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NCW > 12 DAY BEST OF NAMIBIA

Namibia vacation packages>tour packages Namibia>safari packages Namibia>holiday packages Namibia>Southern Africa camping tours

Day 1 South Africa – Cederberg Mountain Region
Leaving Cape Town, there’s one last photo stop at Table View for a spectacular panorama of Table Mountain. On the way to the Cederberg we visit !Kwa ttu where we enjoy a San guided tour & museum visit. After the 3hr tour lunch will be prepared and afterwards we continue to our campsite in the Cederberg region. We arrive at our accommodation and your guides will give you a full briefing on the tour.

Meals: Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Camp: Rondeberg Campsite (no website available)
Facilities: Drinkable water, hot showers, shared ablutions, bar
Included Activities: !Kwa ttu San Guided tour
Route: Cape Town to Clanwilliam ±230 km
Travel time: ±5 hrs

Cederberg Mountains
The Cederberg mountains and nature reserve are located near Clanwilliam, and named after the endangered Clanwilliam Cedars (Widdringtonia cedarbergensis), which are endemic to the area, growing at an altitude of 1 000 m to 1 500 m. Some species are believed to live up to 1000 years, but human activity has led to the destruction of most of the original forests. The mountains extend about 50 km north-south by 20 km east-west, the highest peak in the range is Sneeuberg (2 028 m). The area is defined by dramatic sandstone rock formations, often reddish in colour. Cederberg Wilderness Area was recently proclaimed one of eight World Heritage Sites within the Cape Floristic Region, South Africa. The area is also known for the San rock art, and the discovery of important fossils, particularly in recent years. The fossils are of primitive fish and date back 450 million years to the Ordovician Period.

Day 2 Namaqualand – Gariep (Orange) River
An early start, then we head north via the distant town of Springbok and then to the Namibia border. We camp on the river bank that forms the border between South Africa and Namibia.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Camp: Fiddlers Creek Campsite www.bushwhacked.co.za
Facilities: Water not drinkable, bar, hot showers, shared ablutions.
Route: Clanwilliam to Orange River ±570 km
Travel time: ±10 hrs

The Orange (Gariep) River
The Orange River was originally called the Nu Gariep (“great river”) by the indigenous Nama people. It was named the Orange River by Colonel Robert Gordon, commander of the Dutch East India Company garrison at Cape Town, on a trip to the interior. Gordon named the river in honour of William of Orange, although a popular belief is that it was named for its colour. Nowadays known by its original name Gariep River, it is the longest river in South Africa, covering 1 800 km. It rises in the Drakensberg mountains in Lesotho, where it is known as Senqu, flowing westwards through South Africa to the Atlantic Ocean at Alexander Bay. On its long journey, the Orange offers a variety of vistas: in places seamed by rugged mountain chains and in other parts by endless dune fields.
The river forms part of the international border between South Africa and Namibia and between South Africa and Lesotho, as well as several provincial borders within South Africa. Although the river does not pass through any major cities, it plays an important role in the South African economy by providing water for irrigation and hydroelectric power. The Orange River is also responsible for the diamond deposits along the Namibian coast. Over millions of years it transported diamonds from the volcanic pipes in Kimberley in South Africa to the sea. From there, the currents took them northward and the surf deposited them into the dune fields of the Namib.

Day 3 Namibia – Gariep (Orange) River - Fish River Canyon
This morning there’s the chance to see the beautiful river valley by canoe, or just relax in the sun. After lunch we cross the border and travel to the Fish River Canyon. After a walk along the edge of the canyon we watch the sunset and enjoy a fantastic photo opportunity. Optional Activities: Half Day Canoe Adventure.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Camp: Hobas Campsite www.nwr.com.na/hobas.html
Facilities: Drinkable water, small kiosk, hot showers (sometimes), small swimming pool.
Included Activities: Hike along the rim of the Fish River Canyon
Route: Orange River to Fish River Canyon. ±210 km
Travel time: ±4-5 hrs and a border crossing

Border posts: South Africa: Vioolsdrift, Tel: +27 (27) 761 8760, Open 24 hours.
Namibia: Noordoewer, Tel: +264 (0) 63 297 122, Open 24 hours.

