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Namibia by Air

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Flying over the great Namib desert Flying over the great Namib desert Michael Poliza

Priced from $6,495   Days: 9

About 50,000 square miles larger than Texas, Namibia can present a challenge to those wanting to see the highlights of this southwest African country on a tight schedule. Our Namibia by Air option is perfect for you: on this seven-day Namibia tour, we fly from point to point, landing at or near every camp we visit.

From the capital city of Windhoek, you'll visit the massive dunes at Sossuvlei in the Namib-Rand Nature Reserve, look for rare desert elephants in Damaraland, meet the traditional Himba pastorialists and explore famed Etosha National Park.

Namibia by Air is a great option for those who want to see as much of Namibia as possible in a week's time, or who would like to link it with a Botswana tour.

 

  • Itinerary
  • Date - Rates
  • Lodging
  • Map
Itinerary:

Namibia by Air Itinerary

This trip can be taken as a stand-alone, or as an add-on to a Botswana tour. 

Day 1            Arrive Windhoek

Day 2 & 3     Fly to Kukaka Desert Lodge from Windhoek (Eros Airport), NamibRand Nature Reserve   

Day 4 & 5     Fly on to stay at Camp Kipwe, in the stunning scenery of Damaraland        

Day 6 & 7     Drive to Andersson's Camp, Southern boundary of Etosha National Park

Day 8           Return to Windhoek via the Okonjima Day Centre, overnight Windhoeck

Day 9           Transfer to airport, fly home

Day 1: Arrival in Windhoek

On arrival into Windhoek, you will be met and transferred to Galton House for an overnight.  Dinner included.

Day 2: Fly to Kulala Desert Lodge

You will be transfered from your guest house in Windhoek to nearby Eros Airport for your scheduled light aircraft flight to the Kulala Desert Lodge.  The flight will take you over the central highlands of Namibia before descending after the escarpment and on over Namib Desert to land at the Geluk airstrip situated in the Kulala Wilderness Reserve. Upon arrival at the Geluk airstrip you will be met by your local guide who will transfer you to Kulala Desert Lodge with time to settle in. The afternoon can be spent enjoying many of the activities offered by Kulala Desert Lodge. 

Kulala Wilderness Reserve: The private 37,000ha Kulala Wilderness Reserve lies at the gateway to Namibia’s Sand Sea with its towering red dunes. Desert-adapted wildlife such as ostrich, springbok and gemsbok eke out an existence and are sparsely distributed here. Smaller creatures such as bat-eared fox and aardwolf can be seen at night in the cool desert air, and one bird, the aptly named dune lark, has its entire global distribution limited to the area, so dependent is it on the area's characteristic sands.

Kulala Desert Lodge: Kulala Desert Lodge offers one of closest views of the Sossusvlei dune corridor, as well providing magnificent views of mountainous scenery and vast open plains. The camp comprises 23 thatched and canvas “kulalas” (including 3 family units) with en-suite bathrooms and verandas. Each unit is built on a wooden platform to catch the cooling breezes and has a deck on the flat rooftop where bedrolls are placed for guests to sleep under the stars. The main area, with northern African-inspired décor, has a lounge, dining area, plunge pool, and wrap-around veranda overlooking the Namib Desert. Activities on offer include morning tours to Sossusvlei, scenic nature walks and drives to view the desert's fascinating flora and fauna. At extra cost, it is also possible to experience the area in a hot air balloon and eco-sensitive guided quad biking excursions.  Overnight Kulala Desert Lodge

Day 3: Sossusvlei - Kulala Wilderness Reserve

 

Kulala Desert Lodge: This morning you will rise early for a magical excursion with your local guide into the Namib Naukluft National Park, entering the Park gates at sunrise to capture the dunes whilst the light is soft and shadows accentuate their towering shapes and curves. This area boasts some of the highest free-standing sand dunes in the world. Your local guide will give you an insight on the formation of the Namib Desert and its myriad of fascinating creatures and plants that have adapted to survive these harsh environs. Once you have explored the dune fields to your heart’s content you can enjoy a relaxed picnic breakfast in the shade of a camel thorn tree. Return to Kulala Desert Lodge in the early afternoon for a late lunch. The rest of the afternoon is at your leisure (from experience, this is usually welcomed after an exhilarating morning in the dunes) or can be spent on another guided activity within the Kulala Wilderness Reserve as offered by the lodge which is generally an excursion to view Sesriem Canyon.

