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namibia secrets revealed

11-Day Safari Exploring Namibia’s Ancient Cultures, Wildlife & Geology

Few Westerners know what fantastic and unique stories Namibia hides within its harsh deserts, gigantic sand dunes and treacherous coastline. Those willing to make the voyage there will be richly rewarded as Namibia reveals her secrets. On this 11-day safari, you will experience first-hand the vast and ageless land of Namibia and its ancient cultures. You will track the last free-roaming endangered black rhino on earth, walk amongst incredible pre-historic rock art at the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Twyfelfontein, search for desert-adapted elephants and enjoy authentic cultural exchanges. Your adventure ends with a visit to the world renowned AfriCat Foundation where you will enjoy close encounters with some of Africa’s large cats, and learn of the center’s efforts to increase appreciation of these threatened species. Throughout your journey in this beautiful and mysterious country, you will be traveling with excellent naturalist guides.

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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.

Galton House is a ten minute drive from the center of Windhoek and perched on the edge of Windhoek’s affluent suburb of Eros. The nine ensuite rooms are accompanied by a large lounge, indoor and outdoor dining areas, a swimming pool and garden areas. 

Day 2 – Windhoek/Damaraland: After breakfast, your guide will meet you to begin your journey to central Damaraland (approx. 4 hour drive). En route to your camp, 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. The Damaraland landscape consists of rugged folded hills, plains and wooded river valleys in a largely semi-desert and sparse savanna. Boasting some of the most magnificent views of Namibia’s highest mountain, the Brandberg, and the typical cathedral-like granite inselbergs of Damaraland, your camp is within striking distance of other geological attractions such as the Burnt Mountain, Organ Pipes and Doros Crater. Onduli Ridge is located on a private concession in the Doro Nawas Conservancy in the heart of Damaraland, and a mere 20 minutes away from the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Twyfelfontein. Named after the Doros Crater, Doro Nawas means ‘the place where rhinos roam’ in the Khoekhoegowab language, and the area is home desert-adapted black rhino, elephant and general plains game and predators such as cheetah, leopard, lion and spotted and brown hyena. Arrive at the lodge in the late afternoon in time for dinner. Dinner and overnight at Onduli Ridge.

Onduli Ridge, named after the resident giraffe of the area, is built at the base of two south facing granite outcrops which are connected by a ridge. The six suites are hidden amongst the granite boulders that nestle the camp and the more temperate climate of central Damaraland allows for naturally ventilated suites, partial open-air bathrooms and largely open communal areas. The camp is designed to maximize the views of this most extraordinary landscape and every space becomes a viewpoint whether from the bed, the desk or the bathroom.  A king size bed can also be rolled out onto your private deck for a night under a billion stars. 

Day 3 – Damaraland: Spend the day exploring the area. 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. You may also spend time elephant tracking, biking, taking a nature drive or walk and lounging by the pool. Meals and overnight at Onduli Ridge.

Day 4 – Damaraland/Kaokoland: After breakfast, drive towards the Purros Conservancy in Kaokoland, one of the last truly wild areas in the North West of Namibia and it features beautiful mountain landscapes and rugged tranquility (approx. 6 hour drive). Arrive in time for dinner and overnight at Okahirongo Elephant Lodge. The lodge is approximately 35 miles from the skeleton coast. Often described as one of the last true wilderness areas, the Kaokoveld is home to uniquely desert adapted elephant, lion, black rhino and giraffe.

Okahirongo Elephant Lodge has seven standard rooms and one family suite, each with a private terrace with a covered day bed overlooking the desert, plus a bathroom with both indoor and open-air showers. The magnificent lodge sits atop the banks of the Hoarusib Riverbed and is an impeccably appointed base for your adventures.

Day 5 & 6 – Kaokoland: Spend two days enjoying safari activities, including desert game drives with local guides, tracking black rhinos on foot, exploring the phenomenal clay castles and sipping sundowners as the sun sets over the dunes. Meals and overnights at Okahirongo Elephant Lodge.

