NAMIBIA & KALAHARI DESERT April 21-May 9, 2014
NAMIBIA & KALAHARI DESERT April 21-May 9, 2014 ANCIENT FOOTSTEPS….
April 21 Arrive Johannesburg
Upon arrival in Johannesburg, we will be met and transferred to our hotel for check-in.
Accommodation: Aero Guest Lodge
April 22 Johannesburg.
A day at leisure to rest and relax.
Accommodation: Aero Guest Lodge
April 23 Windhoek
Fly to Windhoek. Today your English speaking Safari guide meets you on your arrival at the Windhoek International Airport. You are then transferred to Windhoek and commence a short orientation city tour. After the city tour you are taken to the Galton House to check in and freshen up before dinner. Dinner tonight is at the guesthouse with your specialist guide.
Accommodation: Galton House (B,D)
April 24 Windhoek to Namib Naukluft National Park.
Your guide will collect you from your guesthouse after breakfast this morning and you will set off south through the scenic Khomas Hochland Highlands before you head down the Great Escarpment into the Namib Desert below. A picnic lunch will be served at a scenic location en-route as you will arrive at Sossus Dune Lodge in the afternoon and the rest of the day is spent at your leisure exploring the local area and taking ‘record’ shots as required.
As this lodge is inside the Naukluft Park, restrictions for visiting the Sossusvlei area are much less rigid. You therefore have the option to go into Sossusvlei with your guide well before sunset and only leave there as it is starting to get dark after the sun has fully set – and long after almost everyone else has had to leave, spectacular time as the afternoon shades of light associates the shape of the dunes.
If there is still time today, you will be taken on a scenic afternoon nature drive and visit the famous Sesriem Canyon in the local area, or you can relax and soak in the scenic and tranquil surroundings at Sossus Dune Lodge.
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.
Accomodation: Sossus Dune Lodge (B,L,D)
April 25 Sossusvlei/Namib Naukluft National Park
You can explore and appreciate a full day of photography, as you rise early this morning for a magical excursion with your private 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, if you are prepared to get up early enough. 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 to your heart’s content you can enjoy a relaxing picnic breakfast under the shade of a camel thorn tree. Return to Sossus Dune Lodge in the afternoon for a late lunch, stopping off to view Sesriem Canyon if you haven’t already done so the day before.
Sossusvlei: Sandwiched between two deserts- the Namib in the west and the Kalahari in the east – Namibia’s arid southern region offers poignant and breathtaking landscapes. Sossusvlei, in the Namib, with its monumental dune of up to 325m when measured from the base is one of the top tourism destinations in Namibia. The star- shaped dunes are a sought after topic for artists and photographers. Formed by strong multi- directional winds, they are at their highest and most spectacular where the west Tsauchab River empties itself into the vlei. The warm tints of the large deflationary clay pans at their bases are particularly memorable in the mornings. One of these, referred to as Dead Pan or Vlei, 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. When it has rained sufficiently in the main pan, flamingos and other aquatic birds are drawn to the area. The Namib is one of the least populated areas in the country, where the visitor can experience an intense feeling of vastness and isolation. Here the magical and awe-inspiring beauty of the night skies can be enjoyed like few other places on earth
Accomodation: Sossus Dune Lodge (B,L,D)
April 26 Sossusvlei to Swakopmund
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 will meet the coast at the port town of Walvis Bay and then continue north to Swakopmund where you can enjoy the pleasant seaside location and cooler coastal air for your overnight stay at Hansa Hotel.
There will be time this afternoon to wander around town and along the waterfront on foot if appeals, before heading off for dinner at the ever popular Tug Restaurant by the jetty which specializes in fresh seafood.
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.
Accommodation: Hansa Hotel (B,L,D)
April 27 Swakopmund to Grootberg Plateau via Cape Cross
Continuing on your journey you head north along the coastal road into the Skeleton Coast National Park to explore some of the more accessible areas of the park. Your guide will take you past the salt works and guano platforms in the hopes of spotting flamingos and other aquatic birds, then on to the intricate lichen fields and Cape Cross to view the vast colony of Cape Fur seals that call this area home. You then continue further north traversing the Ugab and Huab River deltas in the Skeleton Coast Park as you continue in the direction of Torra Bay. You will stop for a picnic lunch at a scenic location along the way before heading east and inland via Springbok Water Gate into the wonderful and diverse region of Damaraland. You go on to stay at Grootberg Lodge which is the only wholly owned community lodge in
Namibia, and is an example of changing times when it comes to business ownership. The afternoon can be spent on a guided walk (optional) with your Ultimate Safaris guides along the top of the breathtaking Grootberg Plateau and also learning about the trials and challenges involved in the running of this unique community project.
