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The best of Namibia

 
 
 

This trip


A self drive of over two weeks, avoiding long distances and including all that you need to see in Namibia, yet while taking the necessary time to see each individual place for a sufficient amount of time.



In a nutshell

Number of nights:

Lodges:






Price:






International flights:


16

Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch (2 nights)
Hoodia Desert Lodge (3 nights)
Pebblestone House (2 nights)
Grootberg Lodge (3 nights)
Etosha Safari Camp (4 nights)
Waterberg Plateau Lodge (2 nights)

From 39.000 Rand / 2.915 $ / 2.295 £ / 2.700 € per person
Including rental car, type SUV
IIncludes a lot of activities. See detailed itinerary below

Based on double room occupancy
Price depending on season

Not included
Approximately 600 £ per person from UK, or 1.350 $ per person from US
See examples at the bottom of this page




Preface


There are many ways to vist Namibia. The two main ones are booking an organised trip or doing a self drive. Bothe have pros and cons.

With organised trips the group is rather large. That mostly means staying in large, impersonal hotels as well as travelling by bus while losing lots of time. We had the experience, so we know what we’re talking about. When the last person who’s gone to the bathroom is finished, the first person needs to go again. There’s advantages as well of course; everything’s being taken care of for you meaning you don’t have to worry about anything. Knowledgable people will show you everything there is to see and that includes things you could miss when doing a self drive.

With self drives there are other pros and cons. Advantages are that you can do everything at your own pace and that you don’t have to take other people into account. A disadvantage is that you have to figure our everything yourself and that can take a lot of time because you don’t have sufficient knowledge or just because you have to keep your eyes on the road.

This trip tries to keep the advantages from both modes of travelling, while keeping the disadvantages to a minimum. This trip is still somewhat adventurous because the self driving aspect is kept, but on the other side: once you arrive somewhere, day trips are taken care of by professionals. To list a few examples:

  • ◦   You don’t just drive through the Kalahari hoping to get to see something, but instead you stay at a private property and go on game drives with the right vehicle and a wildlife guide.
  • ◦   You visit Sossusvlei with a guide who brings you to the right places at the right time.
  • ◦    The Sandwich Harbour tour is done by a specialized company that has been doing these trips for many years.
  • ◦   In Damaraland your lodge brings you to a Himba tribe and will track black rhino with you… on foot. A once in a life time experience, which you can only do accompanied by an experienced wildlife guide.

We hope that the below schedule speaks for itself and hope it is clear that with this trip you don’t only get to see the magnificent landscapes, but that there's plenty of oportunities to enjoy the wildlife as well.

It goes without saying that this isn’t the cheapest schedule you'll find on the internet. But quality has its price. If you consider the length of this trip, the places you get to stay at, the day-trips included, and all you get to see, then you will understand that it is actually a very competitive price.




Strong points

 

  • ◦   Rental vehicle adapted to the terrain; Nissan X-Trail 2.0 or similar.
  • ◦   We'll provide you with details on what roads to follow.
  •      No crazy adventures. No drives longer than about half a day.
  • ◦   Qualitative and very comfortable lodges.
  • ◦   Activities organised by local people and by the lodges where you are staying;
  •      no DIY (and problems that come with that).
  • ◦   Accompanied by experienced guides and trackers.
  • ◦   No rush! Distances between lodges that are easy to cover,
  •      at every place you stay long enough to enjoy it all as should.
 



Lodges


 
 
 
 
 

Kalahari: Bagatelle Game Lodge

 
 
 
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This lodge is located in the middle of the red dunes that are typical for the Kalahari. Here you go out and look for gemsbuck, springbuck, giraffe, gnoes, zebras, …and of course meerkats! The lodge also has an enclosure where cheetah from CCF (Cheetah Conservation Fund) are well cared for.

