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Self-drive | 14 days/11 nights:

Sossusvlei & Fish River Canyon

Highlights of this trip:

Windhoek, Sossusvlei, Sesriem Canyon, Aus, Namib Desert, Fish River Canyon, Kalahari Desert, the private nature reserve at Onjala Lodge.

The package includes the following:

  • Return flights from the UK to Windhoek
  • 11 days’ Avis car hire – Toyota Hilux 4-wheel drive or similar, including the necessary insurance policies
  • 11 nights’ accommodation in good hotels and lodges
  • 11 x breakfast (day 2 – 13)
  • 10 x dinner (day 3 – 12)
  • Emergency hotline staffed 24/7 throughout the trip
  • Departure guarantee – Tour requires minimum 2 participants

Single room supplement £315
The trip can’t be booked later than 30 days prior to departure.

Choose this tour because…

Would you like the freedom to experience Namibia at your own pace, following a route with planned overnight accommodation? If so, this self-drive holiday may well be perfect for you. Namibia is a magnificent country to explore for yourself, as it is rightly known for its fine roads, well-maintained cars and accommodating, helpful population.

You will be driving through the central and southern parts of the country, beginning in Windhoek, the capital city. This marks the start of a wonderful journey of discovery, where you have the chance to admire Namibia’s breath-taking and idyllic landscapes distinguished by long rivers, deep gorges, huge deserts and tall dunes of deep red sand. You will also almost certainly encounter some of the extraordinary creatures that have adapted to life in the desert.

The tour will give you the opportunity to get to know some of the history of the country, as it features detours to Duwisib castle, the ‘Sperrgebiet’ diamond region, the ghost town of Kolmanskop and the coastal city of Lüderitz.

The delightful trip concludes in a private nature reserve comprising 1,700 hectares of bush that is home to a fantastic variety of flora and fauna.

Detailed Itinerary
(Click an image to view at full size)

Day 1: Departure from the UK

Departure day, where you will fly to Namibia with connecting flights along the way.

Day 2: Arrival in Windhoek

On arrival at Windhoek’s international airport, you will pass through immigration, collect your luggage and then continue through customs. It is then time to collect your hire car and drive to your hotel – a journey that takes approx. 1 hour.

Windhoek is not only the capital of Namibia, it is also the largest city in the country, with a population of 300,000. It is located at an elevation of 1,650 masl in a delightful valley, bordered by the Eros Mountains to the north and the Auas Mountains to the south. To the west, the Khomas highlands slope down towards the Namib Desert and the Atlantic Ocean.

Windhoek is a modern city that still clearly shows the influence of the German colonial age, with European traditions blending seamlessly with African cultures.

The heart of Windhoek is centred around Independence Avenue, and is ideal for exploring on foot. The busy main avenue starts at Ausspannplatz in the south, and runs all the way to the Katutura area in the north. If you have time, we recommend that you visit the Craft Centre, where you can buy fine Namibian arts and crafts, books, photographs and local delicacies.

The day’s drive: Approx. 45 km

Overnight stay: The Elegant Guesthouse***

Day 3: Windhoek – Sesriem

Today, you will be heading south to Sesriem by the Namib Desert. Drive through the picturesque and rugged Khomas Hochland highlands (1,750–2,000 masl), a region distinguished by steep mountain ridges and softer, undulating hills. Continue on to Remhoogte pass at an altitude of 1,556 masl, where you can enjoy the stunning view at ‘The Great Escarpment’. This is a giant geological formation that clearly marks the border of the Namib Desert, which stretches fully 2,000 km along the Atlantic coast of Africa. The desert is estimated to be more than 500 million years old, making it the oldest desert in the world. This is the perfect place to admire enchanting countryside and animals that have adapted to life in the desert – as well as the famous red sand dunes at Sossusvlei, which are the tallest in the world, reaching heights of hundreds of metres

From here, make your way to the place where you will be spending the night: Hoodia Desert Lodge at Tsauchab, approx. 20 km from Sesriem, which stands on the border of Namib Naukluft Park. This is the biggest national park in the country and covers more than 50,000 km² – an area larger than Switzerland or the Netherlands, for example.

The day’s drive: Approx. 310 km

Overnight stay: Hoodia Desert Lodge***

Day 4: Sossusvlei & Sesriem Canyon

We recommend that you make an early start to the day and drive to Sossusvlei to experience how the desert dramatically changes colour as the sun gradually rises.

