7 Day Southern Swing

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Details

Kalahari Namibia – Fish River Canyon – Luderitz – Aus – Sossusvlei
7 Days / 6 Nights: 01 April 2017 – 31 March 2018
Scheduled – 7 Day South – Camping

The South is nothing short of a magical experience. Here you will experience the true heart of Namibia and see unique landscapes that will colour the rest of your life. The seven- day Southern Swing has been designed to give you a short but comprehensive safari around the main highlights of Southern Namibia. First night of the tour is spent in the Kalahari area of Namibia before we continue to the mighty Fish River Canyon. Visit the small town of Aus where you will have the opportunity to visit the Ghost Town of Kolmanskop and Luderitz before ending with 2 nights in the world’s oldest desert, where you will stroll among the world’s highest sand dunes.

This safari can also be combined with our 7-day Northern Adventure itinerary to make an unforgettable 14 Day Namibian Experience OR two of the world’s natural wonders, the Okavango Delta and the mighty Victoria Falls can also be included by combining this trip with our 10 day Delta and Falls Safari.

Itinerary

Day 1Bagatelle Kalahari Ranch Campsite, Kalahari Namibia

Kalahari Namibia
The Kalahari is an exceptionally beautiful living desert a large semi-arid sandy savannah draped over a gently rolling inland sea of sand covering most of Botswana and large parts of Namibia and South Africa. It is also the last bastion of the San people with the modern world having enveloped all the other areas they once roamed.
Here in Namibia it is typically red sands covered in thin, wispy, mostly golden grass and dotted with acacia trees and wide ranging wildlife including gemsbok, impala, jackals and cheetah.

Windhoek – Kalahari (270 km) (LD) (camping)
You will be collected at your Windhoek accommodation between 07:30 & 08:00

We start our journey south on the main highway, travelling through the thin strip of Kalahari Desert that protrudes onto the eastern side of Namibia. Stopping at small towns along the way including Rehoboth, traditional home of the Baster people and on to Kalkrand where you bid the main road farewell and head off into the Kalahari. The Kalahari Desert often surprises people when they first see it. It is very different from the Namib. First of all, remember that the Kalahari is not a desert. It receives more rain than a true desert should. The Kalahari is a fossil desert. Don’t expect to find tall Sossusvlei-style dunes devoid of greenery here. The Kalahari’s dunes are very different. They are often equally beautiful, but usually greener and less stark – and with this vegetation comes its ability to support more flora and fauna than a true desert.

Late this afternoon we hop onto an open vehicle for a late afternoon sunset drive

Overnight: Bagatelle Kalahari Ranch Campsite
Bagatelle – this French word refers to something small, of little consequence, not very important! The lodge lies on the edge of the Southern Kalahari in the mixed tree and shrub Savanna. The ranch is characterized by huge red sands dunes running parallel, and in a northern-westerly to south-easterly direction.

Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch has FIVE individual campsites. Set between the red sand dunes, each campsite has its own dedicated ablution block, toilet, shower, washbasin and mirror. It is fully tiled and hot water supplied by modern gas geysers and solar lights. Relax around a campfire and enjoy the Kalahari night. Other facilities – Swimming pool , Camp site and Wine cellar

Activities
Sunset drive

Sunset Drive
Game drive and sundowner on the dune. A game drive in the reserve with a variety of game such as giraffe, kudu, zebra, oryx, blue wildebeest, eland and much more. The reserve has some of the highest dunes in this region with views over the pan, characteristic to the Kalahari. Between the dunes, which are called streets, are the beautiful Acacia trees. The Kalahari has more than 150 species of birds. The well know suricate (meerkat) is also to be seen, although they are very scarce. After this, a sundowner on the dune will await you, with refreshments and a Namibian snack, while enjoying a breath-taking sunset in the Kalahari.

