This Ultimate Namibia Under Canvas Safari gives you the chance to get to know Namibia's rural wilderness and fascinating wildlife on a 10-day group safari adventure! Your journey begins in Windhoek, before continuing by car through striking landscapes and breathtaking scenery. Experience the natural beauty of Etosha National Park, Damaraland, and Namib Tsaris Conservancy, staying at unique camps and spectacular lodges. Enjoy thrilling excursions, cultural immersions and expert guides, that will make this safari truly unforgettable. Each guide will have an intimate knowledge of each area and camp/lodge that you visit, allowing them to share the local insights and highlights whilst adding continuity and depth to your safari. Observe the wildlife in their natural habitat, explore the diverse and dramatic landscapes, and return home with memories you of this once in a lifetime experience!
2020 Safari Dates:
SAFARI 1: Thursday, 02nd April to Saturday, 11th April 2020
SAFARI 2: Thursday, 07th May to Saturday, 16 May 2020
SAFARI 3: Thursday,28th May to Saturday, 06th June 2020
SAFARI 4: Thursday, 16th July to Saturday, 25th July 2020
SAFARI 5: Thursday, 13th August to Saturday, 22nd August 2020
SAFARI 6: Thursday, 20th August to Saturday, 29th August 2020
SAFARI 7: Thursday, 24th September to Saturday, 02nd October 2020
SAFARI 8: Thursday, 01st October to Saturday, 10th October 2020
SAFARI 9: Thursday, 08th October to Saturday, 17th October 2020
SAFARI 10: Thursday, 22nd October to Saturday, 31st October 2020
This morning you will be collected from your hotel or from the Windhoek International Airport (assuming you land before 7:00 AM). You then depart Windhoek in your safari vehicle with your safari guide and set off on your journey.
On your way to Onguma Tree Tops, you will visit the Okonjima’s AfriCat Day Center, a wonderful highlight with which to start your safari. Okonjima is home to the AfriCat Foundation, a wildlife sanctuary that focuses on the research and rehabilitation of Africa's big cats, especially injured or captured leopard and cheetah. You will arrive in time to embark on an exciting and informative game drive and tour of the center. Here you will learn about the function and vision of the AfriCat Foundation and will also get to meet some of the Foundation’s special captive carnivore ambassadors.
PLEASE NOTE: There will be no tracking of wild cats on this visit and should that be required a pre-overnight extension should be booked.
After the excursion, you will enjoy a light lunch before your journey continues further north via the small towns of Otjiwarango, Otavi and Tsumeb arriving at Onguma in the late afternoon. You will have time to freshen up and relax before dinner and the official safari briefing with your guide.
Today is full of exciting game viewing within the eastern section of Etosha National Park, with the option to go on across towards Halali or to concentrate on the areas closer to Namutoni and north to Fischer’s Pan. You also have the option to return to the camp for lunch or spend the entire day in the park to maximize your game viewing experience.
Etosha National Park, translated as the ‘Place of Mirages’, Land of Dry Water’ or the ‘Great White Place’, covers 22 270 km², of which over 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 a 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 Pan 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, inducing floods to flow southward along the Cuvelai drainage system. The Park consists of grassland, woodland, and savannah. 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.
Enjoy another exciting morning dedicated to memorable game drives within the eastern section of Etosha National Park with your guide. Return back to the camp for lunch and an early afternoon rest.
This afternoon you'll set off on a shared game drive with a local guide on the private Onguma Game Reserve, culminating in a sundowner overlooking Fischer’s Pan. You then return after sunset with enough time to freshen up and enjoy your final ‘safari dinner’ overlooking the camp’s floodlit waterhole.
Situated on the eastern side of Etosha National Park and bordering Fisher’s Pan, Onguma Game Reserve has more than 20,000 hectares of protected land and wildlife. The nature reserve boasts more than 300 bird species and over thirty different animal species consisting of plains game such as kudu, giraffe, eland, oryx, hartebeest, zebra, impala and many more roam freely, as well as predators such as lion, cheetah, and leopard, being common residents of the area. Onguma Game Reserve is now proud to be home to a family of black rhinos!
