Day 1 – Windhoek: Upon arrival at Windhoek, you will be met and transferred to Galton House for your first-night stay in Namibia. Enjoy your welcome dinner and drink at the guest house or in town with your guide to discuss the details of your safari. Overnight at Galton House. (D, Dr)
Day 2 – Erongo Mountains: After breakfast, your guide will meet you to begin your journey through Okahandja to the Ai Aiba Lodge (the Rock Painting Lodge). Visit the local San village known as the San Living Museum. Here, you will be given an insight into the lifestyle, beliefs, ancient skills and traditions of the San, also known as Bushmen, one of Namibia’s oldest cultural groups. Included are demonstrations of traditional hunting and gathering techniques. Gain a better understanding of the San, and the problems they are facing, plus an appreciation for their skills and knowledge now lost by modern man. Enjoy lunch at the San village and continue on to your lodge, nestled in the granite formations of the Erongo Mountain Nature Conservancy, whose mission includes the preservation of the rock paintings and engravings throughout the area. Overnight at Ai Aiba Lodge. (B, L, D, Dr)
Day 3 – Grootberg Mountains: Today, you head into the wonderful and diverse region of Damaraland. En route to your lodge, you will visit an authentic Himba settlement, to learn about the customs and traditions of this very proud nation, and will be given insight into their beliefs, way of life and everyday routine. The Himba are semi-nomadic pastoralists who tend to travel only from one watering place to another. The women are especially noted for their intricate hairstyles and traditional adornments – rubbing their bodies with red ochre and fat, a treatment that protects their skins against the harsh desert climate. Arrive at the lodge in the late afternoon in time for dinner. Overnight at Grootberg Lodge. (B, L, D, Dr)
Day 4 – Palmwag Concession, Damaraland: After breakfast, head north into the private Palmwag concession, making your way along the ephemeral rivers of Damaraland. Stop for lunch at Palmwag, and arrive at Desert Rhino Camp in the late afternoon. The Palmwag Concession and its river courses provide an oasis from these rugged mountains for some of the continent’s most unique wildlife such as the legendary desert elephant, lion and the last free-roaming black rhino population on earth. In fact, 75% of Namibia’s endemic species inhabit this last bastion of the wilderness. The landscape is a breath-taking mix of flat-top mountains, peaks, and basalt plains dotted with euphorbias and greenery-filled river courses. Overnight at Desert Rhino Camp. (B, L, D, Dr)
Day 5 – Palmwag Concession, Damaraland: This is a full day of guided excursions. Spend an exciting and memorable morning out rhino tracking. Namibia is home to the larger of two subspecies of the black rhinoceros found in southern Africa and this is the only population that remains in the wild, unfenced and outside reserves. After a picnic lunch, return to camp in the early afternoon for some time to relax. Later in the afternoon, you head out again for a scenic nature drive or walk to explore this vast and astounding ecosystem. Overnight at Desert Rhino Camp. (B, L, D, Dr)
Days 6 & 7 – Damaraland: After an early breakfast, make your way into the heart of Damaraland, with picnic lunch en-route. Visit the nearby attractions and geological sites, Twyfelfontein – perhaps the largest and finest collection of petroglyphs in Africa and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Burnt Mountain – which seems to catch fire at dawn and dusk, and the Organ Pipes – consisting of a mass of perpendicular dolerite columns that intruded the surrounding rocks also about 125 million years ago. Arrive at Mowani Mountain Camp in the late afternoon. Spend the next day exploring the ephemeral Aba Huab River valley to search for game, including the elusive desert-adapted elephants, as well the black rhinoceros and giraffe. Stop at the Damara Traditional Living Museum for an insight to life in a Damara village including tanning leather and blacksmith skills, jewelry, crafts, dancing, singing, games, holy fire and fire making. Overnights at Mowani Mountain Camp. (B, L, D, Dr)
Days 8 & 9 – AfriCat Foundation: This morning, drive to Okonjima Bush Camp, located at the base of the Omboroko Mountains near Waterberg. Enjoy the superb accommodations and fascinating activities as arranged through the AfriCat Foundation, a wildlife sanctuary which focuses on the research and rehabilitation of Africa’s big cats, especially injured or captured leopard and cheetah. Close encounters with leopard and cheetah are an unforgettable highlight. Your two-day stay includes leopard tracking by vehicle, a visit to the cheetah welfare project and a night drive in the Okonjima Reserve, or a visit to the night hide where nocturnal animals such as porcupines, caracals, honey badgers, and even leopards may be seen. Overnights at Okonjima Bush Camp. (B, L, D, Dr)
Day 10 – AfriCat Foundation/Windhoek/Depart: Enjoy one last guided activity before breakfast, then you will be transferred back to Windhoek in the late morning via the town of Okahandja, stopping off to visit the woodcarvers’ craft market. Continue on to the Windhoek International Airport for your onward flights (Departure flight must be no earlier than 4 pm). (B)
Optional: 3-Day Pre-Safari Extension
Day 1 – Sossusvlei: Upon arrival at Windhoek International Airport, you will be met and assisted to your light aircraft transfer to the Sossusvlei Desert Lodge airstrip. Transfer to the lodge in time for lunch. This afternoon, explore the NamibRand Nature Reserve. Activities include a sundowner drive, guided walk, or guided quad-biking excursions into the local dunes. The NamibRand Nature Reserve is a vast conservation area spanning 454,674 acres of the pristine Namib Desert, a magical reserve and a photographer’s paradise. Spend your evenings stargazing at the lodge’s observatory with the resident astronomer, or enjoy this magnificent view with the star-viewing skylight in each room. NamibRand has been recognized as a Gold Level Dark Sky Reserve by the International Dark-Sky Association, the highest award representing the darkest skies. There are few better places for stargazing anywhere on earth. Overnight at Sossusvlei Desert Lodge. (L, D, Dr)
Day 2 – Sossusvlei: Rise early for a magical excursion into the Namib Naukluft National Park, entering the park gates at sunrise to capture the soft morning light on the dunes, accentuating their towering shapes and curves. This area boasts some of the highest free-standing sand dunes in the world. Once you have explored the areas around Sossusvlei and Deadvlei, enjoy a relaxing picnic breakfast in the shade of a camel thorn tree. Return to Sossusvlei Desert Lodge in the early afternoon for a late lunch, stopping off to view Sesriem Canyon along the way, a narrow gorge showcasing sediments deposited over a million years ago. The rest of the afternoon is at your leisure or choose another guided scheduled activity within the NamibRand Nature Reserve. After dinner, enjoy more stargazing. Overnight at Sossusvlei Desert Lodge. (B, L, D, Dr)
Day 3 – Swakopmund: After breakfast, you will be transferred to the local airstrip for your scenic light aircraft flight to Swakopmund. The flight route begins with an amazing bird’s eye view of the Sossusvlei area and the great dune sea on the way to the coast. You then fly north along the coastline (fog permitting) over abandoned mining camps, shipwrecks (including that of the Edouard Bohlen at Conception Bay), seal colonies, Sandwich Harbour, salt pans and Walvis Bay lagoon. Upon arrival at Swakopmund Airport, you will be transferred to Ai Aiba Lodge for the next phase of your safari. (B) NOTE: If guests choose this pre-safari extension, they will skip the first night in Windhoek on the main safari.
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