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2by2 for holidays that will change your life
2by2 for holidays that will change your life
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Namibia Holidays Road Trip Self Drive Safari Tours Etosha Namib Desert

Fish River Canyon, Namibia (self drive holiday) + Kalahari + Luderitz + Etosha

Grand Namibia: with Fish River Canyon (self drive)
NCB21W
21 NIGHTS
FROM £3,495
Per person sharing
International flights + car hire quoted separately
Fish River Canyon Namibia Self Drive Holiday Kalahari Luderitz Etosha

Visit the stunning Fish River Canyon, the second largest on earth, on this adventurous Namibia self drive holiday. Travel through the red sands of the vast Kalahari, Ai-Ais, succulent Karoo & diamond town of Luderitz to the sand dunes at Sossusvlei in the Namib, before heading northwards to Swakopmund, Twyfelfontein, Etosha & Okonjima, where leopard tracking at the Africat Foundation is included.

Fish River Canyon Namibia Self Drive Holiday Kalahari Luderitz Etosha
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Namibia Self Drive Holiday
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Windhoek
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Kalahari
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Fish River Canyon Namibia
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Luderitz & Aus
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Sossusvlei
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Swakopmund
• 
Twyfelfontein Paintings
• 
Etosha National Park
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Africat Foundation
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Namibia Self Drive Holiday
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Windhoek
• 
Kalahari
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Fish River Canyon Namibia
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Luderitz & Aus
• 
Sossusvlei
• 
Swakopmund
• 
Twyfelfontein Paintings
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Etosha National Park
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Africat Foundation
Day 1
You will be met at Windhoek Airport and transferred 1-hour to your hotel in this small capital city.
  
Check in and relax under warm blue Namibian skies.
Day 2
Today take delivery of your hire car in Windhoek and drive southwards for 3-hours towards the scrub vegetation and red sands of the vast Kalahari, the largest sand mass on earth.
 
The migratory Bushman people who live here call it the “Soul of the World” and its endless grass plains interspersed with acacia trees provide the only form of survival for a vast amount of wildlife that has survived in this semi-desert environment for thousands of years.
 
After good rains (end November/early December - although this can vary greatly) you can see hundreds of different wildflowers here.
Day 3
At leisure to explore the vegetation of the Kalahari Desert, whose dunes differ from the Namib in that they are greener and less stark, having the ability to support more fauna and flora.
 
Enjoy walking across the endless lines of vegetated red dunes, with yellow grass and green trees growing on their slopes and in the riverbeds, or enjoy one of the optional activities available at your lodge.
Day 4
A full day on the road today as you drive 6.5-hours southwards to the great Fish River Canyon, the second largest on earth.
 
As you travel through these expansive rocky plains, notice the unique Quiver Trees that bloom in June and July and nestle between huge dolerite boulders, some of which are stacked in such mysterious ways that it seems impossible they were formed by natural forces.
 
Check into your lodge near the Fish River Canyon and enjoy a sundowner walk across the boulder-studded plains, hills and rock formations of Gondwana Canyon Park.
Day 5
Today explore the magnificent Fish River Canyon, where the dramatic geological formations of the Nama Karoo Desert take on stupendous proportions.
 
The vegetation is characterized by dwarf shrubs and scattered grasslands. The slopes of the plateau mountains and vast plains are home to Hartmann’s mountain zebra, springbok, gemsbok, kudu and ostrich. Relax in this area of great natural beauty.  
Day 6
Today leave the Fish River Canyon and drive 4-hours to Aus in the Succulent Karoo, a winter rainfall area where bizarre looking shrubs store moisture in their leaves and stems to tide them over the dry summer months.
 
Depending upon the timing of the rains, from mid August to mid September this desert unfolds into a carpet of flowers and an explosion of colours. It is one of the 20 most important biomes in the plant world and counts as the most species diverse desert in the world. Explore these sweeping desert plains before checking into your hotel in Aus.
Day 7
Today drive 2-hours from Aus to the ghost town of Kolmanskop, where the first diamond was found in 1908. Now standing barren and abandoned to the harsh winds and sands of the unforgiving desert, it is a great reminder of the opulence and decadence of the diamond rush days.
 
Continue down the great escarpment onto the wide plains below, where the scenery gives way to the shifting dunes of the Prohibited Diamond Area. Here you can visit Diaz Point where daring Portuguese sailors erected a stone cross in the 1480’s, before exploring the small diamond town of Lüderitz on the Atlantic Coast, where you may see colonies of aquatic birds, seals and penguins.
 
On the way back keep an eye out for the wild desert horses at Garub, a watering point where they are sometimes observed, before returning to Aus in the late afternoon.
Day 8
Continue driving northwards today into the great Namib Desert, a 6-hour journey through dramatically beautiful scenery.
 
