Namibia 12-Day Tour | Guided | Group | from Windhoek

12-day tour around Namibia

Here you will find a detailed description of each of the 12 days of the tour. On the tour you will get to know the extraordinary nature of the Namib, the multifaceted ecology of the desert, the mysterious fairy circles and the high sand dunes of Sossusvlei. Experience the Atlantic coast, the wild Damaraland and the wildlife of the Etosha National Park.

For this round trip you have the possibility to choose between two differently priced offers – the Tour Deluxe and the Tour Comfort. The Tour Deluxe includes eight overnight stays in highly exclusive accommodations such as the Ongava Lodge, the Mowani Mountain Camp, the Hilton Hotel and the famous 5-star Dune Camp at Wolwedans. The Tour Comfort has a very similar itinerary, but the above-mentioned luxury accommodations are replaced by comfortable but less pricey hotels and lodges. The descriptions of the individual travel days are valid for both tour variants. For each individual day of the round trip, you can first find the description for the Tour Deluxe and underneath it you can find information, if applicable, on how the Tour Comfort differs from it.

Day 1

Windhoek

View from the Independence Memorial Museum on the Tintenpalast - the seat of the Parliament of Namibia. View on Independence Avenue in the year 2008. This parking place does not exist anymore and new buildings have taken over the place. The city center in 2009. New buildings appear and change the town picture. View from Daan Viljoen Park towards Windhoek. In the back are the Auas Mountains which include to the far right Nambia’s second highest elevation - Mount Auas (2479 m). Giraffes at Daan Viljoen Game Park. In the background are the typical hills of the Khomas Highland. A group of oryx (gemsbok) in Daan Viljoen Game Park.

Tour Deluxe

After you have spent the first night at the Hilton Hotel and recovered from your journey to Namibia, we will visit the capital of the country. The Hilton Hotel is situated right at the Independence Avenue, hence we will explore the city center by foot.

At first we will visit the Independence Memorial Museum which was inaugurated in 2014. The look-out platform of the Panoramic Hall provides a magnificent view over Windhoek and its surrounding landscape. Here is the best location to explain the dynamic development that Windhoek has gone through since its independence in 1990. According to an official census, Windhoek’s population has risen alone between 2001 and 2011 from over 233 000 to over 325 000 inhabitants. Especially during the past twenty years, new buildings have been built at many locations and have thereby changed the town picture. The current townscape consists thus of small old buildings from German colonial times around 1900 and modern fronts from the recent past. Our city continues via the Christus church and down to the Independence Avenue and Post Street Mall with its many stores, restaurants and gift shops.

After lunch in the city center, we will drive 20 km to the Daan Viljoen Game Park in the Khomas Highland. From this park you cannot only see Windhoek in a distance but you may also spot giraffes, oryx antelopes, gnus, zebras and many bird species. I know this wildlife sanctuary since a long time and have published in 2005 an ecological study on this specific game park.

It will be my pleasure to tell you about the ecological drivers such as rain-water shortage, grazing pressure, changes in grass species compositions inside the park and more generally how the well-being of Namibia’s wildlife and cattle industry is strongly dependent on the yearly precipitation.

We will finish our first day of travelling in the legendary Joe’s Beerhouse where you get delicious and Namibian authentic barbecue food. Since 1991, Joe’s is THE address for visitors of the country and there is an un-official saying “You have not been to Namibia if you have not been to Joe’s”.

Afterwards, you will spend your second night in the Hilton-Hotel and the next morning we will start our eco tour towards the desert.

Included services: Accommodation, breakfast, park fees

 

Tour Comfort

Instead of staying the first two nights at the Hilton Hotel, you will stay at the 4-star Safari Court Hotel. The hotel is located in a spacious complex 3 km from the city center. For the sightseeing tour in the morning we will take the minibus from the hotel to the city center. Otherwise, the daily schedule is identical to that described above.

Included services: Accommodation, breakfast, park fees

Day 2

Windhoek - Wolwedans

The Khomas Highland reaches in central Namibia elevations between 1500 - 2000 m a.s.l. and rainfall events can be quite productive. Towards the west, just as here behind the C19 road, vegetation cover strongly declines and camel thorn trees prevail as isolated patches. The first fairy circles appear on the way towards Wolwedans. A typical gravel road along the Namib Desert. Now, we are almost there. The Dune Camp is situated right behind the mountain, within the endless sea of red dune sand.

