NAMIBIA FULL CIRCLE
10-29 AUGUST, 2023
with Jeremy Woodhouse
Namib Dune Gecko
Namibia is a vast country, even by African standards, covering an area approximately four times the size of the United Kingdom but with a population of a mere 2 million – one of the lowest densities in the world. It is also an 'ageless land’; visible through our heritage of rock art created by stone-age artists and geological attractions such as the petrified forest where fossilised tree trunks have lain for over 280 million years. Added to the space and silence, these all contribute to a feeling of antiquity, solitude and wilderness.
The climate is typical of a semi-desert country. Days are warm to hot and nights are generally cool. Temperatures are modified by the high plateau in the interior and by the cold Benguela Current that runs along the Atlantic coastline. Except for the first few months of the year, the country is generally dry with very little rain.
This guided Namibian safari affords you the chance to experience this magnificent and memorable country in a very personal way. You will have your own professional and experienced safari guide who will enhance your enjoyment of this unique country by making it a fascinating and stress-free journey of discovery amidst very dramatic scenery. The knowledge, experience and attitude of our guides are critical to a successful safari which is why we ensure that they are both personable and very professional.
Your safari guide will have an intimate knowledge of each area and camp/lodge that you visit, allowing them to share the local highlights whilst adding continuity and depth to your safari. It goes without saying that they know exactly what a "True African Safari" is all about. Not only are our guides highly qualified, each has a specific area of expertise. Together they possess the breadth and depth of knowledge to allow them to answer questions and satisfy the particular interests of each of our guests. Your guide will turn your safari into an experience of a lifetime!
But, as Namibia has one of the world's most barren and inhospitable coastlines, it wasnt until the middle of the nineteenth century that explorers, ivory hunters, prospectors and missionaries began to journey into its interior. Beyond these visitors, Namibia was largely spared the attentions of European powers until the end of the 19th century when it was colonized by Germany.
The colonization period was marred by many conflicts and rebellions by the pre-colonial Namibia population until WWI when it abruptly ended upon Germany's surrender to the South African expeditionary army. In effect, this transition only traded one colonial experience for another.
In 1966 the South West Africa People's Organisation (SWAPO) launched the war for liberation for the area soon-named Namibia. The struggle for independence intensified and continued until South Africa agreed in 1988 to end its Apartheid administration. After democratic elections were held in 1989, Namibia became an independent state on March 21, 1990.
To date, Namibia boasts a proud record of uninterrupted peace and stability for all to enjoy.
Today, over 43% of Namibia's surface area is under conservation management. This includes national parks and reserves, communal and commercial conservancies, community forests, and private nature reserves.
After Independence in 1990, visionary conservationists in the field and the Ministry of Environment and Tourism enacted policy changes that allowed rural communities to benefit from wildlife by forming conservancies. In 1998, the first four conservancies were registered.
Today, more than 70 registered conservancies embrace one in four rural Namibians. A sense of ownership over wildlife and other resources is encouraging people to use their resources sustainably. Wildlife is now embraced as a complimentary land use method to agriculture and livestock herding.
People are living with wildlife, including predators and large mammals, and are managing their natural resources wisely. They are also reaping the benefits. In 2009, community-based natural resource management generated over N$ 42 million in income to rural Namibians. All the while, the program is facilitating a remarkable recovery of wildlife.
Namibia now boasts the largest free-roaming population of black rhinos and cheetahs in the world and is the only country with an expanding population of free-roaming lions. Namibia's elephant population more than doubled between 1995 and 2008 from 7,500 to over 16,000 individuals. This remarkable turnaround has led some to call Namibia's conservation efforts the greatest African wildlife recovery story over told.
- 2 x 7 seater Safari Cruiser Explorers
- Gas Lift Pop-Up Roof
- Super Delux Reclining Seats
- Guaranteed Window Seat
- Electrical Charging points
This tour starts and ends in Windhoek, Namibia. The best way to reach Windhoek is to book your direct flight from Frankfurt on Lufthansa. If you prefer there are other options; fly to Johannesburg via Newark (United) or Atlanta (Delta). Alternatively, you can connect through London Heathrow for a flight to Johannesburg on BA/AA. You will then need to catch the Airlink shuttle from Johannesburg which departs daily at around noon.
