Etosha and Skeleton
Coast Experience


6 Days


Walvis Bay & Sandwich Harbour


per person sharing



Safari Description

This safari is crammed full of action and the opportunity for lifetime experiences. Etosha National Park is one of only a few premier wildlife reserves left in the world that offers the opportunity to experience southern Africa’s Big Game first hand. Staying for a night inside the park gives us the opportunity to game drive early in the morning and again in the late afternoon giving us the widest possible time frame to unlock Etosha’s secrets.

Leaving Etosha for Damaraland we will experience why Namibia is called the Land of Contrasts as the scenery and landscape changes completely. Damaraland is famed for its scenery, mountains, open grasslands, tall koppies, (small hills), of round pink granite boulders, wide open spaces and big sky.

Once again everything changes as we reach the desolation of the Skeleton Coast. The whole coastline of Namibia is known as the Skeleton Coast and it is easy to see why this barren seaboard is so named with its forbidding mountains and barren beaches.

Arriving in the friendly town of Swakopmund is almost a relief as our senses have been so overloaded during our journey to get here. Take a breath before we plunge into the ocean and landscape over the next couple of days.

We cruise the famous lagoon at Walvis Bay with its myriad of ocean creatures and birds. Cape fur seals, flamingos, great white pelicans, leatherback turtles, sunfish, penguins, hump-backed and southern wright whales and much more are all on the sighting’s menu.

We roller-coast the high dunes and play chicken with the waves during our trip to the remote, beautiful and historic Sandwich Harbour.


Full Itinerary

Day 1: Thursday – Windhoek – Okaukuejo Camp -Etosha National Park – 500 km
You will be collected from your accommodation at 07:00 from anywhere within the Windhoek City limits and after a short pre-departure meeting, we will hit the road to Etosha.

Heading north from Windhoek, we stop briefly at the small town of Otjiwarongo to gather some last-minute supplies before continuing on to Etosha and we enjoy a light lunch pack whilst “on the move”. We enter Etosha National Park and game drive our way to our overnight accommodation at Okaukuejo Camp. We depart on a game drive this afternoon until just before sunset when we have to be back at camp.

Etosha is huge, just over 22,000 square km and is home to 114 species of mammal, 350 species of bird, 110 species of reptile, uncountable numbers of insects and, somewhat bizarrely, one species of fish. There are good chances of spotting many of these different creatures as we tour through the park, stopping at the various waterholes along the way.

The ‘game show’ in Etosha doesn’t stop when the sun goes down. All the Etosha camps have floodlit waterholes for extra game viewing opportunities. The waterhole is located within walking distance from our accommodation. A visit, or two, is highly recommended this evening as we can expect many species to visit during the night and this waterhole is known to be very popular with elephants and the critically endangered black rhino.

Accommodation: Twin share, en-suite bathroom
Meals: Lunch & Dinner

Day 2: Friday – Okaukuejo – Etosha Safari Camp – 70 km
We have the whole day to explore Etosha and we want to make the most of it. The park gates open at sunrise and we aim to be on our way just as the sun breaches the horizon. Early morning is usually a productive time for game viewing and first thing in the morning is a good time to catch big cats returning from the hunt.

We return to camp for breakfast and to load our vehicle before heading out into the park once again in search of big game. Etosha is a desert landscape and water is the scarcest natural resource. There are however numerous waterholes here, both natural and man-made, and our game-driving technique is to take in as many as possible. Here we hope that the game will come to us as the thirsty animals attend for a much-needed drink.

On our way today we will stop to have a closer look at the Etosha Pan. The name Etosha translates as ‘great white space’ but this name does not do justice to the immensity of the pan. Over 4,700 square km of dazzling white mineral pan, so big that it can be seen from space.

We exit Etosha at the Anderson gate close to sunset and it is just a short drive to our accommodation at the Etosha Safari Camp. Famous for its informal Shebeen bar and local band. Accommodation is in a spacious twin share room with modern en-suite bathroom facilities. An ideal space to sit back, relax and enjoy the beauty that surrounds you. Dinner tonight is an extravagant buffet served in the township dining room.

Accommodation: Twin share, en-suite bathroom
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Day 3: Saturday – Etosha – Swakopmund, The Delight Hotel – 510 km
We hit the road with an early start and are heading for the Skeleton Coast and we are taking the scenic route. We first head south on the main road, passing the small town of Outjo, then onwards towards the west and picking up the gravel road as we travel through an area known as Damaraland.

Damaraland is famed for its scenery, mountains, open grasslands, tall koppies, (small hills), of round pink granite boulders, wide open spaces and big sky. We also have a chance to meet some of the locals as there are several places along our road today where we can find informal shops selling locally made, hand-crafted souvenirs. Represented here we usually find ladies from the Himba, Herero and Damara tribes and most often they are wearing their traditional dress. Here we can interact with some of the colourful local characters who live in this harsh environment. Making a small purchase here is a good way to inject some cash directly into the local economy.

