Namibia – 14 Nights & 15 Days Botany Tour

Route: Keetmanshoop – Aus – Sossusvlei – Swakopmund – Twyfelfontein – Sesfontein – Opuwo – Etosha South – Etosha East – Waterberg Plateau National Park

Duration: 15 Days / 14 Nights

Day 1:  Keetmanshoop      

Day Itinerary

Welcome to Namibia!

Upon your early morning arrival, you will meet your guide after clearing customs. 

A possibility of visiting the Botanical Gardens getting to grips with local species we will encounter on the trip. 

We depart the capital for the south of Namibia to the town of Keetmanshoop. 

Visit the  Quiver tree forest and the beautiful rock formations at Giant’s Playground, is possible from sunrise till sunset, the most beautiful time to be in the quiver tree forest.

Looking for common species of centrally distributed plants en route. Aloe littoralis, Nymania capensis and several Cimmiphora species, Acacia species and finally Aloe Dichotoma in habitat.

Keetmanshoop

Situated along the Trans-Namib Railway, in the ǁKaras region of southern Namibia, the town of Keetmanshoop is known as the capital of southern Namibia. Founded in 1860, this southern Namibian town is a living slice of history. German colonial architecture is dotted around the town and the local museum, housed in an old church, provides an interesting insight into the town’s heritage. Just a short drive out of town, the Quiver Tree Forest is a sea of spikes and twisted trunks, while the neighboring ‘Giant’s Playground’ is an evocative expanse of strange rock formations. Both offer superb opportunities for photography, particularly at sunset. Visitors can look forward to exploring the scenic and historic attractions of this amazing place and enjoy an array of wonderful activities.

Day 2: Klein-Aus Vista, Aus        

Day Itinerary

Today’s drive is relatively short as we depart to Klein-Aus Vista.

Just east of Aus, Klein Aus Vista lodge is nestled in the granite-gneiss hills with magnificent views of the landscape. This is the area where the Namib Desert begins to merge with golden grasses, where wild horses roam free and people once gathered with diamond dreams. 

En route, we look for Euphorbia virosa and avasmontana as well as several common roadside shrubs. Aus is the northern section of the succulent karoo biome where we will search for Lithops species, Aloe species, and Mesemb species. The Mesembryanthemacae are limited to the southwestern parts of the country, the only area that receives winter rainfall.

Join on an afternoon Desert Tour in search of the Wild Horses of the Namib and/or relax on a scenic sunset drive making the best of light and landscape. 

Aus

Perched above the plains of the Namib Desert and tucked away in the rocky Aus Mountains, the small village of Aus is located in the Karas Region in southern Namibia. The arid surrounding landscape is known for its unique botanical diversity. Aus serves as an excellent base from which to explore the area and to view the main attraction: the feral horses of the Namib Desert, which run wild and free in the sparsely vegetated plains. Catch a glimpse of these wild desert-adapted creatures at the water trough at Garub just twenty kilometres away from the village. Visitors can explore the Succulent Karoo with a visit to the beautiful Gondwana Sperrgebiet Rand Park, home to the most biodiverse desert in the world, and take a scenic hike to discover fascinating indigenous fauna and flora. Don’t miss the opportunity to camp under the clear Namibian night sky and view the vast desert landscape on horseback.

Day 3: Klein-Aus Vista, Aus        

Day Itinerary

Today we take a day trip to the town of Lüderitz which is just 120km away looking for Zygophyllum species, Mesemb species, Drosanthemum species and other desert-adapted species.

On the way back from Luderitz, we visit the Garub water hole where the wild horses and several other animals of the desert plains can be found.

Day 4: Sossusvlei   

Day Itinerary

Today we embark on another +/- 5 hour drive to reach the Sossus Dune Lodge some 351km away. 

Situated within the Namib Naukluft Park, guests benefit from being able to reach Sossusvlei before sunrise and stay until after sunset, and on their return after an exhilarating day, relax in the tranquillity and splendor of the Namib Desert, under the spectacular African sky.

Day 5: Sossusvlei   

Day Itinerary

Day tour to Sossusvlei.

En route stopping at various sites exploring the local flora. Hoodia species possible along the way as well as Aloe and Euphorbia species.

Explore the Red dunes of the Namib. Local dune adapted species such as Acanthosicyos horridus and Cladoraphis grasses.

The Namib is the oldest desert in the world as well as the desert which holds the most bio-diversity in the world and has many wonders to be shown.

