Windhoek, Sossusvlei, Damaraland, Ongava Game Reserve, Etosha National Park
Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
Dunes shimmer scarlet in the sunset light, elephants make dusty footprints in the desert, and a cheetah may watch you from the grass on your 10-day Namibia safari. Your wilderness escape will connect have you fly between Sossusvlei, Damaraland, and Etosha, mixing rugged adventure and serenity. From sunsets on the sand to walking with rhinos, this is a vacation from another world.
Windhoek – Namibia’s Laid-Back Capital
Windhoek must be the world’s most peaceful capital. There are hardly any traffic lights and virtually no traffic. It is just a city that is scattered about the desert. Your lodge will be on the edge of Windhoek, and you will immediately feel the tranquility. You can relax around the pool, recover from the flight, and sense the remoteness of southwestern Africa. The day will be at your leisure, and there are a couple of attractions in the city, such as a local market and restaurants that specialize in eisbein along with game meats like zebra.
Sossusvlei – Beautiful Aerial Safari and Sunset With the Dunes
Ridges twist like a serpent’s tail, extending endlessly beyond the horizon, and shadows dance through the troughs, leading your focus towards golden peaks. The sand never ends here, and the sheer scale of this landscape will always take your breath away. The Namib Desert will make you feel small from the air and on the ground. Checking into the lodge, you will realize that all of these countless dunes are massive. Once inside the dunes, there is nothing else except you and your own footprints, which will be swept away by the ever-changing sand.
Flying over the Namib Desert is one of Namibia’s premier highlights, and it will be a part of your journey. Sossusvlei is just one single clay pan in the desert that became famous, and it is not the only highlight here. Your lodge will be hidden from the world, and today, you will go on an afternoon desert adventure sweeping your feet through the sand as you rise up on the ridges of Namib-Naukluft National Park. Occasionally, a stunted tree may appear. Sometimes, you will be in a trough, and other times, you will be gazing out across the peaks. At all times, there will be a feeling of silence and serenity as the Namib Desert will prove to be the most peaceful of all Namibia’s destinations.
Sossusvlei – The Kaleidoscopic Namib: Sunrise to Stars
One full day in the desert and you experience the change that occurs when the sun retreats. Evenings and sunrise are dictated by the moon. The Full moon can light up the dunes through the night, and when there is no moon, the dunes are not even silhouettes. Dawn casts soft light across the horizon, and slowly, the dunes emerge from the shadows. One by one, they turn red then orange as the sun makes its journey across the sky. This will be a beautiful time to be exploring. You can choose to walk up one of the dunes or find a quiet ridge to admire the changes. Deadvlei will be a good place to be as you can climb a ridge for stunning views and then choose whether to keep climbing another 150 meters.
As the sun takes hold, you will walk across Deadvlei. Stunted and blackened trees will stand like phantoms, and cracks on the claypan will appear like artistic lines. Sossusvlei is just a few hundred meters away, and it is a small and famous for the odd day each year when it floods. With so many dunes and small pans, the highlight will be abundance rather than an iconic sight. By midday, it will be too hot to do anything. The landscape will be scorched and bleached a yellowish tone by the sun. Then, from late afternoon, the art will continue as dunes move through all the red tones before they sink into a scarlet hue at sunset. Then come the stars, and there will be nothing like the southern stars in the desert.
Damaraland – Embracing Nature’s Space and Serenity
You will spend another morning embracing the desert colors or choose to relax. After breakfast, you will transfer to the airstrip and fly north, admiring the Namib Desert dunes once more. The landscape will change as sand is replaced by towering mountain peaks and strange rock formations. This is Damaraland, a place of solitude that has been mostly untouched by man. Desert elephants roam the valley floors, usually on their own, and on a search for water. Giraffe may also walk here with a look of melancholy to their eye. It is a harsh environment, and you will not be able to imagine much surviving here. Mostly, these animals are passing through, making their great desert migrations.
You will check into your lodge, and the views will be stupendous. It will seem like the world is at your feet. If you look around, you will be able to witness some bizarre rock formations. Some are being hollowed out from underneath, appearing a little like mushrooms while others have holes inside them and cavernous spaces through which it is sometimes possible to glimpse a small herd of zebra down below. The two days here will be very flexible, and the experience will be all about these strange works of nature, whether on a drive, a hike, or both. You will set off exploring this afternoon, and you will be shocked if another vehicle or person comes into view. Like Sossusvlei, this is an immensely quiet and private place, especially when the stars start to shine.
Damaraland – Rock Art and Desert Adapted Elephants
Stories are sketched into rock across Damaraland. There are tales made by the San people, which are just rock paintings that communicated information. They may warn of a leopard and indicate a hiding place while another may paint a foreigner who is arriving with guns. Stories tell of wildlife, births, and deaths. Twyfelfontein has the greatest abundance and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are less at the Brandberg Massif, but the setting is a little more magical. This rock art is one part of the experience on your day of Damaraland exploration.
