I first visited Namibia in the early 1980s when I was working aboard a ship that called at Walvis Bay. The dramatic coastline, the bordering sand dunes, and an enormous, seabird-packed lagoon immediately signaled Namibia's potential as an adventure-travel destination.
My interest only grew during the intervening years as I explored the country further. Namibia, I became convinced, is one of southern Africa's best-kept secrets. Since 2000 we've included Namibia as an extension to South Africa My Way, but a nation of Namibia's size and natural and cultural variety called for a more-extensive program. Thus, in 2005 I'll be leading Zegrahm's first Namibia My Way departure.
Namibia covers an area roughly as large as that of the U.S. West Coast, but is one of Africa's most sparsely populated countries. The result is an overwhelming sense of vastness, of epic vistas and surrounds largely unmarked by civilization. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Namib Desert. There, dunes of slowly shifting red sands extend to the horizon, embraced by the sky's canopy and bounded by distant mountains. For sheer grandeur, it's a setting matched by only a handful of regions. We'll witness the beauty of sunrise and sunset in the desert, and we can sleep outdoors, beneath the stars.
If you think that Namibia is only a great desert, this itinerary will surprise you. Mountains, rivers, seacoast, bushveld, and plains also compose the country. To experience all of these, and to cover necessary distances, we've exclusively chartered an airplane for our expedition. This also allows us access to remote areas and avoids the headaches of using scheduled flights.
If you're going to southern Africa, then spotting wildlife is one of your goals. Namibia has the world's largest population of my favorite animal, the cheetah. At the Palmwag Rhino Camp, we'll go in search of endangered desert-adapted black rhinos, and at Serra Cafema we'll seek out Nile crocodiles and rare endemic birds. During our days at Ongava, a private lodge on the southern side of Etosha National Park, game drives will bring us into proximity to the large herds of plains animals and lions and other predators. At night, spotlighting excursions will reveal the region's nocturnal denizens.
Although Namibia has a small population, human habitation dates back thousands of years. Today the country is home to more than ten ethnic groups, including the Himba, a nomadic, cattle-herding people who exist on the edges of the habitable world.
We'll celebrate expedition's end in neighboring Zambia, site of Victoria Falls, and our post-voyage extension focuses on the Zambezi River's remarkable collection of wildlife.
As with South Africa My Way, I've personally scouted and crafted this expedition. Namibia My Way will present unparalleled insights into the landscapes, wildlife, and peoples of a little-traveled, magical corner of Africa.