Impressions of Namibia itinerary

 

Day 1: Arrival in Windhoek
On arrival at Windhoek International Airport, the group will be met by the Tour Leader and transferred to the first nights’ accommodation in Windhoek.

Please meet your Tour Leader in the reception area of the hotel at 18:00 for your pre-trip meeting.

Included Activities:
Group arrival transfer

Accommodation: Roof of Africa, or similar

 

Day 2: Keetmanshoop
After an early rise, we hit the long road South towards Keetmanshoop. It is a fairly long drive, but through atmospheric scenery, and we might start to catch a glimpse of wildlife along the road.

We over night at Quivertree Forest Rest Camp. Accommodation is somewhat basic, however the owners of the camp have two great sites on their land: the Quivertree Forest, and the Giant's Playground. Staying at the camp gives us unique access to both. The camp also has a number of resident rescued cheetahs, and depending on when we arrive in the afternoon, we should be able to see them being fed!

Adjacent to the camp is the Quiver Tree Forest - a National Namibian Monument. This is a collection of around 250 endemic Quiver trees (Aloidendron dichotomum), so called because because bushmen traditionally used its branches to make quivers. The largest trees are as much as three centuries old. We will head to the forest in the late afternoon, as the setting sun casts golden light across the trees, and the many rock hyrax come out to bask in the last rays of the day.

Weather permitting, we have the option to return to the forest after dinner to attempt to shoot star trails. If you want to take part, you will need a tripod, and some sort of locking cable release! Even if you are not shooting, walking around by the light of the moon and stars is an amazing experience!

Included Activities:
Quiver tree forest and Giant’s Playground photography tour
Star Trails shooting

Accommodation: Quivertree Forest Rest Camp or similar

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

 

Day 3: Fish River Canyon
In the morning, there is the option of getting up early, to photograph the Quiver trees at sunrise. After breakfast, we will head off to photograph the Giant's Playground nearby. This is an fantastical collection of atmospheric dolerite rock formations.

We then head off to Fish River Canyon, the second largest canyon in the world. Compared to the Grand Canyon in the USA, Fish River Canyon is all but completed undeveloped. There is next to nothing here, except for a massive canyon, eroded by the river over millenia. We spend the late afternoon photographing as the sun settles below the horizon, casting atmospheric shadows across this vast landscape. After last light, we return to the lodge for dinner!

Included Activities:
Quiver tree forest at Sunrise
Fish River Canyon at Sunset

Accommodation: Canyon Village or similar

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

 

Day 4: Luderitz
We return to the canyon to photograph the sunrise. It might be obvious, but the light is completely different compared to the sunset. We return to the lodge for breakfast, and then head out on the long drive
to the pleasant coastal town of Luderitz: estimated travelling time is approximately 6 hours (406km). We will have time to explore, and photograph some of the colonial era architecture, before dinner.

Included Activities:
Fish River Canyon at Sunrise

Accommodation: Luderitz Nest Hotel or similar

Meal plan: Breakfast

 

Day 5: Sossusvlei
This morning we explore the exploring the ghost town of Kolmanskop. This is one of the highlights of the entire trip. In the early 1900s, diamonds were discovered in this area, and a rich town grew up, with a hospital, school and even a music hall. At the time, Namibia was under German colonial rule, and the architecture is decidely Germanic! Many of the buildings were remarkably rich and ornate. In the 1930s, the area started to decline as the diamonds ran out, and many of the town's inhabitants moved down to South Africa. The town was finally deserted in the 1950s, and since then, the sands have overtaken the town, filling many of the buidlings as they are slowly swallowed up by the desert. We will get to the site as it opens, and will have plenty of time to photograph, as the light changes.

After some lunch, we make our way South-west travelling through some stunning scenery on our way to one of the most visited sites in Namibia, Sossusvlei. We will also have the chance of seeing some wild horses en route: descended from animals released by German settlers. We enter Sossusvlei in the afternoon, we spend the afternoon and capture the sunset in the park at the parks dunes.

We spend two nights at Sossus Dune Lodge. Built in an environmentally sensitive manner, primarily from wood, canvas and thatch, in an attractive 'afro-village' style, Sossus Dune Lodge offers guests an evocative and life changing experience. It is, admittedly a very expensive place to stay, and represents a significant percentage of the cost of the trip. However, as it is situated within the park, guests benefit from being able to reach Sossusvlei before sunrise, and stay until after sunset!

This is vital for getting to the atmospheric Dead Vlei to photograph the sunrise! When we relax in the lodge, between photographic missions, you will be able to relax in the tranquility and splendour of the Namib Desert, under the spectacular African sky. The lodge even has a swimming pool, and it is possible to swim, whilst desert birds swoop down to the pool to drink!

