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. Our journey takes us south through ever changing scenery to our campsite located on the edge of the Namib Desert, considered by many geologists to be one of the world's oldest deserts. We hike up Elim dune to witness the amazing sunset over the dunes. 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 allow 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 river 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.
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 arrive in Swakopmund, 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 enjoying one of the numerous optional excursions (at own risk and own expense). Overnight in a local guesthouse.
Leaving Swakopmund after lunch we set up camp among the boulders of the Spitzkoppe Mountains. The afternoon is free to explore the stunning surrounding area on foot. Northeast of Swakopmund is the stark grandeur of The Spitzkoppe (sharp head), one of Namibia's most recognizable landmarks. The summit of this imposing granite rock formation (1,728m) was first scaled only in 1946, and its shape has inspired its nickname, The Matterhorn of Africa. The spectacular setting of our remote bushcamp is sure to leave a lasting impression.
We enter Etosha via the Western corridor and travel through the park to Okakeujo Restcamp. The Park 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. Floodlit waterholes at Okakeujo & Namutoni Restcamps attract an abundance of animals throughout the evening, providing us with many amazing wildlife sightings. We enjoy early morning and late afternoon game drives (approx 150 kms drive/12 hrs including lunch). Overnight Okakeujo & Namutoni Restcamps inside Etosha.
After a morning game drive we exit Etosha and travel to Rundu on the banks of the Kavango River. Our camp is set amongst the lush vegetation overlooking the Kavango River.
*Please note that World Expeditions ds not operate the optional mokoro trip on the Kavango River in Namibia 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 optional activity with other local contractors, you do so against our advice and entirely at your own risk. NOTE - This differs from the Okavango Delta in Botswana where the mokoro experience is necessary to visit the heart of the Okavango Delta, and the local mokoro guides are extremely experienced and have the utmost respect and intimate knowledge regarding wildlife inhabiting the Delta.
Continuing into the Caprivi we cross into Botswana we travel by road to the edge of the Okavango Delta. We transfer 2-3 hours by boat to Pepere island in the delta. The following day we do game walks on the island and the smaller islands in the area. The activities included are mokoro trips, scenic boat tours and game walks on the island.
Departing the Delta by boat we return to our vehicle and we cross back into Namibia. Driving through the Caprivi we set up camp on the banks of the Kwando River.
Continuing through the Caprivi we cross into Botswana and travel through the Chobe National Park setting up camp on the banks of the Chobe River. Chobe is famous for its beautiful scenery, magnificent sunsets and abundance of wildlife and birdlife. The following day we relax on a game viewing cruise on the Chobe River. A morning game drive in Chobe National Park is optional (at your own expense).
We travel across the Zimbabwean border to Victoria Falls, without doubt one of the greatest and most spectacular sights in Africa. 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 (entrance fee own account). In the wet season, be sure to wear a raincoat as the spray can give you a thorough drenching! Victoria Falls is also the "adventure capital" of Southern Africa and there are many optional activities on offer to whet your appetite. These 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. Victoria Falls also has many markets where you can browse for African curios. All lunches, dinners and optional activities will be at your own expense. Overnight Sprayview Lodge (or similar).
Our tour ends today after breakfast.