1 night Okonjima | 4 nights Etosha | 2 nights Damaraland | 2 nights Swakopmund | 2 nights Sossusvlei | 1 night Windhoek
Sally and Jack had heard great things about Namibia and had about 10 to 12 days for their trip. They were keen on visiting a few areas, but wanted to do this tour at their own pace, so I recommended a self drive around Namibia. Part of the charm of this wonderful country is the landscapes and views and on a self drive trip, you can stop at your leisure and enjoy this. They were keen to include a few days in Etosha, as they had heard the game viewing was great…… which it is! After a few emails about the tour, they were ready to book their trip, which also included Damaraland, Swakopmund, Sossusvlei and ending with a night in the Capital city of Windhoek.
Your flight from South Africa arrives in the morning and you will be met by our representative who will hand over your travel documents, covering the duration of your trip. He will then escort you to the car rental depot where you collect your 4×4 hire vehicle. You leave the airport following your GPS and head north to the Okonjimo Plains Camp. The drive will take you through the dry lands towards the Etosha Game Reserve, you will arrive after approximately two and a half hours. Check in and unwind from the travelling before enjoying dinner at the camp. Your time in the camp is spent at leisure while you prepare for tomorrows first day on safari.
Morning begins early as you meet at reception and leave with your ranger on a walking safari tracking cheetahs in the Okonjima Nature Reserve alongside the experienced guides. After the morning walk it is a late breakfast and then check out. Depart in your rented vehicle for the Mokuti Etosha Lodge. This is a three hour drive and leads you to the border of the Etosha Game Reserve. Check in to the lodge and have an afternoon at leisure at the lodge. Dinner at the lodge and relax in readiness for tomorrow.
Depart early with your packed picnic breakfast and drive into the Etosha Game Reserve for the day. Gates open early so aim to get there as early as you can and spend the entire day driving in the reserve. Stop to avoid the midday heat at the Halaali Camp and have lunch and a bit of a rest. Then get back into the vehicles, leave the reserve via the main gate and head back to Mokuti Safari Lodge for your evening at leisure.
After another early start depart from Mokuti Etosha Lodge and drive back into the Etosha Game Reserve. You then drive in a westerly direction as you head across the Reserve as you drive to your next Lodge.
Spend a full day in the reserve with a stop at Okaukuejo Camp and then exit out of the Ombika Gate and drive to the Etosha Safari Lodge. Check in at this luxury lodge and relax after another day on Safari. Dinner is once more at the lodge your are staying at.
Another early start today as you leave on your Guided Safari into the Etosha Game Reserve. Board an open 4×4 Game Drive Vehicle from the Etosha Safari Lodge and enjoy the day being driven around the reserve by an experienced and knowledgeable guide. This will add a complete new dimension to your accumulated knowledge on the reserve thus far.
During the day you will stop for a catered picnic lunch and you guide and driver will ensure a “lasting memory” occasion. You will leave the Reserve before sunset and then spend the rest of the night at the Lodge.
Check out at leisure this morning and then depart Etosha Safari Lodge and head away from Etosha and into Damaraland. Today will be spent driving through the changing desert landscapes of Namibia. The road is in good condition and you head from Etosha to Outjo for lunch and then on to the Damara Mopane Lodge. Arrive before sunset and check in for the next 2 nights.
Wake up at whatever time you like for a change at Damara Mopane Lodge in the heart of Damara Land. Today you will spend exploring the local surrounds, taking as much time as you like as you self drive for the day.
Places of interest in the area include the following: The Brandberg – Namibia’s highest mountain and home to the famous ‘White Lady’ Bushman Painting. Twyfelfontein – a wonderful rocky outcrop with thousands of Bushman engravings. Spitzkoppe – a typical pointed mountain, and a place of great mystery to the ancient San people. The Petrified Forest – which is millions of years old. The Vingerklip (finger rock) – a towering finger of limestone that rises 35m above its base.
Check out of Damara Mopane Lodge after breakfast and head for the coast. The drive today is spectacular, as you head from the inland valleys and hills, down towards the absolutely barren skeleton coast. Arrive at Henties Bay for lunch overlooking the cold Atlantic Ocean.
After Lunch drive down the “Salt Road” directly along side the ocean. Be sure to explore the side roads down to the beach in your rented 4×4. Seal colonies, ship wrecks, salt crystals and gem stone diggers are many of the interesting sights you can stumble upon. Arrive at Swakopmund and check into the Strand Hotel for another 2 nights.
This coastal town with it’s distinctly German feel is a favourite visiting spot for both locals and international travellers. Spend the day wondering around the town or, weather permitting, go to the beach. Be sure to try some of the delicacies on offer from any of the many Bistro’s and restaurants in and around town. Both the restaurant on the Pier and The Tug Restaurant, overlooking the beach are personally recommended.