Included
Lunch and dinner

Day 2Canyon Roadhouse Campsite, Fish River Canyon

Fish River Canyon
The intermittent Fish River has created Africa’s largest and the world’s second largest canyon. Hot, dry and stony the 160 km long, at times 27 km wide and 550m deep canyon is awe inspiring. At the southern end are the renowned hot springs of Ai-Ais.

Kalahari – Fish River Canyon area (400 km) (FB) (camping)
An early morning departure to the town of Mariental and south to Keetmanshoop. Just outside the town you have the opportunity of visiting the Mesosaurus Fossil Site.

We travel via the town of Keetmanshoop for overnight camping on the Fish River area. Here you have the opportunity of seeing the Quivertree. Quiver trees are not in fact trees, they are a type of aloe, (Aloe Dichotoma), so called because the branches fork “dictomously”. These weird looking plants dot the landscape in this part of the world and are locally common, however they are one of the world’s rarest flora species.

Overnight: Canyon Roadhouse Campsite
Under tall shady trees on the bank of a dry riverbed nature lovers find attractive and well-shielded camping sites (distance to the Fish River Canyon: about 24 km). Toilets and bathroom facilities are built from the area’s natural stones. The flat hillock behind the camping site affords grand vistas of the scenery and lends itself as just the spot for sundowners. Camping guests are welcome to use the swimming pool at Canyon Roadhouse (a 2 minutes’ walk) as well as the restaurant and bar. There you won’t only enjoy the break from your campsite cooking but you will also find yourself carried back to the good old time of the automobile: you dine amidst lovingly arranged bodywork and other exhibits of yesteryear’s transportation.

Activities
Mesosaurus Fossil Site

Mesosaurus Fossil Site
In the middle of Namibia’s stark, arid landscape lies the dry bed of an ancient lake, where history is recorded in beautiful rock formations bearing fossils of a pre-historical creature known as Mesosaurus tenuidens.

Included
Full Board

Day 3Luderitz Nest Hotel, Luderitz

Luderitz
This seaside town is something of an anomaly – a piece of 19th century Bavaria bordering the pinkish sand dunes of the Namib Desert. Lutheran churches, German bakeries and colonial buildings are dotted about the settlement, while its windswept beaches are home to flamingos, ostriches, seals and penguins. The nearby ghost town of Kolmanskop is one of the most fascinating area attractions, located approximately 10 kilometres from Luderitz central.

Fish River area – Luderitz (430 km) (BL) (Accommodation)
The Fish River Canyon in Namibia is (allegedly) the 2nd largest canyon in the world after the Grand Canyon. The immensity of this magnificent landscape is truly breath taking. The towering rock faces and deep ravines were formed by water erosion and the collapse of the valley due to movements in the earth’s crust over 500 million years ago. Today the canyon measures 160km long up to 27km wide and almost 550m at its deepest. It is fair to say that when you arrive at the canyon though, its exact location is a bit of a mystery as the 500m vertical drop from the flat dry plateau is completely out of view.

Early morning we head to the main view point where we can see how impressive this canyon actually is. This is an ideal opportunity for photos and to spend some time experiencing this amazing sight. Viewing from the top we can see the river sparkling in the sunlight far below us, and can barely imagine how many millennia it took for the forces of erosion to carve such a magnificent vista.

Time to pack up camp and move on to our next destination, the coastal town of Lüderitz where its colonial-style buildings cling to the rocks overlooking the bay, on some days a deep iridescent blue, on others grey and stormy, the crisp fresh climate, fishing boats bobbing up and down on the Atlantic horizon, penguins and seals diving beneath the waves, give the town a curious other-worldly allure.

We aim to arrive at our guest house during the late afternoon. Dinner will be at client’s own expense tonight.