This morning after breakfast you will continue your safari to the heart of Namibia, Damaraland, traveling through farmlands and the small towns. Damaraland is typified by displays of color, 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 splendor which will reward and astound you, giving one an authentic understanding of the word 'wilderness'.
You will enjoy a delicious Magic Box picnic en route and arrive in time in time to enjoy fireside sundowners at your exclusive Huab Under Canvas. Today will be a long day of traveling, but you will be rewarded with a comfortable 3-night stay at your next camp!
The Huab Conservancy is largely sparse semi-arid mountainous savanna, with wooded ephemeral river valleys separating hills and plains and it boasts some of the most magnificent views in Damaraland. As it has a number of natural springs providing water throughout the year for desert-adapted wildlife, the area is home to desert-adapted Elephant, black Rhino and general plains game, including Kudu, Giraffe, Springbok, Oryx, Klipspringer and Steenbok, as well as predators such as Cheetah, Leopard, spotted and brown Hyena.
After breakfast, you will spend an exciting and memorable morning out rhino tracking with the assistance of local trackers. It is worth noting that these black rhino form part of one of the only free-roaming black rhino populations in Africa and tracking animals in an unfenced and uninhibited environment is an absolute privilege. You will return to camp for a freshly prepared lunch and with time to relax at camp during the heat of the day. Later in the afternoon you head out again for a scenic nature drive or walk to explore this vast and astounding ecosystem. Huab Under Canvas works together with the Save the Rhino Trust (SRT) - an NGO that has been has been instrumental in the preservation of the rare, endangered, desert adapted black rhino. Having barely survived the slaughter in many parts of Africa during the '80s and '90s, the black rhino population of Namibia increased substantially since the formation of SRT.
Namibia is home to the larger of two subspecies of the black rhinoceros found in southern Africa. The only population that remains in the wild, unfenced and outside reserves occupies an arid range in the western Kaokoveld. Their preferred habitat is the mountainous escarpment, but they follow ephemeral rivers into the northern Namib as well, especially when conditions are favorable after rains. They are the only black rhinoceros in Africa that are internationally recognized as a “desert group”. Like desert-adapted elephant, they cover great distances. They walk and feed at night and rest during the day. To meet their nutritional and bulk requirements they browse on no fewer than 74 of the 103 plant species that grow in their range. One of the few animals to eat fibrous Welwitschia leaves; they even feed heavily on the milkbush (Euphorbia virosa) with its sharp spines and toxic latex, presumably because of the high water and fat content. They are physical defenses of dryland plants without apparent harm. Once widespread in the subcontinent, black rhinoceros are an endangered species. The smaller subspecies, Diceros bicornis minor, does not range into Namibia.
Today you continue your adventures exploring Damaraland, enjoying the freedom to discover the fascinating landscapes with your naturalist guide both by vehicle and on foot. Damaraland is a surprising refuge for desert-adapted wildlife that may include elephant, giraffe, oryx, springbok and even some predators such as the lion. However, as with any wildlife sightings in Namibia, this depends on many factors including seasonality so specific sightings are never guaranteed. The wildlife roams large tracks of unfenced desert landscapes and finding game can be challenging, but this is all part of the adventure of exploring this wild untouched gem of Namibia. Today’s focus will be largely on tracking the elusive desert-adapted elephants in the ephemeral river systems, an activity which will mean spending most of the day out. Your guide will take along a delicious picnic lunch and you will return to camp in the late afternoon.
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. African elephant in a desert? Well, yes! Not only elephants but other large mammals like black rhinoceros and giraffe as well. 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. The typical home range of a family herd is larger than 2,000 km², or eight times as big as ranges in central Africa where rainfall is much higher. They walk and feed at night and rest during the day. To meet their nutritional and bulk requirements they browse on no fewer than 74 of the 103 plant species that grow in their range. Not a separate species or even a subspecies, they are an ecotype unique to Namibia in Africa south of the equator, behaviorally adapted to hyper-arid conditions. Elephant in Mali on the southwestern fringe of the Sahara Desert are the only others known to survive in similar conditions.
