9 Days – 8 Nights Beautiful Namibia

Kalahari Namibia – Fish River Canyon – Aus – Namib Desert – Swakopmund – Greater Windhoek

Introduction

Discover Namibia’s deserts in the south of the country. The undulating and vegetated dunes of the Kalahari Desert; the rocky plains and majestic Fish River Canyon of the succulent Karoo; the majestic star dunes and surreal vlei’s of the Namib Desert.

Accommodation preview

Destinations

Start

End

Basis

Duration

Overnight Travel
Kalahari Red Dunes Lodge Kalahari Namibia Day 1 Day 2 D,B&B 1 Night
Canyon Village Gondwana Collection Namibia Fish River Canyon Day 2 Day 3 D,B&B 1 Night
Klein-Aus Vista Desert Horse Inn Gondwana Collection Namibia Aus Day 3 Day 4 D,B&B 1 Night
The Elegant Desert Eco Camp Namib Desert Day 4 Day 5 D,B&B 1 Night
Sossusvlei Lodge Namib Desert Day 5 Day 6 D,B&B 1 Night
Swakopmund Hotel & Entertainment Centre Swakopmund Day 6 Day 7 D,B&B 1 Night
Swakopmund Hotel & Entertainment Centre Swakopmund Day 7 Day 8 D,B&B 1 Night
Na’ankuse Lodge Greater Windhoek Day 8 Day 9 D,B&B 1 Night
Overnight Travel Day 9 Day 9 Not Included

Key
B&B: Bed and Breakfast
D,B&B: Dinner, Bed and Breakfast

DAY 1: KALAHARI RED DUNES LODGE, KALAHARI NAMIBIA

Kalahari Namibia

The Kalahari is an exceptionally beautiful living desert a large semi-arid sandy savannah draped over a gently rolling inland sea of sand covering most of Botswana and large parts of Namibia and South Africa. It is also the last bastion of the San people with the modern world having enveloped all the other areas they once roamed. Here in Namibia it is typically red sands covered in thin, wispy, mostly golden grass and dotted with acacia trees and wide ranging wildlife including gemsbok, impala, jackals and cheetah.

Day Itinerary

Arrival at Hosea Kutako Airport near Windhoek in the morning where you will meet your your tour guide. Leaving the airport, we travel into the largest sand mass on Earth, the Kalahari Desert. The Kalahari is a vast semi desert of wind-blown sand held by a sparse mantle of thorn scrub making it the largest continuous stretch of sand covering 9 African countries.

Unlike other true deserts, the Kalahari does receive erratic rainfall. For many therefor “thirst land” is a fitting description. Lacking permanent surface water, the Kalahari is a challenging place to live except for those who have adapted to not only survive but flourish here. The Bushmen refer to it as the “Soul of the World”, an emotive description for this area! With its deep red sand dunes and endless grass plains interspersed with acacia’s and shrubs, it is still home to a surprising large amount of specially adapted wildlife.

Then we drive to Kalahari Red Dunes Lodge. Enjoy the opportunity to experience the dunes, wildlife and plants, in this desert environment on a sun downer drive.

Activities

Sundowner Drive

Zebra Kalahari Lodge & Spa

Simply stylish and elegant, the Zebra Kalahari Lodge is the most decadent of the 3 lodges on the Intu Afrika Private Game Reserve. After a short drive through the contrasting Kalahari Desert where game languish under trees or in pans, guests are welcomed with a much-needed refreshing drink and a smile as warm as the desert sun.

The gurgling fish pond and the beautiful stone and wood buildings immediately soothe one’s soul and guests are ushered into the coolness of the lounge area overlooking a rather vibrant waterhole and swimming pool whilst logistics are efficiently handled. The rooms area are huge and the walls are decorated with ancient African masks and ebony furnishings and are fitted with air conditioners, a mini bar, a hairdryer and a coffee and tea station with a very large bathroom leading out to an outside shower.

There are 8 rooms adjacent to the lodge area which consists of a lounge with comfortable leather seats, a dining area on a deck mirroring the waterhole and swimming pool and a bar. This lodge is ideal for families or for more mature travellers as the facilities at the main lodge are easily accessible from their rooms. The friendly staff cater to the whim of every customer, pre-empting what the guest could need and then providing it.

