(Windhoek, Kalahari/Marientel, Fish River Canyon, Lüderitz, Namtib Biosphere Reserve, Sossusvlei, Swakopmund, Palmwag, Etosha, Otjiwarongo)
To observe Namibia from the road is an awe-inspiring experience: there are some long drives but the vast expanses of moving, rippling sands, the great blue skies and grey of the ocean extending to the horizon are worth the time. You'll also have your own driver so you can still go a your own pace. This safari explores most of th distinct regions of the country: The Fish River Canyon, the sands and red dunes of Sossusvlei and the Kalhari; the icy, life-filled coasts at Swakopmund and Walvis Bay; the stark plains of Damaraland, with their desert-adapted elephants; and the amazing wildlife abundance on the savannah of Etosha. You'll also get to visit the world famous AfriCats foundation before heading back to Windhoek for your flight home.
Airport transfer with private vehicle, driver, and English-speaking guide.
The Elegant Guesthouse (4*) is situated in the up-market residential area of Klein Windhoek. This modern, up-market Guesthouse consists of 6 luxurious en-suite double rooms and a fully equipped boardroom. The guests can indulge in the contemporary flair and stylish surroundings of The Elegant Guesthouse. During your time at The Elegant Guesthouse, they will endeavor to make your stay as comfortable as possible and to provide you with personalized service and genuine hospitality. This Guest House is sure to impress as it holds the "Elegant Guesthouse: HAN Silver Award for 2012". Enjoy several amenities including 24 hour wireless internet, the beautiful garden swimming pool and various others. During your time at The Elegant Guesthouse, guests will endeavor to make your stay as comfortable as possible and to provide you with personalized service and genuine hospitality.
After breakfast departure from Windhoek and drive via Rehoboth, the centre of Namibia’s Baster community. From here we'll head into the red dunes of the Kalahari Desert.
You will meet up with others at the lodge for a scenic drive and sundowners. ‘Nature drives’ during the early morning and late afternoon will enable you not only to view our diversified animal and bird life, but also the unique dune topography and vegetation. After an afternoon drive enjoy traditional sundowners on a red Kalahari sand dune will be the perfect way to watch the sun sink away into the distant dune. Or a great alternative to stretch the legs is the bushwalk with sign posts and marked trees with the option of a accompanying guide.
The Bagatelle Kalahari Game Ranch combines design and décor, materials and furnishings, gardens and natural settings, to ensure guests live their dream of an African Safari. The lodge lies on the edge of the Southern Kalahari in the mixed tree and shrub Savanna. The ranch is characterized by huge red sands dunes running parallel, and in a northern-westernly to south-easternly direction. The valleys in between the parallel dunes are commonly known as ‘streets’. A rambling old farmhouse was extensively altered, upgraded and renovated to not only serve as a residence, but also as the main center of the Lodge. An entrance hall leads to the reception, lounge, dining room, library, bar and cellar at the Game Ranch. The Spirit of the African atmosphere, coupled with service delivered with graciousness and charm, in a luxurious setting, providing excellent value and unforgettable memories for the discerning traveler.
This morning you will depart the red sands of the Kalhari and head south to one of the largest canyons in the world, the Fish River Canyon.The Fish River is the longest interior river in Namibia. It cuts deep into the plateau which is today dry, stony and sparsely covered with hardy drought-resistant plants. The river flows intermittently, usually flooding in late summer; the rest of the year it becomes a chain of long narrow pools. At the lower end of the Fish River Canyon, the hot springs resort of Ai-Ais is situated. On your way to the canyon you'll stop to see the famous quiver trees along with Giant's Playground.
