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Namibia Highlights

Namibia Highlights 12 nights from £3299 per person including international scheduled flights and sharing a double room.

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Namibia

With its well-developed infrastructure, some of the best tourist facilities in Africa and an impressive list of breathtaking natural wonders, touring Namibia is truly a pleasure. Visit the capital of Windhoek and the lovely coastal town of Swakopmund to discover remnants of the country’s German influence, reflected in the architecture, culture, cuisine and the annual Oktoberfest celebrations. To properly appreciate this extraordinary country you will have to venture out of the cities to explore the remarkable natural landscapes that Namibia has to offer.

These include – the impressive Fish River Canyon Park, the vast Etosha National Park teeming with local subspecies, such as desert lions, desert elephants and the Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra, the hauntingly beautiful Kalahari Desert and of course the Namib Desert stretching for nearly 1000 km along the magnificent Atlantic coastline. Namibia is an ideal destination for travellers seeking an unforgettable African experience in a uniquely beautiful untamed wilderness.

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Windhoek

Windhoek is Namibia’s capital, home to an international airport and a plethora of restaurants, shops, entertainment venues and accommodation options. The city is clean, safe and well-organised with a colonial legacy that is reflected in its many German eateries and shops and the widespread use of the German language. Windhoek has an interesting mix of historical architecture and modern buildings, many of which are worth a visit, including the Alte Feste (Old Fort), the 1896 Christuskirche (Christ Church), and the more contemporary Supreme Court.

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Day 1:    Travel to Namibia via South Africa. At Windhoek airport you will be met in the arrivals hall and transferred to your accommodation.

Day 2: Olive Grove Guesthouse, Windhoek

Bed and breakfast is included.

Olive Grove is a small upmarket accommodation establishment situated close to the city centre in a quiet, peaceful area. The Olive Exclusive, the guesthouse takes homely atmosphere to a different level. Recently completely refurbished, each room has been decorated and painted with new colour schemes allowing a different feel, but with the same elegant and simplistic emphasis on décor.

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The newly renovated, open-plan kitchen allows guests to see how meals are prepared, while they enjoy a drink in the lounge. The menu was also reinvented and is now fully a la carte, quite unique for a guesthouse. Home-style food is rounded off with great presentation, pushing up the level of the guesthouse dining experience. The upper deck has been revamped into a private dining corner, with two Moroccan-style sections, for guests to get comfy on the large pillows and enjoy the ambience and view from the top.

The on-site Wellness Room offers a selection of professional services, to assist guests on their journey towards inner and outer well-being.

Whilst each of the ten rooms and one suite cater for every need of the most discerning traveller, the emphasis remains one of simplicity and elegance.

Namib Desert

The Namib is the world’s oldest desert, and although it stretches along the entire length of Namibia’s coastline, the Namib commonly refers to the vast sea of sand from Luderitz to Swakopmund.  For a big sandy desert the scenery is remarkably varied, with the giant red dunes of Sossusvlei being the most famous part.

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Because of how old it is the Namib is home to numerous species that don’t occur elsewhere and although no humans live in the desert an amazing array of flora and fauna manages to survive here. Famous species include the Welwitschia – a living fossil plant, endemic chameleons, fur seals along the coast, brown hyenas, jackals and remarkably one of Africa’s largest antelope the Gemsbok.  The name Namib is of Nama origin and means “vast place” and vast it certainly is.

Day 3:    Hammerstein Lodge, Namib Desert

Bed and breakfast is included.

Your tour departs Windhoek after breakfast.  Travel to the first lodge in the Namib Desert – this is the gateway to Sesriem Canyon and Sossusvlei, where some of the highest sand dunes on Earth stand towering over the white desert plains. The afternoon can be spent relaxing at the pool, or taking part in optional activities offered at the lodge.