The food served in the dining area is world class, with all the choice game available for viewing, also being served up with delicious vegetables that are also grown organically on the neighbouring sheep farm, Twilight(where meat is also culled). Meals are served on the deck and guests are never bored with the large numbers of wildlife and birdlife that frequent the water hole.

This lodge is set in a valley of dunes and watching the game emerge from various parts of the bush makes for a mesmerising experience. A well-stocked bar manned by a jovial barman provides some much needed refreshments and on chilly nights a fire is lit in the lounge and guests sit around the fire sharing their travel stories and some refreshing drinks.

Sundowner Drive

Top your Red Dunes day with our Sundown Drive. Enter the sunset in our open off-road car with expert guidance. Immerse in this most beautiful hour of the Kalahari desert.

Transfers

Date Company Pick Up Drop Off Time Vehicle
Day 1 To Be Advised Hosea Kutako International Airport [WDH] Kalahari Red Dunes Lodge Transfer

Overnight: Kalahari Red Dunes Lodge         

Kalahari Red Dunes Lodge “Luxury of Solitude” offers it’s visitor ample space and privacy. The main house consisting of reception, lobby, restaurant and bar, the pool and shaded deck are situated in a dry lake (vlei). A 120 meter long boardwalk connects the main building with the chalets which are nestled around the ‘vlei” where game can often be observed. Each chalet has a tented and a stoned?thatch roofed section as well as a private terrace. During the Nature/ Game Drives and nature walks guests can experience the breathtaking beauty of the Kalahari with it’s up to 30m high red dunes and a huge variety of game.

Basis

Dinner, Bed and Breakfast

DAY 2: CANYON VILLAGE GONDWANA COLLECTION NAMIBIA, FISH RIVER CANYON

Fish River Canyon

The FishRiverCanyon is located in the northern part of the Nama Karoo. It is the second largest canyon on earth, featuring a gigantic ravine that measures in total about 100 miles (160 km) long, up to 27 km wide and in places almost 550 metres deep. The FishRiver is the longest interior river found in Namibia, but its flow at present is a trickle compared with the immense volume of water that poured down its length in ages past. It cuts deep into the plateau that is today dry, stony and sparsely covered with hardy drought resistant plants such as succulents, euphorbia’s and lonely quiver trees.

The river flows intermittently, usually coming down in flood in late summer, and when it ceases to flow it becomes a chain of long narrow pools on the sandy rock-strewn floor of the chasm. At the lower end of the Fish River Canyon, the hot springs resort of Ai-Ais provides an oasis in the desolate rocky wastes. Guided and unguided walks into the canyon are possible during April to September, it is however strictly forbidden to climb into the canyon as a day visitor.

In the canyon you may encounter several species of mammals, such as wild horses, Mountain Zebra (Hartman Zebra), Kudu, Klipspringer, Leopard, Steenbok, Baboon and Springbok. The most common rodents include mice, rats, dassies, and dassie-rats. Bird life includes surprises like Pelicans, Black Eagles, Fish Eagles, Kingfishers, Lovebirds, Wild Ostrich and various species of waterfowl and wading birds, like Herons. In the natural pools of the Fish River are found an abundance of fish, such as barbled catfish and yellow fish.

Day Itinerary

We continue south through expansive rocky plains, visiting the unique Quiver tree forest. Nestled amongst huge dolerite boulders, stacked in a mysterious way, the area is also aptly referred to as “Giant’s Playground”. Picknick lunch en route. We continue to our lodge, situated in close vicinity to the Fish River Canyon.

Activities

Quiver Tree Forest

Quiver Tree Forest

Some 14 kilometres from Keetmanshoop is a striking natural phenomenon that is well worth a visit: a natural forest of roughly 200 quiver trees, set on a large outcrop of blackish dolerite rocks. Named for the pliable bark that was once used by bushmen to craft quivers for their arrows, quiver trees are in fact not trees at all, but unusually large succulents with scaly bark and twisted branches topped with spiky, fleshy leaves. The most mature specimens here are between 200 and 300 years old, and some measure as high as nine metres. The forest, which was declared a national monument in 1955, is best viewed at sunrise or sunset, when the soft, warm light further enhances this already captivating sight.

