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  • Namibia: Desert Dune Safari
Overview

Epic landscapes, remote coastline, and Africa's rarest wildlife await in Namibia with Boundless Journeys

Namibia is a country of startling contrasts that straddles two great deserts: the Namib (for which the country is named) being the oldest desert on the planet, with red dunes towering 1,000 feet high, lording over the Atlantic coast, and the Kalahari, a vast and sparsely vegetated savannah in the east that sprawls across the border into neighboring countries. This safari, in Namibia’s unique desert environment, will take us through remote coastal and inland areas that are rarely explored by others, for an unforgettable journey of discovery.

Desert Dune Safari is operated in partnership with Wilderness Safaris, and will be shared with up to 7 guests and a Wilderness Safaris guide. The safari begins with an exploration of Sossusvlei’s iconic red dunes. A scenic flight up the coast then brings us to amazing marine life in coastal Swakopmund. North of Swakopmund, the Skeleton Coast—littered with historic remnants of shipwrecks—is ours to explore, virtually alone. Finally, the rugged, rocky landscape of Palmwag invites us to search for some of the last free-roaming black rhino. Aside from wildlife and activities, we will encounter the native people of Namibia, both at the safari camps, and while meeting local people, from fishermen to traditional craft artisans.

Why Trust Your Safari in Namibia to Boundless Journeys?
To develop a collection of truly unique safaris, Boundless Journeys has partnered with some of the best safari outfitters in Southern and Eastern Africa. In addition to experienced guides, first-class vehicles, and a diverse selection of camp and lodge options, our partners’ conservation efforts and community-mindedness are great matches for Boundless Journeys’ core philosophy.

What Our Guests Have To Say About This Tour

Highlight of my life!

★★★★★
5 5 1
Jeremia elevated the role of guide to a new level - he is passionate about his love of Namibia and shared so much knowledge. His guidance made the trip a highlight of my life!

Each Day was an Adventure

★★★★★
5 5 1
An incredible journey seeing the beauty of Namibia – each day was an adventure!

Very well taken care of

★★★★★
5 5 1
BJ provided excellent guidance and preparation information! As Karen indicated, we were very well taken care of throughout our trip----almost embarrassingly so!

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Itinerary &
Accommodations

Itinerary & Accommodations

Day 1

Into the Namib Desert

  • Activity Overview: Overland transfer
  • Activity Level: Easy
  • Activity Length: 5-6 hours

This morning, we gather as a group and depart Windhoek, beginning our journey with a scenic drive through the rugged Khomas Hochland mountains and descending into the dune-filled Sossusvlei region, a driving time of approximately five to six hours (205 miles). En route, we stop at a scenic spot for lunch. Soon we find ourselves surrounded by the classic view of the Namib Desert as an ocean of sand, with ''waves'' of bright red and dark shadows. Also known as the 'Sand Sea,' Sossusvlei is sandwiched between the Atlantic''s cold Benguela Current and a rocky escarpment that runs parallel more than 60 miles inland, and presents not only a spectacular visual experience, but also a unique ecosystem which our guide will introduce us to in the coming days.

This afternoon, we settle into our accommodation for the next two nights, a 23-room retreat on the private 37,000 hectare Kulala Wilderness Reserve. Our lodge's convivial main area includes a lounge, bar, dining area, plunge pool, and wrap-around veranda overlooking a riverbed - a perfect location to view and photograph the desert vista and to contemplate the day's activities.

Accommodations
Kulala Desert Lodge

Kulala Desert Lodge
Namib Naukluft National Park, Namibia

Featuring magnificent views of the famous red dunes of Sossusvlei and vast open plains, Kulala Desert Lodge offers 23 ensuite thatch-and-canvas ‘kulalas’ each with a veranda to enjoy the outstanding scenery. On balmy nights, enjoy the option of sleeping under the star-filled skies on your rooftop deck, and awaken to the rising sun. By day, enjoy safari activities or spot desert-adapted wildlife from the lounge and dining area overlooking a waterhole, while a plunge pool provides a cooling sanctuary.

