Namibia Safari – Highlights Tour – 12 Days
Experience our Namibia Safari and the deserts and wildlife. Rated as one of the 5 most beautiful countries in the world, Namibia is hauntingly beautiful and one of the world’s natural treasure troves. This Namibia Safari will focus on all these stunning attractions on offer.
Sossusvlei and the Namib Naukluft is seen as the single most beautiful desert on planet Earth. Dead Vlei, inside the Sossusvlei area, is an astounding expanse featuring trees petrified by centuries with little or no rain, and it often renders first time visitors to speechless astonishment; it is truly an astonishing Spiritual experience.
The Spitkoppe-, Brandberg-, and Erongo mountains are amongst the most remarkable mountains in the world, while the Caprivi Strip is a water wonderland, with the Epupa falls generally regarded as the second largest waterfall in this thirsty land.
Etosha national park is indisputably one of the world’s greatest game reserves. Before the rainy season, it offers wildlife viewing that rivals the very best reserves on Earth, especially at the Okaukuejo camp where visitor can sit at the water hole day and night to watch millions of animals come to quench their thirst.
- Sossusvlei dunes, whale & dolphin boat trip in Wavis Bay.
- Bushman paintings, stone organ pipes, burnt mountain, Petrified Forest.
- Safaris in Etosha Park.
- Visit to the Africat foundation.
Your Jewel of Africa Safaris tour guide will meet you upon arrival at the Hosea Kutako International Airport in Windhoek. A short drive will take you to the beautiful River Crossing Lodge, situated on a big wildlife reserve, just outside Windhoek.
Check in and freshen up before your late afternoon safari. The morning and noon safari drives are engaging with spectacular views and abundant wildlife. Giraffe, wildebeest, roan, sable, etc. roam these plains, while cheetahs and leopards are occasionally seen here.
An early morning safari and breakfast will be followed by a four-hour drive to Sossusvlei situated in the Namib Desert – the oldest desert in the world. Enjoy some leisure time before embarking on a sunset drive.
Return and enjoy a brilliant buffet dinner, with an array of food you could only imagine!
A very early morning wake-call will be followed by a short drive to Sossusvlei and Dune 45, which we will try to reach as the sun rises.
Sossusvlei is a mud pan surrounded by red dunes as high as 300 meters. It runs from north to south thus giving you the perfect opportunity to photograph these dunes as soon as the sun rises. The eastern side is light up while the western side is shade and makes for amazing pictures.
We will return back to the lodge in time for lunch. Enjoy some free time before visiting the nearby Sesriem Canyon. Sesriem Canyon is located approximately 4.5km from the entrance gate of the Namib-Naukluft National Park. The Tsauchab River has shaped the Canyon over millions of years and it is one of the few places in the area that holds water all year round.
OVERNIGHT: Sossusvlei Lodge
MEALS: Breakfast & Dinner
After breakfast we travel northwest to Swakopmund. But first, we head over to the local fuel station to fill up on petrol and to stock up on supplies. Its owner, Moose, bakes mouth-watering Dutch apple pies. They’re too tasty to pass up, so we will make sure to have a piece (or more) during our trip to Swakopmund.
Our travels take us straight through an incredible interesting empty, barren wasteland until we reach the coastal town of Swakop. The landscape has such an unearthly quality and is almost what you would expect to see on the moon, it.
Depart after breakfast to Walvis Bay harbor for an exiting boat trip in the protected lagoon area of Walvis Bay, where the water is calm and abundant with bird life. Experience the thrill of dolphins leaping out of the water alongside the boat, seals that board the boat and fed by hand, fresh oysters and cold champagne on the calm waters of the Walvis Bay lagoon. This tour is very popular with visitors to the coast, as it shows them an area that the average visitor doesn’t have access to.
The rest of the day is dedicated to leisure time and you are free to explore Swakopmund on your own pace. Dinner will be at one of the many exquisite restaurants in town.
OVERNIGHT: Zum Kaiser Hotel
Today is a very scenic “drive day” as we check out after breakfast. A short drive along the coast north of Swakopmund will lead to the fishing village of Hentiesbaai from where the road turns in-land towards Twyfelfontein.