Canon Lodge is situated on the 520 square kilometer, privately owned Gondwana Canyon Park. It is only 20kms from the main viewpoint of Fish River Canyon and is built from natural materials, including local rock and thatch roofs. The lodge is an ideal starting point for visits to the Fish River Canyon. The Canon Lodge's main area lies in the shelter of a granite hilltop, and the lodge itself has been built amongst enormous boulders, designed to blend in with the natural environment. The reception, an indoor restaurant and the bar area can be found here. There is a safe in reception for the safekeeping of valuables if necessary. As the building has been constructed by using mostly local stone, the interior is cool, but lacks natural sunlight. An old farmhouse, originally built in 1908 by three Bavarian brothers, has been restored to serve as the Canon Lodge Restaurant. It has a magnificent view of the canyon landscape, which makes dining in the restaurant a truly unforgettable experience. Spaced evenly amongst the tall weather-beaten granite boulders are 25 thatched, wooden bungalows. All units are equipped with comfortable beds, en-suite bathrooms, a fan and mosquito nets. Be sure to enjoy the various activities to participate in including unguided morning hikes, Canyon and scenic drives, horse-riding and a guided sunset walk. Take in the superb scenery in this haunting, arid landscape.
Today you'll meet up with your guide to explore the Fish River Canyon.You will be able to view the spectacular northern fringes of the Fish River Canyon from various vantage points. Here the impressive surrounding rock formation provides many interesting hours for enthusiastic nature lovers. There are some great walking trails around the lodge that your guide can take you on later on in the afternoon.
The next leg of the journey takes us via the small historic village of Aus and through the vast barren expanse of the Prohibited Diamond Area, to Luderitz. En route you may also get to see the wild horses as they roam the sparsely vegetated plains of the Namib Desert in small groups. Over the decades they have conquered the desert as their habitat. They come to drink from the trough at Garub, some 20 km west of Aus. From a hide you can watch the horses and take pictures. We'll continue on to Luderitz which is renowned for its old-world charm and distinctly German colonial architecture. Set around the bay, with their original gables, winding stairwells, verandas, turrets and bay- and bow windows still intact, these buildings have a unique character.
The Nest Hotel is situated directly on Lüderitz bay with its own private beach. All rooms are sea facing. A variety of fresh seafood, including the famous Lüderitz oyster and lobster, is served in the Penguin Restaurant. Outstanding and personalised service is a matter of course at this four star Hotel.
After breakfast we visit Kolmanskop, a ghost town that was abandoned over 40 years ago and now gives a fascinating insight into the area's great diamond boom. A few of the buildings have been restored, but many are left exactly as they were, and now the surrounding dunes are gradually burying them. Return to Lüderitz. After a short sightseeing tour of Lüderitz, we are going on an afternoon excursion to the Diaz cross where the daring Portuguese sailors erected a stone pillar in the 1480’s.
After breakfast our journey leads once more through the Diamond Prohibited Area via Aus and Helmeringhausen to Farm Namtib. Experience the daily life of a farmer in the south.
Through close personal contact with the family at Namtib Desert Lodge you get to now the typical Namibian farm life and you will find out a lot of interesting information about the famous Namib Desert, the fascinating Tiras Mountains and the fauna and flora of Southern Namibia. You'll have the option of going on nature walks, scenic drives on the property, birdwatching and amazing star gazing.
At Namtib Desert Lodge you will find your genuine Namibian experience in typical Namibian farmstyle accomodations in the middle of the vast Namib desert.
Today we travel through some of Namibia’s most spectacular sceneries. Vast expanses of yellow savannah are dotted with bushes and solitary camelthorn trees. Distant mountain ranges take on different nuances of purple and blue as the day progresses. En route you visit the Duwisib Castle, which was built by Baron von Wolff for his American wife Jayta in 1909. The furnishings and paintings were imported from Germany. Our destination is Sossusvlei
This afternoon you'll head out on the Kulala Wilderness Reserve which has 22 000 hectares. It's the perfect way to end the day and enjoy a sundowner with snacks and beautiful views. The scenery is unlike anywhere else in the world.
The Desert Homestead lies approximately 32km's southeast of Sesriem. The wide grassy valley is sheltered by the Nubib, Tsaris and Naukluft mountains with a view reaching the distant dunes of the Namib Desert in the west. In this exuisite position, we offer simple but stylish accomodation in thatched chalets which were designed with the fragile beauty of this remarkable environment in mind. The Desert Homestead will ensure you an unrivalled experience in the desert extremes, tranquil surroundings, Alfresco dining, delectably fresh farm cuisine, refreshing dips in the pool, stunning sunsets and sunrises are basic pleasures at the Lodge.
