Namibia Dark-Sky Safari - 5 - 20 March 2021 // EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST
- Duration: 15 Days
- Location: Windhoek
- Product code: Namibia/20
This program is subject to Australian Border rules regarding COVID-19 and will only continue when we can ensure the well being of our guests.
A land for those that worship at the shrine of Africa at its most resplendent, but also at its most unconventional. This is Namibia.
DATES: 5 - 20 March 2021
START: Johannesburg, South Africa
FINISH: Windhoek, Namibia
STYLE: Soft adventure
GROUP: Min 8 / Max 14 people
Archeo-Astronomer Brenan Dew joins this journey through Namibia exposing the dark secrets of the heavens above Namibia.
Day 1 -
Arriving into OR Tambo International Airport we are met and transferred to hotel Maropeng Boutique Hotel, for two nights. After a long flight, we'll let you settle in and find dinner on your own in the hotel tonight. (D)
By request, we visit the World Heritage Site of the Cradle of Humankind at the Maropeng Visitor Centre. The Cradle of Humankind is a paleoanthropological site which occupies 47,000 hectares and contains a complex of limestone caves. The registered name of the site in the list of World Heritage sites is Fossil Hominid Sites of South Africa. Nearby in the Rising Star Cave system contains the Dinaledi Chamber fifteen fossil skeletons of an extinct species of hominin, named Homo naledi were discovered. Sterkfontein alone has produced more than a third of early hominid fossils ever found prior to 2010. Return to Maropeng Boutique Hotel. (B,D)
Day 3 - Pretoria
We have a full day to explore Pretoria, the capital of South Africa, today. Our main visit is to Cullinan Diamond Mine, seeing their workings and machinery up close and personal. This open cast mine is famous world-wide for its high-class blue diamonds, including those found in the crown jewels. Lunch is included in a local restaurant before we proceed to Pretoria to visit the Voortrekker Monument, which commemorates the Pioneer history of Southern Africa and the history of the Afrikaner and Kruger Museum and Union Buildings. Tonight we overnight at Kievits Kroon Country Hotel. An astronomer from the Pretoria Astronomy Society will join you over dinner with a lecture. (B,L,D)
Day 4 - Windhoek
Leaving early, we transfer to OR Tambo International Airport and our flights to Windhoek (*not included). Upon arrival at the Windhoek Hosea Kutako International Airport, we pick up our vehicles at the car dealership and make our way to Windhoek, approximately 41km’s away and check-in at our accommodation at the AM Weinberg Boutique Hotel. We'll learn about the rich history of Namibia, and the city of Windhoek on an orientation tour, before checking into the hotel. Enjoy a walk through the gardens, before dinner at a colourful local restaurant in one of the many dining venues. (B)
Day 5 - Mariental
After breakfast, we check-out of our hotel and depart three hours north to Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch. Located on the edge of the southern Kalahari in the mixed tree and shrub savannah, the lodge is crisscrossed by huge red sand dunes. We attach great importance to the preservation of nature and its living beings, so you can experience numerous species of animals and plants up close with us. Watch antelopes, springboks, zebras, ostriches, meerkats or cheetahs up close. Or let the authentic Bushmen introduce you to their ancient traditions.. (B,L,D)
Day 6 + 7 - Sossusvlei
We change our view to take in the mesmerising landscape of the Namib Desert, but on the way we'll stop at H.E.S.S. - a Gamma Ray telescope studying very high energy (VHE) gamma-ray astrophysics. The red scope, pointing to the sky is a similar model to the Very Large Telescopes being built in Chile. and visit Duwisseb Castle. Built in 1909, by Baron Captain Heinrich Von Wolf. After the German-Nama war, the 'Baron' and his wife commissioned an architect to build a castle that would 'reflect Von Wolf's commitment to the German Military cause.' From unique wooden stilt chalets on top of the dune belt you'll be treated with an unsurpassed view of the colours of the Kalahari.
The Namib is a coastal desert with the Namib name of Khoekhoegowab meaning "vast place." Namibia’s NamibRand Nature Reserve, is one of Africa’s largest private nature reserves, and proudly preserves the star-filled nighttime skies that shine above its dunes and mountains designated an International Dark Sky Reserve. Here we will treat ourselves to desert elegance and an extra touch of delight with two nights at &Beyond Deset Lodge and spend the evenings stargazing on site. (B,L,D)
Day 8 + 9 - Walvis Bay
Walvis Bay (meaning Bay of Whales in Afrikaans) is the third-largest town in Namibia and its only deep-sea harbour. We check-in to our accommodation at Flamingo Villas Boutique Hotel situated on the coast. En route to this remote space, we'll stop in town for lunch and time to see the local town. On arrival, the afternoon is at your leisure to walk along the beach and take in the salt air. Wake up to the sound of the ocean and spot the seals playing in the waves while enjoying a fresh cup of coffee – a great way to start the day. Making the most of the untouched beaches of the Atlantic Ocean we head out for a Catamaran Dolphin and Seal cruise for a full day cruise with lunch of oysters and wine. Later, we climb to the top of the coastal dunes, on a sunset 4WD tour. (B,L)
Day 10 + 11 - Damaraland
Moving on to Damaraland, we first visit the cape Cross Seal Reserve - best-known for its breeding colony of Cape fur seals along the Namib coast. The population has grown large and fat by taking advantage of the rich concentrations of fish in the cold Benguela Current.