Game drives are done with the right vehicles and experienced guide who has the necessary skills and tracking skills.On top of that game drives are done on their own property which means that only their vehicles and those of lodge who have traverse can drive on the plot. This guarantees exclusive sightings, where you can take the necessary pictures without being disturbed by many other tourists.

The design and décor, materials and furnishings, gardens and natural settings all combine to ensure guests live their dream of an African Safari. A rambling old farmhouse was extensively altered, upgraded and renovated to not only serve as a residence, but also as the main nerve center of the Lodge. An entrance hall leads to the reception, lounge, dining room, bar and cellar, library and office.

Although three styles of chalets are provided, all have the same standard of luxury and finished quality. Four chalets, constructed of wood and on stilts are built on top of a Kalahari sand dune, with unsurpassed views to the Southwest. The other six chalets are built in the valley between the dunes. These chalets are built of ‘hay bales’ with walls 600mm thick, the insulation and atmosphere are equally effective and tranquil.

The four garden rooms are next to the lodge with a thatched verandah. The main difference between the styles of chalets besides the construction method, is the fact that the dune chalets have a bath and shower, while the ‘hay bale’ chalets only have a shower. The garden courts are adjoined. The standard and quality of finish is the same for all our chalets, with exquisite décor and equipped to exceed your expectations.

There is a swimming pool and recreation area. An open air boma for outdoor dinners captures the atmosphere of an African Safari. Traditional African meals are served from springbok to bobotie.
 
 
 
 
 

Sossusvlei: Hoodia Desert Lodge

 
 
 
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This lodge opened in 2008 to accommodate guests from all over the world on an individual and small scale. Therefore only 11 luxury chalets with great  distance from each other were planned to assure privacy in a breathtaking environment. The lodge is family-owned and managed by Thomas & Henreza Becker, both enthusiastic regarding professional hospitality with a personal human approach.

Hoodia Desert Lodge is located on the banks of the Tsauchab River, and has majestic mountains in the background. It is a place of beauty and tranquility. Only a 20 minute drive will bring you to the Sesriem Gate, entrance of the world famous red sand-dunes of Sossusvlei and the Namib Naukluft Park. You will visit both of them!

The Sossusvlei tour brings you to the known red dunes first. You will visit and climb those at sunrise when it’s not too hot yet and the colours are at its best. Also Deadvlei and Sesriem Canyon are on your program. And next to that an exclusive lunch in the dunes, by 4x4 safari vehicle.

Most tourists leave the area after 2 nights, but you will stay an extra night to visit a hidden jewel called "Namib Naukluft National Park". The Hoodia Desert Lodge’s “backdoor” leads to the road that goes to this park. Once you arrive, you will leave your car behind and hike next to a small stream. In the valley everything’s green and full of life. Not what you would expect in the middle of the desert! And very important fact is that there’s hardly any other visitors.

 
 
 
 
 

Swakopmund: Pebblestone House

 
 
 
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Bellied in the town centre of Namibia's premier coastal holiday town of Swakopmund, is PebbleStoneHouse Bed & Breakfast. Situated in the charming Kramersdorf neighbourhood, this property celebrates New World décor housed in Old World charm.

The property has been gracefully restored into a lovely guest house – 10 minutes walk from the beach, popular Swakopmund restaurants, shopping areas and Swakop River and Namib Dunes! Lovingly restored to modern home splendor, they welcome you to en-suite guest rooms: Twin Bed or Double Bed configured. All rooms celebrate light, modern and airy living spaces. White washed walls blend with soft beach wood floors and hints of shaded olive to create “beach home” splendor, but emphasis remaining on “African charm”. Rooms have private terraces that lead to the garden walk-ways.

From Swakopmund you will visit Sandwich Harbour. This excursion is not organised by the B&B so the price is mentioned separately below. You will pay a visit to Walvis Bay Lagoon, the salt pans, the Kuiseb river delta and if the weather and tide permit: also the Sandwich Harbour Lagoon. Enough time for photographic opportunities. Sandwich Harbour is home to springbuck, ostriches, jackals and even brown hyena's. With some luck you will get to see one. You will also go to the closest seal colony; at Pelican Point.

