7 day Southern Namibia Experience

Namibia

The Southern part of Namibia is nothing short of a magical experience; home to unique landscapes, vast canyons, ancient deserts and perfectly preserved ghost towns .

Enjoy the solitude and peace of the magnificent Fish River Canyon, at over 500m deep, 27km wide and 160km long, truly a gem of Southern Namibia. You will spend the night in the Kalahari desert area of Namibia before continuing to the mighty Fish River Canyon. Visit the small town of Aus where you will have the opportunity to visit the ghost town of Kolmanskop - once a thriving diamond mining town, now deserted and completely reclaimed by the desert. You will end your trip in the world’s oldest desert, where you will stroll among the world’s highest sand dunes. 

Combine this tour with the 3 day Etosha Safari or the longer 7 day Northern Namibia Adventure, to really experience the best of what Namibia has to offer.

Quick Facts

Who can join: Anyone aged 18 years and over (family safaris are available)
Duration: 7 days (6 nights)
Accommodation: Camping or Accommodated (mid-range lodges - supplement)
Pick up from: Tours depart from Windhoek
Meals: 3 meals a day included unless otherwise stated
Group size: No minimum group size, up to 14 people
Start dates: Friday departures, weekly from June - October, fortnightly at other times - check the dates list
How much: Prices start from US $930 per person sharing

Itinerary

Day 1

Windhoek – Kalahari (280 km) (LD) (camping)

You will be collected from your Windhoek accommodation between 07:30 and 08:00.

Start your journey south on the main highway, travelling through the thin strip of Kalahari Desert that protrudes onto the eastern side of Namibia.  Stopping at small towns along the way including Rehoboth, traditional home of the Baster people and on to Kalkrand where you bid the main road farewell and head off into the Kalahari.  The Kalahari Desert is very different from the Namib: the Kalahari is not a desert. It receives more rain than a true desert should. The Kalahari is a fossil desert. Don’t expect to find tall Sossusvlei-style dunes devoid of greenery here.  The Kalahari’s dunes are very different. They are often equally beautiful, but usually greener and less stark – and with this vegetation comes its ability to support more flora and fauna than a true desert.

You will hop onto an open vehicle for a late afternoon sunset drive.

Day 2

Kalahari – Fish River Canyon area (500 km) (BLD) (camping)

An early morning departure to the town of Mariental and south to Keetmanshoop.  Just outside the town you have the opportunity of visiting the Mesosaurus Fossil Site.

Travel via the town of Keetmanshoop for overnight camping in the Fish River area.  Here you have the opportunity of seeing the Quiver tree.  Quiver trees are not in fact trees, they are a type of aloe, (Aloe Dichotoma), so called because the branches fork “dictomously”.  These weird looking plants dot the landscape in this part of the world and are locally common, however they are one of the world’s rarest flora species.

Day 3

Fish River area – Luderitz (430 km) (BL) (Accommodation)

The Fish River Canyon in Namibia is the 2nd largest canyon in the world after the Grand Canyon and the immensity of this magnificent landscape is truly breathtaking. The towering rock faces and deep ravines were formed by water erosion and the collapse of the valley due to movements in the earth’s crust over 500 million years ago. Today the canyon measures 160km long, up to 27km wide and almost 550m at its deepest.

Early morning, head to the main view point where you can see how impressive this canyon actually is.  This is an ideal opportunity for photos and to spend some time experiencing this amazing sight. Viewing from the top you can see the river sparkling in the sunlight far below, and imagine how many millennia it took for the forces of erosion to carve such a magnificent vista.

Your next destination is the coastal town of Lüderitz whose colonial-style buildings cling to the rocks overlooking the bay. On some days the water is a deep iridescent blue, on others grey and stormy. The weather here is often crisp and fresh and the fishing boats bobbing up and down on the Atlantic horizon, the penguins and seals diving beneath the waves, give the town a curious other-worldly allure.

You will arrive at your guest house during the late afternoon. Dinner is at your own expense tonight.

