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Highlights of Namibia - 17 days

Windhoek - Sossusvlei – Swakopmund - Damaraland - Ongava Game Reserve & Etosha National Park - Okonjima

With a virtually untouched landscape, it can be said that Namibia truly reflects nature in its original form. A population of around two million coupled with the fact that its land mass is over three times that of Great Britain means that Namibia boasts one of the world’s lowest population densities. The self-drive tour of this incredible country gives you the opportunity to take in a variety of its main highlights, starting in Windhoek. This is definitely one for those who love being on the road behind the wheel.

Highlights:
Explore the Namib Desert, the oldest and driest desert on earth.
Enjoy the popular coastal town of Swakopmund, on the Atlantic Ocean.
Visit Damaraland, home to the Desert Elephant and Black Rhino.
Safari in the famous Etosha National Park, surrounding a parched salt desert

Day 1-2: Arrival in Windhoek

After flying in to Hosea Kutako International Airport from your departing destination, you’ll collect your rental vehicle and drive to your Windhoek accommodation for the night.

Day 3-4: Explore Sossusvlei in the Namib-Naukluft National Park

On day three you’ll travel south through Reheboth, Solitaire and Sesriem, making your way to your lodge for a two night stay close to Sossusvlei in the Namib Naukluft Park. Sossusvlei is a mud pan created by an ephemeral desert river that flows through the Namib Desert every 5-10 years. The river drains differently each time as it is dependent on the previous year's mud deposition. This is what leads to those incredible signature shots of the area featuring dead Acacia trees that manage to be haunting yet beautiful at the same time. The complete lack of moisture means that the dead trees cannot decompose resulting in a kind of tree graveyard filled with century-dead trees. The striking orange-red dunes for which Sossusvlei is famous contrast beautifully against the intense blue of the sky and pure white of the salt pans helping to add to the other-worldly atmosphere, and you can only imagine the spectacular images you’ll be able to capture. The average dune is over 200m high with the largest “Big Daddy” being close to 380m high.

Day 5-6: Walvis Bay and Swakopmund missions

Head past the Naukluft Mountains, through Solitaire and in the direction of Walvis Bay. The drive along the coastline is simply spectacular eventually bringing you to Swakopmund for your next two night stay. Fly over the Skeleton Coast, go on a dolphin cruise and more while you’re here.

Swakopmund, known locally as Swakop, is a small city on the coast of western Namibia 280 km west of Windhoek and is the country's largest coastal town. A beloved holiday destination, it’s a playground for both tourists and locals looking to escape the heat of the interior and go on a little adventure. The beautiful old German Colonial buildings scattered throughout the city hint at the city's German origins, with, and are perfectly complemented by the palm-lined streets, seaside promenades, and buzzing restaurants, cafés, art galleries and museums – it’s hard to believe it’s a town sitting on the edge of the Namib Desert.

There's plenty to do within the city itself, but the real action happens out in the desert. Adrenaline junkies get their fix through quad-biking, sand-skiing, parasailing, sand-boarding and dozens of other guided thrill-inducing activities available by reservation from many of the adventure companies operating in the area. Nearby Walvis Bay offers dolphin cruises kayak tours – perfect for exploring the lagoon. With so much to choose from, Swakopmund will keep you well entertained yet if it’s relaxation you seek, that’s possible too.

Day 7-9: Damaraland and Twyfelfontein Conservancy

Enjoy the following three nights amongst magnificent desert scenery and all its delights – a truly unique landscape!

Damaraland is an unforgiving, sparsely populated, rocky environment that’s home to the majestic Desert Elephant and Black Rhino, as well as the highest mountain in Namibia, The Brandberg or “Fire Mountain”. An area of endless untamed beauty, it offers a captivating range of landscapes and environments to discover, ranging from vast open grassland plains, to mountains and deep gorges, with desert becoming more prevalent as you move further west. The Brandberg has some fascinating carved art and engravings, as does Twyfelfontein, which in fact has one of the largest collections of rock art in the whole of Africa. Interesting geological features such as the “Organ Pipes”, Burnt Mountain and the Petrified Forest, which is over 200 million years old, also lie close to Twyfelfontein. The conservancy is also not short on wildlife such as with ostrich, black rhino, elephant and springbok.

Day 10-13: Ongava Game Reserve and Etosha National Park

After breakfast travel through Khorixas and Outjo to reach Ongava Private Game Reserve for a two night stay, after which you’ll head through to the extraordinary Etosha National Park where you will stay at a lodge for a further two nights.

A game reserve since 1907 and National Park since 1967, Etosha National Park covers some 8,600 square miles of northwestern Namibia. “Etosha” means “Great White Place”, a most fitting name considering the impressive Etosha Pan, a 75 mile long dry salt lakebed that’s part of the Kalahari Basin, takes up a large part of the park. The savannah area surrounding the pan is home to diverse wildlife including flamingo, zebra, blue wildebeest, elephant, springbok, the endangered black rhinoceros, leopard, lion and antelope. The greater park is home to several hundred species of mammals, reptiles and birds.

Day 14: The AfriCat Foundation, Okonjima

Conservation is the name of the game at The AfriCat Foundation near Otjiwarongo which aims to protect and conserve threatened wild cat species such as cheetah and leopard. When you visit, you’ll see the programme at work and be able to learn more about these stunning creatures – a truly worthwhile experience.

Stay at one of two camps in Okonjima and enjoy activities like tracking rehabilitated carnivores on foot, visiting the AfriCat Carnivore Care & Information Centre, enjoying a guided Bushman Trail, or leopard tracking from a game–viewing vehicle. Birding and game drives can be arranged on request but only if guests stay longer than two days. Equipped with its own air strip, it’s also accessible by plane.

Day 15: Return to Windhoek

Head back to Windhoek today and drop off your car before catching your return flight home.

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