Wilderness & Wonder: Best of South Africa and Namibia

A 12 day trip to Namibia 
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Celebrating some of the planet’s ultimate travel highlights, this South Africa and Namibia safari offers 12 days in four superlative destinations. Start in Cape Town, a city of color, charm, and home to Table Mountain. Explore the intimacy of the Sabi Sands, the perfect first timers safari destination where the Big Five is just the beginning. Escape to the desert and nature’s gallery at Sossusvlei. Then, experience safari drama in Etosha where rhinos and elephants are among the highlights.

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General Information

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Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Cape Town, Sabi Sands, Johannesburg, Windhoek, Sossusvlei, Namib Desert, Sossusvlei, Etosha National Park

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Cape Town – Experiences on the City Beaches

A white beach will welcome you to Cape Town, and waves will lap gently against the shore. Gazing out, it will feel like you are on the edge of the world. If you turn around, Table Mountain looms over a kilometer high. Villas are scattered around the slopes and are punctuated by forest and a road to Africa’s southeastern tip. This is a city that is quick to make every visitor relaxed. Your excursion will begin with an airport transfer, driving past Table Mountain and the allure of nature. Then, it will continue on the beaches of Camps Bay and Clifton, which are sublime spaces that are very close to the city center. Nothing will be planned for today, so you can check into your villa, relax on the beaches, and watch the sun go down in the Atlantic.

What’s Included: airport transfer, accommodation

Day 2: Cape Town – Table Mountain and Cape Town’s Colorful History

The cable car will revolve as it takes you skywards. The city will rescind, and once you are upon the summit, the views will stretch all the way to the Cape of Good Hope. Crowds will gather around the cable car station, but it will be easy to escape them. Trails crisscross all across the mountain summit and are suitable for most fitness levels. You can take a hike with your guide, and slowly, the full 360-degree panorama will be revealed. Beaches are to the west and south, and vineyards and more mountains are to the east. If you gaze north, the coastline stretches out with virtually nothing between here and Namibia.

After a morning on Table Mountain, you will dive into the city and its culture. Pan-African markets bring art from across the continent. Brightly painted houses are only one part of the story on the streets of Bo Kaap. In District Six, there is gorgeous graffiti art along with an apartheid story that every visitor needs to hear. Out in Woodstock and the Observatory, there are more markets and places to feel the energy and vibrancy of Cape Town. You cannot fit all this into the afternoon, but the guide will tailor a route to your preferences, perhaps with sunset from Signal Hill to complete your day.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 3: Cape Town – A Day in the Cape Winelands or Cape Peninsula

There will be two options for today’s private tour. Both will be full-day trips and will have you back in Camps Bay for the final two hours on the beach before sunset. Take the road south to the Cape Peninsula, twisting above the Atlantic Ocean and stopping to enjoy small fishing villages. Wild penguins parade around Boulders Beach as you keep heading south. Their antics will provide hours of entertainment before lunch. Soon, the road will take you past springbok and kudu. Completing the journey, you will find two lighthouses that mark the tip of Africa. Then, en route back to Cape Town, you will stop in Constantia where vineyards carpet Table Mountain’s back slopes.

With a Cape Winelands tour, you will visit four different wineries around Stellenbosch. You will start with bubbles, which is the local MCC that is produced in the same way as Champagne. You will move through the whites with wooden Chardonnay being especially well celebrated here. Wine will be paired with cheese at the next vineyard. An indulgent lunch will be accompanied by the region’s fruity reds with the Cabernet Sauvignon being very different than what comes from Bordeaux. You will finish at a farm that specializes in dessert wine where you can expect stunning views and a laid-back ambiance throughout. You can also expect to drift off during the one-hour journey back to Cape Town.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast

Day 4: Sabi Sands – Elephants, Rhinos and Leopards

Elephants may march across the bushveld, and a trunk-swinging youngster may test their strength by frightening a warthog. A white may rhino watches them pass and then retire to a place of privacy. Following a hunch, the guide may stop beside thick grass. Soon, a leopard may emerge. There is always something new like a buffalo herd that is crossing the trail or a bashful hartebeest that is galloping off into the bush. This is the Sabi Sands, and there are over 100 large mammal species here. Next, it may be kudu, impala, zebra, or a pride of lions.

After your direct flight from Cape Town to Sabi Sands, you will check into your luxurious lodge on the Sabi River. Wildlife is abundant thanks to this river, and there is usually something taking a drink every moment of the day. So, before your first game drive, you may have encountered a dozen different species already. On your first safari day, the focus will be on the Big Five, which are the most famous of Africa’s wild mammals. A guide will tailor the drive to these first encounters, particularly leopards. The Sabi Sands is arguably the best place in Africa to see this spotted cat.