Sossusvlei

Located in the scenic Namib-Naukluft National Park, Sossusvlei is where you will find the iconic red sand dunes of the Namib. The clear blue skies contrast with the giant red dunes to make this one of the most scenic natural wonders of Africa and a photographer’s heaven. This awe-inspiring destination is possibly Namibia’s premier attraction, with its unique dunes rising to almost 400 metres-some of the highest in the world. These iconic dunes come alive in morning and evening light and draw photography enthusiasts from around the globe. Sossusvlei is home to a variety desert wildlife including oryx, springbok, ostrich and a variety of reptiles. Visitors can climb ‘Big Daddy’, one of Sossusvlei’s tallest dunes; explore Deadvlei, a white, salt, claypan dotted with ancient trees; or for the more extravagant, scenic flights and hot air ballooning are on offer, followed by a once-in-a-lifetime champagne breakfast amidst these majestic dunes.

Day 6: Swakopmund        

Day Itinerary

After breakfast you will check out of the Lodge and make your way towards the Atlantic Ocean visiting the German coastal town of Swakopmund. 

Many stops en route with several Commiphora species, Moringo ovalifolia and the Namib’s famous Welwitschia mirabilis closer to the coast being the target today. Hoodia species also found en-route as well as several Zygophyllum species.

Swakopmund

Set along Namibia’s spectacularly scenic coast, the seaside town of Swakopmund is known for its wide-open avenues, colonial architecture, and its surrounding otherworldly desert terrain. Founded in 1892 as the main harbor for German South West Africa, Swakopmund is often described as being more German than Germany. Now a seaside resort town, Swakopmund is the capital of the Skeleton Coast tourism area and has plenty to keep visitors happy. The quirky mix of German and Namibian influences, adventure options, laid-back atmosphere and cool sea breeze make it a very popular Namibian destination. Visitors can look forward to a number of exciting activities including quad biking, horse riding, paragliding, fishing, sightseeing and fascinating desert tours.

Day 7: Twyfelfontein        

Day Itinerary

Today we depart the coast to Damaraland.

A true landmark situated in the heart of one of the world’s most magnificent wilderness regions. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Twyfelfontein in Damaraland is home to one of the largest collections of rock-art engravings found in Southern Africa. Not only did the Khoi-San and tribes of ancient years leave us with a true cultural heritage, but the whole area is characterized by natural wonders such as Doros Crater, Burnt Mountain, Organ Pipes, Petrified Forest and desert-adapted animals – of which the desert-adapted elephant is probably the most well-known species.

Nestled along the mountainside, the lodge beautifully blends in with its surrounding environment. Using natural stone, carefully selected paint colors and thatched roofs, its design compliments the sandstone rock formations with minimum visual impact on this picturesque landscape. Magnificent views from the deck over the Huab Valley, desert plains and distant mountains provide for hours of relaxed comfort, peace and tranquillity.

En-route stops at the coastal Lichen fields, a visual splendor fed by the cold moisture-rich air from the Atlantic Ocean due to the cold Benguela current from Antarctica. The coastal Namib holds many endemic lichens and the biggest diversity of species of any desert in the world. We venture briefly into the Messum caldera in search of the largest Welwitschia specimens in Namibia. Other Namib specials and new tree species encountered further inland.

Twyfelfontein

Set in the Kunene Region of north-western Namibia, Twylfelfontein is a spectacularly scenic area, featuring one of the largest and most important concentrations of rock art in Africa. The name ‘Twyfelfontein’ translates to ‘Fountain of Doubt’, which refers to the perennial spring situated in the impressive Huab valley flanked by the slopes of a sandstone Table Mountain. It was this spring that attracted Stone Age hunters over six thousand years ago, and it was during this time that the extensive group of rock engravings and paintings were produced. Visitors can look forward to basing themselves at some wonderfully shady campsites along the Aba-Huab riverbed while exploring over thirty different sites of these sacred records of ritual practices relating to traditional hunter-gatherer communities.

Day 8: Sesfontein  

Day Itinerary

Today you will depart to the fridge of Kaokoland. Khowarib Lodge nestles on the banks of the Hoanib river in the magnificent Khowarib Gorge in northwest Namibia. The lodge offers a perfect jumping-off point to explore the remote northwest of the country, either independently or on one of the lodge’s extensive guided tours. The immediate surrounding area of Damaraland has many rich and interesting activities including desert-adapted elephant and Himba settlements within easy reach.

Stops along the way for Adenia, Aloe, Cyphostemma, Sansevieria, Sesamothamnus, Stapelia and Euphorbia species.

Possibility of seeing desert-adapted game such as Lion, Elephant, Giraffe, Mountain Zebra and Rhinoceros.

