Day 1 & 2: Kulala Tented Camp, Sossusvlei
From Windhoek, travel by vehicle approximately 380km to Kulala Tented Camp, enjoying awe-inspiring views of the mountains and the desert floor – on a clear day you can see the fog banks of the Skeleton Coast. En route, we enjoy a lunch in a private area overlooking the Khomas Hochland escarpment onto sweeping vistas below.
One of the most enduring impressions of this area is the early morning light on the sea of vivid orange dunes of Sossusvlei, some as high as 300 metres. Afternoon activities include nature walks, drives to scenic viewpoints and marvelling at the unique Namib fauna and flora in the private Kulala Wilderness Reserve.
Kulala Tented Camp is a nine-roomed camp situated at the foot of a mountain. It comprises 9 tents on elevated wooden decks which are linked to the main dining room, bar, reception area and swimming pool by pathways. The interiors are simple yet stylish and each tent has solar powered 12V lighting and an en-suite bathroom with solar-heated hot water. The main dining area, bar and reception are built from canvas with thatch roofing. There is a fully stocked bar and traditional 3-course dinners are served. At night, lanterns light up the main area. On the edge of the oldest desert in the world, wildlife here is sparse but fascinating. Sightings of animals such as springbok, oryx, ostrich, bat-eared fox and aardwolf are exciting in these rugged conditions.
Day 3 & 4: Aonin Dune Camp, Kuiseb, Namib Desert
Travel north-west via the Kuiseb Canyon with its dark, craggy canyons and via a lunar landscape of flat gravel plains (with stops along the way including visiting the extraordinary Welwitschia plants). After travelling approximately 250km, we arrive at the exclusive Aonin Dune Camp, a palm tree-filled oasis in the depths of the desert.
Our camp looks onto enormous sand dunes, perfect for a walk to the crest to watch the sunrise. Nature walks and drives as well as spectacular sundowners are other activities that take place here. On Day 4, view the formidable Namib dune fields by quad bike and possibly visit Sandwich Harbour to see its enormous flocks of shocking-pink flamingos.
Day 5: Hansa Hotel, Swakopmund
We depart Aonin to explore the ice-blue Atlantic coast, from the port towns of Walvis Bay and Swakopmund to its incredible marine mammals. Kayak or sail through the calm waters of Walvis Bay to see Cape fur seals and rare Heaviside’s dolphins up close. This activity is rounded off with a private seafood lunch, before driving the final stretch of approximately 80km to relax at the exclusive Hansa Hotel.
The grand three-star Hansa Hotel forms part of Swakopmund's architectural culture and dates back to 1905; it is said to be one of the oldest buildings in the town. It is ideally situated in the centre of Swakopmund within easy walking distance of town and the beach. The luxury of the hotel, its excellent cuisine and friendly service are well known and appreciated countrywide and overseas.
Days 6 & 7: Damaraland Camp, Damaraland
Travel approximately 480km up the legendary Skeleton Coast (named for the numerous shipwrecks the treacherous shores have claimed over the years) via the Cape Cross seal colony with thousands of breeding Cape fur seals, massive Messum Crater and Brandberg – the second largest monolith on earth. Damaraland embodies stark desert beauty and a sense of isolation.
Early morning mists, generated by the clash between the icy Atlantic Ocean and the warm desert air of the Skeleton Coast, drift inland along the stark canyon, providing sustenance to the flora and fauna of the region. Rare succulent plants somehow manage to eke out an existence in this harsh countryside.
Activities include explorations on foot, by bike or 4x4 vehicle, viewing springbok, oryx and ostrich, and tracking the unique desert-adapted elephant.
Damaraland Camp accommodates guests in 10 comfortable tented rooms, with en-suite facilities including flush toilets and showers with hot and cold running water. (Due to water shortages, it is unfortunately not possible to offer a laundry service.) The dining room and pub are combined under canvas, and an open fire is enjoyed on calm evenings. A feature of the camp is its unique rock pool.
Days 8 & 9: Ongava Tented Camp, Etosha National Park
We depart Damaraland and drive approximately 380km to Etosha National Park, where we experience the pinnacle of game viewing – but from the privacy of an exclusive bush camp situated on an extensive private game reserve.
Activities include wildlife day and night drives, walks and hides. Within Etosha visit numerous perennial springs and pans, encountering lion, leopard, elephant and black rhino as well as plains game.
Ongava Tented Camp comprises 8 large comfortable walk-in tents, each with en-suite facilities, including flush toilet and a hot shower. All meals are enjoyed in the thatched dining area that overlooks an active waterhole. There is a small pool in which to cool off as well.
Days 10, 11 & 12: Skeleton Coast Camp, Skeleton Coast National Park
Enjoy a breathtaking scenic flight over dramatic desert landscapes to the exclusive Skeleton Coast Research Camp situated in a private concession in the Skeleton Coast Park.
This is one of the most inhospitable but hauntingly beautiful places on the planet: desolate and uninhabited. It has everything, from roaring sand dunes, windswept plains, towering canyons and saltpans to seal colonies, and shipwrecks. Full-day explorations in 4x4 Land Rovers will take all these in, picnicking on the way. Included are cultural visits to the remote villages of the Himba people.
Day 13: Charter flight to Windhoek
Say farewell to the adventure as we return by air charter to Windhoek.
Namibia - Sample Itinerary