Namibian Family Adventurer
Will I love This Holiday?
Travel Style: Family
Cost: $2,365 USD ex flights for adults; $1,975 ex flights for children. (See below for London departures)
Where: Namibia, Africa
Length: 13 days land only; 15 days including flights
Physical Rating: Moderate
Right For: Families with tweens & teens
Children: Designed for 13 - 16, minimum age 9
What: Family Safari
Group Size: 12 max
Accommodations: Chalet, lodges, camping
1. Climb the highest sand dunes in the world. Sit atop one of the highest dunes in the world as the sun raises and the world turns from shades of grey to an explosion of oranges & reds as warm rays caress the shifting sand. (And marvel at the number of selfies one teenager can take.)
2. Fantastic wildlife viewing at Etosha National Park. One of the world’s best wildlife-viewing venues, at Etosha the wildlife comes to you. Just sit next to one of the many watering holes and wait for Africa’s iconic wildlife - elephants, rhinos, giraffes, lions, orex - to come for a visit.
3. Optional quad-biking and sandboarding at Swakopmund. An adrenaline rush for those that want, but dolphin cruises and game drives are also available.
4. Camp out without camp chores! All camping chores including cooking, washing up and erecting and dismantling of tents is done for you.
5. Make new friends. A family trip ensures that your tween or teen has the chance to meet and “hang out” with kids their own age.
Is This Trip Right For Me?
This trip has been graded 3 (Moderate) for children aged 13-16 years old. Although the itinerary has been designed with 13-16 year olds in mind, it is also suitable for 9-12 year olds.
Drive times on this trip are moderate and we will normally arrive at our destination by lunch time or just after lunch. We will rarely exceed 5 hours driving in one day. The road conditions are completely dependent on how they are being maintained at the time and on occasion conditions can be poor. This can have an impact on journey times as well as comfort and can be punishing on the vehicles. There will be breaks on the longer drives and there is also a reference library on board the vehicle.
We use a combination of lodges, chalets and campsites. There is a minimal time difference and we also visit some malaria areas. Activities such as climbing the sand dune at Sossusvlei and the walk to the White Lady painting could be challenging for younger children but there is the option to skip them. Most days involve early starts with our days in Soussusvlei and Etosha beginning before sunrise.
It will be cooler during UK summer months so please ensure that you bring adequate warm clothing, especially for the evenings when the temperature can drop quickly when the sun goes down. It can also get very warm in UK winter months so bear this in mind when packing.
The trip is led by an experienced and knowledgeable safari guide/driver. All camping chores including cooking, washing up and erecting and dismantling of tents is done for you.
DAY 1: START WINDHOEK
The starting point for this trip is the Arebbusch Lodge. For those on the group transfer, we spend sometime in the capital city to change money and collect supplies and then drive to the Arebbush Lodge on the outskirts of the city.
Lodging: Arebbusch Lodge or similar.
DAY 2: DRIVE THROUGH NAMIB-NAUKLUFT PARK TO SESRIEM
Today we embark on our longest drive of the trip as we head southwest through the spectacular scenery of the Namib-Naukluft Park to our first campsite at Sesriem. This National Park, one of the largest in the world, is home to one of the driest and oldest deserts on earth. It contains the finest desert scenery in Africa, if not in the world, with towering jagged rock formations and incredible lunar landscapes. (350kms / 7hrs)
Lodging: NWR Sesriem Campsite or similar.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
DAY 3: SOSSUSVLEI DUNES & THE NAMIB CARNIVORE CONSERVATION CENTRE
Today we spend all day in the Namib Desert. Rising early we catch the tallest sand dunes in the world in the best light and have the opportunity to climb one of the dunes as the sun rises, truly one of Africa's greatest sights. We can either walk to Hiddenvlei or catch a transfer (optional extra) to Deadvlei where ancient acacia trees in the desert form an eerie scene. If we're lucky we may see gemsbok or ostrich among the sand dunes. In the afternoon we visit Sesriem Canyon before continuing onto our camp an hour away. We visit the Namib Carnivore Conservation Centre where we can join conservationists working on a cheetah conservation project (depending on time we may go tomorrow morning). (200kms / 3hrs).
Lodging: Solitaire Guest Farm or similar.
DAY 4: TRAVEL THROUGH NAMIB DESERT TO SWAKOPMUND VIA WALVIS BAY
A long, but very scenic, drive through the Namib-Naukluft Park to Swakopmund. En route we visit Walvis Bay for lunch and to see local flamingos. Swakopmund is a small German colonial resort town with quaint cake shops and coffee houses and a centre for adrenaline activities. (300kms / 5.5hrs)
Lodging: Prost hotel or similar.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch.
DAY 5: FULL DAY IN SWAKOPMUND WITH OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES
Today is spent in and around Swakopmund. There is time to go fishing, relax on the beach, or enjoy a cream tea and a seafood dinner along the front. If you're keen for some action, there are enough options for the whole family - take an optional dolphin watching cruise, experience the thrill of quad biking over the sand dunes or try the popular new sport of sandboarding.
Lodging: Prost Hotel or similar.
Meals included: Breakfast.