 
 
 
 
 

Damaraland grootberg Lodge

 
 
 
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The friendly staff at the lodge are all employed from the community and well-empowered to Our guests are hosted in genuine local hospitality complimented by excellent food. The waitresses and bar tender are always ready to serve and assist where needed. Our certified masseuses offer a wide range of massages on request. The Grootberg Lodge is managed on behalf of the community by Journeys Namibia, who provides training, specialist staff and other infrastructure to the lodge. There’s 14 twin and 2 family rock and thatch chalets gaze out over the Klip River Valley where Black Eagles are a regular sight — hunting just below your private deck. Two family units provide enough space for parents and two children to share comfortably. Each room has a shower, toilet and washbasin complimented with the necessary amenities Grootberg lodge is an eco-toerism gem; it started off as a joint project of the European Union and the Namibian government, to empower the local communities. People were trained to perform their various duties, and by now his lodge runs like a well-oiled machine because every individual employee is simply the best at what he does.

The lodge is located on the Etendeka Plateau, and every room has a beautiful view of the valley bellow. There’s 14 twin and 2 family rock and thatch chalets gaze out over the Klip River Valley where Black Eagles are a regular sight — hunting just below your private deck. Two family units provide enough space for parents and two children to share comfortably. Each room has a shower, toilet and washbasin complimented with the necessary amenities.

From the lodge you pay a visit to the world famous Himba tribe, you explore the nature in the surrounding area and you go on a rhino tracking adventure alongside the Klip river. Part of the tracking is done on foot (1 to 3 hours) in an area that is not accesible by car. An encounter with a rhino on foot is an unforgettable experience. As always you are accompanied by an experienced guide.
 
 
 
 
 

Etosha Safari Camp

 
 
 
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It is a rather long drive from Damaraland to Etosha, but you’re not in a hurry as your first visit to the park is planned for the next day only. Before that you will spend the night at Etosha Safari Camp, which is located at about 10km of the southern entrance.

Perched on a small hill near the Ondundozonanandanana mountain range 22 uniquely designed en-suite safari-bungalows offer a warm and creative African ambience. Each tented bungalow is decorated with artistically painted floors, metal and ceramic furniture created by local Namibian craftsmen. The inventive and rustic design also continues through to the spacious bathroom. Guests can enjoy the inviting veranda stretched across the length of each bungalow, while relaxing in the midst of dense Mopane and Commiphora vegetation boasting an abundant bird-life. A great way to unwind before setting off on the next Etosha game drive which is scheduled for the next three days.

You will get all the time needed to explore the park; drive from south to east and stop at the many waterholes. There’s always something to see and if not just stay there for a while and wait until the wildlife comes to you. That should never take long as the animals need to drink and especially grazers will stay in close proximity of the water. And of course, where there’s grazers there’s also predators in the neighbourhood. Spending time at the waterholes is on average more productive than driving around looking for animals. A nice take away lunch will be provided by the lodge.

 
 
 
 
 

Waterberg Plateau Lodge

 
 
 
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Ending with Etosha wouldn’t be ideal. Time to wash of the dust before heading back home!

Nestled on a rock terrace high up on the slope of the Waterberg, the chalets of the Waterberg Plateau Lodge afford grand vistas of the endless Kalahari bush savannah below. Each of the double room chalets sits between red sandstone rocks in the midst of green bush, with total privacy guaranteed. Acacias shade the terrace; a plunge pool filled with spring water provides cooling during the hot summer months and attracts birds and small game.

Although this lodge has been selected to relax a bit, that doesn’t mean you will get bored. They offer mountain hikes accompanied by a nature guide and conduct game drives on their own plot where you can find very tame rhinos for a close and personal encounter. Both activities are included in our offer.