Early morning visit to Sossusvlei, (a clay pan surrounded by some of the highest sand dunes in the world), which is surrounded by the possibly highest dunes in the world and is filled only with water in years when exceptionally good rainfall is received. After spending time in the dunes we'll visit the Sesriem Canyon. It is said that the canyon got its name during the time of the ox wagon, when a person had to use six harness straps to haul water from the bottom of the canyon. Please note that if you're not using a 4X4 throughout the trip you will take a 4X4 shuttle into the dunes.
Desert Homestead offers many activities such as Afternoon Nature Drives, morning or afternoon on horseback, walking trails, quad biking, scenic flights by plane or helicopter, hot air ballooning. These activities can either be booked directly with the lodge or prior to departure with your Trip Specialist.
The route takes us north via the Kuiseb Canyon to Swakopmund. Highlights en route include a drive to the “Moon Landscape” and the ancient desert plant, “Welwitschia mirabilis”. This quaint desert town with its old-world charm and relaxed atmosphere hedged by desert and sea, is enhanced by lush green lawns and palm trees.
The Swakopmund Hotel and Entertainment Centre is a centrally positioned four-star hotel. It is built in and around the old Station Building in Swakopmund and dates back to 1901. After extensive renovations, it has been restored to its former Victorian glory, and has been opened as one of the towns premier hotel's since the end of 1994. The hotel boast of it's 'combined architectural beauty with first-world comfort.
Boat departs from Walvis Bay at 09h00 and cruises the harbour through to the Bird Island, and then cuts across the lagoon to Moored Russian trawlers where inquisitive seals will swim up to the boats for something to eat. From there we head for Pelican Point where entertainment is provided by a large Cape Fur Seal colony and pods of Heavyside- and Bottlenose dolphins swimming alongside the boats.For the bird lovers, apart from seeing flamingos, cormorants and pelicans, there are common sightings of the White Chinned Petrel, Wilson’s Storm Petrel,Cape Gannet, Black Oystercatcher, and even the Jackass Penguin. At approximately 11h30, you will be dropped off on a deserted beach where your guide and 4 x 4 vehicle will meet you. But, first you will enjoy a light lunch of fresh oysters, snacks and champagne before departing for the magnificent scenery of the dunes and natural lagoon meeting the sea on route to Sandwich Harbour. Tour ends at approximately 17h00. Please note that while on the boat there may be other guests on board.
Departure from Swakopmund along the Atlantic Coast towards the North. Visit the lichen fields near Wlotzka’s Baken before continuing to Henties Bay, a small holiday resort. Onwards to the seal colony at Cape Cross. After visiting the seals, the journey continues via Ugabmund to the southern Skeleton Coast Park to inspect a shipwreck. You leave the Skeleton Coast Park in the early afternoon via Springbokwasser and can experience the harsh transition from the Namib Desert to the Damaraland highlands with its impressive landscape and ragged valleys.
While at Grootberg you can choose many activities such as Elephant or Rhino Tracking, Guided walks, a cultural visit to the Ovahimba Tribes, Nature Drives or even a horseback safari. These activities can be booked and paid for at the lodge or ask your trip specialist to arrange this prior to travelling.
Grootberg Lodge (4*) is a landmark in Namibia for the tourism industry as it is the first middle-market establishment in the country that is 100% owned by the conservancy it is located on a large private concession in the remote northwest of Namibia. Perched on the edge of the Grootberg Plateau, it probably has the most spectacular views of any lodge in Namibia. The purpose of the Grootberg Lodge is not only to offer a professional service, great surroundings, extremely good food, well-trained guides and exceptionally good local management but, at the same time, to benefit the local community thanks to the revenues generated by the Lodge.
Departure is at 6.00am after an early breakfast at the lodge. The guide, along with the game trackers will take you in an open 4x4 game vehicle down to the Klip River. Part of the tracking will take place on foot, with the possibility of between 1 to 3 hours walk at the most. At lunchtime there will be a stop near the springs where you can enjoy some refreshments. It's almost a full day activity going along bumpy roads and walking in rocky terrain, so not advisable for the faint-hearted. Damaraland is one of the few last places where the wildlife roams freely thus cannot guarantee sightings.