Day 2

Sossusvlei and Dead Vlei

  • Activity Overview: Optional dune hiking (moderate, about 2 hours) and/or exploration on foot (easy, about 2 hours)
  • Activity Level: Easy to moderate
  • Activity Length: About 4 hours

After an early breakfast, we depart camp for the interior of Sossusvlei, where towering dunes rise dramatically, some more than 1,000 feet above the surrounding plains. We plan our activities for early morning to enjoy the fine weather before the day gets too warm. This morning, perhaps you'll choose to challenge yourself to climb to the peak of "Big Daddy" the highest of the famous red dunes, for epic views across the sea of sand. Or perhaps you simply enjoy photographing the native wildlife and stunning landscapes in the beautiful morning light. Desert-adapted wildlife such as ostrich, springbok and gemsbok eke out a carefully balanced existence here. Larger predators include hyena, the almost mystical shaggy-coated scavenger. One bird, the aptly named Dune Lark, has its entire global distribution limited to this region, so dependent is it on the area's characteristic sands.

We'll also explore the moon-like landscape of Dead Vlei today, a clay pan characterized by the haunting remains of ancient camelthorn trees contrasted against the white pan floor. The flat pan was formed when the Tsauchab River flooded and an abundance of water allowed camelthorn trees to grow here. However, shifting dunes blocked the river from reaching the area, resulting in the dead trees, estimated to be approximately 900 years old, which have not decomposed due to the extremely dry climate.

This evening we'll find ourselves again enjoying life at our lodge. Each free-standing room has a rooftop deck, providing the option of a memorable sleep-out under the stars.

Accommodations
Kulala Desert Lodge

Kulala Desert Lodge
Namib Naukluft National Park, Namibia

Featuring magnificent views of the famous red dunes of Sossusvlei and vast open plains, Kulala Desert Lodge offers 23 ensuite thatch-and-canvas ‘kulalas’ each with a veranda to enjoy the outstanding scenery. On balmy nights, enjoy the option of sleeping under the star-filled skies on your rooftop deck, and awaken to the rising sun. By day, enjoy safari activities or spot desert-adapted wildlife from the lounge and dining area overlooking a waterhole, while a plunge pool provides a cooling sanctuary.

Day 3

The Skeleton Coast from above

  • Activity Overview: Skeleton Coast scenic flight
  • Activity Level: Easy

We say goodbye to Sossusvlei this morning, departing by light aircraft over the Namib and Sossusvlei itself for an alternative view of the dunes from the air, before turning due west to Meob Bay on the Skeleton Coast. Aptly named the "Skeleton Coast" for its numerous shipwrecks as well as the bleached bones of large sea animals, the combination of desert and coastal scenery here is spectacular. Weather permitting, our flight path takes us over the only well-preserved shipwreck in Namibia, seemingly endless dune fields, and an old diamond mining settlement.

We arrive in Swakopmund, and settle in to our accommodations for the next two nights, a grand hotel typifying the town's architecture. This afternoon you are free for lunch and time to explore town.

Accommodations

The Strand Hotel
Swakopmund, Namibia

Renovated in 2016 and perfectly located on Swakopmund’s beachfront, The Strand Hotel is surrounded by the Atlantic on three sides. This four-star hotel offers contemporary architecture with a beachy vibe, rooted in Namibian German heritage. A short walk will bring you to the museum, lighthouse and Kristall Galerie, as well as several good restaurants.

Day 4

Walvis Bay Marine Safari

  • Activity Overview: Boat tour and walking (tide dependent)
  • Activity Level: Easy
  • Activity Length: 1 to 2 hours

After breakfast, we depart for our marine cruise, exploring Walvis Bay Harbour and old shipwrecks, along with the chance of spotting pelicans, dolphins, seals, and even whales and turtles in season. By lunchtime, we arrive at a deserted beach near Pelican Point, where we board Land Rovers for an excursion into the Kuiseb River Delta. Here, the saltpans and the wetlands just north of the Sandwich Harbour Lagoon offer the possibility of seeing their famed flamingos in one of southern Africa's richest wetlands. Depending on the tides, there may be the opportunity to walk into the delta instead (a 2-3 mile walk). Alternatively, we will see the lagoon from a beautiful lookout spot. En route, we'll enjoy a Skeleton Coast-style picnic, complete with oysters - some of the best in the world - and sparkling wine. On the return drive, we cross over giant dunes, including the big "roaring" dunes, which must be heard to be believed.

