Namibia Walking Safari: Desert Rhino & Elephants

A 8 day trip to Namibia 

This journey is a unique adventure that has, at its heart, a focus on the truly remote and the pristine. It also offers an opportunity to accompany a group of conservationists on a remarkable effort to raise awareness for, and protect, some of the world’s greatest creatures. The Save the Rhino Team will take you on an unforgettable foray into the Namibian wilderness, teaching you invaluable tracking and bush skills and demonstrating the precarious nature of the existing populations of rhinos and elephants in this area. In addition to this experience, you will explore areas of Namibia that are inaccessible by vehicle and thus reserved for the privileged few to witness on foot while supported by a camel train. This trip is about the wildlife and people of Namibia, and the unbreakable bonds that you will undoubtedly forge with both. 

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General Information

Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Namibia,  Hoanib Valley, Palmwag

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Welcome to Palmwag

Welcome to Namibia, where a spectacular, sprawling wilderness awaits you. This is the land of rolling desert dunes, undulating into the distance as far as the eye can see. This is the land of promising gems with birdlife and wildlife that will astonish you; the extraordinary juxtaposition of the harsh and the inhospitable with the luscious and the living in this beautiful country will take your breath away. You will be experiencing this intriguing landscape on foot, by vehicle and, if you wish, from the air. Firstly, your journey brings you to the stunning Palmwag area, where you meet your guide for the journey that awaits you. Surrounded on all sides by palm trees, the lodge itself is set in an unexpected Eden here in the arid and sparse desert, and the waterhole draws visitors, both human and animal, into its lush and green embrace.

Said to be one of the most likely places to spot predators outside of Etosha National Park, the lodge’s location near to the Uniab River heightens the chance of animal visitors and you may be lucky enough to see desert rhino, elephants, mountain zebra and even leopard, cheetah or lion. The charming little thatched chalets of the lodge, complete with canopy beds, as well as the cool and inviting swimming pool will ensure pampered luxury when you really need to kick off your shoes and relax. The exciting combination of morning and evening game drives and bush walks will introduce you to a truly wild and magical world that will continue to unfold over the next few days of your Namibian adventure. This will be your first game-viewing experience out in the bush, and a taste of what is to come. Starting tomorrow, you will be exploring mostly on foot, and immersing yourself fully into the wilds of Namibia.

Day 2: The Walking Safari Begins!

There is no better way to truly appreciate the raw energy of your surroundings in this desert wilderness than to walk in the footsteps of giants. These particular giants are endangered, as you will learn from the Save the Rhino Team who will meet you at Mbakondja Camel Camp after breakfast and a game drive with your guide. This team, consisting of experienced and knowledgeable trackers and a camel support train, will accompany you as you journey to the Aub River where you will find your campsite ready and waiting.

You will learn how to track rhino and other desert animals from your charismatic guides who have devoted their lives to the protection of some of Africa’s greatest creatures. Without their efforts, and those of other conservation organizations similar to the Save the Rhino Trust in Southern Africa, the desert black rhino population in particular would be in even greater danger than it is now. As you walk in their company, keep your eyes peeled for these majestic animals, feel the warm Namibian sun on your back and immerse yourself in the desert’s unique sights, sounds and smells. By embarking on this incredible journey, you are supporting the work of these tireless conservationists; proceeds from the Namibian walking safari go directly to the Save the Rhino Trust to help fund its initiatives and sustain its work.

Your first night out in this wilderness is spent enjoying a delicious meal cooked over the coals of your campfire, and as the embers die down, you get to know your hosts during a delightful evening of conversation under a glittering canopy of stars.

Day 3: Walk to the Barab River

The following morning you rise with the sun and continue your adventure with a walk to the ephemeral Barab River, where your main focus will be to track the magnificent and greatly endangered rhinos to which your guiding team has dedicated their work.  Your guides show you how the most imperceptible signs are clues to the passage of an animal. Scuffmarks on a stone, a pebble out of place or a bent twig are obvious to your guides experienced eyes. Using a combination of skill, training, eagle-eyed vision and instinct, they are able to read the ground and even the scents the air in search of their quarry.

