Day 1 – 2: Galton House, Windhoek
Day 2 – 5: Ongava Tented Camp, Etosha
Day 5 – 8: Huab Under Canvas, Damaraland
Day 8 – 9: Desert Breeze Lodge, Swakopmund
Day 9 – 11: Camp Sossus, Sossusvlei
Day 11 – 12: Galton House, Windhoek
Windhoek, translated from the Afrikaans language to “Wind Corner,” is Namibia’s capital and largest city. Hosea Kutako International and Eros Airports service the city and, together with Namibia’s excellent road network, provide easy access to most of the country, although distances can be vast. Positioned centrally, Windhoek links important coastal towns to the country’s hub and is connected by well maintained national roads to South Africa and Botswana.
Although mostly a starting point for a trip elsewhere, local attractions include Christuskirche, the oldest church in the country, the Independence Memorial Museum, the National Botanic Garden of Namibia, the Tintenpalast (seat of the government), and the old fort, “Alte Feste.” The influence of the German colonial period can still be seen today in architecture, street names, German beer, bread and sausages. The German carnival is celebrated every year.
Located in Windhoek and named after the famous explorer Sir Francis Galton, Galton House has a relaxed but efficient style which creates a very welcoming atmosphere. Impressive wildlife photography adorns the walls whilst the rest of the interior is a combination of modern minimalistic and understated chic. Guests here are assured of a suitably relaxing stay with friendly and caring service. The communal areas consist of a large lounge, indoor and outdoor dining areas, a swimming pool, an early arrival/late departure day room (including toilet, shower, changing and re-packing facility) as well as understated garden areas. There is also a delightful ‘al fresco’ dining area by the pool where freshly prepared and very tasty meals can be served (including lunch and dinner).
There are nine en-suite rooms, including family rooms. Rooms are comfortable with double or twin beds, and families can be accommodated.
With easy access by road or air, Etosha National Park is one of Africa’s most established and sought after national parks. From open plains to arid savanna and some of the best game viewing around, this park has a lot going for it. Etosha pan is the most recognizable feature of Namibia’s premier national park. It is so enormous that you can see it from space. This 120 km (75 mi) long dry lakebed is the heart of the park and in fact is eponymous with the park itself, whose name translates to “Great White Place” after the characteristic coloring of this massive salt pan.
In the late dry season animals congregate in the hundreds around the many water sources, queuing to quench their thirst. When the rains arrive the area is transformed, bringing a plethora of birdlife that comes to take advantage of ideal feeding conditions. Thousands of flamingos and other water birds descend to the flooded salt pans to take advantage of this time of plenty.
Immersed in the African Mopani bush, Ongava Tented Camp is a natural extension of this wild, wonderful landscape. This classic safari style camp is tucked in a hidden valley at the foot of a dolomite hill in Ongava Game Reserve bordering Etosha National Park. Eight large comfortable Meru-style tents all have en-suite facilities, open air showers and private verandas. The main area, built of stone, canvas and thatch, fronts onto a much-frequented waterhole; watching wildlife coming to drink from here or from the swimming pool is a favourite pastime.
Ongava’s proximity to Etosha allows for game drives in the Etosha National Park and on the Ongava Reserve itself. Other possibilities include guided walks, birding and visiting hides. Ongava holds one of the largest rhino custodianships for the Namibian government in the country and is one of the few private game reserves in southern Africa where guests can see both black and white rhino.
There are seven tents – six with twin beds and one with a double bed. All are Meru-style tents with en-suite facilities, open air showers, and private verandas.
Visit Okonjima Nature Reserve: West of the Waterberg Plateau Park, vast plains are occasionally broken by remnants of ancient sandstone outcrops, which once covered large areas of northern Namibia. Nestled among the Omboroko Mountains, in a Malaria-free area, lies Okonjima – a Herero name meaning “Place of the baboons.” The Okonjima Nature Reserve, a huge protected area set amongst the rugged commercial farmlands of central Namibia, comprises a diversified ecosystem representative of both the larger and small mammals of Namibia, as well as most of the country’s endemic birds. The Okonjima Nature Reserve is home to, and runs extensive research projects on, rare and endangered species big and small.
The Okonjima Nature Reserve sprawls over 200 square kilometres of undulating plains, mountainous outcrops, and riverine thickets, and it is here that leopard (Panthera pardus), the most adaptable of all the wild cats, thrive.
These intelligent, solitary predators occur in high density in the expanse of Okonjima Nature Reserve’s multi-faceted topography. The Reserve’s predator research programme has spanned three decades, and its findings have provided great insight to leopard behavioral patterns as well as offered an upbeat prognosis for a sustainable future for the species in today’s Africa.
Okonjima is a family-run business. Wayne, Donna and Rosalea Hanssen, who co-own and live on the property, bought Okonjima from their parents, Val and Rose, in 1993, and turned the then cattle farm into a conservation project. Okonjima is so much more than simply an African safari lodge. It is also home to The AfriCat Foundation, which was established when Chinga the Cheetah was bought by the Hanssen’s at a cattle auction and given a home on Okonjima.
The AfriCat Foundation
The AfriCat Foundation seeks to do what it can to conserve large carnivores in Namibia. Founded in 1991, AfriCat is perfectly situated to conduct ecological research focusing on a variety of rare and endangered species. As Okonjima is an enclosed nature reserve, one component of AfriCat’s research focuses on understanding the ecology of leopard and brown hyaenas living within Okonjima, with the ultimate aim of producing informed, sustainable metapopulation management guidelines for these species.