Tour Deluxe

On the second day of our round trip, we are driving from Windhoek to Wolwedans – into Namibia’s southwestern core area of the fairy circles. The day trip will be about 380 km long and at first we will cross the Khomas Highland plateau with its numerous commercial cattle farms. This farming region in the highlands benefits quite well from annual rainfall caused by orographic uplifts along the mountains. The warm rising air is forced upwards and its condensation results in around 350 mm annual precipitation which, however, is declining westwards to just about 30 mm in the Namib Desert. Since Namibia receives its moist air and thus rainfall primarily from the north-east of the country, a drive westwards towards the Namib is thus always an increasing experience of the arid desert environment. Hence, during the day trip you will recognize how tree cover and vegetation in general are declining and that live conditions become harsher. The special charm of drylands is the perception how men, animals and plants have to cope with increasing water stress in order to survive. Often, this fascination about desert environments emerges only at second glance – it will be my favor to help you getting this glance right in time.

After a lunch break on the way we will reach in the afternoon the C19 gravel road (Afrkaans: pad) just after crossing the Tsauchab ephemeral river. Behind that road we will already get to see the first fairy circles on the tour. Fairy circles start to occur in Namibia below the 150 mm rainfall isohyet, hence from now on we will see them more and more frequently on our way towards Wolwedans. However, already those first appearing fairy circles just after the C19 road are very interesting because those are thriving on the ecological system borders where they exist. Thus, we will stop already there and I will explain to you the phenomenon of the mysterious fairy circles briefly right at the site.

From now on, our final destination is not far away anymore. We will soon enter the NamibRand Nature Reserve (NRNR), which is with about 200 000 hectare one of the largest privately owned nature conservation areas on the African continent. On late afternoon we will get to Wolwedans where you will stay the next two nights.

The Wolwedans Dune Camp is one of the most fascinating and exclusive destinations to overnight in Namibia because you will be surrounded by unspoiled dune landscapes as far as the eye can see. After you have enjoyed the dinner, I am inviting you to a talk about past and current fairy circle research, which will be an introduction to the subject matter as well as for the next day.

Included services: Accommodation, breakfast, lunch package, dinner, park fees

 

Tour Comfort

On day 2 after arriving in the Pro-Namib area we will not yet drive to the NamibRand Nature Reserve and Wolwedans. Instead, you will spend the next two nights not far away in the comfortable Elegant Desert Lodge. Here you can relax after arrival, enjoy the pool, eat well and watch the game at the waterhole. In preparation for the next day, I invite you to a talk about past and current fairy circle research in the evening.

Included services: Accommodation, breakfast, lunch package

Day 3

Wolwedans

The Wolwedans Dune Camp has a unique isolated location within the red sand dunes. The luxury camp provides exclusive views over the surrounding desert landscape. The fairy circles - here viewed from a balloon - are considered as one of Nature’s greatest mysteries. Typically, fairy circles exhibit strictly ordered distances in-between each other. On our day trip, we will extensively explore the mysterious fairy circles. Our fantastic day will end with a sundowner on a scenic viewing platform.

Tour Deluxe

Today you will get to know the fairy circles in detail. Wolwedans can be considered as an important core area of fairy circle research because, contrary to all other regions such as the remote Kaokoveld in the north-west of the country, Wolwedans is  quite easily accessible. Its suitable infrastructure has thus favored in the past in-situ research on fairy circles. Moreover, the area around Wolwedans receives a mean annual precipitation of around 70 to 100 mm rainfall, which are ideal conditions for numerous fairy circles to thrive. Notably, Wolwedans is amongst all Namibian regions the one possessing the highest density of fairy circles per hectare. Hence, the ecosystem around Wolwedans is a particularly spectacular location to exemplify the landscape-scale phenomenon of fairy circles.

On our day trip in an open-roof Land Rover we will drive to various spots in the NamibRand Nature Reserve and stop every now and then at some fairy circles. I will then explain to you all details on fairy circles and will respond extensively to your questions. A number of information on current research you can already access in the rubric Fairy Circles, however, the fairy circle mystery is best explained at the site during that day. Of course, during our journey to this highlight offered by NAMIBIA-ECO-TOURS you will get to know deeper insights into the ecology of the living environment of fairy circles. How is the sparse annual rainfall distributed in space at the site and temporally over the year or decade? How do the annual and perennial grasses cope with this water shortage? In how far are the fairy circles spatially connected via the below-ground distribution of soil water? Why do the fairy circles exhibit such strictly ordered distances in-between each other and why are they circular? Which influence does have wind on the shape of fairy circles and how quickly do new circles emerge or do old circles disappear again? What has been found in the soil so far and which of the existing causal hypotheses is the most likely one? All these questions can be answered in detail on this day or can be discussed, respectively, in case there is no clear answer yet on certain questions. You are most welcome to contribute with speculations and your own new ideas. Due to my long-term research activities on the subject of fairy circles, which started with our first publication in the year 2000, I will be able to share with you the latest state of knowledge on the topic.

