22 DAY PRIVATE GUIDED NAMIBIA & BOTSWANA SAFARI
WITH JOAN GERBER FROM 19 OCTOBER – 9 NOVEMBER 2015
A PHOTOGRAPHER'S DREAM...
Experience unequalled beauty throughout these isolated destinations…
LANDSCAPE, NATIVE CULTURE & ANIMAL KINGDOM!
Namibia is a vast country, even by African standards, covering an area approximately four times the size of the United Kingdom but with a population of a mere 2 million - one of the lowest densities in the world. It is also an 'ageless land’; visible through our heritage of rock art created by stone-age artists and geological attractions such as the petrified forest where fossilised tree trunks have lain for over 280 million years. Added to the space and silence, these all contribute to a feeling of antiquity, solitude and wilderness.
This guided Namibian safari affords you the chance to experience this magnificent and memorable country in a very personal way. You will have your own professional and experienced safari guide who will enhance your enjoyment of this unique country by making it a fascinating and stress-free journey of discovery amidst very dramatic scenery
●Travel with one of Namibia’s most reputable and well-known naturalist guides.
●Visit the Quivertree Forest.
●Visit the Ghost mining towns of Kolmanskop and Elizabeth Bay.
●Visit the beautiful historic coastal town of Lüderitz.
●Travel along the scenic D707 road along the border of the Namib Naukluft Park.
●Stay in the only camp inside the world’s 4th largest National Park.
●Climb some of the world’s highest free-standing sand dunes at Sossusvlei.
●Game drive on the private game reserve
●Game viewing from the elevated dining area over a floodlit waterhole.
●Memorable and exciting game drives within the renowned Etosha National Park.
●Spend time by the Kavango river in the Caprivi Strip
●Embark on exciting game activities into Chobe National Park.
October 19 Johannesburg
Upon arrival in Johannesburg, we will be met and transferred to our hotel for check-in.
October 20 Arrival in Windhoek
After landing at Windhoek’s International Hosea Kutako Airport, about 40 km outside of Windhoek, you will be welcomed by your private Ultimate Safaris naturalist guide who will transfer you to a hotel where you will stay overnight in their beautifully designed rooms. You will be treated to a short city tour of Windhoek en-route if that appeals. Take the rest of the afternoon to relax and settle into your charming accommodation and an option to go explore Windhoek city shops and craft market if required.
Windhoek Capital City: Windhoek, Namibia’s capital nestles among rolling hills, bounded by the Eros Mountains in the east, the Auas Mountains to the south and the Khomas Hochland in the west. It is a meeting place between Africa and Europe, the modern and the old. In the capital’s main street, well-preserved German colonial buildings are in sharp contrast with modern architectural styles, while Herero women in their traditional Victorian dresses mingle with executives dressed in the latest fashions. Centrally located within Namibia, Windhoek is an excellent starting point for an adventurous holiday for many visitors to the country and an ideal base from where to explore the rest of the country.
After breakfast this morning your personal guide will collect you from the hotel for the start of your safari. You set off south along the western side of the Kalahari Desert past Rehoboth and Mariental and then on to our next stop in late afternoon. From here you will have the perfect base from which to photograph Quiver Trees as required at different light intensities – including well into dusk if that appeals.
Today after breakfast the road takes you south and then west from Keetmanshoop towards the coast, passing through the towns of Seeheim and Aus before reaching Lüderitz. Before reaching the town, you will stop off en-route at Kolmanskop, where you will have all the time you desire to explore this fascinating sight and photograph it (afternoon photographic permit included). You will have lunch en-route before you arrive in Luderitz in the later afternoon and the rest of the afternoon is at leisure, before freshening up for dinner.
Kolmanskop Ghost Town: Namibia’s most famous ghost town, Kolmanskop, is situated in the Sperrgebiet about 10 km inland from Luderitz. It was named after a transport driver named Jani Coleman, who lived in the settlement of Aus at the turn of the century. During a severe sandstorm he was forced to abandon his ox wagon on the small incline from where Kolmanskop can be seen. It stood there for a while; giving rise to the name Colemanshuegel, which eventually became Kolmanskop. In 1908 the railway worker Zacharias Lewala found a sparkling stone amongst the sand he was shoveling away from the railway line near Kolmanskop. August Stauch, his supervisor, was convinced he had found a diamond. When this was confirmed, the news spread like wildfire, sparking a frantic diamond rush and causing fortune hunters to converge in droves on Kolmanskop. It soon became a bustling little centre with a butchery, bakery, furniture factory, soda water and lemonade plant, four-skittle alley, a public playground and even a casino and swimming pool. The town’s development reached its pinnacle in the twenties, with approximately 300 German adults, 40 children and 800 Owambo contract workers living there. In spite of, or probably because of, the isolation and bleakness of the surrounding desert.
