HARSH CALLS OF NAMIBIA - 17 Days
Let’s take you far, far beyond the reach of civilization with this exclusive 17 day self-drive safari to the North West of Namibia, including a classic African wildlife safari in Etosha and a unique desert experience in Sossusvlei.
DAY 1: Airport – Windhoek
On arrival you will be met by a representative of Odyssey Car & 4x4 Hire. Your tour will start by driving 42km to Windhoek the capital and largest city of the Republic of Namibia. You will receive a comprehensive 1-2 1/2 hours briefing of the vehicle, camping equipment & the route you will be driving. Following this you can buy provisions in Windhoek for the next 17 days self-drive adventure. Your first night spend will be overnighting in Windhoek in a Guesthouse.
If your flight are schedule to arrive after 15H00 no vehicle handover will take place only on day 2 but you would be transferred to your first nights’ accommodation. If flights are schedule to arrive before 10H00 am we can change first night in Windhoek to first night outside Windhoek to make day 2’s driving a bit less.
Notable landmarks to visit in Windhoek are: Parliament Gardens, Christ Church (lutheran church opened in 1910, built in the gothic revival style with Art Nouveau elements.), Tintenpalast (Ink Palace -within Parliament Gardens, the seat of both chambers of the Parliament of Namibia. Built between 1912 and 1913 and situated just north of Robert Mugabe Avenue), Alte Feste (built in 1890 and houses the National Museum), Reiterdenkmal (Equestrian Monument - a statue celebrating the victory of the German Empire over the Herero and Nama in the Herero and Namaqua War of 1904–1907), Supreme Court of Namibia Built between 1994 and 1996 it is Windhoek's only building erected post-independence in an African style of architecture.
Dinner at Sellenbosch Wine Bar Restaurant or at Joes Beerhouse would be a wonderful start to an African experience meal.
DAY 2; Windhoek – Solitaire/Sesriem/Sossosvlei
Today’s journey leads you to the southern parts of Namibia via the Tropic of Capricon to the Namib Naukluft Park the Khomas Highlands and the breath-taking view of the Spreetshoogte Pass. You will depart Windhoek and head towards Sesriem, travelling mostly on gravel roads. On the first day of the expedition you will certainly get to see and enjoy Namibia’s beautiful landscape with mountains and contrasts.
Spreetshoogte Pass (Afrikaans: Spreetshoogtepas, literally English: Spreeth's Peak Pass) is a mountain pass in central Namibia, connecting the Namib Desert with the Khomas Highland by traversing the Great Escarpment, a geological feature of much of the southern part of the African continent. With gradients between 1:4.5 and 1:6 it is the steepest pass in Namibia, as well as the one straddling the biggest elevation difference, descending almost 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) within 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) of road. The top of the pass features a resting place from which there is a spectacular view into the adjacent Namib. The pass was erected during World War II by farmer Nicolaas Spreeth, after whom it is named.
You will then arrive at a small town called Solitaire. The area was named Solitaire by Elsie Sophia van Coller (wife of Willem Christoffel van Coller). The name was chosen because of two meanings. Solitaire can mean a single set diamond and Solitaire can also mean solitude or loneliness. Combined these two meanings create the definition of being unique or one-of-a-kind and a precious but solitary place Solitaire is situated at the junction of main roads C14 (Walvis Bay - Bethanie), and C19 (Sesriem - Sossusvlei), both major tourist routes through the Namib-Naukluft National Park. At Solitaire you will find a petrol station, public restrooms, restaurant and bakery the worlds famous apfel strudel , the settlement also contains a tire repair workshop and a motel, continue to your explicit lodge. Already in the afternoon you can go visit the Sesriem Canyon or just relax at the lodge swimming pool washing the first Namibia dust off.
Overnight in the Namib Nauklift Park surrounding
DAY 3; Sesriem/Sossusvlei
Today will be a leisure day to enjoy the fantastic sight of the Sossusvlei Dunes, The dead vlei and Sesriem Canyon if not visited the previse day.
The Sesriem Canyon derives its name from the fact that early Afrikaner trekkers had to use six ('ses') leather thongs ('riem') so that their buckets could reach the water far below. Because it is so deep and sheltered, it often holds water well into the dry season.
The sand dunes of Sossusvlei in the Namib Desert are thought to be the highest dunes in the world. The best time to view Sossusvlei is close to sunrise and sunset, when colours and shades change constantly, offering a photographer’s dream. The midday heat is intense and best spent in the shade. 'Vlei' is the Afrikaans word for a shallow depression or pan, surrounded by spectacular red dunes, sometimes fills with water. The pan only has water on rare occasions, during exceptional rainy seasons, when the Tsauchab River flows into this pan. The Sossusvlei is mostly a dry vlei except in good rainy season. The sand-dunes at Sossusvlei are some 60km from the Sesriem gate (the entrance to the park) and the drive takes about an hour. The area also hosts various vleis, such as the Naravlei, so called because of the countless cucumber-like melons (a vital source of nourishment for many desert creatures, including man) growing around the edge of the pan. Dead Vlei boasts dead camelthorn trees, some being over 800 years old. Out of view from the 2x4 car park, tucked behind a dune, is Hiddenvlei.