After you have returned to the lodge for lunch and a bit of relaxation, we will do another scenic drive with the Land Rover. This time we will most likely also spot some antelopes such a springbok or oryx and at the end of the day trip you will have got to know the exceptionally beautiful area around Wolwedans very well. In the early evening we will then visit a nearby scenic viewing platform and enjoy a sundowner and during dinner you can unroll the day with a delicious meal.

Included services: Accommodation, breakfast, lunch, dinner, game drive in 4WD, park fees

 

Tour Comfort

Today you will get to know the fairy circles in detail. Before noon we will visit the first fairy circles only 10 km away from your lodge. Here along the C19 road the circles show up for the first time on the way to Wolwedans. After a lunch break we will see more fairy circles in the NamibRand Nature Reserve. In the early afternoon we reach Wolwedans as an important core area for fairy circle research. As described above, we will drive in the open Land Rover on a tour of several hours through the dunes and I will give you all information about the fairy circles. In the evening we are back at the Elegant Desert Lodge.

Included services: Accommodation, breakfast, lunch package, game drive in 4WD, park fees

Day 4

Wolwedans - Sossusvlei

In the foreground is a fairy circle near Sesriem and in the back are nests of the sociable weaver. Of all bird species, the sociable weavers are building the largest known bird nests which can accommodate over a hundred pairs. The Sesriem Canyon from the bird’s eye perspective. In the background you can see the Tsauchab River, meandering westwards towards the Sossusvlei. The Sesriem Canyon in the dry season. In the dry season, a permanent reservoir provides water to animals. During the rainy season from February to April, the Tsauchab is often flowing through the canyon with rain water of the eastern catchment area in the Naukluft Mountains. View from an airplane on the Elim Dune at the end of the gravel road. The Elim Dune is easy to climb and provides beautiful view points from various elevations.

Tour Deluxe

At sunrise, you will have the opportunity for a unique balloon drive with Namib Sky Balloon Safaris. The views during early morning light over the Namib’s endless red dune landscape are gorgeous. You will not only spot the fairy circles from the bird’s-eye perspective but you may also see other inhabitants of the dunes such as oryx, zebra and springbok.

In case you prefer to start the day without optional balloon ride but with an unhurried breakfast, you will have enough time in the morning to wander around the Dune Camp and enjoy the lovely photo scenes such as the characteristic sand ripples and grass plants moving in the wind.

Afterwards, we will head towards Sossusvlei where we will reach the Sossus Dune Lodge around noon. Here, you will enjoy your lunch, find your accommodation and have a rest. In the afternoon, we will visit the Sesriem-Canyon which is situated nearby the lodge and provides cool shade from the sun. Over the last two million years, this up to 30 m deep canyon was eroded by the ephemeral Tsauchab River which flows 50 km westwards into the Sossusvlei. The canyon does have a permanent spot containing water which is used by animals – otherwise, the river only flows during the rain season.

After the canyon, we will pass the small village Sesriem and drive to the Elim Dune within the Namib-Naukluft National Park. This dune is easy to climb and offers at various heights a range of different viewing points. Here, you will also find beautiful photo motifs of the wave-like dune sand and Stipagrostis grasses. Even fairy circles you may see from the Elim Dune, however, under the prevailing arid conditions of just about 70 mm annual precipitation, the circles are only sparsely distributed. The dune is also ideal for a Sundowner before we drive back for dinner to the Sossus Dune Lodge.

Included services: Accommodation, breakfast, park fees (The balloon drive is optional and not included in the price.)

 

Tour Comfort

Except for the accommodation, this day is identical to the descriptions above. After breakfast, you can either walk around the Elegant Desert Lodge on hiking trails and look out for unique photo shots or take an optional balloon drive. In the early afternoon we will arrive at Sossus Dune Lodge.

Included services: Accommodation, breakfast, park fees (The balloon drive is optional and not included in the price.)

Day 5

Sossusvlei - Rostock Ritz

A highlight of the tour is the ascent of the Dune 45. The ascent along the ridge of the dune is great fun for all visitors. Dryness characterizes the landscape around the Dune 45. View over Deadvlei to the right in the foreground and Sossusvlei to the left. The camel thorn trees died 500 to 600 years ago. Deadvlei is surrounded by huge dunes, with the 325 m high “Big Daddy” in the background. At the pool of the Rostock Ritz Desert Lodge you can perfectly relax with a wonderful view.

