Embark on an adventure rich in wildlife and culture during 10 days in Namibia. Set out on open-vehicle wildlife drives in search of elephants, giraffes, and lions in Etosha National Park; visit the Cheetah Conservation Fund for a chance to get up close with these endangered cats; and gaze out over one of Africa’s most dramatically beautiful desert landscapes. Like the shifting sand dunes that reshape the horizon, this incredible place will transform you.
Land in Windhoek, Namibia’s capital. Those arriving early may wish to explore the city’s leafy parks and German colonial architecture on their own. Set out across dramatic desert landscapes the following morning for our drive to the outpost town of Sesriem, and then enjoy an evening to relax at our lodge. The next day, embark on a 4x4 excursion into the otherworldly landscapes of Namib-Naukluft National Park. Take in the park’s towering red dunes of Sossusvlei, and keep an eye out for springbok, bat-eared foxes, and other desert wildlife. Continue to Sesriem Canyon, carved into the rock by the Tsauchab River over millions of years. (2B, 2D)
Set out on a guided 4x4 desert drive and discuss the survival strategies of the San in the surrounding harsh environments, then continue to Swakopmund on the Atlantic coast. The next day, take advantage of a free morning to go quad-biking, or take a walk through town. Later, stroll the lively market of Mondesa with a guide, and then drop by Datango, an arts-and-crafts shop that offers employment opportunities to youth. Stop in at a shebeen, or tavern, to mingle with residents over a cool drink, and then continue to a family home for dinner, accompanied by entertainment from the local choir. (2B, 1L, 1D)
Travel to Twyfelfontein, a UNESCO World Heritage site, to view ancient San petroglyphs dating back over 5,000 years. Depart early the next day to visit the 280-million-year-old Petrified Forest, and then continue to our lodge in the Etosha National Park area. Over the next two days, set out into the surrounding grasslands on open-vehicle game drives to spot elephants, lions, and with luck, elusive leopards and endangered black rhinos. Enjoy free time to relax back at the lodge. (3B, 1D)
Visit the Cheetah Conservation Fund, a global research organization founded by National Geographic grantee Dr. Laurie Marker. Meet a researcher for a tour of the facility, and learn about ongoing projects before setting out on a game drive to view cheetahs up close. Enjoy lunch on the veranda overlooking the magnificent Waterberg Plateau, and then return to Windhoek for our final evening. Depart at any time the following day. (2B, 1L)
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