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 USAJuly 24 — July 25
Board your independent flight to Namibia.
Windhoek, NamibiaJuly 26
Arrive in Windhoek, Namibia’s capital. Transfer to the Hotel Heinitzburg for a welcome reception, dinner, and overnight.
Windhoek / OkonjimaJuly 27
This morning, drive north toward the sandstone mountains of the Omboroko range to reach Okonjima—famous for its healthy populations of lions, leopards, and cheetahs. Dinner and overnight at Okonjima Bush Camp.
Search the reserve by vehicle and on foot with a good chance of spotting these elusive cats, and visit the AfriCat Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of Namibia’s large carnivores. The Omboroko Mountains also support many Namibian avian endemics, notably Hartlaub’s francolin and the shy, but vocal rockrunner, also known as the Damara rockjumper. In the evening, specially designed blinds may yield sightings of lesser known African mammals such as the caracal, honey badger, and South African porcupine.
Okonjima / Onguma PlainsJuly 29
After brunch, drive across undulating grasslands to Onguma Plains Camp, located at the eastern border of Etosha National Park and your base of exploration for two nights. Tonight enjoy an evening game drive to search for abundant wildlife. Return to camp in time to enjoy breathtaking views of the sun setting over the African savanna.
Onguma PlainsJuly 30
Today’s game-viewing centers on numerous springs and waterholes where several different species can often be seen at one time. This area boasts over 100 mammal and almost 350 bird species. Some of our target creatures will include African elephants, southern giraffes, blue wildebeest, the diminutive Damara dik-dik (Southern Africa’s smallest antelope), greater kudu, gemsbok (or southern oryx), endemic black-faced impalas, plains zebra, and common warthogs.
Onguma Plains / OngavaJuly 31
Traverse the full breadth of Etosha National Park today, stopping at waterholes en route to observe the game gathered there. Arrive at Ongava Lodge, situated on the slopes of a rocky outcrop within the private 125-square-mile Ongava Game Reserve, which shares a common border with Etosha. An evening game drive offers the opportunity to spot gemsbok, springbok, both black and white rhinos, greater kudu, and red hartebeest. Birdlife is prolific and includes 10 of Namibia’s 14 endemic bird species with regular sightings of bare-cheeked babblers, violet wood-hoopoe, Carp’s tits, and the brilliantly-colored, crimson-breasted shrike, Namibia’s national bird.
Ongava / DamaralandAugust 1
After breakfast bid farewell to the savanna plains of Ongava and drive through increasingly rugged landscapes, with stops for photography and wildlife spotting along the way. Damaraland is one of the country’s most scenic areas; a huge, untamed, wilderness of prehistoric water courses with open plains and grassland, massive granite outcroppings, and deep gorges. Accommodations for the next three nights are at Mowani Mountain Camp, nestled among huge granite boulders and overlooking the ephemeral Aba Huab riverbed.
DamaralandAugust 2 — August 3
Spend two full days exploring Damaraland. A number of fresh water springs along Huab River support healthy populations of desert-adapted elephants and a number of lesser-known yet equally fascinating mammals including the rare Hartmann’s mountain zebra, Kaokoland rock hyrax, peculiar dassie rat, and the adorable rock dormouse. Rosy-faced lovebirds, swallow-tailed bee-eaters, and violet-eared waxbills provide a splash of additional color to the environment. This region is home to the Himba tribe, one of the last nomadic people in all of Africa. Visit with the Himba for an opportunity to learn more about their unique lifestyle and traditions. You also have the chance to view Twyfelfontein’s boulders and slabs of red sandstone, itself a living museum boasting some 2,500 prehistoric engravings that depict wildlife and abstract motifs, a legacy of the area’s original San (or bushman) inhabitants.
Damaraland / Walvis Bay / NamibRand Nature ReserveAugust 4
Take an early morning flight to Walvis Bay, then transfer to the Walvis Bay Yacht Club. Here, board a catamaran for a cruise to Pelican Point to observe cormorants, pelicans, and gannets, as well as huge numbers of Cape fur seals. Enjoy a snack of local delicacies on board. In the afternoon, board our flight to Woldwedans, located in the heart of the NamibRand Nature Reserve. Check in to the Wolwedans Dune Lodge in time for dinner. This evening, enjoy a ‘sundowner’ drive for fantastic views looking out over the Chateau Plains.
NamibRand Nature Reserve / SossusvleiAugust 5
Today experience a variety of game drives amidst the dramatic scenery of the NamibRand Nature Reserve. Depart at dawn to view the sun rise over the dunes; their contrasting shadows, saturated colors, and elegant wind-sculpted patterns are a photographer’s dream. The strange croaking calls of Rueppell’s bustards herald the new day and, with luck, you may even be treated to the classic spectacle of an oryx making its stately progress across the sands. Also keep watch for other desert denizens—springbok, black-backed jackals, and bat-eared foxes. After lunch board our flight to Sossusvlei and check in to the lovely Sossusvlei Desert Lodge. After dinner, be sure to spend some time star-gazing—night skies here are among the most dazzling in the world.
Characterized by the large red dunes that surround it, Sossusvlei is a large, white, salt and clay pan with some of the highest dunes in the world, some reaching over 1,000 feet. Photographers will especially appreciate the beautiful morning and evening light playing off the ochre-colored dunes. Spend a full day searching for over 100 bird species and other desert-adapted wildlife such as gemsbok, zebra, springbok, bat-eared fox, aardwolf, caracal and jackal. In the evening, bask in the incredible beauty of vividly-hued dune fields, rocky outcrops, and jagged mountains.
Sossusvlei / Windhoek / USAAugust 7 — August 8
After breakfast board our flight to Windhoek to connect with your independent homeward flight. Arrive in the USA the next day.