Tour Deluxe

The Sossus Dune Lodge is located within the borders of the Naukluft National Park. Hence we can drive to the famous Dune 45 in the early morning before sunrise. You will enjoy this fantastic highlight of the tour in the best light of the first rays of the sun. The dune is located 45 km from the entrance gate and offers a wonderful view over the whole valley of the Tsauchab River. But even if you don’t want to go up to the 85 m high top of the dune, there are beautiful photo motives of red shining sand and the individual gnarled trees around the dunes. The fine sand, which invites you to walk barefoot, is about 2 million years old. The petrified layer of sand underneath, also known as Tsondab sandstone, is even 12 to 20 million years old. This makes the Namib Desert the oldest desert in the world, even before the Sahara.

After the Dune 45 we drive on to Deadvlei, 20 km west, which is another highlight of the tour. Before the Deadvlei, the Tsauchab River finally sands up in the Sossusvlei, although it reached once a long geological time ago the Atlantic Ocean. Even today the Tsauchab still flows underground along old flow paths to the Atlantic Ocean, where fresh water outlets can be found at the coast near Meob Bay. Also the Deadvlei was originally fed with water from the Tsauchab River until 500 to 600 years ago, when the climate changed, the water table dropped and new insurmountable dune elevations separated the Deadvlei from the Sossusvlei. The once many camel thorn trees could not be supplied with enough water anymore and since then the trees are preserved by the dry heat and are standing like statues in the vlei. The white clay pan, the almost black burned dead trees, the red shimmering sand of the dunes and the deep blue sky offer you unique photo scenes that will make your journey unforgettable. In the background of Deadvlei there is “Big Daddy” with a height of 325 m, which is the highest dune in Sossusvlei.

After our tour to Sossusvlei we head back to the lodge, where we will also see a few isolated fairy circles along the way. We will have lunch at the lodge and you can relax for the time being. Then we drive north to the Rostock Ritz Desert Lodge. On the way we will stop in Solitaire, which is famous for its decorative vintage cars at the entrance to the petrol station. There is also a small shop where you can buy cool drinks. In the early afternoon we will reach Rostock Ritz. Now you can lie comfortably at the pool and relax before we do a small excursion in the late afternoon with the 4WD car. Here you will get to know the fascinating landscape around Rostock Ritz and enjoy a sundowner drink with the best view of the surroundings. Dinner at the lodge is superb and you can end the day with an excellent à la carte menu.

Included services: Accommodation, breakfast, transfer to Sossusvlei in 4WD, game drive in 4WD, park fees

 

Tour Comfort

No deviations – this day is identical to the above descriptions.

Included services: Accommodation, breakfast, game drive in 4WD, park fees

Day 6

Rostock Ritz - Swakopmund

The surroundings of the Rostock Ritz Desert Lodge offer interesting hiking trails with magnificent views over the landscape. On the left side you can see the Rotstock Mountain, which stands out from the landscape. An ostrich can almost always be found in the Namib. The Kuiseb Canyon in the foreground - on the horizon you can see the flat plateau of the 2347 m high Gamsberg. A small path leads to the first “flat” of Henno Martin and Hermann Korn - the Carp Cliff. View from the Carp Cliff to the gorges of Kuiseb. To the left on the horizon is the Gamsberg, to the right the Rotstock. Further westwards the Kuiseb widens and has dense trees. The sand on the south side of the river does not reach the gravel plains on the north side, since it is washed downstream during strong floods of the rainy season.

Tour Deluxe

The Rostock Ritz Desert Lodge is beautifully situated amidst an unspoiled landscape, where there is no road and no fence disturbing your view. After breakfast I would like to offer you a short hike in the local area of the lodge. In the morning light the surrounding mountains like the Rotstock, the stony hills and the sand dunes shimmer most beautifully and it is the best time of the day to watch springboks, zebras, ostriches or oryx. Just nearby the lodge we can also find fairy circles, which are quite numerous here.

Afterwards we drive towards Swakopmund. We will first drive through the spectacular Kuiseb Canyon. The Kuiseb River is like all other Namibian rivers, which do not form the southern or northern border of the country, an ephemeral river which flows only sporadically during the rainy season. However, the Kuiseb is a very special river, because of its large catchment area in the Khomas Highlands and its large width of several hundred meters, it has a great influence on the appearance of the Namib Desert. The Kuiseb forms a sharp border, bisecting the Namib with the Great Sand Sea and its high dunes in the south and the gravel plains without fine sand in the north of the river. Although the permanent southwesterly winds blow the sand of the dunes to the north, the strong floods during the rainy season cause the sand to be washed out of the river bed again and again, so that it never reaches the northern gravel plains. The Kuiseb is also an important linear oasis, as it enables the growth of large trees that run through the barren Namib as a green belt. This belt thus helps many wildlife and bird species to survive even in the most arid conditions.

