Namibia Full Circle, 7 - 26 June, 2021
A Photographic Journey with Jeremy Woodhouse
Namibia is a vast country, even by African standards, covering an area approximately four times the size of the United Kingdom but with a population of a mere 2 million – one of the lowest densities in the world. It is also an 'ageless land’; visible through our heritage of rock art created by stone-age artists and geological attractions such as the petrified forest where fossilised tree trunks have lain for over 280 million years. Added to the space and silence, these all contribute to a feeling of antiquity, solitude and wilderness.
The climate is typical of a semi-desert country. Days are warm to hot and nights are generally cool. Temperatures are modified by the high plateau in the interior and by the cold Benguela Current that runs along the Atlantic coastline. Except for the first few months of the year, the country is generally dry with very little rain.
This guided Namibian safari affords you the chance to experience this magnificent and memorable country in a very personal way. You will have your own professional and experienced safari guide who will enhance your enjoyment of this unique country by making it a fascinating and stress-free journey of discovery amidst very dramatic scenery. The knowledge, experience and attitude of our guides are critical to a successful safari which is why we ensure that they are both personable and very professional.
Your safari guide will have an intimate knowledge of each area and camp/lodge that you visit, allowing them to share the local highlights whilst adding continuity and depth to your safari. It goes without saying that they know exactly what a "True African Safari" is all about. Not only are our guides highly qualified, each has a specific area of expertise. Together they possess the breadth and depth of knowledge to allow them to answer questions and satisfy the particular interests of each of our guests. Your guide will turn your safari into an experience of a lifetime!
This tour starts and ends in Windhoek, Namibia. The best way to reach Windhoek is to book your flight to Africa through Johannesburg. We will meet at OR Tambo Intl Airport on the morning of the 10th where we will take the following flight to Windhoek:
BA6275 operated by Comair — JNB 12:00PM - WDH 13:00PM
Obviously, if you are going to spend extra time in Namibia before or after the trip, this will not be relevant. Please let us know as soon as you have flight info so that we can arrange the necessary transfers to our guest house in Windhoek
You may instead choose to fly via Germany direct to Windhoek. There is a direct flight from Frankfurt to Windhoek on Air Namibia. If you need help with flights through a consolidator, please contact me.
Day 1: 7 June, 2021 — Windhoek
On arrival in Windhoek, you will be met by your guide and transferred to the Villa Violet. Situated in the leafy suburb of Klein Windhoek, Villa Violet Bed & Breakfast offers a sparkling new, fresh and modern accommodation option when visiting the city centre . The en-suite rooms front onto a grassy central area. Each room has an air-conditioner/heater, flat-screen TV an a safe, Wireless Internet, secure parking and a laundry service available to guests..
One night at River Crossing Lodge in a twin bedded room with en suite facilities, on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis.
Day 2: 8 June, 2021 — Windhoek/Keetmanshoop
After breakfast drive south for 499 km down the B1 highway via Rehoboth, to Keetmanshoop, arriving late afternoon. You will have a boxed lunch en-route.
Keetmanshoop (translates from Afrikaans as 'the hope of Keetman') is the administrative centre of Namibia's largest region, Karas. It was named after the German trader Johann Keetman, who supported the mission financially. Like many missionaries of that era, they found that even though some Africans converted to Christianity, taking away their tribal beliefs was another matter.
Situated 38 km north-east of the town is the Mesosaurus and Fossil and Quiver Tree (Kokerboom) Dolerite Park, set in an area that includes the Mesosaurus Fossil Site and the Quiver Tree Forest and eroded dolorite rock formations.
Here you will be able to photograph the quiver tree (Kokerboom) forest scenery in pretty afternoon light.
Day 3: 9 June, 2021 — Keetmanshoop
We will spend the whole day photographing at the quiver tree forest and the Giant's Playground. In the evening we will spend some time doing astro photography. The night sky is one of the clearest, least light-polluted in the world—there will be no moon.
O/N Quiver Tree Forest Rest Camp, in a twin bedded room with en-suite facilities, on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis.
Day 4 - 5: 10 June - 11 June, 2021 — Keetmanshoop /Kolmanskop/Luderitz
After breakfast and a morning shoot at the Kokerboom forest, we depart along the B4 highway west to Luderitz, for 356 km
En-route there are with spectacular views of boulder strewn hillsides across wide open plains. You will have a picnic lunch en-route.
