Amazing Namibia by Private Plane
Below please find the day-by-day itinerary for this expedition. Unless otherwise noted, daily excursion options are included in the cost of the trip. We do our best to adhere to the scheduled itinerary, but in the spirit of our expeditionary style of travel we may deviate slightly to take full advantage of encounters with the destination and its people, culture, and wildlife.
Depart USASeptember 22
Board your independent flight to Namibia.
Windhoek, NamibiaSeptember 23
Arrive in Windhoek on Monday and check in to your deluxe room at the Hilton Windhoek Hotel, which blends European style and culinary art with traditional African warmth and hospitality. Located in a basin between the Khomas Highland, Auas, and Eros Mountains, Windhoek lies in the exact center of Namibia. This is the perfect location for governing a country so large, and the perfect jumping-off point for exploring its wonders. Windhoek is home to a mixture of Namibia’s native tribes, and you see many in traditional costume, while others are in stylish contemporary clothing. This evening, enjoy a cocktail and dinner party where you will meet your fellow travelers and learn more about the wonderful journey ahead.
Windhoek / Sossusvlei (NamibRand Nature Reserve)September 24
This morning, transfer to the airport for our private flight to Sossusvlei, where, on arrival, we’ll check into the fabulous Little Kulala, our home base for three nights. Each of the thatched “kulalas” feature a private plunge pool and a rooftop Star Bed for star gazing. The NamibRand Nature Reserve is a vast 445,000-acre conservation area in the pristine Namib Desert, the oldest desert in the world. After lunch, board an all-terrain vehicle for a private guided nature drive to explore the scenic natural beauty of this massive reserve, and view some of Africa’s most breathtaking scenery. There are steep, rocky mountain ranges, enormous savannahs, vegetated dunes of deep red sand, and clay pans. A vast array of animals, insects, and plants have adapted to this generally inhospitable region. Many antelope, including the predominant oryx gazelle, and springbok inhabit the park, as do more than 100 bird species, among them Namibia’s only true endemic species, the dune lark. There are spectacular photo opportunities that present themselves at every turn. This evening, relax and enjoy this pristine desert environment and clear views of the star-studded Southern sky.
Sossusvlei / Fish River CanyonSeptember 25 — September 26
Choose from a range of lodge activities including nature drives of various lengths, dune walks, and exciting desert expeditions on a quad bike—each led by an expert local guide. Enjoy the breathtaking scenery of shifting sands, towering dunes, and dramatic stony outcrops. Discover the fascinating variety of flora and fauna, and admire the colors of the landscape, which change continuously as the day progresses. You can also take time to relax by the swimming pool, or take in the expansive views from the lodge’s terraces. In the evening, enjoy a presentation on the stars and constellations by the camp’s resident astronomer.
On September 26, embark on a full-day excursion by private plane from Sossusvlei to Fish River Canyon. In the far south of Namibia, the Fish River rises in the center of the country before flowing south into the Orange River on Namibia’s border with South Africa. In between, it has formed the great Fish River Canyon, the largest canyon in the southern hemisphere, and probably only second to Arizona’s Grand Canyon in terms of size. Approaching the Fish River Canyon from the north is like flying across Mars, the vast rocky landscape breaks up into a series of spectacular cliffs, formed by the Fish River as it meanders between boulders over half a mile below. Enjoy a thrilling canyon excursion and lunch before returning by flight to Sossusvlei for dinner and an evening at leisure.
Sossusvlei / Skeleton Coast / SwakopmundSeptember 27
This morning, enjoy a flightseeing tour along the fabled Skeleton Coast. Often shrouded by fog and named for its tricky currents and treacherous rocks, the Skeleton Coast offers views of desolate beaches decorated with multi-colored pebbles, immense, bleached whale bones, and the bare ribs of shipwrecks as you glide above the coastline. Further inland you’ll see the remains of the old diamond mines, hollowed-out dry river beds, and beautiful rainbow-colored saltpans. Land in the quaint, coastal town of Swakopmund, packed with old world charm and numerous German-influences. Savor lunch at the festive German Brauhaus restaurant, then continue to the stunning Strand Hotel. This extraordinary hotel is surrounded on three sides by the Southern Atlantic Ocean, offering sweeping views from every turn. In the afternoon take a brief walking tour, with visits to the Swakopmund Museum, the Aquarium, and the Mole, the city’s iconic sea wall and private boat mooring. Enjoy a relaxing a la carte dinner in the hotel this evening.
After breakfast, take a lovely 20-mile drive to Walvis Bay for a cruise aboard a catamaran. Discover one of Walvis Bay’s hidden gems—oyster beds, then sail to Pelican Point, a sandy spit that edges the bay, frequented by pelicans. With luck, you’ll see the Cape fur seals that come to rest en masse on the beach. Keep an eye out for resident dolphins—heaviside, Atlantic bottlenose, and dusky may swim around our boat.
