This 8 day tour is the perfect overview of the rugged wilderness that is Northern Namibia. Enjoy sightings of wildlife in both the Okonjima Nature Reserve and Etosha National Park. Okonjima is a smaller private reserve and well known for as the home to the Africat Foundation, an organisation that focused it’s work on Africa’s predators and the human and wildlife conflict, while Etosha is one of Southern Africa’s premier national parks and stretches and impressive 22,000 sq kms boasting 4 of the big 5 as well as megaherbivores from black and white rhino to giraffe. From here, we immerse ourselves into the rich culture of the Himba tribe, one of the most iconic cultural groups in Namibia that still choose to shun many of the 1st worlds modern technology and instead prefer to live a simpler life as semi-nomadic pastoralists. We have the chance to learn about their traditional customs, and the chance to share with them some of ours. We then explore Namibia’s Skeleton Coast, a harsh vast coastline that stretches from Angola to South Africa and bares the remains of ships and wildlife alike. We visit the seals at Cape Cross before spending our last 2 nights in Swakopmund, Namibia’s adventure capital. The following day we have say goodbye to our guide and have a full day to enjoy optional activities such as sandboarding, quadbiking or sky diving before departing Swakopmund the following morning on a shuttle back to Windhoek.
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. 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 Hotel A La Mer, Swakopmund
A full day today to enjoy all the optional activities that the Skeleton Coast has to offer. For the adrenaline junkies, this could be flying down a sand dune head first at 60km/h, or sky diving over the desert, or for those that prefer something a bit calmer, it could be a living desert tour, kayaking with the seals, a dolphin cruise in Walvis Bay, a scenic flight over Sossusvlei or the Eduard Bohlen shipwreck, or a stroll around the town enjoying the curio shops and cafés that Swakop is renowned for. Either way, enjoy the weekend at the coast and the chance to sleep in a real bed. Overnight in twin share rooms with en-suite bathroom with lunch and dinner at our own expense today.
Day 8: Saturday Windhoek – End of Safari
An early breakfast and pickup for your shuttle back to Windhoek, today you will meet some locals on your transport which arrives back in Windhoek between 13h00 and 14h00. On arrival you will be dropped at Chameleon Backpackers or your accommodation of choice within Windhoek city limits.