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Namibia Holidays Road Trip Self Drive Safari Tours Etosha Namib Desert

Namibia Walking Holidays & Safari: Tok Tokkie Hiking Trails + Etosha + Kalahari

Namibia: Namib Walking Trail + Erongo Mnts + Etosha
NCY18W
18 NIGHTS
FROM £3,195
Per person sharing
International flights + car hire quoted separately
Namibia Walking Holidays Safari Tok Tokkie Hiking Trails Etosha Kalahari

Experience one of our self drive Namibia walking holidays with a safari, including the Tok Tokkie Hiking Trails in the NamibRand Nature Reserve, the sand dunes at Sossusvlei, wildlife of Etosha National Park & red sands of the vast Kalahari. Also enjoy a marine cruise in Walvis Bay, visit the seal colony at Cape Cross, meet a San Bushman community, walk in the lovely Erongo Mountains & visit the Africat Foundation.

Namibia Walking Holidays Safari Tok Tokkie Hiking Trails Etosha Kalahari
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Namibia Walking Holidays, Safari
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Kalahari
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Tok Tokkie Hiking Trails
• 
Sossusvlei Sand Dunes
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Swakopmund
• 
Erongo Mountains
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Twyfelfontein Bushman Paintings
• 
Etosha National Park
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Africat Foundation
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Namibia Walking Holidays, Safari
• 
Kalahari
• 
Tok Tokkie Hiking Trails
• 
Sossusvlei Sand Dunes
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Swakopmund
• 
Erongo Mountains
• 
Twyfelfontein Bushman Paintings
• 
Etosha National Park
• 
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
Ensure an early start today and drive 3.5-hours to De Duine Farmstead situated close to NamibRand Nature Reserve, arriving before 13.00 to enjoy an included lunch.
 
Here you can refill your waterbottles (at least 2 x 1 litre) or purchase a stainless steel waterbottle from reception. Also pack your personal daypack, which should not exceed 10 kg.
 
At 14.00 we take a short scenic transfer to the starting point of the Tok Tokkie Trail, walking in a small group of 2 to 8 people through the spectacular NamibRand Nature Reserve for 3 days. Today we walk 1 to 2 hours over a slope strewn with mysterious “fairy circles” and over rolling sand dunes to our first overnight camp. The dunes are not the massive ones encountered at Sossusvlei, but small vegetated dunes that have a unique beauty of their own, with close-up views of the fauna and flora of this living desert. On arrival at camp relax with a sundowner and marvel at the magnificent desert scenery before dinner is served.
 
The first night spent in the desert, sleeping on stretcher beds under a stunningly starry sky, will be unforgettable. Enjoy simple desert luxuries, including a hot bucket shower & bush toilet with a view. If the sky is clear and moonless, you will quickly understand why NamibRand Nature Reserve is one of the few 'International Dark Sky Reserves' in the world.
 
Note: You need to be fit to undertake this challenging hike, which involves walking for 7 to 8 hours in hot desert condition, with the pace set to suit the group.  As some of the trails lead through rough terrain and over sand dunes, it requires well-balanced and secure walking. Please be aware of high temperature fluctuations, which can reach 35°C or more during the day whilst sometimes plummeting down to -5°C at night, which can cause additional stress to your heart. It is vital to drink enough water. We recommend you to prepare yourself for the trail with some fitness training and if necessary get a health check.
 
Your luggage will be transported between camps and you will only need to carry personal items on the trail. All meals, tea & coffee, soft drinks, beer & local wines are included. Wear comfortable hiking shoes, sun hat, sunscreen (at least factor 30), sunglasses & light comfortable clothing. Also pack insect repellant, raingear, jacket/pullover and comfortable closed shoes for the cool evenings. A headlamp will also be very useful. In the winter months warm clothing including a beanie, scarf and gloves are essential. Contact lenses are uncomfortable in the sandy desert, so rather wear glasses. On the trail there are no facilities to charge phones or cameras, so ensure you take sufficient batteries or a portable charger. Sometimes the trail is walked in the opposite direction.
Day 5
Today enjoy hiking through the spectacular desert landscapes of the NamibRand Nature Reserve, discovering the many secrets of the Namib. We walk 4 to 4.5-hours this morning, and a further 2 to 2.5-hrs in the late afternoon.
 
Tea/coffee is served before sunrise, followed by a light breakfast so that we can set off in the cool of the early morning. The highlights of today's walk will be are breathtaking views of the dunes and plains, as well as the desert “coming alive” in the morning, as your guide allows you to feel, smell, taste and see the oldest living desert in the world. The “morning news” as written in the sand is always fascinating and with some luck and your guide’s trained eyes, you may spot some of the desert specials such as the golden mole, dancing white lady, barking gecko, dune lark and flightless wasp, to name just a few.
 
We walk over a mountain saddle before descending gently to a dry riverbed. During the course of the day your guide will explain some wonders of the Namib to you - how the desert flora survives, how insects and reptiles adapt to this harsh environment and how mammals can survive here without water. Birding is surprisingly good too and you may be lucky enough to see Namibia's only true endemic - the dune lark. Larger animals you might come across include bat-eared fox, oryx, springbok and ostrich
 
For lunch we stop at a shady spot where you can enjoy the treats prepared by our chef and fill up your water bottles. There is plenty of time to relax, have a siesta and reflect on all you have seen. As the heat recedes we start walking again up and over the dunes to our second overnight stop. The scene in front of you is a sea of endless dunes and “fairy circles” set against a backdrop of magnificent mountain scenery. Photography is spectacular here, as the shadows on the dunes create an ever-changing palette of colours before sunset. After sundowners and a delicious dinner, you might hear a barking gecko or owl, or just deafening silence as you sleep out in the open on stretcher beds.
Day 6
Once again you will be woken in the soft light shortly before sunrise, with coffee and breakfast served before we set off on our trail.
 
We walk 3 to 3.5-hours this morning through soft rolling dunes interspersed by camelthorn trees, which provide welcome shade for a rest. Today’s walk is easy and we arrive back at the farmhouse at approximately 11:30. Here you can visit the Namib Desert Environmental Education Trust, a non-profit organisation working to develop environmentally responsible citizens of Namibia.
 
Afterwards leave the farmhouse and drive 3.5-hours through the Namib-Rand Nature Reserve to Sossusvlei, whose great mountains of sand are a monument to the extreme forces of nature.
Day 7
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 8
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 9
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 10
At leisure to relax at the beach resort of Swakopmund.
 
As this is Namibia’s playground a wide variety of activities are on offer, including an optional 4x4 excursion across the desert to Sandwich Harbour and various adventure activities, such as sandboarding down the sand dunes. Alternatively simply relax at a coffee shop and enjoy the beach.
Day 11
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 12
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 13
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 14
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 15
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.
Days 16 To 17
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 18
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 19
Enjoy an early morning game activity in the Africat Reserve.
 
Afterwards drive 3.5-hours to Windhoek Airport for your flight home.