We will travel pass Brandberg Mountain a few of hours later, Namibia’s highest mountaintop. We will reach the country lodge by late afternoon.
The day will be spent exploring the area surrounding Twyfelfontein. The San Bushmen were attracted to a small perennial spring, the only one of its kind in the area.
One of Namibia’s most prominent collections of Bushman paintings and engravings can be visited here. There are some 2,500 Bushman paintings, ranging from the lion with the kink in its tail, the giant giraffe, the fable animal, the works at the ‘place of ceremonies’ and many more.
Time will also be devoted to the Burnt Mountain and the adjacent archaeological phenomenon of the Organ Pipes will be a highlight of the day. The Organ Pipes south of Twyfelfontein are the remains of molten rock pushing up through the Earth’s surface. The similarity of these vertical basalt slabs to organ pipes is obvious. The straight lines and geometrical shapes are absolutely fascinating.
We will return to the lodge for lunch and the afternoon is spent at leisure around the pool or in the pub overlooking the valley. Dinner is served at the restaurant tonight.
OVERNIGHT: Twyfelfontein Country Lodge
MEALS: Breakfast & Dinner
After breakfast, we check out and drive to Etosha. En-route to Etosha, we pay a visit to the Petrified Forest. The Petrified Forest is situated on an old river channel. Trees have been sept down stream and were caught up here, covered with sand. Lying there for millions of years, it became fossilized in the process.
We continue our journey to one of the world’s most renowned wildlife areas – the Etosha National Park. We reach our overnight destination by late afternoon, check in and freshen up for dinner.
Etosha National Park covers an area of 22 207 square kilometers. A massive mineral pan dominates Etosha and forms part of the Kalahari Basin, formed about 1000 million years ago. The rains occasionally fill the pan, which attracts thousands of birds including impressive flocks of flamingos, while the perennial springs along the edges of the Etosha Pan draw large concentrations of wildlife and birds.
The Park is world renowned for its spectacular wildlife: elephant, black and white rhinoceros, lions, leopards, cheetahs, large herds of springbok, zebra, wildebeest, giraffe and a multitude of other fascinating species, big and small, interacting in their natural environment.
Today we embark on a full day’s safari with an Etosha Village guide and 4×4 open vehicle. Partaking on safari is the ideal way to explore a specific area amongst a small group of people with a 4 x 4 safari vehicle.
Safaris are aimed at the more adventurous traveller wanting to experience wildlife and nature in its natural surroundings, off the beat and track. The open-air safari vehicles allow you to have a 360-degree view on the vehicles, which is ideal for the keen photographer.
OVERNIGHT: Taleni Etosha Village
MEALS: Breakfast & Dinner
We make our way south after breakfast to Okonjima, home to the Africat Foundation. Africat became internationally renowned after featuring in an award-winning documentary filmed for the Discovery Channel in 1995 &1996 about the wild, free-ranging cheetah population found on approximately 7000 commercial farms.
We will check in Okonjima at around lunchtime. After afternoon coffee, tea and cake – ‘radio-track’ Leopards from a safari vehicle. The leopards roam freely and catch their own prey within the 20 000 ha private Okonjima Nature Reserve.
Dinner is served at the lodge. After dinner, we embark on a guided night-safari, after dinner into the Nature Reserve.
After breakfast, we depart for Windhoek Hosea Kutako International airport for your flight back to Johannesburg.
- Pre-tour documentation with all-inclusive travel information.
- Welcome kit in Africa with animals and birds checklists, postcards and many more.
- All ground transfers in air-conditioned vehicles.
- Accommodation as specified.
- Meals as specified.
- Complimentary bottled water on board while in transit.
- All porterage included at airports, hotels, and camps.
- Services of a registered tour guide and lodge rangers.
- Activities as specified.
- Conservation and entrance Fees.
- Guaranteed departures.
- Sundowner bush cocktails when on safari at private game lodges.
- Bush walks with expert safari rangers at private game lodges.
- International return flights from Johannesburg to Windhoek.
- On-site shopping and shipping assistance.
