This 12 day tour is the perfect overview of Namibia’s main attractions. Enjoy sightings of wildlife at the Okonjima Nature Reserve and Etosha National Park before immersing ourselves into the rich culture of the Himba tribe. Remember to bring a scarf , it will help with the fresh breeze as we explore Namibia’s Skeleton Coast as well as come in handy to cover our nose when we visit the seals at Cape Cross. We take a short break from camping in Swakopmund, Namibia’s adventure capital where we can enjoy any number of adrenaline inducing optional activities before starting our journey south. Our next stop after crossing the Tropic of Capricorn is Sossusvlei in the Namib Desert, home to some of the world’s highest sand dunes. We then continue on to Namibia’s deep south where breath taking landscapes abound, we visit the ghost town of Kolmanskop, spot the wild horses of the Namib Desert, gaze over the world’s 2nd biggest canyon, the Fish River Canyon, before wrapping up our incredible 12day trip with our last night at the impressive Quiver Tree Forest before returning to Windhoek. This is the ultimate Namibian adventure for the budget traveller!
Day 1: Saturday Okonjima Nature Reserve Campsite
Our tour starts at Chameleon Backpackers where we meet for a pre-departure briefing. Anyone not staying at Chameleon Backpackers must be prepared for a 7h15 pick up. After the departure from Windhoek, we stop briefly at the Okahandja Wood carving markets. Woodcarvers from all over Namibia come here to sell their hand-crafted goods and this is the perfect opportunity to practice our haggling skills all while supporting the local community. Our next stop is our overnight destination, the world renowned Okonjima Nature Reserve. Okonjima, is an impressive 20,000ha nature reserve which is home to an incredible array of wildlife species. It is also home to the AfriCat Foundation, whose long-term mission is the conservation of Namibia’s wildlife in their natural habitat, but in a protected conservation area. This includes predators and keystone species and the reserve is well known for leopard, cheetah, and hyena sightings.
We aim to arrive at camp around midday, giving us ample time to set up camp and enjoy lunch before we join the afternoon activity where we have the chance to see some of the cheetah currently part of the AfriCat rehabilitation programme. The aim of this programme is to re-introduce these animals back into the wild where they can thrive.
After our educational tour, we join an afternoon game drive on the reserve before enjoying our first spectacular sunset in the Namibian bush. Dinner tonight is prepared by our guide over an open fire.
Day 2: Sunday Okaukuejo Campsite, Etosha National Park
We depart from camp after breakfast and stop briefly at Otjiwarongo, a small town north of Okonjima to gather some fresh supplies, before continuing on to Etosha National Park, one of Southern Africa’s premier wildlife reserves. Upon entering the gate, we start our search for antelope, such as springbok and impala and with any luck some megaherbivores such as elephant, rhino or giraffe, on our short game drive to Okaukuejo. We set up camp and enjoy a delicious lunch before heading out on an afternoon game drive. Etosha is unlike any other, and our game drives take us from waterhole to waterhole in search of predators as well as plains game, birds and if we are lucky,
even reptiles. We return to camp just before sunset, and whilst dinner is cooking, we have the chance to visit the excellent floodlit waterhole where rhino, elephant, giraffe, lion and hyena are frequent visitors. Dinner is prepared by our guide over an open fire.
Day 3: Monday Okaukuejo Campsite, Etosha National Park
A pre-dawn start today with a quick coffee and rusk before embarking on our full day game drive at sunrise to have any chance of catching a glimpse of predators that are returning home after a night of hunting. We make our way across the park, visiting various waterholes and enjoy a late breakfast at one of the picnic spots within the park. We continue our journey east in search of the many species that call Etosha home and arrive at Halali where we can take a dip in the pool, visit the waterhole and enjoy lunch. After lunch we visit the Etosha Pan where the park gets its name. Here we can get out of the vehicle and experience this 4500 sq km ‘saline desert’, a salt pan so large it can be seen from space. We continue our game drive to look for the Big 4 on our way back to Okaukuejo, arriving at camp by sunset. Enjoy our last night camping in Etosha, and a visit to the waterhole before and after dinner is highly recommended.
Day 4: Tuesday Palmwag Campsite, Kunene Region
Another early start where we can take in a spectacular sunrise whilst having breakfast and then a short game drive back to the park gate. The route today takes us west into the area known as the Kunene Region. Our first stop is a visit to the Otjikandero Himba Village. The Himba people are one of the last tribes in Namibia who still embrace their ancient culture and customs. We participate in a guided tour around the village where we have the chance to not only gain an in-depth insight into the Himba way of life, but to get to know the Himba people to share a little of our own culture with them.
