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Namibia's Etosha Pan & Skeleton Coast

Tour Code: NAM02

A 17-day wildlife safari in search of the birds and mammals of Namibia's desert habitats including the Etosha Pan, the Namib Desert, the Waterberg Mountains, Damaraland and the Skeleton Coast.

dates & prices to be confirmed Land Only Price: £ SRS: £


We begin this tour surrounded by the huge sand dunes of the Namib-Naukluft National Park, where we will look for Gemsbok, Springbok and the endearing little shovel-nosed Lizard, as well as such birds as Crimson-breasted Gonolek and the endemic Rüppell's Kohaan. Next we drive to Walvis Bay at the southern end of the Skeleton Coast home to large flocks of wintering waders, flamingos and numerous Cape Fur Seals. Turning inland we will stop amongst the spectacular table-top mountains of Damaraland before entering Etosha National Park who's permanent waterholes are a magnet for numerous mammals including Elephant, Black Rhino, Lion and Southern Giraffe and an abundance of birds. On our way back to Windhoek we will break our drive at the spectacular Waterberg Plateau where we will look for our final two Namibian endemics, Hartlaub’s Francolin and the attractive Rockrunner.

  • Explore the spectacular desert landscapes of the Namib-Naukluft National Park & SossusVlei.
  • Abundant game in the Etosha National Park
  • Look for the 'desert adapted' Elephants of Damaraland.
  • Endemic birds such as Rockrunner, White-tailed Shrike & Rüppell's Korhaan.
  • Visit Walvis Bay & the Skeleton Coast.
  • See the extraordinary Welwitschia mirabilis, one of the longest lived plants
  • Enjoy Cape Cross’s seal colony & the ancient rock art in the Twyfelfontein Valley
  • Take a pelagic boat trip in search of Heaviside’s Dolphin & African Penguin
  • Expertly led by UK and local naturalist guides.

 

Food

All included in the price.

Accommodation

Comfortable chalets, lodges and permanent tented camps, most with private facilities.

Outline Itinerary Download

Day 1 Depart London

Day 2 Arrive Windhoek and transfer to Namib Desert

Day 3/4 Sossusvlei and Sesriem, Namib Naukluft National Park

Day 5/7 Walvis Bay

Day 8/9 Damaraland

Day 10 Hobatere Lodge

Day 11/14 Etosha National Park

Day 15 Waterberg Plateau

Day 16 Depart Windhoek

Day 17 Arrive London

Situated along Africa’s most inhospitable coastline, Namibia is a wild and spectacular country of desert landscapes and deep blue skies. The name Namib is a Hottentot word meaning ‘great plains’, epitomised by the magnificent Etosha Pan, whose amazing wildlife spectacles we have all seen so many times on television. To the east of Etosha lies the great Kalahari Desert, whilst to the west is the beautiful Namib Desert which stretches along the full length of the country’s coastline. Namibia is truly vast: three times the size of its colonist, Germany, yet with a population of just two and a half million! Not surprisingly its wildlife has suffered less at the hands of man than in most other African countries, and such endangered species as the Black Rhinoceros still retain a viable toehold. 

Namibia’s scenery is varied and full of contrasts. It is a land of towering brick-red sand dunes — the tallest on earth — of deep canyons, shimmering plains, high mountains and plateaux, and endless bushland. Along the appropriately named Skeleton Coast — the grave of so many ships — the cold Benguela Current sweeps northward, transporting plankton-rich Antarctic waters into warm subtropical regions. It is this current that has created the Namib Desert, since the Benguela’s low temperature prevents evaporation and assures an incredibly low rainfall in the region. Yet, if the Benguela limits the land-based flora and fauna, its nutrient-packed waters are a haven for fish, seals and seabirds. 

Although Namibia was colonised by Germany from 1894, and presents a German flavour and architecture in its towns even today, modern Namibia still boasts the rich indigenous cultures of its tribes — the Bushmen, Himbas, Hereros, Ovambos and Damara. Thus it makes a most interesting country through which to travel, and in which to enjoy unique habitats and a fabulous range of mammal and bird species, many of which are endemic. 

