Namibia, with its extreme landscapes, is surely one of the most diverse and fascinating destinations on Earth. From the tallest dunes in the world at Sossusvlei to one of the world's most important conservations at Etosha National Park, this country is magnificent, magical, and mysterious. Various travel organizations have rated Namibia as one of the most beautiful places to visit. The giant salt pan is truly a sight to behold. Among the animals we’ll see are the incredibly rare desert elephant (only found here and in Mali), desert-adapted black rhino, lions, giraffes, cheetah, jackal, hyena, zebra, blue wildebeest, and red hartebeest.
Here's a day-by-day itinerary of the trip.
A driver will pick the group up from the Hosea Kutako International Airport or your hotel and drive us to the Kalahari.
The Kalahari Basin covers most of Botswana and large parts of Namibia and South Africa. Kalahari means ‘the great thirst’ and describes the world’s largest continuous area of sand. It is an exceptionally beautiful semi-desert. The desert in Namibia is characterized by red dunes, acacia trees, and wispy golden grasses. The wide variety of wildlife includes gemsbok, impala, jackal, cheetah, and the famous meerkat. In all three countries, the Kalahari is the last bastion of the indigenous San people who lived as hunter-gatherers in the whole of southern Africa before the modern world took over.
Kalahari Red Dunes Lodge is a lush green oasis amid red Kalahari dunes. The restaurant and chalets are arranged around a shaded courtyard containing a large swimming pool. We'll have lunch at the lodge. Then, take some time to settle in or swim. Enjoy the open Savannah views and cool off in the pool.
We will enjoy a sundowner and a dune and game drive in the late afternoon.
We’ll dine at the lodge tonight to kick off an amazing Kalahari adventure.
Sundowner Game and Dune Drive
Namib-Naukluft National Park
After breakfast, we'll head to Sossusvlei in Namib-Naukluft National Park. It is famously set amidst the iconic red Namib dunes. Here, clear blue skies contrast with towering dunes, making this one of Africa's most scenic natural wonders and a photographer’s dream. At 400 meters, some of the ‘mountains of sand’ are among the highest in the world. In the morning and evening light, the dunes come alive with amazing displays of color that draw photography enthusiasts from around the globe. Sossusvlei is home to various desert wildlife, like gemsbok, springbok, ostrich, and several reptiles. This awe-inspiring destination is the second-most visited attraction in Namibia.
Activities: Climb ‘Big Daddy,’ one of Sossusvlei’s tallest dunes; explore neighboring Deadvlei, a dazzling white clay pan dotted with ancient, fossilized camel thorn trees.
This afternoon, we’ll discover the fossilized dunes, the red dunes above the plateau, and the many other wonders of the Namib Desert on our drive around the Gondwana Namib Park.
Tonight, we’ll dine in style at the Desert Grace.
Today, after a sumptuous breakfast, we’ll enjoy a guided half-day excursion to the Sossusvlei dunes, the highest on Earth. They form part of the spectacular Namib Sand Sea, declared a World Heritage site in 2013.
We'll rest this afternoon before we meet for dinner.
It’s time to head off on our next exciting adventure.
Swakopmund was founded In 1892, eight years after South West Africa was declared a German Protectorate. The intention was to build a harbor. By 1907, a little town pulsating with life, had emerged from the desert! Swakopmund boasted the largest European population of any German-African colony. Decades on, Swakopmund is much bigger now, and the charming town is as alluring as ever. The mix of Namibian influences with picturesque buildings from the colonial era, palm-lined streets, seaside promenades, a laid-back holiday atmosphere, and the cool sea breeze makes Swakopmund one of the most attractive places in the country. We will have lunch at a local restaurant in the coastal town of Swakopmund.
Despite the turquoise waters of the Atlantic Ocean in front and the Namib Desert in its backyard, Swakopmund is not a tropical paradise. The cold Benguela current ensures a moderate coastal climate. It also causes the nightly fog for which the town is famous, sustaining the wealth of desert flora and fauna near the coast. Early mornings and evenings are chilly throughout the year – a welcome respite from the inland heat.
Swakopmund has become the country’s adventure mecca. The desert, the dunes, and the ocean lend themselves to a host of thrilling activities: sand boarding, sand skiing, quad biking, dune carting, beach angling, and deep-sea fishing, to name a few.
The town has no shortage of diverse shops, Bistros, and restaurants. Small specialist shops sell hand-made leatherwork, art and crafts, hand-woven carpets and wall hangings, and hand-embroidered bed and table linen proudly made in Namibia. Superb jewelry, designed and crafted with local gemstones by master goldsmiths, is another special feature of Swakopmund.