- Airport transfers for all travelers, at any time.
- Rental vehicle for Self-drive tours if applicable.
- International flights to and from South Africa – ask us for a quote.
- Lunches and Dinners (unless specified).
- Cold drinks, wine, beer, & refreshments.
- Tips & gratuities for guides, hotels, porters, and restaurants.
- Telephone calls, laundry, & other incidental personal expenditure.
- Travel & Medical insurance.
- Fuel for self-drive tours if applicable.
- This is a privately guided, luxury tour run exclusively for you.
- A self-drive option is available for this tour.
- Can depart any day and can be tailored to suite your needs.
- Can be booked by single travelers – a single supplement will apply.
- There is no minimum age requirement – children of all ages are welcome.
- In case an accommodation is fully booked, we will suggest a similar lodge/hotel.
- You can book your own flights to and from South Africa online or through your travel agent. Please feel free to ask our in-house travel agent for a quote.
- Please confirm availability with us before you book your flights.
- If you fly in to Johannesburg and you arrive later than 09:00 on the day your safari tour starts, we recommend that you book in at a hotel nearby to recuperate and get rid of your jetlag as the drive to the Kruger Park takes about 5 hours. A day tour can be arranged instead. This obviously does not apply if you fly to the Kruger Park.
- All activities are subject to prevailing weather conditions.
- Prices are subject to price hikes, fuel increases, etc. Prices are fixed upon the official reservation and receipt of a 20% deposit.
- Jewel of Africa Safaris is a registered professional tour operator with the necessary permits and insurance cover to transport International Tourists. All our driver-tour guides are Satour & Theta accredited, medically cleared, hold Professional Driving Permits and are accredited First Aid practitioners.
Is Jewel of Africa Safaris part of a Professional Body?
Jewel of Africa Safaris is been a member of the South African Tourism Services Association (SATSA). SATSA is the tourism industry’s watchdog and guarantees high standards of service, good quality tourism services and product and a trustworthy accreditation with the association itself.
How long has Jewel of Africa Safaris been in business?
Jewel of Africa Safaris is a registered tour operator with the necessary permits and insurance cover to transport International Tourists. We have been conducting quality safaris and tours in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe since 2001.
Is Jewel of Africa Safaris’ guides registered with the authorities?
All our driver & tour guides are Satour & Theta accredited, medically cleared, hold Professional Driving Permits and are accredited First Aid practitioners.
Do you have booking system with a secure payment gateway?
Our on-line booking system allows you to do EFT’s (Electronic Transfer) through a secure payment gateway in your own currency, avoiding high exchange rates and excessively high transfer fees charged by banks. Credit card payments are levied by an extra 6.5% via a very safe third party company.
Our guides will continuously ensure your safety by informing you of a potentially unsafe or dangerous situation may arise. We will never allow ourselves to get caught up in a dangerous or life-threatening situation, let alone putting you in that situation.
The same as you would do back home; keep an eye on your valuables, passports, money and cameras when walking in a crowd. Avoid walking in the cities at night and leave your valuables in your hotel safe. This is where our guides are of great importance to you. They will brief you on potential hazardous scenarios. If you are one of Jewel of Africa’s self-drive clients, you will find all the precautions in our tour documentation.
What do I need to pack for my safari tour?
- Sunscreen with a SPF of 30 or higher, hat or cap, and sunglasses.
- A quality camera with a lot of memory cards and a pair of binoculars.
- Swimming clothes at the lodges or Kruger Park.
- Cool, long pants and shirts in summer for around the campfire.
- A warm jacket or sweater for wintertime as it becomes cold on evening safaris.
- Comfortable walking shoes and a few god pairs of socks.
- Neutral colored clothing (green, brown, khaki, beige) for bush walks.
- A flashlight.
- Insect repellent, but are freely available here in South Africa.
- Power supplies and adapters for South African. We run on 220V.
- All your medication normally used, including some anti-allergic ointment or pills.
- Some US dollars in cash when are traveling to Botswana, Zambia, or Zimbabwe.
- Formal dressing if traveling on the Blue Train, Rovos Rail or staying in 5 star lodge
Do I need a visa?