Day 4

Luderitz – Aus (125 km) (BD) (camping)

There is time to join an optional boat trip where you will take a cruise around Luderitz bay and, weather permitting, to Halifax Island to see the Jackass Penguins.  

There is also time to explore Luderitz town with its traditional German architecture. You may also take a drive to Diaz Point to see the bird life, hopefully a few seals and the stone cross replica, originally erected by the Portuguese mariner Bartholomew Diaz. You will then drive out to Kolmanskop, a desert ghost town about 20 km out of Luderitz. Built in the 1920’s during the diamond rush, the town was abandoned when bigger and better diamonds were found further along the coast.  The area is still abandoned and the desert has encroached over the entire town, giving an eerie feeling and real meaning to the word “ghost”.

You will sleep tonight at Klein Aus Vista, a private reserve beautifully located in the Aus Mountain Range. The road takes you through the “forbidden Zone” so named because in years gone by, the alluvial diamonds found in Namibia were simply scattered across the desert.

Day 5

Aus – Sesriem (340 km) (BLD) (camping)

Turning north, you once again head deep into the ancient southern Namib Desert, travelling on small gravel roads and passing some tiny rural communities along the way.  The scenery is harsh, and forbidding.  The process of erosion in these areas is well advanced and you will pass around time rounded granite “koppies”, arid terrain and outcrops of tortured rock.

Traversing this bleak yet beautiful landscape, the terrain begins to change and you will cross open grass savannah and farmlands before the terrain begins to give way to the immense red sand dune desert of the Namib.  You will arrive at camp during the late afternoon and watch the colours glow and change on distant mountains to the east.

Day 6

Sesriem – Sossusvlei – Sesriem (120 km) (BLD) (camping)

A pre dawn start is essential to catch the soft light of the sunrise on the desert. After passing through Sesriem, the gateway to the dunes, and driving into the heart of the dune field, you will reach Sossusvlei itself by walking the last 5 km through the dunes.

The walk is like nothing else, in the cool of the morning, with soft sunlight just beginning to play over the dunes creating a sharp light and shadow contrast across the whole desert.  Ancient mineral pans, stunted camel thorn trees and the chance of seeing a gemsbok or maybe an ostrich make the photo opportunities perfect.

Spend the morning in and around Sossusvlei, also visiting Dune 45 which you are able to climb if you wish! As the day wears on you will return to Sesriem for lunch to escape the heat of the afternoon. In late afternoon you will take a short excursion to the Sesriem Canyon.

Day 7

Sesriem – Windhoek (350 km) (BL)

After breakfast you will begin drive over the mountains and along scenic roads, back to Windhoek.  Travel over the Naukluft Mountains and also the Khomas Hochland Range, through beautiful mountain passes on your way back to civilization.

You are due back into the city in the late afternoon / early evening and will be dropped off at your accommodation.

Pricing and Dates

Departure dates 2017:

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec
  6 3 3 14 12 9 7 4 1 6 3 1
  20 17 17 28 26 23 14 11 8 13 17 15
      31       21 18 15 20   29
              28 25 22 27    
                  29      

2017 Pricing:

7 days camping (no single supplement available): $940

  • Up to 31st March 2017: $940
  • 1st April 2017 - 31st March 2018: $1,070

This tour is "Limited Participation Camping" where you may only be required to assist with putting up your tent. You will not be expected to help with cooking or other camp duties. Once the tent is up, sit back and relax! 