Included Activities:
Kolmanskop Ghost Town Tour (Including Photography Permits)

Accommodation: Sossus Dune Lodge or similar

Meal plan: Breakfast & Dinner

 

Day 6: Sossusvlei
Today is an early rise as we head out at dawn on a private 4x4 trip to Elim Dune, Dune 45 and Dead Vlei. We start at Dead Vlei, a vast and parched dry lake bed, dotted with ancient camelthorn trees. This is one of the most iconic places in the country, and staying at the lodge allows us to beet the crowds. If you are feeling energetic, it is possible to clim to the top of the adjacent Big Daddy dune, one of the highest in the world for incomparable views.

The 4WD safari also includes a glorious alfresco breakfast, and we will have plenty of time to explore before heading back to the lodge to recover from our early start!

This afternoon we take a visit to Sesriem Canyon, and small but atospherically eroded canyon, before heading back to Dune 45 to photograph the sunset. There is always the chance of encountering desert Oryx, and so you should always be prepared to photograph them. Again, if you have the energy, you can climb dune the dune, or simply explore the local area and save the dune climb for the following morning!

Included Activities:
Private Dead Vlei 4WD Sunrise Tour with Local Guide including a packed breakfast

Accommodation: Sossus Dune Lodge or similar

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

 

Day 7: Swakopmund
This morning we have the chance to head back into the park for sunrise, and will most likely attempt to climb Dune 45 to photograph the sunrise. This is an amazing, although rather exhausting experience. After returning to the lodge for breakfast, we d
epart and travel across the Namib Desert today to Swakopmund (280km, approximately 6hrs), a trip culminating in the gorgeous Atlantic Ocean coastline. The drive goes through a beautiful, diverse, colourful landscape. You'll see the awesome Kuiseb Canyon along the way, before arriving at the beachside town of Swakopmund, located on the Skeleton Coast.

The rest of the afternoon and evening is at leisure.

Accommodation: Prost Hotel or similar

Meal plan: Breakfast

 

Day 8: Swakopmund
Today we explore the area which offers wonderful marine, bird and wildlife such as birds in flight and head into the Namib Desert and attempt to find and photograph desert animals such as Palmato Gecko’s, Namaqua / Desert Chameleons, Side Winder Snakes and more. Afternoons will be spent either at Pelican point photographing the 40,000+ seals playing in the surf or we can photograph the thousands of Flamingos along the Walvisbay marine area.

Included Activities:
Full Day exploring Namib Desert, Swakopmund and Walvisbay

Accommodation: Prost Hotel or similar

Meal plan: Breakfast

 

Day 9: Twyfelfontein
Today we truly get off the beaten track, and head north along the atmospheric Skeleton coast. This earned its name from the large number of shipwrecks and washed up whale bones that can be found along this harsh and barren coastline. We will stop to photograph one of the more recent shipwrecks, before heading to the Cape Cross Seal Colony. This is a vast (and somewhat stinky) gathering of thousands of garralous fur seals. There is a walkway for tourists, but usually this is swamped by the seals, who can be approached to a few feet away.

The male seals are huge, and often fighting with each other for territory, and you have a good chance of seeing jackals, and if you are very lucky, hyenas, who scavange any dead, or dying seals.

We head up furtherup the coast through stunning scenery until we reach our lodge.

Included Activities:
Cape Cross Nature Reserve – Cape Cross Sea Colony

Accommodation trip one: Twyfelfontein Country Lodge or similar

Accommodation trip two: Brandberg White Lady Lodge or similar

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

 

Day 10: Damaraland
After breakfast and checking out we visit the Twyfelfontein Heritage Site and the Petrified Forest. Twyfelfontein has one of the largest concentrations of ancient rock engraving in southern Africa and is a fascinating insight into the past. The Petrified Forest looks back into nature’s history, where 280-million-year-old fossilised tree trunks lie.

We then continue onto our next lodge. The estimated travelling time is 3 hours.

The ancient landscapes of the Kunene Region are ruggedly spectacular, awesome sunsets and night skies filled with a multitude of dazzling stars await you. This part of Namibia is also known as Damaraland, as it is the ancestral home land of the enigmatic Damara people whose exact origins remain unclear. Also, home to the small population of hardy desert adapted elephant as well as a host of other unique flora

This afternoon we take a visit to a Himba Village, Himba Tribe nomadic indigenous people. Mostly found in the Northern Namibia. The men of the tribe move around a lot looking for water. Women and Children usually stay behind in the villages. Estimated population is around 50,000 people. They farm maize and millet and keep livestock for milk and meal and chickens for eggs. They make their villages from red clay soil and cow manure. Himba people cover themselves with a past which is a mixture of animal fat and hydrated iron rock, which protect them from the harsh environment.