Keetmanshoop (translates from Afrikaans as 'the hope of Keetman') is the administrative centre of Namibia's largest region, Karas. It was named after the German trader Johann Keetman, who supported the mission financially. Like many missionaries of that era, they found that even though some Africans converted to Christianity, taking away their tribal beliefs was another matter.
Situated 38 km north-east of the town is the Mesosaurus and Fossil and Quiver Tree (Kokerboom) Dolerite Park, set in an area that includes the Mesosaurus Fossil Site and the Quiver Tree Forest and eroded dolorite rock formations.
Here you will be able to photograph the quiver tree (Kokerboom) forest scenery in pretty afternoon light.
O/N Quiver Tree Forest Rest Camp (B,L,D)
Day 4, 5: 13-14 Aug, 2023 — Keetmanshoop | Kolmanskop | Luderitz
After breakfast and a morning shoot at the Kokerboom forest, we depart along the B4 highway west to Luderitz, for 356 km
En-route there are with spectacular views of boulder strewn hillsides across wide open plains. You will have a picnic lunch en-route.
The following morning we drive to the nearby "ghost town" of Kolmanskop where we will photograph till lunch time. After lunch we will drive out in to the restricted area to the mining town of Elizabeth Bay. Though it often seems to be forgotten in the shadow of its ghost town counterpart, Kolmanskop, Elizabeth Bay was another lucrative diamond mining town that is worth exploring (if there are entry restrictions, we will make alternative plans and visit Diaz Point, a rocky, wind-buffeted outcrop known for its seabirds and seals).
O/N Luderitz Nest Hotel (B,L,D) (2 nights)
Day 6, 7, 8: 15-17 Aug, 2023 — Luderitz | Sesriem
After breakfast depart for Sesriem along the scenic D707 route with picnic lunch en route. The drive is 470 km. The route passes through the Namib Naukluft National Park with spectacular plains and mountain scenery and there is plenty opportunity to stop and photograph en route. Arrive at Sossus Dune Lodge in the evening.
Built in an environmentally sensitive manner, primarily from wood, canvas and thatch, in an attractive 'afro-village' style, Sossus Dune Lodge offers guests an evocative and life changing experience.
Situated within the park, guests benefit from being able to reach Sossusvlei before sunrise, and stay until after sunset, and on their return after an exhilarating day, relax in the tranquility and splendor of the Namib Desert, under the spectacular African sky.
One of the most enduring impressions of the Sossusvlei area is the early morning light on the sea of vivid orange dunes, some as high as 984 feet. Nearby world-famous Sossusvlei is an enormous clay pan, flanked by the famous red sand dunes that stand out starkly against the blue sky.
These dunes – the most well-known being Big Daddy or Dune 45 – have developed over millions of years, the wind continuously refashioning the contours of this red sand sea. The 'vlei' itself only fills after rare heavy rainfall when, in a complete turnaround, it transforms into a spectacular inland lake.
Photography of the dunes in the early morning and late afternoon is particularly stunning with rich reds and dark shadows completing the extraordinary vista that is the enormity of the Namib Desert.
There is an opportunity to take an optional dawn balloon flight on one of the mornings at a cost of approx US $450 per person – we can also organize helicopter rides if you would prefer to this over the balloons.
O/N Sossus Dune Lodge (B,L,D) (3 nights)
Day 9: 18 Aug, 2023 — Sesriem | Walvis Bay
After an early breakfast, you will drive across the desert to Walvis Bay.
O/N Oysterbox Hotel (B,L,D)
Day 10: 19 Aug, 2023 — Sandwich Harbor
The Turnstone Tour to Sandwich Harbor begins when you are collected from your hotel at about 08h45. You drive along a beautiful dune chain, adjacent the Atlantic Ocean, zigzagging the original railway line between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay. This is an opportunity for a detailed look at the formation of 'the world's oldest desert' – its origins, its composition and its movements.
