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You fly from London in the evening, arriving in Johannesburg the following morning. Your connecting flight takes you on to Windhoek, landing in the afternoon. You’ll be met at the airport and driven to your boutique hotel in the city’s upmarket eastern suburbs. After checking in, your hire car will be delivered and you’ll have time to relax after your journey.
Stay: One night at the Olive Exclusive
Your Namibian adventure begins in earnest as you drive off to Sossusvlei – ‘a 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.
You can walk around the private Kulala Wilderness 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. On night game drives you’ll track elusive creatures like bat-eared and Cape foxes, jackals, porcupines and aardwolf.
Stay: Two nights at Kulala Desert Lodge – half board
On day five you’ll drive to Usakos and your stylish lodge exclusively situated on the edge of the Spitzkoppe inselberg and rolling Namib Desert. With views stretching out across vast swathes of sand towards the Brandberg and Erongo Mountains, it’s a truly peaceful spot to spend a couple of nights.
Activities in the Spitzkoppe Conservation Area include guided horseback excursions, cycling tours, rock climbing, hiking and guided trips to various archaeological rock art sites which offer you a fascinating glimpse into the history of the region.
Stay: Two nights at Spitzkoppen Lodge – half board
Your self-drive now takes you to the Doro !Nawas Conservancy in central Damaraland. Despite its proximity to the Skeleton Coast and the Namib desert, this seemingly inhospitable region is home to a surprising variety of wildlife, including desert-adapted elephants, Hartman’s mountain zebra, southern giraffe, springbok and cheetah.
Birders have the opportunity to spot raptors like martial eagles and lappet-faced vultures, as well as endemic varieties like Monteiro’s Hornbill and Rüpell’s Korhaan. Your camp, which is situated within the Aba-Huab River Valley, offers panoramic views over the landscape, featuring the mighty Etendeka Mountains and the fiery sandstone cliffs of Twyfelfontein. An expedition to this World Heritage site, with its exquisite San art engravings and rock art, is a must.
Stay: One night at Doro Nawas – half board
Your next stop is Sesfontein in north-western Namibia. Leaving your hire car behind, you’ll be collected for a game drive transfer to Hoanib Valley Camp. This remote property will introduce you to the wonders of Kaokoland – a distant wilderness defined by rolling sand dunes and jagged mountain peaks.
Game drives along dry riverbeds offer you encounters with desert-adapted lion, giraffe, elephant, kudu, springbok, oryx, hornbills, eagles and the endangered black rhino. Don’t miss out on guided nature walks for a chance to experience the smaller aspects of the region. Day trips to Namibia’s iconic Skeleton Coast can be arranged, whilst those looking to learn more about the indigenous culture can visit local Himba and Herero communities.
Stay: Two nights at Hoanib Valley Camp – full board
After being transferred back to Sesfontein, you’ll pick up your hire car and drive to the privately-owned Ongava Reserve, a region dominated by woodland and low dolomite hills where you can enjoy guided walks, birding, traditional game drives and white rhino tracking. You’ll find yourself on the edge of Etosha National Park, a vast wilderness containing the largest saltpan on the continent; the remains of an ancient super-lake.
As Namibia’s premier wildlife destination, Etosha 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 great diversity of bird species.
Stay: Two nights at Ongava Lodge – full board
Your final destination is the Okonjima Nature Reserve in the Omboroko Mountains. Prepare to see big cats up close, 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: One night at Okonjima – half board
Today you’ll make your way back to London, flying first to Windhoek and then onto Johannesburg where you’ll meet your connecting flight home.
It has been wonderful to discover that there remain places like this in the world, where one can find peace amid wild nature. This has been the highlight of our stay in Colombia and we look forward to telling our friends about it.- ZA, Colombia, 2014