We spend the next two nights in Doro Nawas Camp a unique Wildeness Safaris property. We journey to the nearby Twyfelfontein to view San engravings and paintings, then contrast this by searching for the elusive desert-adapted elephants. The Twyfelfontein conservancy has been protecting the southernmost roaming ground of the black rhino and elusive desert elephant. Sustainable eco-tourism and community enrichment is of the utmost importance at Mowani. During the day our guides will track mountain zebra, kudu, springbok, klipspringer and if you are fortunate enough... the leopard! (B,L,D)
Day 12 + 13 - Africat
Okonjima Nature Reserve is equally famed for frequent cheetah and leopard sightings on its safaris. We'll start our day early with a visit to The AfriCat Foundation on its grounds. Since being founded in 1991, AfriCat’s mission has been to make significant contributions to conservation. It undertakes research, community support and environmental education projects, as well as conservation work to rehabilitate carnivores such as cheetah and hyaena. (B,L,D)
Day 14 - Windhoek
Returning south towards Windhoek we have one night back in Windhoek to hit the town and enjoy dinner together to celebrate our Out of Africa Experience.. (B,L,D)
After breakfast, we depart to Windhoek Hosea Kutako International Airport connecting to your flight to Sydney. (B)
- Tour Host and Director Brenan Dew
- Air-conditioned coach transfers throughout
- 5-star hotels and resorts
- Local guides
- Entrance to reserves and attractions as indicated on the itinerary.
- Meals as indicated on itinerary breakfast daily (B), lunches (L) and dinner (D)
- All hotel taxes and service charges
- Tips and gratuities
- International / Australian Domestic airfares
- Flight Johannesburg to Windhoek
- Additional charge(s) relating to documentation regarding visas or travel arrangements.
- Travel insurance (required)
- Costs of passport or visas
- Beverages during meals except where indicated
- Optional excursions
- Personal expenses and anything else not included in the 'tour includes' features
4 single supplements
Maximum 14 people
Namibia - A timeless Adventure
“A land of contrast & dramatic beauty - exuding a timeless appeal. From awe-inspiring landscapes combined with untamed wildlife, it’s a boutique bucket list destination.”
In southwestern Africa lies a land of compelling fascination. A land for those who worship at the shrine of Africa at its most resplendent, but also at its most unconventional. This is Namibia.
Described by the bushman as the “Soul of the World”, Namibia is rugged, natural, soulful and liberating. While the forces of nature have been fierce and unforgiving, they have also been bountiful. In this cauldron of heat and relentless force, God has created landscapes that are paralleled in their beauty only by the most exquisite diamonds found here. Imagine huge canvasses, uninhibited by man’s limitations, splashing swathes of colour of the monumental, star-shaped dunes of the Namib Desert and the surreal Salvador Dali’esque Deadvlei, with its white clay pans, red dunes and blue skies. The awe-inspiring mountain ranges of some of the last true wilderness areas in Damaraland and the forlorn, windswept skeleton coastline. As all Africa, Namibia has abundant wildlife in our National Parks as well as the large tracts of land which lie unfenced and unfettered for wildlife to traverse. Much of this land has been made available to the local communities, and both these, as well as private land of many farmers who have banded together, have been declared as local conservancies. Namibia also has the richest succulent flora in the world, harbouring about one-third of the world’s approximately 10,000 succulent species. Namibia is a melting pot of sights, sounds, aromas, tastes and emotions in abundance, just waiting to be experienced.
Namibia is home to the infamous Skeleton Coast, that forlorn and rugged coastline along the Atlantic Ocean. It is here where we find the Namib Desert, the World’s oldest desert and a World Heritage site, from which the country gets its name. The eastern expanses are dominated by the Kalahari Desert; the central highlands are renowned for its free-roaming wildlife and the Etosha National Park. Kaokoland and Damaraland are where we find some of the most dramatic landscapes, the uniquely adapted desert animals and the proud Ovahimba people. And to top it off – the contrast of the lush forest vegetation of the Zambezi region, part of the KAZA Transfrontier National Park. Like the diamonds mined here, Namibia is a true gemstone waiting to be discovered.
Windhoek – Mariental: 268km
Mariental - Sossusvlei: 306km
Sossusvlei – Walvis Bay: 375km
Walvis Bay – Khorixas: 350km
Khorixas – Okonjima: 267km
Okonjima – Windhoek: 216km