What’s Included: transfer, accommodation, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Days 5 – 6: Sabi Sands – Evocative Big-Game Safari Across the Greater Kruger

Spots may move through the grass at dawn, and impala may grazing ahead, and it will difficult to know if they are aware of the danger. You will have experiences here in the wild that you will never get at a zoo. They are raw and unscripted, and a safari shows you the true interaction between species.

In the Sabi Sands, the safari will take you off the trail and continue into the night. You will experience a nighttime game drive, which is another great opportunity for you to see the big cats on the move. The safari also continues at the camp with so many animals that may be visible from your suite and plunge pool. After the first day or two, you will start to appreciate the smaller animals, finding delight in unearthing species that you have not spotted before. Three days will be ideal as you may encounter over 50 different species and countless safari scenes without needing to rush. There will also be the option of driving into Kruger National Park, which is an experience that showcases the size and scale of the conservation area.

What’s Included: accommodation, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 7: Johannesburg to Windhoek – From Savannah to Desert

This is mostly a travel day as you connect South Africa with Namibia. First, you will fly from the Sabi Sands to Johannesburg. You will then transfer to the international terminal and fly to Namibia’s capital. You will land in the desert and find a remarkably quiet and laid-back city. Hardly anything happens in Namibia, and Windhoek is more like a village than a city. Nothing will be planned, but there are a couple of good restaurants to choose from, especially if you would like to try rare game meats.

What’s Included: transfer, accommodation, breakfast

Day 8: Sossusvlei – Dazzling Flight Above the Namib and a Sandy Sunset

Crimson dunes stretch out beneath the wingtips, and ridges snake towards the Atlantic Ocean. Down below, there will be nothing but sand that appears as a carpet of changing shapes and colors. To experience the Namib, you really need to see it from the air and the ground. On this morning’s aerial safari, you will explore its magnitude as the plane swoops low over the dunes. You will touch down and realize how the enormity of these dunes dominates the experience. This desert world will make you feel small, and the silence is absolute. This is a digital detox and a getaway into lands that remain uncharted. It is also a chance to reset and feel the soothing power of nature. This afternoon, you will explore the dunes, climbing one of them for a blissful view of the Namib sunset.

What’s Included: transfer, accommodation, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 9: Sossusvlei – Discovering Deadvlei and the Endless Dunes

Dead trees will stand like sentinels on a clay pan. Their blackened frames date back hundreds of years, but these trees still stand. Surrounding the pan is sand and epic dunes with an evocative, red hue. Sossusvlei is nearby, which is another clay pan that has been enveloped by the insatiable sand. At sunrise, the landscape appears a subtle orange, and it moves through hues of blood-red and vermilion before the sun bleaches the desert a more yellowish color through midday. By late afternoon, the color change comes in reverse. With a full day, you can admire how the desert changes, which is an experience that will be completed with a night beneath the southern sky.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 10: Etosha National Park – Safari on the Arid Plains

Today, you will feast on the landscape once more with a safari flight that takes you from Namib dunes to Kalahari plains and Etosha. This is one of Africa’s ultimate safari destinations, and the experience is all about the battle for survival. Water means everything in a desert country, so animals come from hundreds of miles to drink in Etosha. A vast salt pan awaits in the park’s heart, and above it floats a mirage, which is where the animals emerge.

Your suite will be raised on stilts and will look across the pan, which is the park’s centerpiece. Even when this pan is dry, the animals still come, seeking the nutritious salt. Rhinos are particularly conspicuous and many visitors are amazed by how many they encounter in Etosha. The landscape does make game viewing easy. Being flat and open, there is nowhere to hide, so shy animals such as rhinos are more easily encountered. After some downtime at the lodge, an afternoon game drive will allow you to witness these animals and others in their natural habitat. Usually, there is something dramatic to really grab your attention from male giraffe fighting to black-faced impala running from a watering hole as lions approach.

What’s Included: transfer, accommodation, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 11: Etosha National Park – Tracking Giants Around the Waterholes

Safaris are made easier in Etosha because there is so little water. During the dry season, the animals must stay within reach of the watering holes that remain. So, on an arid landscape, you may suddenly find thousands of animals in a single view. Hippos may wallow, zebra may skip, and elephant herds may meet gracefully by the water. This final day on your safari is flexible, and the classic experience is to spend the full day driving and visiting Etosha’s different watering holes to see where the wildlife really thrives. Of course, predators also stick close to water. So, dramatic scenes may unfold as spotted hyena go after a weak springbok or lions stalk their next meal. You may even glimpse a cheetah that is perched on a rock, surveying the plains.

What’s Included: accommodation, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 12: Etosha National Park to Windhoek – Final Game Drive and Departure

After a beautiful safari flight back to Windhoek, you will transfer to the international terminal for your outbound flight. In just 12 days, you have connected four of the world’s greatest travel destinations.

What’s Included: airport transfer, breakfast

Price

Price 

Your custom trip package will include accommodations, transportation within the country, guided tours and activities, unique experiences, trip planning, and 24x7 support during your trip.

Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.