We continue west and stop briefly in the small town of Kamanjab before continuing on to Palmwag, situated on the very edge of the remote Palmwag Concession. Here we set up camp before enjoying a leisurely afternoon watching the sunset. Dinner is prepared by our guide over an open fire.
Day 5: Wednesday Cape Cross Campsite, Skeleton Coast
Today our adventure takes us through the infamous Skeleton Coast National Park all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. The coastline itself is a very hostile but a fascinating area known for the Welwitschia mirabilis, the Northern Namibia sand sea, the derelict oil rig near Toscanini, the Huab lagoon and the diminishing remains of the Winston Shipwreck.
On exiting the national park we stop for Instagram worthy photos of the iconic skull and cross bones gate. We arrive at Cape Cross late afternoon where we set up camp for the night and have the opportunity for a sunset walk on the beach. Dinner is prepared by our guide over an open fire.
Day 6: Thursday Hotel A La Mer, Swakopmund
Today is a chance for a rare lie in and after a hearty cooked breakfast we take a short walk to the Cape Cross Reserve. The reserve is home to one of the world’s largest breeding colonies of Cape Fur seals and during breeding season (November-December) up to 200 000 seals can be spotted basking on the beach, certainly a sight and smell to behold. After our visit to the seal colony we continue travelling along the coast stopping to view the Zeila Shipwreck, one of the latest victims of the Skeleton Coast from as recent as 2007. We arrive in Swakopmund early afternoon and have plenty of time to explore this quaint little town on foot, or join one of the optional activities on
offer from skydiving, scenic flights, quad biking and more. Dinner tonight is at own expense in one of Swakopmund’s excellent restaurants and our guide will be happy to make recommendations or bookings depending on what we feel like.
Day 7: Friday Sesriem Oshana Campsite, Sesriem
Today we leave Swakopmund at 11h30 so we have the time to enjoy an optional activity. For the adrenaline junkies this could be flying down a sand dune head first at 60km/h on a sandboard, exploring the dune field on a quad biking tour or discover the “old city” of Swakopmund on a fat bike (e-bike option available). Whatever we choose, we depart Swakopmund no later than 11h30 and drive through the Namib Desert via the Kuiseb Pass, crossing the Tropic of Capricorn, stopping briefly in Solitaire and arriving at our camp late afternoon. We set up our tents, and enjoy the sunset over the Namib Desert while listening to the barking geckos. There is a pool and bar available, dinner is prepared by our guide. An early night is recommended.
Day 8: Saturday Sesriem Oshana Campsite, Sesriem
A pre-dawn departure from camp this morning means we can enjoy the dunes at first light. We drive down an ancient river bed, surrounded by towering dunes and our first stop is at the famous Dune 45 where we have the chance to climb to the top to enjoy the sunrise. On descent we replenish our energy and enjoy breakfast before
continuing on into the Sossusvlei area. We explore this unique area on foot, heading into Dead Vlei with its large expanse of bleached cracked clay and skeletal camel thorn trees, contrasting with a backdrop of huge dunes with their ever-changing colours.
We have the opportunity to climb the dune at Sossusvlei before we return to Sesriem for lunch and a swim or siesta during the heat of the day. Mid-afternoon we visit the Sesriem Canyon before your guide drops you at Elim’s Dune for a short and educational sunset walk back to camp through the desert. Dinner tonight is prepared by our guide.
Day 9: Sunday Klein Aus Vista Campsite, Namib Desert
We pack up camp and enjoy breakfast before heading south through some of the most spectacular desert landscapes in Southern Namibia. Our destination today is the small outpost of Klein Aus, nestled in the Gondwana Sperrgebiet Rand Park. We arrive early afternoon and set up camp. For the active there is a short optional unguided
hiking trail. Permits and a map are available at reception. We enjoy a beautiful sunset and dinner prepared by our guide over an open-fire.