Transfers

Date Company Pick Up Drop Off Time Vehicle
Day 2 To Be Advised Kalahari Red Dunes Lodge Canyon Village Gondwana Collection Namibia Transfer

Overnight: Canyon Village Gondwana Collection Namibia  

Canyon Village lies at the foot of a sweeping rock face in Gondwana Canyon Park. Well-appointed cottages in the Cape Dutch style afford views of the vast canyon scenery. The thatched main building is built right into the massive granite boulders and houses a restaurant and cosy bar. With the famous Fish River Canyon just 20 km away the village is a perfect starting point for exploring the canyon. Dozens of murals depict the history and culture of the Bondelswart Nama, the earlier inhabitants of this area. Relish the peace and quiet and enjoy the views at the ‘pool with a view’.

Basis

Dinner, Bed and Breakfast

DAY 3: KLEIN-AUS VISTA DESERT HORSE INN GONDWANA COLLECTION NAMIBIA, AUS

Aus

This region is typified by the Succulent Karoo. The distinctive climatic characteristics of the Succulent Karoo make it different from all other deserts in the world. Rainfall is reliable and predictable, falling mostly in winter, and prolonged droughts are rare. The Succulent Karoo’s botanical diversity is unparalleled by any other arid region on earth and is the world’s only plant hotspot that is entirely arid.

This eco-region is home to greater than 5,000 higher plant species, nearly 40 percent of which are endemic, and 18 percent of which are threatened. It has the richest succulent flora in the world, harbouring about one-third of the world’s approximately 10,000 succulent species. Other unique features include the diversity of miniature succulents (435 spp.) and geophytes (bulb-like plants 630 spp.).

The ecoregion is also a center of diversity and endemism for reptiles and many invertebrate taxa, especially monkey beetles (Rutelinae: Hoplinii). The Namib Desert ecoregion to the north is characterized by extremely low and variable summer rain (less than 50 mm per year), and extremely sparse plant cover, dominated by ephemerals. To the east lies the Nama Karoo ecoregion, a low open shrubland with variable grass cover and highly variable rain that falls mainly in the late summer months.

Day Itinerary

Our morning starts on the edge of the Fish River Canyon where we gaze into this magnificent geological phenomenon. We continue our journey to the Naute Kristall Kellerei, where we visit the distillery. We drive further to Aus, where we will do a sundowner drive.

Activities

Fish River Canyon
Naute Kristall Kellerei

Fish River Canyon

The FishRiverCanyon is located in the northern part of the Nama Karoo. It is the second largest canyon on earth, featuring a gigantic ravine that measures in total about 100 miles (160 km) long, up to 27 km wide and in places almost 550 metres deep. The FishRiver is the longest interior river found in Namibia, but its flow at present is a trickle compared with the immense volume of water that poured down its length in ages past. It cuts deep into the plateau that is today dry, stony and sparsely covered with hardy drought resistant plants such as succulents, euphorbia’s and lonely quiver trees.

The river flows intermittently, usually coming down in flood in late summer, and when it ceases to flow it becomes a chain of long narrow pools on the sandy rock-strewn floor of the chasm. At the lower end of the Fish River Canyon, the hot springs resort of Ai-Ais provides an oasis in the desolate rocky wastes. Guided and unguided walks into the canyon are possible during April to September, it is however strictly forbidden to climb into the canyon as a day visitor.

In the canyon you may encounter several species of mammals, such as wild horses, Mountain Zebra (Hartman Zebra), Kudu, Klipspringer, Leopard, Steenbok, Baboon and Springbok. The most common rodents include mice, rats, dassies, and dassie-rats. Bird life includes surprises like Pelicans, Black Eagles, Fish Eagles, Kingfishers, Lovebirds, Wild Ostrich and various species of waterfowl and wading birds, like Herons. In the natural pools of the Fish River are found an abundance of fish, such as barbled catfish and yellow fish.

