleton Coast, Dune 7, Namib-Naukluft National Park, Sossusvlei, Damaraland, Etosha National Park, Palmwag Concession, Grootfontein, Central Highlands, Windhoek

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Arrive in Swakopmund

Landing in Swakopmund provides a glimpse of what’s to come. The Atlantic Ocean shimmers blue on one side, chameleonic sand dunes flicker to the other, and a cute colonial oasis provides your base for the next four days. Swakopmund ensures you can gently ease into Namibia’s expressions of wilderness and space. Think of it as a half way post, the collection of fine restaurants and charming shops providing some similarities with home. However, one look out of the window and you’ll immediately know that you’ve landed in rugged Africa, the sand dunes towering in the distance and the sunset smoldering into the ocean. You’ll land at Walvis Bay International Airport and be met by your local guide. From here it’s a one hour drive to Swakopmund.

Day 2: Sand Boarding Down the World’s Highest Sand Dune

The children are probably desperate to start the unique adventure so let’s not wait to wow them. Drive into the desert, the epic sand dunes less than 30 minutes away from your lodge. Dune 7 dominates the scintillating landscape, a colorful pyramid that rises almost 400 meters. Spin around and take in the panorama, 360º of ridges and peaks making for exhilarating adventure. Board an ATV and follow your guide through the dunes, cutting a dramatic trail across the desert and following the ridge all the way up Dune 7 (two person ATV’s, minimum driving age 13).

Slide back down the world’s highest sand dune on a sand board, trying to carve a diagonal path down the sand. Anyone with snowboarding experience will immediately notice the similarities, however, sand boarding also provides great rewards for the first timers. Sand makes for soft landings, helping to increase confidence and keep everyone safe. Board down to the bottom of the dune, then jump on the waiting ATV to go back up again. The timings of today’s adventure will depend on the climate. Exploring the sand needs to be done when the cool Atlantic Ocean breeze negates the desert heat. So your guide will avoid the few hours when warm inland winds make the desert unbearably hot.

Day 3: Kayaking With Seals on the Skeleton Coast

After a sand-filled day comes a day on the water, tandem kayaks taking you on the water with Cape fur seals. There are hundreds of elegant swimmers around your paddle, and many more keep diving off the rocks to join this ocean party. Mild currents make this an easy adventure for inexperienced kayakers and children. In fact, there’s not that much paddling to do. Just cruise along and be enchanted by the seals’ antics. However, on land they’re not as fluid. They lumber and waddle around, squawking and grunting the whole time. It’s just as much fun. Walk along the beach, admiring the thousands of seals that make up this unique colony. You can barely see the sand, yet elsewhere on the Skeleton Coast, the sand is at its rumbustious best. Ships lie stranded and ruined, engulfed by dunes until only the last remains poke above the sand. These evocative shipwrecks punctuate the journey out to the Cape fur seals, making for memorable photos and fitting reminders of nature’s power.

Day 4: A Thrilling Micro Flight over the Namib Desert

There’s a real anticipation as you board the Cessna 210, the tiny plane having just five seats for passengers. Take turns riding shotgun in the co-pilot’s seat, and rotate between the surprisingly spacious rear of the plane on this private aerial safari. It’s an early start, the sun poking onto the horizon as you ascend over the sand dunes. Gradually the ridges and peaks come alive, shadows being replaced by a resplendent collection of reds and yellows. You’re crossing the Namib-Naukluft, Africa’s largest national park coming alive from a stunning aerial vantage point. Touch down on a secluded airstrip and feel the enormity of the dunes, then cruise back to 3000 feet and marvel at the endless scale; for hundreds of miles in every direction there’s nothing but sand. It’s an experience that epitomizes this family vacation, imbuing a deep sense of Namibia’s ethereal beauty through a riveting and exclusive adventure. Just imagine your teenager’s face after they’ve swooped low over the desert in the co-pilot seat.

Days 5 - 6: Mountain Biking and Hiking Through Damaraland

One glimpse at Damaraland imbues everyone in the family with a surreal sense of scale. There’s your spacious Land Rover cruising along, a bizarre concoction of mountains and valleys, and that’s about all. Damaraland is Namibia in a nutshell; so vivid and pristine that you don’t want to touch it, yet so vast and untamed that you can’t wait to explore. Over these two days the options are endless and your guide will tailor the itinerary for everyone in the family. Mountain bike along hundreds of deserted trails; choose from thrilling downhills to gentle stretches alongside antelopes and the odd elephant. Hiking trails range from the exuberant to the simple, each coming with sublime vistas onto Namibian wilderness. Rock climbing is also a possibility, as is indulging at the luxury lodge and appreciating the absolute tranquility of Damaraland.

Like all great playgrounds, discovery is best when there is no marked path to follow. Explore as a family, weaving a new trail through ethereal rocks and overhangs, or allow the guide to take the children on an exciting journey in search of elephants. The most active of personalities can be easily satisfied here, yet Damaraland also leaves an indelible impression on those who choose to savor its serenity. From Swakopmund an early start enables you to reach Damaraland before lunch and your guide will explain the possibilities for your two days of wilderness adventure.

