Tailored from £3,000 per person excl. flights
11 days Central Highlands, Etosha, Damaraland, Windhoek
11 days Central Highlands, Etosha, Damaraland, Windhoek
After a comfortable overnight in the capital city of Windhoek, as well as time to become acquainted with your hire car and acclimatise to the country, head out of the city to start your adventure. The first stop is the Central Highlands and the private Okonjima Nature Reserve, around three hours north, learn about the conservation work carried out by the AfriCat Foundation and search for predators within the reserve.
The wildlife haven of Etosha National Park is next, and you have four nights split across two luxury camps in the east and then the central part of the park to cover more ground and to see some great wildlife.
Turning south, animal densities drop slightly in Damaraland, but you are on the lookout for the incredible desert denizens that survive in this harsh environment. Finally head back to the outskirts of Windhoek for a final night in private reserve just outside of the city.
Upon arrival in Namibia, you will be met by a representative of Wayfairer travel and transferred to your comfortable guesthouse in the suburbs of Windhoek.
You are staying for the night in one of the Windhoek’s top boutique hotels- The Olive Exclusive and it is the perfect place to relax and recuperate after what might have been a long journey to reach Namibia. As well as pleasant views over the city, your spacious ‘Junior Suite’ has a contemporary, chic vibe and has it’s own private courtyard, deep free-standing bath, lounge and dining area and of course a luxurious and comfy bed.
The onsite restaurant, The Olive, is one of the best in town if you don’t feel like venturing out this evening or ask us for other recommendations.
This afternoon is when you hire car will be delivered, a Ford Ranger 4x4 or similar on a premium package. A member of our team on the ground will go through all the details of your itinerary and answer any specific questions that you might have.
After breakfast, it is time to start your self-drive adventure in earnest, with roughly a three-hour drive to the Okonjima Nature Reserve. You are staying at Okonjima Plains Camp for one night, situated in the Central Highlands of Namibia.
This private reserve is vast at over 200 square kilometres. Starting life as a humble overnight stop for travellers between Windhoek and Etosha, over 30 years ago, it is now a leading force in the conservation and research of Namibia’s threatened carnivores, thanks to the AfriCat Foundation, which was established in 1993.
Some of the predators which call the reserve home are radio-collared giving you a great chance of finding them on a guided morning or afternoon trip with one of Okonjima’s guides. Be sure to arrive just after lunch to give yourself the opportunity to book onto the afternoon activity should you wish and start your safari experience straight away.
Today, depending on what you did yesterday, you might like to enjoy an activity with Okonjima before you depart or perhaps head out one their self-guided walking trails that are within the fenced ‘core’ area of the reserve. The bird watching is fantastic in this part of Namibia so be sure to have your binoculars in hand.
Next it is to Etosha National Park, which is one of the Africa’s best safari areas and although the sightings can be particularly productive during the dry season (from July-October) it has something to offer at all times of year. The Wayfairer team can attest to this, as they have had some of their most memorable sightings in the rainy season.
Your destination is Mushara Outpost, where you will stay for the next two nights as you explore the eastern side of Etosha. This lodge is located just outside of the eastern entrance to the park, near the Von Lindequist gate.
You will be greeted by a friendly team and the homely atmosphere in this luxury lodge which has eight tented suites built on raised wooden decks, shaded by native trees and scrub. The main area is delightful and is styled like an old farmhouse, this is also where you will find the good-sized swimming pool and during the summer months this is particularly tempting. Mushara Outpost is ideally located to embark on game drives into Etosha with the lodge or to explore independently.
Enjoy a full day to explore Etosha National Park. The majority of animals are most active in the early morning and the late afternoon, so it is worth getting up early and heading out with one of the Mushara’s guides in their open game viewer vehicles or driving independently into the park.
The park is easy to drive yourselves around as the roads as generally in good condition and the waterholes and landmarks are well-signposted. Driving in through the Von Lindequist gate you will need to stop at the office at Namutoni Restcamp, which is the government run camp inside the national park, to pay the necessary park fees.