Naute Kristall Kellerei

Approximately 500km south of Windhoek, close to the town of Keetmanshoop, is the Naute Dam. The  Naute Dam is primarily used for the supply of water to neighbouring towns and for the irrigation of the fruit plantations. What was previously barren, unfertile land now consists of 200 ha of table grapes, dates, prickly pears, monkey oranges and pomegranates. 50 tons of fruit is unmarketable and this will form the basis of the Naute Kristall Distillery. The finest Naute Kristall Distillery Fine Spirits will be retailed through lodges, hotels, restaurants and curio shops throughout Namibia. Michael and Katrin Weder are personaly overseeing the implementation of the project.

Transfers

Date Company Pick Up Drop Off Time Vehicle
Day 3 To Be Advised Canyon Village Gondwana Collection Namibia Fish River Canyon Viewpoint Transfer
Day 3 Fish River Canyon Viewpoint Klein-Aus Vista Desert Horse Inn Gondwana Collection Namibia Transfer

Overnight: Klein-Aus Vista Desert Horse Inn Gondwana Collection Namibia         

Located in the Aus Mountains at 1,400 metres above sea level, Desert Horse Inn affords grand vistas of mountain scenery and sweeping desert plains. It consists of 24 spacious and tastefully decorated en suite rooms. Relax with sundowners on the wooden deck before enjoying a 3-course meal in the restaurant. Exchange travel experiences and recommendations at the evocative Wild Horse Bar or at the cosy fireplace in the lounge.

Basis

Dinner, Bed and Breakfast

DAY 4: THE ELEGANT DESERT ECO CAMP, NAMIB DESERT

Namib Desert

The Namib is the world’s oldest desert, and although it stretches along the entire length of Namibia’s coastline, the Namib commonly refers to the vast sea of sand from Luderitz to Swakopmund.

For a big sandy desert the scenery is remarkably varied, with the giant red dunes of Sossusvlei being the most famous part. Because of how old it is the Namib is home to numerous species that don’t occur elsewhere and although no humans live in the desert an amazing array of flora and fauna manages to survive here.

Famous species include the Welwitschia – a living fossil plant, endemic chameleons, fur seals along the coast, brown hyenas, jackals and remarkably one of Africa’s largest antelope the Gemsbok. The name Namib is of Nama origin and means “vast place” and vast it certainly is.

Day Itinerary

After a delicious breakfast we travel north along the Tiras Mountain and visit the Kanaan Na’an ku se Desert Retreat for  light lunch. We travel further north to our lodge in the Namib Desert. Here we are located at the gateway to Sossusvlei and Sesriem Canyon, with some of the highest sand dunes on earth towering over the white desert plains.

Activities

KleKanaan Na’an ku se Desert Retreat

Kanaan Na’an ku se Desert Retreat

This enchanting reserve borders the Namib Naukluft Park with its breath taking photogenic dune belt to the west and the Tiras Mountains to the east. Kanaan N/a’an ku sê Desert Retreat is situated on 33 000 ha of unspoilt nature. Contrasting landscapes are never-ending, with rippled sand dunes glowing in the magical light of sunrise and sunset.

Stay in one of our comfortable rustic en-suite rooms, get served homely meals and refreshing drinks in the old farm house amid a most beautiful scenic setting. Kanaan is ideal for wildlife enthusiasts, photographers, geologists, hikers or for those looking to get away from it all.

In the dedicated hands of the N/a’an ku sê team, the Kanaan N/a’an ku sê Desert Retreat focuses on the rehabilitation of the land to serve a purpose other than being a photographer’s paradise – conservation and protection of the wildlife and environment. A get-away also for campers looking for a once off experience at our campsite 707 situated amidst a most beautiful landscape. Bookable only to one group at a time. Facilities include ablution and kitchen area.