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Hammerstein Lodge is a gateway to the Namib in close proximity to the beautiful red dunes of Sossusvlei (60km from Sesriem). The area is renowned for its rocky outcrops of massive granite boulders and the lodge gets its name from one enormous rock that is shaped like a hammer.  Hammerstein Lodge & Camp offers sundowner drives into the mountains, sightseeing flights as well as 4×4 trips to Sossusvlei on request.

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Day 4:    Namib Desert Lodge, Gondwana Collection, Namib Desert

Bed and breakfast is included.

This morning demands an early start. The first rays of sunrise paint the mountains of sand into a variety of apricot, red and orange, contrasted against a crisp blue skyline, enrapturing our senses, and providing an opportunity to capture this awesome landscape on film.

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You will be mesmerized by the surreal Deadvlei, surrounded by the highest dunes and Sossusvlei, where the mostly dry Tsauchab River ends abruptly amongst majestic dunes. Take the opportunity to walk up one of these dunes to admire the desert landscape beneath. Thereafter visit the Sesriem Canyon, a life sustaining natural phenomenon in the heart of the Namib Desert.

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The main building and the chalets of Namib Desert Lodge are spread out along the foot of the fossilised dunes of the ancient Namib. A comfortable sojourn is guaranteed by 65 en suite rooms with air conditioning. A restaurant and bar, an inviting terrace with views of the fossilised dunes and two swimming pools beckon you to linger and relax. Oryx antelope and springbok make frequent appearances at this illuminated watering place.

Swakopmund was founded in 1892 and served as the main harbour for German South West Africa. Now a seaside resort, Swakopmund is at the heart of the Skeleton Coast tourism area and has plenty to keep visitors happy. This quaint desert town with its old-world charm and relaxed atmosphere hedged by desert and sea, is enhanced by lush green lawns
and palm trees.  The quirky mix of German and Namibian influences, colonial-era buildings and the cool sea breeze make it a very popular place to visit.

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Day 5-6:                Plaza Hotel, Swakopmund

Bed and breakfast is included.

After breakfast travel via the desolate, rolling hills of the Kuiseb Moon Valley towards the Atlantic Ocean. In Walvis Bay we visit the shallow lagoon, one of the most important wetland areas on the African continent and a RAMSAR World Heritage Site. Over 80% of the African flamingos feed in this lagoon and present a breathtaking picture when they appear in groups. Having arrived in Swakopmund, the rest of the day is spent at leisure. With palm-lined streets and seaside promenades, Swakopmund is a very popular holiday destination in Namibia. Its pleasant summer climate and long stretched beaches attract anglers and surfers from all over Southern Africa. For the international guest, Swakopmund is a bohemian mix of German architecture and African time, a laid back attitude with adrenalin activities, misty mornings and desert heat. It is colorful, it is vibrant, but most of all, it is fun.

Swakopmund is often fondly referred to as the “playground of Namibia”, it has numerous activities ranging from, adventure to exploring the fascinating features of the Namib Desert and the animals and plants that occur and survive here. Embrace the relaxed pace of this idyllic coastal town whilst enjoying coffee and freshly baked pastries in one of the many café’s. Alternatively explore the rugged, sweltering desert on a day tour, or view this awesome, environment from the air on a scenic flight. Find your inner child and push adrenaline to its limits with extreme adventures such as skydiving over the desert or quad biking and sand boarding on the dunes. Take time to get the feel of this quaint town with its historic buildings, museums, shopping arcades and beach bar that has transformed into its own personality by the vibrant use of colour and the bohemian lifestyle.

Swakopmund Plaza Hotel and Conference Centre is ideally located in the heart of Swakopmund and surrounded by a number of historic buildings and restaurants. The hotel offers a variety of 6 room types including stylish comfort rooms, suites, family rooms and an unique luxury suite. All rooms offer en-suite bathrooms, air-conditioning, heating, mini bar, safe, TV, tea and coffee facilities, telephone and free internet.

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Damaraland

Huge, untamed and ruggedly beautiful Damaraland is an exceptionally scenic landscape of open plains and spectacular rock formations. The major attractions are Spitzkoppe, the Brandberg, Twyfelfontein, Vingerklip and the Petrified Forest.