Activities other than fun in the sand and the sea include art galleries and a museum where you can learn about Swakopmund’s history. Watch the Karakulia Weavers spinning their wool and weaving it into wall hangings and rugs, or visit Kristall Galerie.
The Strand Hotel Swakopmund is home for the next two nights.
Tonight, we’ll dine at the hotel's Brewer and Butcher restaurant.
This morning, we'll have a leisurely breakfast at the hotel. Then, we'll spend time exploring and shopping. Who doesn’t love to shop? While you're about it, stop for lunch at one of the local cafes or restaurants.
In the afternoon, we’ll sail with Catamaran Charters from the Walvis Bay Waterfront for an educational sundowner excursion. We're on the hunt for the marine big five - whales, dolphins, mola, leatherback turtles, and seals. Sip hot tea or coffee as we pass oyster farms approaching the landmark lighthouse and 60,000 resident Cape fur seals at Pelican Point.
The crew will hoist the catamaran sails (weather dependent) so we can switch off the engines and experience true sailing. Help to put up the sails and rig the ropes if you wish.
Our journey from Pelican Point takes us past some of the more interesting ships and oil rigs in the bay as we savor fresh oysters with sparkling wine, snacks, desserts, and long, cool drinks.
Tonight, we'll enjoy dinner at a local restaurant in the coastal town of Swakopmund.
It’s time to depart for our next encampment.
Twyfelfontein, in the Kunene Region of north-western Namibia, has Namibia’s first World Heritage Site and one of the largest concentrations of rock art in Africa. Thousands of tourists visit this site each year to view some 2,500 Stone Age rock engravings. The area is home to 17 rock art sites, encompassing 212 engraved stone slabs. There are an additional 13 sites displaying rock paintings. It consists of hundreds of sandstone slabs covered with rock engravings of animals and a few paintings.
The enormous ‘open-air art gallery’ is in the Huab Valley, flanked by flat-topped sandstone mountains. Twyfelfontein (spring of doubt) is the name a despairing farmer gave to a perennial spring at the site in the late 1940s. The spring attracted Stone Age hunters over six thousand years ago. The petroglyphs had ritual significance, serving as maps. They were also used for educational purposes and recording events.
Camp Kipwe is an intimate and remote bush lodge in Namibia’s arid yet starkly beautiful Twyfelfontein region. The specially designed rooms are unique and private. Each has an outdoor bathroom, a thatched roof, and spectacular views over the surrounding area.
For a very special experience, an Elephant Nature Drive is a must. Explore the terrain in search of these elusive desert-dwelling elephants. They've adapted to the dry and sandy conditions in northern Namibia. After exploring the region and admiring the engravings, we’ll settle down for a nice meal and a much-deserved rest.
Etosha National Park
After breakfast, we’ll depart for Etosha National Park in the central north. The park is world-famous for the abundance of wildlife and premiere game viewing opportunities. It's home to 114 species of mammals, including elephants, black rhinos, lions and other big cats and predators, giraffes, various antelopes, and zebras. There are also hundreds of bird and reptile species. The vegetation ranges from dense bush to open plains with semi-arid savannah grasslands. During the dry season and in times of drought, the animals flock to the perennial springs and artificial waterholes maintained all over the park.
Etosha Pan, in the heart of the nature reserve, is a vast shallow depression spanning 5000 kilometers. It's so big it can be seen from space. The vast salt pan is dry for most of the year, shimmering in the heat, but after good rains, it fills up with water and attracts scores of birds, especially flamingos from as far away as the Walvis Bay Lagoon on the Atlantic coast.
Today, we’ll explore the Damara Living Museum and take an afternoon game drive in the national park with guides familiar with the waterholes and the animals that visit them.
We will enjoy lunch at the Toshari Lodge.
Why not dive into the cool waters of the lodge pool when we return? Dine on the veranda under a dome of stars, sit next to a blazing fire, and watch the ruby sun sink gracefully into the landscape. Be at peace.
The Toshari Lodge will be our home for the night (Etosha National Park).
Etosha King Nehale
Explore the National Park and its amazing wildlife in a 9-seater game vehicle. Refreshments, snacks, and entrance fees to the National Park are included. We will enjoy a packed lunch on the game drive.
