On arrival this afternoon in Windhk, you have free time to explore the capital city of Namibia. Overnight Hotel Safari (or similar accommodation).
We will be met at 10:00hrs in the reception area of the hotel for our transfer to Sesriem (380kms; 3.5 hrs). Our journey takes us south through ever changing scenery to our accommodation located on the edge of the Namib Desert, considered by many geologists to be one of the world's oldest deserts. The following morning is an early departure driving 63 kms (1 hr; one-way) through the dune belt while the sun rises around us. The incredible changing colours lend itself to amazing photo opportunities. We undertake a 5km walk to Sossusvlei and Deadvlei. The name "Sossusvlei" is of mixed origin, and roughly means "dead end marsh". Sossusvlei owes this name to the fact that it is a drainage basin without outflows for the ephemeral Tsauchab River. The pan holds rainwater to form a lake and due to the high clay content of the ground, water is retained for long periods of time. Deadvlei is another clay pan, about 2 km from Sossusvlei. A notable feature of Deadvlei is that it used to be an oasis with several acacia trees. The pan is thus punctuated by blackened, dead acacia trees, in vivid contrast to the shiny white of the salty floor of the pan and the intense orange of the dunes. This creates a particularly fascinating and surrealistic landscape, that appears in uncountable pictures and that has been used as a setting for films and videos. In the afternoon we enjoy a short hike through the Sesriem Canyon, which is a natural canyon carved by the Tsauchab rivier in the local sedimentary rock, about a kilometre long and up to 30 metres deep. A portion of the canyon permanently contains water, which many animals use. Overnight Desert Camp (or similar).
Today we travel through the Kuiseb canyon, site of the famous book by Henno Martin, The Sheltering Desert before we stop off at Walvis Bay to view the flamingos (seasonal). The Walvis Bay wetlands - the lagoon, mudflats, shoreline and salt works - constitute the single most important coastal wetland in southern Africa for migratory birds. The wetland therefore serves mainly as a dry-season and drought refuge for migrating species like the Greater and Lesser Flamingos, Plover, Grebe and African Black Oystercatcher. We drive to Swakopmund (33 kms), a quaint beach town with a strong German influence and with a sizable part of its population still German-speaking today. Founded in 1892 as the main harbour for German South-West Africa, Swakopmund is German for "Mouth of the Swakop" as it is at the mouth of the Swakop River. We spend the afternoon and following day exploring this German colonial town or booking one of the numerous optional excursions (own expense). Activities available include hot air ballooning or scenic flights over the vast Namib Desert. Overnight: The Delight (or similar).
We leave the coast behind and drive inland through the Damaraland region. Damaraland was a name given to the north-central part of Namibia and inhabited by the Damara people, an ethnic group who make up 8.5% of Namibia's population. Thought to be a remnant of southwestern Africa's hunter-gatherers, have no known cultural relationship with any of the other tribes anywhere else in Africa. The region is a vast and rugged terrain with mountain ranges intercepted by wide gravel plains, which run into sandy, vegetated riverbeds and hot, dry valleys. Be on the lookout for the slightly smaller, desert-adapted elephants found predominantly in the Kaokaland and Damaraland regions. The Desert Elephant belongs to the savanna elephant and are a protected species. Consider yourself lucky if you see the elusive desert elephant or desert rhino, as these animals were subjected to poaching in the 1980's and numbers have diminished significantly. Our lodge is located on top of a mountain with spectacular views of the surrounding area. We spend the afternoon taking in the incredible setting or simply relaxing by the pool. Overnight Ugab Terrace Lodge (or similar).
Today we proceed to Etosha National Park where we enjoy our first game drive and relax by the floodlight waterhole in the evening. The park's main characteristic is a salt pan so large it can be seen from space. Yet there is abundant wildlife that congregates around the waterholes. Overnight Halali Restcamp or Okakeujo Restcamp inside Etosha National Park (or similar).
Etosha was first established in 1907, when Namibia was a German colony known as South West Africa. At the time, the park's original 100,000 km made it the largest game reserve in the world. Due to political changes since its original establishment, the park is now slightly less than a quarter of its original area, but still remains a very large and significant area in which wildlife is protected. This Park is one of the most important reserves and game sanctuaries in Africa with thousands of wild animals such as blue wildebeest, springbok, zebra, kudu, giraffe, cheetah, leopard, lion and elephant making this area their home. The day is spent on game drive through the Park from the Western to the Eastern side of the Park. Overnight Namutoni Restcamp inside Etosha National Park (or similar).
We enter the Caprivi Strip (Zambezi region) where we spend the night set amongst the lush vegetation overlooking the Okavango River. Sunset from the deck is sensational. An optional afternoon boat cruise on the river is available (own expense). Overnight Hakusembe River Lodge (or similar).
*Please note that World Expeditions ds not operate any mokoro trips on the Okavango River and strongly advises against participation on this because of safety concerns, namely the proximity on the river to dangerous wildlife, particularly the hippopotamus. If you choose to undertake this with other local contractors, you do so against our advice and entirely at your own risk.
We continue through to the eastern side of the Caprivi Strip and arrive at our lodge overlooking the flood plains of the Kwando River. A lush area teeming with wildlife and birdlife offers a great opportunity for a late afternoon game drive (own account). Overnight Namushasha River Lodge (or similar).
Crossing into Botswana via Chobe National Park we overnight on the banks of the Chobe River. Chobe is famous for its beautiful scenery, magnificent sunsets and abundance of wildlife and birdlife. The National Park has one of the largest concentrations of game in Africa. Where the Chobe river flows into the Zambezi River the two rivers form the borders between Namibia, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe. One of the few places in the world that four countries border on each other. We relax on a sunset game-viewing cruise on the Chobe River. An optional morning game drive is possible (own account). Overnight Chobe Safari Lodge (or similar).
Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park (otherwise known as Victoria Falls) is a UNESCO world heritage site. The Park covers 66 km2 from the Songwe Gorge below the falls in a northwest arc along about 20 km of the Zambian riverbank. Two countries - Zambia and Zimbabwe, share the magnificent falls. Nothing can compare to viewing the awesome power of 'The Smoke that thunders" for the first time. There will be plenty of opportunity to view the Falls 'up close and personal' by traversing the many walkways in and around the rain forest that surrounds the many view points. In the wet season, be sure to wear a raincoat as the spray can give you a thorough drenching! Overnight A'Zambezi River Lodge (or similar).
Victoria Falls is one of the most revered and spectacular sights in Africa, and it is also the "adventure capital" of Southern Africa as there are many optional activities on offer to wet your appetite. Today is spent at your leisure, to browse the local markets for African curios and experience the many optional activities on offer (own expense) which range from game drives in the nearby national park, scenic micro light or helicopter flights or for the more adventurous white water rafting or bungi jumping, and of course to visit the actual Falls.
Our tour ends today after breakfast.