We continue on through the beautiful landscape, making a stop for a light picnic lunch, under the shadow of Namibia’s highest mountain, the Brandberg. Rising up from the desert floor, this giant monolith is 2,573 m above sea level and is formed of pink-tinged granite.

We continue our journey west and soon arrive at the coast and the chilly Atlantic Ocean. The whole coastline of Namibia is known as the Skeleton Coast and it is easy to see why this barren seaboard is so named with its forbidding mountains and barren beaches. The wind, the waves and the huge fog banks all conspire to push ships onto the beach.
The countless mariners that, in olden times, found themselves shipwrecked here faced the stark prospect of no fresh water, no food, no rescue and a slow and certain death by exposure. Their Shipmates who went down with their ship were thought to be the lucky ones.

Heading south on the coast road our next stop is a more recent shipwreck. 15 km south of the small town of Henties Bay a fishing trawler, The Zeila, was beached in 2008. She was an old vessel that had been sold for scrap and was under tow at the time. The cable snapped and, as so many vessels before her, she was caught in the swell and currents and ended up on the beach. She lays quite close to the shore and is well-positioned for photos.

We complete the final leg of our journey into Swakopmund, we check into our accommodation, the centrally located hotel, The Delight. The town is easily explored on foot from our central location.

Swakopmund was founded by Captain Kurt von François of the imperial colonial army of the German empire in 1892. (He also founded Windhoek in 1890). It is an interesting town to say the least, bounded to the north, the east and the south by the mighty sand dunes of the Namib Desert and to the west by the Atlantic Ocean. There are still many examples of colonial German architecture to be seen and the German language is still widely used.

Swakopmund boasts some truly excellent restaurants and again your guide will be able to help you with recommendations and bookings. We say goodbye to our guide this afternoon but before departing a full briefing of the programme for the rest of the trip will be given.

Accommodation: Twin share, en-suite bathroom
Meals: Breakfast & Lunch,

Day 4:Sunday – The Delight – Walvis Bay Dolphin Cruise – The Delight – 90 km
We will be collected from our accommodation this morning at a predetermined time for our cruise excursion on Walvis Bay lagoon. Heading south it is only a short 40 km drive along the dramatic coast road to the port town of Walvis Bay.

Walvis Bay is Namibia’s largest port and its strategic location gives excellent access to the main world shipping routes. The economic importance of Walvis Bay to Namibia is hard to overestimate. Apart from its own interests, three of Namibia’s direct neighbours, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe are all landlocked and most of their shipping requirements are handled through Walvis.

Home to the Namibian fishing fleet, Namibia is blessed with highly nutrient seas, the Benguela Current that pushes alongside Namibia’s 2000 km coastline brings unusually rich concentrations of plankton which supports an abundance of commercial species of fish.

The name translates simply to Whale Bay and in the olden days, the late 17th century until the early 18th century, a period of around 20 years, European and American ships hunted the abundant whales with a vengeance. Only when the whale numbers dropped to below economic numbers did the slaughter end.

We are heading to the Walvis Bay waterfront area where we will be welcomed aboard our boat for our cruise around the Walvis Bay lagoon. The lagoon is a Ramsar Site, which under the auspices of UNESCO is a wetland area that is designated to be of special international importance.

With a super-nutrient ocean and special international Ramsar protection you might expect to see an abundance of ocean fauna and birdlife and you won’t be disappointed. Cape Fur seals are plentiful and usually try and hitch a lift with us, and great white pelicans often come swooping down to fly alongside. The lagoon attracts three species of Dolphin, the bottlenose, the dusky and the heave side dolphin and we are likely to see more than one of these amazing species.

Almost against the odds, great whales still sometimes frequent these waters and humpback and southern right whales pass through Walvis Bay on their way between feeding and breeding grounds, sometimes coming right into the lagoon. Orcas, killer whales, are also sometimes seen but it is a rare occurrence. Other main species attracted by the cold, rich waters are sunfish, leatherback turtles, African penguins and greater and lesser flamingos.

Our boat skipper will take us right across the lagoon where we will see the Pelican Point lighthouse, (34 meters tall and erected in 1932), that guards the end of the lagoon peninsula. The lighthouse used to be manned but has long since been converted to operate automatically and the old lightkeeper’s accommodation has now been converted into a lodge. Weather permitting, we may cruise on past the lighthouse for a short sail on the open Atlantic Ocean.

On our cruise today we will be accompanied by an expert local guide and towards the end of our excursion we will be offered a light lunch that usually includes local fish and of course, the world-famous Walvis Bay oysters, all washed down with sparkling wine and excellent local Namibian beer.

Returning to Swakopmund in the afternoon, there are further activities available if you still have energy. The town centre is small and easily explored on foot but there are also many extra, optional activities available, (at an additional cost).

Scenic flights over the desert are very popular and for the more adventurous perhaps try sky diving or quad biking over and in the Namib dunes. The staff at the Chameleon office in Windhoek will be on hand to liaise with you and will be able to offer full advice and make any bookings that are required.