Cape Cross Seal Reserve: The reserve is home to between 100,000 to 200,000 Cape fur seals which can be viewed from the platforms overlooking the colony.
This appealing species isn’t a true seal at all, but an eared seal, which is actually a species of sea lion. Cape Cross is also the site of the first European, Portuguese captain and navigator Diego Cão, landing on Namibian soils in 1485, as marked by the crosses behind the colony.
Accommodation: Grootberg Lodge (B,L,D)
April 28 Grootberg Mountain
After an early breakfast you make your way to visit an extremely remote Himba village, only known to a few people (Ultimate Safaris being one of them) and exploring the area with your private guide. You can spend the entire day with these fascinating people, learning about their traditions and customs and obtaining unique photographs, before returning to the lodge for another relaxing evening.
The Himba: The Himba, Tjimba and other Herero people who inhabit Namibia’s remote north-western Kunene Region are loosely referred to as the Kaokovelders. Basically Herero in terms of origin, language and culture, they are semi- nomadic pastoralists who tend to tend from one watering place to another. They seldom leave their home areas and maintain, even in their own, on which other cultures have made little impression. For many centuries they have lived a relatively isolated existence and were not involved to any noteworthy extent in the long struggle for pasturelands between the Nama and the Herero.
The largest group of Kaokovelders is the Himba, semi-nomads who live in scattered settlements throughout the Kunene Region. They are a tall, slender and statuesque people, characterized especially by their proud yet friendly bearing. The women especially are noted for their unusual sculptural beauty, enhanced by intricate hairstyles and traditional adornments. They rub their bodies with red ochre and fat, a treatment that protects their skins against the harsh desert climate. The homes of the Himba of Kaokoland are simple, cone-shaped structures of saplings, bound together with palm leaves and plastered with mud and dung. The men build the structures, while the women mix the clay and do the plastering. A fire burns in the headman’s hut day and night, to keep away insects and provide light and heating. A family may move from one home to another several times a year to seek grazing for their goats and cattle. Men, women and children wear body adornments made from iron and shell beads. A Himba woman spends as much as three hours a day on her toilette .. First she bathes, then she anoints herself with her own individually prepared mixture not only protects her skin from the harsh desert sun, but also keeps insects away and prevents her body hair from falling out. She uses another mixture of butter fat, fresh herbs and black coals to rub on her hair, and ‘steams’ her clothes regularly over the permanent fire. Men, women and children adorn themselves with necklaces, bracelets,
anklets and belts made from iron and shell beads. With their unusual and striking designs, these items have gained a commercial value and are being produced on a small scale for the urban market. Sculptural headrests in particular are sought-after items.
Accommodation: Grootberg Lodge (B,L,D)
April 29 Grootberg Mountain to Southern Etosha
This morning you set off from Grootberg for an extended scenic game drive on the way through Damaraland to the Twyfelfontein area. Take time to view game and absorb the vastness of the scenery along the way. Damaraland is typified by displays of colour, magnificent table topped mountains, rock formations and bizarre-looking vegetation. The present day landscape has been formed by the erosion of wind, water and geological forces which have formed rolling hills, dunes, gravel plains and ancient river terraces. It is the variety and loneliness of the area as well as the scenic splendour which will reward and astound you, giving one an authentic understanding of the word 'wilderness'.
You will head along the Aba Huab ephemeral river looking to track and hopefully locate the elusive desert adapted elephants, slowly making your way to the Camp. During the afternoon you will arrive at Camp Kipwe, and if time allows this afternoon your guide will take you to visit the nearby attractions and geological sites of Twyfelfontein rock engravings (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), Burnt Mountain and the Organ Pipes - if not there is plenty of time to do so tomorrow.
Desert Adapted Elephant: In habitats with sufficient vegetation and water an adult elephant consumes as much as 300 kg of roughage and 230 liters of water every day of its life. Consider what a herd of them would eat and drink in a week or a month or a year. Finding an African elephant in a desert? Well, yes and not only elephants, but other large mammals as well such as black rhinoceros and giraffe. Their ranges extend from river catchments in northern Kaokoveld as far south as the northern Namib. Apart from the Kunene River, seven river courses northwards from the Ugab provide them with possible routes across the desert, right to the Skeleton Coast. The biggest are the Hoarusib, the Hoanib, the Huab and the Ugab Rivers. Desert adapted elephant in Kaokoland and the Namib walk further for water and fodder than any other elephant in Africa. The distances between waterholes and feeding grounds can be as great as 68 km.