Other attractions available from town include – Camel, Atv, or bicycle rides into the surrounding dunes. Kite surfing, fishing trips and kayak trips.
Leave from the Strand Hotel and start your drive to the dunes of Sossusvlei. Today’s drive will take you approximately 6 hours so plan for a stop in lunch at Solitaire along the way. Arrive in the Dunes Area and check into the Sossusvlei Lodge.
The sand dunes of Sossusvlei in the Namib Desert are often referred to as the highest dunes in the world. Various arguments are laid out to support this claim, but all miss the point, which is that Sossusvlei is surely one of the most spectacular sights in Namibia.
Back in the inland desert you spend the day today exploring and climbing the dunes. Drive out to Dead Vlei and climb Dune 45.
Situated in the largest conservation area in Africa (the Namib-Naukluft National Park)Sossusvlei is possibly Namibia’s most spectacular and best-known attraction. Characterised by the large red dunes that surround it, Sossusvlei is a large, white, salt and clay pan and is a great destination all year round. The dunes in this area are some of the highest in the world,
After having traversed a good section of Namibia, today you head back to the Capital City, Windhoek. Depart the Lodge and drive back towards Solitaire and from there divert to Rehoboth and on to Windhoek.
Drive directly to the rental car depot at the airport and return your rented 4×4. The rental company will then transfer you to the Olive Grove Guest House where you will check in for you last night n the country.
A transfer driver and vehicle will arrive at the Lodge, two and a half hours before your flight departs. He will drive you to Windhoek International Airport and escort you through to International departures. Board your flight back to O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg and link up with your International flight home. Bon Voyage.
Okonjima Nature Reserve: Okonjima Plains Camp
Okonjima is a 22 000 hectare private nature reserve between Windhoek and Etosha and is home to The AfriCat Foundation, a non-profit organisation committed to the long-term conservation of Namibia’s large carnivores, notably cheetahs and leopards. They were awarded ‘Namibia’s Leading Safari’ in the prestigious World Travel Awards, a title voted for by tourism industry professionals, and considered to be the ‘Oscars’ of the travel world. The honour was in recognition for the successful combination of a world class safari lodge with a world famous conservation program. A visit to Okonjima gives its visitors the opportunity to witness some of AfriCat’s work.
Etosha National Park: Mokuti Etosha Lodge
Mokuti is the closest lodge to the Etosha National Park, only a four minute drive from the eastern Namutoni entrance gate and located on a 4000-hectare nature reserve. The Lodge appears as a welcome, cool green tropical oasis in which the charming African thatched buildings and sparkling pools are spaciously nestled in and around the vast and shaded indigenous gardens.
Mokuti Etosha Lodge promises a warm Namibian welcome and a stay characterised by comfort and uncomplicated hospitality. There are 90 rooms which includes, 8 Luxury Rooms – open plan lounge with sleeper couch and a bedroom as well as 8 Luxury Family rooms that have separate bedroom and lounge with sleeper couch and a shared bathroom.
All rooms at Mokuti Etosha Lodge offer modern accommodation and a view of the sprawling gardens or indigenous bush, situated in separate one story chalet style buildings, with thatched roofs, in a large landscaped setting.
Etosha National Park: Etosha Safari Lodge
Etosha Safari Lodge is set in Okaukuejo, just 10 km south away from the Anderson Gate of Etosha National Park. Located on a hillock, the lodge offers 65 chalets, all of which are air-conditioned and features a small private veranda. All chalets offer views of the African bush savannah, have tea-and-coffee facilities, a safe and en-suite bathrooms that are fitted with a shower.
Ideally located is the restaurant and bar area at the lodge is a spacious wooden lookout deck that overlooks the Mopane bush,the perfect place for enjoying sunsets and sundowners. Guests can unwind next to any of the 3 pools on offer at Etosha Safari Lodge.
Damaraland: Damara Mopane Lodge
Built in the wattle and daub style under Mopane trees and connected by a maze of paths, the main building and chalets of Damara Mopane Lodge resemble an African village, with a lavish swimming pool at its centre. The lodge offers 55 air-conditioned bungalows, all with en-suite bathrooms, tea and coffee facilities, a safe and a small veranda.
The lodge is surrounded by a low wall and each chalet has a small vegetable and herb garden on the property that supplies the fresh ingredients used for dinner. Dinner at Damara Mopane Lodge consists out of a starter dish and a delicious buffet. There is a viewing deck where guests sip on cocktails, whilst savouring unforgettable African sunsets.
The lodge not only incorporates the spirit of Damaraland and the Damara people, but is also located at the gates of Damaraland, where excursions to the well-known Twyfelfontein engravings, the Petrified Forest and the Vingerklip rock pillar are particularly popular.