The following morning we drive to the nearby "ghost town" of Kolmanskop where we will photograph till lunch time. After lunch we will drive out in to the restricted area to the mining town of Elizabeth Bay. Though it often seems to be forgotten in the shadow of its ghost town counterpart, Kolmanskop, Elizabeth Bay was another lucrative diamond mining town that is worth exploring.
O/N Two nights at the Luderitz Nest Hotel, in a twin bedded room with en suite facilities, on a dinner bed and breakfast basis.
Day 6 - 8: 12 June - 14 June, 2021 — Luderitz/Sesriem
After breakfast depart for Sesriem along the scenic D707 route with picnic lunch en route. The drive is 470 km. The route passes through the Namib Naukluft National Park with spectacular plains and mountain scenery and there is plenty opportunity to stop and photograph en route. Arrive at Sossus Dune Lodge in the evening.
Built in an environmentally sensitive manner, primarily from wood, canvas and thatch, in an attractive 'afro-village' style, Sossus Dune Lodge offers guests an evocative and life changing experience.
Situated within the park, guests benefit from being able to reach Sossusvlei before sunrise, and stay until after sunset, and on their return after an exhilarating day, relax in the tranquility and splendor of the Namib Desert, under the spectacular African sky.
One of the most enduring impressions of the Sossusvlei area is the early morning light on the sea of vivid orange dunes, some as high as 984 feet. Nearby world-famous Sossusvlei is an enormous clay pan, flanked by the famous red sand dunes that stand out starkly against the blue sky.
These dunes – the most well-known being Big Daddy or Dune 45 – have developed over millions of years, the wind continuously refashioning the contours of this red sand sea. The 'vlei' itself only fills after rare heavy rainfall when, in a complete turnaround, it transforms into a spectacular inland lake.
Photography of the dunes in the early morning and late afternoon is particularly stunning with rich reds and dark shadows completing the extraordinary vista that is the enormity of the Namib Desert.
There is an opportunity to take an optional dawn balloon flight on one of the mornings at a cost of approx US $450 per person – we can also organize helicopter rides if you would prefer to this over the balloons.
3 nights at Sossus Dune Lodge, in a twin bedded room with en-suite facilities, on a fully inclusive basis.
Day 9: 15 June, 2021 — Sesriem/Walvis Bay
After an early breakfast, you will drive across the desert to Walvis Bay.
Two nights at the Egumbo Lodge, Walvis Bay, in a twin bedded room with en-suite facilities, on a dinner, bed and breakfast basis.
Day 10: 16 June — Sandwich Harbor
The Turnstone Tour to Sandwich Harbor begins when you are collected from your hotel at about 08h45. You drive along a beautiful dune chain, adjacent the Atlantic Ocean, zigzagging the original railway line between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay. This is an opportunity for a detailed look at the formation of 'the world's oldest desert' – its origins, its composition and its movements.
Your first stop is at 'Bird Rock' – a guano island inhabited by 200,000 birds and one of the first examples of man's efforts to utilize the rich natural resources of the area.
The Lagoons at Walvis Bay and at Sandwich Harbor have been designated as 'Wetlands of International Importance’, while the 'Bird Paradise' at Walvis Bay is also a key nesting and feeding site for thousands of visiting and resident birds. A recent bird survey, overseen by expert ornithologists from Namibia and South Africa, counted record numbers of Flamingo, Plover and Tern between Walvis Bay Lagoon and Sandwich Harbor. Other favorites, such as Pelican, Avocet, Turnstone and a huge variety of waders can be seen, with numbers peaking at around 170,000 in November. Several endemic species, such as the Dune Lark and the Damara Tern, are also found in the vicinity.
Leaving Walvis Bay behind, you head for the lower reaches of the Kuiseb Delta. This unique ecosystem is dotted with archaeological sites, 450 year-old animal tracks, windblown graves and magnificent dunes. There is evidence of ancient and recent gathering, harvesting and trading by the Topnaar, an indigenous Namibian community descended from the !Khoi group, which relies on the naturally occurring Nara fruit for survival.