Dinner tonight is for your own account, and again the Chameleon staff will be able to help you with recommendations and bookings.

Accommodation: Twin share, en-suite bathroom
Meals: Breakfast & light lunch as provided on board the dolphin cruise.

Day 5: Monday – Swakopmund – Sandwich Harbour – Swakopmund – 200 km
This morning we will again be collected from our accommodation at a predetermined time for our excursion to Sandwich Harbour. We will travel south along the coastal road, beyond Walvis Bay and into the desert to experience one of the more adventurous activities available in Namib. A journey, through the dunes to Sandwich Harbour. Sandwich also wears the badge of Membership to the Ramsar Convention and is located about 50 km south of the port town.

Appearing on Portuguese maritime charts as far back as the 15th century, Sandwich Harbour was first called Port dÍhelo and it was a little later before the name Sandwich was coined. Sandwich was noted on a chart produced by the India Company with information supplied by a British survey vessel working in the area around 1785. The survey vessel was called The Sandwich.

Sandwich Harbour once boasted an abundance of fresh water, artesian springs of sweet water used to bubble up from under the dunes and onto the beach and into Sandwich Harbour lagoon. So abundant was this water that the lagoon often contained more fresh water than salt. The source of this liquid gift was the Kuiseb River Delta where underground water still flowed, even during times of drought.

Freshwater made this isolated harbour habitable and over the centuries mankind has tried valiantly to commercialise the area. Whaling was what first caught the eyes of the early prospectors, closely followed by guano. Guano today is mostly used as fertilizer but in the 16th century it was a vital ingredient of gunpowder and so highly valued. Commercial fishing was popular, diamond prospecting was feverish and there was even an abattoir and meat canning factory established in 1887.

Today there is virtually nothing left of this once hive of activity. In more recent times the fresh water supply has greatly reduced and just about all sign of past human endeavour has been either washed into the sea or buried under the ever-shifting sands, leaving Sandwich Harbour pristine and naturally beautiful for our visit.

To get there though is another story. This excursion could have been referred to as a road trip, that is, if there was a road! Access to Sandwich is limited and it is action all the way. From Walvis Bay we head south, over, around and through the Kuiseb River Delta until we reach the high dunes of the coastal sand dune sea.

From the dune belt, depending on the local, on the day conditions we will go either up and over the dunes or we will head for the beach and follow the coast, driving only meters from the waves.

For the final 8 km of distance, there is only one way to go. We will join a narrow strip of beach that runs right between the sheer towering dunes on one side and the angry, snatching Atlantic on the other. This mere ribbon of the beach is the only way, and vehicles are sometimes washed with salt water as they make their way. Timing is important as this beach access is closed off by the breakers at high tide.

There is still a lagoon to see at Sandwich although the entrance is mostly silted up, and we can imagine how the tall ships of another age must have looked as they snubbed at their anchorage. The best views are from the top of the high dunes but it is also highly recommended to take a walk along the lagoon shore and to push your toes into the soft wet sand.

On our return trip, after once again braving the ocean gauntlet and again depending on local, on-the-day conditions, we will usually take a thrilling drive up and over some of the highest sand dunes in Namibia. The term is Roller Coasting the dunes, our own natural theme park in the Namib Desert.

Dinner tonight is for your own account, and again the Chameleon staff will be able to help you with recommendations and bookings.

Accommodation: Twin share, en-suite bathroom
Meals: Breakfast & snacks only as provided on the Sandwich Harbour excursion.

Day 6: Tuesday – Swakopmund – Windhoek – 370 km
Today is our last day and we will be collected from The Delight at 13:00 and transported back to Windhoek. We do still have a few hours and Swakopmund has more to tempt us. There is of course the option to have a lie-in, but if you decide to get up-and-about, then Swakopmund offers many opportunities to keep us busy during our last morning here.

The town centre is small and easily explored on foot but there are also many extra, optional activities available, (at extra cost).

For the more leisurely minded the town centre is small and easily explored on foot. There are also scenic flights over the shipwrecks and the desert which are very popular, as are bicycle tours and the excellent ‘living desert’ excursions. For the Living Desert excursion, you would join a group and travel in a vehicle with a specialist guide who will take you into the sand dunes sea and introduce you to some of the amazing creatures and plants that survive in one of the toughest environments in the world.

For those with a love of adrenaline quad biking and sky diving are on the menu, and sand boarding is also very popular if you fancy carrying down the slip face of a sand dune at 60 km per hour.

Our transport back to Windhoek should take no longer than five hours and you will be dropped off at your accommodation anywhere within the city limits of Windhoek.

Accommodation: None
Meals: Breakfast

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Starts: Windhoek
Ends: Windhoek


Pickup info: Pick up from accommodation starts at 7h00 on morning of departure

Other Info:

Bookings are made on a twin share basis, single supplement is available for solo travellers that prefer their own room.