Namibia 4-Day Tour | Guided | Group | from Windhoek

Fairy-circle tour to Wolwedans and Sossusvlei

On this special tour to the fairy circles followed by a visit to Sossusvlei you can experience two absolute highlights of Namibia. This compact tour is exclusively conducted as Tour Deluxe, so you will spend the first two nights in the uniquely beautiful 5-star Dune Camp on Wolwedans – the core area of the fairy circles. In the first three days you will experience extensively the mysterious phenomenon of the fairy circles and the vast landscape of the Namib. You will learn first-hand the latest knowledge from fairy circle research. Afterwards, in Sossusvlei and Deadvlei you have plenty of opportunities to experience the high sand dunes at close quarters. You can find a detailed description of the individual travel days on this page.

Day 1

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.

On the first day of the fairy-circle tour, 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, lunch package, dinner, park fees

Day 2

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.

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

Day 3

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.

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.)

Day 4

Sossusvlei - Windhoek

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. Windhoek in the evening.

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 the last 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. Afterwards we will start our return journey so that you will reach Windhoek again in the evening. 

Included services: Breakfast, transfer to Sossusvlei in 4WD, park fees

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Fairy-Circle Tour

Experience exclusively:

– the oldest desert in the world
– the mysterious fairy circles
– a presentation on the mystery
– ample information about Namibia’s nature
– the 5-star Dune Camp on Wolwedans
– Sossusvlei and Deadvlei

from 1,290 € (1,460 $)

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.