The beauty of Etosha and of self-driving around the park is that you have complete flexibility to do as you please, just resting by one of the waterholes is likely to yield some great sightings as animals come and go.
However, there is no substitute for the experience of the guides who drive around Etosha day in, day out and it is certainly worth accompanying them on at least one game drive while you are in the area. You will also learn a lot about the animals and the area with an experienced guide.
As you drive west towards through Etosha National Park to your next destination, it is worth treating this as an extended game drive, rather than just a journey between two lodges.
There is always a chance of seeing something spectacular in Etosha, so we certainly recommend taking your time enjoying some snacks and drinks on the way and stopping off at each of the waterholes as you pass.
Gently you meander your way to the private, Ongava Game Reserve and to Anderssons at Ongava, which is the newest property on the private reserve having opened it’s doors, after a full refurbishment, in April 2019. You are staying here for two nights to enjoy activities on 30,000-hectare Ongava Reserve, adjacent to the national park, as well as guided or self-guided trips into Etosha.
You have the choice today whether to drive yourselves into Etosha National Park and explore independently or to book onto a game drive with Anderssons within the private Ongava Game Reserve or Etosha itself. Equally, you might like to enjoy your time at the lodge and spend a morning in the waterhole hide or investigating the research centre. The choice is yours. The smart televisions in the room can even tune into cameras pointed at the waterhole, so you don’t have to leave your room for live animal action.
A special activity only possible within the reserve and for those aged over 16 is that during a game drive if you encounter white rhino and the guide is sufficiently happy with the conditions then you may be allowed to approach on foot- which we can attest to being a heart-pounding and unforgettable experience.
The next stop on your Namibia Wildlife Safari is the diverse area of Damaraland. It is around a four to five-hour drive to Doro Nawas, roughly southwest and you will notice the scenery becoming increasingly dramatic as you head into this more mountainous part of Namibia.
You are staying at Doro Nawas for the next two nights. Built around a slight hill that gives impressive views from all angles, this substantial camp sits on the edge of the dry Abu-Huab River. The 16 chalets are spacious and kept cool by their traditional thatched style roofs, large windows open out onto a private deck and we particularly like that you can roll the bed out to sleep under the stars. Relax this afternoon and settle into this remote, luxury camp ahead of an active day exploring the area tomorrow.
Run by a safari company renowned for having some of the best guides in Namibia, they will bring the area to life on guided game drives or nature walks as you search for the desert adapted wildlife in the region. You might see elephant and if you are very lucky maybe even lion, rhino and hyena.
The lodge is also just a short drive away from the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Twyfelfontein, home to thousands of ancient rock engravings. Therefore, this afternoon or during the downtime in the middle of day you might like to visit this attraction. This is easily done independently.
The glittering pool with it’s spectacular views will also be very tempting during the summer months and be sure to roll your bed out onto your private deck one night to sleep under a blanket of stunning stars.
In order to break up the long journey south from Damaraland to Windhoek, we recommend that you enjoy another night in the Central Highlands of Namibia at the excellent Ai Aiba Lodge. This remote lodge is set in impressive rugged scenery and it is a completely different experience to Okonjima Plains Camp, where you visited at the start of the trip. However, they are both in a similar area.
Ai Aiba Lodge is famous for it's walking so enjoy this afternoon on a guided walk discovering flora and fauna that you might have skipped over on your wildlife journey so far.
Towards the end of your adventure now, with your memory cards bursting from the incredible landscapes and animals you have seen so far, Namibia has one final delight before you depart tomorrow.
The first hotel in Namibia for the luxury boutique hotel group, Zannier Hotels, it is situated within a private conservancy just outside of Windhoek and a short drive away from the airport. It is the perfect place to get your final safari fix as they have a number of wildlife experiences possible on the reserve or just to relax and enjoy the first-class food and drinks offerings, or perhaps even treat yourself to a spa treatment.
Head back to Windhoek Airport around 3 hours before your departure to give you plenty of time to return your hire car and check-in for your international flights home. Say goodbye to Namibia...for now.