This morning after breakfast you will go on an excursion to visit the old diamond mining centre at Elizabeth Bay which is situated in the Sperrgebiet (the Forbidden Area) to the south of Luderitz. After your guided tour of the old plants and living quarters there will be time to explore on your own and take photographs as required. Afterwards, you will continue inland on your way back to visit Kolmanskop again – giving the opportunity to make your own comparison between the old mining centre (at Elizabeth Bay) and the old management complex at Kolmanskop where the management of the whole “Forbidden” diamond area (Sperrgebiet) used to live. This guided tour will give you an insight into the rich history of diamond mining in Namibia and the rise and fall of both Elizabeth Bay (where some mining and sorting still takes place so some of the machinery is still in use) and Kolmanskop which was never a production centre at all. It should also give a good idea of what everyday life in these settlements would have been like. After your guided excursion at Kolmanskop, you will again have some time to wander around the desolate streets and abandoned buildings. After your early afternoon return to the hotel, the rest of the day is at leisure with the option to explore Lüderitz town further, taking in the colourful ‘Jugendstil’ architecture and notable buildings such as the historical Goerke House and the 'Felsenkirche' (Church on the Rock).
After an early breakfast at the Nest Hotel you will depart to a special place in the vast desert where you will stay for one night. You leave the coast and Lüderitz behind you as you make your way north into the Namib Desert, keeping a lookout for the renowned feral ‘desert horses’ along the way. There is also the opportunity to stop off and visit the ruins of the old First World War Prisoner of War camp at Aus along the way – as long as you leave Luderitz early enough to allow time for this as well as getting to your next location in time to get the full benefit of the afternoon light there.
From Aus you head north through spectacular scenery of the Tiras Mountain Conservancy and you drive along the famously scenic D707 road which runs along the eastern edge of the Namib Naukluft Park. Lunch will be enjoyed en-route today as you will arrive at Farm Kanaan in the mid afternoon. Later this afternoon you will be treated to a private photographic excursion into the nearby reserve as run by Namibian operators.
Feral Horses: An intriguing feature of the Sperrgebiet is the legendary desert horses seen from the road when traveling between Lüderitz and Aus. There are several theories regarding their origin. Some considered that they were descended from farm animals that had escaped, or were horses of the stud belonging to Baron von Wolf, who built Duwiseb Castle north east of Garub and another theory is that they are descended from the German Schutztruppe who abandoned Aus during the South West African Campaign in 1915. New recent research carried out by Telané Greyling in 2005 suggests that the herd was drawn from all of the above as well as the South African army. About 100km east of Lüderitz, a signpost indicates the turn-off to Garub, a maintained water point where the wild horses can be observed and photographed as they come back to drink.
After breakfast you make your way northwards into the Namib Desert towards Sesriem where you will go on to stay at Sossus Dune Lodge. Lunch will be had en route at a scenic location. You will stay here for two nights whilst you explore the remarkable sights of the Namib Desert with your guide. If there is still time today, your guide will take you to visit Sesriem Canyon, a nearby geological attraction, or explore Elim Dune. However, if you prefer, you can just relax and soak in the scenic and tranquil surroundings at Sossus Dune Lodge or head out on photographic excursion.
Sesriem Canyon: Sesriem Canyon has evolved through centuries of erosion by the Tsauchab River which has incised a narrow gorge about 1.5 km long and 30 meters deep into the surrounding conglomerates, exposing the varying layers of sedimentation deposited over millions of years. The shaded cool depths of the canyon allow pools of water to gather during the rainy season and remain for much of the year round. These pools were a vital source of water for early settlers who drew water for their livestock by knotting six (ses) lengths of rawhide thongs (riems) together, hence the canyon and surrounding area became known as Sesriem.
Today will be a day full of photography as you rise early this morning for a magical excursion into the dunes with your guide. As you are already inside the park you can get into Sossusvlei before everyone else and you would even be able to get there in time to see the sun rise to capture the dunes whilst the light is soft and shadows accentuate their towering shapes and curves.
