For the enthusiastic volunteer, this 13 day package is the perfect combination of experiencing the higlights of Southern Namibia before spending the last 4 day volunteering at the Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary. Starting in Windhoek, we head west to explore Swakopmund, Namibia’s adventure capital on the Skeleton Coast. Here we can enjoy any number of adrenaline inducing optional activities before starting our journey south. Our next stop after crossing the Tropic of Capricorn is Sossusvlei in the Namib Desert, home to some of the world’s highest sand dunes. Continuing on to Namibia’s deep south where breath taking landscapes abound, we visit the ghost town of Kolmanskop, spot the wild horses of the Namib Desert, gaze over the Fish River Canyon, before ending an incredible 7 day trip with the last night at the impressive Quiver Tree Forest before returning to Windhoek. After 7 incredible days exploring Namibia we head out to Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary where we spend the next 4 days getting our hands dirty and doing out part for wildlife conservation. This is the ultimate Namibian adventure for the budget traveller!
Day 1: Wednesday Chameleon Backpackers, Windhoek
We will be collected from the Hosea Kutako International Airport on arrival and transferred to Chameleon Backpackers in Windhoek. Depending on our arrival time, we may have the opportunity to join an afternoon City & Township Tour, choose to relax by the pool or take a short walk into the city centre to collect supplies. Whatever we choose, enjoy the evening with a delicious “potjiekos” at the Chameleon Backpackers’ bar before having an early night in preparation for the next 7 days exploring Southern Namibia.
Day 2: Thursday Hotel A La Mer, Swakopmund
This morning we start our tour of Namibia, with a pre-departure meeting at 7h30 and hitting the road shortly after. We drive via Okahandja and Usakos to the lagoon in Walvis Bay, where we will enjoy a light lunch. Here we have the opportunity to see many species of wetland birds, including the Greater and Lesser flamingo. We aim to arrive in Swakopmund mid-afternoon and you have time to explore this quaint little town on foot. Our guide will be happy to recommend a good restaurant for our evening meal, or we can join for a group meal (own expense).
Day 3: Friday Sesriem Oshana Campsite, Sesriem
Today we leave Swakopmund at 11h30 so we have the time to enjoy 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 and arriving at our camp late afternoon. We set up our tents, and enjoy the sunset over the Namib Desert while listening to the barking geckos. There is a pool and bar available, dinner is prepared by our guide. An early night is recommended.
Day 4: Saturday Sesriem Oshana Campsite, Sesriem
A pre-dawn departure from camp this morning means we can enjoy the dunes at first light. We drive down an ancient river bed, surrounded by towering dunes and our first stop is at the famous Dune 45 where we have the chance to climb to the top to enjoy the sunrise. On descent we replenish our energy and enjoy breakfast before continuing on into the Sossusvlei area. We explore this unique area on foot, 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 have the opportunity to climb the dune at Sossusvlei before we return to Sesriem for lunch and a swim or siesta during the heat of the day. Mid-afternoon we visit the Sesriem Canyon before your guide drops you at Elim’s Dune for a short and educational sunset walk back to camp through the desert. Dinner tonight is prepared by our guide.
Day 5: Sunday Klein Aus Vista Campsite, Namib Desert
We pack up camp and enjoy breakfast before heading south through some of the most spectacular desert landscapes in Southern Namibia. Our destination today is the small outpost of Klein Aus, nestled in the Gondwana Sperrgebiet Rand Park. We arrive early afternoon and set up camp. For the active there is a short optional unguided
hiking trail. Permits and a map are available at reception. We enjoy a beautiful sunset and dinner prepared by our guide over an open-fire.
Day 6: Monday Klein Aus Vista Campsite, Namib Desert
After an early breakfast we make our way from Klein Aus to the ghost town, of Kolmanskop, situated 15km outside of Luderitz. During a diamond boom in 1910 Kolmanskop quickly became one of the richest towns in Africa boasting the southern hemisphere’s first X-ray machine, a bowling alley and luxury housing. As the diamond boom came to an end and the town’s inhabitants abandoned the area Kolmanskop became a ghost town. After our tour we continue our adventure to the small town of Luderitz, situated on the rocky shores of the Atlantic Ocean and well known for its unique and colourful colonial-style buildings. We stop at Diaz Point, the famous site of the Original Diaz Cross and enjoy a picnic lunch. On return to Aus, we keep our eyes peeled for the wild horses of the Namib Desert that roam between Luderitz and Klein Aus. While the details of how these horses came to live in the desert are still a mystery, the mere fact that they have survived in the harshest of conditions is impressive, and any sighting of them is one to celebrate. We arrive back at camp late afternoon and can relax before enjoying another incredible sunset over the Aus Mountains. Dinner tonight is prepared by our guide.
Day 7: Tuesday Quiver Tree Forest, Keetmanshoop
We enjoy another early start this morning as we pack up camp and head east. Our first official stop is at the well-known Hell`s Bend viewpoint of the Fish River Canyon. Here we have the opportunity to overlook the second largest canyon in the world. The Fish River Canyon was formed millions of years ago by water erosion and the collapse of the valley due to movements in the earth’s crust. After lunch we continue our adventure heading to our last destination; The Quiver Tree Forest. It is located just north-east of Keetmanshoop and here approximately 250 quiver trees can be found. The forest grew spontaneously and the oldest trees are estimated to be around 200-300 years old. The Quiver tree (Kokerboom in Afrikaans) is also Namibia’s national tree, and the forest was declared a national monument in 1995. The last night on our adventure is spent camping under the stars with meals prepared by our guide. This is an excellent location for photographing the stars should you be an avid photographer.
Day 8: Wednesday Chameleon Backpackers, Windhoek
After a tasty cooked breakfast, we start the day with a chance to really explore the Quiver Tree Forest and Giants Playground, a geological phenomenon of dolerite rocks that appear to have been stacked by giants. From here we begin our journey back to Windhoek passing Brukkaros Mountain, an extinct volcano which is 650m above the surrounding area. We pass through the small towns of Mariental and Rehoboth before arriving in Windhoek late afternoon. Dinner tonight is at own expense in one of Windhoek’s excellent restaurants and our guide will be happy to make some suggestions.
Day 9: Thursday Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary
An early breakfast this morning and we will be transferred to the volunteer centre at Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary, which provides a safe haven for injured, orphaned or conflict animals. Whenever possible the goal is to re-introduce the animals into the wild. Only animals too ill, abused or habituated remain at the sanctuary. Arriving early this morning we will meet the Naankuse team for an induction presentation before heading out in the afternoon for our first hands on activity. The next 4 nights are spend in basic tented accommodation with spectacular views over the veld.
Days 10-12: Friday – Sunday Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary
We enjoy an early morning breakfast and a quick morning meeting with the team to start the day off. The next couple of days are the perfect opportunity to learn about and actively participate in the conservation, rehabilitation, care and research of the African wildlife. The wildlife team takes us out for group based morning activities, such as feeding orphaned and injured animals, cleaning enclosures or project work and animal enrichment. After a morning full of fun and work, we enjoy a light lunch at the Lapa. After lunch we start the afternoon activities with a presentation from the research team before we learn about the on-going projects Naankuse is involved with to support wildlife conservation. Research activities may include; monitoring free roaming carnivores, analysing camera traps, analysing GPS data or game counts. Dinner each night is a delicious home cooked meal served at the Lapa.
Day 13: Monday International Airport – End of services
Depending on our flight time, we may have time for a leisurely breakfast and morning activity before being transferred to the International Airport approximately 3 hours before our scheduled flight departure. Be sure to say goodbye to all new friends before departing. Transfer times subject to flight departure times.