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15 Day Namibian Delta and Dunes

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February 21, 2018

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15 Day Namibian Delta and Dunes

Camping Ghanzi

Okavango Panhandle – Kavango – Etosha National Park – Etosha National Park – Damaraland – Swakopmund – Sossusvlei 15 Days / 14 Nights: 01 April 2017 – 31 March 2018 Reference: Website – Scheduled – 15 Day Namibian Delta and Dunes – Camping

The 15 day Delta & Dunes safari is one of the most comprehensive trips that we offer, taking in all of the major sites in Namibia but also taking time to concentrate on the Okavango Delta in Botswana. From the Delta you will travel into the Caprivi Region of Namibia, then head south through Etosha National Park, the beautiful desert region of Damaraland, and on to Swakopmund on the Skeleton Coast. The last few days are used for the world’s highest sand dunes in the world’s oldest desert at Sesriem & Sossusvlei

Tour Details

15 Day Namibian Delta and Dunes

Camping Ghanzi

Okavango Panhandle – Kavango – Etosha National Park – Etosha National Park – Damaraland – Swakopmund – Sossusvlei 15 Days / 14 Nights: 01 April 2017 – 31 March 2018 Reference: Website – Scheduled – 15 Day Namibian Delta and Dunes – Camping

The 15 day Delta & Dunes safari is one of the most comprehensive trips that we offer, taking in all of the major sites in Namibia but also taking time to concentrate on the Okavango Delta in Botswana. From the Delta you will travel into the Caprivi Region of Namibia, then head south through Etosha National Park, the beautiful desert region of Damaraland, and on to Swakopmund on the Skeleton Coast. The last few days are used for the world’s highest sand dunes in the world’s oldest desert at Sesriem & Sossusvlei

Itinerary

Day 1Dqae Qare San Lodge - Campsite, Ghanzi

Windhoek – Ghanzi, Kalahari, Botswana (550 km) (LD) (camping)

A long drive today, making use of the Trans-Kalahari-Highway, a relatively new road that provides an invaluable communication link between Namibia, Botswana and South Africa. The road takes us first to the small town of Gobabis, one of the main livestock farming centres of Namibia, and then on to the border with Botswana. After completing the immigration formalities we continue, through rural Botswana to the town of Ghanzi, located in the centre of cattle farming Botswana. Ghanzi is located almost in the middle of the Kalahari Desert and was almost unknown before the Trans Kalahari Highway.
Overnight: Dqae Qare San Lodge – Campsite Dqae Qare San Lodge is a unique Kalahari experience as it is owned and run by the San (Bushmen) people. Set up as a social enterprise the Lodge supports the local San D’Kar community through employment and is a crucial project in the San’s quest for cultural survival. As a guest of the San at Dqae Qare you are making a crucial ethical statement whilst enjoying all the benefits of our excellent accommodation, traditional cuisine and extensive adventure and cultural activities.

The extensive campsite is situated a short distance from the Lodge under large Kalahari thorn trees. There are ten individual campsites with traditional San grass windbreak enclosures and including a circular fire pit with barbeque (braai) facilities. There is also a covered area available to guests and large groups. The ablutions have solar water heaters. Guests at the campsite are welcome to join us at the Lodge for meals by prior arrangement and to enjoy the Lodge facilities.
As a celebration of San culture, the community delight in sharing their culture and extraordinary knowledge of the Kalahari with guests through bush walks, traditional dancing, fire making, craft making, trapping and story-telling.

Included Lunch & dinner

Day 2Guma Lagoon Campsite, Okavango Panhandle

Ghanzi – Okavango Delta (450 km) (FB) (camping)
An early start and a quick stop in Ghanzi to collect any last minute supplies before continuing west, traversing the linear dunes of the Kalahari and passing through small towns along the way. A change in vegetation heralds our arrival on the very western edge of one of the natural wonders of the world, the Okavango Delta. Here we turn north for some way before again pointing our wheels west as we enter the Delta proper.
We see our first glimpse of the crystal waters through the lush vegetation and we make our camp on the banks of a pristine African lagoon.