Sossusvlei: This most frequently visited section of the massive 50,000km² Namib Naukluft National Park has become known as Sossusvlei, famous for its towering apricot colored sand dunes which can be penetrated by following the Tsauchab River valley.

Day 4:  Nature Reserve to Damaraland

You will be transferred this morning to the airstrip in time to board your scheduled light aircraft for this flight into the heart of Damaraland. You fly north over the massive Sossusvlei dunes and the great sand sea to the coast, where (depending on weather) you will see deserted mines, shipwrecks and seal colonies below.

After refueling at Swakopmund, fly north to the Twyfelfontein Airstrip where you will be met by our naturalist guide who will accompany you for the remainder of your safari. A 15 minute drive takes us to Camp Kipwe in time for lunch.

This afternoon we visit the rock engravings at Twyfelfontein (a World Heritage Site) and the fascinating geological sites at Burnt Mountain and the Organ Pipes or just exploring the local area around the lodge. Return to the camp before sunset with time to freshen up before dinner, and optionally, pre-dinner drinks on Kipwe's sundowner rock, a short stroll from the camp, for stunning views of the surroundings at sunset.

Twyfelfontein: Among Twyfelfontein's boulders and slabs of red sandstone are some 2,500 prehistoric engravings that depict wildlife, animal spoor and abstract motifs, perhaps one of the largest and finest assembly of petroglyphs in Africa. They depict animals such as elephant, giraffe, kudu, lion, rhinoceros, springbok, zebra and ostrich that once used to utilize a spring (fontein) at the bottom of the hill. Stone tools and other artifacts found at Twyfelfontein indicate that hunter-gatherers occupied the site during a period of perhaps 7,000 years. Today a local guide accompanies visitors to the rock art. The engravings lie along two circular routes, one an hour's climb and the other 40 minutes longer. Twyfelfontein is one of Namibia's key National Monuments and has recently become a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Burnt Mountain: A rounded hill located a short distance from Twyfelfontein and the Organ Pipes, known as the Burnt Mountain, appears to catch fire again at sunrise and sunset. Its wild range of colors at dawn and dusk are due to molten lava which penetrated sedimentary shale and limestone deposits some 125 million years ago, resulting in contact metamorphis. In ordinary sunlight it is a dull black.

Organ Pipes: The Organ Pipes are another geological oddity nearby consisting of a mass of perpendicular dolerite columns that intruded the surrounding rocks also around 125 million years ago and have since been exposed in a ravine due to river erosion. Overnight: Camp Kipwe Fully Inclusive (most drinks included)

Day 5: Damaraland

This morning you will be treated to an exciting 4x4 excursion along the Aba Huab River valley to explore this remarkable region and to search for the elusive desert adapted elephants. Our success will depend on if they are in the area, as they range over large areas in search of forage. We will also see other desert-adapted species that Damaraland is known for. We normally then return to camp for lunch and a well-deserved siesta.

If you haven't been the previous day, your guide will arrange to fit in a visit to Twyfelfontein and other nearby attractions at a suitable time in the afternoon if this appeals and you haven't already been there the previous day, or you can go out with your guide and take a walk into the local area around Camp. Alternatively, if you prefer, you can stay in to relax and enjoy some well-deserved leisure time in the comforts of the camp.

Desert Adapted Elephant: In habitats with adequate vegetation and water an adult elephant can consume as much as 300 kg of roughage and 230 liters of water every day of its life. So think what a herd of them would eat and drink in a week, month or year. But an African elephant in a desert? The answer is yes, and not only elephant, but other large game as well, such as black rhinoceros and giraffe. Their ranges extend from drainage systems in northern Kaokoveld to as far south as the northern Namib. In addition to the Kunene River, seven river courses northwards from the Ugab enable them to traverse the desert all the way to the Skeleton Coast.