The Kuiseb, with its partly long-lasting watering holes, which stay in the shade of the high canyon rocks, has also secured a survival for two German geologists at the beginning of the Second World War. In order to avoid their own imprisonment, Henno Martin and Hermann Korn hid in the Kuiseb gorges in 1940, where they lived for two and a half years a primitive life as hunters, constantly driven by hunger. Henno Martin’s book “The Sheltering Desert” impressively describes the Robinsonade of that time and the book is regarded as a homage to the sparse, but nevertheless enchanting beauty of the Namib Desert. On our tour we will visit the so-called Carp Cliff, the first “flat” of the geologists,  also known as Henno Martin & Hermann Korn Shelter. Afterwards we drive further west through the Namib-Naukluft National Park, where we will arrive in the late afternoon at the Hotel Zum Kaiser in Swakopmund.

Included services: Accommodation, breakfast, lunch package

 

Tour Comfort

No deviations – this day is identical to the above descriptions.

Included services: Accommodation, breakfast, lunch package

Day 7

Swakopmund - Desert - Swakopmund

The Moon Landscape 30 km east of Swakopmund. A Namaqua chameleon in the Namib. A large female Welwitschia plant, which, like any other Welwitschia, consists of only two leaves. A small male Welwitschia plant in which the two leaves can be seen more clearly. The beach of Swakopmund invites you for a walk. Shore angling is a popular leisure activity among the local population.

Tour Deluxe

Today you will have a relaxing day, because we won’t be driving much. Instead, you will have plenty of time to discover Swakopmund and its coast in the afternoon.

Perhaps in the morning there will still be the typical coastal fog in the town caused by the cold Benguela current from Antarctic waters. The cool air masses hit the hot air of the Namib Desert on the coast, the heavier cold air pushes itself under the hot air and condenses to fog – which makes Swakopmund at least 120 days per year to a climatically very pleasant residence. For this reason, the town is very popular among the local people of Namibia, who like to “escape” from Windhoek in the centre of Namibia to the coast, especially during the hot Christmas season. But also the life of the plants and animals is strongly influenced by the coastal fog, as the sparse rainfall of only about 20 mm per year is extremely low. Many insects and even shallow-rooted grasses are thus dependent on condensing water droplets or on the wetting of the soil surface with dew.

After breakfast we drive eastward to the Namib Desert, because you should definitely have seen the famous Moon Landscape and the wondrous Welwitschia plants. If you are lucky, we can discover one or another desert dweller like the Namaqua Chameleon, which is one of the largest chameleons in southern Africa with a length of up to 25 cm. Just like the large Kuiseb River, the Swakop has a huge catchment area, too, which originates in the Khomas Highlands. 30 km east of its estuary is the largely vegetation-free Moon Landscape, which the Swakop has cut into the landscape over several hundred million years by river erosion. You could really make a film about the moon landing here. Not far away you can admire the bizarre Welwitschia plants (Welwitschia mirabilis), which consist of only two permanently growing leaves that are never shed and which over the years more and more fray. Particularly old specimens can thus reach a height of more than one meter and a diameter of more than eight meters. These plants are dioecious, hence there are male and female plants. They are very special because they only occur along the Namib, their age can often be 500-1000 years and they belong to the gymnosperms and thus have naked seeds like the conifers.

After our half-day trip into the desert you will have the opportunity to explore Swakopmund. The town has many souvenir shops, clothing and book stores, coffee shops, a long jetty and of course a lot of beach and sea. Take your time and explore the old buildings, some of which are more than one hundred years old. A visit to the National Marine Aquarium of Namibia is also highly recommended. Most of the attractions are only a few hundred meters away from the Hotel Zum Kaiser, so that you can comfortably reach any place. But maybe you don’t want to do anything at all and just want to send a few photos via the internet. This will also be possible on this relaxing day before we will go to the Damaraland the next day.

Included services: Accommodation, breakfast, lunch package, park fees

 

Tour Comfort

No deviations – this day is identical to the above descriptions.