Today you'll join up with others from the lodge for a Nature Drive. The lodge offers scenic drives down to the Klip River Valley where permanent springs provide water for the local population of zebras, antelopes and occasionally elephants, lions and black rhinos. Springboks, kudu and oryx are a permanent fixture and even the nervous and shy klipspringers are sometimes seen leaping about on the steep cliffs of the mountain as if they were flying. The morning drive starts after breakfast and takes between 3-4 hours, the afternoon drive is shorter, leaving after tea and coffee at the lodge for a 2-3 hours drive. .
We travel via the Grootberg Pass to Kamanjab and further on the tarred road to the Etosha National Park. Afternoon arrival at your lodge in the southern end of the Etosha National Park. At the heart of this National Park is the Etosha Pan, a vast dry shallow depression. Perennial springs feed the waterholes along the southern verge, which attract a myriad of animal species.
The newly-built Andersson's Camp is located in the Ongava Game Reserve, situated only 4.5kms from Etosha National Park's western gate. The Reserve is dominated by Mopane woodland, whilst a low range of dolomite hills, the Ondundozonanandana Range, provide relief to the otherwise flat surrounding area. Andersson's Camp is the ideal location for a comfortable, modern-day exploration of both the Ongava Game Reserve and Namibia's Etosha Park. The Reserve has a healthy population of both black and white rhino. Populations of the endemic Anchieta's dwarf python, striped tree squirrel and a localized subspecies of rock hyrax, can also be found here. On either side of the main farmhouse are 20 new luxury tents for the guests comfort. Enjoy a delicious buffet breakfast and wonderful cuisine from the chef's 'a la carte' menu, wine and dine under the stars, have a drink or simply relax around the inviting camp fire.
Today you'll spend the day searching for the Big 5 in Etosha National Park.
Today you will drive south via Tsumeb, Otavi and Otjiwarongo to Okonjima Lodge which is home of the Africat Foundation. The foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation and protection of the Namibian wild cats in particular the leopard and cheetah.
Okonjima, home of The AfriCat Foundation, was established as a small 'guest farm' in 1986. For many years, Val (VJ) & Rose Hanssen had been avid cattle farmers until the need for solutions to increasing livestock losses and post-independence interest in Namibia as a tourist destination, changed the face of Okonjima, as well as that of Carnivore Conservation. With the family still at the helm (now the next generation), Okonjima now encompasses a dedicated team and a variety of accommodation facilities, offering you, our guest, a truly Namibian stay. Established in 1993, The AfriCat Foundation started off as a sanctuary for Cheetah and Leopard rescued from irate, livestock farmers.
Today you'll have access to your vehicle and guide. You can discuss all of the possibilities with your guide. All park or entrance fees can be paid direct.
The Okonjima Lodge includes the following activities;THE AFRICAT FOUNDATION: AfriCat is a non-profit organisation set up to conserve and protect threatened cheetah, leopard, and other wild carnivores of Namibia. Visitors will be able to observe some of this programme at work and learn more about these amazing and beautiful animals.
LEOPARD VIEWING: Leopards are frequently seen, giving visitors an opportunity to observe these magnificent predators that are ‘radio-tracked’ from our game-viewing vehicles. The leopards roam freely and catch their own prey within the 4 500ha & 16 000ha rehabilitation nature reserves. These cats however, are notoriously people-shy and sightings are not guaranteed.
THE CHEETAH PROJECT: Offers visitors a valuable insight into the ‘welfare work’ of The AfriCat Foundation.
LARGE CARNIVORE TRACKING ON FOOT: Visitors are invited to participate on foot in the radio-tracking of the rehabilitated Cheetahs or the Spotted Hyaenas on the Tracking Trail within the 4 500ha & 16 000ha rehabilitation nature reserves.
BUSHMAN TRAIL: Experience a day in the life of a Bushman. It constitutes an easy walking trail and is highly informative. Guests get to learn about the art of making traditional artefacts and how the San adapt and survive in an unforgiving wilderness environment. Participation is welcomed!
This morning you will meet your guide and depart from Otijwarongo and drive to Windhoek. This drive will take approximately 4 hours.