Again, Overnight in the Namib Naukluft Park surroundings.
DAY 4; Sossosvlei – Walvis Bay / Swakopmund
Enjoy your breakfast-with-a-view, before you depart through the rough Namib Desert heading towards Walvis Bay via Kuiseb & Gaubpasses .
The Namib Desert, the world's oldest desert (43 million years), covers just under 50 000km² and incorporates the Namib Naukluft Park, a section of the diamond area to the south and the Skeleton Coast to the north, which was recently proclaimed as the Dorop Park. It includes the Swakop River and Kuiseb River Canyons, which are dry rivers, except in exceptional good rainy seasons.
Overnight in one of Swakopmunds fabulous Guesthouse.
DAY 5; Swakopmund/ Walvis bay
Today is yet another leisure day to participate in some activities. (Please book activities with us in advance).
Swakopmund (German for "Mouth of the Swakop River") is the ideal holiday destination of Namibia which lies on the west coast only 350km from Windhoek. Swakopmund was founded in 1892 as the main harbour for German South-West Africa, and a sizable part of its population is still German-speaking today. Boats were offloaded at Swakopmund’s landmark, the jetty. However, the natural potential of Swakopmund as a holiday resort was recognized, and this potential has subsequently been developed. Today tourism-related services form an important part of the town's economy. This little town is rich in beautiful German colonial architecture/buildings, e.g. the beautiful old train station which was converted into a hotel, the prison, the Woerman House which used to be the head office of the Woermann Line (colonial shipping line) and now houses the public library and shops, the Light House, the Jetty which now houses a restaurant, just to mention a few. Swakopmund has an excellent museum on the history of Namibia / Southwest Africa. Swakopmund has a lot to offer which include attractions like the National Marine Aquarium, the Crystal Gallery, the Martin Luther Steam locomotive and “things to do” like fishing, dolphin cruise, snake park, skydiving and quad biking, dune riding, ballooning, camel riding and excellent shopping possibilities.
Again, Overnight in one of Swakopmunds fabulous Guesthouse. Restaurants to try out in Swakopmind, Jetty 1905, Swakopmund Brauhaus, The Tug, kucki’s Pub, Tiger reef.
DAY 6; Swakopmund - Spitzkoppe
After breakfast you can spend the morning walking in town of Swakopmund buying souvenirs, to carry Namibia back home before your journey takes you along the coastline where you can discover a shipwreck on the Namibian coastline and where you can count the numerous seals at Cape Cross follow inland towards the direction where you will find your next destination Spitzkoppe.
Cape Cross (Afrikaans: Kaap Kruis; German: Kreuzkap; Portuguese: Cabo da Cruz) is a small headland in the South Atlantic in Skeleton Coast, western Namibia. The Portuguese navigator and explorer Diogo Cão was in 1484 ordered by King João II, as part of the search for a sea route to India and the Spice Islands, to advance south into undiscovered regions along the west coast of Africa. While doing so, he was to choose some particularly salient points and claim them for Portugal by setting up on each a stone cross called padrão. The original Cape Cross padrão was removed in 1893 by Corvette captain Gottlieb Becker, commander of the SMS Falke of the German Navy, and taken to Berlin. A simple wooden cross was put in its place. The wooden cross was replaced two years later by a stone replica. At the end of the 20th century, thanks to private donations, another cross, more similar to the original one, was erected at Cape Cross, and thus there are now two crosses there.
The Spitzkoppe (from German for "pointed dome"; also referred to as Spitzkop, Groot Spitzkop, or the "Matterhorn of Namibia"), is a group of bald granite peaks or inselbergs located between Usakos and Swakopmund in the Namib desert of Namibia. The granite is more than 120 million years old and the highest outcrop rises about 1,784 metres (5,853 ft) above sea level. The peaks stand out dramatically from the flat surrounding plains. The highest peak is about 700 m (2,300 ft) above the floor of the desert below. A minor peak – the Little Spitzkoppe – lies nearby at an elevation of 1,584 m (5,197 ft). Other prominences stretch out into a range known as the Pontok Mountains. Many examples of Bushmen artwork can be seen painted on the rock in the Spitzkoppe area. The Spitzkoppe Mountains were also the filming location for 2001: A Space Odyssey in the "Dawn of Man" sequences.