The terrain becomes more arid as you travel towards Sossusvlei, whose great mountains of sand are a monument to the extreme forces of nature. Explore the Gondwana Namib Park before checking into your lodge. The petrified dunes of the dry riverbed of the Dieprivier are a special attraction, as they are fossilised remnants of an ancient desert that is now overlaid with the sands of the younger Namib. After the unpredictable desert rains (mid November/mid December), colourful desert flowers burst forth here and provide a delightful display.
Day 9
Today rise before dawn and drive to Sossusvlei Lodge Adventure Centre for your included 4x4 tour into these famous sand dunes - as this is the coolest part of the day and the best for photography.
 
This clay pan is surrounded by some of the highest dunes in the world – an endless sea of reddish sand stretching all the way to the distant horizon. These monumental star shaped dunes, some as high as 1,000 ft (325 m), were formed by strong multi-directional winds. The warm tints of sand range in colour from apricot to orange, red and maroon - and contrast vividly with the stark white clay pans at their base. You will be astonished by surreal Deadvlei, surrounded by some of the highest dunes and Sossusvlei, where the mostly dry Tsauchab River abruptly ends. Take the opportunity to climb one of these dunes, which afford endless vistas across the desert landscape and the sea of sand.
 
Return to your lodge for some relaxation, then in the afternoon return to the Adventure Centre for another tour - this time to the narrow gorge of the impressive Sesriem Canyon, with its rock pools fed by the Tsauchab River during the rainy season. The name is derived from the six “rieme” (leather thongs) that early pioneers used to draw water from these pools.
Day 10
At leisure to relax and enjoy the stark beauty of the Namib Desert.
 
You can participate in one of the optional activities offered in the region, such as horse riding or a pre-dawn Hot Air Balloon Ride over the majestic sand dunes. Alternatively simply enjoy the spectacular desert landscape surrounding your lodge, with amazing star gazing in the evening.
Day 11
Today drive for 6-hours through the starkly beautiful Gaub and Kuiseb Canyons of the Namib Desert to the beach resort of Swakopmund with its old lighthouse.
 
Swakopmund is situated on the Atlantic Coast where the cold Benguela Current sweeps up from Antarctica, releasing no moisture into the prevailingly onshore winds – hence the very low rainfall and desert conditions. Fog is common along the coast in the early mornings and late afternoons and this is what gives life to the desert-adapted flora and fauna of the region. The cold current is also highly oxygenated, causing it to teem with marine life.
 
Check into your hotel and relax on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean.
Day 12
This morning drive 30-minutes to Walvis Bay for a 3-hour Marine Cruise. Here you can see a resident school of dolphins and large colony of Cape fur seals at Pelican Point, whilst enjoying oysters and champagne on board.
 
Marine bird life is also abundant and includes pelicans, terns and large flocks of flamingos which live in the shallow waters surrounding the harbour. You should see many Cape cormorants and hopefully some more difficult birds such as the Cape gannet, Pomarine skua and African black oyster catcher. You may also see migrating whales in season (September to October).
 
Your afternoon is at leisure to relax at the beach resort of Swakopmund, with its palm lined streets and seaside promenade. Established by German colonists in 1892, the town’s landmarks include the Swakopmund Lighthouse and the Mole, an old sea wall. Next to the lighthouse, the Swakopmund Museum documents Namibian history. In the town you can find the elegant Swakopmund Railway Station (now a hotel), which also dates to the colonial era. An enjoyable local pastime is Kaffee-Kuchen at 16:00 when you can take a mid-afternoon break for a coffee, with a slice of baked cheesecake or Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (German Black Forest Cake).
Day 13
Today drive 3-hours from Swakopmund to your lodge situated in the foothills of the volcanic Erongo Mountains near the small town of Omaruru.
 
We suggest detouring 1-hour to Cape Cross on the barren Skeleton Coast, which is home to one of the largest colonies of Cape fur seals in the world. The Cape Cross Seal Reserve has a thriving population of over 80,000 seals, as well as a large colony of gannets and other sea birds. There is also a small lichen reserve, where a relatively large variety of these interesting, slow growing organisms are protected (pay entrance fees locally).
 
As you pass the fishing village of Hentiesbaai look out for the 'Zeila', one of the more recent shipwrecks that can be viewed along this inhospitable coastline.
 
Alternatively you can detour to view the Spitzkoppe (meaning 'pointed domes' in German), an ancient group of bald granite peaks that are over 120 million years old and rise up dramatically from the surrounding desert plains. Birding is particularly good in this region, with a sighting of the Herero chat being particularly prized. You can also see the ancient Welwitschia Mirabilis plant that survives in these harsh conditions.
 
Continue towards the magnificent Erongo Mountains, flanked by the Namib Desert to the west and woodland savanna to the east, with breathtaking views of its huge granite boulders. Check into your lodge in this beautiful region known for its Bushman rock art paintings. It is an endemic hotspot for a variety of plants, reptiles and small mammals - including kudu, baboons and agile klipspringers, as well as wonderful bird life.
Day 14
This morning you will be transferred to the San Living Museum (near Ai-Aiba Lodge), which is home to a traditional Bushman community. Here you can accompany these legendary trackers on a bush walk to learn more about their culture and customs, including their hunting practices.
 
