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16-day Best of Namibia Safari with Southern Extension (Private Guided)

So, how do you define the best bits? Too subjective? Or, perhaps there's no argument when it comes to a land so vast and magnificent as Namibia? It's got red desert, a ghostly coastline and a great swathe of wildlife. It’s also a country which has enjoyed stability since gaining independence in 1990.

Price from USD 6,252 pps
Duration 16 days
Tour Type Private Guided
Highlights Damaraland, Etosha National Park, Fish River Canyon, Kalahari, Luderitz, Sossusvlei, Swakopmund, Waterberg
Includes

Accommodation; Meals (SQ); Vehicle and all vehicle costs including fuel; Professional guide and all guide costs; Park entry fees; Meet and Greet; Airport Transfers; 24-hour support; Comprehensive tour file with detailed itinerary, map, route descriptions, booking vouchers, contact numbers and useful information

Excludes

International flights; Personal travel insurance; Entry visas; Staff gratuities

This trip takes you from the Kalahari to the Namib Desert. Down the Skeleton Coast, up through Damaraland to Etosha and finally, a visit to a wildlife rehabilitation centre. You’ll also visit Fish River Canyon, Kolmanskop Ghost Town, Sossusvlei and Dead Pan. 16 days, 15 nights. This tour is guided so sit back, relax, enjoy.

Itinerary Details

Windhoek. The capital. A small city but it’s relative when the whole of Namibia only houses 2.5 million people. Compare that with the 325 million in America let alone the almost 1.5 billion in China. It’s in the central highlands and is a good place to start.

On the way:
You’ll be met by your guide who will give you your travel documents and welcome pack.
Don’t just chuck it, it’s a useful lump of stuff which we’re chuffed about.

When you're there:
You’ll be taken to your luxury B&B and the rest of the day is your own. If you fancy a wander, check out Namibia’s oldest cathedral, Christ Church. Next door is the National Museum of Namibia where you can orientate yourself by viewing the city from the observation deck. Go shopping or go for a beer. Or do both. If time permits, you could ask your guide to give you a tour. Of Windhoek, not the bar.

Recommended Accommodation in Windhoek
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Windhoek slideshow image 5d5e641e4b0f8

The Kalahari. The great thirst land. A sandy wilderness. Vast. Red. Too much iron oxide. Basically, it’s rust. Windhoek to the Kalahari will take 3-4 hours. 245km.

On the way:
After breakfast, you’ll still have time to nip into Windhoek and do a spot of shopping before your guide shouts, “ready?” Go. Head south.

When you're there:
Poor Kalahari, all that sand and it’s still not considered a true desert. Too much rain. Beautiful dunes though and funky little grass clumps. It covers eastern and southern Namibia. Look out for the black maned Kalahari lion. Huge and striking. The darker the mane, the more attractive to the lioness. If you’re a brunette put your hat back on. You’ll have dinner and bed & breakfast here. Not with the lioness. You can take a game or nature drive or try the Bushman experience to learn about the first settlers.

Recommended Accommodation in Kalahari
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Ooh, that’s a huge ravine. Your first thoughts when you first spy Fish River Canyon. You’ll drive for ages along gravel roads but it’s worth it. Photos rarely reveal the reality of this massive hole in the ground. The largest canyon in the Southern Hemisphere.

On the way:
Today it’s road trip time. Get your snacks in a nice pile next to you. See ya later Kalahari. Get ready for Fish River Canyon in about 7-8 hours time. Approx 440km. Your guide will head south via Mariental and Keetmanshoop to the Karas region. Ooh, stop Quiver Tree Forest! Yup. It’s double detour time. Detour one. The great aloe trees of the Kalahari. Technically, they’re plants. What?! Who decides these things? They’re normally pretty solitary so it’s very unusual to see this forest of them. Detour two. 5km down the road is Giant’s Playground. Another geological phenomenon. Namibia sure is packed with them. And now it’s time to get back into the car and find the fishy one.

When you're there:
As the second most visited tourist attraction in Namibia, there are lots of excellent viewpoints at Fish River Canyon. It’s big though, so you won’t feel crowded as you appreciate the long, thin, meandering river. Look out for the Nama padloper tortoise, endemic to Namibia, they like to hide in the rocks and crevices around the canyon. Let your guide take you to a viewpoint to watch the sunset. What an end to the day. Have dinner, go to bed.

Recommended Accommodation in Fish River Canyon
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Wakey, wakey, morning time. Have breakfast and listen up. You’re off to the wild and windy shore of diamond town, Luderitz. Surrounded by the Namib Desert there’s only one road in...

On the way:
Final look at the canyon and then you’ll head west towards the coast. Fish River Canyon to Luderitz will take about 5-6 hours. 385km. You’ll drive through Aus on the way - look out for wild desert horses. They’re thought to be the only feral herd in Africa. How they got here remains a mystery. World War One mutineers seems the most likely explanation.