Our holiday begins in Windhoek, Namibia’s capital, from where we will drive to the Namib Naukluft National Park for a stay of two nights. Here the Naukluft Mountains and the world’s highest sand dunes conspire to offer some of the finest scenery in Africa. Amongst them we will find some wonderful walking, such drought-tolerant mammals as Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra, Gemsbok and Springbok, and an excellent range of desert birds, including Black Eagle, Ludwig’s Bustard, Rosy-faced Lovebird, Bokmakierie and Dune Lark. 

The long drive to Walvis Bay, at the southern end of the Skeleton Coast, is unique in its utter desolation. We will cross the dry Kuiseb Canyon, the remarkable Moonland, and arid plains where great flocks of Ostrich and herds of Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra roam. We will spend three nights in Walvis Bay in order to fully explore the surrounding mudflats, marshes and deserts. The bay holds one of the highest concentrations of waders in southern Africa, and is also home to thousands of Greater and Lesser Flamingoes, White Pelicans, grebes, ducks, gulls, terns and, quite often, vagrant American species into the bargain! If the weather permits, we will also set out to sea for a morning to look for the exciting pelagic species that feed offshore. We will also venture inland in search of the peculiar Welwitschia mirabilis, a remarkable desert plant that lives for as long as 2,000 years! 

En route to the spectacular wilderness of Damaraland, we will stop on the Skeleton Coast to look at the Cape Cross seal colony and in the beautiful valley of Twyfelfontein to enjoy its wealth of rock art. Damaraland is an unpeopled wilderness of rolling, bush- covered hills and plateaux. Here we will stay in a comfortable tented camp and explore this unique environment, hoping for a chance encounter with the region’s Black Rhino, Lion or ‘desert’ Elephant, and some outstanding birding. At night we will have an opportunity to go spotlighting in search of some of the region’s nocturnal mammals such as Aardwolf, Bat-eared Fox and Honey Badger.  

Covering 22,000 square kilometres, Etosha is one of the finest parks in Africa, and one of the greatest wildlife spectacles on earth. At its heart is the Etosha saltpan, an enormous shallow depression — over 100 kilometres across — with numerous perennial springs around its edges, which attract large concentrations of birds and mammals. This is one of the last places in the world where Elephant and Black Rhino may both be seen, plus predators such as Lion, Cheetah and Leopard, and antelopes ranging in size from the giant Eland to the diminutive Damara Dik-dik. We will now spend four full days enjoying the best of the park’s wildlife. 

We will break our drive back to Windhoek with a night at the Waterberg Plateau Park. Rising almost 200 metres above the surrounding bush, the Waterberg Plateau is home to a tremendous variety of birds. Over 200 species have been recorded and these include Hartlaub’s Francolin (a Namibian endemic), Black Eagle, Bradfield’s Hornbill, Rüppell’s Parrot, Rockrunner, Grey-backed Bleating Warbler and the beautiful African Paradise Flycatcher.