Desert adapted elephant in Kaokoland and the Namib travel longer distances for water and fodder than any other elephant in Africa, distances between water and feeding grounds can be up to 68 km. The typical home range of a family herd is larger than 2,000 square kilometers, or eightfold more than ranges in central Africa where rainfall is far higher. To accomplish this, the elephants walk and feed at night and rest during the day. However, they are not a separate species or subspecies, but an ecotype unique to Namibia behaviorally adapted to hyper-arid conditions. Elephant in Mali on the southwestern fringe of the Sahara Desert are the only others known to survive in similar conditions. Overnight: Camp Kipwe Fully Inclusive (most drinks included)

Day 6: Damaraland to Etosha National Park

A departure this morning from Camp Kipwe takes us north deeper into the heart of Damaraland. En route you will visit an extremely remote Himba village, only known to a few people (IWA being one of them). Your guide's contacts with the local community will ensure you are welcomed as a 'friend of a friend' and that you will be able to spend considerable time learning about these fascinating nomadic pastoralists. There has been little modern influence on these groups, which makes for an intriguing cultural exchange. In late afternoon you arrive at Anderson's Camp on the southern border of Etosha in time to relax at the camp's floodlit waterhole while reflecting on the fascinating experiences of the day.

The Himba: The Himba, Tjimba and other Herero people who inhabit Namibia's remote north-western Kunene Region are loosely referred to as the Kaokovelders. Basically Herero in terms of origin, language and culture, the these groups are semi-nomadic pastoralists who follow their herds from one watering place to another. They seldom leave their home areas and determinedly maintain their traditional culture, resisting the encroachment of the outside world. For many centuries they have managed to live a relatively isolated existence and were not involved to any great extent in the long conflicts for pasturelands between the Nama and the Herero.

The largest group of Kaokovelders is the Himba, semi-nomads who live in far-flung villages throughout the Kunene Region. The Himba are a tall, slender and statuesque people, noted especially for their proud yet friendly bearing. The women are especially characterized for their unusual sculptural beauty, augmented by intricate hairstyles and traditional adornments. They rub their bodies with red ochre and fat, a treatment that protects their skins against the harsh desert climate. The homes of the Himba of Kaokoland are simple, cone-shaped structures of saplings, bound together with palm leaves and plastered with mud and dung. The men build the structures, while the women mix the clay and do the plastering. A fire burns in the headman's hut day and night, to keep away insects and provide light and heating. A family may move from one home to another several times a year to seek grazing for their goats and cattle. Overnight: Andersson's Camp Fully Inclusive (most drinks included)

Day 7: Etosha National Park

Today you visit famed Etosha National Park to see a cross-section of the wide variety of wildlife species found there before returning to Andersson's Camp for a late lunch and relax by the refreshing swimming pool before heading out again for an afternoon game drive. Optionall, you can choose to spend the whole day in the park and either take lunch by the waterhole at the Okaukuejo restcamp or have a picnic while watching game at a particularly productive waterhole in the area. Once back at Andersson's Camp, enjoy the rest of the evening game viewing and photographing at the camp's floodlit waterhole while enjoying sundowners and dinner.

Etosha National Park: Etosha National Park, which translates as the 'Place of Mirages', Land of Dry Water' or the 'Great White Place', covers 22,270 square kilometers, of which over 5,000 km² is made up of saline depressions or 'pans'. The largest of these pans, the Etosha Pan, is characterized as a saline desert. The Pan is part of the Owambo Basin, on the north-western edge of the Namibian Kalahari Desert. It formed part of a huge, shallow lake that around three million years ago was reduced to a complex of salt pans when the major river that fed it, the Kunene, changed course and began to flow to the Atlantic instead. Overnight: Andersson's Camp Fully Inclusive (most drinks included)

Day 8: Etosha National Park to Windhoek via the AfriCat Foundation

After breakfast we drive south from the Etosha National Park to the Okonjima Day Centre. Here you will be treated to a short game drive and educational tour of the AfriCat Foundation in order to learn about the great efforts being made here with the conservation of Africa's large cats. Lunch will be enjoyed at the centre before heading on to Windhoek, stopping in Okahandja to visit the local craft market for some last minute curio shopping if time permits. In Windhoek your guide will transfer you to your night's lodging at Galton House. Breakfast & Lunch & Dinner (most drinks included)

Day 9: Home

Transfer to the airport in time for your flight home.  No meals included.