Your first stop is at 'Bird Rock' – a guano island inhabited by 200,000 birds and one of the first examples of man's efforts to utilize the rich natural resources of the area.
The Lagoons at Walvis Bay and at Sandwich Harbor have been designated as 'Wetlands of International Importance’, while the 'Bird Paradise' at Walvis Bay is also a key nesting and feeding site for thousands of visiting and resident birds. A recent bird survey, overseen by expert ornithologists from Namibia and South Africa, counted record numbers of Flamingo, Plover and Tern between Walvis Bay Lagoon and Sandwich Harbor. Other favorites, such as Pelican, Avocet, Turnstone and a huge variety of waders can be seen, with numbers peaking at around 170,000 in November. Several endemic species, such as the Dune Lark and the Damara Tern, are also found in the vicinity.
Leaving Walvis Bay behind, you head for the lower reaches of the Kuiseb Delta. This unique ecosystem is dotted with archaeological sites, 450 year-old animal tracks, windblown graves and magnificent dunes. There is evidence of ancient and recent gathering, harvesting and trading by the Topnaar, an indigenous Namibian community descended from the !Khoi group, which relies on the naturally occurring Nara fruit for survival.
Turning south, you begin the approach to Sandwich Harbor. This crosses barren salt pans and vegetation covered hummock dunes, which shelter small groups of Springbok, Ostrich, Jackal and Brown Hyena. Peregrine Falcons, Pale Chanting Goshawks and Black- breasted Snake Eagles can sometimes be seen hunting small mammals (such as gerbils, three-striped mice and Cape Foxes) which share the dunes with a fascinating variety of desert-adapted insects, reptiles and plants.
This section of the journey is as dramatic as the landscape, and it soon becomes clear why Sandwich Harbor is often described as inaccessible! Spring tides and shifting sands ensure an unpredictable route, but as you approach the towering, wind-sculptured dunes at the edge of Sandwich Harbor, there is a sense of entering a different world. All that is left of the old whaling station and its community of traders and fishermen is the freshwater lagoon, a solitary deserted building, and the strange greenery of this unique coastal wetland. This is the setting for your picnic – a large hamper full of homemade cakes, savories, salads, fruit and drinks – and a spot of bird watching. Some 40,000 birds – 34 different species – were recorded in this area during recent surveys. Take a leisurely walk around the Lagoon (an official marine sanctuary) and you may also see seals, dolphins and even whales.
The drive back home affords a last look at these haunting landscapes and a chance for reflection...you will arrive back at your hotel round about 17h00.
O/N Oysterbox Hotel (B,L,D)
Day 11, 12, 13: 20-22 Aug, 2023 — Walvis Bay | Fort Sesfontein
Today is the longest drive of the tour. Leaving at the crack of dawn with a box breakfast, we will drive north up the Skeleton Coast. Passing through Swakopmund our first stop will be to photograph the Zeila Shipwreck. This fishing trawler, sold as scrap metal to an Indian company by Hangana Fishing of Walvis Bay, got stranded on 25 Aug, 2008 after it came loose from its towing line while on its way to Bombay shortly after it left Walvis Bay.
Our next stop, before we turn inland at Torra Bay, is the Cape Cross Seal Reserve, the best-known breeding colony of Cape fur seals along the Namib coast. The population has grown large and fat by taking advantage of the rich concentrations of fish in the cold Benguela Current, and the sight of more than 100,000 seals basking on the beach and frolicking in the surf is impressive to behold – you will however, have to contend with the pong.
You will have a packed lunch en-route. We will arrive at Fort Sesfontein by sunset. If we have time we will stop on the way to photograph some Herero ladies, resplendent in their Victorian-style dresses.