This evening you are free to further enjoy this former German colonial port town. Your guide will be happy to make suggestions for dinner.

Accommodations

The Strand Hotel
Swakopmund, Namibia

Renovated in 2016 and perfectly located on Swakopmund’s beachfront, The Strand Hotel is surrounded by the Atlantic on three sides. This four-star hotel offers contemporary architecture with a beachy vibe, rooted in Namibian German heritage. A short walk will bring you to the museum, lighthouse and Kristall Galerie, as well as several good restaurants.

Day 5

The Skeleton Coast

  • Activity Overview: Overland excursion into Skeleton Coast National Park
  • Activity Level: Easy
  • Activity Length: About 5 hours, excluding any stops

This morning we depart Swakopmund to continue our journey north for approximately 235 miles, up the legendary Skeleton Coast (named for the numerous ships the treacherous shores have claimed over the years). In addition to unforgettably epic desert-meets-coast scenery, you can expect to see the fascinating lichen plains at Wlotskasbaken, remains of the Zelia shipwreck near Henties Bay, and the SW Seal shipwreck near Ugabmund. We also take in the ghostly remains of mining operations near Toscanini.

Our hotel tonight is the only permanent accommodation in the park. Simple and rustic, but clean and comfortable, what it sacrifices in amenities, Terrace Bay more than makes up for in location. Take a walk on the beach and simply soak up the austere beauty of this remote coastline.

Accommodations
Terrace Bay Resort

Terrace Bay Resort
Skeleton Coast National Park, Namibia

As the only accommodation within Skeleton Coast National Park, Terrace Bay Resort is in a truly remote location. This rustic rest-camp style lodge has 20 ensuite rooms and a family chalet, and the bar and restaurant offer convivial areas in which to gather. Please note that while the accommodations are clean, functional, and comfortable, this is a basic lodge that has been chosen for access to this remote location, not for its amenities.

Days 6 - 7

Exploring the Kaokoveld

  • Activity Overview: Morning and afternoon game drives, and easy nature walks
  • Activity Level: Easy
  • Activity Length: About 5 hours

On day 6, we continue through Skeleton Coast National Park to the Möwe Bay Museum. Here, the many skeletons and skulls of whales, dolphins, porpoises, turtles, and other mementos found along the Skeleton Coast are collected as a testement to the difficulty of survival on this harsh coast. As our overland journey continues, we stop to admire the remains of the Suiderkus shipwreck. Other places of interest today are the Klein Oase and Auses Springs, incredible, unexpected jewels of sapphire blue water and emerald green vegetation hidden among the seemingly endless dunes, another intriguing 'roaring' dune and spectacular desert scenery. While rare, there are desert-adapted species here and if we are lucky we may encounter some. Although the distance to camp is under 100 miles, we take our time and make many stops for about a 5 hour drive.

We arrive at our home for the next two nights, immersed in land of rugged scenery. Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp's location ' close to the Skeleton Coast and within the true Namib Desert ' is home to a rich diversity of wildlife, boasting the Kaokoveld's best viewing of desert-adapted wildlife and access to vast and isolated wilderness.
This remote part of Namibia is inhabited by plant and animal life that has adapted superbly to the harsh environment of mountains, vast plains, dunes and dry riverbeds, and the coming days will be spent exploring the vast wilderness around our camp. While game drives offer our best chances of encountering wildlife (including elephant, gemsbok, lion, and giraffe, among others), nature walks from camp are another exciting way to get up close and personal with desert-adapted species. In addition to the possibility of spotting big game, walking also offers a good opportunity to study the smaller creatures and the fascinating plant life found here.

Birds are equally diverse, with regular endemics like Rüppell's korhaan, Benguela long-billed lark and lark-like bunting.