You can also start the day with a once-in-lifetime experience: a fantastic balloon flight over Sossusvlei.

If you like, you can climb to the top of one of the tallest sand dunes in the world and admire the truly extraordinary view out over Sossusvlei and the dried-up lake Deadvlei, where withered, almost sculptural trees stretch their bare branches towards the deep blue sky.

You can then enjoy a delicious breakfast under an acacia tree before driving to Sesriem Canyon, which is 30 metres deep and 3 km long, carved by the relentless flow of the Tsauchab River over millions of years.

The rest of the afternoon is yours to do with as you wish.

The day’s driving distance: Approx. 160 km.

Overnight stay: Hoodia Desert Lodge***

Details of the trip, for which there is an extra charge:

Day 5: Sesriem – Aus

Today, you will be driving to Aus. En route, you will pass Duwisib Castle, which was built in the heart of the barren savannah by Baron Hans Heinrich von Wolf. Following the German-Namibian war of 1907, Baron von Wolf returned home to Germany where he married Miss Jayta Humphreys, step-daughter of the American consul. They decided to settle in South-west Africa, and commissioned the architect Wilhelm Sander to design the castle. Most of the materials were imported from Germany, and master masons were hired from Italy, Sweden and Ireland to work on the project. The castle was completed in 1909 and contained 22 rooms. If you have time, stop at the castle and admire the original interior. You may even be lucky enough to see some wild horses in the area. They are said to be descendants of the baron’s thoroughbred horses.

Continue on to your next accommodation venue: Klein-Aus Vista, which is located on the border of the off-limits diamond region known as ‘Sperrgebiet’ – which is the German for ‘prohibited territory’. German prospectors discovered diamonds in the Namib Desert in 1908 and promptly declared 26.000 km2 of it ‘off limits’. Very few people have been permitted to set foot here since that time. Following independence the Namibian government proclaimed part of ‘Sperrgebiet’ a national park, and a few years ago, the authorities started allowing visitors to take guided tours of the area accompanied by a nature guide from the Namibian Ministry of Tourism and Environment.

The day’s drive: Approx. 390 km.

Overnight stay: Klein-Aus Vista ***

Day 6: Aus

The day is yours to do with as you wish.

The enchanting desert landscape around the hotel is ideal for nature walks – simply follow the signposted paths and trails. At the hotel, you can also book and pay for an excursion to Koichab Pan in Namib Naukluft Park, where you can see wild horses in the area around Garup.

Klein-Aus Vista is also a good base for visiting the coastal city of Lüderitz, which is approx. 120 km away. Lüderitz is located at the point where the barren Namib Desert meets the blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean, and it is the perfect place to observe colonies of penguins and flamingos. In addition to its remarkable location, the city is also famous for its beautiful buildings from the German colonial age, its bakeries and its cafés. From here, it is only a short distance to the ghost town of Kolmanskop, which was formerly a small mining village. It is now a popular tourist destination, dotted with abandoned houses and buildings that are gradually being covered in sand. The wind blows constantly, sprinkling the town with sand from the Namib Desert. Kolmanskop is located in the ‘Sperrgebiet’, so you need a permit to visit the town. You can buy permits at the town gates, and you can then join one of the guided tours that are held Monday–Friday at 09.30 and 11.00, as well as at 10.00 on Sundays.

In the evening, you can enjoy the marvellous sunset from the hotel – a truly beautiful sight.

The day’s drive: Depending on the route you take.

Overnight stay: Klein-Aus Vista ***

Day 7: Aus – Fish River Canyon

Today, you will continue heading south to Fish River Canyon, which is sure to be one of the absolute highlights of your trip. Fish River Canyon is the second largest gorge in the world, exceeded only by the Grand Canyon in the United States. Over the course of millions of years, this enormous canyon was carved out by unimaginable forces from the interior of the Earth and by the flow of the river. Today, it is 160 km long, up to 27 km wide and as much as 550 metres deep in places. At Hobas, 70 km north of Ai-Ais, there is a publicly accessible vantage point. This section of the canyon is part of the Ai-Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park. Ai-Ais itself is home to a number of hot springs and the name Ai-Ais actually means ‘burning water’ in the local Nama language. The sulphurous hot springs are located at the foot of the mountains at the southern end of Fish River Canyon.

From here, drive to Cañon Lodge, where you will be spending two nights.

The day’s drive: Approx. 290 km.