 
 
 



Safari
itinerary
in detail



Day 1


Day 2






Day 3






Day 4






Day 5




Day 6




Day 7







Day 8





Day 9






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Day 13





Day 14





Day 15





Day 16






Day 17






Day 18





Day 19

Morning (US) or afternoon (EU); depature. International flight to Africa.


Noon: arrival in Windhoek and collect rental vehicle
Afternoon: quick visit to the supermarket to get a cooler box and some drinks (not included)
Afternoon; drive to Kalahari (270km / 170mi)
Evening: arrive at Bagatelle game ranch. Accommodation; "Dune Chalet".
Dinner and overnight at Bagatelle Game Ranch


Morning: breakfast and game ranch scenic drive (organised by Bagatelle)
Noon; lunch and relax at the lodge
Afternoon: sundowner drive and cheetah viewing
(in association with CCF, zie below) (organised by Bagatelle)
Dinner and overnight at Bagatelle Game Ranch


Morning: breakfast (organised by Bagatelle)
Whole day; drive to Sossusvlei at your own pace
(ask Bagatelle for a lunch pack - not included) (285km / 177mi)
Afternoon: arrive at Hoodia Desert Lodge
Dinner and overnight at Hoodia Desert Lodge


Morning: breakfast (organised by Hoodia)
Full day: Sossusvlei excursion (organised by Hoodia) (lunch included)
Dinner and overnight at Hoodia Desert Lodge


Morning: breakfast (organised by Hoodia)
Full day: Namib Naukluft Park Mountains excursion (ask Hoodia for a lunch pack - not included)
Dinner and overnight at Hoodia Desert Lodge


Morning: breakfast (organised by Hoodia)
Morning: drive to Swakopmund (350km / 217mi)
Noon: lunch (not invluded)
Afternoon: free visit to Swakopmund town
Evening: dinner in a restaurant of your choice (not included)
Overnight at Pebblestone B&B


Morning: breakfast (organised by Pebblestone B&B)
Full day: Sandwich Harbour excursion with lunch included (excursion not included)
Evening: dinner in a restaurant of your choice (not included)
Overnight at Pebblestone B&B


Morning: breakfast (organised by Pebblestone B&B)
Morning: shopping in Swakopmund and drive to Damaraland (400km / 248mi)
Noon: pick nick en route (not included)
Afternoon: relax at the lodge and dinner
Overnight at Grootberg Lodge


Morning: breakfast (organised by Grootberg Lodge)
Morning: Himba excursion (organised by Grootberg Lodge)
Noon: lunch (organised by Grootberg Lodge)
Afternoon: relax at the lodge and dinner
Overnight at Grootberg Lodge


Morning: breakfast (organised by Grootberg Lodge)
Full day: Rhino tracking (lunch included) (organised by Grootberg Lodge)
Dinner and overnight at Grootberg Lodge


Morning: breakfast (organised by Grootberg Lodge)
Morning: drive to south-Etosha (240km / 149mi)
Noon: lunch pack en route (provided by Grootberg Lodge)
Afternoon: arrive at Etosha Safari Camp, relax at the lodge
Dinner and overnight at Etosha Safari Camp


Morning: breakfast (organised by Etosha Safari Camp)
Full day: self-drive in Etosha National park
Noon: lunch pack (provided by Etosha Safari Camp)
Dinner and overnight at Etosha Safari Camp


Morning: breakfast (organised by Etosha Safari Camp)
Full day: self-drive in Etosha National park
Noon: lunch pack (provided by Etosha Safari Camp)
Dinner and overnight at Etosha Safari Camp


Morning: breakfast (organised by Etosha Safari Camp)
Full day: self-drive in Etosha National park
Noon: lunch pack (provided by Etosha Safari Camp)
Dinner and overnight at Etosha Safari Camp