Fish River Canyon
The Fish River Canyon is the second largest canyon in the world and the largest in Africa, as well as the second most visited tourist attraction in Namibia. It features a gigantic ravine, in total about 160 km long, up to 27 km wide and in places almost 550 m deep. The Fish River is the longest interior river in Namibia, but its flow is now a puny trickle compared with the immense volume of water that poured down its length in ages past. It cuts deep into the plateau which is today dry, stony and sparsely covered with hardy drought-resistant plants such as succulents. The river flows intermittently, usually flooding in late summer; and when it ceases to flow it becomes a chain of narrow pools on the sandy rock-strewn floor of the chasm.
The Fish River Canyon area has a typical semi-desert climate. During the hot summer months (October - March) temperatures can rise to 48°C during the day and cool to 30°C at night. Relief from the heat comes in short spells with occasional thunderstorms. The average annual rainfall in the canyon area is 100mm. During the short winters, temperatures can go below zero at night, but quickly pick up during the day to a moderate 20 to 28°C.

Day 4 Namib-Naukluft National Park
We arrive at the Namib-Naukluft National Park and set up camp, then enjoy a short hike into the Sesriem Canyon. Tonight enjoy the star studded sky and enduring silence of the Namib Desert

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Camp: Sesriem campsite http://www.nwr.com.na/sesriem_campsite.html
Facilities: Drinkable water, bar, swimming pool, hot showers, shared ablutions, shop.
Included activities: Hike into Sesriem Canyon
Route: Fish River Canyon to Namib-Naukluft Park ±560 km
Travel time: ±10 hr

The Namib Desert
The Namib desert is one of the oldest and largest in the world, occupying an area of around 90 000 km², stretching 1 000 km along the Atlantic Ocean coast of Namibia. Having endured arid or semi-arid conditions for at least 55 million years, it is considered to be the second oldest desert in the world, after the Atacama Desert in Chile. It has less than 10 mm of rain annually and is almost completely barren, characterised by dramatic red dunes with sharp ridges, some of which tower 3 000m in the air, the highest in the world. A section of the central Namib Desert incorporates The Namib-Naukluft Park, one of the largest national parks in Africa, as well as the Naukluft Mountains. Despite the harsh conditions, a variety of plant and animal life can be found in the desert. There are some unusual species of plants and animals that are found only in this desert.
The Sesriem Canyon, one of the highlights of the Namib desert and the entrance point to the western section of the Namib Naukluft Park, was formed by the Tsauchab River, which carved the canyon out of sedimentary rock over the past two million years. During the rare rainfalls in the Naukluft Mountains, the river becomes rapid-running and strong and has over the years created the canyon, now 1 km long and up to 300 m wide. The water held in parts of the canyon provides water for a variety of wildlife that has adapted to life in this arid landscape.
The name Sesriem is Afrikaans and means "six belts", since the early travellers and settlers had to attach six belts together in order to reach buckets down into the canyon to scoop up water.

Day 5 Sossusvlei Dunes - Namib-Naukluft National Park
We wake up early to hike up Dune 45 to marvel at the sunrise. Later, we join a local expert for guided walk to learn about the unique desert ecosystem.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Camp: Solitaire Campsite (no website available)
Facilities: Drinkable water, hot showers, shared ablutions.
Included Activities: Sunrise hike up Dune 45, ±3 hrs desert walk on a private farm
Route: Sesriem to Solitaire. ±100 km (excludes drive to and from desert walk)
Travel time: ±3 hrs (round trip into Sesriem plus drive to Solitaire)

Namib-Naukluft National Park
Namib-Naukluft National Park is an ecological preserve in the Namib Desert. It is the largest game park in Africa, covering about 50 000 square km, and a surprising collection of creatures survives in the hyper-arid region, including snakes, geckos, unusual insects, hyenas, gemsbok and jackals. Most of the life here is sustained by sea mists from the Atlantic and sporadic rainfall. The winds that bring in the fog are also responsible for creating the park’s towering sand dunes, whose burnt orange color is a sign of their age. The color develops over time as iron in the sand is oxidized, like rusty metal; the older the dune, the brighter the color. These dunes are the tallest in the world; the most famous of which is Dune 45, which reaches more than 170 m. The dunes were numbered to make the area easier to navigate, and coincidentally Dune 45 is 45 km from Sesriem Canyon.

‘Namib’ means open space in the local Nama language, and the Namib Desert gave its name to form Namibia – “land of open spaces”. The park was established in 1907 by the German Colonial Administration. The park's present boundaries were established in 1978 by the merging of the Namib Desert Park, the Naukluft Mountain Zebra Park, parts of Diamond Area 1 and some other bits of surrounding government land.
The Park includes Sossusvlei, a clay pan in the central Namib Desert, fed by the Tsauchab River and known for the high, red sand dunes which surround it, forming a vast sand ocean.