Overnight: Guma Lagoon Campsite Guma Lagoon Camp is situated along the banks of the Guma Lagoon on the north-western side of the Okavango Delta in Botswana. Guma Lagoon Camp is truly a fisherman’s paradise and bird watchers’ haven.
Large shady garden under the knobthorn trees provides seven campsites, all with their own private ablutions. Each campsite differs in size with smaller sites suitable for a family of five and the larger sites can accommodate up to five 3×3 dome tents. Campers also have access to the self-catering kitchen, and are also very welcome to dine in our idyllic restaurant.

Included Full Board

Day 3Guma Lagoon Campsite, Okavango Panhandle

Okavango Delta (FB) (camping)

We are in the territory of the River People, so this morning we leave our vehicle behind and travel in a more appropriate fashion, first by motor-boat and then by traditional Mokoro (dugout canoe), deep into the Delta. Mokoro’s will be our main form of transport for the next two days. These amazing traditional craft are perfectly designed for the narrow waterways of the Okavango and allow us to travel further into the Delta than if we were using more modern forms of transport.
Mokoro’s carry three people, two seated passengers and one driver. The driver stands in the rear of the canoe, (a real feat of balance), and uses a long wooden pole to propel and steer the Mokoro through the twisting channels. It really is the only way to travel in this area. We are fully self-sufficient and make our camps on the river banks and islands, under huge indigenous trees, sharing the environment with the local people and the local fauna of Africa. The Okavango is a wildlife paradise and we will look for game from both our Mokoro’s and on bush walks guided by local specialist guides, our polers.
NB: The bathroom facilities in the Okavango Delta can be best described as rustic. There is plenty of water but it is used, straight from the river, (well boiled first). There is no electricity and we will enjoy bucket showers and basic toilet facilities. These conditions will prevail for the two days on the islands.
Activities Mokoro Trips

Mokoro Trips The traditional dugout canoe, locally known as a mokoro, was the mode of transport chosen by the Okavango’s first inhabitants, the Bayei and Banoka people.
From Guma Lagoon Camp, a 15-minute boat transfer that passes through a narrow meandering channel will get you to the start of your mokoro experience. From here you will get onto a fiberglass or wooden mokoro which can seat two people. The Head Mokoro Poler will then give the group a detailed speech on safety and what to expect on your trip.
You will be poled through the tranquil channels that link the extensive flood plain system to the main river. Water lily beds, palm islands and papyrus stands abound making for the most scenic of experiences. On one of the larger islands you will have time to have your lunch and a guided walk. There is always a chance of seeing large herds of red lechwe bounding through the water and passing elephants feeding amongst the lush wetland vegetation.

Included Full Board

Day 4Guma Lagoon Campsite, Okavango Panhandle

Okavango Delta (FB) (camping)

Once established into our wilderness routine, we usually take a long, early morning bush walk to see the terrain and hopefully spot some Big Game, returning to camp in the mid-morning for a cooked brunch. There is time to relax in the shade during the heat of the day and from most camps our polers will be able to take us to a safe swimming place to cool off. In the afternoons there is often a shorter walk or a Mokoro cruise in the cool evening air. Sunset from the river is not to be missed.

Included Full Board

Day 5Guma Lagoon Campsite, Okavango Panhandle

Okavango Delta (FB) (camping)

The way of life of the Okavango River people has remained largely un-changed for hundreds of years. It is a totally nostress environment in a pure wilderness setting. We are heading back to our first camp today, gliding across the crystal waters, home to an amazing variety of bird life. There is the chance to add crocodiles and even a hippopotamus to our list of creatures seen before making our final Okavango camp amongst the lush riverine bush.
We will transfer back to camp in the motorboats and aim to be back on the lagoon, with full facilities by the early afternoon. We enjoy a final night beside the unparalleled Okavango waters.

Included Full Board

Day 6 n'Kwazi Lodge, Kavango

Okavango Delta – Rundu, Namibia (350 km) (BL) (camping)

Back on the road today, destination Namibia. Passport formalities completed we travel on the main road through the Mahango Game Reserve to Bagani. We now head west to our camp for tonight. We are again beside the Okavango, but this time the main river, on its journey from the Angolan highlands, through the pan handle to waters end, the delta.
Dinner tonight will be for the clients own expense in the restaurant at the lodge.
Overnight: n’Kwazi Lodge
Namibia’s n’Kwazi lodge is situated in the north of the country, only 21 km east of Rundu. The lodge offers reasonable accommodation rates, environment friendly bungalows, scrumptious breakfasts, optional lunch packs and festive dinner buffets. Wi-Fi is usually available in the lodge’s bar and lounge area. The camping site is adjacent to the lodge, for those wanting to stay in a tent or camper.