November 08, 2012
"I am a world traveller and this was one of my Top 3 vacations ever! Kensington Tours did a great job with EVERY little detail, from the planning to being met and catered to every step of the way. Our favorite lodges were Tau Pan in the Kalahari, Botswana & Moon Mountain in Sossusvlei, Namibia. We especially loved the Batswana people and all the animals we saw at Camp Moremi on the Okavanga River. The highlight of our trip was actually our stay in Swakopmund when we stayed on the South Atlantic & went for an exciting boat ride to see all the sealife up close and personal (like a seal coming onboard the boat!), a rollar coaster dune ride in a 4 X 4!! the balloon ride over the red sand dunes over Namibia and several champagne brunches in the middle of the desert. Also, will never forget all the sundowmer game drives which ended with our favorite cocktail, watching the sunset with wildlife close at hand!
Unforgettable. Thanks Ivona for planning it all!"
October 26, 2012
"35 Goose Pond Road
Lincoln, MA 01773
Re: Steven Weru Kinyua, Kenya tour guide
We recently returned from a wonderful 8 day tour of Kenya with Steven, he is an exceptional individual. But one example: As we returned to the Samburu lodge from our first game drive, Steven pointed out a young, sick-looking lion in the shade of a tree. We observed it momentarily and soon returned to the lodge for dinner.
The next day Steven mentioned he had reported the weak young lion to the local Samburu ranger. Steven explained that due to the arrival of a new alpha male in his pride the young lion had likely been chased out before he was able to hunt for himself. He further explained that the young lion would be welcome back in a week or two, if he were alive. I pursued the full story w/Steven. The ranger Steven had reported the weak lion to had been unresponsive, indicating he would do nothing. Steven, unsatisfied w/that response told the ranger to report it to the Head Park Ranger, or he would. The Head Ranger agreed with Steven's analysis of the situation; bought 10 kilos of meat for the young lion; and directed his staff to feed it appropriately.
Steven understood the workings of that lion pride, and has an exceptional knowledge of all the wild animals of Kenya. Furthermore he has a passion for their well-being. He would not accept a lazy, disinterested response from the local ranger. During our trip in Kenya I had occasion to speak to groups of secondary school students. I related Steven's actions as an excellent example of a Kenyan's knowledge, passion and commitment.
One day Steven pointed out a cheetah. We saw the cheetah w/a young impala in its mouth. After the cheetah had choked the young impala, Steven explained the mother cheetah was calling her cubs --it was thrilling to see the 3 cubs come tearing across the plain creating a mini-dust storm in their wake. The mother gave the kill to her cubs. Steven explained they had to learn to open it up. Shortly she sent them off the kill, twenty paces or so, then froze, looking westerly. A lion, smelling the kill Steven explained, was moving off to the north about a 1000 yards away. Intent on the lion the mother cheetah remained frozen in place (as we're the cubs, mimicking their mother). After the lion passed the mother called the cubs back to the kill. Not 15 minutes later the lion came back, followed by yapping jackels, this time moving off to the east of the cheetahs. As soon as the lion appeared, the mother cheetah repeated her previous actions, sending off the cubs and freezing over the kill, intently watching the lion. Steven explained that the jackels were distracting the lion from the kill, knowing if the lion found the kill, nothing would be left for them. Again the lion passed off to the southeast, never able to find the cheetah kill.
This summary highlights events that played out over a 90 minute period. In that time several tourist rovers and vans came, took pictures of the cheetahs, and left. None of those tourists had a complete explanation of the scene that was playing out before us. Game-viewing w/Steven is a rich experience, a clear cut above the average.
In our time w/Steven we had lengthy conversations about the pluses and minuses of grass-burning, the challenges of maintaining wildlife corridors, park encroachment by locals, roadway underpasses for big game, etc. in addition we discussed ukabila and other political challenges facing Kenya. Steven Kinyua is an exceptional Kenyan guide. He has a wonderful sense of humor, and made our Kenya safari a wonderful learning experience we will cherish for years.
Mark Masterson, Ed.D."
Avi J.Moskovitz ,
February 03, 2014
"We finally returned from the most magical vacation in Morocco and we cannot thank Lily and Kensington Tours enough!! This trip was beyond amazing and we are so appreciative for everything done to make this trip happen last minute for us!
