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Luxury Namibia Safari

Days 1-2: Desert Rhino Camp, Damaraland

Welcome to Africa! Upon arrival at Windhoek Airport, you will be greeted and guided to the airstrip for your flight to Desert Rhino Camp. There, you'll be greeted and transferred to the camp.

Damaraland is considered one of the most interesting and beautiful areas of Namibia. It has several endangered desert-adapted species such as the rare desert elephant. The hunting of wildlife in this area threatens to push populations down to risky levels Ecotourism projects have created a viable alternative by providing benefits to the local communities from the preservation of wildlife by making the community an active partner in the management of Damaraland. So far, the management plan for Damaraland has led to increases in the numbers of desert animals. Bird life is concentrated mostly along the dry river beds, but can be quite prolific here as well.

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In addition to the rare mammals and birds you will see on game drives through the desert, southern Damaraland boasts a wealth of anthropologic and geologic wonders. Strewn over a hillside at Twyfelfontein in the southern Kaokoveld, boulders and slabs of red sandstone hold some 2,500 prehistoric engravings that depict wildlife, animal spoor and abstract motifs. The rounded hill south-west of the Petrified Forest, known as the Burnt Mountain, seems to catch fire at both sunrise and sunset. Its’ fantastic range of colors comes from a chemical reaction that took place 132 million years ago when molten lava penetrated shale and limestone deposits. In ordinary sunlight, it is a dull black with blackened rubble lying to one side like cinders from the original fire.

Overnight: Desert Rhino Camp

Desert Rhino Camp offers an original and exclusive wilderness experience and the possibility of seeing some of the largest free-ranging population of desert-adapted black rhino in Africa. The camp, set in a wide valley sometimes flush with grass, has eight large Meru-style tents with en-suite bathrooms. A tented dining and living area offers uninterrupted views of the desert and mountains, while extraordinary welwitschia plants dot the plain in front of camp.

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Activities include rhino tracking on foot or by vehicle with Save the Rhino Trust trackers (an NGO responsible for the conservation of the black rhino in the area), full-day outings with a picnic lunch, birding and nature drives. Other species seen in the area include Hartmann’s mountain zebra, giraffe and lion. Desert Rhino Camp is run in conjunction with Save the Rhino Trust so in addition to gaining amazing insight into the ecology and conservation of this area, a portion of guest revenue goes to the Trust and its conservation operations.

Overnights at DESERT RHINO CAMP. Includes: Accommodation, all meals, twice daily scheduled camp activities, park fees, all local drinks, laundry

Days 3-5: Serra Cafema Camp, Kunene

Today you will be transferred from Desert Rhino Camp to the airstrip for your flight to the Hartman Valley Airstrip. Once you land, you'll be transferred to Serra Cafema Camp.

One of just five perennial rivers in Namibia, the Kunene is an invaluable source of water for the local Himba people, and it has been the mainstay of their existence for hundreds of years. For travellers, the river’s most striking feature is the Epupa Falls, which cascade over a distance of more than a kilometre downstream, with a total vertical drop of around 60 metres. White water rafting and kayaking are both popular pursuits on the Kunene.

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Overnight: Serra Cafema Camp

Located near the Angola border, Serra Cafema is the most remote camp in Southern Africa. The camp’s Portuguese name comes from the mountains to the north that dominates the skyline. This region is shared with the wonderful Himba people who are some of the last true nomadic people in Africa. These friendly people are closely related to the Herero and both ethnic groups speak the same language. The Himba are a pastoral people. They predominantly breed cattle and goats and lead a nomadic life. Depending on the time of year, they move with their herds to different watering places.

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The Kunene River is the only permanent source of water in the whole region and the river creates a lush oasis along its banks surrounded by rugged mountains and sand dunes. You will spend time in breathtaking landscape scenes in the Hartmann Valley, to the south of the camp, with herds of springbok, ostrich and even leopard. Traverse sand dunes on 4x4 safaris and explore the Kunene River on boat excursions where one can watch Kunene crocodiles basking the river banks, while looking out for Southern Africa's rarest bird, the Cinderella Waxbill. Walking trails in the remote mountain and river valleys are a highlight for those who enjoy foot safaris.

Under big, shady Albida trees you will find a small, rustic and peaceful camp with all the comforts in fully furnished Meru tents with en-suite bathroom facilities. The camp's six tents are raised off the ground. Attention to detail, elevated decks and simple structures of wood, canvas and thatch create a camp that is at one with its surroundings. The cool winds that blow from the Atlantic help to keep the camp cool even in summer.

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The variety of activities to explore the breathtaking landscape includes informative nature drives that tread lightly on the fragile habitats and boating on the Kunene River, where crocodiles and waterbirds seem out of place in this moonscape environment. Walking in the remote mountain and river valleys are also a highlight, as is a visit to a Himba settlement, should the nomadic people be in the area. The fairy circle phenomenon is best viewed in the Hartmann's Valley.

Overnights at SERRA CAFEMA CAMP. Includes: All meals, nature drives in Hartmann’s Valley in open Land Rovers, boating on Kunene River, nature walks in the valleys and at the waterfalls, visit to neighboring Himba, local drinks.

Day 6-7: Little Ongava, Etosha National Park

Today you will be transferred from Serra Cafema Camp to the airstrip for your flight to the Ongava Airstrip. Upon arrival, you'll be transferred to Little Ongava where you'll spend your last two nights in Namibia.

Etosha National Park is Namibia's premier wildlife destination. At almost the size of Switzerland it is certainly one of Africa's largest game parks. Vegetation ranges from dense bush to open plains attracting a diversity of wildlife and the heart of the park is The Etosha Pan - a shallow depression that covers an area of 5000sq kilometers. During the drier months of June to November the water points exert a magnetic pull on the big game herds, and forms the center piece for visitors looking to see the nearly 150 mammal species to found in the Park, including several rare and endangered species such as the black rhino, black-faced impala, tssesebe and gemsbok.

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Overnight: Little Ongava

Little Ongava is built along the crest of a hill with wonderful views onto the plains below and is the ideal lodge from which to base your activities when visiting Etosha. Little Ongava lodge offers the full Etosha experience while providing great accommodation and service. The lodge also allows night drives and nature walks on the reserve, activities that are not allowed within Etosha. Accommodation comprises three spacious suites, each with their own plunge pool, en-suite bathroom, a sala, an additional outdoor shower and a view of the waterhole in front of camp. Little Ongava's main area lends itself to relaxed, stylish dining under an African sky or under thatch.

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Overnights at LITTLE ONGAVA. Includes: All meals daily.

Day 8: Departure

Today you will bid farewell to Africa. You'll be picked up at your camp and brought to the Ongava Airstrip where you'll catch a 12:00 flight to Windhoek Airport, arriving at 3:00 pm before carrying on home.

This trip starts at approximately $10,000 per person sharing and excludes international flights.

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Jamie Mehrotra