Afterwards you can ask your lodge to point you to various Bushmen Paintings found on these granite surfaces, the most famous of which is the White Elephant frieze in Phillip's Cave. Superimposed on the elephant is a large eland, with ostrich and giraffe completing the sketch. The cave is situated on the farm Ameib, on the southern edge of this mountain range. It is 2-miles (3-km) off the road, followed by a 45-min walk each way, but the dramatic scenery makes the walk worthwhile (arrange with your lodge & pay locally).
 
The rest of the day is free to relax and enjoy walking in the beautiful Erongo Mountains.
Day 15
Today drive 3-hours across dramatic northern Namibia to timeless Damaraland, home of the Spitzkoppe and Brandberg Mountains - the highest in Namibia.
 
Take time to stop and explore some of the fascinating rock formations in these vast uninhabited open spaces, where magnificent semi-desert flowers can grow after good rains. In the late afternoon check in to your lodge near Twyfelfontein.
Day 16
At leisure to explore the World Heritage site at Twyfelfontein, which means "Doubtful Spring" (entrance fees for own account).
 
Over 6,000 years ago, San communities engraved and painted over 2,500 pictures here. These ancient Bushman Paintings have been well preserved in this dry environment and the hills are strewn with rock art - making this an open-air museum.
 
Close by you can explore the Burnt Mountain and Organ Pipes geological phenomena. You can also see the desert-adapted Welwitschia Mirabilis plant - the oldest living desert plant on earth.
 
In the afternoon you can join an optional 4x4 game drive along the dry river beds in search of rare Desert Elephants. In the evening enjoy the incredible night skies.
Day 17
Today drive 5-hours to Etosha National Park, one of the largest and greatest game parks in Africa.
 
Etosha owes its unique landscape to a vast shallow depression – the Etosha Pan.  During the dry season it becomes an expanse of white cracked mud, shimmering with mirages and spiralling dust devils, with its open pans offering magnificent game viewing. Etosha is home to over a hundred different species of mammals including elephant, rhino, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, lion, cheetah and leopard.
 
Check into your rest camp situated near the southern entrance to the park.
Day 18
Today is devoted to game viewing in the famous Etosha National Park, which surrounds an enormous salt pan that is the size of the Netherlands.
 
We recommend setting off early each morning as soon as the park gates open (05h30 to 06h00 depending on the season) to take advantage of the best game viewing conditions of the day.
 
A series of waterholes throughout the park guarantees rewarding game viewing, with Etosha being renowned for its vast arrays of plains game and predators, which are more easily seen on these open plains. You can also hope to see springbok, oryx, black-faced impala and the small Damara dik-dik.
 
Note: All game drives are self-drive (pay Etosha entrance fee locally) unless game drives are included in your lodge package. Vehicles are not allowed to drive off-road in any national park in Namibia.
Day 19
Enjoy another superb day of game viewing in the great Etosha National Park as you drive through the park to your next accommodation.
 
With over 100 different species of mammals and reptiles in the park, you can hope to see elephant, giraffe, hyena, kudu, warthog, baboon, roan antelope and many other interesting animals. Waterholes along the southern edge of the pan frequently offer rewarding game viewing experiences, including sightings of rare species such as black and white rhino.
 
Etosha also offers rewarding bird watching, with over 350 different species recorded including migrants that visit during the summer months. At the end of the day check into your lodge situated near the eastern gate.
Day 20
This morning leave Etosha and drive 4-hours southwards through central Namibia to Okonjima.
 
Travel through the mining centre of Tsumeb, where a rich ore pipe is mined for copper, zinc, lead, silver and a variety of unusual crystals. Also pass Lake Otjikoto where in 1915 the retreating German forces dumped weapons to prevent them from falling into the hands of the South African Union Forces. Several of these weapons have been recovered and can be viewed at the Tsumeb Museum.  
  
Continue to Okonjima, the home of the Africat Foundation dedicated to the preservation of Namibia’s large carnivores, but especially leopards and brown hyena. Leopards can be radio-tracked from the game viewing vehicle. Check in to your lodge before enjoying an afternoon game activity in the reserve.
 
Note: Ensure you arrive at your lodge in good time, as they stop serving lunch at 2 pm.
Day 21
Today is free to observe the wonderful work of the Africat Foundation.
 
Game viewing options include open top safari drives searching for rare species such as rhino, brown hyena and pangolin, as well as tracking leopard from a vehicle - an amazing 'once in a lifetime' experience.
Day 22
Enjoy an early morning game activity in the Africat Reserve.
 
Afterwards drive 3.5-hours to Windhoek Airport for your flight home.