All visitors traveling to the Southern African necessitate a valid passport that is valid for six months beyond the intended length of stay. The passport entry obligation for travelers entering South Africa is a minimum of two blank pages in their passport. If visitors are traveling via South Africa to more than one African country, then the visitors must ensure they allow for adequate pages for each country to be visited. They must also have a minimum of two blank visa pages for each re-entry into South Africa.
Currently American passport holders do not require visas for South Africa, Namibia, or Botswana, but do require visas for Zimbabwe, Zambia, Kenya, or Tanzania. Visas may be purchased at the point of entry for a nominal fee, accept for Kenya. Please check with the website of the country that you intend to visit to confirm.
Should I get traveler's insurance?
Insurance should include the cancellation of the trip to Africa, emergency evacuation, medical, repatriation, and cover against loss, damage or theft of personal luggage, money, and goods. Ask your travel agent for travel insurance.
Should I take any medical precautions before going to Africa?
Before you arrive in South Africa, check with your local doctor or health department for the latest health precautions of which malaria is the most important. Medication it is strongly recommended and is taken as a precaution. You are only required to have vaccinations if you are traveling from a region where yellow fever is prevailing, in which case an immunization will be required against the disease.
Are your tours child and family friendly?
Most of our safari tours are fitting for families and children of all ages are accepted.
South Africa has one of the most advanced banking systems in the world. Banks use world-class technology and facilities, and cash is available with major credit cards from thousands of ATMs countrywide. Forex traders are available at airports and shopping malls. Most of the larger hotels also offer money-changing facilities.
Visa and MasterCard credit cards as well as debit cards, are accepted throughout South Africa, and in most key centers in Botswana and Namibia. About 50% of establishments in tourist areas in Zimbabwe and Zambia will accept credit cards. A 3 – 5% levy will apply. Traveler’s checks are accepted in South Africa.
Make sure that you bring along some cash for spending money, tip, drinks, etc. US Dollars, Euros, and Pounds can easily be converted to Rands (ZAR) at the airport. At the Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and Livingstone, you will be able to use ZAR, US$, Euros, and Pounds at curio markets, while most lodges will accept these currencies. Foreign currency will be a problem at Victoria Falls, so we recommend to bring enough small value notes (20’s, 10’s, 5’s and 1’s).
All of the Southern African countries make use of a 220 – 240V electricity supply via their national networks. It is important to make sure that the equipment you plan to bring along on tour or safari is compatible. European, Australian and New Zealand adaptors are available in South Africa and come in both formats of two or three pins. USA and Canada adaptors are also available and most stores in large malls and shopping centers. The USA and Canada adaptors are not converters and will lower the voltage from 220V to 110V.
In Zambia, the wall sockets will match the UK’s 220V supply, and adaptor plugs that fit that standard may be used. If you plan on purchasing an adaptor plug while in South Africa, do not buy it on the flight over to South Africa, as some airlines sell adaptors that are not locally well suited. Some airlines sell adaptors, which are not locally compatible. Rather buy it here after you have arrived.
Generally speaking, medical facilities in South Africa are very good is considered to be the best on the African continent and our private hospitals are considered world class. The general practitioners, nurses, and medical staff are trained at top medical institutions in the country. Some of the specialists obtained their medical degrees while undergoing training in western countries like the USA and the UK. The standard of healthcare in South Africa, particularly in the urban and coastal areas, are of world standard.
Most people wishing to visit the remote safari areas of Southern Africa to get away from civilization so to speak, is the major reason for going, however all major centers in South Africa will have access to the internet. Cell phone coverage is better than the run-of-the-mill, but unfortunately not available in every corner of the country, particularly when visiting a safari lodge. All hotels we use will offer Internet facilities and a fair number will offer free WiFi, but for most hotels it is expected to pay for the service. International airports are the exception and both Johannesburg and Cape Town will have WiFi hotspots.
It is advisable to purchase a local SIM card when you arrive in South Africa and to do that, you will need to present your passport. This enforced by law to prevent terrorists (amongst many others) from attaining untraceable cell phone numbers. International roaming service is not automatically enabled on cell phones. You will need to contact your service provider to activate the international roaming feature.