Included services: Accommodation, breakfast, lunch package, park fees

Day 8

Swakop - Spitzkoppe - Twyfelfontein

The Spitzkoppe on the right offers an impressive photo scene from all sides. From the 1920s to 1990 tin was mined at Uis. Behind the fairy circle, the mighty Brandberg Massif can be seen, which is with 2573 m Namibia's highest elevation. The Euphorbia virosa, here near the Mowani Mountain Camp, belongs to the spurge family but is not a cactus. It is one of the most poisonous plant species in the world. The Mowani Mountain Camp integrates beautifully into the landscape around Twyfelfontein.

Tour Deluxe

Today we go to the Damaraland. Instead of wide flat plains or sand dunes, you will now experience a more hilly and rocky landscape. On our tour to Twyfelfontein we will see striking elevations such as the Spitzkoppe or Namibia’s highest mountain, the Brandberg. First we will drive to the Spitzkoppe, where we will arrive after about two hours and have lunch. The 1728 m high Spitzkoppe is an extraordinary mountain – it is also called the Matterhorn of Namibia. The granite rock rises about 670 m above the surrounding plains. Throughout the whole area there are smaller rounded rock formations, most of which can be easily climbed due to the flat slopes and porous granite surface. Often one can hear the echo of the calls of flying pale-winged starlings in the rocky gorges, which are easy to recognize with their white wings and black bodies. The Spitzkoppe is a paradise for nature lovers. Photographers get their money’s worth and we will therefore take a two-hour break on site.

After lunch we continue northwards to the small settlement of Uis, where we will also stop. Uis is a very quiet place, which as a former tin mining town has had its time of prosperity long time ago. Nowadays, however, some Namibians are deliberately retiring here, because the place is so tranquil and has little in common with the more hectic Windhoek. After leaving Uis behind us, we can see to the west the highest mountain of Namibia which is the Brandberg with 2573 m rising above sea level. Here near the Brandberg there is also another hotspot with fairy circles, which in that high concentration occur only further north, for example, in the Giribes Plains or the Marienfluss Valley. Directly next to the Brandberg is the Ugab River which can only flow during the rainy season. From the Ugab towards the north, you can now see more and more of the wild animals typical of the Damaraland such as zebras, springboks, giraffes, kudus and, with exceptionally good luck, even a black rhinoceros. This is because in the Damaraland north of the Ugab, the huge area in the northwest of Namibia begins, where the local nature conservation project IRDNC has been working so successfully in the last decades. It was also here in the Damaraland that the establishment of the Save The Rhino Trust (SRT) in the early 1980s was a major contribution to protecting the black rhinoceros. An important SRT field station is still operating at the Ugab on the west side of the Brandberg, from where regular patrols are carried out to protect the rhinos.

In the late afternoon we will arrive in the Twyfelfontein area, which is characterized by its bizarre landscape of many small granite outcrops. The Mowani Mountain Camp is perfectly integrated into this landscape and the lodge will be your place to stay on this day.

Included services: Accommodation, breakfast, lunch package, dinner, park fees

 

Tour Comfort

Except for the accommodation in the evening, this day is identical to the descriptions above.

Instead of staying at the Mowani Mountain Camp, you will stay at the very comfortable Twyfelfontein Country Lodge. The lodge is beautifully integrated into the mountain scenery of Twyfelfontein and offers great recreation.

Included services: Accommodation, breakfast, lunch package, dinner, park fees

Day 9

Twyfelfontein - Grootberg

A typical view of Damaraland during the rainy season in March. Wild animals such as giraffes can often be found right next to the road. With great luck you can even find a leopard along the road. A black rhino in the last evening light in Damaraland. The rare and strictly protected animals are very shy for good reason. At the end of the rainy season in May, the grass gradually turns yellow. After a long dry season like here in December, the striking Euphorbia damarana stand out. At the end of the day we drive up the Grootberg-Pass to the lodge, from where you have a great view into the valley.

Tour Deluxe

In the morning, you will get to know all the beauty of Damaraland and the region around Twyfelfontein on a four hour drive in an open off-road vehicle. After breakfast we will explore the surroundings in the best photo light and look for desert-adapted elephants. Desert-adapted elephants are not a subspecies of their own, but compared to savanna elephants they have physical adaptations, which make it easier for them to survive in the dryland areas. Their feet are a little wider, so that they can walk better through deep sand. Desert-adapted elephants often have to travel very long distances of up to 70 km to get from one dry river bed to the next. This is because the dry rivers with their dense, year-round green trees and bushes are the main source of food for elephants in the northwest of Namibia. Hopefully we will find elephants in the Huab River bed this morning.