Overnight stay: Cañon Lodge ***

Day 8: Fish River Canyon

We recommend that you devote the day to an excursion to Fish River Canyon and its surroundings – an almost hair-raising experience. Here, you can admire the impressive formations and colours from a number of wonderful vantage points. You can actually drive right down to the bottom of the canyon from the north side. Outside the rainy season, you may even be able to go for a swim in the river. Fish River does not actually flow all year round – typically only in the summer months, from November to February – and it is not uncommon for it to dry up completely from June to August.

The day’s drive: Approx. 40 km.

Overnight stay: Cañon Lodge ***

Day 9: Fish River Canyon – Kalahari

The time has now come to leave Fish River Canyon and make your way to the central part of Namibia and the striking Kalahari, where you will be spending two nights. The Kalahari Desert covers a huge area – approx. 900,000 km2 – of which 70% is located in Botswana and the remaining 30% is divided between Namibia, Zimbabwe and South Africa. It is home to a rich variety of flora and fauna, and several parts of it have been declared national parks and game reserves. It is also here that you can meet the San people, who still live as hunters and gatherers.

En route, it is well worth stopping at Quiver Tree Forest, which is famous for its 250 aloe trees. The bush people originally used the branches of these trees to make quivers for their arrows – hence the name. The trees are 2–300 years old and can grow to a height of up to 9 metres.

Another attraction in this region is the Giant’s Playground with its 180 million year old pumice stone formations created by lava being forced up from under the ground, cooling and setting. The huge forces from the interior of the earth have stacked the stones on top of one another, creating some truly extraordinary formations.

Time permitting, you can also drive past the Naute Dam, which holds back 69 million cubic metres of water, creating the third-largest reservoir in Namibia.

The day’s drive: Approx. 425 km.

Overnight stay: Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch ***

Day 10: Kalahari

The day is yours to do with as you wish.

You can choose to relax in the magnificent surroundings, or take part in one of the activities organised by the lodge. For example, you have the chance to admire the graceful cheetahs that live in a 12 hectare, fenced off area, or go on an excursion to experience the fascinating landscape of the Kalahari Desert, with its tall red dunes, broad valleys and green acacia trees. While you are there, you may well spot antelopes, oryx, giraffes and ostriches wandering around in the picturesque landscape.

Overnight stay: Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch ***

Day 11: Kalahari – The private nature reserve at Onjala Lodge

Your drive today will take you to the private nature reserve at Onjala Lodge, which is located approx. 40 minutes from Windhoek, the Namibian capital.

The nature reserve comprises 1,700 hectares of bush, where you can experience the amazing wildlife that features giraffes, black wildebeest, warthogs, zebras, oryx – famous for their long, straight, black horns – and, if you are really lucky, a leopard or two …

The day’s drive: Approx. 310 km.

Overnight stay: Onjala Lodge ***

Day 12: The private nature reserve at Onjala Lodge

The day is yours to do with as you wish.

Onjala is an absolute gem in the heart of the unspoiled Namibian bush. Make the most of the opportunity to relax and ‘recharge your batteries’, lazing by the pool, enjoying treatments in the spa department or simply sitting on the veranda, enjoying the surroundings and reading a book to the accompaniment of the sounds of the local birds and animals. There are also a number of excursions you can join for an additional fee.

Overnight stay: Onjala Lodge ***

A selection of supplementary trips is listed below:

Day 13: Start of the trip home

It is now time to drive back to Windhoek Airport, return your hire car and start your trip back to the UK, which will include connecting flights along the way.

Day 14: Arrival back in the UK

Land back home in the UK after a magnificent holiday, packed with wonderful experiences.

Highlights of this trip:

Windhoek, Sossusvlei, Sesriem Canyon, Aus, Namib Desert, Fish River Canyon, Kalahari Desert, the private nature reserve at Onjala Lodge.

The package includes the following:

  • Return flights from the UK to Windhoek
  • 11 days’ Avis car hire – Toyota Hilux 4-wheel drive or similar, including the necessary insurance policies
  • 11 nights’ accommodation in good hotels and lodges
  • 11 x breakfast (day 2 – 13)
  • 10 x dinner (day 3 – 12)
  • Emergency hotline staffed 24/7 throughout the trip
  • Departure guarantee – Tour requires minimum 2 participants

Single room supplement £315
The trip can’t be booked later than 30 days prior to departure.
ENQUIRE NOW
14d/11n: Self-drive to Sossusvlei & Fish River Canyon
Adults  Chd. u/12 y.

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