17 Day Namibia School Expedition
- Nama Cultural Experience
- Fish River Canyon
- Wild Horses
- Bushman Engravings
- Cheetah Farm
- Bushman Village
Day 1, 2: Windhoek to Gochas
Gochas is a village located 110 kilometers southeast of Mariental on the way to the Mata border post to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. The village has been the main settlement of the ǃKharakhoen, a subtribe of the Nama people. The Nama are the largest group of the Khoikhoi people, most of who have largely disappeared as a group. Music, dancing, poetry and storytelling are very important in Nama culture and many stories have been passed down orally through the generations. Here we will camp and explore the Nam culture through dance, school visits and donkey rides
Day 3: Fish River Canyon
In the afternoon and early tomorrow morning you can explore the Fish River Canyon. The Fish River is, at 650 kilometers, the longest river in Namibia. The Fish River canyon, situated along the lower reaches of the Fish River, is one of the most impressive natural beauties in the southern part of Namibia and has become a popular hiking destination.
Day 4: Aus
Today your Journey continues to the Wild Coast of Namibia. In the afternoon you visit the little Ghost Town Kolmanskuppe. On your way to the camp site you can stop to view the wild horses. In 1908, Lüderitz plunged into “Diamond Fever”. People rushed into the Namib Desert hoping to make a fortune and within two years, a town - Kolmanskuppe, complete with casino, school, hospital and exclusive residential buildings, had been established in the sandy desert. Over 1 000 kg of diamonds were extracted prior to World War I. The amount of gemstones found diminished after the war, and considerably larger diamonds were found near Oranjemund, eventually causing Kolmanskuppe to become a ghost town. Wild Horses at Aus - nobody knows exactly where the wild horses originated from, but they are supposedly descendents of those from the German Schutztruppe. The wild horses have adapted to the harsh conditions of the Namib Desert and can be seen when travelling from Lüderitz to Keetmanshoop.
There are many theories about their origins; one is that they are the descendants of the stud horses of Baron von Wolff (who built the Duwisib Castle). The more likely theory is that they were left behind by the German Schutztruppe when they abandoned Aus in 1915. In any case, the wonderful animals are a sight worthy of a little detour off the B4. Garup was once a station on the railway line from Aus to Lüderitz completed in 1906. Because there was no drinking water in Lüderitz, the water was transported in barrels by train from Garub to the coast, a journey of 120 kilometres. Lüderitz later received its own water pipe and in 1990 the station Garub was closed. The little station house is still standing and can be visited.
Day 5: Namib Desert
Early morning you depart to the heart of the Namib Desert. Here you overnight at the Sesriem/Sossusvlei Campsite. The following day you have the opportunity to visit the Sossusvlei & the Sesriem Canyon. This campsite is beautifully situated at the entrance to the Namib Naukluft Park, in close proximity of the Sesriem Canyon and approximately 63km from Sossusvlei. Sesriem Canyon - At the entry to Sossusvlei is Sesriem Canyon, where centuries of erosion have incised a narrow gorge about 1 km in length. At the foot of the gorge, which plunges down 30 to 40m, are pools that become replenished after good rains. Sesriem derives its name from the time when early pioneers tied six lengths of rawhide thongs together to draw water from the pools. Interesting to see are the various layers of sediment rock that form the surrounding desert floor. Sossusvlei, Namibia's famous highlight in the heart of the Namib Desert, is a huge clay pan, enclosed by giant sand dunes. Some of the spectacular hills of sand are, at a height of 300 meters, the highest in the world. Only after a heavy rainfall, which is a rare event in this area, does the vlei fill with water. As the clay layers hardly allow any water infiltration, a turquoise lake will remain for quite some time.
The dunes of the Namib Desert have developed over a period of many millions of years.
Day 6: Desert Farm
Boesman`s farm. Here we camp in the wilderness in total peaceful isolation. Toilets are converted motorcars with the most amazing views. You have to experience these facilities.
Day 7, 8: Swakopmund
After a spectacular sunrise you continue to the Jewel of Namibia: Swakopmund. En-route you can visit the oldest plant in the world: the Welwitschia Mirabilis in the Moon Landscape. Today is SAND BOARDING time.
Swakopmund, Namibia's second biggest town and traditional "summer capital", is one of the most surreal places in this land of contrasts. You approach the town through the endless expanses of the Namib Desert, one of the world's largest wilderness areas. It is known as the “Jewel of Namibia”, glistening in the sunshine, tucked between ocean and desert. While Swakopmund is small in the global sense, it is big when it comes to hospitality. Here, where desert and sea meet in perfect harmony, there is plenty to do for the youth and Swakopmund offers a relaxed atmosphere for the older generation. The town is a precursor of history, an oasis for the soul, a place for encounters and consciousness. With its mild climate, the natural unspoilt beauty of its surroundings, friendly and healthy people, sun-bathed in tradition, Swakopmund is a good place to relax in. Activities available include Sand boarding and skiing, quad biking, camel rides and off-road driving as well as a host of other attractions, including excursions by boat to see dolphins and seals, shore-based angling (some of the best in Africa). The Cultural Township Tour is possible. This is a unique cultural tour to a different style of life. Each customized tour lasts about 3 hrs with the aim of immersing visitors in township life. All interaction with the community is done in a non-intrusive manner respecting privacy at all times. Learn some history, bridge the cultural gap through understanding, see a demonstration of Mahango preparation, taste some unusual food and enjoy children dancing.