After our safari into the bush we will drive to the blackish Burnt Mountain and the Organ Pipes at Twyfelfontein. The Organ Pipes made of dolorite, a form of basalt, are of volcanic origin and were created by cooling down molten material. They form polygonal stone columns that look like organ pipes. If you wish, we can also visit the Twyfelfontein rock engravings, of which there are more than 2500 pieces and which can be several thousand years old.

Then we drive north to the Grootberg Lodge. Here you will get to know a new type of landscape of the Damaraland – instead of granite outcrops, from now on large table mountains with a flat plateau dominate the surroundings. The barren but beautiful landscape is dotted with a carpet of stones everywhere, which is only loosened up by dry river courses or by individual Euphorbia bushes, Mopane trees or other shrubs. We will probably see some wildlife along the way on our trip through the Torra Conservancy, as almost all mammals – from lions to rhinos – are native to this communal area. Even wild leopards can be found with great luck right next to the road. The attraction of the Damaraland is probably exactly this: you are outside a national park in an area where humans with their sheep and goats are at home and yet you can see all kinds of free-roaming animals in the wild. In the afternoon we will reach the lodge on the Grootberg from where you have a wonderful view over the wide valley.

Included services: Accommodation, breakfast, lunch package, dinner, game drive in 4WD

 

Tour Comfort

Except for the accommodation in the morning, this day is identical to the above descriptions. From the Twyfelfontein Country Lodge we will also explore the surroundings in an off-road vehicle after breakfast and look for desert-adapted elephants in particular.

Included services: Accommodation, breakfast, lunch package, dinner, game drive in 4WD

Day 10

Grootberg - Ongava Game Reserve

A hike at Grootberg offers stunning views over the Klip-River Valley and the table mountains of the Etendeka Plateau. The Monteiro’s hornbill is quite common in north-western Namibia. Scorpions are rarely seen during the day, as they hide - for example from hungry hornbills - under stones or in fissures. With a bit of luck you can see Hartmann’s mountain zebras on the hike at the Grootberg. During our drive to the Ongava Lodge you can take a last look at the table mountains of the Damaraland.

Tour Deluxe

On the last day in the Damaraland you will be able to enjoy the magnificent views of the picturesque table mountains once again. The more than 20 km wide view of the Klip-River Valley below the lodge is extremely spectacular – but a hike on the plateau of the Grootberg is even more breathtaking. Before we start the four-hour drive to the Ongava Game Reserve on this day, a small hike along the Grootberg is thus a welcome change after breakfast. Here you will get to know new views of the table mountains which belong to the so-called Etendeka Plateau. The mountains of the Etendeka Plateau are of volcanic origin and were formed over 130 million years ago. They are basically solidified huge lava fields, which once reached the surface as magma from the earth’s interior and flooded the landscape. To this day, erosion has not been able to eliminate these hard lava fields, so that some of the basalt layers are still up to 900 m thick. In the northwest of Namibia, these gigantic Etendeka volcanic fields occupy an area of 78,000 km2, which is why they are so characteristic of the landscape of the Damaraland.

However, on our hike from the lodge you will not only encounter lifeless stones – this might be too boring for one or the other visitor. The chances of seeing colorful life in the morning from flying birds to grazing zebras are fortunately very high. Also rock hyrax, a steenbok or one or the other lizard can be observed on the hike. Binoculars are therefore highly recommended, because where else can one observe such a variety of animals absolutely free-roaming in the wild without any fences!

With the end of the hike we return to the lodge where you can relax and recover before the departure. After lunch, we will have a four-hour drive to the Ongava Lodge, which is only a stone’s throw away from the entrance gate of Etosha National Park. The exclusive lodge offers first-class comfort and a veranda overlooking an illuminated waterhole. The Ongava Game Reserve itself is 30,000 ha in size and is home to over 100 species of mammals, from lions to elephants, virtually all of the species found in Etosha National Park.

Included services: Accommodation, breakfast, lunch package, dinner, hiking tour, park fees

 

Tour Comfort

Except for the accommodation in the evening, this day is identical to the above descriptions. On the Tour Comfort we will not spend the night in the Ongava Game Reserve, but only a few kilometers away at the Etosha Safari Lodge. The comfortable lodge offers a great view over the landscape and is only 10 km from the entrance gate of Etosha National Park.

Included services: Accommodation, breakfast, lunch package, hiking tour, park fees

Day 11

Etosha National Park

At the edge of the salt pan. Diversity in the Etosha National Park: on the right a springbok and an ostrich, on the left zebras gallop through the picture, behind are elephants and oryx antelopes. A larger herd of springbok is looking for shade in the midday sun. In the foreground are blue wildebeest, giraffes are feeding in the background. Black-faced impalas are named after their typical black blaze down the front of their face.