Date - Rates:

Dates

Departures throughout the year, any day of the week.


Rates 2016

Low Season (January 1 - May 31, 2016)

$6,495 per person USD based on double occupancy, from Windhoek, at exchange rates at time of publication.  Price includes dinner and local drinks, internal transportation, all activities and guide services.  Single Supplement: $1,595. Limited single supplement availability.

High Season (June 1 - October 31, 2016)

$6,995 per person USD based on double occupancy, from Windhoek, at exchange rates at time of publication.  Price includes dinner and local drinks, internal transportation, all activities and guide services.  Single Supplement: $1,795. Limited single supplement availability.

Prices based on minimum of two persons. 


Registration: To confirm your space on this tour, a 25% deposit is required.  Balance is due 90 days prior to departure.

The day-to-day itinerary is subject to weather and animal activity.  Flight delays can happen due to weather  and neither IWA nor the in-country operator is  responsible for any additional costs due to delays.

Cancellation Policy: In the event you must cancel your reservation, refunds will be made according to the following schedule: Deposit is nonrefundable. 90 to 61 days prior to departure, 50% of total is nonrefundable; less than 60 days prior  to departure, 100% nonrefundable.

Insurance: Because many advance logistical arrangements have been made prior to the running of this trip, we must adhere to the above policy.  In light of this, we strongly recommend trip cancellation insurance.  A quote will be sent to you upon booking. Evacuation insurance is mandatory to travel in Africa. 

Call to book:
800-808-4492 (US & Canada)
206-463-1943 (Worldwide)

Lodging:

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Camp Kipwe: Camp Kipwe is ideally located a short drive from the local attractions in the area. The Camp is nestled amongst an outcrop of giant granite boulders a stone's throw away from the ephemeral Aba Huab riverbed where desert adapted elephants often traverse. Each comfortable thatched bungalow is simply but tastefully furnished with en-suite open-air bathroom. In the centre of the camp lies a large alfresco dining area, bar, lounge and reception with an inviting fireplace nearby to relax beside in the evenings. A refreshing swimming pool and sunset lookout with lovely views also complement the Camp.


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 Andersson's Camp: Located just 4.5 km from Etosha National Park's Andersson Gate, Andersson's Camp takes its name from Charles Andersson, the Swedish explorer who first 'discovered' the Etosha Pan with Sir Francis Galton in 1851. Set against a backdrop of the low Ondundozonanandana Mountains, Andersson's Camp is located within the private Ongava Game Reserve which borders onto Etosha National Park. The Ongava Game Reserve is typified by white calcrete soils, rocky outcrops and scrub-covered plains which support a rich variety of game such as giraffe, lion, rhino and various antelope species. The Camp overlooks a waterhole where guests can enjoy the interaction of wildlife coming and going throughout the day and night.

This former farmstead has been tastefully rebuilt to modern-day standards. The design and construction of Andersson's Camp was guided primarily by the principles of environmental sustainability – reduce, reuse, recycle. The old farmhouse now forms the main dining, bar and swimming pool area of Andersson's Camp, with guest tents radiating outwards into the secluded Mopane woodlands typical of the region. Tents are constructed using a clever mix of calcrete stone cladding, canvas and wood, with double-door entrances and a small verandah that is an extension of the elevated wooden decks on which the tents are raised. The open-air en-suite bathrooms continue the unique design. Andersson's Camp's close proximity to Etosha National Park is ideal for game drive excursions into Etosha to take in the array of game found there.


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 Wolwedans Dunes Lodge: This 20 bed Lodge is perched on top of a dunes plateau and overlooks panoramic vistas in all direction, capturing the desert in an intimate and memorable way. The building style is a combination of wooden poles and large canvas blinds/windows that open up to the desert beyond. Each of the nine spacious chalets has an en–suite bathroom which leads onto the private veranda looking out over stretches of untouched sand. The venue is an excellent base from which to explore the "landscape photographer's paradise" of the Namib Rand Nature Reserve.


Map:

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