Included Breakfast & Lunch

Day 7 Namutoni Campsite, Etosha National Park

Rundu – Namutoni, East Etosha region (450 km) (FB) (camping)

A short drive brings us to the northern Namibian town of Rundu where there is time to explore the local market before continuing down through the Kavango Region. There are a few breaks along the way at various kraals to see the local crafts and woodcarvings.
Continuing on to our east, we reach Etosha National Park, and the Namutoni region camp. We again aim to arrive in time for lunch, giving us time to relax before heading into the park during the cool of the late afternoon for our first game drive.
Overnight: Namutoni Campsite Built into an old German Fort Namutoni Campsite has a unique atmosphere. Within the fort you will find ample facilities. From the walls of the fort you can enjoy an elevated view of the King Nehale Waterhole allowing for great game viewing without leaving the camp. The walls of the fort are also and excellent spot for sundowners. There is hardly a better way to end a day in the bush and Namibia than to marvel at the colours of the setting sun.
The Camp is situated in the eastern part of Etosha National Park and is accessible via the Von Lindequist Gate. Its close proximity to Fisher’s Pan makes Namutoni a hotspot for birders. Two restaurants, a craft shop, a pool and a viewing deck overlooking King Nehale Waterhole make the fort a great place to relax at lunchtime or after evening game drives. The African Fusion restaurant will introduce you to local flavours, while The Steakhouse offers popular western dishes.

A superette, curio shop and petrol station allow you to stock up on everything that is necessary and nice. The camping area has generously spaced sites with plug point and communal ablution facilities on either side of the campsite.

Included Full Board

Day 8 Namutoni Campsite, Etosha National Park

Namutoni, East Etosha region (FB) (camping)

We go straight out on an early morning game drive. We visit some of the numerous waterholes in the area hoping to catch some of Etosha big game out for an early morning drink. The game drives around the Namutoni area are some of the best in the park.
We cover several different terrains this morning, from wooded areas to open savannah and in the rainy season, wetland. Back to Namutoni in the late morning and after lunch there is time once again to relax during the heat of the day. The pool area here is very good, shaded by palm trees and a stone’s throw away from the waterhole.
As on day seven, we take a shorter game drive in the late afternoon, often driving out to one of the waterholes popular with game and waiting for the animals to come to us.

Etosha Pan Aeons ago, Etosha Pan was the bed of a vast lake; today what remains is a glittering, silvery-green salt pan that stretches across roughly 5000 square kilometres. Etosha is protected by the Etosha Pan National Park surrounded by savannah plains and woodlands supporting large herds of elephants. When dry, the pan sustains little life except for the algae that gives it its distinctive colour, and migratory birds that use it as a pit stop, but with heavy rain it becomes a shallow lake where flamingos breed, pelicans wade and feed, and a variety of mammal species come to quench their thirst, including leopards, lions, white rhinos, hunting dogs and antelopes.

Included Full Board

Day 9Okaukuejo Campsite, Etosha National Park

East Etosha region – Okaukuejo, Etosha National Park (FB) (camping)

A full day’s game driving. We again leave early to enjoy the cool morning air. We game drive our way through Etosha to Halali camp, situated in the middle of the park. Along the way we visit several waterholes and are afforded splendid views of the massive Etosha Pan. The game viewing is usually excellent and we have the chance to tick off a few new species that are not normally seen on the Namutoni side of the park.
We stop at Halali for a rest and a leisurely lunch. There is also time to visit the Halali waterhole and to make use of the swimming pool and bar facilities before continuing on our way and game driving down to Okaukuejo camp. Okaukuejo is famous for its waterhole, which has been described as one of the “best game viewing opportunities in Southern Africa”. Situated on the doorstep of our accommodation, black rhino, elephant, lion and numerous species of antelope are often seen.
Overnight: Okaukuejo Campsite Okaukuejo is located 17 km from the southern entrance of the park, Anderson Gate. Okaukuejo is the oldest tourist camp in Etosha and it also functions as the administrative centre of the park. Okaukuejo is also home to the Etosha Ecological Institute. It is situated at the western end of the Etosha Pan. Facilities include a restaurant, bar, shop, swimming pool, kiosk and camp sites.