7 days accommodated supplement: $850
Single supplement: $140

Prices include:

  • Meals as indicated plus tea and coffee in camp
  • Accommodation (either camping or accommodated) including all camping equipment
  • All transfers and fuel
  • Professional guide and camp assistant
  • All transport
  • Park entrance fees and camping
  • Pick up and drop off from accommodation in Windhoek

What's excluded:

  • Transfers or flights to Windhoek
  • Visa fees
  • Personal medical and travel insurance, which must cover the entire duration of your tour and should include cover for repatriation, air evacuation and any activities you may undertake or plan to undertake
  • Any pre or post tour accommodation in Windhoek
  • Airport transfers
  • Sleeping bag (can be hired if required) and pillow
  • Souvenirs, snacks and fizzy / alcoholic drinks (bottled mineral water is not provided, but safe, clean drinking water is included)
  • Optional excursions, meals or activities
  • Telephone calls and wifi

Destination

Namibia is one of the most visually diverse countries in Africa; from never-ending red sand dunes to deep mysterious canyons, spectacular sunsets and dry desert landscapes, the country has something to intrigue and excite every visitor. View immense herds of elephant and buffalo in Etosha National Park, sand-board down the dunes in Swakopmund or visit ancient rock paintings - there’s plenty to entertain you!

For more information about Namibia (history, currency etc), please click here.

Sossusvlei Dunes are home to the highest sand dunes in the world and Namibia’s most outstanding scenic attraction. Part of the Namib Desert, these dunes have developed over millions of years, the wind continuously shifting the sand further and further inland, reshaping patterns in distinctive warm tints. Climbing to the top of one of these dunes provides breathtaking views of the whole area, including Deadvlei, a large ghostly expanse of dried white clay punctuated by skeletons of ancient camelthorn trees, carbon dated between 500-600 years old. 

Etosha National Park is Namibia’s first conservation area, designated in 1907. Undoubtedly one of the greatest wildlife spectacles on earth and one of Africa’s best game reserves, Etosha is home to huge herds of elephant, black-maned lions, cheetah and the world’s largest population of the rare black rhino.  Etosha owes its unique landscape to the Etosha Pan, a vast shallow depression of approximately 1,930 square miles which forms the heart of the park. This white, chalky expanse colours the park, and with the waterholes, creates the characteristic atmosphere of the Etosha of today.

For the greater part of the year (the dry season) Etosha’s animals and birds are dependent on about 30 springs and waterholes. These provide incredible game viewing and photographic opportunities. For tours including Etosha, please click here.

To the west of Khorixas in North-West Namibia is Twyfelfontein, a massive open-air art gallery with paintings carved into red rock by ancient Bushmen overlooking an expansive valley below. The engravings, some estimated to be 6,000 years old, record the wildlife seen in area - giraffe, rhino, elephants, ostrich and even a lion. The area has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2008. For tours including Twyfelfontein, please click here.

The Fish River Canyon is Africa’s deepest gorge and second largest in the world - with a 500m vertical drop. The canyon is a spectacular natural phenomenon; a harsh dusty plain dotted with distinctive Quiver trees. 

Swakopmund is Namibia’s playground - a holiday haven away from the dusty heat of the interior. While there is plenty to do within the city, the real action takes place in the desert surrounding the town. Quad-biking, sand-boarding, sand-skiing, parasailing and other adrenaline actives are available from any of the adventure operators in the area. Visit Walvis Bay and join a dolphin cruise or explore the lagoon on a kayak. For tours including Swakopmund please click here.

What will the weather be like?

During the Namibian summer (November - January) temperatures average 30°c and often go to over 40°c. You should bring light cotton clothing, a wide-brimmed hat or cap, polarised sunglasses, a 2 litre water bottle, plenty of high factor sunscreen (and after-sun!), strong mosquito spray and closed shoes. A light waterproof jacket is also essential for sudden downpours! Average lows are around 17-20°c. Summer is an amazing time of year where you can watch thunderstorms approach from miles away and witness incredible electric storms and light shows!

During winter (April - August) daytime temperatures average 25-27°c with no rainfall at all. Temperatures during the night and in the mornings and evenings regularly go below 0°c and we advise you to bring lots of layers including fleeces and a warm hat for nighttime camping, with a wide-brimmed hat or cap and loose light clothing for daytime.

Temperatures on the coast are much cooler than inland, so we recommend that for tours including Swakopmund and Ludertiz, you bring at least one fleece and a warm pair of trousers.

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