Twyfelfontein: Strewn over a hillside amongst flat-topped mountains of red sandstone, Twyfelfontein’s boulders and slabs of red sandstone hold some 2,500 prehistoric engravings that depict wildlife, animal spoor and abstract motifs. It is perhaps the largest and finest collection of petroglyphs in Africa. The engravings show animals such as elephant, giraffe, kudu, lion, rhinoceros, springbok, zebra and ostrich that once used to drink from a fountain at the bottom of the hill. In some cases footprints were engraved instead of hooves or paws. The abstract motifs feature mainly circles. Stone tools and other artifacts found at Twyfelfontein suggest that hunter-gatherers occupied the site over a period of perhaps 7,000 years. These days a local guide accompanies visitors to showcase the rock art. The engravings lie along two circular routes, one an hour’s climb and the other 40 minutes longer. Twyfelfontein is one of Namibia’s key National Monuments and has recently become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Burnt Mountain: A rounded hill located a few kilometers from Twyfelfontein and the Organ Pipes, known as the Burnt Mountain, seems to catch fire again at sunrise and sunset. Its fantastic range of colours at dawn and dusk are due to a chemical reaction that took place roughly 125 million years ago when molten lava penetrated organic shale and limestone deposits, resulting in contact metamorphism. In ordinary sunlight it is a dull black. Blackened rubble lies to one side like cinders from the original fire.
Organ Pipes: The Organ Pipes are another geological curiosity in the area consisting of a mass of perpendicular dolerite columns that intruded the surrounding rocks also about 125 million years ago and have since been exposed in a ravine due to river erosion.
Accommodations: Camp Kipwe (B,L,D)
April 30 Damaraland to South Etosha National Park
The route today takes you from Damaraland into Etosha National Park, travelling via the Petrified Forest, the regional “capital” of Khorixas, and the farming centre of Outjo before entering the Park through Andersson’s Gate on the southern boundary. You game drive your way to arrive at Okaukuejo Rest Camp. The rest of the day is spent game viewing inside the National Park, returning to the camp just after sunset. This evening you can relax while overlooking Okaukuejo’s excellent floodlit waterhole where game comes and goes throughout the night.
Petrified Forest: Huge trees that turned to stone 280 million years ago lie in the Petrified Forest 45 km west of Khorixas. Broken into segments but aligned, they are clearly recognizable as fallen trees, some as long as 45 m and 1.2 m in diameter, complete with wood grain and growth rings. It is the biggest accumulation of petrified logs in southern Africa. Floodwaters uprooted the trees elsewhere and carried them to their present position towards the end of an ice age on the Gondwana super continent. The trees were coordinates, early conifers that are now
Etosha National Park: Etosha National Park covers 22,270km², of which approximately 5,000km² 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 4,760km² in extent. It is nowadays filled with water only when sufficient rain falls to the north in Angola, inducing floods to flow southward along the Cuvelai drainage system.
The Park consists of grassland, woodland and savannah. Game-viewing centers on 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, blue wildebeest, eland, kudu, gemsbok (Oryx), zebra, rhino, cheetah, leopard, hyena, honey badger and warthog, as well as the endemic black faced impala.
Accommodation: Okaukuejo Rest Camp
May 1 East Etosha National Park
Continue on from Okaukuejo with your private Safaris guide and vehicle to Mushara Bush Camp by driving your way east across the park.
You will game drive the 150 km or so between the two Rest camps, stopping off to view game at waterholes along the way. The drive today can take you most of the day, depending on how many detours you make and how much time you spend game viewing at waterholes and along the way. You will stop off midway at Halali Camp where a picnic lunch will be served at the waterhole. You are also welcome to cool off in their swimming pool if appeals. After your arrival at Mushara Bush Camp the rest of the day is spent at your leisure and if time allows heading out in the late afternoon for a game drive and then returning to the camp for dinner.
Accommodation: Mushara Bush Camp
May 2 Etosha National Park
Today is available for a full day of exciting game viewing within the eastern section of Etosha National Park. You can either have an extended drives back across towards Halali for lunch, or concentrate on the eastern side around Fischer’s Pan (ideal for birding) and the area around “Twee Palme” to the north (often good for finding elephant etc) and have lunch in the safari vehicle. Either way, you will be exiting the park before sunset so you can arrive at camp in time for Dinner.
Accommodation: Mushara Bush Camp
May 3 East Etosha National Park
Today is available for as much exciting game viewing within the eastern section of Etosha National Park as you want. After discussion with your guide you can decide on the programme which could be similar to the previous day, or involve a drive north past Fischer’s Pan and up into the Andoni Plains if you prefer. Either way, you will again return to the comforts of Mushara Bush Camp by sunset. Alternatively, of course, you could decide to limit your game driving activities and enjoy a little ‘down time’ in the comforts of the lodge during part of the day.