Overnight: Luderitz Nest Hotel
All 70 en-suite rooms and 3 executive suites enjoy direct sea views. All air-conditioned/heated rooms and suites have extra-long high quality bed/s, FREE Wi-Fi, HD TV, FREE toiletries, laptop safe and free coffee-tea making facilities, the hotel also has 2 wheelchair friendly rooms, elevator and all public areas are accessible. The locally acclaimed Penguin Restaurant serves a fine and varied menu. The upper deck CRAYFISH BAR & LOUNGE with superb views is the premier venue in town to savour delicious fresh Luderitz oysters, sip on your favourite cocktail, enjoy Cappuccinos and fine South African wines or pure Namibian beers. FREE Wi-Fi access throughout. Sparkling swimming pool/s in verdant gardens and sea-facing SAUNA for your added comfort and enjoyment!

Activities
Fish River Canyon

Fish River Canyon
The intermittent Fish River has created Africa’s largest and the world’s second largest canyon. Hot, dry and stony the 160 km long, at times 27 km wide and 550m deep canyon is awe inspiring. At the southern end are the renowned hot springs of Ai-Ais.

Included
Breakfast & lunch

Day 4Klein-Aus Vista – Desert Horse Campsite, Aus

Aus
This region is typified by the Succulent Karoo. The distinctive climatic characteristics of the Succulent Karoo make it different from all other deserts in the world. Rainfall is reliable and predictable, falling mostly in winter, and prolonged droughts are rare. The Succulent Karoo’s botanical diversity is unparalleled by any other arid region on earth and is the world’s only plant hotspot that is entirely arid.

This ecoregion is home to greater than 5,000 higher plant species, nearly 40 percent of which are endemic, and 18 percent of which are threatened. It has the richest succulent flora in the world, harbouring about one-third of the world’s approximately 10,000 succulent species. Other unique features include the diversity of miniature succulents (435 spp.) and geophytes (bulb-like plants 630 spp.). The ecoregion is also a center of diversity and endemism for reptiles and many invertebrate taxa, especially monkey beetles (Rutelinae: Hoplinii).

The Namib Desert ecoregion to the north is characterized by extremely low and variable summer rain (less than 50 mm per year), and extremely sparse plant cover, dominated by ephemerals. To the east lies the Nama Karoo ecoregion, a low open shrub-land with variable grass cover and highly variable rain that falls mainly in the late summer months.

Luderitz – Aus (125 km) (FB) (camping)
There is time to join an optional extra excursion, a marine trip, take a cruise around Luderitz bay and, weather permitting, to Halifax Island to see the Jackass Penguins. N.B: The boat cruise is subject to availability and, if undertaken, will be for the clients own risk and expense.

Time to explore Luderitz Town with its traditional German architecture and later we will take a drive out to Diaz Point to see the bird life, hopefully a few seals and the stone cross replica, originally erected by the Portuguese mariner Bartholomew Diaz.

Straight after the marine trip we drive out to Kolmanskop, a desert ghost town about 20 km out of Luderitz. It was built in the 1920’s during the diamond rush and was abandoned when bigger and better diamonds were found further along the coast. The area is still abandoned and the desert has encroached over the entire town, giving an eerie feeling and real meaning to the word “ghost”.

We sleep tonight at Klein Aus Vista, a private reserve, beautifully located in the Aus Mountain Range, (Huib-Hoch-Plateau region). The road takes us through the “forbidden Zone” so named because in years gone by, the alluvial diamonds found in Namibia were simply scattered across the desert and we again have time to enjoy sunset over the mountains.

Overnight: Klein-Aus Vista – Desert Horse Campsite
Large old camel thorn trees greet camping guests at the Desert Horse Campsite in a small valley of the Aus mountains. Each of the ten sites is equipped with a tap, table, grill and windbreak. Neat shower and toilet facilities are within easy reach of each site. Barbecue packs are available at the reception of Desert Horse Inn (1.5 km); those who like to skip cooking for a change are more than welcome at the Inn’s restaurant (subject to space available, please enquire upon arrival). Several hiking trails run through the valley; the Sundowner Trail leads to a lookout point where you can watch the sun disappear behind the distant horizon at the far end of vast desert plains. The Desert Horse Campsite is just 20 km away from the habitat of the Wild Horses.