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Day 7:    Damara Mopane Lodge, Gondwana Collection, Damaraland

Bed and breakfast is included.

Heading further north, travel via the Brandberg, Namibia’s highest mountain (2.579m), into the Damaraland, one of the least populated and geologically diverse areas in Africa. This harsh, rocky environment is home to the rare desert elephant, the black rhino and free-roaming antelope species. Visit Twyfelfontein, a heritage site where Bushman communities engraved and painted over 2500 pictures some 6000 years ago! After a visit to a nearby Living Museum of the Damara proceed on to the Petrified Forest – a geological phenomenon depicting the creation and evolution of some of the oldest landmasses on Earth. Here visitors can also visit the Welwitschia mirabilis plant – the oldest living desert plant on Earth.

Built in the wattle and daub style under Mopane trees and connected by a labyrinth of paths, the main building and chalets of the lodge look like an African village. The walls are adorned by copies of the rock engravings at Twyfelfontein. Each of the 60 double-room chalets (with air conditioning) sits in a vegetable and herb garden surrounded by a low wall. The gardens supply fresh ingredients for supper, which consists of a starter followed by a delicious buffet. There is a swimming pool for chilling out and a viewing point for relishing sunsets. The lodge at the gates of Damaraland is ideally suited for excursions to Twyfelfontein (130 km), the Petrified Forest (70 km) and the Vingerklip rock pillar (50 km).

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Etosha National Park

The Etosha National Park is Namibia’s premiere game viewing experience, situated in the northwest of Namibia and is an area well known for its wildlife.  Vegetation ranges from dense bush to open plains attracting a diversity of wildlife. In the heart of the Park is The Etosha Pan – a shallow depression that covers an area of 5000sq kilometres. Dry and shimmering for most of the year, the pans fill up with water after good rains to a depth which is seldom deeper than 1m.  In the dry season wildlife is attracted to perennial springs and waterholes that makes for excellent game viewing.

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Within the park are three large public rest camps catering for the more budget orientated traveller. There are several smaller establishments on the outskirts of the park on private land offering a more intimate and comprehensive experience. All of these establishments offer excellent value for money.

Day 8:    Etosha Safari Camp, Gondwana Collection, Etosha

Bed and breakfast is included.

After a relaxed breakfast, travel towards the Etosha National Park, famous for its vast amount of wildlife and unique landscape. Once at the camp located on the outside of the National Park, enjoy have the rest of the day at leisure, or optionally also book an afternoon guided game drive in open vehicles with the lodge.

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Etosha Safari Camp is situated just 10 km south of Andersson Gate on the C 38 between Outjo and Okaukuejo. 50 twin-bedded chalets nestle among Mopani trees and impart a feeling of living in the lap of African nature. Each of them is equipped with mosquito gauze, air conditioning and its own bathroom and small veranda. Special attractions are the Okambashu Restaurant and the Oshebeena Bar, styled like a typical little township bar and brimming with African joie de vivre.

Etosha Safari Camp is the perfect base for safari excursions into Etosha – with an experienced guide on the daily game drive.

Day 9-10:             Mokuti Etosha Lodge, Etosha

Dinner, bed and breakfast are included.

The day is devoted purely to the abundant wildlife found in the Etosha National Park, which surrounds a parched salt desert known as the Etosha Pan. The park is home to 4 of the Big Five – elephant, lion, leopard and rhino. The Park was proclaimed as Namibia’s first conservation area in 1907 by the then Governor, von Lindequist. Despite the size of the Etosha National Park, only the southern edge of the pan is accessible to visitors. Game viewing in the park is largely focussed around the waterholes, some of which are spring fed and some supplied from a borehole, ideal places to sit and watch over 114 different game species, or for an avid birder, in excess of 340 bird species. Popular game species such as giraffe, blue wildebeest, plains and mountain zebra, hyena, lion, leopard, antelopes such as kudu, oryx, eland, as well as some of the endangered species such as Black rhino, cheetah and the black-faced impala are all found here. An extensive network of roads link the over 30 water holes allowing the visitor an opportunity to do a real game viewing safari over the stretch of the park as each different area will provide different encounters.

