Namibia’s south is vastly under populated yet incredibly diverse. Rugged and exquisitely beautiful landscapes are what you can expect here.
Popular attractions are the Bogenfels, wild horses of Aus, the Fish River Canyon, Luederitz Bucht and many more.
Upon your arrival at the international airport you will be met by your guide who will brief you on the tour details. Thereafter you will proceed down south to the Namib Desert, the oldest desert in the world. Stretching 1,931 kilometres in length and only averaging a width of 113 kilometres, the Namib Desert is home to the highest sand dunes in the world.
It’s absolutely silent. On a windless day, sometimes all you can hear is a deep, deafening silence. The gigantic star-shaped mountains of sand (one of the largest was measured from the base to be 325 m high) are a sought-after topic for artists and photographers. Sossusvlei’s mountainous dunes lie at the end of an erosional trough formed by the Tsauchab River. They are shaped by strong multi-dimensional winds, primarily south-western, and the three to five sinuous crests, which meet at the highest point to give them the star shape. Dinner will be served at the hotel.
The following day demands an early start, to enjoy the sunrise on the dunes. Thereafter you will visit the Dead Vlei. Dead Vlei is an old salt pan named for its eerie dead appearance in the Namib Desert which had no water since the river changed its course. The old acacias died 500 years ago, but as there is no humidly in this place, they did not rot, forming a dead forest. In the late afternoon you will then visit Sesriem Canyon, walking through the canyon takes you on a journey dating 10-20 million years ago, when sedimentary layers of gravel and sand were deposited and cemented together by lime.
The ledges are now inhabited by pigeons, raucous pied crows and chattering starlings. But look a little higher and you might see a lanner falcon or the soaring spread of a lappet faced vulture with a wingspan of 2.6m.
Today after breakfast you will be heading to the town of Helmeringhausen where your accommodation for the night is booked for you on your behalf. Helmeringhausen is a settlement in southern Namibia in the Berseba Constituency in the Karas Region. Right next to the hotel lays the Agricultural Museum of Helmeringhausen, founded by the local Farmers Association. It displays interesting farming implements, such as water drilling machines or fire fighting coaches used in the olden days. Helmeringhausen Hotel is also known for the best Apple Crumble in Namibia.
After breakfast you will continue south towards Aus where you will spend the night. After the Germans surrendered to the South African forces at Otavi on 9 July 1915, the tidy, tranquil village of Aus became one of two internment camps for German military personnel. Military police and officers were sent to a camp in the north and the non-commissioned officers went to Aus.
After the treaty of Versailles, the camp was dismantled and by May 1919 it was closed. Virtually nothing remains of the original camp, but several WWI graves remain immediately north of the village.
You will be travelling to Lüderitz where your accommodation has been reserved. Lüderitz was initially referred to as Angra Pequena, meaning Little Bay by the Portuguese whose navigator Bartolomeu Diaz erected a stone cross on Dias Point on 25 July 1488. Heinrich Vogelslang, agent of the German merchant from Bremen, Adolf Lüderitz, landed at Angra Pequena on 9th April, 1988 to establish a trading station. Following the negotiation with the Khoekoe chief, Josef Fredericks from Bethanie, he purchased the land within an 8 km radius of Angra Pequena. In April 1884 this land became part of the Protectorate of the German Empire, creating the beginning of German colonial control in Namibia, referred to as the then Deutsch-Südwest-Afrika.
After breakfast you will visit Kolmanskop Ghost Town before continuing further toward the Fish River Canyon. The Fish River Canyon is the second-largest natural canyon in the world. Set in a harsh, stony plain, dotted with drought-resistant succulent such as the distinctive Quiver Tree or Kokerboom, Aloe Dichotoma, and Euphorbia Gregaria. The canyon is a spectacular natural phenomenon that took hundreds of millions of years to evolve. Its full length is 160 km; the width is up to 27 km and up to 550 m deep. However the most spectacular section is the 56 km stretch between the northern most and southern most viewpoints, because the river flows intermittently there is always water in some of the pools except in very dry years.
Containing Small and Largemouth Yellow fish, Sharp tooth Catfish Tilapia and Common Carp, the pools are also frequented with the Water Monitor or Leguaan. Baboon, Rock Hyrax, Ground Squirrel and Klipspringer are often seen in the canon while the presence of Leopard and Mountain Zebra are indicated by tracks at waterholes.
Today after breakfast you can visit the Fish River Canyon and in the afternoon you can spend the rest of the day at leisure. The Fish River is the longest interior river in Namibia, but its flow now is a puny trickle compared with the immense volume of water that poured down its length in ages past. It cuts deep into the plateau which is today dry, stony and sparsely covered with hardy drought-resistant plants such as succulents. The river flows intermittently, usually flooding in late summer; and when it ceases to flow it becomes a chain of long narrow pools on the sandy rock-strewn floor of the chasm.
On day 8 after breakfast you will travel to the Kalahari Desert where your accommodation for the night is situated. The Kalahari is not a true desert as it receives too much rain, but it is actually a fossil desert. So do not expect to find the tall sand dunes associated with Sossusvlei, the landscape is more one of golden grass and small red dunes. The Kalahari Desert or Kgalagadi, as it is known in Botswana stretches across 7 countries Botswana, Zambia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It’s coverage in Namibia is called a ‘desert’ principally because it’s porous, sandy soils cannot retain surface water, but in some areas annual rainfall can be as high as 250mm, which accounts for the luxuriant grass cover during good years.
The best known Kalahari inhabitants are the San Bushmen, numbering only a few thousand and squeezed into inhospitable pieces of land where they are often exploited as cheap farm labour. The term ‘Bushmen’ is best known referring to nomadic hunter-gather people, also called ‘Basarwa’ in Botswana and ‘San’ in Namibia and South Africa. The words San means ‘foragers’ and in modern times (unfairly) conjure up negative connotations of backwardness, low esteem, alcoholism and even banditry.
However the Bushmen are proud people, and are keen to demonstrate their origins and knowledge of living in the bushveld. They still retain some specific cultural and linguistic characteristics such as the very interesting and unique ‘click’ language, and listening to is a wonderful experience in itself. Five types of click sounds are known to exist, with a certain ‘sucking action of the tongue’ being responsible for the noise. Each has a different position of the tongue, and combined with the way the air is released, results in different sounds.
After a hearty breakfast you will be driving back to Windhoek where the tour ends. You will be dropped off at the international airport for your departure flight.