Days 1 & 2: Windhoek, Namibia / Kulala Private Reserve—Sossusvlei Sand Dunes
We meet our Expedition Leader upon arrival at Windhoek International Airport before departing by light aircraft for Little Kulala Lodge, a luxury desert retreat within the private 90,000-acre Kulala Wilderness Reserve at the edge of Namibia’s great sand sea. The word “namib
” in the Nama language means “vast,” an apt name for this ancient arid expanse. Morning wildlife drives take us into Sossusvlei, the shape-shifting, ochre-colored dunes in the Namib Desert’s lonely center. Framed by intense blue skies, these dunes are the world’s tallest. Inside are diamonds, tucked into the sand mountains by currents, waves and wind. Surprisingly, these dunes are home to a host of desert species, including oryx and ostrich, springbok, aardwolf and bat-eared fox. We discover the desert’s subtle magic on short walks and safari drives. Little Kulala offers some of the most arresting vistas in all of Africa and is duly famed for its peach
sunsets and unmatched stargazing.
Days 3-5: Palmwag Concession
Today we board a light aircraft that takes us north. Our destination, Desert Rhino Camp, lies inland, in the heart of the private million-acre Palmwag Concession. Few safari locales can offer the level of privacy and isolation found here in one of Africa’s last great wildernesses. This desert reserve has several freshwater springs that support healthy populations of wildlife including the camp’s namesake, the rare desert-adapted black rhino, which we track in the company of rhino experts and researchers based at the camp. We also find desert-adapted elephants, endemic Hartmann’s mountain zebra, giraffe, oryx, springbok and greater kudu. Namibia’s second-largest
predator population thrives here, which includes lion
, cheetah, leopard and hyena. Birds are also abundant, including a number of southern African endemics.
Days 6-8: Etosha National Park—Ongava Private Reserve
Transfer by light aircraft to the Ongava Game Reserve on the border of Etosha National Park. The Etosha Salt Pan is the remnant of a huge lake that existed here two million years ago. Bare and dry today, the depression offers Namibia’s best wildlife viewing, with elephant, black and white rhino, lion, leopard, cheetah, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, hartebeest, springbok, oryx, kudu and the diminutive dik-dik drawn to its life-sustaining waterholes. Birdlife is abundant, and we may see ostrich and raptors. We stay on the private reserve adjacent to the park and far from any other accommodations. From camp
we take guided walks (safety permitting) and night drives on the reserve, venturing into the park by day.
Day 9: Windhoek / Depart
Our Namibia safari comes to an end as we fly from Ongava back to Windhoek today to connect with departing flights.