When you're there:
Diamonds were discovered in Lüderitz in 1909. The excitement caused a diamond rush and a surge in the town’s prosperity. This led to the building of the adjacent mining settlement, Kolmanskop. One full day is set aside for Luderitz and Kolmanskop. Your guide can show you the town. Visit the museum and choose a restaurant for lunch and dinner. Kolmanskop is approx 10km away. An elegant place which grew as greed flourished but then, richer diamond deposits were found elsewhere. Disaster. Kolmanskop was dumped. By everyone. Poor love. Everyone jumped ship. She looks a right wreck. Like those lying at the bottom of the ocean. An abandoned ghost town which the desert is reclaiming.

Recommended Accommodation in Luderitz
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And talking of desert... Wanna see the biggest sand dune in the world? Step right up to day 6 and Dune 7. Oh, that is in Namibia but not in Sossusvlei. Ok, the biggest dune in Sossusvlei then? Hello Big Daddy. A monster of a sandcastle sitting stoically in the Namib Desert. The primary source of water here is fog. “Blast” said the mammals and reptiles, “now we’ll have to desert adapt.” And desert adapt they do. Doo be doo.

On the way:
Have your breakfast. We’re not sadists. Your guide will head north, with you too if you eat up. Back track through Aus. You’ll go via Helmeringhausen, a dusty hamlet, and end up in Sossusvlei. It will take approx 7-8 hours. 505km of driving. Arrive. Have dinner. Sleep.

When you're there:
Welcome to your day at Sossusvlei - say that out loud, it rhymes. Sort of. The sand here is millions of years old. Access to the area is from the Sesriem Gate, close to the eponymous canyon. It was heaved out of the rock a long, long time ago. Ravished by the Tsauchab River. The Sossusvlei dunes are about an hour from the entrance. You’ll be in awe. Sossusvlei, the Dead Vlei, Dune 45, Big Daddy and Elim Dune. You can go back to the lodge for lunch or arrange a lunch pack to take with you on the dunes. If you do the latter, you might want to head home in the late afternoon for a rest. Then, dinner. Optional extras you may enjoy include a guided Sossusvlei trip, a nature drive or a hot air balloon safari.

Recommended Accommodation in Sossusvlei
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Put your sandals away and brush your brogues down, you're going up town. To Swakopmund. Founded in 1892 as the main harbour for the Imperial German colony, but, of course, Swakopmund was home to the Nama people many years before that. During World War the harbour was allowed to silt up as maritime operations moved to Walvis Bay. Turned out it did Swakopmund a favour as it swiftly became a handsome holiday resort. Walvis Bay was left looking sterner and more industrial. The drive from Sossusvlei to Swakopmund will take approx 5-6 hours. 350km.

On the way:
Don’t worry if you don’t feel hungry at breakfast, you’ll be heading north via Solitaire where you can buy something rather excellent from the bakery. It’s also the only petrol station between Sossusvlei and Swakopmund so if you’re running low, top up. You’ll cross the Tropic of Capricorn - there’s nothing but a sign which says, ‘Tropic of Capricorn.’ Get out for a photo if you like that sort of business. You are at a significant point on planet Earth. Welcome. Next, you’ll drive through the Gaub and Kuiseb Canyons and then the Namib Gravel Plains will take you to the coast. You can go to Swakopmund via Walvis Bay but it’s rather wonderful to detour via Ganab and visit the truly weird Welwitschia Plains. Welwitschia plants are unique and bizarre. They look an almighty mess but actually only have 2 leaves. In fact, they only EVER have 2 leaves and some are thought to be 2000 years old. They’re so old they’re classified as living fossils. Which is a bit rude really. Next, drive on to the Moon Landscape - a landscape that looks like the moon... who’d have thought? Then head to the sea.

When you're there:
Watch the Atlantic waves crash on to the Swakopmund beaches. You have one full day here - and there is a lot to do between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay. You could go on a dolphin cruise, go dune quad biking or even sand boarding. Sea kayaking too if you fancy it. The Sandwich Harbour excursion is a treat. Giant sand dunes run straight into the ocean and boy do they create a picture. You might get lucky and see flamingos at Walvis Bay Lagoon too. You’re in a B&B in Swakopmund so lunches and dinners are your own. Lots of cafes and restaurants to choose from.

Recommended Accommodation in Swakopmund
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One minute you’re freshening up, the next you’re off to the wilderness. Damaraland. A huge, untamed, beast of a beauty. It’s remote and there aren’t many humans. 445km, it will take about 7-8 hours.

On the way:
Oh, we do like our detours and here comes another one. You’re humming along the Skeleton Coast, when, all of a sudden you sense babies. Fur babies. It’s the Cape Cross Seal colony. There are thousands of them, they are cute but, boy, do they smell like hell. Hold your nose. Detour within a detour - stop at Lichen Fields and at the ship wreck between holiday town Wlotskasbaken and Henties Bay. Now, it’s a drive through the plains to Uis. Then it’s north to the Twyfelfontein area and rock art.