The Welwitschia Mirabilis Plant
The Welwitschia mirabilis plant (often mis-spelled Welwitchia) has only two leaves and can live for over a thousand years. It is found in parts of Namibia and Angola. The easiest place to see it in Namibia is "Welwitschia Drive", inland from Swakopmund. This can easily be combined, in a round trip, with the "Moon Landscape". You need to get a permit to visit the Welwitschia and one for the Moon Landscape. Although the plant looks as if it has many leaves, it has only two, but as it is so old, it gets shredded by the wind. The leaves can spread for several meters across, and their roots go about a meter down. Their scientific name comes from the first European to describe it, Friedrich Welwitsch, and mirabilis from its marvelous ability to survive in such harsh, apparently waterless conditions.
The Moon Landscape.
The 'Moon Landscape' is easily reached, inland of Swakopmund, and can be combined in a round trip with Welwitschia Drive. You need to get a permit from the Tourist Office in Swakopmund to visit the Moon Landscape, but it is accessible and signed from the main B2 road from Swakop to Windhoek. The moonscape is a totally barren, undulating, rocky desert which was formed by the valleys of the Swakop River.
Day 9: Spitzkoppe
Moving back inland we visit the famous Spitzkoppe. It is here where the final section of the movie "10,000 BC" was filmed as well as scenes from “2001: A Space Odyssey”. Early in the day we visit the local boarding school and play some football. Spitzkoppe is a magical granite outcrop place originally spiritual home to the Bushman we go in search of Bushman rock art and climb the rocks for a thrilling sunset. We sleep under the night sky.
Day 10: Twyfelfontein
Today your Journey takes you to the rugged, but beautiful Damaraland. You can visit the Petrified Forest, Organ Pipes, Burnt Mountain and the Rock Engravings & Paintings in Twyfelfontein. Twyfelfontein is the largest known concentration of Stone Age petroglyphs in Namibia, with approximately 2 500 engravings around the Twyfelfontein area. This area has been declared world heritage by the UNESCO on 29.06.07. Visit the Petrified Forest, where antediluvian floods deposited giant tree trunks, some up to 30m long. The age of these fossil trunks is estimated to be 200 million years old. Twyfelfontein is unequalled for its abundance of rock engravings and is set in a U-shaped valley. Also in the area is another geological curiosity; the perpendicular slabs of basalt known as the “Organ Pipes”.
Day 11: Kamanjab
Visit and sleep outdoors at a cheetah rehabilitation centre. You can get to stroke this magnificent wild animal that can reach speeds as high as 120 km/h and has the ability to accelerate from 0 to over 100 km/h in three seconds
Day 12, 13, 14: Etosha
Early this morning you depart to the biggest game park in Namibia: Etosha. Here you will stay for three nights. Every day you visit the numerous waterholes in the Park and here you will have ample time to view the different species of game. Campsites have flood-lit waterhole where visitors can observe the spectacle of wildlife congregating and interacting. Other facilities include a restaurant, bar, shop, swimming pool, kiosk and camping facilities.
The Etosha National Park
Namibia's Etosha National Park is a huge saltpan surrounded by flat bushland. The water holes, scattered throughout this area, are the basis of life for countless game. Be it lion, elephant, giraffe or zebra, almost all African animal species are represented in the huge nature reserve, approx. 22,000 square kilometers in size. There are an estimated number of 300 lions, 300 rhinos, 2000 giraffes and 1500 elephants in the park. Dainty springbok can be observed in enormous herds of several hundred animals. The Etosha National Park has a good infrastructure - well-maintained gravel roads lead to the waterholes, where game viewing is at its best. In the three rest camps Okaukuejo, Halali and Namutoni, hotels, restaurants, stores and swimming pools are available.
Day 15: Bushmen Village
We camp and live with the Khoisan (Bushmen) – a community at Grashoek in Bushman land – around 140 km from Grootfontein. The San are the ‘First People’ - the original inhabitants of Southern Africa before the southward bantu migrations from Central and East Africa reached their region. Their languages consist of at least six vocal 'clicks', which punctuate the speech like rapid machine-gun fire. Traditionally, they are hunter-gatherers. Unlike most other African and European peoples, the Bushmen have no warrior tradition and no stratified leadership. The Bushmen and their non-violent, healing-based culture, represents an authentic blueprint of a better kind of human life, which we are now in danger of losing forever. It has taken only three hundred years to witness the extinction of their cultures and languages. The conditions which led to the destruction of the Khoisan societies are well documented, varying from disease and genocidal persecution to attitudes of intolerance and disdain. Although the Khoisan peoples fiercely resisted the onslaught, survival ultimately involved abandoning their culture and linguistic identity. Here we are developing the ‘Living Museum’ concept to help them preserve their culture.
Day 16: Windhoek
We will have an early start and make our way down to Windhoek where we will have our last night together as a group before we have to say our good byes until a next time!
Day 17: Home
Sadly, after breakfast we have to say our goodbyes until a next time and make our way to the airport.
What is included?
- All accommodation and meals stated above
- All game drives, park fees, park entrance and camping fees
- Overland vehicle, 4x4 safari vehicle, camping equipment, tents and mattresses
What is not included?
- Optional activities
- Own drinks (Soft drinks)
- Flights to and from Windhoek
- All activities that are listed on the trip Itinerary.
- Satellite phone
- 24 hour emergency plan
- Extra travel insurance
- Company Insurance
- Passenger liability insurance
Departure point: Windhoek Airport
Departure time: Straight after arrival time at Windhoek Airport