Day 10: Monday Klein Aus Vista Campsite, Namib Desert
After an early breakfast we make our way from Klein Aus to the ghost town, of Kolmanskop, situated 15km outside of Luderitz. During a diamond boom in 1910 Kolmanskop quickly became one of the richest towns in Africa boasting the southern hemisphere’s first X-ray machine, a bowling alley and luxury housing. As the diamond boom came to an end and the town’s inhabitants abandoned the area Kolmanskop became a ghost town. After our tour we continue our adventure to the small town of Luderitz, situated on the rocky shores of the Atlantic Ocean and well known for its unique and colourful colonial-style buildings. We stop at Diaz Point, the famous site of the Original Diaz Cross and enjoy a picnic lunch. On return to Aus, we keep our eyes peeled for the wild horses of the Namib Desert that roam between Luderitz and Klein Aus. While the details of how these horses came to live in the desert are still a mystery, the mere fact that they have survived in the harshest of conditions is impressive, and any sighting of them is one to celebrate. We arrive back at camp late afternoon and can relax before enjoying another incredible sunset over the Aus Mountains. Dinner tonight is prepared by our guide.
Day 11: Tuesday Quiver Tree Forest, Keetmanshoop
We enjoy another early start this morning as we pack up camp and head east. Our first official stop is at the well-known Hell`s Bend viewpoint of the Fish River Canyon. Here we have the opportunity to overlook the second largest canyon in the world. The Fish River Canyon was formed millions of years ago by water erosion and the collapse of the valley due to movements in the earth’s crust. After lunch we continue our adventure heading to our last destination; The Quiver Tree Forest. It is located just north-east of Keetmanshoop and here approximately 250 quiver trees can be found. The forest grew spontaneously and the oldest trees are estimated to be around 200-300 years old. The Quiver tree (Kokerboom in Afrikaans) is also Namibia’s national tree, and the forest was declared a national monument in 1995. The last night on our adventure is spent camping under the stars with meals prepared by our guide.
Day 12: Wednesday Windhoek – End of Safari
After a tasty cooked breakfast, we start the day with a chance to really explore the Quiver Tree Forest and Giants Playground, a geological phenomenon of dolerite rocks that appear to have been stacked by giants. From here we begin our journey back to Windhoek passing Brukkaros Mountain, an extinct volcano which is 650m above the
surrounding area. We pass through the small towns of Mariental and Rehoboth before arriving at Chameleon Backpackers in Windhoek late afternoon. There is a shuttle option for those staying elsewhere within the city limits. No flights recommended on this day.
Word Of Mouth
I’m a midlife solo female traveler who attended the 12 Day Classic Namibia Camping Safari with Chameleon Safari. This itinerary is a perfect blend of safari, camping, savanna, desert, seashore and canyon exploration of wild Namibia from top to bottom. A camping safari is a good way to social distance during the pandemic, and to really experience the Namibian wilderness in full color and sound. I took over 1000 photos and saw many species of birds and animals–to include a lion kill in Etosha National Park! This was literally the most adventurous trip of my lifetime. My guide Tulimo was most excellent and very knowledgeable about the history, culture, ecology, plants, animals and birds. Every question I asked he was able to answer. Tulimo was very professional, prompt and conscientious and made sure I was comfortable and well fed. I had a specific gluten free diet he was able to accommodate perfectly. He also pulled the vehicle over to allow me to take photos upon request. Lastly, I must mention that the people working in the Chameleon office did an excellent job processing my reservations, and they even went above and beyond in customer service to assist me in getting to a doctor and a specialized medication that was suddenly needed to continue my travels. I highly recommend coming to Namibia during this pandemic as it is the second least populated country on earth! Bravo to Chameleon Safari! Very safe for solo female travelers.
Super complete tour, including all the Namibian highlights in a very cozy and familiar atmosphere. The guide, Kennedy, was beyond perfection. He drove, he cooked amazing meals in open fire every night, always with humor and with a positive attitude. He also was very wise, giving accurate information along the way and doing really interesting debates after dinner. I would choose chameleon safaris again, and if you can, I would ask for Kennedy as your guide.
I highly recommend Chameleon Safaris. We did a 12-day tour covering the Must-See-Classics of Namibia. We got a great overview of the country. Our guide, Kennedy, was extremely knowledgeable and helpful. The Car was fantastic. Everyone got a separate tent. The food was always cooked by Kenned on a open fire and tasted fantastic. Campingsites were wonderful, we saw every animal we could have hoped for in Etosha, and the views throughout the country were spectacular. A special note goes to our guide Kennedy: perfect organisation, superb cook, save driver and navigator, effective mechanic (we had to change a flat tire twice), helpful advisor, lovely humour, deep knowledge of the country and always interested in a good talk about culture and the way of living. I couldn’t recommend Chameleon more. You should take this trip!