Swakopmund: The Strand Hotel
The Strand Hotel in Swakopmund is 4-star beach hotel with a full-service spa, nestled on the beach and within a 15-minute walk of Kaiserliches Bezirksgericht, Alte Kaserne, and Woermannhaus, Hohenzollernhaus and the Hohenzollern Building.
All rooms feature en-suite bathrooms and all standard and luxury rooms offer a choice of either a king or two twin beds. Each room features floor-to-ceiling panoramic and sliding windows with views of the beach and sea or the gardens. All Standard Rooms are designed to accommodate up to two adults and one child in a cot.
The Strand Hotel offers residential guests and all casual visitors three exciting Restaurants, Bars and Sea facing Terraces as well as a Lobby Lounge, Beer garden and Beach Kiosk. Reservations are essential for all guests.
Sesriem: Sossusvlei Lodge
Situated adjacent to the oldest desert in the world, Sossusvlei Lodge is a luxurious retreat in this premier tourist attraction area in Namibia. Shaded by camel thorn trees, the Lodge blends in perfectly with the spectacular desert surrounds and bears testament to the ingenuity of an eco-friendly design. Explore the vastness of Namibia’s unspoiled natural environment with the Sossusvlei Lodge Adventure Centre. A dip in the sparkling pool or an ice cold beer under the shady trees in the Acacia beer garden makes for the best relaxation after an eventful day. The al fresco terrace offers magnificent views of the floodlit waterhole where you can watch the passing parade of oryx, springbok, jackal, ground squirrel and hyena, whilst enjoying exquisite food and wine. Indeed a visual and culinary contrast, bearing in mind the relative remoteness of this exceptional location.
The separate accommodation units are carefully laid out to perfectly blend in with the magnificent surrounding natural environment. Each fully air-conditioned accommodation unit has a patio, en-suite bathroom with shower and a spacious bedroom under canvas with adobe-style plaster walls.
Windhoek: Olive Grove Guest House
Olive Grove is an upmarket 4-Star Boutique Hotel, situated close to the city centre in a quiet, peaceful area. The indoor lounge is tastefully decorated, with comfortable chairs and a fireplace in front of which to relax and read a magazine. Whilst each room caters for the every need of the most discerning traveller, for example rooms feature covered decks gas fireplaces and Nespresso coffee machines, the emphasis still remains one of simplicity and elegance.
The Guest House has five Standard Rooms available with choice of Double or Twin beds to sleep a family of three (parents plus one young child) travelling together as well as an en-suite bathroom with bath and shower. These rooms also have their own patio and located downstairs on the ground level, exiting directly onto the patio, close to our main Reception and Dining area.
Five Luxury Rooms can be found upstairs and more private, one Luxury Room that can be made up into a Triple room. The one Executive Suite is a spacious suite with its own private lounge with fireplace and dining area, guests have a choice to eat in suite or join other guests for meals on the main patio area. The suite offers a separate bedroom and luxurious bathroom with en-suite bath and shower. Nestled amongst an olive tree plantation, with its own private entrance, private garden, with infinity swimming pool and beautiful views over the olives towards the Windhoek Mountains. The suite has its own lounge area, with fireplace, and dining room – thereby giving guests the option of enjoying their meals in their own room, or joining the other guests for meals on the main patio at Olive Grove.
INCLUDED IN PRICE Okonjima Nature Reserve: Tracking Cheetah & Leopard on Foot at AfriCat Foundation
One of AfriCat’s carnivore conservation projects is the Cheetah Rehabilitation project, which was initiated to give captive cheetahs an opportunity to return to their natural environment. Although hunting in carnivores is instinctive, many of the cheetahs at AfriCat lack experience due to being orphaned or removed from the wild at an early age. This inexperience, as well as their conditioning to captivity, makes these animals unsuitable for release on farmland.
The cheetahs, usually a coalition of brothers and sisters, are fitted with radio-collars before their release into the 20 000ha Nature Reserve so that their welfare and progress can be closely monitored.
Guests staying at any of Okonjima’s camps can partake in a tracking, on-foot safari, alongside guides in search of AfriCat’s rehabilitated carnivores.
The rehabilitated carnivores in question are habituated to mankind. Making them unsuitable for release anywhere else other than private parks such as the Okonjima Nature Reserve. Our guides and research staff never interfere with their daily activities and always keep a respectful distance at all time.
INCLUDED IN PRICE Etosha National Park: Self Drive Safari
The Etosha National Park in northern Namibia is one of Africa’s great game reserves and offers unique game-viewing. Etosha, which means “the great white place”, or “place of dry water”, owes its unique landscape to the Etosha mineral pan, a vast shallow depression of approximately 5000 square kilometres. The pan was originally a lake fed by the Kunene River but the lake dried up when the river changed course thousands of years ago. The pan now is a large dusty depression of salt and dusty clay and fills only if the rains are heavy and even then only holds water for a short time. A series of perennial springs and waterholes along the southern edge of the pan attract game into the area.