Fort Sesfontein Lodge is situated in the centre of Sesfontein in the old German fort that was abandoned in 1914. It is now restored as a lodge from where visitors can explore an ephemeral river bed, recently discovered rock engravings, and the nomadic Himba people.
A gap in the mountains gives access to the valley basin of Sesfontein, (six fountains) where green gardens give the landscape its special character. In 1896 the government of what was then German South-West Africa, built the Fort of Sesfontein as a control point for keeping in check cattle disease, arms smuggling and illegal hunting.
Today, more than 100 years after the original establishment of the Sesfontein Station, the Fort has acquired a second lease of life after being tastefully restored as a tourist lodge. Use of building materials, characteristic for the region, such as clay walls, stone floors and reed linings, convey a very special and original atmosphere.
We will photograph in an authentic Himba Village the next morning and we will explore different Herero communities in the area.
After lunch on the second day we will drive down the Hoanib Riverbed where we will have a chance to see desert-adapted elephant, giraffe, ostrich and other adapted creatures—and perhaps the resident pride of desert-adapted lions.
We will use the third day to visit local Herero communities and to photograph daily life in the region—you never know who you will meet on the road.
O/N Fort Sesfontein (B,L,D) (3 nights)
Day 14, 15: 23-24 Aug, 2023 — Sesfontein | Dolomite Camp, Etosha NP
After spending three nights in Sesfontein getting to know this community and learning about the history of the settlement, we will depart early morning for our drive to Etosha National Park where we will spend the next 5 nights.
Etosha’s new and exclusive Dolomite Camp opens up the restricted western side of the park to a limited number of visitors. Guests are accommodated in permanent luxury tents with an elevated view of the endless plains of Etosha National Park in Namibia. The wildlife has developed without human disturbance and rare species such as black rhino and black-faced impala have established themselves in the area. The area is rich in waterholes that attract elephant, rhino, leopard, lion, springbok, gemsbok and red hartebeest. The birdlife is prolific and the seasonal flowers of Dolomite Hill are a highlight for botanists.
Dolomite’s guests have access to western Etosha trough Galton Gate. Perched on the top of a little hill Dolomite Camp offers sublime view to complement the luxuriously appointed camp. The camp is unfenced allowing animals to roam freely between the tents and communal area. However, with personal escorts your safety is guaranteed at all times. The restaurant serves delicious and satisfying meals and the personnel will always greet you with a smile. A rim flow swimming pool, a curio shop and a viewing deck overlooking a prolific waterhole provide entertainment during the day, while the bar area is ideal to relax and socialize with other guests.
Game drives in the area allow for exclusive game viewings as the area is still restricted. Experienced and knowledgeable guides will take you through this pristine area and the many waterholes offer high chances of spotting a diversity of wildlife.
O/N Dolomite Camp (B,L,D)
Etosha National Park
Etosha National Park, translated as the ‘Place of Mirages’, Land of Dry Water’ or the ‘Great White Place’, covers 22,270 km², of which over 5,000 km² is made up of saline depressions or ‘pans’. The largest of these pans, the Etosha Pan, can be classified as a saline desert in its own right. The Etosha Pan lies in the Owambo Basin, on the north-western edge of the Namibian Kalahari Desert. Until three million years ago it formed part of a huge, shallow lake that was reduced to a complex of salt pans when the major river that fed it, the Kunene, changed course and began to flow to the Atlantic instead. If the lake existed today, it would be the third largest in the world. Etosha Pan is the largest of the pans at 4,760 km² in extent. It is nowadays filled with water only when sufficient rain falls to the north in Angola, inducing floods to flow southward along the Cuvelai drainage system. The Park consists of grassland, woodland and savannah. Game-viewing centers around the numerous springs and waterholes where several different species can often be seen at one time. The Park boasts some 114 mammal and over 340 bird species. Wildlife that one might see includes elephant, lion, giraffe, blue wildebeest, eland, kudu, gemsbok (oryx), zebra, rhino, cheetah, leopard, hyena, honey badger and warthog, as well as the endemic black faced impala.