The main attraction of this camp is that it overlooks a permanent waterhole which is floodlit at night. Here a wide diversity of wildlife congregate and interact from lion to rhino to elephant and antelope. The spectacle starts at dawn, with animals coming in large numbers to quench their thirst. The activity continues throughout the day until late at night. In the early evenings, it is not uncommon to have black rhino, elephant and lion all drinking at the same time.

Included Full Board

Day 10Madisa Campsite, Damaraland

Okaukuejo – Twyfelfontein, Damaraland (400km) (FB) (camping)

Leaving Etosha we are en route for the desert and the most scenic area of our safari. We make a stop at a small town called Outjo where we can get coffee and sticky cakes at the local bakery. We then drive west to Khorixas, the capital of the Damaraland region. A short break here and then, leaving the sealed roads far behind us, we drive into the desert.
We stop for lunch at the Petrified Forest geological site, where a local guide will take us around and explain about the prehistoric trees, before continuing on to Twyfelfontein. Damaraland scenery is some of the best in Namibia, open grasslands studded with massive granite koppies create the feeling of being surrounded by mountains. We are well into desert elephant and black rhino country and other game such as springbok, ostrich and gemsbok are often seen.

We aim to arrive in the early afternoon and have time to relax in the shade before making a late afternoon excursion to Twyfelfontein itself. Here, again, a local guide will introduce us to the ancient Bushman rock engravings or petroglyphs. We also make a visit to another geological site in the area called the Organ Pipes.

Overnight: Madisa Campsite Madisa Camp is situated on the D2612 road to Twyfelfontein, a very popular route. The camp is hidden between amazing rock formations which are scattered with Bushman Paintings and has privy to an ancient Desert Elephant route that often gets visited by these beautiful giants. Ideal for the traveller who wishes to camp comfortably without compromising the experience of exclusivity in this vast and magnificent area of Damaraland Namibia. Madisa is a good base camp to explore from as there are very interesting sites in the area such as Twyfelfontein, Brandberg, the Petrified Forest and much more these are all a easy drive and after a day of exploring what better to finish with a swim and enjoy your campsite under a blanket of stars. Each spacious campsite has an exquisite view of the Gauntegab River bed and rock formations. The campsites have individual ablution facilities situated on stilts hidden in the tree tops. The braai facilities also double up as a heater (donkey system) for hot running water at each open air shower. The camp sites are shaded by large Mopane trees and have a low rock wall around each site. The swimming pool and bar area are very welcoming after a long day and give you a chance to rejuvenate and enjoy your surroundings. It’s also nice to meet fellow travellers and share tails around a communal camp fire at night while the sky puts on a breath taking show of stars.

Activities Twyfelfontein Rock Art Petrified Forest

Twyfelfontein Rock Art Twyfelfontein is a World Heritage Site boasting one of the richest rock art concentrations in Africa. Thousands of tourists come to this site each year to view some 2, 500 Stone Age rock engravings. The area is home to 17 rock art sites, which collectively encompass 212 engraved stone slabs. There are an additional 13 sites displaying rock paintings.

Petrified Forest Situated approximately 50 kilometers west of the town of Khorixas, in an area of open veld, lies a large deposit of massive tree trunks that have “turned to stone” through a process of diagenesis. These petrified tree trunks are up to 34metres long, 6 metres in circumference and are approximately 260 million years old. Due to the lack of root or branch remains, it’s believed that the trees were washed down an ancient river to the site in a massive flood.

Included Full Board

Day 11Prost Hotel Swakopmund, Swakopmund

Twyfelfontein – Swakopmund, SkeletonCoast (400 km) (BL) (chalet accommodation)

More beautiful Damaraland scenery this morning. We pass Namibia’s highest mountain, the Brandberg (2573 m) and make our first stop of the morning in the small town of Uis, an old mining town, and one of the best places to buy semi-precious stones, for which Namibia is famous. Here, rough Amethyst, Tourmaline etc. can be found at bargain prices. From here we turn directly west and cross the gravel plains on our way to the Atlantic Ocean and the Skeleton Coast. Meeting the ocean at Henties Bay, we first head north along the coast to visit the seal colony at Cape Cross. Here at certain times of the year there can be as many as 100,000 Cape Fur seals in attendance.