This area boasts some of the highest free-standing sand dunes in the world. Your guide will give you an insight on the formation of the Namib Desert and its myriad of fascinating creatures and plants that have adapted to survive these harsh environs. Once you have explored the area to your heart’s content you can enjoy a relaxed picnic breakfast in the shade of a camel thorn tree. Return to Sossus Dune Lodge in time for lunch, stopping off to view Sesriem Canyon along the way if required – or going there later on if preferred. The rest of the afternoon is at your leisure (from experience, this is usually welcomed after an exhilarating morning in the dunes) with the option to head out again later in the afternoon to visit the dunes at Sossusvlei to see them whilst the shadows sharpen as the sun goes down.
Sossusvlei: This most frequently visited section of the massive 50,000km² Namib Naukluft National Park has become known as Sossusvlei, famous for its towering apricot coloured sand dunes which can be penetrated by following the Tsauchab River valley. Sossusvlei itself is actually a clay pan set amidst these star shaped dunes which stand up to 300 meters above the surrounding plains, ranking them among the tallest dunes on earth. The deathly white clay pan contrasts against the orange sands and forms the endpoint of the ephemeral Tsauchab River, within the interior of the Great Sand Sea. The river course rises south of the Naukluft Mountains in the Great Escarpment. It penetrates the sand sea for some 55km before it finally peters out at Sossusvlei, about the same distance from the Atlantic Ocean. Until the encroaching dunes blocked its course around 60,000 years ago, the Tsauchab River once reached the sea; as ephemeral rivers still do in the northern half of the Namib.
Sand-locked pans to the west show where the river previously flowed to before dunes shifted its endpoint to where it currently gathers at Sossusvlei. Roughly once a decade rainfall over the catchment area is sufficient to bring the river down in flood and fill the pan. On such occasions the mirror images of dunes and camel thorn trees around the pan are reflected in the water. Sossusvlei is the biggest of four pans in the vicinity. Another, famous for its gnarled and ghostly camel thorn trees, is Deadvlei which can be reached on foot over 1km of sand. Deadvlei’s striking camel thorn trees, dead for want of water, still stand erect as they once grew. They survived until about 900 years ago when the sand sea finally blocked the river from occasionally flooding the pan.
NOTE: Option to include a sunrise balloon flight or scenic light aircraft flight over the Namib Naukluft National Park before you depart for Swakopmund (optional extra at additional cost).
The fascinating drive today takes you northwest through awesome and ever changing desert landscapes of the Namib Naukluft National Park, including the impressive Gaub and Kuiseb canyons. You aim to reach Swakopmund in the afternoon where you can enjoy the pleasant seaside location and cooler coastal air for the next two nights whilst staying at Hansa Hotel. There should be time this afternoon to wander around town and along the waterfront on foot if appeals, before heading off to dinner at the popular Tug Restaurant by the jetty which specializes in fresh seafood. This afternoon you may also enjoy visiting the Moon landscape and the Welwitschia Plains which is a short driving distance outside Swakopmund.
NOTE: As an alternative to the drive from Sossus Dune Lodge to Swakopmund you may like to take a scenic light aircraft flight over Sossusvlei and along the Diamond Coast (optional extra at additional cost), allowing you a bird’s eye view over the dune sea, abandoned mining camps, shipwrecks, Sandwich Harbour and salt pans before you land at Swakopmund Airport. Your guide will/s drives to meet up with you in Swakopmund later in the day. Please note that the costs involved will depend on the number of people wanting to take advantage of this opportunity as the cost of the plane will be shared amongst the people using it. Groups of four or five people per plane (without luggage) are generally the most efficient
Swakopmund: Swakopmund resembles a small, German coastal resort nestled between the desert and the sea. It boasts a charming combination of German colonial architecture blended with good hotels, shops, restaurants, museums, craft centres, galleries and cafés. Swakopmund had its beginnings as a landing station in 1892 when the Imperial Navy erected beacons on the site. Settlers followed and attempts to create a harbour town by constructing a concrete Mole and then iron jetty failed.
The advent of World War 1 halted developments and the town sank into decline until half a century later when infrastructures improved and an asphalt road opened between Windhoek and Swakopmund. This made reaching the previously isolated town quicker and easier and it prospered once again to become Namibia’s premier resort town. Although the sea is normally cold for swimming there are pleasant beaches and the cooler climate is refreshing after the time spent in the desert.
This morning you will go out into the coastal dunes on a “Living Desert Tour” to enjoy the scenery and look out for signs of the small desert inhabitants that live here. You will return to Swakopmund in time for lunch and your safari guides will then take you on a comprehensive tour of the Swakopmund townships of Mondesa & DRC.