Etosha King Nehale's design and decor pay homage to the area's rich cultural heritage and the majestic riches of the Etosha animal kingdom. Guests are immediately captivated by the lodge's atmosphere and warm cordiality. This arises from meticulous attention to detail in the interior design, the food choices, and the small, detailed features you'll encounter at every turn.
The lodge is situated on the Andoni Plains, just one kilometer from Etosha’s northern King Nehale Gate and 48 kilometers north of Namutoni. At this welcoming lodge, we’ll have private access to a remote waterhole in Etosha National Park, the Ontalelo Outpost. The name says it all: "ontalelo" means “view sight,” and “outpost” describes a remote part of a kingdom or empire. You'll love the fascinating feeling of being close to the wonders of Etosha’s animal kingdom.
Tonight, we'll dine at the Etosha King Nehale Lodge and celebrate yet another amazing day.
Etosha King Nehale
Today, we’ll have a full day of game viewing as we explore the National Park and its amazing wildlife in a 9-seater game vehicle. Refreshments, snacks, and entrance fees to the National Park are included. We will see a private waterhole and herds of thirsty animals. We will enjoy a packed lunch from the lodge on our excursion.
We’ll have a much-needed rest in the afternoon before we convene for celebratory cocktails, followed by a sumptuous final meal, reminiscing about all the incredible things we’ve seen and done on our extended week together.
Sadly, our Namibian Adventure has come to an end. After breakfast, we’ll head back to Windhoek for your return home. Please try not to schedule your departing flight before 5 p.m. at the earliest. The drive back to the airport takes 5.5 hours.
Kalahari Red Dunes Lodge is located in and around a vlei in the dunes of the western outskirts of the Kalahari. It is here where the vast Karoo desert meets the first red dunes of the Kalahari Desert.
The Desert Grace Gondwana Collection is known for its graceful spaces, and gracious hospitality imbue this modern lodge with its elegance of yesteryear, spirited character, and refreshingly stylish interior.
Strand Hotel Swakopmund is a refreshing, seaside, relaxing, modern, light, and airy establishment to uplift and inspire.
Camp Kipwe is an intimate and remote bush lodge in Namibia’s arid yet starkly beautiful Twyfelfontein region.
Toshari Lodge is nestled under a forest of Mopane & white Seringa Trees. It opens doors to the mystery and magic of Etosha.
Your host for this trip is L. Leigh Rhoads (“Linda Leigh” to her friends. You will assuredly be one after your travels). Leigh calls the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia home and is a true Southerner, replete with the warmth, manners, and charm for which that region is known. A Civil Rights attorney by trade and a yogi at heart, between practicing law and being a mother to fun and mischievous twins, Leigh has taken every available gift of time, to seek out adventurous and meaningful travel experiences like this one. She is so looking forward to sharing it with you!
Few countries can claim limitless horizons, stark landscapes with harsh environs and untamed wilderness, complemented by rare beauty, great scenery, a pleasant climate, few people, a beautiful coastline, one of Africa’s greatest game parks and, the world’s oldest desert…Welcome to Namibia!
Everything stated in itinerary above including most meals with one exception
2 glasses of wine or beer with your evening meal
Lodging at high standard tented camps or lodges
All guides, experts and entry fees
All in-country transport
Roundtrip airfare to Namibia
Additional wine, beer, or spirits beyond what is offered at meals
All personal souvenir purchases
Travel and Medical Insurance (required)
This truly was the adventure of a lifetime. From hiking the red sand dunes, to visiting the women of the Himba tribe, and watching all kinds of animals in their natural habitat, it was a week filled with new experiences. And the icing on the cake... new friendships with adventurous, interesting women who love to travel! - Cynthia M.
2023 trip participant
The trip officially starts on July 18th, but if you are traveling across an ocean to get to Nambia, consider arriving a day early so you have time to relax and adjust to the local time zone. If you decide to arrive early, please let us know and we will take care of booking your room and make sure that you are kept in the same room as you will be in when the trip starts.
Fly into the Hosea Kutako International Airport.
It takes over five hours to drive back to the airport at the end of the trip. Please try and book your departing flight no earlier than 5 pm. You can always stay an extra night at a hotel near the airport and fly out the next morning.
We will have a zoom call about 6 weeks before the trip starts to discuss all that information and give you a packing list. Here is a great website that we love that will help you with packing and travel trips.
Namibia weather in July. July is one of the driest and coolest months. Although the daytime temperatures are still warm (average 68F), the nights can be very cold (average 42F and dropping below freezing in some desert areas), so pack plenty of warm clothes.