Turning south, you begin the approach to Sandwich Harbor. This crosses barren salt pans and vegetation covered hummock dunes, which shelter small groups of Springbok, Ostrich, Jackal and Brown Hyena. Peregrine Falcons, Pale Chanting Goshawks and Black- breasted Snake Eagles can sometimes be seen hunting small mammals (such as gerbils, three-striped mice and Cape Foxes) which share the dunes with a fascinating variety of desert-adapted insects, reptiles and plants.
This section of the journey is as dramatic as the landscape, and it soon becomes clear why Sandwich Harbor is often described as inaccessible! Spring tides and shifting sands ensure an unpredictable route, but as you approach the towering, wind-sculptured dunes at the edge of Sandwich Harbor, there is a sense of entering a different world. All that is left of the old whaling station and its community of traders and fishermen is the freshwater lagoon, a solitary deserted building, and the strange greenery of this unique coastal wetland. This is the setting for your picnic – a large hamper full of homemade cakes, savories, salads, fruit and drinks – and a spot of bird watching. Some 40,000 birds – 34 different species – were recorded in this area during recent surveys. Take a leisurely walk around the Lagoon (an official marine sanctuary) and you may also see seals, dolphins and even whales.
The drive back home affords a last look at these haunting landscapes and a chance for reflection...you will arrive back at your hotel round about 17h00.
Overnight at Egumbo Lodge
Day 11 - 13: 17 - 19 June, 2021 — Walvis Bay/Fort Sesfontein
Today is the longest drive of the tour. Leaving at the crack of dawn with a box breakfast, we will drive north up the Skeleton Coast. Passing through Swakopmund our first stop will be to photograph the Zeila Shipwreck. This fishing trawler, sold as scrap metal to an Indian company by Hangana Fishing of Walvis Bay, got stranded on 25 Aug, 2008 after it came loose from its towing line while on its way to Bombay shortly after it left Walvis Bay.
Our next stop, before we turn inland at Torra Bay, is the Cape Cross Seal Reserve, the best-known 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, and the sight of more than 100,000 seals basking on the beach and frolicking in the surf is impressive to behold – you will however, have to contend with the pong.
You will have a packed lunch en-route. We will arrive at Fort Sesfontein by sunset. If we have time we will stop on the way to photograph some Herero ladies, resplendent in their Victorian-style dresses.
Fort Sesfontein Lodge is situated in the centre of Sesfontein in the old German fort that was abandoned in 1914. It is now restored as a lodge from where visitors can explore an ephemeral river bed, recently discovered rock engravings, and the nomadic Himba people.
A gap in the mountains gives access to the valley basin of Sesfontein, (six fountains) where green gardens give the landscape its special character. In 1896 the government of what was then German South-West Africa, built the Fort of Sesfontein as a control point for keeping in check cattle disease, arms smuggling and illegal hunting.
Today, more than 100 years after the original establishment of the Sesfontein Station, the Fort has acquired a second lease of life after being tastefully restored as a tourist lodge. Use of building materials, characteristic for the region, such as clay walls, stone floors and reed linings, convey a very special and original atmosphere.
We will photograph in an authentic Himba Village the next morning and we will explore different Herero communities in the area.
After lunch on the second day we will drive down the Hoanib Riverbed where we will have a chance to see desert-adapted elephant, giraffe, ostrich and other adapted creatures—and perhaps the resident pride of desert-adapted lions.
We will use the third day to visit local Herero communities and to photograph daily life in the region—you never know who you will meet on the road.
3 nights at Fort Sesfontein Lodge, in a twin bedded room with en-suite facilities, on a fully inclusive basis.
Day 14 - 16: 20 - 22 June, 2021 — Sesfontein/Okaukuejo
After spending three nights in Sesfontein getting to know this community and learning about the history of the settlement, we will depart early morning for our drive to Etosha National Park where we will spend the next 5 nights.
Famous for its night time floodlit waterhole Okaukuejo Rest Camp is also the administrative centre of Etosha. The rest camp was formerly a military outpost founded in 1901 and its characteristic stone tower was added in 1963. Located in the south of Etosha National Park, Okaukuejo is only 17 km from Anderson Gate. Okaukuejo offers a wide range of accommodation as well as all the necessities such as a petrol station and a shop. The restaurant and bar offer refreshments and delicious meals, while the swimming pool offers relief on hot days. The waterhole is a hub of animal activity starting in the early hours of the morning, especially during winter when a wide diversity of game congregate in close proximity to the camp to quench their thirst.