Mokuti is the perfect venue for travellers wanting to explore the famous eastern side of Etosha National Park. Known for its excellent and diverse wildlife encounters, it has become a popular venue for meetings, incentives, weddings and honeymoons.

The closest lodge to Etosha National Park, Mokuti is only four minutes drive from the eastern Von Lindequist Gate near Namutoni Fort and is located on its own private 4 000 hectare nature reserve, which shares a common border with this fascinating wildlife reserve.

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Upon arrival, guests are welcomed by a cool, green, tropical oasis. Charming thatched buildings and two sparkling pools nestled among the vast indigenous gardens give credence to the name “Mokuti”, which in Ovambo means “In the forest”.

Mokuti Etosha Lodge promises guests a warm Namibian welcome, and a stay during which they will be hosted in a relaxed, uncomplicated manner. This intimate lodge has 90 rooms and 16 luxury rooms. Recently refurbished, they are all air conditioned and come equipped with satellite TV, a mini-fridge, safes, free Internet Wi-Fi access, tea/coffee-making facilities and en-suite bathrooms with showers.

Leisure activities and facilities abound and include Mokuti’s exclusive spa, two swimming pools, a separate children’s splash pool, two floodlit tennis courts, Pool & Billiard Room, gym, reptile park, walking trails, private airport and professionally guided morning, afternoon or full day open vehicle game drive safaris into Etosha. At night, guests tell tall stories around open fires, after enjoying al fresco dinners served in the African Boma or even under the towering garden trees. As they make their way back to their rooms along winding pathways, they frequently encounter our resident herd of placid bontebok, and the next morning, our squirrels who insist on sharing their breakfast.

Etosha National Park is home to 114 different mammal species including zebra, springbok, eland, oryx, kudu, giraffe and the all-important big four: the lion, the leopard, the elephant and black and white rhino.  The wide variety of animals guarantee impressive game viewing.  Etosha is also a bird watchers’ paradise, with more than 340 bird species recorded in the park.

Guests can make the most of the landscaped gardens relaxing in the shade under the trees or at the pool, or visit the exciting reptile park, play a game of tennis, explore the reserve by following one of the marked walking trails, be pampered in the spa or workout at the gym.  For the slightly more adventurous, there is the option of accompanying one of Mokuti’s experienced game guides in an open safari vehicle into Etosha National Park.  With its vast number of wildlife species, guests will be sighting and photographing until the sun sets.

On day 10, your guide again takes you on a game drive in the Etosha National Park. Many different animal species may be encountered at the different waterholes visited. The Etosha Pan dominates the park. This salt pan desert, which is nearly completely enclosed by the park and is lined by numerous watering holes, is roughly 130 km long and as wide as 50 km in places. During Etosha’s notorious dry spells the pan is a deathly place, lying parched and cracked under the molten African sun. It is claimed that game viewing is best during the dry spells as animals will then congregate closer to water. But even in the rainy season the park remains an abundant wildlife haven. In the afternoon travel back to the lodge and enjoy the rest of the evening at leisure.

Day 11: Olive Grove Guesthouse, Windhoek

Bed and breakfast is included.

After breakfast, continue southwards towards Windhoek.  Visit the craft markets in the main street before being transferred back to the Olive Grove Guesthouse for your final night in Namibia.  Enjoy the rest of the afternoon and evening at leisure.

Day 12: Departure

After a leisurely breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Johannesburg where you connect on to London Heathrow.

Day 13: Arrival back to London Heathrow.

Contact our expert staff for more information about Namibia tours or holidays to Namibia  on 01444 225640 or e-mail us at info@visionsofafrica.co.uk