Open Road Self-Drive Namibia Safari

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Run by: Rainbow Tours

Reference number: ITN-NAM010

From: £2195.00

An iconic road trip across a pristine part of Africa, the open roads of Namibia hold many adventures to be had and discoveries to be made. Drive across and explore a land which is in equal measures beautiful and barren. The blazing sun enhances the gold and ochre hues of the captivating endless vistas you will cover in your car. Spend two weeks travelling to many of Namibia's stunning landscapes filled with desert adapted wildlife, an intriguing safari alternative to chasing the Big Five across the savannah grasslands.

You'll spend three days in the Etosha National Park, one of the world's greatest wildlife havens and home to a vast salt pan visible from space. An authentic way to observe the wildlife, drive to one of the waterholes and watch in awe as an abundance of animals congregate round. Other highlights include driving along Skeleton Coast, the shore of a thousand shipwrecks, a barren stretch of dramatic coast before reaching the coastal Germanic town of Swakopmund.

Staying in comfortable lodges, guesthouses and National Park rest camps, this tour includes the hire of an air-conditioned salon car, with comprehensive insurance, with upgrades to a 4x4 available.

Itinerary

Day 1 Take an overnight flight from the UK to Windhoek with a transfer and change of aircraft in Johannesburg.

Day 2 On arrival at Windhoek Airport you will be met by our local agent, who will provide you with your drive pack, before collecting your hire vehicle and heading out for your three hour journey north to the Waterberg Plateau. Your first night in Namibia will be spent in the Waterberg Rest Camp. There are a variety of trails organised by the camp to explore this unique biosphere. Hike up to the top of the isolated flat-topped plateau for awe-inspiring panoramas looking over the patchwork land of wooded areas, grasslands and verdant ravines.

Day 3 Today continue north to the Etosha National Park. One of the world’s greatest wildlife havens, the park’s vast salt pans and waterholes attracts large number of game. This animal crowd includes zebra, springbok, rhino, lion and leopard. Etosha National Park is set up for visitors to drive themselves, intrepidly cover the land by a network of well-marked and sign-posted roads. Spend the night in Namutoni, a wonderfully atmospheric camp built into an old German Fort. Namutoni has a fantastic location for you to explore all the surrounding natural wonders including the Makalani Palms, Fischer’s Pan – a wonderland of water birds including flamingos – and the wildlife of the National Park.

Day 4 Spend a full day in Etosha National Park with possible animal sightings including bathing elephants, running warthogs, prowling lions and growling hyenas. With the park home to 112 mammal species, your wildlife spotting is likely to be diverse and thrilling. In the evening drive to Okaukuejo, a former military outpost with a magnificent stone tower which has been renovated into a popular camp with bush chalets. The camp overlooks a permanently lit waterhole which bustles with animal activity. In the early morning, as the sun rises, the animals gather for their morning drink while in the evening it is not uncommon to see black rhino, elephant and lion.

Day 5 During your last day in Etosha National Park you are free to spend your time as you wish. Continue traversing through the park, in search for the last wildlife spot to be ticked off the list. Or relax at the camp overlooking the waterhole as the congregation of animals changes throughout the day.

Day 6 Drive southwest to the stunningly rugged Damaraland for a two night stay in this adventurous region. One of the most scenic areas in Namibia, Damaraland is full of desert mountain ranges and scrubby plateaus threaded by springs and rivers. You will stay in Twyfelfontein country lodge, a stunning lodge which takes its inspiration from the warm colours and dramatic shapes of the surrounding mountain backdrop. The lodge is near to Twyfelfontein, the largest collection of rock engravings in Africa. Namibia’s first UNESCO site, the preserved engraved rock slabs depict the ritual practices of the hunter-gatherer communities of Late Stone Age. The drawings of elephant, ostrich, giraffe and humans are a fascinating look back at like thousands of years ago.

Day 7 Today delve into Damaraland’s attractions, from the long columns of rich rusty stone of the Organ Pipes, an intriguing geological formation, to Burnt Mountain. This national monument is best seen in the early morning or late evening as the orange sun sets the black mountain ablaze with an explosion of reds and purples.

Day 8 Head south, driving along the iconic Skeleton Coast past beaches scattered with rusted shipwrecks and bleached whalebones, the Atlantic Ocean crushing against the shore. A landscape of haunting beauty, travel along this road until you arrive in Swakopmund. This charming coastal town has a strong German influence. Spend the afternoon wandering along the seaside promenades and amongst the colonial era buildings, stopping for a coffee and cake in one of the continental style cafes. During your two nights here you’ll be staying in Sam’s Giardino, an intimate and welcoming Swiss-run guesthouse.

Day 9 Swakopmund is the perfect base for many local activities including sand boarding and quad biking over the roaring sand dunes for the adventurous. Take a boat cruise to see the Cape Cross Seal Colony or visit the ancient desert adapted Welwitschia plants.

Day 10 Leave behind Swakopmund to travel inland to Sossusvlei, the towering dunes a wonderful finish to your thrilling holiday. Ascend the dunes to the peak 200m above the valley floor to marvel at the magnitude of the spectacular red sand landscape, a quintessential image of Namibia. Enjoy luxurious comfort within the vast desert with a two night stay at Sossusvlei Lodge, all 45 of the rooms with magnificent views which can be admired from the private patio.

Day 11 A wonderful way to start your last day exploring Namibia, drift in a hot air balloon over the landscape as the sun’s rays come up over the dunes. Other desert activities include scenic drives in an open 4x4 safari vehicle to the petrified dunes and the massive boulders of Bushman’s Koppies. For those who want to get close to the nature of the land, take a guided nature walk on the marked hiking trails. Walk across Deadvlei, an eerie white salt covered pan strewn with dead camel thorn trees which have been scorched black in the 1,000 years spent in the harsh sun.

Day 12 Leave behind Sossusvlei heading north to Windhoek. Due to the distance between the two locations, we suggest spending the night at the Olive Grove Guest House.

Day 13 After breakfast, you will be transferred to the Windhoek Airport for your flight back to London via Johannesburg.

This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website

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