Tipping is a general practice in South Africa. A large number people in the tourism industry that serve you, is pretty much dependent you their tips as many of them do not get a fixed salary, like waiter for example. Others do get a salary, but are encouraged to deliver a better service to increase their income from tipping.
Here is some information on tipping in South Africa.
- In restaurants and bars, 10% to 15% is the accepted tipping standard.
- Petrol attendants at gas stations – from R2 up.
- Porters at airports – between R5 and R10 per luggage.
- Hotel porters – between R10 to R20 per porter service.
- Taxi drivers – between $2 and $10, depending on the distance.
- Rangers and trackers – between $10 and $20 or more per day for both.
- Site guides (e.g. a guide at the ostrich farm) – $10 per person.
- Guides – anything between $20 and $100 per day, but $100 is the norm.
Visa & Passports?
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It is important to organize your own visas through your nearest embassy or consulate. We cannot be held liable if you arrive without the necessary visas immigration officials will be obliged to refuse you entry in to South Africa.
Requirements for entering South Africa?
- A valid passport that will be endorsed for the length of your anticipated stay.
- Your passport should have at least TWO blank pages in it.
- A valid visa, if required – see the list above.
- A return or onward ticket.
- Adequate funds.
- Yellow fever certificates – if your journey passes through yellow fever prone areas.
Depending on your nationality (see the list above), you may or may not need a visa to visit South Africa. Please the Department of Home Affairs’ website for the list of countries that are exempted – http://www.dha.gov.za/index.php/immigration-services/exempt-countries
Where to make enquiries about visas?
Visit the South African Home Affairs website for more detail – http://www.dha.gov.za. You could also visit the website of the “South African offices abroad” to apply for a visa in your own country – http://www.dirco.gov.za/foreign/sa_abroad/index.htm
If traveling to Zimbabwe or Zambia, you are expected to secure your entry visa at the port of entry in US Dollar only. No other currency is accepted; credit or debit cards, checks, or travelers checks will not be accepted for purchasing your visas. The current going rate for visas to these two countries are between $50 and $100 per person. It is recommend having at least an adequate supply of small value notes to the amount of between $200 and $300 for personal expenses. Old bank notes, notes with ink marks, notes with writing marks on them, or notes that have been overly folded will not be accepted.
The Department of Home Affairs’ website (www.dha.gov.za) has complete details on visa requirements and exceptions and the relevant forms that you can download. If you are subject to visa requirements, you should apply for your visa at least a month before you plan to arrive here. Do not arrive in South Africa without it; wait for it to be issued before you travel. No visas are issued at South African ports of entry.
South (& Southern) Africa is truly blessed with amazing weather. The official months for:
- Summer: December, January, and February.
- Autumn: March, April, and May.
- Winter: June, July, and August.
- Spring: September, October, and November.
This in theory however as we experience only summer and winter over here. Our weather is very predictable. Summer arrives in the first week of September; normally the 5th, and temperatures range from 25 to 35 degrees Celsius.
Winter arrives in the first week of June. We actually only have 2 months of winter – June & July and by mid August things start to warm up again. Winter temperatures range from zero (normally 5 degrees) at night to 25 degrees Celsius during the day. Winter daytime temperatures in the Kruger can reach 28 to 30 degrees.
The rainy season in the old Transvaal starts on 10 October to the date. The old folks believed that if it rains before President Paul Kruger’s birthday (10 October), it is going to be a very good rainy season. If it rains before his birthday, they believed it would be a bad rainy season. Transvaal is now divided into the Gauteng-, Northwest-, Limpopo-, and Mpumalanga Provinces.
For detailed information about the weather, please visit the South African Weather Service’s website to find out more – www.weathersa.co.za
Nothing gets you prepared for a safari like a good book. From field guides to fictional masterpieces, there are a slew of reading options to help crystallize your vision of Africa: the sights, the sounds, the unbridled adventure to come.
Follow this link to a website called Longitude for a list of recommended books that we believe will enhance your experience so much more!