Namibia Under Canvas - African Encounters

Namibia Under Canvas

Departs Thursdays April - Sept
Departs Thursdays April - Sept

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    Windhoek, Namibia
    Windhoek, Namibia
    Max People : 7

    Welcome to the timeless land of Namibia – other-worldly, eerily isolated, and vast… Covering an area approximately four times the size of the United Kingdom but with a population of a mere 2 million, Namibia is a land of wide open spaces, and unspoiled, dramatic landscapes.

    Imagine the thrill of tracking the world’s last free-roaming black rhinos on foot in remote Damaraland,  seeing desert-adapted elephants, sleeping under a canopy of stars in the Namib desert, or maybe watching a stealthy leopard at the waterhole in front of your comfortable tent… You’ll enjoy all of this and more on your Namibia Under Canvas safari.

    From the soaring red dunes of Sossusvlei to the Etosha salt pans teeming with wildlife, and the heritage of rock art created by stone-age artists, your Namibia Under Canvas safari is a fascinating journey through this ancient land. Your guide has an intimate knowledge of each area and camp or lodge that you visit, and they will share local insights and highlights during your safari.

    A qualified local guide will escort your Namibia Under Canvas safari from Windhoek.

    • Climb some of the world’s highest free-standing sand dunes at Sossusvlei
    • Track the endangered black rhino in conjunction with Save the Rhino Trust
    • Search for desert-adapted elephants in the ephemeral river systems of Damaraland.
    • Experience memorable game drives in Etosha where the many waterholes are teeming with wildlife
    • Look for leopards and cheetahs on game drives in the private Ongava Game Reserve
    • Visit the world-renowned AfriCat Foundation and learn about conservation initiatives involving Africa’s large cats.

    Arrival & Departure

    Arrival: Windhoek, Namibia

    Departure: Windhoek, Namibia

    Price Includes

    • Quality accommodation
    • All meals from dinner on Day 1 to breakfast on Day 11 
    • Transportation in a luxury air-conditioned safari vehicle.
    • Return airport transfers
    • All Park and Private Concession fees
    • Entrance fees and excursions as described in the itinerary.
    • Two Onguma drives in open game viewer with lodge guide
    • Mineral water on board the safari vehicle.
    • A registered and experienced naturalist English-speaking safari guide.
    • Welcome pack.

    Price Excludes

    • International airfares, airport taxes and visa fees
    • Travel insurance (mandatory)
    • All beverages with the exception of mineral water on board the safari vehicle.
    • Hot air balloon flight over the Sossusvlei dunes (weather-dependent)
    • Laundry (laundry service available at lodges at extra cost)
    • Any Personal Expenses
    • Tips & gratuities
    • Any entrance fees and excursions not included in the above itinerary such as scenic flights.
    Itinerary at a glance

    Day 1Windhoek

    Independent arrival at Windhoek International Airport where you will be met and transferred to your accommodation in the city. Met your guide and fellow travellers over dinner tonight.

    Day 2Windhoek to Eastern Etosha National Park via the AfriCat Foundation at Okonjima

    On your way to the Ongava Game Reserve  you will visit Okonjima which is home to the AfriCat Foundation, a wildlife sanctuary which focuses on the research and rehabilitation of Africa’s big cats, especially injured or captured leopard and cheetah. You will arrive in time to embark on an informative game drive and tour of the centre. Here you will learn about the function and vision of the AfriCat Foundation and will also get to meet some of the Foundation’s special captive carnivore ambassadors. 

    After the excursion you will enjoy a light lunch before continuing your journey north to the Ongava Game Reserve. You arrive in time for an afternoon game drive in an open game viewer with an Ongava ranger, on shared basis with other lodge guests.

    Day 3Etosha National Park

    Today you will be treated to an exciting morning guided game drive into the Etosha National Park, to see more of the wide variety of game and bird species that are to be found there. There is then time to relax by the refreshing swimming pool before you head out again for an afternoon game drive into Etosha, leaving the park before sunset.  Alternatively, you can opt to spend the whole day out in the park and either take lunch by one of the other rest camps in the area, or have a picnic while watching game at one of the many waterholes in the area. Once you are back (gates close at sunset), the rest of the evening can be spent game viewing at the camp’s floodlit waterhole while enjoying dinner, and afterwards. 

    Day 4Etosha National Park

    Another morning dedicated to memorable game drives within the southern section of Etosha National Park with your guide. You return to camp for lunch and an early afternoon rest, spending your final afternoon on a game drive on the private Ongava Game Reserve. You then return after sunset with enough time to freshen up and enjoy your final ‘safari dinner’ overlooking the camp’s floodlit waterhole. 

    Day 5Etosha National Park to Damaraland

    This morning after breakfast you will continue your safari to the heart of Namibia, remote Damaraland. Damaraland is typified by displays of colour, magnificent table topped mountains, rock formations and bizarre-looking vegetation. The present-day landscape has been formed by the erosion of wind, water and geological forces which have formed rolling hills, dunes, gravel plains and ancient river terraces. It is the variety and loneliness of the area as well as the scenic splendour which will reward and astound you, giving one an authentic understanding of the word ‘wilderness’.

    This remarkable region is home to a variety of desert-adapted wildlife and hidden desert treasures. Your camp is deliberately small and intimate, and is located in a core area for desert-adapted black rhino with activities largely focused on tracking black rhino with an experienced and qualified Rhino Ranger team.