 If there is even a small amount of rain, the sprawling gravel plains in this region are blanketed in a layer of grass that sways in the breeze, providing a surprisingly green and luscious carpet in the otherwise sparse and dusty landscape. As you walk in these diverse lands, you will appreciate the astonishing topography of the desert, and the way in which the land is shaped and changed by the extremities of the weather, from rushing winds, to life-giving rains, to ice-cold nights and scorching days.

Arriving at your campsite in the late afternoon, you sit down for a well-earned rest and contemplate the beauty of your surroundings as your guide swiftly brings your evening’s campfire crackling to life.

Days 4-5: Kudu Springs and Hunkab Springs

Today your route leads you west through the Okomutati Springs to Kudu Springs. This is an area that is only within reach of intrepid explorers such as yourself, who set out into this land on foot; it is very difficult to view it in any other way, which enhances the utter remoteness and tranquility of the atmosphere in this region. The magic of this trip is that you will be viewing areas of land and even wildlife that has, perhaps, never been viewed from a vehicle at all. It is a privileged and invaluable insight into one of the world’s few remaining areas of untouched paradise, where the human impact is minimal and the resulting experience is all the better for it. In this area are surprising and intriguing examples of both flora and fauna, including the bizarre but strangely beautiful Welwitschia plants, which can only be found in the Namib Desert and are a living example of the ancient, yet ever-changing, natural history of this fascinating land. It is an enormous plant, an unexpected decoration in an otherwise sparse environment, testament to the resilience of life in the desert. 

Heading northwards the following day, you will be aiming for a particular spring at Hunkab. Once again, life-giving water is sustained in the harshness of the desert landscape, and as a result, the wildlife is drawn to the area and the chance of sightings and unique encounters are high. It is worth watching and waiting at this beautiful oasis, for where there is water, there is an inevitability of life, and animals will travel vast distances to reach a refreshing drink in a parched world. Perhaps you will be joined at the water’s edge by a family of majestic grey giants. A herd of elephants may be in need of a drink and there are few sights more splendid than these great creatures scooping much-needed water into their mouths with their trunks, splashing about in the water or indulging in a luxurious mud bath.

Days 6-7: Hoanib Camp, Kaokoland

After four glorious days of learning the secrets and skills of your trusty tracker team, you will bid farewell to your walking companions and head off on an exhilarating safari by vehicle in search of creatures great and small. Although the landscape appears harsh and unforgiving at first, you will discover a world that is astonishingly dense with game and it is humming with life. You will stay at Hoanib Camp and explore the area on walks or on game drives, and continue your search for the animals of this intriguing region.

Beautiful Hoanib Camp is a peaceful and serene example of a lodge fully in tune with its surroundings. The tents are styled to blend in with the gorgeous landscape, the simple but efficient ‘bathroom’ with bucket shower and toilet minimizing the impact on the environment but ensuring your comfort. There are no noisy generators to keep you awake at night; the entire camp is run by solar energy in keeping with the conservation ethic that runs through the entire lodge. The Hoanib itself is a fitting location for the culmination of your Namibian adventure. It is an area known to be one of the few remaining pristine regions of Southern Africa, whose stark landscape displays the marks of extreme wind and water erosion, and is home to one of the last remaining populations of desert elephants. Thus it encompasses that elegant desolation so characteristic of Namibian wilderness. There is a good chance of seeing these desert elephants, as well as desert lions, antelope, giraffe and smaller predators.

Day 8: Air Charter to Palmwag Lodge

After a final glorious morning, your Namibian trail adventure is, sadly, at an end. Bid farewell to the wild expanse of the Hoanib Valley and fly back by light aircraft to end your journey at Palmwag Lodge, where you will be met for a delicious lunch with your guide as a fitting end to your incredible journey.

You are, of course, welcome to continue your journey to other spectacular areas of Namibia and you may consider looking at Namibia travel reviews. Or, consider adding to your adventures with a visit to other Southern African gems such as the cool, gleaming swamps of Botswana, or perhaps the rugged bush of South Africa. 


Starting Price 

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.