This 9 day tour is the perfect combination of our 7 day Northern Namibia & Skeleton Coast camping and our 3 day Sossusvlei Express accommodated adventures. Enjoy sightings of wildlife at the Okonjima Nature Reserve and Etosha National Park before immersing ourselves into the rich culture of the Himba tribe. We explore Namibia’s Skeleton Coast and visit the seals at Cape Cross before enjoying our last night of the tour in Swakopmund, Namibia’s adventure capital. Here we can enjoy any number of adrenaline inducing optional activities from sandboarding to quad biking and more before continuing to Sossusvlei, in the Namib Desert, home to some of the world’s highest sand dunes.
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 the Palmwag Campsite, situated on the edge of the Palmwag Concession. Here we set up camp before enjoying a leisurely afternoon and watching the sunset from the Palmwag deck. 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. We will also meet up with our guide and fellow guests coming from Windhoek who will join us on our adventure to Sossusvlei and have the option to participate in a group meal at one of Swakopmund’s excellent restaurants (own expense).
Day 7: Friday Desert Camp, near Sesriem
Today we leave Swakopmund at 11h30 so we have the time to join 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 arriving at our camp late afternoon. We have a chance to relax and enjoy the views before taking a short walk for sunset looking over the Naukluft mountain range. Overnight is in twin rooms with en-suite bathroom facilities. There is a pool and bar available, and dinner is prepared by our guide.
Day 8: Saturday Desert Camp, near Sesriem
We depart at dawn 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 early morning light and enjoy the peace and tranquility 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 before taking 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 9: Sunday Windhoek – End of Safari
Early morning breakfast before heading to Solitaire where we jump onto an open vehicle and visit the local conservation project. Here they have a number of cheetah that are unable to be released for different reasons. This 1hour activity allows us the chance to learn all about the cheetah, the work done by local conservations projects,
and get some incredible photos of the worlds fastest land mammal. We return to Windhoek via Bullsport and Rehoboth. We arrive mid-afternoon and will be dropped at our accommodation.
Word Of Mouth
It was an unforgettable 9 days through much of Namibia’s beautiful scenery from the wildlife in Etosha and private game reserves to the oldest desert in the world (Namib). A few highlights were seeing a herd of 50+ elephants in Etosha, climbing Big Daddy in Sossusvlei, and skydiving in Swapkomund (additional fee).
All of the camping facilities were clean and had hot water + showers. Many locations we stayed at night were truly stunning — would have loved to have even more time! My two friends and I had the whole tour to ourselves by lucky fortune so it was super easy to slightly tweak schedules per our requests when possible.
More importantly, our guide, Kennedy, did not disappoint. Not only did he take on the tireless task of driving, he made delicious meals (including separate vegetarian dishes for me!), kept the campfire going for hours every night, and answered all of our questions. We shared a ton of laughs, and Kennedy also tried his best to teach us some local dance moves 😂
We definitely made some memories of a lifetime and would highly recommend Chameleon for a no-worry trip through Namibia 🇳🇦 !
I had a wonderful trip. Tulimo was an excellent guide, friendly, knowledgeable and great personality, and made all the difference with this tour. Truly a special experience; travelling through the beautiful landscapes of Namibia with Chameleon Safaris was a genuine pleasure.
Certainly the best trip of my life. Chameleon
ensured that we saw the best of Namibia. I was personally in awe of Namibia’s astonishing and mesmerising beauty.
We had the best guide ‘Tulimo with the best smile’ who became a dear friend by the end. Effortlessly, he would find us the big5 on game drives, would take us through the beautiful history of Himba a people and climb with us to big daddy dune. Not just that but he was also a great cook and so fun to be around. Surprisingly, the camps and lodges were so luxurious and comfy. The transport was big and spacious for our group of 7-8 people, and in them I Met the most amazing group of people and made best friends for life.
I am coming back for sure and I highly recommend Chameleon. They are the best! 🙏