From the time-forgotten, desert town of Swakopmund you can track along the Skeleton Coast on a 4x4 tour, or drive yourself off to the remote corners like Sossusvlei, where you’ll find temporary lakes teeming with wildlife.
You’ll be able to observe desert-adapted elephants, ostrich, springbok and hyenas to name but a few. At Kunene and Etosha you’ll encounter abundant animals and birdlife, whilst Okonjima is the preserve of big cats like cheetah and leopard.
London – Johannesburg – Windhoek
You fly from London in the evening, arriving in Johannesburg the following morning. Your connecting flights takes you on to Windhoek, landing in the afternoon. You’ll be met at the airport and driven to your hotel about 30 minutes away. After checking in, your hire car will be delivered and you’ll have time to relax after your journey to Namibia.
Stay: One night in a double room at the Olive Grove boutique hotel.
Now your Namibian adventure begins in earnest as you drive off to Sossusvlei – or ‘gathering place of water’. Fed by the foothills of the Naukluft and Tsaris Mountains, temporary lakes – like Hidden Vlei and Dead Vlei – are natural attractions for Namibia’s wonderfully desert-adapted wildlife. So you can expect to see ostrich, springbok and gemsbok as well as larger predators like spotted and brown hyenas.
On night game drives you’ll track bat-eared and Cape foxes, jackals, porcupines and aardwolf. You can walk around the private reserve with an expert tracker/guide, soar aloft in a hot air balloon, explore the desert on a quad bike or simply watch the animals congregate at the watering hole in front of your lodge.
Stay: Two nights in a double room at Kulala Desert Lodge.
From Sossusvlei you drive to the intriguing desert town of Swakopmund, with its palm-lined streets, profuse gardens, excellent restaurants and noted jewellery shops selling pieces that range from contemporary to traditional African designs. As well as sightseeing in Swakopmund, you can go kayaking with seals off Pelican Point, tour Sandwich Harbour, explore the surrounding desert or take a 4×4 expedition along the bleak Skeleton Coast.
Stay: Two nights at Cornerstone Guesthouse.
Now it’s time for more wildlife watching. An enthralling, six hour drive takes you from Swakopmund to Kunene in the heart of Damaraland. You’ll be staying in a camp situated between the stark Skeleton Coast National Park and the great Namib Desert, in a concession that is particularly rich in wildlife. You’ll see a healthy number of black rhino – now a recovering species thanks to dedicated conservation work – as well as desert-adapted elephants.
The region has good populations of Hartman’s mountain zebra, southern giraffe, gemsbok, springbok, cheetah and spotted and brown hyenas. If you’re a bird watcher you’ll be delighted; the region is known for birding, with raptors including martial eagles, lappet-faced vultures and pale chanting goshawks. Plus black crake, shelduck, hamerkop and the long-billed lark. You won’t have to venture far to see pale-winged starlings, mountain wheatears, Rüppell’s korhaan, Namaqua sandgrouse and Cape bunting – they often visit the camp.
Stay: Two nights in a double room at Desert Rhino Camp.
Instead of driving, today you take a light aircraft to Etosha. You’ll be met at the airstrip and taken to your lodge by a guide. Here you’ll be surrounded by the 20,000 sq km Etosha National Park, containing the largest saltpan on the continent; the remains of an ancient super-lake. The pan is extremely photogenic, but you’ll also want to ‘capture’ the wildlife of Etosha.
As Namibia’s premier wildlife destination, the park presents you – and your camera – with lions, leopards, elephants, hippos, giraffe, red hartebeest, the endemic black-faced impala, white and black rhinos. You’ll also see plains game like wildebeest, zebra, greater kudu and springbok, plus a diversity of bird species.
Stay: Two nights in a double room at Ongava Lodge.
A slow, motorised meander through inspiring countryside brings you to the Waterberg Plateau, the Omboroko Mountains and Okonjima. Prepare to see big cats close up, because Okonjima is home to the Africat Foundation. Dedicated to preserving all species, the foundation is particularly proud of its cheetah and leopard population, although you’ll also see various animals and any number of exotic birds. The camp – which has its own education and research centre – is even visited by cheeky warthogs,
Stay: Two nights in a view room at Okonjima Plains Camp.
Windhoek – Johannesburg – London
Today you head back to Windhoek to drop off your car and fly to Johannesburg. Your connecting flight takes you to London, arriving early the next morning.