Day 7: Following the Elephant and Rhino Trail

Faded footprints provide the first clues, huge round marks igniting the search for elephants in this lost part of Namibia. They appear then quickly disappear, so which way do you turn? Indentations in the swaying palm trees provide another hint, and just as your family tries to makes sense of the clues, a huge elephant half runs onto the horizon. Drive closer and there are more to find, adapted desert dwellers that entertain with their raucous calls and swinging trunks. Halfway between Damaraland and Etosha, Palmwag Concession provides a thrilling introduction to African safari. Joining the elephants in wandering through this arid landscape are endangered Black rhino and a stealthy abundance of predators.

First game drives are often overwhelming, the succession of sights leaving a whole family in dazed bewilderment. After seeking out the elephants turn your focus to the rhinos, meandering past zebra and kudu as you look for some of the rarest mammals on the planet. Giraffe stick their necks up and say hello, springbok herds litter the landscape, and then a spotted hyena excites everyone further. The children struggle to contain their excited chatter, but they’re going to have to when two Black rhinos emerge from behind the palms. Horns immediately bring hush, majestic evocations of the rhinos’ power and grace. It’s a mother and calf, sticking close to each other as they approach your camera. Family faces family, the one ton mammals admired by those on two legs. It seems to be a symbiotic meeting, the rhinos considering your presence and then walking on into the desert.

Days 8 - 10: Spectacular Safari Experiences in Etosha

Palmwag will have wetted the appetite, the long game drive providing inimitable encounters with a variety of charming characters. Etosha elevates and intensifies the experience, one of Africa’s greatest safari destinations delivering a continual reel of unforgettable moments. It starts in front of your family rondavel, an impressive concoction of mammals coming to drink from the waterhole. Keeping children occupied is always easy when the safari is available directly from the balcony. Zebra, giraffe, oryx, and even elephants come to drink beside your accommodation, nature’s great just footsteps away.

Game drives wind into the forest, everyone looking out for leopards in the trees. Unambiguous eyes defy their camouflage, and then a sweeping tail reveals a predator lounging on a high branch. The forest is unpredictable and intimate, the canopy of greenery reducing visibility and ensuring that most wildlife doesn’t see you coming. Turn a corner and a giraffe towers above the safari truck. Two minutes later and it’s a hartebeest herd that grazes within touching distance. What animals do your children most want to see? Which wildlife most fascinates them? Each game drive can be tailored to have a particular purpose; like searching for lion prides or close encounters with rhinos.

Out around the Etosha salt pans it’s much easier to spot the wild game. As you drive around the edge of a white blanket everyone shouts out the sights, from elephant herds following the dust swirls to zebra stripes galloping across the crusted salt. Now the vast scale begins to impress, grasslands and savannah filled with big cats and their prey. Over three days you soak up a variety of habitats, each game drive bringing dozens of new mammals to tick off the list. It’s often the predators that most excite and enchant; lion prides laze beneath broad branches and then casually walk off through the grass. Where are they going? Perhaps on a hunt? Silence descends as you follow their paw prints, the cute cubs keeping pace with the glorious mane of the alpha male. They head to the waterhole, scattering the ungulates with effortless ease. On other day they could have been heading out for dinner.

Days 11 - 12: Tribal Encounters With San Bushmen

It’s rare that you’ll have met many other tourists on this vacation. Namibia is well off the beaten track, despite the surreal wonders that can be discovered. Other people do roam within this unadulterated wilderness, maintaining a lifestyle that’s been passed down from their ancestors. Isolated San Bushmen communities enjoy the space and freedom, their traditional practices relatively unscathed from modern development. Meeting a tribe is a humbling experience for all the family, the huge disparity in culture helping to bring a fresh perspective on life. After the drive to Grootfontein an experienced local guide takes you to the village, this first encounter a chance to say hello and glimpse how life is lived in this remote part of the world.

Day 12 is much more in-depth. The spoken communication barrier rarely prevents children from making new friends; there’s a fascination from both sides and it generally blossoms into intimate tribal encounters for your children. Hunter-gatherer San Bushmen open up their homes to your family and they reveal bush survival through profound evocations of their culture. Each local plant has a use, from medicinal potions to building huts. Every journey has a purpose, exemplified by the hunters as they follow wild game and aim to return with a meal. Learn the basics of game tracking; the bushland is packed with infinitesimal clues that escape the untrained eye. Homemade bow and arrows are their weapons and you can all take a rudimentary archery lesson. With a local guide as translator you start to build a profound understanding of unique customs and culture, everything from local cuisine to how to wear a traditional loin cloth. Few experiences are as powerful in elucidating how other cultures live.

Day 13: Return to Windhoek

After 12 days of family adventure you start making your way to the capital city Windhoek, cruising alongside stark mountain chains and taking a quiet trail through the desert. Hundreds of photo opportunities fill the journey, and the sheer desolation of Namibia’s desert brings a continual feeling of insignificance. Arrive in Windhoek by mid afternoon and enjoy a leisurely evening enjoying the city’s restaurants and shops. Pick up some souvenirs and tour the antique stores, ogling at tribal masks and jewelry from across the continent.

Day 14: Departure from Namibia

Say goodbye to your guide and depart from Windhoek International Airport, a thousand new memories likely to last a lifetime.

Price

Starting Price 

$6,295
This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.