Splendors of Southern Africa - Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe

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Day 1: Arrive in Windhoek, Namibia

You are met on arrival in Windhoek and transferred to your hotel. This evening, we will meet for dinner and your orientation.
Overnight in Windhoek.

 

Day 2: To Sesriem

This morning we drive westward towards Sesriem, enjoying a picnic lunch enroute. Sesriem is the gateway to the world's highest sand dunes at Sossusvlei.

The area around Sossusvlei is the most accessible part of the 300 km long and nearly 150 km wide sand sea that covers 32,000 sq km of western Namibia.
Overnight near Sesriem.

 

Day 3: Sossusvlei - World's Highest Sand Dunes

Today we visit the world's highest and most picturesque sand dunes at Sossusvlei. Sossusvlei itself is a huge ephemeral pan set amid red/orange sand dunes which tower as much as 300 meters over the underlying strata. It would not be unusual to see gemsbok and ostriches roaming over the sand. The best way to get a feel for this "sea of sand" is to climb one of the dunes. The view will leave you in awe.
Overnight near Sesriem.

 

Day 4: Namib-Naukluft N.P. & Kuiseb Canyon, to Swakopmund

Today we drive through Namib-Naukluft National Park and the Kuiseb Canyon on our way to Swakopmund. Namib-Naukluft is Namibia's largest national park and takes in much of the Namib Desert as well as the surrounding gravel plains and the dramatic Naukluft Massif. This mountainous area with dramatic scenery and superb hiking trails, serves as a refuge for Hertmann's mountain zebra.

We spend the afternoon and evening in the quaint town of Swakopmund. With palm-lined streets, seaside promenades and friendly locals, Swakopmund offers a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere. Overnight in Swakopmund.

 

Day 5: Scenic Flight Over the Skeleton Coast

This morning we make our way from Swakopmund to Cape Cross where we have an opportunity to visit the large seal colony of Cape Cross up close. We can also see where the Portugese landed 1486. We then return to Swakopmund and enjoy lunch in a sea side restaurant.

After lunch we enjoy a scenic flight that takes us from Swakopmund east via the "Moon Landscape" and along the Swakop riverbed to the Swakop and Kahn rivers intersections. Crossing the Oasis Groanikontes we fly over the "sea" of shifting sand dunes. Upon reaching the coast at Conception Bay we pass colonies of Cape Fur seals followed by the reck of passenger liner "Eduard Bohlen" stranded in 1909, lying 250 meters away from the shoreline. We also fly over the "Shawnee" stranded in 1976. We continue on to enjoy arial views of Sandwich harbour, a wetland of international importance and protected by the Ramsar Convention. The highest record density of Lesser and Greater flamingo's was recored here at low tide with 7791 birds per kilometre. We then return to Swakopmund in time for dinner.
Overnight in Swakopmund

 

Day 6: To Damaraland: Bushman Rock Paintings, Petroglyphs, Petrified Forest

Today is a long day as we drive to Twyfelfontein to explore the Bushman rock paintings. We will also see some of the extraordinary rock formations that occur in this area. In the afternoon we make our way to the Petrified Forest. See petrified tree trunks up to 30 meters in length with a circumference of up to 6 meters.
Overnight in the Khorixas.

 

Day 7: To Opuwo, Kaokoland

Traveling up through Damaraland, we enter Kaokoland, often described as "Africa's last great wilderness" and home to the Himba, Zemba and Herero people. This faraway corner of the country perhaps represents Namibia at its most primeval.
Overnight in Opuwo.

 

Day 8: Himba and Zemba Tribes

Travelling with a local Herero speaking guide, we visit local tribal villages. Although their culture and language are similar, each tribe has maintained its own ethnic traditions and attire. Many still have little contact with the modern world. The Herero women wear multi layered long dresses with distinctive cloth headwear, while the Himba women wear very little and are known for their ochre body painting. The Zemba villagers are also distinctive in their body decorations. We will visit with these friendly but shy people for a glimpse into a way of life that has changed little over the centuries. As our guide translates for us, we learn about their lifestyles and culture. To thank the villagers for their hospitality, we provide them with a donation of food.
Overnight near Opuwo.

 

Day 9: To Outjo

Returning south through Damaraland, we pass through spectacular scenery and through the flat plains to our hotel on the outskirts of the town of Outjo. It is not uncommon to sight game as we are close to Etosha park boundary. There will be time to stretch our legs on the grounds of the lodge and enjoy sunset from the comfort of the terrace.
Overnight near Outjo.

 

Day 10: To Etosha National Park - Halali

This morning we will have time to visit the town of Outjo before continuing to Etosha National Park. Once we pass the park gates we will be on the watch for wildlife, stopping whenever they are close - we may even have to stop while they cross the road in front of us - wildlife has the right of way! We enjoy a picnic lunch at a Park rest stop and then continue on to our lodge located within the park. In the late afternoon we enjoy a safari game drive in search for elephants, giraffes and zebra. Overnight in Halali.

 

Days 11 - 12: Etosha National Park - Namutoni

After a morning game drive in the area, we make our way with our tour vehicle to Namutoni Lodge which originally served as an outpost for German troops. Over the next two days we enjoy numerous open air safari game drives in the area in search of lions, elephants, giraffes, white rhinos and even the extremely rare black rhinos. In the evenings, you have the choice of spending time watching for wildlife at the waterhole, relaxing in the peaceful ambience of the fort's courtyard or to enjoy the solitude of your luxury accommodation.
Overnight in Namutoni.