Day 7 – Etosha National Park: After breakfast, drive towards Ongava Game Reserve, just outside Etosha National Park (approx. 7 hour drive). Arrive in time for dinner and overnight at Ongava Tented Camp.

Ongava Tented Camp has eight large comfortable Meru-style tents with ensuite facilities, open air showers and private verandas. The main area, built of stone, canvas and thatch, fronts onto a much-frequented waterhole; watching wildlife coming to drink from here or from the swimming pool is a favorite pastime.

Day 8 – Etosha National Park: Spend your day exploring Etosha National Park, a unique and beautiful area. The park’s main characteristic is a salt pan so large it can be seen from space. Yet there is abundant wildlife that congregates around the waterholes, giving you almost guaranteed game sightings. Ongava’s proximity to Etosha allows for game drives in the Etosha National Park and on the Ongava Reserve itself. Other possibilities include guided walks, birding and visiting hides. Ongava holds one of the largest rhino custodianships for the Namibian government in the country and is one of the few private game reserves in southern Africa where guests can see both black and white rhino. Meals and overnight at Ongava Tented Camp.

Days 9 & 10– AfriCat Foundation: This morning, drive to Okonjima Bush Camp, located at the base of the Omboroko Mountains near Waterberg (approx. 3 hour drive). 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. Meals and overnights at Okonjima Bush Camp.

Okonjima Bush Camp consists of 8 thatched, safari-chic ensuite chalets with earthy tones and African design elements, a junior suite, a  curio shop, a cozy lounge area with inside and outside fireplaces, a restaurant and dining area and a secluded, private swimming pool. Each chalet offers unrestricted views of the savanna and an open-air patio. 

Day 11 – 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).

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. Dinner and overnight at Sossusvlei Desert Lodge.

Sossusvlei Desert Lodge has ten desert villas which blend the grandeur and solitude of the Namib with sophisticated elegance and comfort. Each air conditioned glass-fronted suite is designed to complement the expansive views of the different habitats, perfectly framed from the spacious internal areas. They feature a private veranda, bedroom with retractable skylights for in-bed star-gazing, a living room with a fireplace, an ensuite bathroom with a glass-encased rain shower offering 180º views, and a perfectly-positioned private plunge pool for some sublime respite after a long day in the desert heat. Dune dinners in dramatic desert locations reveal the wonders of the open spaces, and you can get a closer look at the night sky from the sophisticated observatory and state-of-the-art telescope. 

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. Meals and overnight at Sossusvlei Desert Lodge.

Day 3 – Damaraland: After breakfast, you will be transferred to the local airstrip for your scenic light aircraft flight to Onduli Airstrip. The flight route begins with an amazing bird’s eye view of the Sossusvlei area and the great dune sea on the way to Damaraland. 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 the local airstrip, you will be transferred to Onduli Ridge for the next phase of your safari (approx. 20 minute drive).  NOTE: If you choose this pre-safari extension, you will skip the first night in Windhoek on the main safari.

Interested in this trip? Give us a call or drop us an email.

Quick Facts

Perfect for:

  • Perfect for Cultural Visits
  • Perfect for Big 5/Wildlife Sightings
  • Perfect for Adventure Seekers
  • Duration 11 days
  • Departures Anytime
  • Accommodations Guest house, safari lodges and camps
  • Fitness Rating Easy
  • Activities Specialty game drives, nature walks, culture interactions and tours, historical experiences, star gazing
  • Safari Type Cultural/Historical
  • Style Deluxe
  • Land-Only Price* $$

*Pricing is per person and an estimate. Contact a Journey Specialist for a customized quote.
$ = <$5,000 | $$ = $5,000 – $9,999 | $$$ = $10,000 – $20,000 | $$$$ = >$20,000

Contact a Journey Specialist