Okonjima was a cattle farm since the early 1920s that was bought by Brahman breeders Val (VJ) and Rose Hanssen in 1970. By the time Namibia gained its independence in early 1990, they needed to address increasing livestock losses and growing interest in Namibia as a tourist destination. Three years later their herds of Brahman and Jersey cattle were sold and Okonjima’s attention turned to recovering the grass plains and transforming it into a nature reserve, with a primary focus on carnivore conservation through The AfriCat Foundation.
The dramatic barren landscape of the iconic Damaraland is home to some of the most fascinating flora and fauna in Namibia, and the best place to spot desert-adapted elephant, rhino, lion, and zebra. The arid region’s attractions include a petrified forest of fossilized 280 million-year-old trees, some of the best preserved etchings and rock art dating back 6,000 years at Twyfelfontein, and the highest mountain in the country, the Brandberg, which is covered in thousands of ancient rock paintings.
The Late Stone Age art is thought to have been produced to pass on information about hunting expeditions, but the area has predominantly been used by pastoralists, such as the Damara and Herero, as well as more recently by the Himba, semi-nomadic herders whose female members distinctly cover their hair and skin with ochre colored paste.
Huab Under Canvas is nestled in a grove of Mopane trees on the banks of a tributary of the Huab River in the heart of Damaraland. The area is largely sparse semi-arid mountainous savanna, with wooded ephemeral river valleys separating hills and plains and it boasts some of the most magnificent views in Damaraland. Protected from all the prevailing winds and sun, the camp is virtually invisible from anywhere around and it carries arguably the lowest environmental footprint of any camp in Namibia. Tents are raised on mobile platforms and have basic infrastructure such as single beds, cupboards, solar power and some important comforts such as en suite flush toilets and bucket showers. However, the essence of the camp remains under canvas, mobile and experiential.
There are right en-suite Meru tents. The tents are raised on mobile platforms and have basic infrastructure such as single beds, cupboards, solar power, and some important comforts such as en suite flush toilets and bucket showers. Family tents are available with attached child tents, as required.
Experiences and activities include tracking desert-adapted black rhino and elephant, star gazing, viewing rock art, nature drives and walks.
mouth of the Swakop River in the Namib Desert, this one of a kind location is known for its German colonial architecture, great beaches, and desert-adapted plant and animal species. It is also the access point to some of the greatest sand dunes in the world and offers a variety of adrenaline-filled activities like quad biking, skydiving, and sea kayaking. Swakopmund is just a few hours drive from Namibia’s capital and provides easy access to the Spitzkoppe, another very popular unique destination. A short drive via a scenic coastal road reaches the fishing town of Walvisbay. This road is an excellent place to marvel at the endless desert dunes as they meet the Atlantic Ocean.
In its prime position above the ephemeral Swakop River overlooking a vast and sensuous apricot dune sea, Desert Breeze offers the ultimate desert experience. A short drive from central Swakopmund, its spectacular location provides peace and tranquillity away from the bustling town, and the privilege of savouring the ancient Namib Desert.
Surrounded by the colourful and unique architecture contrasting but yet fitting in with the desert landscape, it will sooth any soul. Big basalt sculptures stand guard over the desert landscape. The luxury bungalows with their creative atmosphere and the friendly staff will make your stay. The breakfast facility, with its breathtaking view, serves only the freshest of produce. Seating is available indoors or on the deck for guests to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere. Secure parking as well as laundry facilities are available.
Desert Breeze offers 12 en-suite, luxury bungalows, each with a private balcony from where to admire the breathtaking view of the dunes. Each bungalow is equipped with wireless internet, mini bar, a fireplace and coffee and tea making facilities, as well as digital safes. A new addition is a “Jungle Bungalow,” two rooms with lounge, fireplace, and deck. It is wheel chair friendly and situated in the garden.
There is a lot to see and do at the coast and the reception desk will gladly assist you in booking excursions and activities in and around Swakopmund.
Sossusvlei is a photographer’s dream. In fact it is so unique and beautiful that it is hard to take a bad picture. Only a three hour drive from Namibia’s capital, Windhoek, it is one of the most sought after and unique destinations in the country. The stark yet ethereal beauty of Namibia is on full display here with the skeletal remains of old camel thorns strewn amongst salt pans, surrounded by some of the most spectacular sand dunes in the world. This endless expanse of wilderness is home to desert adapted species such as the Gemsbok (Oryx).
One of the most mysterious natural phenomena of the surrounding Namib Desert are the weird and wonderful fairy circles that give the desertscape an eerie lunar appearance. These are perfectly circular patches of grass that are inexplicably spaced evenly apart and never overlap. The area is extremely dry but every so often when it does rain it can transform the pans into a paradise for thousands of waterbirds, with the appearance of a sea of stunning wildflowers.
Camp Sossus is located on the Namib Tsaris Conservancy which is nestled between the Nubib and Zaris Mountains, a mere thirty minutes’ drive from the gateway to Sossusvlei and the Great Namib Sand Sea which has recently been declared a World Heritage Site. Camp Sossus is built in a naturally formed amphitheatre of a south-facing granite outcrop within striking distance of Sossusvlei, and is ideally positioned to avoid the harsh desert sun.
The severe desert climate was a primary consideration in the camp’s design, and tents are protected from the stormy east winds by natural stone walls and shaded by roofs built from almost 500 recycled oil drums. It is also equipped with furniture built in part from recycled metals, Oregon pine floor boards and wooden pallets. As a result of this design, the camp is virtually invisible from any distance and it carries one of the lowest environmental footprint of any camp in Namibia.
8 shaded en-suite luxury tents. Furnished with twin beds, and have en suite outdoor flush toilets and bucket showers (with hot water, on request). The tents are run on solar power. They feature a shaded day-bed/sala and an open star bed.
Experiences and activities include a visit to Sossusvlei, nature drives and nature walks, ballooning and mountain biking.
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