Overnight in the Spitzkoppe Mountains
DAY 7; Spitzkoppe – Twyfelfontein
Today you will be heading into Damaraland. You will pass a small town called Uis which are located at the foot of Brandberg, Namibia's highest mountain. The Brandberg is home to the world famous The White Lady rock painting which you can visit before continuing to Twyfelfontein It’s time to explore one of the World Heritage Sites, Namibia has to offer – Twyfelfontein with its wealth of ancient rock engravings, and the wonders of the Organ Pipes. Also keep your eyes open for the desert adapted Elephant on your way to your next destination.
Damaraland is one of the most scenic areas in Namibia, a huge, untamed, ruggedly beautiful region that offers the more traveller a more adventurous challenge. Here there are prehistoric water courses with open plains and grassland, massive granite koppies and deep gorges. Towards the west, the geography changes dramatically with endless sandy wastes, that incredibly are able to sustain small, but wide-ranging, populations of desert-adapted elephant, black rhino, giraffe, ostrich and springbok. These animals have adapted their lifestyles to survive the harshness of the sun-blistered, almost waterless desert spaces. Elephant move through euphorbia bush country, and can travel up to 70km in a day in search of food and water and unusually, do not destroy trees in their quest for food. Follow black rhino cow and her calf in typical Damaraland 'melkbos' terrain.
Together, Damaraland and Kaokoland are known as the Kaokoveld.
Twyfelfontein valley has been inhabited by Stone-age hunter-gatherers of the Wilton stone age culture group since approximately 6,000 years ago. They made most of the engravings and probably all the paintings. 2,000 to 2,500 years ago the Khoikhoi, an ethnic group related to the San (Bushmen), occupied the valley, then known under its Damara/Nama name ǀUi-ǁAis (jumping waterhole). The Khoikhoi also produced rock art which can clearly be distinguished from the older engravings
Overnight in the Twyfelfontein surrounding
DAY 8; Twyfelfontein – Opuwo
Todays you will be traveling some more gravel road. Play ‘Hotel California’ when driving down the Namibian dust roads toward Kaokoland and Opuwo which is the capital of the Kunene Region in north-western Namibia. You will also be meeting one (1) of thirteen (13) ethnic groups the Himba tribe.
The name Opuwo was given by the commissioner of Ondangwa, Mr. Hugo Hahn, who came in search of land to build an office. Upon his arrival, he asked local headmen to give him land where he could build an office. The headmen gave him a small plot, and when the headmen tried to give him more land, Mr. Hahn responded saying "Opuwo (it’s enough for me). I don’t want any more land". That is how Opuwo got its name. The local residents of Opuwo called it Otjihinamaparero at the time, and some still call it that. Hugo Hahn called the land “Ohopoho Otjitopora” which means "they see the bore hole and their water comes out". The name Otjihinamaparero was changed to Opuwo in 1974 due to orthographic reform.
The Himba (singular: OmuHimba, plural: OvaHimba) are indigenous peoples with an estimated population of about 50,000 people living in northern Namibia, in the Kunene Region (formerly Kaokoland) and on the other side of the Kunene River in Angola. There are also a few groups left of the OvaTwa, who are also OvaHimba, but are hunter-gatherers. The OvaHimba are a semi-nomadic, pastoralist people, culturally distinguishable from the Herero people in northern Namibia and southern Angola, and speak OtjiHimba, a variety of Herero, which belongs to the Bantu family within Niger–Congo.The OvaHimba are considered the last (semi-) nomadic people of Namibia.
Overnight in the Kunene region
DAY 9 Opuwo – Epupa
Today will only be a short drive up to the boarder of Namibia and Angola to the Epupa Falls. The route to Epupa Falls includes spectacular landscapes, baobab trees and some more Himba Villages which you can also visit, as they differ from the ones at ‘Opuwo region. At Epupa falls you can have a view of the falls and take a hike or just relax and enjoy the bird watching opportunities.
The Epupa Falls (also known as Monte Negro Falls in Angola) are created by the Kunene River on the border of Angola and Namibia, in the Kaokoland area of the Kunene Region. The river is 0.5 km wide and drops in a series of waterfalls spread over 1.5 km, with the greatest single drop being 37 m. The name "Epupa" is a Herero word for "foam", in reference to the foam created by the falling water.
Overnight close to the Kunene River
DAY 11; Epupa – Etosha
Today you have to head back to Opuwo this would be the last chance to full up the vehicle and do you’re last shopping before heading to the Etosha. You will be entering the Etosha Park from the western end of the park via the Galton Gate which only open to the public in 2014. As you drive back to Opuwo and you might have missed the Baobab Tree the previous day towards Opuwo/Epupa make sure to spot them today.
