Namibia and Botswana – Desert and Delta

Trip Highlights: Visit community-owned and operated Kunene conservancies in northern Namibia and explore the contrasting environments of the Namib Desert and Okavango Delta on game drives, mokoro, and walking safaris.
Duration: 11 Days/ 10 nights

Destinations

Namib Desert ~ A narrow strip of land stretching across three countries (South Africa, Namibia, and Angola). The Namib Desert is considered the oldest desert in the world, dated at more than 80 million years old. Its inhabitants (from black rhinos to desert elephants to lions and cheetah) show an array of adaptations to this harsh environment.

Okavango Delta ~ One of the world’s largest inland water systems, a stark contrast to the dry Namib. Botswana’s wildlife is regarded as one of, if not the best in Southern Africa, both in terms of variety and numbers. Botswana is territory to the Big 5 (buffalo, rhino, elephant, leopard, and lion), the world’s largest densities of elephants, and an assortment of bird species.

OTHER NAMIBIA ITINERARIES

Below are some of our sample itineraries, but note that we can customize the perfect Namibia adventure that meets your needs.


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Sample Itinerary


DAY 1: Windhoek to Wereldsend ~ Road transfer from Windhoek to Wereldsend, where this itinerary starts and the historic base camp of the award-winning Namibian NGO called IRDNC (Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation). IRDNC is where the now national community-based conservation program in Namibia was piloted in the early 1980s. See the graveyard of bones along the Skeleton Coast, a reminder of the massive commercial poaching of the 70s and early 1980s that came close to wiping out the desert adapted elephant, black rhino and other native megafauna. Hear how rural communities turned this situation around and get an insider’s look at a field-based conservation and development organization at work. Tent camping at Wereldseld Camp (semi-permanent camp). (D)

DAY 2: Torra Conservancy, Damaraland, and Hoanib River ~ Today we set out early with Torra Conservancy game guards looking for desert-adapted black rhino and other fascinating animals and plants. Later we drive north via the village of Sesfontein (which means six springs), through red basalt hills, a signature feature of Damaraland. After Sesfontein, we leave the road to go into the dry bed of the Hoanib River, a linear oasis with majestic Ana, Leadwood and Camelthorn trees marking its course. The remainder of the day is spent exploring, searching for elephants, lions, giraffe, oryx and other wildlife which seasonally use this ephemeral river’s resources. In the late afternoon, we climb out of the river bed and make our camp at the foot of high hills providing us with an amazing view across the Hoanib Valley. Tent camping in Hoanib Valley. (B,L,D)

DAY 3: Puros Conservancy ~ We’ll start with a morning game drive before continuing north across magnificent desert terrain to the Puros Conservancy. This vast area, with a population of less than 300 Himba and Herero herders. Spend the evening around the campfire in the Conservancy Campsite, where elephants may stroll past your tent. This is a good opportunity, if you are interested, to obtain insights into the real conservation problems faced by local residents and their community-based solutions. Tent camping at Puros Conservancy Camp (semi-permanent camp). (B,L,D)

DAY 4: Orupembe Conservancy and Etambura Camp ~ We take a scenic drive up the Hoarusib River, cross the flank of the Etendeka Mountains and descend into the Khumib dry riverbed. Our route, through dramatic landscapes, passes small Himba settlements and we may see goats browsing with springbok nearby or a line of ostrich high-stepping past peacefully grazing cattle. Our destination for the next two nights is “Etambura Camp”, Namibia’s first Himba-owned camp, on a hilltop with views that will take your breath away. Relax in comfort in cliff-edge chalets, each with an en suite bathroom and private deck area. Built into the environment of rocks and desert plants, all are unique. Meet our Orupembe Conservancy hosts and spend an interesting evening at the fire talking to Himba game guards or conservancy staff about their work which includes monitoring rhino. Overnight in chalet at Etambura. (B,L,D)

DAY 5: Etambura Camp ~ Today’s emphasis is on the fascinating life and culture of semi-nomadic Himba people. Conservancy hosts will tell us about a profitable local business. After rains, usually in the months of December to April, Himba women harvest resin from Commiphora wildii – the perfume plant or myrrh made famous by the Bible’s three wise men. Hear how IRDNC assisted conservancy members to earn a regular annual income by sustainably harvesting and marketing this valuable product to international cosmetic companies. Learn about the challenges of living in an arid and harsh environment and see the fascinating adaptations that plants and animals require to survive here. Overnight in chalet at Etambura. (B,L,D)

DAY 6: Fairy Circles and Sesfontein Conservancy ~ After a hearty breakfast, we head south, traversing vast and silent plains. We once pause briefly in Puros, before following the course of the Gomatum River and cross the spectacular Giribis Plains with its mysterious Fairy Circles. We overnight at Sesfontein Conservancy’s Ganamub Mountain Camp built on a hillside among granite boulders. Immerse yourself in the sounds, scents and flavors of an African night around a crackling campfire, knowing your presence is making conservation sustainable for the people and animals who share this vast region. Tent camping at Ganamub Mountain Camp. (B,L,D)

DAY 7: Palmwag Concession and Windhoek ~ After a leisurely breakfast we travel via Sesfontein and past the game-rich Palmwag Concession area back to Wereldsend in time for your charter flight to Windhoek. Overnight in Windhoek. (B)

DAY 8: Maun, Botswana and Mapula Lodge ~ Morning charter flight to Maun, Botswana followed by another short flight to Mapula Lodge in the far northern reaches of the Okavango Delta. Mapula Lodge is one of the most remote camps in Botswana and the lodge’s private concession affords exceptional game drives in open 4X4 vehicles with skilled trackers. Overnight at Mapula Lodge. (D)

DAYS 9-10: Mapula Lodge ~ You have your choice of activities over the next two days. Options include game drives in search of species like the wild dogs that call Mapula home, mokoro tour, or a guided walk. The day will end with a scenic sundowner and night drive in search of nocturnal wildlife. Overnights at Mapula Lodge. (B,L,D)

DAY 11: Departure ~ After breakfast at the lodge, you can relax or go on another morning game drive before your transfer to the airstrip for your return flight to Maun. (B)

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DETAILS

Meals: B=Breakfast; L=Lunch; D=Dinner

Pricing from $5500 per person based on double occupancy.

Package includes airport transfers as listed, all flights mentioned, guide and camp fees, park entrance fees, concession fees, guided tours, accommodations and meals as listed in the itinerary. A donation to support local conservation efforts will be made on behalf of each participant.

Exclusions: international airfare, passport/visa fees, taxis, excess baggage fees, optional activities, gratuities, alcohol, items of a personal nature, and travel insurance.

This sample itinerary is a suggested outline.  It can be customized to best suit your travel plans.