The next destination is Swakopmund, stopping for lunch en route and following the Skeleton Coast into Namibia’s premier seaside town. Swakopmund boasts a large range of restaurants and cafés, many of them specializing in fish dishes. The local seafood is superb, taken straight from the icy Atlantic waters. Tonight dinner is for the clients own account in a local restaurant. Your guide will be able to recommend a venue.

We also make the most of being back in a main centre by leaving the tents loaded and checking into holiday chalets.
Overnight: Prost Hotel Swakopmund Prost Hotel is situated in the heart of Swakopmund, giving access to the town’s various and excellent restaurants. Our accommodation consist of 28 en-suite rooms, ranging from luxury, family to standard rooms. All rooms are equipped with 43” flat screen TV, own DSTV decoder, electronic laptop safe, tea/coffee station, telephone and hair dryer.

Activities Cape Cross Seal Colony

Cape Cross Seal Colony This colony of Cape Fur Seals is one of the largest in the world, home to approximately 80 000 to 100 000 of these socalled ‘seals’, which are in fact a species of sea lion. Day trips to the colony are offered and the seals can be viewed from a walkway at a distance of roughly 200 metres.

Included Breakfast & lunch

Day 12 Prost Hotel Swakopmund, Swakopmund

Swakopmund (B) (accommodated)

Today is a free day. The Swakopmund section of the trip is designed to allow people to relax either with the group, or on their own. Only breakfast is provided to allow you to plan your time here with as much flexibility as possible and not to be tied to group meal times. It also gives you the chance to sample some of the excellent local cafes and restaurants. The seafood in Swakopmund is superb and your guide will offer to organise a group meal in a local restaurant for this evening.
Swakopmund is a very pleasant seaside town with lots of shops, a good stretch of beach (although the Atlantic here is quite cold) and an open-air curio market. There is also a very good museum and the Namibian National Marine Aquarium is located in Swakopmund.

Alternatively, there are various optional activities that can be arranged. These include aeroplane and microlight flights over the desert, scenic drives, fishing trips (both from the beach or in a boat), four-wheel motorcycle (quad bike) trips into the desert and over the sand dunes around Swakopmund, sand boarding trips (also in the dunes), skydiving, surfing, bird-watching and many other activities are available.

Your tour guide will discuss all the possible options with you before you reach Swakopmund and will offer to make bookings in advance of your arrival.

(N.B. All extra activities and excursions in Swakopmund are subject to availability and are made at the clients’ own risk and expense and dinner this evening is not included in the price of the safari and will be for the client’s own account.

Included Bed & Breakfast

Day 13Sesriem Campsite, Sossusvlei

Swakopmund – Sesriem area (300 km) (FB) (camping)

We first make a stop at Walvis Bay, situated about 40 km south of Swakopmund. South of the town there is a large marine lagoon which is home to a vast array of marine bird-life, in particular flamingos. We will make a short visit to the lagoon to see the birds and a short visit to Walvis Bay to collect any last minute supplies before once again heading out into the desert.
The second part of our journey today takes us across more of the seemingly endless Namib gravel plains. Then the landscape suddenly changes and we are into the mountain desert. We traverse both the Kuiseb and Gaub passes, driving both times to the river beds at the bottom of the canyons and then climbing the long steep road to the top and the spectacular panoramas the mountains give us. Again the scenery changes as we make our way down to the dune fields.
We cross some open grass savannah and farmlands before the terrain begins to give way to the immense red sand dune desert of the Namib and from here it is only a short distance to our next stop, the tiny town of Solitaire. We will stop here for some refreshments before continuing on through stunning desert scenery.
We aim to arrive at our camp during the late afternoon and watch the colours glow and change on distant mountains to the east.