Tour Deluxe

Founded in 1964, the Etosha National Park is one of the largest parks in Africa with over 22,000 km2. It is even bigger than the famous Serengeti NP in Tanzania or the Kruger NP in South Africa. The reserve around the Etosha pan had been even larger in the middle of the last century, but it was reduced to its present size by 1970 and completely fenced in 1973. Etosha means “great white place” in the local Ovambo language, which of course refers to the white salt pan, which is the remnant of a former inland lake. The Etosha pan itself is enormously large with more than 4,700 km2 and therefore easy to see from the airplane when you fly from Angola towards Windhoek. During the rainy season, the salt pan is well filled with water because it has no outflow – but during the dry season, when the water has evaporated, the typical white salt lake remains. Then the wild animals are mainly to be found around the individual water holes along the salt pan.

Etosha is a paradise for animal lovers. The park is home to 114 small and large mammal species, 340 resident and migratory bird species, 110 species of reptiles and 16 species of amphibians. Apart from wild dogs, buffaloes, hippos and crocodiles, the Etosha NP is home to almost all wildlife species found in southern Africa. Among them are the quite rare black-faced impalas. This subspecies occurs with less than 4000 individuals only in the northwest of Namibia to southern Angola, of which almost half of the population lives in the Etosha National Park. Etosha is also known for its large elephant population of over 2500 animals. So you will have the best opportunities to experience these big animals in close proximity.

We’ll be in the park all day long, driving along the paths. At noon there will be a lunch package and cold drinks available. Charge the batteries of your camera on the eve of the safari day, so that you can capture this special animal diversity forever in your photos. In the late afternoon we return to the Ongava Lodge, where you can watch again the four-legged visitors at the illuminated waterhole.

Included services: Accommodation, breakfast, lunch package, dinner, park fees

 

Tour Comfort

Except for the overnight stay at the Etosha Safari Lodge, this day is identical to the above mentioned descriptions.

Included services: Accommodation, breakfast, lunch package, hiking tour, park fees

Day 12

Ongava Game Reserve - Windhoek

The smallest antelope of Namibia - a Damara Dik-Dik with a shoulder height below 40 cm. A Cape ground squirrel can be seen quite often in Namibia. A Swainson’s Francolin is just coming out of the bush. The Northern Black Korhaan has an eye-catching marking and is quite common in Namibia.

Tour Deluxe

Unfortunately, your last day of travel begins today. But once again, you will have the opportunity to experience up close the African wildlife. In the morning you will be able to enjoy a safari through the Ongava Game Reserve with the Land Rover. If you didn’t find one or the other species in Etosha National Park the day before, you will now have a new opportunity to spot them on a game drive. In the Ongava Game Reserve you can see almost the entire species richness of Etosha National Park. Leopards, cheetahs, spotted hyenas, lions, white rhinoceroses, warthogs, baboons, porcupines, ground squirrels, large eland antelopes or tiny Damara Dik-Diks – all of these species can be found this morning with a bit of luck. Of course, the birds are also especially active in the morning. Ongava offers 340 species of birds – from ostriches and parrots to secretary birds, you can see the entire colorful life of bird diversity.

After the morning safari we will start our 460 km long drive back to Windhoek. You will have the opportunity to buy some souvenirs for your home at the big souvenir market in Okahandja. The wood market is known for its wide range of craft work. Afterwards we drive back to the Hilton-Hotel in Windhoek, where you have already spent the first two nights. At the end of your tour we will eat dinner at Joe’s Beerhouse and let the 12 days of the tour pass in review.

Included services: Accommodation, breakfast, lunch package, game drive in 4WD, park fees

 

Tour Comfort

On the last day of the tour we will drive once more into the Etosha National Park in the morning. Here we will go west along the salt pan to see this part of the park. With a little bit of luck, you will then be able to see some of the animal species that you may not have seen the day before. After this safari we return to Windhoek where you will stay again at the Safari Court Hotel. But first we will eat dinner at the legendary Joe’s Beerhouse and finish the tour in a cosy atmosphere.

Included services: Accommodation, breakfast, lunch package, park fees

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12-Day Tour

Experience exclusively:

– the oldest desert in the world
– Namibia’s unique ecology
– the mysterious fairy circles
– the wild Damaraland and Etosha
– scientific information on Namibia’s nature
– great accommodation and food

from 2,950 € (3,350 $)

Welcome to NAMIBIA-ECO-TOURS. Due to my studies in Namibia and interest in dryland ecology, I have known this exceptionally beautiful country for more than 20 years now. I invite you to an exclusive tour through Namibia.