Combine an incredible 13 days of adventuring and conservation work on the spectacular Oana Nature Reserve with a 6 day lodge safari to reward yourself.
Start your adventure in Windhoek, transfer down to Namibia’s deep south to spend 13 days on the impressive Oana Reserve. For the next 13 days, enjoy a fully immersive conservation experience, anything from monitoring wildlife including residence predators, megafauna, reptiles, and small mammals. But it’s not all work and there will be plenty of time for fun with the likes of hiking, biking, rafting the Orange river and more! Oana Nature Reserves offers a chance to truly disconnect from technology and to experience every aspect of mindful travel!
Transfer back to Windhoek where you spend 2 nights enjoying everything the capital has to offer before heading off on a 5night/6day lodge tour to explore Etosha National Park, Swakopmund on the Skeleton Coast and the piste de resistance, Sossusvlei in the Namib Desert.
Day 1: Thursday Chameleon Backpackers, Windhoek
Today we are collected at the Hosea Kutako International Airport, and brought into Windhoek to Chameleon Backpackers, our accommodation for the night. Tonight’s meal is at own expenses in one of the many restaurants Windhoek have to offer, or order in and enjoy an evening at the bar and pool area of Chameleon Backpackers.
Day 2: Friday Oana, Deep Southern Namibia
Enjoy an early breakfast before catching a shared shuttle bus to Oana Nature Reserve. Today’s journey takes us south via Rehoboth, Mariental and Keetmanshoop, stopping en-route for a leg stretch. We aim to arrive at Oana late afternoon where we can settle into our home for the next two weeks.
Day 3 – 16: Saturday – Thursday Oana, Deep Southern Namibia
The next 13 days are spent on the Oana Nature Reserve, a 45 000 hectare reserve of breath-taking mountainous semi-desert landscapes encompassing 50km of the lush Orange River; a paradise amid the extensive hues of orange and red rocky and sandy plains forging the remarkable Nama Karoo biome. The aim here is to ecologically restore ex hunting/farmland in southern Namibia through conservation initiatives. These conservation projects are driven through adventure conservation expeditions for those seeking a wilderness refuge. The programs are a mix of conservation (manual work and research), community development, adventure endeavours and ultimate relaxation and it offers the quintessential opportunity for anyone seeking to get off-grid and embark on an extraordinary journey.
Our stay will include being part of the rewilding and conservation project from large mammal game counts, leopard monitoring, nocturnal biodiversity surveys and reptile surveys, to some recreational adventures such as mountain biking, fishing, birding, swimming, rock scrambling up Jenga peak, to sundowners and stargazing. The list is endless and there is no limit to the adventures to be had. When we aren’t out exploring and adventuring, we can spend our downtime relaxing at the swanky bedouin style base camp, complete with plenty of space for yoga, slacklining, volleyball, baseball, reading, or for some rest and relaxation should we wish to unwind after a busy morning or afternoon of activities.
Accommodation is provided in twin share tents with plenty of space to unpack and feel at home. There is a western-style flush toilet with hot showers, everything we need to maximize our comfort. All meals are provided during our stay, breakfast, lunch, and dinner all prepared by expert cooks and even a bar so we can clench our thirst after a busy day.. Electricity to charge all our essential items is available in the communal area so while we might be off-grid we can still make sure our phones/cameras are charged to capture all the amazing sights we will see.
Day 17 – 19: Friday – Monday Chameleon Backpackers, Windhoek
After two weeks of volunteering and giving back to the community and nature, we make our way back to Windhoek. We arrive in the capital late afternoon where we check into our accommodation for the weekend. Spend a leisurely weekend in Windhoek doing activities or just relaxing by the pool.
On Monday morning at 08h30 we join a 3-hour NamFlava style township tour, experiencing Namibia’s authentic culture in an old Volkswagen Kombi, tasting some of Namibia’s best local delicacies and learning all about Windhoek from our local guide.