We had a spectacular tour guide that spoke 8 languages, Ismail, and the friendliest and warmest driver, Said, whom made the experience absolutely phenomenal! Not only did we learn and see, but we laughed, danced, ate like pigs, kissed camels and snakes, ran in the Sahara desert under the stars, and enjoyed life - which is the best gift of all!
Avi J. Moskovitz & Armando Silva
October 18, 2013
"I am so happy that I used Kensington Tours to help with my dream trip to Cape Town South Africa. I was looking for a well respected tour company that planned private guided tours that was not going to cause me my leg, lol. I begin searching companies by reputation and value. I narrowed it down to Kensington Tours because of the quality and value. I felt taken care of prior to my departure due to the detailed itinerary.
From the time of got off the plane to the time I headed back to the states, I was in excellent hands. The service was EXCELLENT! I will definitely use Kensington again. Certainly, a trip of a lifetime!"
October 29, 2013
"My husband and I have just returned from the trip of a lifetime in Egypt. The sites were amazing and overwhelming. Everything was as promised. We had the most amazing pyramid view and Nile view from our hotels. Our itinerary included the most magnificent sites and we were accompanied by the most informative and friendly people. I highly recommend visiting Egypt. It is totally safe. Thank you to everyone at Kensington for this experience. It was so beyond our expectations!"
October 31, 2013
"From our greeter, who whisked us through customs in Johannesburg, to all our excellent drivers, guides and associates in Lions Sands, Cape Town and the wine country, everyone was highly professional, well dressed, well mannered, and well informed. Overall our tour worked like a superbly designed, technically perfect Swiss watch. An experience for the ages. Bravo!"
October 29, 2013
"This was a trip of a life time for me and I was never disappointed. Sylvia listen to me and give me exactly what I wanted in the way of a photo Safari as well as full tour of Cape Town and the wine country. I never had to wait one minute for a guide or any of the transportation provided. The people I dealt with along the way could not have been more courteous and friendly. I just cannot say enough about my experience with Kensington Tours, it was fabulous! "
Hanne Jones ,
October 24, 2013
"I have travelled all my life. I've combed much of Europe, from The arctic north in Norway to the streets of Seville in Spain, the beaches of Cannes and Nice in France and the medieval heart of Bologna in Italy. I've been on two African safaris (one tented, one not), both "luxurious." I've been on more than a dozen jaunts to India, some guided, others not. Over the years I have discovered that I had rather be lost and disoriented in a foreign country than submit once again to the unbending schedule of a guided tour. Hence I had given up tours of any kind, until Molly Kelly, an American Express travel agent, suggested I might want simply to list the places my friends and I wished to see in Morocco then let Kensington Tours make accessing them in an orderly way not only possible but thoroughly enjoyable as well. And this Kensington Tours did. They pulled our disparate destinations together and designed a far, far better route than we could ever have done on our own. They satisfied all our requests and threw in delicious additions, areas of interest we had never considered or even heard of. Our accommodations were well within our means and wonderful. Our guide and driver, not to mention our Mercedes SUV, could not have pleased us more. In other words, thanks to Molly and her recommending Kensington Tours, we had a sensational holiday. "
Anthoula Korina ,
September 05, 2013
"Africa had always been a myth in mind since I was child that was up until a week ago. I just returned from an epic safari adventure! Kenya, Tanzania and the Maasai are sorely missed.
Words cannot fully express the magic of this ever-flowing journey. It was awe-inspiring, breathtaking, free and powerful. My mind keeps playing tricks on me; thinking rather hoping that I'm going to see a giraffe cross a busy NYC street :)
The memories will resonate for a lifetime. To boot, I went on this trip solo; female traveler. Not sure any of it would have been possible w/out Kensington Tours!!! Thank you..."
July 12, 2013
"I had a wonderful trip visiting the mountain gorillas in Uganda. We were able to get really close to the gorillas and watched their interactions with each other. The local people are so gracious and made every minute a delight. The accomodations were great. I loved waking up in the morning to the sounds of the forest. The added luxury of a massage was a great way to end the trip!"
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