Explore the harshly beautiful scenery of Namibia. Gaze into the Fish River Canyon. Climb some of the largest Sand Dunes in the world, Explore the Cape Cross Seal colony. View game on the Etosha Pan.
Departing either from Johannesburg or Cape Town head for Upington in the Northern Cape region. Upington is situated on the banks of the Orange River (which is one of the largest rivers in South Africa). Upington is rich in culture and history. The town was established in 1870. Since 1880 the town has expanded rapidly and is now the commercial, agricultural and educational centre of the Gordonia district.
Enter Namibia and head for Ai-Ais and the Fish River Canyon.
The Fish River Canyon in southern Namibia is second only in grandeur to the USA’s Grand Canyon in Arizona. It is absolutely magnificent and breathtaking in its immensity. A rock stratum’s of purples, pinks and grays stretch along a 161km course. Yet it comes as something of a shock when you arrive at the canyon, as you have no idea it is there. It drops vertically by 550m out of a flat arid plateau without any warning, even though at some points it is 27km wide!
Explore the Fish River Canyon.
There are several ways that the Fish River Canyon can be explored.
- As a side trip to the Main (Hell’s Bend) viewpoint near Hobas.
- Staying near the canyon and visiting several viewpoints.
Head towards the West Coast and the town of Lüderitz.
Lüderitz is a surreal colonial relic – a 19th century Bavarian village on the barren, windswept Namib Desert coast, seemingly untouched by the 20th century. It has everything you’d expect of a small German town – delicatessens, coffee shops and Lutheran churches. Here, the icy but clean South Atlantic is home to seals, penguins and other marine life and the desolate beaches support flamingoes and ostriches.
Possibly take a trip Kolmanskop Ghost Town in the desert.
Back into the Namib Desert head for Sessrium in the afternoon.
Up before sunrise enter the Sossusvlei Reserve to catch the first rays of the early morning sun over some of the highest sand dunes in the world. Sossusvlei is a mud pan created by a river that flows through the Namib every 5 to 10 years. Even in very wet years it does not reach the Atlantic Ocean but drains away between the dunes of Sossusvlei. Sossus means “place of no return”
The area of Namib Desert around Swakopmund is named the West Coast Recreational Area. And recreation is the towns number one draw card. There are countless pursuits to help you spend your time, and money. For those interested in adventure activities Swakopmund offers sand boarding, quad biking, dune carting, parachuting, hot air ballooning, shark fishing, deep sea fishing and beach angling to name but a few. For the more sedentary there are restaurants, cafes, art galleries and museums.
Day 9 and Day 10
Explore the coastal dune belt, the Welwitchia drive to view these ancient plants. Maybe take a Quad bike into the dunes.
Drive north via Henties Bay and onwards to Cape Cross Seal colony. This large colony announces itself long before you arrive.
Henties Bay to Spitzkoppe.
Explore the Spitzkoppe Mountain range and surrounding desert. The Gross Spitzkoppe rises approximately 1728 meters above sea level and is a photographers dream. The Pondok Mountains are to the east of the Spitzkoppe and derives its name from the Afrikaans language meaning they resemble African huts.
Drive to Etosha Game Reserve.
Etosha, meaning “Great White Place”, is dominated by a massive mineral pan. The pan is part of the Kalahari Basin, the floor of which was formed around 1000 million years ago. The Etosha Pan covers around 25% of the National Park. The pan was originally a lake fed by the Kunene River. However the course of the river changed thousands of years ago and the lake dried up. The pan now is a large dusty depression of salt and dusty clay which fills only if the rains are heavy and even then only holds water for a short time. This temporary water in the Etosha Pan attracts thousands of wading birds including impressive flocks of flamingos. The perennial springs along the edges of the Etosha Pan draw large concentrations of wildlife and birds.
Explore western Etosha Pan.
Drive across Etosha Pan Park to Namutoni Camp.
Explore eastern Etosha Pan.
Departing Etosha head for Windhoek, then onwards through Gobabis the gateway to the Trans-Kalahari.
Entering Botswana and take the Trans-Kalahari highway before clearing the border into South Africa.
Take a relaxed drive to Johannesburg arriving in plenty of time for the flight home.