Day 16, 17, 18: 25-27 Aug, 2023— Dolomite Camp | Namutoni
Built into an old German Fort Namutoni Camp has a unique atmosphere. Within the fort you will find ample facilities and a variety of accommodation. From the walls of the fort you can enjoy an elevated view of the King Nehale Waterhole allowing for great game viewing without leaving the camp. The walls of the fort are also and excellent spot for sundowners. There is hardly a better way to end a day in the bush and Namibia than to marvel at the colours of the setting sun.
The Camp is situated in the eastern part of Etosha National Park and is accessible via the Von Lindequist Gate. Its close proximity to Fisher’s Pan makes Namutoni a hotspot for birders. Two restaurants, a craft shop, a pool and a viewing deck overlooking King Nehale Waterhole make the fort a great place to relax at lunchtime or after evening game drives. The African Fusion restaurant will introduce you to local flavours, while The Steakhouse offers popular western dishes. A superette, curio shop and petrol station allow you to stock up on everything that is necessary and nice.
Namutoni was originally established as a control post during the mad cow disease (BSE) epidemic of 1897 in Namibia. The fort was built be the German Schutztruppe from 1902-03 and rebuilt in 1906 after the Ovambo destroyed the original building. The fort served as a police post and later as a South African army base. Fort Namutoni was declared a national monument in 1950 and was opened to tourism in 1957.
O/N Namutoni (B,L,D) (3 nights)
Day 19: 28 Aug, 2023 – Namutoni Rest Camp | Erindi
After our wildlife-filled adventure in Etosha National Park, the penultimate day will be spent driving south towards Windhoek. En-route we will spend our last night at Erindi.
O/N Erindi (B,L,D)
Erindi Private Game Reserve is a protected reserve in central Namibia. Erindi, meaning “place of water”, is a sustainable natural wonderland. We are custodians to the most prolific amount of endemic species and multiple conservation projects. With 70,719 hectares of pristine wilderness under our care, we have undertaken an immense task to pursue conservation initiatives in the name of eco-friendly tourism, whilst empowering our local communities. Today, Erindi is an idyllic retreat boasting two camps, a rich cultural heritage, knowledgeable guides and unmatched hospitality – ensuring visitors have the kind of safari that lives in memory for a lifetime.
Day 20: 29 Aug, 2023 – Transfer to the Airport
After a hearty breakfast, we will transfer to the Hosea Kutako International Airport at Windhoek for your flight back home.
END OF TOUR
Desert-adapted Elephant Reaching for Seed Pods
Arrival, Departure & Visa
Arrival & Meeting Place
This tour starts and ends in Windhoek, Namibia. The best way to reach Windhoek's Hosea Kutako Airport is to book your direct flight from Frankfurt on Lufthansa. If you prefer there are other options; fly to Johannesburg via Newark (United) or Atlanta (Delta). Alternatively, you can connect through London Heathrow for a flight to Johannesburg on BA/AA. You will then need to catch the Airlink shuttle from Johannesburg which departs daily at around noon.
Windhoek Hosea Kutako Airport
Namibia can be visited throughout the year. The climate is generally dry and pleasant. Namibia only receives a fraction of the rain experienced by countries further east. Between December and March, some days will be humid and rain may follow, often in localized, afternoon thunderstorms. Wildlife viewing in all parks, but especially in Etosha, is best in the dry season from June to October. In the Wet season, animals move away from the waterholes and scatter around the park.
English is the official language, but Namibia's relatively small population is extraordinarily diverse in language and culture. More than 11 languages are indigenous to Namibia but with its cosmopolitan society, languages from around the world are spoken in Namibia. People commonly speak two or three languages and more than 49% of the population speaks Oshiwambo. Due to the country's colonial history Afrikaans, the language of the previous South African occupiers is still widely spoken and functions as the lingua franca in Namibia. Namibia has two small groups of nomadic groups; the Khoisan speaking people, known as the Bushmen or San and the Ovahimba people, figuratively known as the red people.