In the afternoon, explore this amazing landscape in a 4x4 Living Desert excursion. The coastal dune belt may seem barren and lifeless, but in fact it is alive with a fascinating variety of little desert adapted animals, which are able to survive on the life-giving fog which consistently rolls in from the cold Atlantic Ocean. This evening, share Sundowners and an open-air desert dinner party in the awesome setting of The Moon Valley.
Swakopmund / Twyfelfontein / Skeleton Coast National ParkSeptember 29
A morning flight takes you to the isolated community of Twyfelfontein. This UNESCO World Heritage Site contains around 2,000 rock carvings and is one of the largest, and most important concentrations of rock art in Africa. After a delightful lunch at Twyfelfontein Country Club, continue by air to Skeleton Coast National Park. Check in to the Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp, scenically located in a broad valley at the confluence of two tributaries of the dry Hoanib River.
Skeleton Coast National ParkSeptember 30
Today, choose from a variety of activities, including a morning desert walk; visit to a local Himba village; tracking desert-adapted elephants, morning or afternoon game drives; and an excursion to desert oases. You may also have the opportunity to view the large seal colonies that line the dramatic shores of the Skeleton Coast.
Skeleton Coast National Park / Namib DesertOctober 1
Today, fly to the northernmost edge of Namibia. Check in to Serra Cafema Camp, one of the most remote camps in all of Southern Africa. Inspired by the pioneering spirit of the area and the remote explorer aesthetic, Serra Cafema is an unexpected oasis of luxury and sumptuous spaciousness perched on the Kunene River which forms Namibia’s northernmost border. The Kunene River is the only permanent source of water in the whole region and the river creates a lush oasis along its banks, surrounded by rugged mountains and sand dunes. Informative nature drives in open Land Rovers allow you to experience the true Namib in its unbridled glory, while walking safaris provide unique opportunities to see the smaller denizens of the desert, from mysterious fairy circles to desert chameleons.
Boating on the Kunene River provides the opportunity to venture through the lush riverside oases. In this isolated area, the Himba people continue their traditional semi-nomadic way of life and, if they are in the area, you have an opportunity to learn about their lifestyle and customs.
Namib DesertOctober 2
Today, you are free to experience this exceptional place at your leisure. Activities are abundant, including a visit to a remote Himba community, a quad-biking excursion, boating trips on the Kunene River, and nature drives and walks in the beautiful Hartmann Valley.
Namib Desert / Onguma Private Game Reserve / Etosha National ParkOctober 3
A morning fight takes you the Onguma Game Reserve and your luxurious tented accommodations at Andersson's Camp. A visit to nearby Etosha National Park is sure to be a highlight of your journey. About two million years ago, Etosha was an enormous lake, fed by the Kunene River. The lake slowly dried up when the river changed its course, leaving a vast pan scattered with numerous waterholes throughout the southern area of the park. Almost all African game species are represented in Etosha, including the Big Five: elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion, and leopard. Based on an animal count done by aircraft in 2010, there are about 250 lions in the park, 300 rhinos, 3,000 giraffes, 12,000 zebras, 4,000 wildebeests, 5,500 oryx antelopes, and more than 2,500 elephants. The dainty springbok are especially numerous—at least 20,000 of them roam the reserve. Often they can be seen in enormous herds of several hundred animals.
Enjoy an afternoon guided game drive within Onguma Game Reserve and an evening night drive on the reserve. This evening, you’ll experience some of the best sunset views in the whole of Namibia—overlooking the beautiful scarceness of the Etosha Pans, dotted with wild animals and hundreds of camel thorn trees.
Onguma Private Game Reserve / Etosha National ParkOctober 4 — October 5
You may choose many activities during your stay here, including guided game drives in Onguma Game Reserve and in Etosha National Park, visiting a selection of active waterholes, a guided drive in search of rhinos, a guided nature walk at sunrise, or time at leisure and evening Sundowner game drives.
Onguma Private Game Reserve / WindhoekOctober 6
Say farewell to beautiful Onguma early this morning for a short flight to the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF). Since its founding in 1990, CCF has had great success working with farmers who have cheetahs living on their land. This has led to over half of the more than 900 cheetahs CCF has worked with being released back into the wild. Some of CCF’s orphaned cheetahs can be viewed at feeding time or close up on a safari drive.
Fly to Windhoek for check-in and lunch at the Hilton Windhoek Hotel. Then take a brief city tour with a resident expert to learn about Windhoek’s historic buildings, including the Alte Feste Fort, once the bastion of German colonialism, now housing the National Museum, which focuses on the freedom struggle and Namibian independence. This evening we’ll celebrate our journey at a farewell cocktail and dinner party at our hotel.
Windhoek / USAOctober 7 — October 8
Board your independent homeward flight, arriving in the USA the next day.