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Namibia Holidays Road Trip Self Drive Safari Tours Etosha Namib Desert

South Africa and Namibia: Private Tour Guide, Photo Safari, Kalahari, Etosha

South Africa to Namibia, via Kalahari - Private Guide
SPL14U
14 NIGHTS
FROM £5,695
Per person sharing
International flights quoted separately
South Africa and Namibia Private Tour Guide Photo Safari Kalahari Etosha

On this South Africa and Namibia private tour, travel with your own driver guide on a photo safari through the Kalahari to Etosha. Starting from Upington, travel through Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, with its unique desert-adapted wildlife, to the sand dunes of the Namib, Swakopmund & Twyfelfontein's Bushman paintings, ending at Africat. English speaking guide, all transfers & park fees included.

South Africa and Namibia Private Tour Guide Photo Safari Kalahari Etosha
• 
South Africa and Namibia
• 
Private Tour Guide
• 
Kalahari
• 
Photo Safari
• 
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
• 
Namib Desert
• 
Sossusvlei Sand Dunes
• 
Bushmen Paintings
• 
Etosha National Park
• 
Africat
• 
South Africa and Namibia
• 
Private Tour Guide
• 
Kalahari
• 
Photo Safari
• 
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
• 
Namib Desert
• 
Sossusvlei Sand Dunes
• 
Bushmen Paintings
• 
Etosha National Park
• 
Africat
Day 1
You will be met at Upington Airport and transferred to your hotel in this small town that acts as the gateway to the vast Kalahari.
 
Check in and relax under warm blue South African skies.
Day 2
This morning we travel 4-hours through the vast and arid Kalahari, one of the world’s last unspoilt ecosystems and one of Africa’s greatest wilderness areas. In this land of far horizons, marvel at the gigantic nests of the sociable weaver birds set high in camel thorn trees and stop to examine some of the amazing succulent desert plants which have adapted to survive in such harsh conditions.
  
The malaria-free Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is a visionary 3.7-million hectare joint venture between South African and Botswana. There are several self-catering rest camps, with accommodation in simple but comfortable air-conditioned chalets and tents. Your guide has an allowance to purchase provisions for breakfast, lunch & dinner each day.
Day 3
Today is devoted to game viewing in the vast Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park with your own driver/guide, travelling in his closed air-conditioned vehicle. You can discuss preferred routings and travelling times with him each day, but we recommend setting off early each morning as the camp gates open (05h30 to 06h00 depending on the season), to take advantage of the best game viewing conditions of the day.
 
Wildlife is plentiful in the red sand dunes and semi-desert of this vast game sanctuary, which is twice the size of the Kruger National Park. Of the many species of mammals and reptiles that have successfully adapted to the harsh desert conditions, the most famous is the black-maned Kalahari lion. Kgalagadi is also renowned for the magnificent oryx, cheetah and leopards - which are more easily seen in the sparse vegetation. You will see some of Africa’s most unusual animals in the Kalahari and many of the “great cats” – lion, cheetah and leopard – but the vegetation does not support elephants, rhino or buffalo.
 
We should see large herds of antelope including springbok, eland and blue wildebeest. We also hope to see the brown and spotted hyena, black-backed jackals, curious meerkats, yellow mongoose, porcupines, honey badgers, bat-eared foxes, Cape foxes, African wild cats and many other interesting animals. Bird life is also prolific with over 260 species, including 20 different raptors.
 
You can spend the full day on the road, or return to your rest camp for breakfast and some relaxation, before setting out again at the time of your choice (usually the late afternoon) for another game drive.
 
Note: Vehicles are not allowed to drive off-road in any national park in South Africa.
Day 4
After some final game viewing, today we leave Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park through Mata Mata Gate and after completing border formalties enter Nambia.
 
We travel northwards for 4 to 5-hours (depending on location of your lodge) towards the scrub vegetation and red sands of the vast Kalahari, the largest sand mass on earth (with picnic lunch included). 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 5
Today we travel through ever-changing landscapes to the great Namib Desert, a 5-hour drive through dramatically beautiful desert scenery.
 
The terrain becomes more arid as we travel towards Sossusvlei, whose great mountains of sand are a monument to the extreme forces of nature.
 
We explore Gondwana Namib Park and Namib Naukluft Park before checking into our lodge. The petrified dunes of the dry riverbed of the Dieprivier are a special attraction, as these 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 6
We set out early this morning on a 4x4 drive into the famous sand dunes at Sossusvlei, 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 enjoy 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 7
Today we 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 (with picnic lunch included).
 
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 8
This morning we 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 9
A full day on the road today as we drive 5-hours from Swakopmund to Twyfelfontein (with picnic lunch included).
 
As we 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.
 
We then suggest detouring 2-hours 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.
 
Afterwards we head inland to timeless Damaraland - home of the Spitzkoppe and Brandberg Mountains, the highest in Namibia. Damaraland is one of the least populated and most geologically diverse areas in Africa and home to the rare desert elephant and rhino. Take time to enjoy some of the fascinating rock formations in these vast uninhabited open spaces, where magnificent semi-desert flowers can grow after good rains. You can also see the desert-adapted Welwitschia Mirabilis plant - the oldest living desert plant on earth. Check in to our lodge and in the evening enjoy the incredible night skies.
Day 10
Today we travel 5-hours through Damaraland to Etosha National Park, one of the largest and greatest game parks in Africa. A boxed picnic lunch is included today.
 
If you wish, along the way we can detour via Kamanjab to visit a Himba Village at Otjikandero.
 
We continue to Etosha, which 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 11
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.
 
As you will have your own driver/guide, you have the flexibility of discussing preferred routings and travelling times with him each day (with picnic lunch included). However we recommend setting off early each morning as the park gates open (05h30 to 06h00 depending on the season) to take advantage of the best game viewing conditions of the day, with all game drives taken in his vehicle.
 
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: Vehicles are not allowed to drive off-road in any national park in Namibia.
Day 12
Enjoy another superb day of game viewing in the great Etosha National Park as we travel through the park to our next rest camp (picnic lunch included).
 
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 we check into our rest camp situated near the eastern gate.
Day 13
This morning we leave Etosha and drive 4-hours southwards through central Namibia to Okonjima.
 
This is 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 14
After an early morning game activity in the Africat Reserve, we travel 3.5-hours to Windhoek.
 
Along the way we stop at the Kavango craft market in Okahandja. The Kavango woodcarvers ply their trade at this large open-air craft market on the outskirts of town - one of the best places in Namibia to purchase woodcarvings.
 
Continue to Winhoek, check into your hotel and relax under warm blue Namibian skies.
Day 15
Transfer to Windhoek Airport for your flight home.