The dry season (May – November) is particularly rewarding for game viewing as the rain water has dried up and the game is forced to rely on the life supporting waterholes. Long lines of zebra, wildebeest, kudu, Oryx and springbok plod along ancient paths from distant grazing areas to the waterholes. Herds of elephant drinking huge amounts of water and then wallow in the water so that all the other the thirsty animals have to wait patiently till they have finished. Predators such as lion and leopard wait at the waterholes knowing the antelope have to drink. The pan itself contains water only after very good rains and sometimes for only a few days each year, but is enough to stimulate the growth of a blue-green algae which lures thousands of flamingos.
The Etosha National Park covers an area of over 22,270 square kilometres. There are 114 different mammal species to found in the park, including the Big Five and several rare and endangered species such as the Black Rhino, Black-faced Impala, Tssesebe and Gemsbok. Herds of up to fifty elephants are not unusual.
Among the smaller species you will find jackal, bat-eared fox, warthog, honey badger and ground squirrel. Etosha is also an ideal destination for serious birders, as there are 340 bird species. There are also 110 reptile species, 16 amphibian species and, believe it or not, one species of fish.
INCLUDED IN PRICE Swakopmund and the Skeleton Coast
The Skeleton Coast is one of the most treacherous coastlines in the world due to strong crosscurrents, heavy swells and dense fogs caused by the ice-cold fast-flowing Benguela Current. Rocky reefs and sand dunes that stretch into the sea spell disaster for any vessel that get caught up in the gale-force winds and all-enveloping sea fogs, reducing visibility to virtually nil.
Swakopmund has always been the jewel of Namibia’s coastline, and has built a reputation as adrenaline-filled destination, sure to satisfy travellers’ every whim. The Namib dunes surrounding Swakopmund are some of the highest in the world.
Palm-lined streets, seaside promenades, fine accommodation, a pleasant summer climate and decent beaches. Welcome to Swakopmund!
The area of Namib Desert around Swakopmund is named the West Coast Recreational Area. And recreation is the towns number one draw card. There are countless pursuits to help you spend your time, and money. For those interested in adventure activities Swakopmund offers sandboarding, quad biking, dune carting, parachuting, hot air ballooning, shark fishing, deep sea fishing and beach angling to name but a few. For the more sedentary there are restaurants, cafes, art galleries, the Swakopmund Museum, a snake park and aquarium.
The architecture and general feeling of Swakopmund is laid back. This town has the ambiance associated with a small German village, and the town seems to be stuck in time.
Buildings and monuments of note in Swakopmund include the Hohenzollern Building, the Marine memorial, the War memorial in memory of those killed in World War 2, Princess Rupprecht House originally a military hospital now a private guest house. The Kaserne buildings originally served as a barracks and is of a similar design to the Alte Feste in Windhoek and Fort Namutoni in Etosha.
INCLUDED IN PRICE Sossusvlei Sand Dunes
Situated in the largest conservation area in Africa (the Namib-Naukluft National Park), Sossusvlei is possibly Namibia’s most spectacular and best-known attraction.
Characterised by the large red dunes that surround it, Sossusvlei is a large, white, salt and clay pan and is a great destination all year round. The dunes in this area are some of the highest in the world, reaching almost 400 meters, and provide photographic enthusiasts with wonderful images in the beautiful morning and evening light.
Sossusvlei literally translates to “dead-end marsh”, as it is the place where the dunes come together preventing the Tsauchab River to flow any further, some 60km east of the Atlantic Ocean. However, due to the dry conditions in the Namib Desert the River seldom flows this far and the pan remains bone-dry most years. During an exceptional rainy season the Tsauchab fills the pan, drawing visitors from all over the world to witness this spectacular site. Photographic enthusiasts are spoilt with a glassy “lake” holding reflections of the surrounding dunes. When the pan fills it can hold water for as long as a year. Despite the harsh desert conditions in the area, one can find a wide variety of plants and animals that have adapted to survive.
All of the attractions surrounding Sossusvlei are easily accessible as all but the last 5 kilometers of the 65 kilometer drive to the vlei is tarred.
Jack & Sally , Canada , 25th July 2018
Both of us can still cannot believe the amazing trip we had to Namibia. Thank you so much for putting this program together for us Kerry. Your advice and then the decision to self drive was actually the highlight of our trip. All the lodges were super and the food and service was great. The game viewing in the Etosha Pans was magnificent and the dunes of Sossusvlei were also really good. Best of all though was the freedom as travelers to drive through the beautiful countryside and see the changing landscapes and meet with the people. Best way to explore Namibia by far. Thank you for the really good advice and the detailed planning you did for us. The trip went really smoothly and we knew where to go and what to do, but did not rush anything. Thank you