After sunset floodlights illuminate the waterhole. This is the best time and place to see the endangered black rhino which can often be seen drinking alongside lion and elephant. The number and interaction of the animals is one of the major drawcard of Okaukuejo Rest Camp in Namibia.
O/N Okaukuejo Rest Camp (B,L,D)
The Waterhole Chalets perfectly situated overlooking the popular waterhole allowing guests to view game from their patio or balcony. These units are en-suite and are available as double rooms or premier chalets with two bedrooms.
Etosha National Park
Etosha National Park, translated as the ‘Place of Mirages’, Land of Dry Water’ or the ‘Great White Place’, covers 22,270 km², of which over 5,000 km² is made up of saline depressions or ‘pans’. The largest of these pans, the Etosha Pan, can be classified as a saline desert in its own right. The Etosha Pan lies in the Owambo Basin, on the north-western edge of the Namibian Kalahari Desert. Until three million years ago it formed part of a huge, shallow lake that was reduced to a complex of salt pans when the major river that fed it, the Kunene, changed course and began to flow to the Atlantic instead. If the lake existed today, it would be the third largest in the world. Etosha Pan is the largest of the pans at 4,760 km² in extent. It is nowadays filled with water only when sufficient rain falls to the north in Angola, inducing floods to flow southward along the Cuvelai drainage system. The Park consists of grassland, woodland and savannah. Game-viewing centers around the numerous springs and waterholes where several different species can often be seen at one time. The Park boasts some 114 mammal and over 340 bird species. Wildlife that one might see includes elephant, lion, giraffe, blue wildebeest, eland, kudu, gemsbok (oryx), zebra, rhino, cheetah, leopard, hyena, honey badger and warthog, as well as the endemic black faced impala.
Day 17 - 18: 23 - 24 June, 2021 – Okaukuejo Rest Camp/Namutoni Rest Camp
After our morning game drive we will spend the day driving through the park, often skirting the edge of the vast Etosha Pan, until we reach Namutoni where we will spend the next 2 nights. Built into an old German Fort Namutoni Camp has a unique atmosphere. Within the fort you will find ample facilities and a variety of accommodation. From the walls of the fort you can enjoy an elevated view of the King Nehale Waterhole allowing for great game viewing without leaving the camp. The walls of the fort are also and excellent spot for sundowners. There is hardly a better way to end a day in the bush and Namibia than to marvel at the colours of the setting sun.
The Camp is situated in the eastern part of Etosha National Park and is accessible via the Von Lindequist Gate. Its close proximity to Fisher’s Pan makes Namutoni a hotspot for birders. Two restaurants, a craft shop, a pool and a viewing deck overlooking King Nehale Waterhole make the fort a great place to relax at lunchtime or after evening game drives.
O/N Namutoni Rest Camp (B,L,D)
The chalets are spacious and comfortable with two beds and an en-suite bathroom. This option offers the most privacy and is equipped with a patio and an outdoor shower. Wooden walkways connect the chalets to the restaurant and bar area.
Day 19: 25 June – Namutoni Rest Camp - Erindi
After our wildlife-filled adventure in Etosha National Park, the penultimate day will be spent driving south towards Windhoek. En-route we will spend our last night at Erindi.
O/N Erindi (B,L,D)
Erindi Private Game Reserve is a protected reserve in central Namibia. Erindi, meaning “place of water”, is a sustainable natural wonderland. We are custodians to the most prolific amount of endemic species and multiple conservation projects. With 70,719 hectares of pristine wilderness under our care, we have undertaken an immense task to pursue conservation initiatives in the name of eco-friendly tourism, whilst empowering our local communities. Today, Erindi is an idyllic retreat boasting two camps, a rich cultural heritage, knowledgeable guides and unmatched hospitality – ensuring visitors have the kind of safari that lives in memory for a lifetime.