Living Desert Tour: This desert tour concentrates on exploring the local dune belt between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund, taking special care not to damage the gravel plains and cause any unnecessary damage to the dune eco-system. The gravel plains are protected and home to the nesting Damara Terns, which are endemic to this area. Conservation, geological structure and the reason why Namibia has a desert will be discussed in detail en-route. Plenty of time is available for frequent stops to take photos of the dunes and the surrounding environment. You will stop continuously to look for animal tracks on the dunes (known locally as reading the bushman paper), to determine which animals were active the previous night and wherever possible try to find some of them to show you. Great care is taken by the guide to share local knowledge with you on each desert animal and plant, including emphasis on each creature’s special adaptations and perfect design used to survive in the desert. Time and care is taken to ensure each animal is returned safely to its home. Geckos, rolling spiders, scorpions, lizards, snakes, chameleons, skinks and a variety of beetles and insects are some creatures to be found on this tour.
October 29 Swakopmund to South Etosha National Park Boundary
After breakfast you set off east through Namibia’s central highlands and commercial farmlands, making your way to a special lodge located in the 30,000 ha private game reserve on the southern boundary of the Etosha National Park. Here you will stay for one night.
Let the game viewing now really begin! You will start with a guided game drive on the private game reserve which is run from the lodge and offers excellent opportunities to see the resident lions and rhinos as well as a variety of other species. You will return to the lodge around sunset and in good time for dinner. The rest of the evening can be spent watching game come and go from the lodge’s floodlit waterhole.
This game reserve is effectively a private game reserve, spanning 30,000 hectares along the south-west border of Etosha National Park. The reserve is home to a wide variety of game including lion, leopard, giraffe, rhino, Hartmann’s mountain zebra, gemsbok (oryx), kudu, steenbok and much more. The scenery is attractive with large open plains blending into Mopane tree woodlands and granite outcrops.
The following two days are available for exciting game viewing within the central section of Etosha National Park. You have the choice to go out on game drives into Etosha National Park as required and return to the lodge during the course of the day.
You have the option of returning to the camp for lunch if that appeals, but you can also take a picnic lunch to have in the vehicle while at one of the waterholes and observing game coming and going if preferred. Final decision on this will be taken after discussion with your guide and depending on the circumstances on the day. Either way, you will return to the comforts of the lodge by sunset and an evening watching game come and go from its busy floodlit waterhole.
Etosha National Park: Etosha National Park covers 22,270 km², of which approximately 5,000 km² is made up of saline depressions or ‘pans’. The largest of these pans, the Etosha Pan, can be classified as a saline desert in its own right. The Etosha Pan lies in the Owambo Basin, on the north-western edge of the Namibian Kalahari Desert. Until three million years ago it formed part of huge, shallow lake that was reduced to a complex of salt pans when the major river that fed it, the Kunene, changed course and began to flow to the Atlantic instead. If the lake existed today, it would be the third largest in the world. Etosha is the largest of the pans at 4,760 km² in extent. It is nowadays filled with water only when sufficient rain falls to the north in Angola to induce floods to flow southward along the Cuvelai drainage system. The Park consists of grassland, woodland and savannah. Game-viewing centers around the numerous springs and waterholes where several different species can often be seen at one time. The Park boasts some 114 mammal and over 340 bird species. Wildlife that one might see includes elephant, lion, giraffe, wildebeest, eland, kudu, gemsbok (Oryx), zebra, rhino, cheetah, leopard, hyena, honey badger, and warthog, as well as the endemic black faced impala.
Today is spent game-viewing in the Etosha National Park from our private safari vehicle. You make your way through the breadth of the National Park. You make your way across the Park via Halali, and Namutoni, stopping at selected waterholes along the way to observe the game gathered there. You then leave the park through the eastern Von Lindquist Gate before it closes at sunset and go on to a lodge on the eastern side. You would normally arrive at the lodge just as it is getting dark, in good time to freshen up for dinner.
Today we travel northwest into the relatively lush riverine environments of Namibia. As you begin to enter the north-western Kavango and Caprivi Regions you will observe the striking contrast of this wetter environment to the arid landscapes that typify the rest of the country. You arrive at Popa Falls Rest Camp in the late afternoon and, if there is time, you have the option to take part in a sundowner boat excursion on the Okavango River if that appeals (boat cruise not included).