The Baobab Tree are the King of Trees. There is no doubt that the baobab is a special tree with its massive trunk, unique shape - that according to legend is the result of God planting it upside down - and its powerful presence. This king of trees seems to emanate aeons of life-experience, much like a wizened old elephant matriarch or a tall rugged mountain. It is one of nature’s cathedrals, offering shelter, food and relief from sickness. It is no wonder that this gargantuan deciduous tree has inspired myths and superstition and holds a place in our hearts.
Overnight at the west side of the Etosha Park
DAY 12 & 13; Etosha
You have two (2) full day, which you can use to explore the abundant wildlife in in the comfort of your own vehicle in the Etosha Park, Namibia has to offer.
The park is home to hundreds of species of mammals, birds and reptiles, including several threatened and endangered species such as the black rhinoceros.
ETOSHA NATIONAL PARK is the gateway to Northern Namibia and Ovamboland. It is Namibia’s prime wildlife location and home to a large variety of mammals and birds. Etosha means the ‘great white area ‘this refers to large dried pan in the middle of the Etosha Park. What makes this park unique is the floodlit waterholes at all the main camps. Visit Etosha National Park in Namibia this season and share in Namibia’s wildlife. Etosha Park is any photographers dream. Plan your visit to Namibia and experience the great white area of Etosha. The park was proclaimed a game reserve on March 22, 1907 in Ordinance 88 by the Governor of German South West Africa, Dr. Friedrich von Lindequist.
Overnight in Etosha Park surrounding
DAY 14; Etosha – Waterberg
Today you will drive through Tsumeb to Waterberg for your next destination. On your way to the Waterberg, you may also want to visit the Hoba meteorite.
The Hoba meteorite left no preserved crater and its discovery was a chance event. The owner of the land, Jacobus Hermanus Brits, encountered the object while ploughing one of his fields with an ox. During this task, he heard a loud metallic scratching sound and the plough came to an abrupt halt. The obstruction was excavated, identified as a meteorite and described by Mr. Brits, whose report was published in 1920 and can be viewed at the Grootfontein Museum in Namibia. In an attempt to control vandalism and with permission from Mrs. O. Scheel, owner of the farm at the time, the government of South West Africa (now Namibia) on March 15, 1955, declared the Hoba meteorite to be a national monument. In 1979 the proclamation was changed to include not only the meteorite but also 25 m x 25 m land on which it is situated. In 1985 Rössing Uranium Ltd. made resources and funds available to the Namibian government to provide additional protection against vandalism. In 1987 Mr. J. Engelbrecht, the owner of Hoba West farm, donated the meteorite and the site where it lies to the state for educational purposes. Later that year, the government opened a tourist centre at the site. As a result of these developments, vandalism of the Hoba meteorite has ceased and it is now visited by thousands of tourists every year
The Waterberg Plateau Park is ecologically diverse and rich and has over 200 different species of bird with some rare species of small antelope on the lower hills of the mountain. Geologically, the oldest rock stratum is over 850 million years old and dinosaurs tracks were left there some 200 million years ago.
Afternoon leisure, hiking, game watching, breathing in history or just enjoying the peaceful scenery of the Waterberg.
Overnight at the Waterberg Plateau Park.
DAY 15; Waterberg – Erindi
You can do a morning hike to the Waterberg if you did not have the chance to do it the prevoice day. Today’s journey are only a short travelling. You will travel to the Erindi Private Game Reserve located southeast of Omaruru.
Erindi is a protected reserve in central Namibia. Erindi, meaning “place of water”, is a sustainable natural wonderland. The land on which Erindi was founded, has been reclaimed as part of a massive rehabilitation and conservation venture. The owners, Chris and Gert Joubert, originally bought the 70 719 hectares of land with the intention of going into cattle farming. It was soon realized that farming cattle is an extremely costly practice, and they abandoned the idea in favor of a private game reserve. The aim was to restore endemic species to the area, with the hope that they would once again thrive there.
You can join on some of the activities Erindi have to offer or just relax next to the swimming pool and enjoy the surrounding.
Overnight in the surrounding of the Erindi Private Game Reserve.
DAY 16; Erindi – Windhoek
Today you drive back to Windhoek, where you will spend your last night. On arrival in Windhoek you need to drop off your rental vehicle and will then be transferred to your accommodation. Last shopping spring to Windhoek’s Craft Centers for gift/ souvenirs for back home.
If you have a flight back home on the same day you will then be transferred to the airport the same day.
For a farewell dinner Joes Beerhouse will give you the last Namibia feeling
Overnight in Windhoek Guesthouse
DAY 17; Windhoek – Airport
You will be picked up at the accommodation and taken to the airport for the departure flight back home
*** Hope to see you again soon ***
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