The Namibian Dollar is the official currency and is fixed to and equals the South African Rand. Both these currencies can be used freely in Namibia, but the Namibian Dollar is not legal tender in South Africa. Traveler's checks and credit cards are also accepted throughout the country, though obviously not in every case. It's best to travel with multiple payment options just in case.
Currency Exchange: Foreign currency can be exchanged during normal banking hours at any of the commercial banks, or at bureau de change offices. Credit/Debit Card: American Express, MasterCard and Visa are accepted. Check with your credit or debit card company for details of merchant acceptability and other services, which may be available.
Currency Restrictions: The import and export of local currency is limited to NAD 50,000. The import of foreign currency by visitors is unlimited, provided it is declared upon arrival. Export of foreign currency is unlimited up to the amount imported and declared as long as the departure is within 12 months. No limits exist for travel between Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland as these countries are members of the same common monetary area.
Banking Hours: Mon-Fri 09:00-15:30, Sat 09:00-11:00.
Tax and Customs: General Sales Tax (GST) in Namibia is 15% on goods and services. Bona fide tourists to Namibia are exempt from paying sales duty or excise duty on luxury items. Visitors may reclaim VAT at Hosea Kutako International Airport, Eros Airport and Walvis Bay Airport.
Area: Namibia covers 824,292 sq km (318,259 sq mi)
Location: Situated on the southwestern coast of Africa, Namibia borders Angola and Zambia in the north, South Africa in the south and Botswana in the east.
Population: Slightly more than 2.3 million.
Capital City: Windhoek
Official name: Republic of Namibia
Date of Independence: 21 March 1990
System of Government: Multi-party Democracy
Head of State: President Dr Hage Geingob since 2015.
Prime Minister: Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila since 2015.
Language: English, German, Afrikaans, Oshiwambo, Rukwangari, Silozi, Otjiherero, Damara, Nama, Khisan and Setswana
Literacy: The current literacy rate in Namibia is about 83%, one of the highest in Africa.
Religion: Freedom of religion was adopted through Namibia's Bill of Fundamental Rights. About 90% of the population is Christian.
Currency: The Namibia Dollar (N$); the Namibia Dollar and South African Rand are the only legal tender in Namibia and can be used freely to purchase goods and services.
Time Zones: Summer time: GMT + 2 hours from the 1st Sunday in September to the 1st Sunday in April. Winter time: GMT + 1 hour from the 1st Sunday in April to the 1st Sunday in September.
Electricity: 220 volts AC, 50hz. Outlets are of the round three-pin type.
6 SPOTS OPEN
Tour Price Includes
- Ground Transportation and unlimited game viewing with local guide for 19 days
- All meals
- Refreshments on vehicle, Local drinks at camps (house wine, Namibian beer, soft drinks, mineral water, juices, gin & tonic etc.)
- Tour accommodation, as listed
- National Parks entry fees
Tour Price Excludes
- Arrival/departure flights
- Optional scenic flights (balloon/helicopter/light aircraft)
- Travel insurance
- Premium Alcohol
- Pre- and post-tour accommodation
- Items of a personal nature
- Meals other than specified
- Excursions other than specified
- Flights to and from Namibia
- Personal medical insurance
Paying by check
If you would like to pay your deposit and/or balance with a check, please make the check payable to: Pixelchrome, Inc and mail it to:
Paying by Wire Transfer
If you would like to pay by Wire Transfer please contact email@example.com for bank account details.
- Bring you own laptop computer and storage media
- Camera bodie(s)
- Lenses, 16-35mm, 24-70mm zoom and 70-200mm zoom or similar lenses are very good. A super telephoto zoom up to 400 or 600mm
- Light bag for easy hiking with camera bodies and accessories
- Cleaning kit for cameras and lenses
- Rain/dust covers for cameras and lenses
- Charger for batteries
- Spare batteries
- Spare Memory cards
- Memory card reader
- USB key to exchange images
Also good to have
- Lens extenders
- Good quality polarizing filter