Today you will continue east with your Ultimate Safaris guide, driving via the administrative capital of Katima Mulilo and then on across the border into Botswana at Ngoma Bridge. Just beyond the border you will enter into Chobe National Park and drive on through the Park, looking out for any game to be seen on the way, to reach the town of Kasane. This is a small but busy town situated along a hillside on the eastern boundary of Chobe National Park, with lovely views over the Chobe River and flood plains. Here you will be dropped off by your guides for a three night stay at the Garden Lodge which enjoys close proximity to the Chobe and Zambezi rivers, minutes’ walk into Kasane town and a short drive from the entrance to Chobe National Park. Your guides will then set off in their safari vehicles on their way back to Windhoek
You will arrive at a comfortable lodge in the early afternoon and, if you have set off early enough, you should still be able to go on a short boat trip along the river where a remarkable variety and quantity of game can be seen (last boat trip departure leaves at 15.00 each afternoon).
Birdlife is prolific from a variety of raptors, geese and ducks to flocks of yellow-billed and open billed storks; and game that may be seen includes hippo, crocodile, red lechwe, waterbuck, reedbuck, the rare puku antelope (this is almost the only place in southern Africa where puku occur), giraffe, impala, lion, buffalo, and an amazing number of elephant that are attracted to the river’s edge for their daily afternoon drink and bathe. With luck you may also witness elephant swimming across the river to reach Namibian savannah on the northern banks. If you are delayed at the border and therefore to get in there in time (as is possible), you will still be able to spend time by the river bank watching the birds etc. Here your guide will drop you as he will then start his long journey back to Windhoek.
The program for today offers a game drive and another boat cruise on the river. The morning is spent game driving in private open game-viewing vehicles within Chobe National Park, exploring along sandy tracks within the wooded interior and along the lush riverfront in the hope of spotting some of the many inhabitants of this wonderful Park. You will return to The Garden Lodge in the late morning for lunch and some leisure time and later in the afternoons you will enjoy another superb boat cruise along the Chobe River.
Boat Cruise in the morning. Return to the lodge for lunch. Game drive in the afternoon.
Long Game drive with packed brunch, to be back in the lodge around 2 pm (leave at 0600) and then they have one afternoon to relax and develop pictures etc.
Morning Game drive. Return to the lodge for lunch. Afternoon available for guests own itinerary. If you missed the boat cruise on November 3rd, it can be done this afternoon.
Today you have time to relax at the hotel until you have to make your way to Kasane International Airport to check in for your onward international flight.
This is also the official end of your safari and we wish you BON VOYAGE.
Accommodation as stated above, Transportation through Namibia in a luxury air-conditioned safari vehicle,
Meals stipulated above, Services of a registered and experienced English-speaking safari guide,
Services of local guides where stipulated, Entrance fees and excursions as described in above itinerary,
Road transfers as stated above, All gratuities, Welcome pack.
International flights to Namibia and home from Botswana and airport taxes, Personal travel insurance (required), Any meals not included in the above itinerary, Any entrance fees and excursions not included in the above itinerary, All beverages with the exception of mineral water on board the safari vehicle,
Laundry (laundry service available at lodges at extra cost) , Items of personal nature (telephone expenses, curios, medicines etc), Entry Visa Fees.
Visas/Passports: Please ensure: 1) that you have pre-arranged your entry visa if required; 2) that your passport is valid for at least six months after your scheduled departure date from Namibia; 3) that you have a minimum of 2 consecutive clear pages. If this is not the case, there is a danger of being turned away by the Immigration Service on arrival at the airport – assuming your airline has agreed to bring you and risk a fine in the first place.
Health: No vaccinations are mandatory but please consult your doctor for medical advice. Parts of Namibia are considered to be malarial so we recommend the use of anti-malarial prophylactics (normally Malarone), especially if visiting during the Namibian summer (December to April) – subject to advice from your own doctor.
Luggage: Is normally restricted to 20 kg (not including photographic equipment) per person in a soft, hold all type bag. Weight is generally less important than volume as everything is carried with you on safari. If adding extensions that involve light aircraft transfers the luggage limit may be reduced further to 12 kg in soft bags. However, the restrictions are much less strict when traveling in a safari vehicle, although soft bags are still preferred as they are much easier to pack into the vehicle and to carry to your rooms
Vehicles: Vehicles used are normally comfortable specially modified 4x4 Toyota Land cruisers, equipped with air-conditioning, large windows, pop tops, fridges for drinks and snacks. A trailer for luggage is taken if required.
For complete details contact
1-800-361-1334 Dial 1, then Ext 3250
*While it is our intention to adhere to the route described above, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary. Due to traffic or other unforeseen events on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. Nexion Canada reserves the right to change the itinerary when deemed necessary or desirable
1 Canada to Delhi| India
Depart to Delhi with Etihad Airways.
*Chance to add on ABU DHABI stop over*