Transfers

Date Company Pick Up Drop Off Time Vehicle
Day 4 To Be Advised Klein-Aus Vista Desert Horse Inn Gondwana Collection Namibia The Elegant Desert Eco Camp Transfer

Overnight: The Elegant Desert Eco Camp

The Elegant Desert Eco Camp (Part of the Elegant Collection)

Basis

Dinner, Bed and Breakfast

DAY 5: SOSSUSVLEI LODGE, NAMIB DESERT

Namib Desert

As previously described

Day Itinerary

The morning demands an early start. The first rays of sunrise paint the mountains of sand into a variety of apricot, red and orange, contrasted against a crisp blue skyline, enrapturing our senses, and providing an opportunity to capture this awesome landscape on film.

You will be mesmerized by the highest dunes at Sossusvlei, where the mostly dry Tsauchab River ends abruptly amongst majestic dunes. Take the opportunity to walk up one of these dunes to admire the desert landscape beneath.

Thereafter we visit the Sesriem Canyon, a life sustaining natural phenomenon in the heart of the Namib Desert. For Lunch we visit Desert Homestead and will also inspect the lodge. We drive back to Sesriem to Sossusvlei Lodge and will also inspect the  Desert Camp and Desert Quiver Camp.

Activities

Sossusvlei

Sossusvlei’s rich ochre sand dunes offer one of the most mind-blowing sights you will ever experience. Their oscillating crests rise to an astonishing 320m and, with their air of timelessness, create an unforgettable wilderness in the heart of the world’s oldest desert. Dwarfed by the sheer size of the highest dunes on earth, your ascending footprints look like insect trails leading into infinity. The solitude is immeasurable and your place in the great scheme of life takes on a curious insignificance.

The white vleis (clay pans) contrast sharply against the red sand and vast blue sky, while fog-dependent animals and plants seek shelter from the sweltering heat underneath the sand and age-old camelthorn trees. One of these pans, referred to as Dead Pan, is a large ghostly expanse of dried white clay, punctuated by skeletons of ancient camel-thorn trees, carbon-dated as being between 500 and 600 years old. During this time the flow of the Tsauchab River into the pan was stopped by the formation of a dune belt – hence the trees died, now forming part of Namibia’s own Salvador Dali “painting”.

Sesriem Canyon

Sesriem Canyon, a deep chasm carved through the rocks by water, is a striking natural feature of the area that is best explored on foot. Stony walls rise up sharply on both sides of the canyon, while birds roost in its crags and lizards dart along the ledges. The canyon’s name was coined when early settlers used it as a water source, using six lengths of leather (‘ses riem – six thongs) tied together to lower buckets into the water at the base of canyon.

Overnight: Sossusvlei Lodge

Situated at the Entrance Gate to the Namib Naukluft Park, Sossusvlei Lodge offers direct access to the towering red sand dunes, the famous pan of Sossusvlei, the scorched black trees of Dead Vlei and the remarkable depths of the Sesriem Canyon. The 45 individual luxurious accommodation units at Sossusvlei Lodge are carefully laid out to perfectly blend in with the magnificent surrounding natural environment. Each fully air-conditioned unit has a patio, en-suite bathroom with shower and a spacious bedroom under canvas with adobe-style plaster walls to give the visitor a distinctive sense of being close to nature.

Experience the true art of Hospitality with the thoughtful touch of attentive staff to contribute to a truly memorable experience. Facilities include a sparkling pool, bar, beer garden and an al fresco terrace where one can enjoy exquisite food, award-winning wines and magnificent views of the floodlit waterhole. The Sossusvlei Lodge Adventure Centre provides a range of activities including Quad-Biking, Guided Excursions, Sun-downer Trips, Hot Air Ballooning, Scenic Flights and much more to explore the area’s natural beauty.

Basis

Dinner, Bed and Breakfast

DAY 6: SWAKOPMUND HOTEL & ENTERTAINMENT CENTRE, SWAKOPMUND

Swakopmund

With palm-lined streets, seaside promenades and fine accommodation for all budgets, Swakopmund is Namibia’s most popular holiday destination, and its pleasant summer climate and decent beaches attract surfers, anglers and beach lovers from all over Southern Africa. Thanks to its mild temperatures and negligible rainfall, Swakopmund generally enjoys grit in the oyster. When an easterly wind blows, the town gets a good sand-blasting, and almost perpetual drizzle.