There are hiking trails galore here from short 30-minute trails to full-day journeys along mountain ridges. The mountain biking is superb, especially when you drop down to the valley floor. Drives will be an adventure, bumping around in a four-wheel-drive vehicle and kicking up dust with nobody else in sight. This itinerary can be tailored to your interests, and you can try all of them. Evenings are also special in Namibia. Such solitude will provide a wonderful break from every day, and it will enhance your state of mind long after returning home.
Ongava Game Reserve – Intimacy With the Predators
Today, you will have a short flight south where you glimpse the Kalahari, which is a vast desert that stretches across most of Southern Africa. Unlike the Namib, the Kalahari is dusty with open plains that are devoid of sand. It is a harsh and unforgiving landscape, but wildlife can thrive thanks to the water. Permanent waterholes proliferate, attracting wildlife from hundreds of miles around. During the green season of November to April, the animals can spread across northern Namibia. As waterholes shrivel, they must return to Etosha even when the Etosha Pan has turned to crusty salt. For today and tomorrow, you will stay in Ongava, which is a private game reserve in the south of the Etosha ecosystem.
There is vegetation here along with places for animals to hide. In a private reserve, you can go off the trails, so it is easier to get closer to wildlife. For example, through the grass, you may spot the piercing blue eyes of a leopard. Sometimes, you can sit and stare at each other without moving for up to ten minutes. The cat will eventually bound off not to be seen again. Going off-trail will also be great for seeing lions, cheetahs, and other animals that are remarkably abundant in the reserve. These are far from being all the highlights of this reserve.
Ongava Game Reserve – Walking in the Wild and Nighttime Game Drive
Today, you will go walking at dawn. At first, you will move tentatively as you will be aware of what may be lurking nearby. Trackers will have gone ahead of you, and an armed ranger will be with you. San will be your guides, and it is their intimate understanding of the animal behavior that keeps you safe. With a single glance, they can know which way the rhino ran. With a single look, they can predict the mood and behavior of an elephant or buffalo, and with a walking safari in Ongava, it is possible to come remarkably close to rhinos as well as gaining a great impression of antelope and smaller creatures.
After an afternoon game drive, you will continue your exploration in the dark. Many animals are most active at night. The night is the best time for cats to hunt, and there will be continual drama around watering holes. With a nighttime drive, you do not have to travel far. It will be more about the guide picking a few places, so you can watch how the rhythm of life unfolds in the dark. Walks and nighttime drives are not possible in Etosha National Park. These two days in Ongava will provide more intimacy before you really feast on the scale that Etosha brings.
Day 8 - 9
Etosha National Park – Secrets of the Safari Wilderness
Now you will witness the open plains. Arid and dusty, they stretch seemingly forever, much like the dunes of Sossusvlei. Such a flat and open landscape makes it very easy to spot wildlife. With a single glance, you can spot herds that are many miles away. Of course, they can see you as well, so it is not always possible to come as close as you desire. Mostly in Etosha, you will do as the animals do and follow the water. You may track rhinos as they make the march to drink, admire a playful elephant herd, and follow rival male giraffes as they swing their necks and compete for females.
Lions are conspicuous. You can stop beside a pride, and they may find your shade inviting. Within moments, they may come and lay down next to the vehicle just a few meters from your quivering camera. Out toward Etosha Pan, you may see animals emerge from the mirage. With two days in Etosha, you will follow the animal movement and explore a grand diversity of species. The evenings will be relaxed, and you will lounge at the camp, sit around the fire, and glance down upon the Etosha Pan to see the odd animals that walk past.
Windhoek – Departure
You will be gifted with one, final treat as you fly back to Windhoek, which will be the last of your aerial safari journeys. Upon reaching the capital, there will be time for lunch before your outbound flight.
- Explore Namibia from the air and from hypnotic sand dunes, evocative mountains, and open plains
- Admire how the sun brings change to the desert with two days around Sossusvlei
- Walk with Africa’s giants and feel the intimacy of a private reserve safari
- Embrace the endless space of Damaraland as you watch desert-adapted elephants on a distant valley floor
- Connect the Etosha waterholes to discover how wildlife drama unfolds
- Marvel at the southern stars every single night, which are best enjoyed while relaxing around an outdoor fire
- Lose track of the rhinos, find black-maned Kalahari lions, and discover an unexpected abundance of wildlife
- Uncover some of Africa’s best rock art in Damaraland
- Bask in Namibia’s escapism with four destinations that are completely cut off from the world
$8,095 per person (excluding international flights)
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
- Expert trip planning
- 24x7 support during your trip
Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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