Desert adapted Elephant (Paul Stanbury)Damaraland (Paul Stanbury)Cape Fur Seals (Paul Stanbury)Entrance to the Skeleton Coast National Park (Paul Stanbury)An ancient Welwitschia Mirabilis (Paul Stanbury)A useful road sign (Paul Stanbury)Sociable Weaver nest (Paul Stanbury)Springbok (Paul Stanbury)Shovel-nosed Lizard  (Paul Stanbury)Sossus-vlei pan (Paul Stanbury)Sand dunes at Sossus-vlei (Paul Stanbury)Yellow-billed Hornbill (Paul Stanbury)Sunset over an Etosha waterhole (Paul Stanbury)Blue Cranes (Paul Stanbury)Quelea flock (Paul Stanbury)Giraffe (Paul Stanbury)Animals around an Etosha waterhole (Paul Stanbury)Cheetah (Paul Stanbury)Lion (Paul Stanbury)Black Rhino (Paul Stanbury)Burchell’s Zebra and Wildebeest (Paul Stanbury)Okaukuejo Waterhole (Paul Stanbury)Giraffes (Paul Stanbury)Black Korhaan (Paul Stanbury)White-crowned Shrike (Paul Stanbury)OryxSpringbokBlack RhinoElephantsElephantsOryx (Bret Charman)Banded Mongoose (Bret Charman)LionOryx (Bret Charman)Burchell's Zebra (Bret Charman)Ground Squirrel (Bret Charman)LionElephat in MusthHoopoeKuduPale Chanting GoshawkCrimson-breasted Shrike, Kalahari DesertSossusvlei, Namib DesertSossusvlei, Namib DesertCrimson-breasted ShrikeNamib Desert, SossusvleiNaukluft National Park, Namib Desert
M.L.
Edinburgh
The wildlife, scenery, geology and company were all wonderful. Our guides were very knowledgeable, very enthusiastic, very caring and huge fun!
H.M.
Clackmannanshire
The whole trip was outstanding but Damaraland stands out as being the best bit. The camp was wonderful and the scenery and the people just amazing.
J.G.
Surrey
Both naturalists and tour leader were invariably friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. The lodges were in general excellent and very welcoming. I particularly remember the Kulala Desert Lodge for its wonderful situation. But top of the list, I think, must be the Damaraland Lodge, which produced a splendid cooked lunch in the middle of the wilderness when we were expecting a packed sandwiches. Then a parting breakfast at the top of the hill in similar fashion - very surprising and imaginative! And wonderful scenery! Oh and there was dinner under the stars to start with.
Mr & Mrs D.
Shropshire
The guides, Festus and Jeremia made this trip with their care, calm approach and their unquestionable knowledge of their wonderful country, wildlife, ecology and geology. They made sure that the vehicles were always positioned so that all of us could see. They really cared for us in every way. We are general wildlife lovers and found the holiday brilliant. I had a checklist of 6 animals I had always wanted to see. We saw these and many more thanks to our guides.
Mr & Mrs M.
Hertfordshire
The three wilderness safari camps were outstanding. Damaraland Camp was one of the best places we have ever stayed at. The guides/drivers, Festus and Jeremia were outstanding in their general knowledge of wildlife, their country and history. Some of the best guides we have travelled with.
Dr. A. C.
Hampshire
This was a wonderful holiday - one of my most exciting and memorable African experiences.
E.L.
Hampshire
Zul the leader was superb on the birds and helping people to recognise birds - very patient with beginners.
A.J.
Essex
I must mention the excellence of the local guides, nothing was too much trouble. Even to the extent that when I dropped my SLR camera they managed to lend me another…Also, the Naturetrek leader was very good. Thus every incentive to travel with Naturetrek again…”
D.R.
Kent
John, Ryno and Jerry made a very good team, even running to a good comedy act!
V.G.
Surrey
An excellent trip - l will never forget the Giant Eagle Owl flying over the sandgrouse in the dawn light at Hobatere. Jhan also took a lot of trouble to get people on the birds, and his addition of the Avis Dam at the end of the trips itinerary was inspired - a real high note to end on.
E. & C.S.
Derbyshire
John Carruthers is a knowledgeable and very competent guide making the trip very interesting. His patience with novice birdwatchers like ourselves greatly enhanced our enjoyment.
Anon..
Surrey
The trip was excellent and will now shortly be booking to go to Botswana next year!
R.M.
Dorset
Thank you for organising a wonderful trip through Namibia and for the extension to Okonjima, which was marvellous. A vote of thanks should also go to your agents and to the trip leader (Rob Mileto). I hope to travel with you again soon.
C. & G.F.
London
We do want to emphasise how much we enjoyed the contribution made by Naturetrek and the local personnel. They all provided expert knowledge, considerate attention to the group and good company - very much appreciated.
R.M.
Dorset
Thank you for organising a wonderful trip through Namibia...a vote of thanks should also go to your agents and to the trip leader, Rob Mileto... the local people all over Namibia were some of the friendliest and most hospitable I have ever met.
E.T-J.
Surrey
...the whole trip was excellent.
R.J.
London
Rob (Mileto) was a very good leader and the local guides were wonderful and contributed much to the safari...
C. & R.
London
This was a very enjoyable trip.
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We will be running this tour in the near future but as yet have not finalised dates and prices. To register your interest and be added a waiting list to be informed when details are confirmed, please contact us or phone 01962 733051.

Visiting: Namibia

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Paul Stanbury
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01962 733051

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Tour Reviews

The wildlife, scenery, geology and company were all wonderful. Our guides were very knowledgeable, very enthusiastic, very caring and huge fun!
M.L., Edinburgh