    The camp is perched on a high bank overlooking a (generally) dry riverbed and groves of Mopane trees in the heart of Damaraland. Protected from the prevailing winds, the camp carries arguably the lowest environmental footprint of any camp in Namibia. The essence of the camp is an immersive exploration of this incredible area.

    Day 6Damaraland

    Today you will spend an exciting and memorable morning out rhino tracking with the assistance of local trackers. It is worth noting that these black rhino form part of one of the only free-roaming black rhino populations in Africa and tracking animals in an unfenced and uninhibited environment is an absolute privilege. You will return to camp for a freshly prepared lunch and with time to relax at camp during the heat of the day. Later in the afternoon you head out again for a scenic nature drive or walk to explore this vast and astounding ecosystem. 

    The camp works together with the Save the Rhino Trust (SRT) – an NGO that has been has been instrumental in the preservation of the rare, endangered, desert-adapted black rhino. Having barely survived the slaughter in many parts of Africa during the ’80s and ’90s, the black rhino population of Namibia has increased substantially since the formation of SRT. 

    Day 7Damaraland

    Today you continue your adventures exploring Damaraland, enjoying the freedom to discover the fascinating landscapes with your private naturalist guide both by vehicle and on foot. Damaraland is a surprising refuge for desert adapted wildlife that may include elephant, giraffe, oryx, springbok and even some predators such as lion. However, as with any wildlife sightings in Namibia, this depends on many factors including seasonality so specific sightings are never guaranteed. The wildlife roams large tracks of unfenced desert landscapes and finding game can be challenging, but this is all part of the adventure of exploring this wild untouched gem of Namibia. Today’s focus will be largely on searching for the elusive desert adapted elephants in the ephemeral river systems, an activity which will mean spending most of the day out. Your guide will take along a delicious picnic lunch and you will return to camp in the late afternoon.      

    Day 8Damaraland to Swakopmund

    After an early breakfast the drive today takes you south past the Brandberg, Namibia’s highest mountain (2,573 m above sea level), and west to meet the coast at Henties Bay. You then continue south to the coastal town of Swakopmund where you can enjoy the pleasant seaside location and cooler coastal air for the night. Tonight you enjoy dinner with your guide out at a popular restaurant in town that specialises in locally harvested fresh seafood as well as other local and international dishes.

    Swakopmund resembles a small, German coastal resort nestled between the desert and the sea. It boasts a charming combination of German colonial architecture blended with good hotels, shops, restaurants, museums, craft centres, galleries and cafés. Swakopmund had its beginnings as a landing station in 1892 when the Imperial Navy erected beacons on the site. Settlers followed and attempts to create a harbour town by constructing a concrete Mole and then iron jetty failed. The advent of World War 1 halted developments and the town sank into decline until half a century later when infrastructures improved and an asphalt road opened between Windhoek and Swakopmund. This made reaching the previously isolated town quicker and easier and it prospered once again to become Namibia’s premier resort town. Although the sea is normally cold for swimming there are pleasant beaches and the cooler climate is refreshing after the time spent in the desert.

    Day 9Swakopmund to Sossusvlei

    After an early breakfast, you depart on a fascinating drive that takes you southeast through awesome and ever-changing desert landscapes via the impressive Gaub and Kuiseb canyons to meet the dunes at the settlement of Solitaire. A picnic lunch will be had en route and you will continue onto the Namib Tsaris Conservancy, where you will spend two nights at Camp Sossus. You will arrive mid to late afternoon with enough time to acquaint yourself with the camp and enjoy a hot bucket shower before dinner.

    Camp Sossus is located on the private 24,000ha Namib Tsaris Conservancy. Nestled between the Nubib and Zaris Mountains, this camp is a mere thirty minutes drive from the Sossusvlei gate, the gateway to the ‘Great Namib Sand Sea’ at Sossusvlei, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The camp has eight tents and offers a fantastic alternative to any traditional lodge in the Sossusvlei area. Activities include visits to Sossusvlei with your private guide and general exploration of the private Neuhof Nature Reserve, including nature walks, mountain biking, and star gazing. Camp Sossus provides a convenient base from which to go on hot air balloon or scenic helicopter flights over the local area. It is also a great venue for photographers, offering fantastic landscapes, iconic quiver trees, and the opportunity for nighttime photography which is often very difficult to arrange elsewhere.

    Day 10Sossusvlei / Namib Desert

    Set off before sunrise to capture the spectacular dunes whilst the light is soft and shadows accentuate the towering shapes and curves. This area boasts some of the highest free-standing sand dunes in the world and your guide will give you an insight into the formation of the Namib Desert and its myriad of fascinating creatures and plants that have adapted to survive these harsh environs. After a picnic brunch return to your lodge. Afternoon at leisure (from experience, this is usually welcomed after an exhilarating morning in the dunes.)

    Day 11Sossusvlei to Windhoek

    After a leisurely breakfast this morning you will depart from Sossusvlei and return to Windhoek, driving northeast up the Great Escarpment and through the scenic Khomas Hochland highlands. A tasty picnic lunch will again be served en route. You will arrive back in Windhoek by mid-afternoon and you spend the last night of your safari at Galton House. Dinner can either be enjoyed at Galton’s in-house restaurant, or out at one of the popular restaurants in town together with your guide.  After dinner, you’ll bid your local guide farewell.

    Day 12Departure

    Your Namibia Under Canvas adventure ends after breakfast with a transfer to Windhoek International Airport to join your flight home.