DAY 6: DRIVE TO BRANDBERG, NAMIBIA'S HIGHEST MOUNTAIN
After a relaxing start we leave the cool breeze of the Atlantic Ocean behind and head inland towards Namibia’s highest mountain, Brandberg, in Damaraland. The Damaraland area is famous for the desert elephants which roam in the Ugab River. Star gazing is normally spectacular from this remote area (250kms / 4.5hrs).
Lodging: Bradberg Whilte Lady Lodge (camping) or similar.
Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
DAY 7: WHITE LADY PAINTING & VINGERKLIP
We begin our day with a short drive to Brandberg, where we will enjoy a walk through valley 45 for approximately 1.5 hours. Along the way we will view beautiful, granite rock formations and a variety of birdlife. The valley takes us to the famous ‘White Lady’ rock painting which, along with a number of other small paintings and engravings, are thought to have been left by Bushmen at least 2000 years ago. Afterwards we will drive towards the Khorixas area where we should pass various Himba and Herero women selling crafts from the roadside. There is also the possibility of spotting Desert elephants and meerkats on the way. We will arrive at our accommodation after lunch and then in the afternoon we can view Vingerklip, a striking pinnacle of rock balancing vertically on its own (driving 230kms / 4hrs).
Lodging: Khorias Lodge or similar.
DAY 8: TO FAMOUS ETOSHA NATIONAL PARK
The first day is spent with a scenic drive to Etosha. We should arrive in time to do a late afternoon game drive before setting up at our camp, which has an excellent waterhole for viewing game at night! Our itinerary allows plenty of time to really enjoy this fabulous game park. (240kms / 3.5hrs)
Lodging: Okaukujo Camp or similar.
Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner.
DAYS 9 - 10: TWO DAYS ON GAME DRIVES IN ETOSHA
Etosha is a huge park with a mix of forest and grassland surrounding a large saltpan. Etosha is home to a great variety and number of game, which is easy to find as the animals congregate at different times around the waterholes. There are waterholes near the camps, and it is not uncommon for us to spend many hours watching a gala performance of animals: wildebeest, zebra, impala, springbok, kudu, elephant, giraffe, lion and even rhino are all common sights here. Those with patience are frequently rewarded by one of the greatest game spectacles in Southern Africa. Etosha is also a good place for birds, with plenty of water birds on the lakes and weaverbirds and hornbills in the trees. While in Etosha we move from Okakuejo to a camp in either Namutoni or Halali (they both have waterholes). These camps now offer optional night drives which you can book and pay for on arrival.
Lodging: Namutoni Camp or similar.
Day 9 meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.
Day 10 meals included: Breakfast, Lunch.
DAY 11: TO OTJIWARONGWE
After a relaxing start to the morning, we drive via Tsumeb and Otavi where we can stretch our legs before stopping at Otjiwarongo for lunch. We then spend our final night of camping under the African night sky on a private farm. (380kms / 6hrs).
Lodging: Otjiwa Safari Camp or similar.
Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner.
DAY 12: TREK TO WATERBERG PLATEAU
This morning we drive to the Waterberg Plateau, a 200 metre high gigantic flat-topped plateau covered with bushveld. It is one of the more fertile areas in Namibia and very colourful especially after the rains. Here there are several walking trails, including one leading to a spectacular viewpoint near the top of the plateau for a great view. In addition to a guided walk, there are many smaller walks that can be explored without a guide. (120kms / 2hrs)
Lodging: NWR Waterberg Lodge or similar.
Meals included: Breakfast.
DAY 13: TRANSFER TO WINDHOEK DEPART WINDHOEK
A drive of three and a half hours or so brings us back to Windhoek. Those not travelling with the group to London will leave us during the day. (320kms / 3.5hrs)
Meals included: Breakfast.
What to Expect
2019 Dates: 5 - 17 April; 7 - 19 April, 7 - 19 July; 4 - 16 August; 11 - 23 August; 16 - 28 August; 18 - 30 August. Dates for land portion only. For holidays including flights, departure is one day earlier and return is one day later.
► $2,635 USD per adult & $1,975 USD per child ex flights
► From £2,899 GBP per adult & £2,174 per child including flights from and to London
Includes: All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 6 dinners; all accommodation (see below); all transport and listed activities; tour leader throughout; and arrival & departure transfers.
Excludes: Travel insurance; single accommodation (available on request); visas or vaccinations.
► Travel in an overland truck with standing space and reference library
► Group normally 8 to 12, plus leader
► 4 nights lodges and 1 night chalet, all en suite, 7 nights camping
► Designed for 13-16 year olds, also suitable for 9-12 year olds
► Some long drives
Optional Excursions (approximate costs, depending on group sizes)
There are several optional activities in Swakopmund, such as ocean fishing, canoeing, quad-biking and sandboarding but there's plenty to occupy you if you don't participate. These prices are approximate and presented in Namibian Dollars (NAD).