Day 20: Tuesday Halali, Etosha National Park
It’s safari time and we will be collected from our guesthouse/hotels at 07:15 and taken to Chameleon Safaris Head Office for the pre-departure talk and to meet the rest of the group. After the departure from Windhoek, we stop briefly at Otjiwarongo to gather some last-minute supplies before continuing on to Etosha with a light lunch pack whilst “on the move”. We enjoy an afternoon game drive through the park visiting waterholes looking for predators as well as zebra, giraffe, elephant, rhino, and many different species of antelope arriving at our lodge just before sunset and settling into our rooms, with an en-suite bathroom and tea/coffee facilities. A visit to the flood-lit waterhole is highly recommended while dinner is prepared by our guide over an open fire.
Day 21: Wednesday Etosha Village, Anderson Gate
We start our first game drive at sunrise to catch the predators while they are still active, visiting many waterholes. Our second game drive mid-morning takes us to the impressive Etosha Pan “great white place” where we can get out of the vehicle and experience this 4500 sq km “saline desert” before continuing our game drive to look for the Big 4. After lunch, we begin our final game drive across the park towards Okaukuejo calling into some well-known waterholes and leaving the park prior to sunset. Accommodation tonight is just outside the park in a comfortable spacious twin share room with modern en-suite bathroom facilities, creating an ideal space to sit back, relax and enjoy the beauty that surrounds us. A fantastic dinner is prepared by our guide and another early night is recommended.
Day 22: Thursday Hotel A La Mer, Swakopmund
Early morning breakfast before departing from our lodge at 07h30 for our drive via the communal lands of Damaraland where we see the communal farmers in this arid region. We stop at the Ugab River bridge to visit with the beautiful Herero ladies who sell their small art and craft items to support their families. We lunch in the shadow of the Brandberg Mountain and have a short visit with a Himba group who have moved into this area to sell their jewellery and other items (dependent on Himba tribespeople). After lunch, we head directly through the Namib Desert and stop at the latest shipwreck on the Skeleton Coast before arriving late afternoon in Swakopmund. We recommend exploring this seaside town on foot this afternoon and perhaps visiting the jetty for sundowners overlooking the cold Atlantic Ocean. Our guide will be happy to recommend a good restaurant for our evening meal (own expense).
Day 23: Friday Desert Camp, Sesriem Area
This morning after breakfast we highly recommend a visit to the Museum or Aquarium (optional and unguided) and for the adrenaline junkies, a 2-hour sandboarding experience in the dunes should get our pulse racing. Departure from Swakopmund at 12h00 noon. Driving through the Namib Desert via the Kuiseb Pass and Solitaire we arrive at our camp late afternoon and have a chance to relax and enjoy the views before taking a short walk for sunset looking over the Naukluft mountain range. Pool and bar available and dinner is prepared by our guide.
Day 24: Saturday Desert Camp, Sesriem Area
Dawn departure from camp to arrive at the park gate for sunrise. We drive down an ancient river bed surrounded by towering dunes to the 2×4 parking (around 55kms) and take a 4×4 shuttle into the Sossusvlei area to appreciate the beauty of this place in the early morning light and enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the region. We explore this unique area on foot before 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 can either walk or take the 4×4 shuttle back to our vehicle. As we drive back to our accommodation, we will stop at the famous Dune 45 and climb this dune if we wish or just wander around the base. We return to Sesriem and visit the nearby Sesriem Canyon, one of the few permanent water sources before arriving back at our lodge late afternoon to watch the sunset over this spectacular desert.
Day 25: Sunday Chameleon Backpackers, Windhoek
Early morning breakfast before heading to Solitaire where we join a local guide to observe cheetahs currently in captivity with the hope to re-introduce them into a large reserve. We return to Windhoek via the Naukluft Mountains and Rehoboth. On arrival in Windhoek, mid-afternoon, we will be dropped off at Chameleon Backpackers where we spend our last night.
Day 26: Monday Airport drop off
Time to say goodbye to the group as our adventure comes to an end after breakfast. For those flying out today, if flights are in the afternoon, keep busy this morning with a FREE city walking tour, or City & Township Tour at own expense.