Accommodations
Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp

Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp
Northern Palmwag Concession, Namibia

The starkly beautiful Palmwag Concession forms the inland border of Skeleton Coast National Park. Here Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp offers a visit to one of the most remote places on Earth. Eight stylish ensuite tents with private outdoor lounges are set against a rugged backdrop of hills at the confluence of two tributaries, providing breathtaking vistas. A small plunge pool and a cozy lounge provide comfort during the heat of the day or when the Atlantic fog moves over the plain.

Days 8 - 9

Rhino Tracking Safari

  • Activity Overview: Morning and afternoon game drives, and easy nature walks
  • Activity Level: Easy
  • Activity Length: About 5 hours

An exciting day of overland travel to Desert Rhino Camp through the rugged, rocky and mountainous Palmwag Concession brings with it the opportunity of seeing giraffe, oryx and springbok. Our home for the next two nights is known for its stable population of the endangered desert-adapted black rhino (the largest concentration in the world outside a national park), which are monitored and protected by the Save the Rhino Trust.

For the next two days, we'll plan to set out in the morning in game drive vehicles, behind the Save the Rhino trackers, who keep records on where and when rhino have recently been seen. Due to the vast terrain, we may cover a considerable distance to view them. Once we have located the rhino, we may be able to track on foot - depending on the position or location of the rhino, as terrain and prevailing winds will dictate the possibilities.

Birding and guided nature walks are also a highlight here, and other species we may encounter include elephant, zebra, gemsbok, cheetah, lion, giraffe, and ostrich, among others.

Accommodations
Desert Rhino Camp

Desert Rhino Camp
Southern Palmwag Concession, Namibia

With eight ensuite tents elevated off the ground, Desert Rhino Camp offers panoramic views over rolling, rocky hills from the privacy of your veranda. Evening meals are generally taken al fresco near a crackling campfire. Amid a wonderland of unusual plant life, fascinating wildlife and sparse wilderness, Desert Rhino Camp allows guests to take part in a thrilling conservation success story: tracking Africa?s unique and endangered desert-adapted black rhino with the researchers of the ‘Save the Rhino Trust.’

Day 10

Return to Windhoek or extend to Etosha National Park

We bid farewell to our adventure with a short drive to the nearby airstrip for our return flight to Windhoek, or Ongava Airstrip for those extending their safari to Etosha National Park.

Accommodations

Please note that this is a typical itinerary, and actual activities may vary due to weather conditions, local events, and to allow serendipity to play a hand in your experience. Accommodations are as outlined in the itinerary, although we reserve the right to change these or the order visited should the need arise.

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Dates &
Prices

Dates And Prices

2018
Trip Length

10 Days

Trip Dates

Aug 7-16, 2018

Sep 4-13, 2018

Oct 5-14, 2018

Nov 6-15, 2018

Additional Dates on Request

2018 Land Cost

From $6,860 Per Person


Single Supplement

Single availability is limited, so reserve early!$0

See single supplement policy below.

Seasonal Pricing Notes

May and November: $6,860 per person

June-October: $8,175 per person

Pricing is based on exchange rate of $1 USD to 13 Namibian Dollars. Should the exchange rate fluctuate more than 5%, Boundless Journeys reserves the right to adjust pricing accordingly.

What's Included

  • Expert naturalist guide to seamlessly lead your entire safari
  • All accommodations
  • All meals except one lunch and one dinner (Day 3)
  • Local wine, beer, and spirits
  • All activities noted in the itinerary, such as game drives, Walvis Bay boat cruise, and rhino tracking walks
  • All internal flights and ground transfers round-trip from Windhoek, Namibia
  • Laundry at safari camps
  • National park entry fees
  • Mountainsmith duffle bag for each participant - the perfect size to pack for a safari!
Single Supplement Policy

Accommodations (hotels, tents, cruise cabins) are based on double occupancy. A single supplement is paid by participants who specifically request single accommodations, subject to availability. If you reserve at least 120 days prior to departure, you may be eligible for a reduced or free single supplement.* This is generally limited to the first one or two solo travelers to reserve, and the reduction is outlined in the pricing for each trip. Please note, free or reduced single supplements are not combinable with other offers or promotions.