Sesfontein

Sesfontein, meaning ‘six fountains’, is home to six natural springs creating a lush oasis rising up from a barren landscape. Set in the Hoanib Valley and surrounded by mountains, Sesfontein is a harshly beautiful town dotted with acacia and mopane trees interspersed with spiky-leafed fan palms. The town serves as a good base from which to launch an exploration of the surrounding Kaokoveld. An old fort, constructed at the end of the 19th century, has been refurbished and converted into a comfortable lodge rich with atmosphere and makes a great base to explore the southern reaches of the Kaokoveld. Don’t miss a trip to a local Himba village to learn about local customs and traditions and observe how these communities live in peaceful coexistence with wildlife and the natural surrounds.

Day 9: Opuwo         

Day Itinerary

The Kaokoveld, Kunene Region is rugged mountains, dry river courses and solid 4×4 country associated with names like van Zyl’s Pass, Hartmann Mountains, Marienfluss, Epupa, Ruacana and Swartboois Drift.  A land vast and uninhabited, a wilderness in its own right where pockets of wildlife roam freely.  This is also home to Namibia’s last remaining nomadic tribe, the Ovahimba.

Opuwo, meaning “finished” or “up to here and no further” Opuwo is the gateway to the Kaokoveld, the small town is the administrative hub of the Kunene Region. It has a few shops, filling stations, school and houses. The airfield in town is managed by Opuwo Country Hotel and offers refueling and transfer services to and from the Hotel. 

En route our first chance to see Adansonia digitata the only species on mainland Africa. Good specimens of Cyphostemma, Kirkia and Fokia found en-route.

Opuwo

Opuwo, meaning ‘the end’ in Herero, lies in the north-western Kunene region of Namibia. It serves as the capital of the region and is known as the gateway to the magnificent Epupa Falls. The surrounding landscape is characterized by low-lying hills, and vast dry desert plains inhabited by a wealth of desert-adapted wildlife. It serves as the central hub for the Himba culture. The town provides a perfect base for visitors wishing to explore the Kaokoland area and visit the local villages of the itinerant Himba people. The town and the Opuwo surrounding area is known as one of the cultural highlights of a trip to Namibia as it features an incredibly rich cultural heritage. Don’t miss an opportunity to learn about the fascinating Himba community within this starkly beautiful landscape.

Day 10: Opuwo Country Lodge, Opuwo           

Day Itinerary

Day trip to Epupa Falls on the Kunene river with many good specimens of Hoodia, Adenium, Moringa, Adansonia and Euphorbia.

Epupa Falls

Named by the Herero people after the spray it creates, Epupa Falls consists of a series of little waterfalls created by the Kunene River as it drops 60 meters, creating hundreds of natural pools that providing the Himba people and visitors with a fantastic recreation spot. The falls create a spectacular contrast to the arid desert and rugged surrounding mountains.

Day 11: Etosha South         

Day Itinerary

Today you will travel to Namibia’s favorite wildlife destination, the Etosha National Park. 

Okaukuejo, located 17 km from the southern entrance of the Etosha National Park, is famous for its flood-lit waterhole, where visitors can observe at close quarters a spectacle of wildlife congregating and interacting.

Etosha South

Located just south of the boundary of Etosha National Park in northwestern Namibia, Etosha South makes up the southern region of this wild paradise. Ongava Private Game Reserve shares the southern boundary with Etosha National Park and offers an array of luxury lodges overlooking picturesque landscapes dotted with abundant wildlife. The national park can be accessed via the southern entrance at Andersson’s Gate. Visitors can catch a glimpse of a variety of wildlife including lion, giraffe, elephant, white and black rhino, and a multitude of plains game. Popular activities include game drives, tracking rhinos on foot, guided nature walks, or watch the sunset over this magnificent landscape.

Day 12 & 13: Etosha East

Day Itinerary

We spend two days game viewing and a few new flora species are on the list as we enter a higher rainfall zone.

Day 14: Waterberg Plateau National Park       

Day Itinerary

We depart for the Waterberg Plateau.

En route, we search for a species of Cyphostemma and several large tree species occurring in the higher rainfall areas of central Namibia.

Waterberg Plateau National Park

Situated in north-central Namibia and named for the springs that emanate from its foothills, the Waterberg Plateau National Park is a fascinating geological site featuring compressed sandstone crags, 200 million-year-old dinosaur footprints, and petrified sand dunes. The area’s natural water sources make it far more fertile than its environs, and the park is blessed with a plethora of plant and animal species, including leopards, rhinoceros, vultures, cheetahs, bush babies, ferns and fig trees. Visitors can enjoy a wide selection of activities including learning about the local Herero culture on an informative village tour, tracking rhino on a guided safari, exploring the Waterberg’s 50-kilometre-long and 16-kilometer-wide sandstone plateau, dubbed ‘Table Mountain’, and catching a glimpse of the rare and endangered Sable and roan antelope.

Day 15: End of Itinerary     

Day Itinerary

After breakfast, we check out and make our way back to the capital where you will check in on your late afternoon/evening flight back home.