Day 20: Mon, 26 June 2020 – Transfer to the Airport
After our morning game drive at Erindi we will transfer to the Hosea Kutako International Airport at Windhoek for your flight back home. If you are leaving through Johannesburg, you should make sure you book BA6274 operated by Comair — WDH 13:55PM - JNB 16:50PM. You should be able to get a later connection back to the US
Arrival, Departure & Visa
Arrival & Meeting Place
Namibia can be visited throughout the year. The climate is generally dry and pleasant. Namibia only receives a fraction of the rain experienced by countries further east. Between December and March, some days will be humid and rain may follow, often in localized, afternoon thunderstorms. Wildlife viewing in all parks, but especially in Etosha, is best in the dry season from June to October. In the Wet season, animals move away from the waterholes and scatter around the park.
English is the official language, but Namibia's relatively small population is extraordinarily diverse in language and culture. More than 11 languages are indigenous to Namibia but with its cosmopolitan society, languages from around the world are spoken in Namibia. People commonly speak two or three languages and more than 49% of the population speaks Oshiwambo. Due to the country's colonial history Afrikaans, the language of the previous South African occupiers is still widely spoken and functions as the lingua franca in Namibia. Namibia has two small groups of nomadic groups; the Khoisan speaking people, known as the Bushmen or San and the Ovahimba people, figuratively known as the red people.
The Namibian Dollar is the official currency and is fixed to and equals the South African Rand. Both these currencies can be used freely in Namibia, but the Namibian Dollar is not legal tender in South Africa. Traveler's checks and credit cards are also accepted throughout the country, though obviously not in every case. It's best to travel with multiple payment options just in case.
Currency Exchange: Foreign currency can be exchanged during normal banking hours at any of the commercial banks, or at bureau de change offices. Credit/Debit Card: American Express, MasterCard and Visa are accepted. Check with your credit or debit card company for details of merchant acceptability and other services, which may be available.
Currency Restrictions: The import and export of local currency is limited to NAD 50,000. The import of foreign currency by visitors is unlimited, provided it is declared upon arrival. Export of foreign currency is unlimited up to the amount imported and declared as long as the departure is within 12 months. No limits exist for travel between Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland as these countries are members of the same common monetary area.
Banking Hours: Mon-Fri 09:00-15:30, Sat 09:00-11:00.
Tax and Customs: General Sales Tax (GST) in Namibia is 15% on goods and services. Bona fide tourists to Namibia are exempt from paying sales duty or excise duty on luxury items. Visitors may reclaim VAT at Hosea Kutako International Airport, Eros Airport and Walvis Bay Airport.
Area: Namibia covers 824,292 sq km (318,259 sq mi).
Location: Situated on the southwestern coast of Africa, Namibia borders Angola and Zambia in the north, South Africa in the south and Botswana in the east.
Population: Slightly more than 2.3 million.
Capital City: Windhoek
Official name: Republic of Namibia
Date of Independence: 21 March 1990
System of Government: Multi-party Democracy
Head of State: President Dr Hage Geingob since 2015.
Prime Minister: Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila since 2015.
Language: English, German, Afrikaans, Oshiwambo, Rukwangari, Silozi, Otjiherero, Damara, Nama, Khisan and Setswana
Literacy: The current literacy rate in Namibia is about 83%, one of the highest in Africa.
Religion: Freedom of religion was adopted through Namibia's Bill of Fundamental Rights. About 90% of the population is Christian.
Currency: The Namibia Dollar (N$); the Namibia Dollar and South African Rand are the only legal tender in Namibia and can be used freely to purchase goods and services.
Time Zones: Summer time: GMT + 2 hours from the 1st Sunday in September to the 1st Sunday in April. Winter time: GMT + 1 hour from the 1st Sunday in April to the 1st Sunday in September.
Electricity: 220 volts AC, 50hz. Outlets are of the round three-pin type.
Before you pay your deposit, please register for this tour
Tour dates: 7 June - 26 June, 2021
Single Supplement: $875
Max Group Size: 10
10 SPOTS OPEN
Photographer: Jeremy Woodhouse
Tour Fee Includes
Tour Fee Does not Include
Virtual Private Network
If you want to access an uncensored internet while on the road, you may want to consider getting a Virtual Private Network (VPN). I use Express VPN. If you decide to use this option,
please use the referral link below.
Also good to have