If you are traveling alone and wish to share accommodations, we will try to match you with a roommate of the same gender. If you reserve at least 120 days ahead and a roommate is not available, you will only be charged a “forced” single supplement in the amount of 50% of the standard single supplement* (unless otherwise noted in the detailed itinerary). Single accommodations are limited so you are encouraged to reserve early!

*This may not apply to certain trips with unique accommodation arrangements. Please see specific trip information for more details.

What To
Expect

What To Expect

Physical Activity

Boundless Journeys' trips are designed for energetic and flexible individuals who like to be active and have a spirit of adventure and a positive attitude. Desert Adventure Safari is rated 1+, easy with moderate options, on a scale of 1-5 (with 5 being the most strenuous). Our primary activities require some agility for getting in and out of vehicles, and walking at a leisurely pace through uneven terrain, including an optional hike on a sand dune that may be moderately strenuous.

This trip can be enjoyed by anyone who is in reasonably good health and likes to be outdoors and active. We will walk where possible, but this is often determined by the local area and country regulations. NOTE: These optional walks are at your own risk, and can take you close to potentially dangerous wild animals in some areas.

Meeting Point

Windhoek, Namibia, by 10:00 a.m.

Departure Point

Windhoek, Namibia, 2:00 p.m. If extending your trip to Etosha National Park, please refer to the extension description for departure information.

Traveling To and From

Most Convenient Airport:
Hosea Kutako International Airport, Windhoek, Namibia (airport code WDH)


Meeting Time and Place:

No later than 10:00 a.m., Hosea Kutako International Airport, Windhoek, Namibia. If arriving on Day 1, please schedule the earliest possible arrival, but in any case no later than 10 a.m.


Departure Time and Place:

2:00 p.m., Hosea Kutako International Airport, Windhoek, Namibia. Please leave a minimum of two hours before your international departure, i.e. no earlier than 4 p.m.

Preparing for this Trip

If you would like to take advantage of the nature walks, you may wish to engage in easy aerobic activities for 30-45 minutes a few times a week for several weeks before the trip. Consult your doctor before undertaking any new fitness program.

Weather

Namibia is one of the driest countries on Earth and receives virtually no rainfall from April-November. Mornings along the coast are typically foggy until the sun burns through. In June, the landscapes tend to be a bit greener and the air quality is extremely clear with very little dust. As the dry season progresses, the vegetation is less green and animals tend to congregate around remaining sources of water. Inland temperatures are typically higher during the day, and cooler at night, than those shown here, and can even drop below freezing overnight.

You may obtain other regional weather information on www.weatherbase.com.

Namibia

June

High: 69
Low: 51

September

High: 62
Low: 50

When to Go

Namibia is a true year-round destination with less extreme seasonal changes than other parts of southern Africa. Along the Namibian coastline, the cold Atlantic Benguela Current dictates the weather. The Skeleton Coast and coastal towns such as Swakopmund and Walvis Bay are often enveloped in moody fog for a few hours in the mornings, before the sun burns it off. Namibia is equally about the scenic grandeur of immense landscapes as the wildlife.

Guides

Featured Guides

About Our Guides

With a Boundless Journeys guide, your experience is that of friend and local adventurer. We believe strongly in working with local guides, experts in the areas to which we travel, and they hold the keys to unlocking the hidden delights of your chosen destination. Although you will never know they are at work—the mark of a truly great leader—our guides make magical things happen and add a dimension to your trip that you could not experience on your own. Over the years we have forged bonds with some of the best guides in the world, and we typically work with a small team of guides in each region. You will be informed of the guide for your trip one month prior to your departure.

From $6,860 / person* *airfare not included
10 Days
Reserve This Tour
  • Departure Dates: Aug 7-16, 2018
    Sep 4-13, 2018
    Oct 5-14, 2018
    Nov 6-15, 2018


Additional Dates on Request
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Activity Level 1+ Easy with Moderate Options

Game driving over bumpy terrain, easy to moderate walks (one moderately challenging option).

Read about our Activity Levels
  • Group Size: 4-7 Guests

Make it Your Own!

This trip can be your own adventure by taking over one of our scheduled dates, or we can request a fresh one.

Prefer a Custom Tour?

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Namibia: Desert Dune Safari Overall rating: ★★★★★ 5 based on 3 reviews
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