Morning: breakfast (organised by Etosha Safari Camp)
Morning: drive to Waterberg plateau (300km / 186mi)
Noon: lunch pack (provided by Etosha Safari Camp)
Afternoon; relax at the lodge
Dinner and overnight at Waterberg Plateau Lodge


Morning: breakfast (organised by Waterberg Plateau Lodge)
Morning: mountain hike with guide (organised by Waterberg Plateau Lodge)
Noon: lunch (organised by Etosha Safari Camp)
Afternoon: game drive (organised by Waterberg Plateau Lodge)
Dinner and overnight at Waterberg Plateau Lodge


Morning: breakfast (organised by Waterberg Plateau Lodge)
Morning: drive to Windhoek (230km / 142mi)
Noon: lunch (not included)
Afternoon & evening; (international) flights back home (not included)


Morning/noon: arrival in EU/UK/US

 
 

Included / not included

 


Included;

  • ◦   All activities mentioned in the detailed itinerary above, unless specified "not included"
  • ◦   All accommodation mentioned in the detailed itinerary above
  • ◦   All meals mentioned in the detailed itinerary above, unless specified "not included"
  • ◦   Rental car, group K (Nissan X-trail or similar) & basic insurance


To be paid separately;

  • ◦   The Sandwich Harbour tour is not provided by your lodge
  •       It's cost is about 1.300 NAD per person (80$ / 60 £ / 75 €)
  •       You need to book this online at "Sandwich Harbour 4x4"


Not included;

  • ◦   International or local flights
  • ◦   Travel insurance
  • ◦   Personal expenditure
  • ◦   Medical expenditure (vaccinations, malaria tablets)
  • ◦   Tips & gratuities
  • ◦   All drinks
  • ◦   Conservation levies Etosha National Park and Skeleton Coast
  •      (To be paid at the gate. Small amounts around 10-15 $ / 7-10 £)
 
 

About international flights

 

From US (let's take JFK as airport of departure) the cheapest is South African airlines. They can take you directly from JFK to Johannesburg, and from there they fly regularly to Windhoek. Prices start at around 1.350 $.

There's one other possibility that keeps the number of stopovers to just one, each way: flying to Frankfurt with Lufthansa, and then from there straight to Windhoek with Air Namibia. But prices certainly aren't better (1.600 $ and up) and Air Namibia certainly isn't higher quality than South African Airilines.

For your international flights, if you are you looking for a bit better quality than what African airlines provides, then your best bet is a combination of American Airlines and British Airway. AA to Heathrow, BA to Johannesburg, and a Kulula flight to Windhoek. Prices start at 1.750 $.


From UK (Heathrow) your cheapest option is Virgin Atlantic to Johannesburg, and Kulula to Windhoek. This costs about 600 £.

Other options are South African Airlines (also via Johannesburg, but all SA Airlines' planes); prices start at about 660 £. Or if you want an international flight with a slightly better comfort level; Britisch Airways + Kulula; prices start at about 1.000 £.

There's other options with similar comfort level than BA, but these will add one stopover to your itinerary: Paris (then your international flight is with Air France), or Abu Dhabi (international flight with Etihad). As every stopover means an extra chance to lose your luggage, we do not recommend these, despite the fact that they are about 75 £ cheaper.


From other EU airports. There are uncountable ways to get to Windhoek; from Schiphol, Frankfurt and Paris there's flights to Johannesburg, and then you have to take a second flight to Windhoek. Depending on the airport of your departure; South African Airlines, Air France, KLM and Lufthansa cover these routes. Prices start at about 950 €, or 750 € if you are from Belgium (no direct Johannesburg-flight from Brussels means that all major European airlines from neighbouring countries compete for the Belgian customer).

From Frankfurt you can even get directly to Windhoek, without passing Johannesburg; with Air Namibia. It isn't the cheapest option (from 1.200 €), and it won't be the most comfortable red eye flight, but it certainly is the fastest!
 
 

Additional info

 

There is a single supplement for any person traveling alone.