21 days – customizable
those who do not only come for Namibia's nature, but also want to experience traditional, authentic African cultures
except for wildlife, this route also lets you experience Namibia's diversity in landscapes and cultures
follow wildlife tracks of elephants, oryx, kudus, wildebeests and giraffes and collect food from the bush, together with skilled San hunter-gatherers
After arriving in Namibia, you will spend a night in Windhoek, to relax, acclimatize and prepare yourselves for the journey lying ahead of you. Your adventure begins in the Kalahari Desert, home to the San-people. Despite its name, meaning “great thirst”, the region does attract wildlife. Keep your eyes open for springbok, zebra and wildebeest during a sunset safari. And relax on top of a dune with a cool drink in your hand, while this semi-desert reveals its most beautiful colors. End the day while gazing upon the starry sky.
A visit to the Sossusvlei, of the world’s oldest desert is an absolute ‘must’. Prepare your camera to take many artistic photos. The landscape almost looks surreal! Sharp lines separating the intense red dunes, that surround an eye blinding white salt pan scattered with scorched black trees at Deadvlei. Climbing one of world’s highest dunes will be very rewarding, especially during an early sunrise or late sunset. It shows the most spectacular change in colors and the contrasts are more sharpened by shades during these times of the day. A nature drive in the area or a hike in Sesriem Canyon are definitely worthwhile when you want to explore more of the surroundings.
The Atlantic Coast has a lot to offer. While enjoying a nice sea breeze, consider going on the water by joining a kayaking tour or catamaran cruise to meet seals, pelicans and maybe even dolphins! Adrenaline seekers can take a sand board or quad bike and go into the dunes. The coastal town of Swakopmund is still showing some influence of colonial times represented in architecture and language. It is a small village with a small but pleasant boulevard with some nice restaurants and terraces and several lunch rooms with an international taste like Village Café.
Before leaving the coast, visit the seal colony of Cape Cross. Seals are all over lying along the coastline and are playing in the waves for as far as you can see! When heading north, the landscape changes when entering beautiful Damaraland, where an enormous mountain emerges: the Brandberg. It is the highest mountain of Namibia and best known for its ancient ”White Lady” rock painting. The ancient landscape is scattered with giant boulders that hide the area’s main secret: the more than 2,500 rock engravings of Twyfelfontein. Once made by the San people, these engravings informed San tribesmen about nearby waterholes and predators. If you are lucky, you might bump into the largest inhabitants of the area, the mysterious desert elephants. These beautiful animals have remarkably adapted to the harsh conditions of the desert.
Kaokoland is known as Namibia’s last wilderness, and home to the traditional Himba tribe. Time and modernity easily seem to pass by their traditions: Himba people live their authentic, nomadic lifestyle where life is organized around cattle. A guided visit to one of their villages will give you more insight in their way of life. Opuwo is the capital of the north. It is a real African town where people of all tribes meet each other for trade and pleasure. Make a stroll through town and experience the vibrant African atmosphere. Note: with one or two more days to spend, it would be worthwhile to add a visit to the Epupa Falls to your itinerary. See also Route All Round. Before heading towards Etosha National Park, you will stay the night at a Cheetah Farm, where you can have an unforgettable experience when seeing these beautiful cats from close by.
Have your binoculars ready while exploring the 22,270 square kilometers of protected nature within the Etosha National Park. You will be the driver of your own safari, which is unique in Africa. However, camps in and around the park do offer guided game drives. Look around for lions, cheetahs, and leopards and many more species. Settle around one of the park’s waterholes and be amazed by the number of animals that gathers here for their daily thirst relief. Elephants, giraffes, zebras and antelopes arrive in large numbers from all directions!
Near Grootfontein, you will be able to visit a San-village, where you will get to know everything about the intriguing and ancient hunter-gatherer culture and lifestyle. When you have an extra day to spare, it would be surely worthwhile to stay the night.
Leaving the animal world of Etosha National Park behind, your next stop is the Waterberg Plateau, rising up from the surface for about 400 meters high at some places. The Waterberg Plateau and 41,000 hectares of surrounding land was declared a Nature Reserve in 1972. The areas nature is again different than you experienced earlier. The brick-red sandstone plateau is crowned with lush vegetation and supports a wide diversity of flora and fauna. This national park lends itself for some nice hikes. Not yet seen enough animals? Go on a game drive and look for buffalos or the white rhino.
Once back in Windhoek you will have time to relax and rewind from an amazing adventure. You can do your last shopping for souvenirs. Tomorrow you will be picked up by the airport shuttle and you have to say your goodbyes, however it is most likely that you will return one day. What an unforgettable adventure!