 

Day 13: Etosha National Park - Onkoshi

After an early morning game drive, we enjoy the remainder of the morning at leisure. After lunch, we make our way in our tour vehicle to our luxury accommodations at Onkoshi Lodge, Etosha's newest and most remote lodge. Onkoshi sits right on the border of the parks characteristic salt pan. This afternoon we relax at the lodge with time to enjoy our views that reach far into the horizon. Tonight enjoy a sundowner as you watch the incredible sunset, followed by the breathtaking bright night sky distinctive of Namibia's beauty.
Overnight in Onkoshi

 

Day 14: To Guest Farm

This morning we will have one last watch for Etosha's wildlife as we depart on the eastern side and head toward Grootfontein. We enjoy a picnic lunch at the Hoba Meteorite. With a mass estimated at more than 60 tonnes, it is considered the largest known Iron meteorite (as a single piece) and the most massive naturally occurring piece of iron known at the Earth's surface. From here, we make our way to our Guest Farm where the remainder of the afternoon at leisure.
Overnight at Guest Farm near Grootfontein.

 

Days 15 - 16: Bushmen Experience, to Rundu, Kavango River

This morning we depart our Guest Farm and make our way to the Bushmen in their natural environment. We witness daily activities in the village, which may include food preparation, beadwork or bow and arrow making. We may have a walk in the vicinity of the village where we can see the many plants used for food and medicine - maybe even the poison for their arrows.

Leaving the Bushmen behind, we head along the Caprivi to Rundu. Over the next two days we will have the opportunity for a visit to the local school where we meet the students and teachers and visit one of the local family compounds that dot the area around the town and river's edge. These mud, stick and thatch buildings with their fenced enclosures contain living quarters for both the family and the animals as well as storage areas, gardens and outdoor cooking facilities. We can see how they dry their produce for storage, gather water for their fields and perhaps even how they set fish traps in the river. One evening at the lodge, we will enjoy a visit from a traditional dance troup . We will also have an opportunity to enjoy a sunset cruise along the Kavango River, which is the natural border between Namibia and Angola.
Overnight in Rundu.

 

Days 17 - 18: To Okavango Delta, Botswana

Today we depart for the Okavango Delta. Our lodge is located on the western region of the Delta and serves as our home base for the next 2 days. We transfer to our lodge located deep in the Delta's marshes. Depending on water level, we may transfer by 4X4, motor boat and/or barge.

Our time in the Delta is spent exploring the network of water pathways through thick vegetation in mokoros (traditional dugout canoes), speed boats and barges. The Okavango Delta is often described as the "river which never finds the sea." It is an extraordinary environment of channels and islands that seem cut off from the western world, and it abounds with bird life and other wildlife that covers an area the size of Switzerland.
Overnight in the Nguma Lagoon.

 

Day 19: Fly Over the Delta to Chobe N.P.

This morning we enjoy a flight over the Okavango Delta to Kasane, where we are then transferred to Chobe National Park. After lunch, we travel into the park in open air safari vehicles to search for the famous Chobe Elephants. The park is reputed to have some of the largest concentrations of game in Africa so expect an exciting afternoon.
Overnight near Kasane.

 

Day 20: Chobe National Park

This morning we again travel in our small open air safari vehicles into the Park in search of elephants, giraffe, sable antelope and cape buffalo as well as the many other species found here. We will be able to access the small tracks and quiet areas in the Park allowing us excellent game viewing possibilities.

We return to our lodge for lunch. In the afternoon, we enjoy a sunset cruise on the Chobe River watching for the hippos and crocodiles, elephants, giraffes and impala which come to the waters edge to drink. The sun will set over the river as we make our way back to the dock and return to our lodge for dinner.
Overnight near Kasane.

 

Day 21: To Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

After breakfast, we make our way into Zimbabwe as we cross the Zambezi River. After completing immigration formalities, we continue to our hotel, located within Victoria Falls National Park.

After a light lunch, we set off to visit the majestic Victoria Falls and walk through the mists for a close up sight of the "Smoke that Thunders". The world-famous falls are 1.7 km (1.1 miles) wide and drops between 90 meters (295 feet) and 107 meters (351 feet) into the Zambezi Gorge.

We return to our lodge with time to relax before we enjoy a traditional Boma Dinner.
Overnight in Victoria Falls National Park.

 

Day 22: Victoria Falls - Helicopter or Lion Walk, Zambezi Sunset Cruise

After breakfast, you have the option of choosing a helicopter flight over the falls, a walk with the lions or if you so wish a free morning to relax poolside, while overlooking the famous watering hole at our lodge.

During lunch at our hotel we shall enjoy hearing about the life and legacy of 2 of Africa's greatest explorers, personalities and humanitarians - Stanley & Livingston, as well as Livingstone's closest friends, Chuma and Sussi, who Livingstone spared from a life of slavery. Enjoy the fascinating and animated story telling from a well known local historian and story teller.

In the late afternoon we will enjoy a delightful cruise along the Zambezi River. The river's edge offers a lush refuge for wildlife including birds and hippos. We will have the opportunity to feel the tremendous power of the river as it rushes towards the falls and enjoy the sunset on this magical and historical river before we return to the lodge for our farewell dinner.
Overnight in Victoria Falls National Park.

 

Day 23: Depart Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Today we say goodbye to Africa and transfer to the airport to connect with our international flights homeward.

 
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