The fog rolls up to 30km inland and provides moisture for desert-dwelling plants and animals, including 80 species of lichen. For better or worse, Swakopmund feels overwhelmingly Teutonic – indeed, it has Germany – but for visitors, it’s a Namibia’s adrenalin capital, and offers a wide range of gut-curdling activities from sand boarding and quad-biking to skydiving and camel riding. Note, however, that it gets especially busy around Namibian school holidays in December and January, when temperatures average around 25ºC.

Day Itinerary

After breakfast we travel via the desolate, rolling hills of the Kuiseb Valley towards the Atlantic Ocean. Reaching the coastal harbour town of Walvis Bay, we visit the shallow lagoon, one of the most important wetland areas on the African continent and a RAMSAR World Heritage Site. Over 80% of the African flamingos feed in this lagoon and present a breath-taking picture when they appear in groups. Here we can enjoy our picnic lunch.

Continuing along scenic dune belts and the Atlantic Ocean we reach Swakopmund. With palm-lined streets and seaside promenades, Swakopmund is a very popular holiday destination in Namibia.

Activities

Kuiseb Canyon
Walvis Bay Lagoon

Kuiseb Canyon

Mysterious and remote, the Kuiseb Canyon was carved aeons ago by the Kuiseb River, which runs mainly underground. This deep fissure is flanked by steep folds of rock on one side and the copper-coloured sand dunes of the Namib Desert on the other, and shelters several wildlife species that are acclimatised to the region’s harsh environment, including hyena, buck and even leopard.

Walvis Bay Lagoon

Walvis Bay’s calm natural lagoon is a twitcher’s paradise, teeming with roughly 50 species of seabirds, including vivid flocks of flamingos, bulky-billed pelicans and glossy black cormorants. It’s also a popular spot for windsurfing, kitesurfing and kayaking, while the promenade stretching for three kilometres along the water’s edge is a great place for a scenic stroll. The Lagoon is one of the most important wetland areas on the African continent and a RAMSAR world heritage site. Over 80% of the African flamingos feed in this lagoon and present a breath taking picture when they appear in groups counting a few hundred thousand.

Overnight: Swakopmund Hotel & Entertainment Centre      

From the rugged, desolate beauty of the Namib Desert, to the historical grace of its buildings, a visit to the Skeleton Coast is a unique experience. The Swakopmund Hotel & Entertainment Centre is no exception. Built in and around the old German Station Building, this charming hotel strikes the perfect balance between architectural beauty and first-world class.

Basis

Dinner, Bed and Breakfast

DAY 7: SWAKOPMUND HOTEL & ENTERTAINMENT CENTRE, SWAKOPMUND

Swakopmund

As previously described

Day Itinerary

Overnight: Swakopmund Hotel & Entertainment Centre      

From the rugged, desolate beauty of the Namib Desert, to the historical grace of its buildings, a visit to the Skeleton Coast is a unique experience. The Swakopmund Hotel & Entertainment Centre is no exception. Built in and around the old German Station Building, this charming hotel strikes the perfect balance between architectural beauty and first-world class.

Basis

Dinner, Bed and Breakfast

DAY 8: END OF ITINERARY

Day Itinerary

After breakfast , City Tour of Windhoek’s historical buildings & monuments as well as the suburbs of Khomasdal, Katutura & Ludwigsdorf.  In time for your flight home, your tour guide will transfer you to the International Airport where you board the Air Namibia flight back home country. End of Itinerary

Greater Windhoek

Windhoek, the capital of Namibia, is encircled by magnificent mountains, expansive valleys, fertile farmlands, lodges and luxury guest farms. The landscape of the Greater Windhoek area surrounding this bustling city is characterised by vast valleys, thick scrub, rocky hills, and covered in golden savannah.

Visitors can explore the dry river beds and mountainous scrublands, as well as enjoy birding, leopard-spotting and view large quantities of wildlife in the north; visit the more arid eastern part with its olive, potato and date plantations; explore the rolling hills of the Khomas Hochland Mountains in the west of the Greater Windhoek area and soak up the epic views along a number of scenic passes leading off the high plateau including: Bosua Pass, Gamsberg Pass and Spreetshoogte Pass.

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