When you're there:
Head to the Huab River. It’s one of the coast’s most important corridors for desert adapted elephants. They’re impressive creatures. They are still fundamentally African bush elephants but this desert adapting malarkey has given them smaller bodies, longer legs and big feet. All the better for crossing miles of sand to reach water. Other animals to look out for include rhino, giraffe, oryx, springbok and ostrich. Go with a lodge guide because they really know their stuff. To understand the people who call this place home, take a trip to the Damara Living Museum. Damara people will walk you around traditional huts and show you other aspects of their life. At your lodge you’ll dinner and bed & breakfast.

Recommended Accommodation in Damaraland
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Etosha, undoubtedly one of the highlights of Namibia. Get in the car and get ready to get even closer to nature. It’s a 325km drive which will take approx 4-5 hours.

On the way:
After breakfast, head east towards Khorixas. Detour alert. This time it’s the Petrified Forest. Once upon a time, 280 million years ago, a forest of timber buddies were minding their own business when they had a sudden run in with Narnia’s witch. And she turned them to stone. Blast. In the real world, they call it diagenesis. These trees have been fossilised. When you’ve taken your photos head back to Khorixas and travel east to Outjo and north to your lodge. It’s really close to the southern entrance of Etosha, the Anderson Gate.

When you're there:
If there’s time go into Etosha for an afternoon drive and - depending on how many times you stop to ooh and aah - you should arrive at your lodge in time for lunch. It’s an optional extra but it’s there if you want it. Now. When you go inside the park your first stop will be Okaukuejo. Pay your entry fee here, top up your supplies of drinks and snacks and get one of their maps showing the various waterholes. Loads of mammals, loads of birds. Literally, hundreds and hundreds of species. It’s dinner and B&B here.

Recommended Accommodation in Etosha National Park
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Lion, leopard, cheetah, zebra, giraffe, rhinoceros. The list goes on. Today, you’ll drive from one side of the park to the other.

On the way:
Waterholes. Where the wild things are.

When you're there:
Up to you how you spend your time. You can either do it all in a day or do a separate morning and afternoon drive. You can opt for a packed lunch and drive with your guide or, as an optional extra, you could go in the lodge’s open safari vehicle with their guide. Dinner and B&B.

Recommended Accommodation in Etosha National Park
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If you didn’t see a cheetah in Etosha, you will today.

On the way:
Your guide will drive you 315km for 4-5 hours. Head south via Otavi and Otjiwarongo to Okonjima - the home of the Africat Foundation.

When you're there:
Founded in 1991, the Africat Foundation works to conserve Namibia’s large carnivores in their natural habitat. They focus on research projects such as Rehabilitating Captive Cheetahs, as well as educating young farmers and school children. Aim to arrive by 1400 by the latest to enjoy some rather marvellous tea, coffee and cakes. Then it’s time for an afternoon excursion. Dinner and B&B is included so don’t stuff too many cakes. You’ll have 2 activities included.

Recommended Accommodation in Waterberg
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Put sad songs on the car radio, you’re trip is nearly done. You’re Windhoek bound.

On the way:
It’s a 3-4 hour drive to Windhoek, 225km. Get up early, have a quick snack and then go for a morning activity to the Africat Foundation. You could also go for a drive in the animal enclosure which is more of a game reserve really. Then it’s back to the lodge for breakfast.

When you're there:
When you arrive in Windhoek you’ll be dropped off and transferred to the airport. Bear in mind it’s about an hour’s drive away and you do need to check in 2 hours before your flight.

Windhoek slideshow image 5d5e641e4b0f8

Prices

Guests Accommodation Season Amount
2 Standard Low Season USD 6,252 pps
2 Standard High Season USD 6,727 pps
2 Luxury Low Season USD 7,676 pps
2 Luxury High Season USD 8,351 pps
  • Low Season is from 1 January to 30 June and High Season is from 1 July to 31 December.
  • Our prices are based on two adults sharing accommodation unless otherwise stated.
  • Please treat all pricing as a guide only. Read more about our pricing.
  • Contact us for a free, personalised quote.

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“NTS was AMAZING! Special thanks to Wilmari for the best trip we have ever taken. 100% recommend!”

“This was a "bucket list" trip for us. It could not have been better. HIGHLY recommend you ask for Bianca.”

Ulrike helped us plan our safari for 2 years... patience of a saint and the insight and knowledge of a true local.”

“Ask for Chantelle, a true legend of patience, availability and efficiency. Will highly recommend.”

“I cannot say enough about this great company and Ashlee herself... best honeymoon we could have wished for!”

Bonique's recommendations were perfectly tailored to our needs with foresight and local knowledge... flawless.”

“The service and help we got from Tessa was fantastic, as a result we had a tremendous trip.”

Janine proposed us a great trip and it was nice to meet with her in Swakop. Definitely recommend!”

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Kirsti arranged the best family holiday we have ever had... highly recommended.”

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Leandrie was very patient listening to my needs and catering to my budget... Everything worked perfectly!”

Jessica was AMAZING and so helpful with all of our concerns and questions - we had the most amazing trip.”