After an early breakfast and departure the drive today takes you south past Namibia’s highest mountain, the Brandberg which peaks at 2,573 m above sea level, and west to meet the coast at Henties Bay. You then continue south to the coastal town of Swakopmund where you can enjoy the pleasant seaside location and cooler coastal air for the night. You stay on the eastern outskirts of the town, overlooking the Swakop River valley and desolate desert dune landscapes. Tonight includes dinner at a popular restaurant which specializes in locally harvested fresh seafood as well as other local and international dishes.
From its name, to its architecture, to its residents, it's hard to ignore German colonization's influence on Swakopmund, and Namibia as a whole. The German tourists that frequent this city certainly feel at home here, and with its seaside promenade and authentically laid back attitude, you certainly will as well. You can spend the day on one of its many beaches, or venture out to partake in one of many available adventure activities. Surfing, sand boarding, sky diving, it's all here in Namibia's adventure sports capital. Lastly, Swakopmund is also the gateway into the Skeleton Coast to the north, making it a likely stop on your way into this fascinating region.
After an early breakfast, you depart on a fascinating drive which takes you south-east through awesome and everchanging desert landscapes via the impressive Gaub and Kuiseb canyons to meet the dunes at the settlement of Solitaire. A picnic lunch will be had en route and you will continue onto the Namib Tsaris Conservancy, where you will spend your final two nights of your safari at the exclusive-use Sossus Under Canvas. Arrival should be in the mid to late afternoon with enough time to acquaint yourself with the camp and enjoy a hot bucket shower before dinner.
Note: As an alternative to the drive from Swakopmund to Sossusvlei 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 Sandwich Harbour and salt pans, the Namib Sea Sand, abandoned mining camps and two shipwrecks. Your guide will drive to meet up with you in Sossusvlei later in the day. Please note that if making use of this offer, flights will need to be booked exclusively with Global Basecamps for absolute logistical reasons.
The Namib Tsaris Conservancy is nestled between the Nubib and Zaris Mountains, close to the Great Namib Sand Sea and the famous Sossusvlei Dunes. The Conservancy was founded by Landscape Conservationist Swen Bachran in 2010, and it serves as a natural buffer from the harshest desert conditions and a refuge that is vital to wildlife through the dry season. Eight years of intensive work to reverse sixty years of inappropriate farming practices, including the removal of 89 km of internal fencing, the installation of wildlife watering points, the improvement of road networks, the rehabilitation of land and the reintroduction of wildlife that historically occurred here, has resulted in one of the most picturesque and ecologically sound tracts of land in the area. The Conservancy has gravel plains, mountainous areas with dry river valleys as well as a large raised plateau which towers above the desert below, and it is now home to some of largest concentrations of wildlife in the area, including Oryx, Springbok, Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra, Burchell’s Zebra, Kudu, Hartebeest, Giraffe, Steenbok, Klipspringer, Bat-eared Fox, and Aardwolf, as well as predators such as Leopard, Cheetah and Spotted Hyena. Plans for the acquisition of adjoining land to extension of the Conservancy are ongoing, as well as dropping fences to neighbouring like-minded conservation areas.
This morning you will need to rise early for a magical excursion with your guide to Sossusvlei in the Namib Naukluft National Park. You will set off before sunrise to enter the park at sunrise and capture the dunes while the light is soft and shadows accentuate the towering shapes and curves. The Sossusvlei area boasts some of the highest free-standing sand dunes in the world and 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 Sossusvlei, Deadvlei and surrounding dune fields to your heart’s content you can enjoy a relaxed picnic brunch in the shade of a camel thorn tree.