Overnight: Sesriem Campsite Located perfectly at the entry to Sossusvlei inside the park gate is Sesriem Camping, just a short drive from Sesriem Canyon and right beside the gate into the desert
It is perfect for campers who want to experience the beauty of the Namib Desert with the sun setting over the Elim dune then the stars emerging until they fill the sky above you and the clicking of the desert barking Geckos and distant howl of the Jackal. Sit by the fire and imagine what you will.
After a good night rest its up early (one hour before sunrise) for a drive to the Sossusvlei where you can climb a sand dune and watch the colours change as the sun rises over the horizon slipping its morning warmth over the Namib desert dunes.

Activities Walvis Bay Lagoon

Walvis Bay Lagoon Walvis Bay’s calm natural lagoon is a twitcher’s paradise, teeming with roughly 50 species of seabirds, including vivid flocks of flamingos, bulky-billed pelicans and glossy black cormorants. It’s also a popular spot for windsurfing, kitesurfing and kayaking, while the promenade stretching for three kilometres along the water’s edge is a great place for a scenic stroll.

Included Full Board

Day 14 Sesriem Campsite, Sossusvlei

Sesriem area – Sossusvlei – Sesriem area, (camping) (FB)

A pre-dawn start is essential this morning as we want to catch the soft light of the sunrise on the desert. After passing through Sesriem, the gateway to the dunes and driving into the heart of the dune field, we reach Sossusvlei itself by walking the last 5 km through the dunes.
The walk is like nothing else, in the cool of the morning, with soft sunlight just beginning to play over the dunes creating a sharp light and shadow contrast across the whole desert. Ancient mineral pans, stunted camel thorn trees and the chance of seeing a gemsbok or maybe an ostrich make the photo opportunities perfect. We spend the morning in and around Sossusvlei, also visiting dune 45, and as the day wears on we return to Sesriem for lunch to escape the heat of the afternoon. As the day cools off in the late afternoon we will take a short excursion to the Sesriem Canyon.
Activities Dune 45 Dead Vlei Sossusvlei Sesriem Canyon

Dune 45 Named for its location 45 kilometres past the town of Sesriem, Dune 45 is renowned for its elegant shape, which – along with its position close to the road – have earned it the distinction of ‘most photographed dune in the world’. If you’re not keen for the strenuous hike to the top of Big Daddy, Dune 45 is a more forgiving alternative, standing at only 80 metres and featuring a much gentler gradient.

Dead Vlei This ancient clay pan was once an oasis, studded with acacias and fed by a river that suddenly changed course, leaving the earth to dry up along with the trees it previously supported. So dry were the climatic conditions that the trees never decomposed – instead they were entirely leached of moisture so that today, 900 years later, they remain as desiccated, blackened sentinels dotting the pan’s cracked surface. Surrounded by the red-pink dunes of the Namibia Desert, they create a surreal spectacle that is a photographer’s dream.

Sossusvlei Sossusvlei is where you will find the iconic red sand dunes of the Namib. The clear blue skies contrast with the giant red sand dunes to make this one of the natural wonders of Africa and a photographers heaven. Aside from the attractions at Sossusvlei – Dune 45, Hidden Vlei, Big Daddy and Dead Vlei – other attractions in the area include the Sesriem Canyon and Namib-Naukluft National Park, where the mountains of the Namib meet its plains.

Sesriem Canyon Sesriem Canyon, a deep chasm carved through the rocks by water, is a striking natural feature of the area that is best explored on foot. Stony walls rise up sharply on both sides of the canyon, while birds roost in its crags and lizards dart along the ledges. The canyon’s name was coined when early settlers used it as a water source, using six lengths of leather (‘ses riem – six thongs) tied together to lower buckets into the water at the base of canyon.

Included Full Board

Day 15 Departure

Sesriem area – Windhoek (450 km) (BL)

After breakfast we begin our journey, over the mountains and along scenic roads, back to Windhoek. In the Solitaire area we will stop at the ‘N/a’an ku se Namib Conservation Centre’, a 500 hectare Conservation Centre which hosts an educational centre and wildlife tracking within the purpose built enclosures and receive information on the carnivore surveillance in the greater Namib area.
We will travel over the Naukluft Mountains and also the Khomas Hochland range, through beautiful Remhoogte Pass on our way back to civilization.
We are due back into the city in the late afternoon / early evening , you will be dropped off at your accommodation on our return. Alternatively we can arrange for you to be taken to the International Airport if you are catching an evening flight.