Stylish desert luxury meets nomadic culture
The remote northwest of Namibia, known as Koakoland (or the Kunene Region), is home to dramatic scenery, the oasis-like Kunene River and the semi-nomadic Himba people. It is a huge, scenic wilderness offering some of the world’s most ancient rock formations and landscapes. As you descend into the Hartmann Valley one could be forgiven for thinking you are on Mars, except for the lush green vegetation on either side of the river! Explore the dunes on quadbike, visit the Himba people who manage to survive in this seemingly inhospitable area and take a boat cruise up the Kunene with Angola just metres from you, marvelling at rugged landscapes.
Etosha translates as the “Great White Place of Dry Water” and at the heart of the park is Etosha Pan, a gigantic shallow depression that was once an inland lake. The perennial springs in the area attract great concentrations of birds and game. Enjoy this region over three nights from the exclusivity of a neighbouring private reserve known for its black and white rhino and lion population. Game drives within the private reserve and Etosha National Park offers wildlife in abundance, where predator and prey alike drink side by side.
You will love
- High quality lodges
- The photography
- Black rhino sightings
- Dunes of the Sossuslvei
- The remote Kunene, home to the Himba
- Activity variety
9 UNFORGETTABLE DAYS
DAY 1 | SOSSUSVLEI | 2 NIGHTS
Meet your pilot at Windhoek International Airport for your light aircraft flight to the Sossusvlei region of Namib Desert. You will be met and transferred to Little Kulala, a premier lodge located close to the famed sand dunes. This afternoon enjoy an afternoon nature drive to see what thrives in the desert environment, and your first Namibian sunset with sundowner drinks. After a superb dinner you can opt to sleep in your chalet or under the stars on the roof.
DAY 2 | SOSSUSVLEI
This morning you will rise early for a magical excursion into the Namib Naukluft National Park, entering the Park gates at sunrise to capture the dunes whilst the light is soft, and shadows accentuate their towering shapes and curves. This area boasts some of the highest free-standing sand dunes in the world. Your local guide will give you an insight on the formation of the Namib Desert and its myriad of fascinating creatures and plants that have adapted to survive these harsh environs. Once you have explored the areas around Sossusvlei and Deadvlei to your hearts content you can enjoy a relaxing picnic breakfast in the shade of a camel thorn tree. Return to the lodge in the early afternoon for a late lunch, stopping off to view Sesriem Canyon along the way.
The rest of the afternoon is at your leisure (from experience, this is usually welcomed after an exhilarating morning in the dunes) or can be spent on another guided scheduled activity within the Kulala Wilderness Reserve as offered by the lodge.
DAY 3 | KUNENE RIVER | 3 NIGHTS
After breakfast, head to the airstrip for a light aircraft flight heading over dramatic landscapes to the northernmost point of Namibia, the Kunene River region close to the Angolan border. Your flight will likely take you via the German-inspired town of Swakopmund on the coast and hopefully you will spot seal colonies and shipwrecks en route. Then continue over the deeply remote Skeleton Coast, landing in the Hartmann Valley. You will be driven to Serra Cafema Camp, the approach to which offers breathtaking views of the moonscape with the oasis of trees and reeds on either side of the Kunene River. After refreshing, enjoy an afternoon activity and take in the majesty of this unique location. Dinner under the stars completes a long but exciting day.
DAYS 4 - 5 | KUNENE RIVER
You will have plenty to do over the next two days. Serra Cafema is one of the most remote camps in southern Africa and the only people you might see are members of the semi-nomadic Himba tribe who continue to live a traditional way of life. Spend some time with the Himba, who benefit from the tourism that Serra Cafema brings. The river is the only permanent water source in the region and is teeming with crocodiles and water birds. There will be time to get onto these waters and explore by motorboat. Spend a morning having fun on a guided quad bike excursion or take an informative nature drive or walk to learn about what other wildlife citizens there are.
DAY 6 | ETOSHA REGION | 3 NIGHTS
Leaving the Kunene behind, you will fly south-east to Africa’s largest salt pan, Etosha, a gigantic shallow depression that was once an inland lake. You will stay in a private reserve adjacent to the National Park, at the exclusive and intimate Little Ongava. The property sits on the crest of a hill offering amazing views over the Etosha region and has only three very luxurious guest suites. After a sumptuous lunch, the rest of the day will be spent on a nature drive within the private reserve. After sundowners return to the lodge for an exquisite three course dining experience.
DAYS 7 - 8 | ETOSHA REGION
The activity options offered include morning and afternoon game drives, nature walks and bird watching. Game drives will be offered within the Ongava Reserve and Etosha National Park. The springs that emerge around the pans are rich in mineral salts and attract great concentrations of birds and game. Salt, dust, thorns, and heat may make Etosha seem a strange place to human visitors but it is home to elephant, giraffe, the rare black rhinoceros, two species of zebra, springbok, gemsbok, red hartebeest, blue wildebeest, eland and ostrich. Prides of lion and hyena can regularly be seen but leopard and cheetah are more difficult to spot.
DAY 9 | END OF SAFARI
Time for a final early morning game drive and a hearty breakfast before heading to the airstrip for your flight back to Windhoek where you will connect with onward destinations.
This itinerary is a suggestion only and can be amended in terms of length, destination and properties to be included. Serra Cafema could be replaced with a camp in the Skeleton Coast & Kaokoland region or Damaraland.
WHERE YOU’LL STAY
A selection of the finest safari camps
Little Kulala – Sossusvlei
Little Kulala is located in the Kulala Wilderness Reserve - a 40,000 ha tract of land bordering the expansive Namib Naukluft Park. It is home to all forms of desert life and all 11 thatched villas merge seamlessly into the timeless desert landscape, each with a private plunge pool and rooftop ‘skybed’ for romantic stargazing. Read More
Serra Cafema – Kunene River
Set on the banks of the Kunene River, bordering Angola, Serra Cafema is one of the most remote camps in southern Africa. The eight wood, canvas and thatched villas are spacious and luxurious, styled in chic greys and natural timber to blend into the picturesque surroundings. Serra Cafema is a unique and wildly beautiful destination. Read More
Little Ongava – Ongava Reserve
With only three spacious suites, Little Ongava is a small luxury camp well-suited to couples and small groups that guarantees an intimate safari experience. It is perched on the crest of a hill commanding magnificent views of the plains beyond providing an extraordinary focal point on any Etosha safari. Read More
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