Activities
Kolmanskop

Kolmanskop
Amongst the sands of the Namib, the crumbling buildings of a small, once-luxurious town emerge from the drifting dunes. This ghost town is Kolmanskop, a reminder of the wealth of a time when diamonds could be picked by hand from the desert, and a remarkable photographic opportunity with few equals anywhere on earth.

Included
Full Board

Day 5Sesriem Campsite, Sossusvlei

Sossusvlei
Sossusvlei is where you will find the iconic red sand dunes of the Namib. The clear blue skies contrast with the giant red sand dunes to make this one of the natural wonders of Africa and a photographers heaven.
Aside from the attractions at Sossusvlei – Dune 45, Hidden Vlei, Big Daddy and Dead Vlei – other attractions in the area include the Sesriem Canyon and Namib-Naukluft National Park, where the mountains of the Namib meet its plains.

Aus – Sesriem (350 km) (FB) (camping)
Turning north, we once again head deep into the ancient southern Namib, travelling on small gravel roads and passing some tiny rural communities along the way. The scenery is harsh, and sometimes forbidding. The process of erosion in these areas is well advanced and we pass time rounded “koppies” arid terrain and outcrops of tortured rock.

Traversing this bleak yet beautiful landscape, the terrain begins to change and we cross some open grass savannah and farmlands before the terrain begins to give way to the immense red sand dune desert of the Namib. We aim to arrive at our camp during the late afternoon and watch the colours glow and change on distant mountains to the east.

Overnight: Sesriem Campsite
Located perfectly at the entry to Sossusvlei inside the park gate is Sesriem Camping, just a short drive from Sesriem Canyon and right beside the gate into the desert.

It is perfect for campers who want to experience the beauty of the Namib Desert with the sun setting over the Elim dune then the stars emerging until they fill the sky above you and the clicking of the desert barking Geckos and distant howl of the Jackal. Sit by the fire and imagine what you will.

After a good nights rest its up early (one hour before sunrise) for a drive to the Sossusvlei where you can climb a sand dune and watch the colours change as the sun rises over the horizon slipping its morning warmth over the Namib desert dunes.

Included
Full Board

Day 6Sesriem Campsite, Sossusvlei

Sesriem – Sossusvlei – Sesriem (120 km) (FB) (camping)
A pre-dawn start is essential this morning as we want to catch the soft light of the sunrise on the desert. After passing through Sesriem, the gateway to the dunes and driving into the heart of the dune field, we reach Sossusvlei itself by walking the last 5 km through the dunes.

The walk is like nothing else, in the cool of the morning, with soft sunlight just beginning to play over the dunes creating a sharp light and shadow contrast across the whole desert. Ancient mineral pans, stunted camel thorn trees and the chance of seeing a gemsbok or maybe an ostrich make the photo opportunities perfect.

We spend the morning in and around Sossusvlei, also visiting dune 45, and as the day wears on we return to Sesriem for lunch to escape the heat of the afternoon. As the day cools off in the late afternoon we will take a short excursion to the Sesriem Canyon.

Activities
Sossusvlei
Dune 45
Dead Vlei
Sesriem Canyon

Sossusvlei
Sossusvlei is where you will find the iconic red sand dunes of the Namib. The clear blue skies contrast with the giant red sand dunes to make this one of the natural wonders of Africa and a photographers heaven.
Aside from the attractions at Sossusvlei – Dune 45, Hidden Vlei, Big Daddy and Dead Vlei – other attractions in the area include the Sesriem Canyon and Namib-Naukluft National Park, where the mountains of the Namib meet its plains.