Day 6/7 Swakopmund
After crossing the Tropic of Capricorn, we travel onto Namibia’s Atlantic coast and the adventure capital, Swakopmund. Here you will be briefed on the many options available for the following day. Optional Activities: Quad Biking, Sandboarding, Sky Diving, Dolphin Cruise, Scenic Flights, Fishing, Dinner Out etc.

Day 6:
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch,
Accommodation: Hostel (Dorm Room) Villa Wiese www.villawiese.com
Facilities: Shared ablutions, bar, drinkable water.
Included Activities: Stop off in Walvis Bay to view Flamingos
Route: Solitaire to Swakopmund. ±300 km
Travel time: ±4-5 hrs (including Walvis Bay)

Day 7:
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Accommodation: Hostel (Dorm Room) Villa Wiese www.villawiese.com
Facilities: Shared ablutions, bar, drinkable water.

Swakopmund
Founded in 1892 by Geman settlers, Swakopmund was intended to be the main harbour of German South-West Africa. Increased traffic between Germany and its colony necessitated establishing a port of its own, as Walvis Bay, located 33 kilometers south, was in British possession. The choice fell to a site north of the Swakop River, where water was readily available. There is a strong German architectural influence in the town, with its Bavarian-style buildings, including the Altes Gefängnis prison, designed by Heinrich Bause in 1909 and the Wörmannhaus, built in 1906 with a prominent tower, now a public library.
The area now known as Swakopmund was orginally called “Tsoakhaub", a Nama word that can be translated as "excrement opening", an offensive but accurate description of the waters of the Swakop River when it flooded, carrying masses of mud, sand, vegetation and animal corpses to the Atlantic Ocean. The name was changed to "Swachaub" by German settlers, and with the proclamation of Swakopmund as an independent district of German South-West Africa in 1896, the present way of writing Swakopmund (meaning Estuary of the Swakop in German) came into use.
Surrounded by the Namib Desert on three sides and the cold Atlantic waters to the west, Swakopmund enjoys a temperate climate. Rainfall is rare, but the cold Benguela current supplies moisture to the area in the form of fog that can reach as deep as 140 km inland. The fauna and flora of the area has adapted to this phenomenon and now relies upon the fog as a source of water.
Swakopmund is well known for adventure sports including: skydiving, sandboarding and quadbiking. Your guides will be able to assist you in deciding on a suitable activity, alternatively, spend the day exploring the town and enjoying the various coffee shops and souvenir shops.

Day 8 Spitzkoppe
Leaving the coast we head to Namibia’s ‘Matterhorn’. Spitzkoppe is a huge rocky outcrop where we set up camp in the wild, beneath the mountain. This afternoon there is an included walk to view Bushman (San) paintings.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Bush Camp: Spitzkoppe Community Campsite

Facilities: No facilities. Long drop toilets.
Included Activities: Guided walk with Nomad guide through Spitzkoppe
Route: Swakopmund to Spitzkoppe. ±170 km
Travel time: ±3-4 hrs

Spitzkoppe
The Spitzkoppe (also referred to as Spitzkop, Groot Spitzkop, or the "Matterhorn of Namibia"), is a group of bald granite peaks located between Usakos and Swakopmund in the Namib desert. The granite is more than 700 million years old and the highest outcrop rises about 1 784 m above sea level. The peaks stand out dramatically from the flat surrounding plains. The highest peak is about 700m above the floor of the desert below. A minor peak- the Little Spitzkoppe - lies nearby at an elevation of 1 584 m above sea level. Other prominences stretch out into a range known as the Pontok Mountains. Many examples of Bushman artwork can be seen painted on the rock in the Spitzkoppe area.
It is possible that the main peak was summited as early as 1904, when a soldier of the Royal Schutztruppe supposedly soloed the peak and made a fire on the summit. What he may have burned remains a mystery, as there is absolutely no natural fuel of any kind on the upper parts of the peak. The legend suggests that he never returned and that his body was never recovered. Certainly, no proof of his conquest is available today.