Accommodation: Mushara Bush Camp
May 4 East Etosha National Park Boundary to Windhoek
After an early breakfast you depart and head for Windhoek via the towns of Tsumeb, Otjiwarongo and Okahandja visiting lake Otjikoto en-route if this appeals. You will continue heading south to Windhoek. A picnic lunch is served en route and, if time allows, there is a craft market in Okahandja which you may wish to visit. On arrival in Windhoek your guides will transfer you back to Galton House for the last night of your Namibian safari. Dinner this evening can be enjoyed at Galton House, or out at one of the popular restaurants in town with your guides.
Otjikoto Lake: This small lake became part of Namibia’s history in 1915 when, during the South West Africa Campaign, retreating German forces dumped their military equipment into Lake Otjikoto, located about 24 km northwest of Tsumeb. There the armaments lay, undisturbed, until members of the Windhoek Underwater Club recovered an ammunition carrier, now on display in Windhoek’s Alte Feste Museum. On subsequent forays a number of cannons, machine-guns and other weapons were retrieved. Many legends surround the lake including the favorite myth that Otjikoto and its sister lake Guinas are bottomless. A rare, mouth-breeding species of fish is endemic to these two lakes.
Accommodation: Galton House (B,L,D)
May 5 Windhoek to Maun onto Kalahari Desert.
This morning, after breakfast, you will be transferred to the Windhoek International Airport for your ongoing flight to Maun and say goodbye to your guide. On arrival at Maun airport and after collecting your luggage, you will be met and assisted by a representative from the light aircraft charter company who will direct you to your light aircraft for your onward air transfer to Deception Valley lodge. Upon landing at Deception Valley lodge you will be met by a local guide from the camp and transferred to the camp in time for a light lunch. After settling in and a having a relaxing early afternoon walk or a siesta you will depart on an activity of your choice.
Accommodation: Deception Valley Lodge
(B,L,D and Local Drinks)
May 6 and 7 Kalahari Desert
Two more full days of activities and tasty meals based from Deception Valley Lodge exploring the marvels of the Kalahari Desert with your camp guides.
Accommodation: Deception Valley Lodge
(B,L,D and Local Drinks)
May 8 Departure
At a time to be advised by camp management, you will be transferred to the airstrip for your air transfer from Deception Valley Lodge to Maun to be in time for your connecting flight out from there.
This is also the official end of your safari…bon voyage…
May 9 Arrive Home
Travel with one of Namibia’s most reputable and well-known full time naturalist guides.
Stay in the only camp inside the world’s 4th largest National Park.
Climb some of the world’s highest free-standing sand dunes.
Visit one of the largest seal colonies on earth.
Drive through the Skeleton Coast National Park
Stay at Namibia’s only wholly owned conservancy lodge (Grootberg Lodge)
Visit an authentic and remote Himba settlement.
Track for desert-adapted elephants in Damaraland.
Walk amongst pre-historic rock art at the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Twyfelfontein.
Visit the Petrified Forest.
Embark on exciting game drives within the Etosha National Park.
Game viewing at a floodlit waterhole at night.
Visit the amazing Lake Otjikoto
Embark on exciting and memorable guided activities into the Kalahari Desert.
Accommodation as stated above. International commercial flight from Windhoek International Airport to Maun International Airport. Flights between Maun – Deception Valley Lodge – Maun
Transportation in a luxury air-conditioned safari vehicle in Namibia. Services of a registered and experienced English-speaking safari guide in Namibia. Meals stipulated above.
Entrance fees and excursions as described in above itinerary.
Laundry is included at Deception Valley Lodge. Mineral water on board the safari vehicle and local drinks whilst staying at Deception Valley Lodge. Welcome Pack, Gratuities to Safari Guides, Trackers and Rangers.
TOUR DOES NOT INCLUDE
International flights to/from Africa and airport taxes. Personal Travel Insurance. Any means not included in above itinerary.
Any entrance fees and excursions not included in above itinerary.
All beverages with the exception of mineral water on board the safari vehicle and local drinks whilst staying at Deception Valley Lodge. Gratuities for additional meals, beverages and housekeeping. Laundry (laundry service is available at certain lodges at extra cost) Items of personal nature (telephone expenses, curios, medicines etc). Entry Visa Fees.
Tour Cost CAD$8499.00 per person based on double
Single Supplement $1499.00
Limited to 12 Guests
EARLY BOOKING BONUS - SAVE $250 PER PERSON BOOK BY DECEMBER 30, 2013
For complete details contact:
Joan Gerber firstname.lastname@example.org
Gillian Scott email@example.com
1-800-361-1334 Ext 325