► Deadvlei transfer (if not walking on Day 3, one way): $150 NAD
► Quad-biking: $500 NAD (for 2hrs); $300 NAD (for 1hr)
► Dolphin Cruise: $500 NAD
► Flight over Sossousvlei: $3,500 NAD
► Ocean fishing: $950 NAD► Township Tour: $500 NAD
► Desert Night drive (Day 3): $200 NAD
► Sandboarding: Lay down: $300 NAD; Stand up: $400 NAD
► Etosha late-afternoon safari: $600 NAD
The lodges and chalet we use are all located in natural settings and generally have good facilities such as a bar and swimming pool. The campsites used are secure and have full ablution blocks (shower facilities) and generally swimming pools as well.
Please note that due to the limited amount of accommodation within Etosha National Park, it may be necessary to sleep outside the park on some or all of the nights that we are there. This will not impact on the number of game drives that we have within the park.
Whilst we will do our very best to ensure that families are roomed close together (in some cases, we can arrange adjoining rooms), we can't guarantee this. Most family holidays occur during peak season and we sometimes have little to no control over where you will be put. You need to come prepared for this.
Food & Transport
Eating & Drinking
All breakfasts, 6 lunches, 6 dinners.
Please allow approximately $15 USD (£10 GBP) per meal per person for meals not included. Camp meals will be wholesome and plentiful, but do not expect cordon bleu cuisine and please note it is not always easy to get a wide range of fresh vegetables. However, generally the standard of food is good. Vegetarians are well catered for but please inform us before departure of any special dietary requests. Please note that the availability of certain products can be minimal or non-existent, for example wheat or dairy-free. Please be prepared for this - you may be best advised to bring these items from home.
The vehicle normally used for this trip is a specially modified safari vehicle with twelve seats for clients. Seating is forward facing and the windows are large and easy to open. Smaller groups may be in a Mercedes Sprinter or Hilux/Land Cruiser. People are expected to move around to permit everyone a chance to have a window seat. The roof opens for game viewing and there is plenty of legroom and packing space. All vehicles carry a reference library and icebox. On certain departures we may use an alternative vehicle - this will be a Mercedes Benz Sprinter with sliding windows, library and fridge. These are comfortable, especially for long journeys on gravel roads.
Wildlife You Might See
Etosha is home to 114 species of mammals. The large mammals in Etosha National Park include lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, giraffe, wildebeest, cheetah, hyena, mountain and plains zebra, springbok, kudu, gemsbok and eland. Among the smaller species you will find jackal, bat-eared fox, warthog, honey badger and ground squirrel.
What makes Etosha special. Elephants and lions are plentiful at Etosha, but what really sets the park apart is its healthy population of black rhinoceros. This archaic beast is endangered and the waterholes are probably among the best places in the world to see this precious animal. Other rare and endangered species include the black-faced impala and the fleet-footed cheetah. The plains are covered by large herds of springbok and zebra. The backdrop of the vast Etosha Pan makes game viewing in Etosha a unique experience.
What Makes this Trip Responsible Travel
Accommodation & Meals
Most nights on this trip will be spent in fully service camps, whilst the remainder will be in guesthouses and small hotels. By mainly camping, we reduce our energy consumption and negative effect on the environment. These sites, often being based within or nearby National Parks, are extremely conscious of litter disposal and we try to use gas fires instead of limited wood resources. All breakfasts, 6 lunches and 6 dinners are provided, and your local guide and chef will use fresh, locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. We can arrange for meals out together or recommend restaurants nearby as a means of encouraging local investment and celebration of African cuisine.
We do a number of activities focused on wildlife and we actively ensure that our guides are well informed and able to convey environmental knowledge to clients. Etosha National Park, for example, is home to a great variety and number of game. There are waterholes next to the excellent campsites, and it is not uncommon for us to spend all night watching a gala performance of animals: wildebeest, zebra, impala, springbok, kudu, elephant, giraffe, lion and even rhino are all common sights. Our entrance fees to Etosha and other places like this on our itinerary, are a vital contribution to park maintenance, conservation activities, community projects, and employment of local people.
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.
Local Craft & Culture
Throughout the tour, there are opportunities to appreciate Southern African culture and to purchase traditional, handmade crafts. An example is on Day 7 when we drive through the Khorixas area where we should pass various Himba and Herero women selling crafts from the roadside. We encourage clients to support local businesses like this as a way of boosting the economy of local communities. We are also aware that some items sold are made with illegal or environmentally damaging products and so leaders are careful to give a warning in a briefing about things like ivory and large items made from local hardwood.
This small group tour has a maximum of 12 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.
Namib Carnivore Conservation Centre
The size of the cheetah enclosure has reduced in size quite significantly while the centre makes improvements to its fencing. The completion date for this work is expected to be in March 2019 but an exact date is still to be confirmed. Exodus does not wish to stop support of the project during this transitional period and so have decided to continue including the visit in our itineraries. However, it does mean seeing the cheetahs in a smaller enclosure than normal.
How You Can Help
Plastic bottles are a big issue in many countries where recycling isn't yet widely available; they often end up in landfill sites or get burnt, both processes are harmful to the environment and we would like to reduce our impact here. On your trip the tap water is safe to drink and the vehicle has a water tank. This means that safe drinking water will be available throughout and all you need to do is bring a bottle to re‐fill along the way. Please add this to your packing list!