Combine an incredible 7-day camping safari in Northern Namibia with 13 days of adventuring and conservation work on the spectacular Oana Nature Reserve.
Start your safari adventure heading to Okonjima aka the Africat Foundation an internationally renowned private reserve famous for its big cat conservation projects. From here, enjoy 2 nights in Etosha National Park in search of plains game, predators and megafauna including black & white rhino. From here, head west into the rugged wilderness of Damaraland, meeting the iconic Himba people en-route before exploring the harsh terrain of the Skeleton Coast and arriving in Swakopmund. From here, transfer back to the capital and then down to Namibia’s deep south to spend 13 days on the impressive Oana Reserve. For the next 14 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!
Day 1: Friday 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. Chameleon Backpackers is centrally located for quick walk into the city centre, or stay in-house and ask for the nightly meal or pizza options. Chameleon Backpackers is a great place to meet and chat with other guests or just enjoy an evening meal by the bar or pool.
Day 2: Saturday Okonjima Nature Reserve, Northern Namibia
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 departing from Windhoek, we stop briefly at the Okahandja Wood carving markets where woodcarvers from all over Namibia come to sell their hand-crafted goods. This is the perfect opportunity to practice our haggling skills 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 that 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 cheetahs 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 3: Sunday Okaukuejo, 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 4: Monday Okaukuejo, 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 enjoying a late breakfast at one of the picnic spots within the parks. 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 5: Tuesday Palmwag, Kunene Region Namibia
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 the Palmwag Campsite, situated in the Kunene Region (formerly Kaokoland) this campsite is ideal for nature-lovers and has a swimming pool and bar. The desert-adapted elephants have been known to venture around the lodge and campgrounds at night so keep our eyes peeled. Here we set up camp before enjoying a leisurely afternoon. Dinner is prepared by our guide over an open fire.
Day 6: Wednesday Cape Cross, Cape Cross Seal Reserve
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 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 a shipwreck. On exiting the national park, we stop for Instagram-worthy photos of the iconic skull and crossbones 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 7: Thursday Chameleon Backpackers, Windhoek
Today is a chance for a rare lie-in and after a hearty cooked breakfast, 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 some time to explore this quaint little town on foot, before joining the afternoon shuttle at 14h30 back to Windhoek, where we will be dropped off at Chameleon Backpackers.
Day 8: Friday Oana, Nature Reserve
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 9-22 Saturday – Friday Oana, Nature Reserve
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 23: Saterday 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 our last night in Namibia. Dinner tonight, is at your own expense, in one of Windhoek’s many restaurants.
Day 24: Sunday Airport Drop off
Time to say goodbye to the beautiful county 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 your own expense.