Day 9 Himba Tribes
After some early morning exploration we continue north and drive towards Kamanjab. The Himba are a pastoral people and predominantly breed cattle or goats, they are easily recognisable by their unique style of dress.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Camp: Himba Camp (no website available)
Facilities: Bush shower and basic toilets.
Included activities: Guided visit to the Himba Tribe with Local Guide.
Route: Spitzkoppe to Kamanjab. ±340 km
Travel time: ±5-6 hrs

The Himba People
The Himba are descendents of the Herero people, and still speak a dialect of the old Herero language. There are about
20 000 – 50 000 Himba people living in the Kunene region, where they have recently built two villages at Kamanjab. The Himba are semi-nomadic pastoralists who breed cattle and goats in this dry, rugged, and mountainous area. They are some of the most photographed people in the world, due to their striking style of dress, and their traditional lifestyle. Their appearance is characterised by scanty goat-skin clothing, and they are heavily adorned with jewellery of shells, copper and iron, according to the tribal hierarchy. The distinctive red colour of their skin and hair is a mixture of butter, ash and ochre (otjize) which protects them from the harsh desert climate.
Typically the women take care of the children, do the milking and other work, whilst men take care of the political tasks. The villages are made up of family homesteads – huts built around a central fire and livestock enclosure. Both the livestock and fire are pivotal to the Himba belief in ancestor worship, the fire representing ancestral protection of the living community.
Situated about 20 km outside of town, a guided tour around the village will not only give you an in-depth insight into the life and ways of the last traditional tribe in Namibia, the Ova-Himba, but an amazing photographic opportunity as well. You will find out about the milking ceremony, the smoke bath, be informed on the beliefs around the holy fire, ancestors, and herbal medicine. You will also learn about the jewelry and hairstyles to imitate the status of each tribe member and their close relationship with nature, their cattle and children. The income generated from these excursions, helps to sustain the tribe from day to day, buying food and supplies, medicine (if necessary) and taking care of the children. Please take note that the village is not for show or a human zoo, you will be allowed inside these amazing peoples’ home and have a cultural exchange. Please respect their lives and ways as they would respect yours and in this way help preserve their culture and traditions.

Day 10/11 Etosha National Park
Etosha is the venue for some of the most unique game viewing experiences in Africa. The sparse grasslands allow great opportunities to see animals normally hidden in dense vegetation. We will go on various game drives, and spend our evenings at the abundant water holes for some excellent game photography. Optional Activities: Night or Dawn Drives in Safari Vehicles

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Accommodation: Camp: Okaukuejo, Halali or Namutoni
Facilities: Drinkable water, shared ablutions, bar, shop, post box, swimming pool and
waterholes at all campsites.
Included Activities: Game drives in truck
Route: Kamanjab to Etosha NP. ±280 km
Travel time: ±3-4 hrs
Etosha National Park

Etosha, meaning “Great White Place”, is dominated by a massive mineral pan, part of the great Kalahari Basin. The Etosha pan, originally a lake fed by the Kunene River, covers about 5 000 square km, a quarter of the Etosha National Park. The lake dried up thousands of years ago and is now a dusty depression of salty clay which occasionally fills with the rare heavy rains. This temporary water supply stimulates the growth of an algae which attracts wading birds and flamigos by their thousands. Large concentrations of wildlife gather year-round at the perennial springs on the edges of the pan. This amazing abundance of wildlife makes Etosha one of Southern Africa's finest and most important game reserves. Covering an area of 22 270 square km, it is home to 114 mammal species, 340 bird species, 110 reptile species, 16 amphibian species and, surprisingly, one species of fish.

Day 12 Windhoek
After an early morning game drive we set off towards Windhoek in the centre of Namibia. On the way we stop at a popular craft market. On arrival in Windhoek there is a short city tour in our Nomad truck. Optional Activities: Dinner Out.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Accommodation: Own Arrangements / Post tour accommodation can be booked through Nomad.
Included Activities: Craft market en-route and short City Tour
Route: Etosha to Windhoek. ±550 km
Travel time: ±8-9 hrs

Windhoek
The Nama people originally gave Windhoek the name Ai-Gams, meaning “hot water” due to the hot springs that were once part of the town. The Herero people who lived there called it Otjomuise, “place of steam”. Theories vary on how Ai-Gams/Otjomuise got its modern name of Windhoek, most believe the name Windhoek is derived from the Afrikaans word Wind-Hoek, meaning "corner of wind". It is also thought that the Afrikaners named Windhoek after the Winterhoek Mountains, at Tulbagh in South Africa, where the early Afrikaner settlers had lived. In those days Windhoek was the point of contact between the warring Namas, led by Jan Jonker Afrikaner, and the Herero people.
Present-day Windhoek was founded on 18 October 1890, when German settler Von François fixed the foundation stone of the Alte Feste fort. During the next fourteen years Windhoek developed slowly, with only the most essential government and private buildings being erected. After 1907, the town grew quickly as people migrated from the countryside to the city, and a large influx of European settlers began arriving from Germany and South Africa. Many beautiful buldings and monuments were erected, including Heinitzburg, one of three castles in Windhoek, the fairy-tale Christuskirche, and The Rider statue.

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