The Himbas are one of the only living Nomadic Tribes left in Southern Africa that live a traditional life and have not converted to Westernised living. Although they do use mobile phones. When we visit the Tribes your local guide from the lodge will bring them some non-perishables to visit the village. There is no money exchange at all. The Himba Tribe don’t speak English; however, they will come over and chat to your local guide and your local guide will translate their stories to the group. They don’t mind being photographed and take lot of pride in their culture. The women of the tribe do sell hand crafted items for a small rate. The set up for their village is completely authentic and traditional to their community. There are no entrance fees to enter.

Included Activities:
Twyfelfontein Heritage Site and the Petrified Forest
Himba Village visit

Accommodation trip one: Khowarib Lodge or similar

Accommodation trip two: Fort Sesfontien Lodge or similar

Meal plan: Breakfast & Dinner

 

Day 11: Damaraland
Today we spend the day searching for the Desert Elephant in the Hoanib river area. This essentially involves a full day safari, where we attempt to see some of the animals that are uniquely adapted to this harsh desert area.

Although not a seperate species, the desert elephants have adapted to the environment with smaller bodies, longer legs and bigger feet than savannah elephants, making it easier for them to walk on sandy ground. There are only two distinct populations of desert elephants in Africa: in Mali, and this region of Namibia. Finding them is a truly special and unique experience.We should also see other animals, such ad giraffe, and many species of birds. There are also Rhinos here, although seeing them is very unlikely. There is a picnic lunch which is included in the tour.

Included Activities:
Full Day Desert Elephant Drive including lunch

Accommodation trip one: Khowarib Lodge or similar

Accommodation trip two: Fort Sesfontien Lodge or similar

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

 

Day 12: Etosha National Park
As we leave Damaraland and we make our way to Etosha National Park (220km approximately 5hrs). Namibia has protected its game reserves against poaching, so there are large herds of elephants, antelope and other herbivores. Ethosha is also one of the best places in the world to see the endangered Black Rhino.

We spend two nights at Okaukuejo Rest Camp, which is deservedly famous for its floodlit waterhole. After sunset floodlights illuminate the waterhole. This is the best time and place to see the endangered black rhino. This archaic mammal can often be seen drinking alongside lion and elephant. This is truly one of the most increible places to view wildlife in the entire world, and we have deliberately chosen to have two nights here to maximise the experience!

Etosha is a vast dry lake bed, dotted with a number of waterholes. We have timed this trip for the dry season, where vast numbers of animals congregate at the waterholes, making spotting and photographing them much easier. This is a completely different landscape, and wildlife experience to the plains of East Africa, but a great opportunity to see some of the most rare and incredible species on the continent!

Accommodation: Okaukuejo Rest Camp or similar

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

 

Day 13: Etosha National Park
E
njoy a full day of game viewing in the truck!

Keep your eyes peeled for elephants, which you might be lucky enough to come across, depending on the season. There's also the black rhino, Hartmann's mountain zebra, black-faced impala, roan antelope and the tiny Damara dik-dik, all of which you have the chance to spot during game drives. Game viewing in the park is relatively easy due to the man-made waterholes and the large, sparsely vegetated pans. The bushland surrounding the pans is hard to see through, but there are enough clearings, pans and waterholes to allow for some sightings.

We head back to the lodge in the evening., where you might like to finish up the day by taking a refreshing dip in the pool or enjoying a drink with your travellers to reflect on the day's adventure or spend another evening by the waterhole!

Included Activities:
Full Day Game Drive in Safari Truck

Accommodation: Okaukuejo Rest Camp or similar

Meal plan: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

 

Day 14: Windhoek
From Etosha National Park you will head to Windhoek, an old German colonial town, now a cosmopolitan centre (400km approximately 6hrs). The Germanic colonial architecture of this city contributes to its charming feel. You'll arrive in the late afternoon or early evening.

This evening we head out for our last dinner as a group to Joe's Beer House, one of Windhoek’s most famous German restaurants.

Accommodation: Roof of Africa, or similar

Meal plan: Breakfast & Dinner

 

Day 15: Windhoek
Sadly, your tour comes to an end. There are no activities planned for the final day and the tour officially finishes after breakfast! If you would like a later checkout, or to spend an extra night in the hotel, please contact Intrepid Travel.

Meal plan: Breakfast

 

Please note: although certain breakfasts are included in the itinerary, this is through the hotel on a Bed and Breakfast basis. As we are a photography tour, we may at times need to make an early start before breakfast is available at the hotel. In this case, an included breakfast may not be possible and we will have to make our own arrangements.

We will be travelling in a 24 seat overland vehicle, which means that we will have plenty of room for all of our photographic equipment, and also good access to windows for the game viewing.