You will return to camp for a late freshly prepared lunch and with time to relax at camp during the heat of the day. Later in the afternoon you head out again for a scenic nature drive or walk to explore this vast and astounding ecosystem and to enjoy a magnificent final safari sundowner.
The most frequently visited section of the massive 50,000 km² Namib Naukluft National Park has become known as Sossusvlei, famous for its towering apricot colored sand dunes which can be reached 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 55 km 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 1 km 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.
Sadly, this will be the final day of your Africa Safari adventure, however, you'll be leaving with memories to last a lifetime! After a leisurely breakfast this morning you will depart from Sossusvlei and return to Windhoek, driving northeast up the Great Escarpment and through the scenic Khomas Hochland highlands. A tasty picnic lunch will again be served en route and arrival in Windhoek should be by the mid-afternoon.
Upon your arrival in Windhoek you will be transferred to your accommodation establishment of choice, or out to the Windhoek International Airport (additional transfer fees apply) if flying out in the evening - departure flights must be no earlier than 6:00 PM to allow sufficient time for the journey back to Windhoek, or a final night in Windhoek can be arranged at additional cost if required. A final night in Windhoek is highly recommended!
We hope your Safari experience was incredible and wish you safe travels onward!
Onguma Tree Top Camp is a small and intimate camp, especially designed for those travelers who would like to truly experience the bush in all of its raw splendor. In the midst of a busy traveling schedule, this is the perfect place to come and relax for a few days, breathe in the aromas of the bush and take in all that the surrounding wilderness has to offer. The Camp is built on wooden stilts among the tree tops with full views over one of the most beautiful watering holes on Onguma Game Reserve. It consists of only 4 thatched rooms with canvas walls, outside showers, a dining room and a main complex. Onguma Tree Top Camp is a place where birds and animals become your daily companion. A place where giraffe, zebra, lion, and many other species of antelope come to quench their thirst, and enhance every bit of your experience.
Located in a core desert-adapted black rhino area in the Huab Conservancy, Huab Under Canvas is nestled in a grove of Mopane trees on the banks of a tributary of the Huab River in the heart of Damaraland. Protected from all the prevailing winds and sun, the camp is virtually invisible from anywhere around and it carries arguably the lowest environmental footprint of any camp in Namibia. Eight guest tents are raised on mobile platforms and have basic infrastructure such as single beds, cupboards, solar power and some important comforts such as en suite flush toilets and bucket showers. The common area includes a dining room, a small lounge (with central charging station), fireplace deck and a plunge pool. However, the essence of the camp remains under canvas, mobile and experiential.
Desert Breeze is located a few minutes' drive from the centre of town, on the banks of the usually dry Swakop River. To reach Desert Breeze from the town centre, drive along Riverside Avenue in Kramersdorf, into the Dune Estates and stay on this road following signs to the lodge. If you are approaching Swakopmund from the east, on the B2, turn left directly opposite the turnoff to Swakopmund Airport and reach Riverside Avenue this way. Staying at Desert Breeze will feel like you are part or the Namib Desert, overlooking the oldest desert in the world but still within a short distance of the Atlantic Ocean. Big basalt sculptures stand guard over the desert landscape. The creatively decorated luxury bungalows and friendly staff will make your stay very special.
The philosophy of Camp Sossus is to offer a truly sustainable “back to nature” experience, allowing you to touch, smell, feel and experience the wild but with your feet still firmly in the dust that covers Namibia. This ultimate connection with the earth, culture, and wildlife in a very up-close and personal way gives you an experience that is exclusive in the real sense of the word, as well as being far away from the pressures of ‘normal’ life! You will be looked after by some extraordinary people whose only desire is to ensure that each moment spent at the camp is as perfect as possible. Days are filled with thrilling encounters, and nights enhanced with exclusivity beyond most people’s wildest dreams. You will leave Camp Sossus with long-lasting impressions, happy memories, and life-enriching experiences!
*Pricing is based on two persons traveling together, based on availability, subject to change.
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