Dune 45
Named for its location 45 kilometres past the town of Sesriem, Dune 45 is renowned for its elegant shape, which – along with its position close to the road – have earned it the distinction of ‘most photographed dune in the world’. If you’re not keen for the strenuous hike to the top of Big Daddy, Dune 45 is a more forgiving alternative, standing at only 80 metres and featuring a much gentler gradient.

Dead Vlei
This ancient clay pan was once an oasis, studded with acacias and fed by a river that suddenly changed course, leaving the earth to dry up along with the trees it previously supported. So dry were the climatic conditions that the trees never decomposed – instead they were entirely leached of moisture so that today, 900 years later, they remain as desiccated, blackened sentinels dotting the pan’s cracked surface. Surrounded by the red-pink dunes of the Namibia Desert, they create a surreal spectacle that is a photographer’s dream.

Sesriem Canyon
Sesriem Canyon, a deep chasm carved through the rocks by water, is a striking natural feature of the area that is best explored on foot. Stony walls rise up sharply on both sides of the canyon, while birds roost in its crags and lizards dart along the ledges. The canyon’s name was coined when early settlers used it as a water source, using six lengths of leather (‘ses riem – six thongs) tied together to lower buckets into the water at the base of canyon.

Included
Full Board

Day 7Departure

Sesriem – Windhoek (350 km) (BL)
After breakfast we begin our journey, over the mountains and along scenic roads, back to Windhoek. We will travel over the Naukluft Mountains and also the Khomas Hochland Range, through beautiful mountain passes on our way back to civilization.

We are due back into the city in the late afternoon / early evening and you will be dropped off at your accommodation on our return.

Included
Breakfast & lunch

Overview

Additional Information

It is strongly recommended that you purchase comprehensive personal travel insurance before you embark on your safari. Travel insurance is for your own protection and we consider it to be an essential part of modern international travel.

Maximum group size is 14 people, with a minimum of 1 participant. Transport for up to 5 people will be in a minibus and for 6 people and more in a specialised vehicle.

The style of safari is limited participation, you will be asked to assist in pitching and striking down your own tent. There will be a camp assistant to complete all the other campsite chores. Your guide and assistant will do all the shopping, cooking and day-to-day organization of the safari. Unless otherwise specified, all safaris will be conducted in English.

The tents are canvas dome type, which are easy to assemble. Your mattress is approximately 5 cm thick with its own mattress cover and each client has a camp chair with backrest.

Clients are limited to one soft, barrel type bag per person with maximum weight of 15kg, one medium sized hand luggage bag, one medium sized camera bag and a sleeping bag.

We suggest a sleeping bag range of “3 – 4 season”. Sleeping bags can be hired by prior arrangement for a cost of N$: 50.00 per 3 day trip. When selecting your clothing please be aware that Namibian summer temperatures (December – March) can reach 45*C and winter temperatures (June – September) can be as low as -5*C. The rainy season is between December and April.

All evening meals on camping safaris (unless stipulated) are cooked on an open fire. Salads and fresh vegetables will be served daily where readily available. Fresh fruit will also be supplied when possible. We cater for vegetarians, but please notify us prior to departure.

Namibia is a low risk malarial destination, but we recommend seeking professional medical advice, enabling you to make informed decisions on personal malaria protection.

All tap water in Namibia has been purified or comes directly from boreholes and is safe to drink. In some areas the water can be brackish, your guide will advise you daily on this and where to purchase bottled mineral water.

Electrical plugs are 220 V and are 3 pin (round pin as opposed to square pin, the same as in South Africa). Adaptors can be purchased in Windhoek. It is possible to re-charge batteries at some campsites.

The Namibian Dollar (N$) has a fixed 1-1 exchange rate to the South African Rand (ZAR). ZAR notes and coins are legal tender in Namibia.

Airport transfers and pre-and-post safari accommodation can be arranged on request.

It is customary in Namibia to tip 10% at restaurants. Your guide and assistant can be tipped at your own discretion, but we ask that the guide be tipped separately from your assistant.

Photos